Easter heralds the end of the long, hot Australian summer as we know it – days are a little shorter, temperatures a little crisper and you can score at least five days or longer break. This gives you plenty of time to hit the road and avoid the sweltering summer crowds before the days get too chilly.
Here’s a little rundown of my favourite ‘in between’ season holiday spots to suit everyone – be it a road trip with stopovers or a lovely end destination to enjoy the Easter Bunny’s spoils.
It has been referred to and often voted the greatest road trip in Australia – Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, also known as the B100, is south-west of Melbourne and goes from Torquay to Port Fairy for about 310 kilometers. Experience wild surf beaches backed by lush, rolling green hills, and dramatic rock formations that explode from the sea.
Ocean House, VIC
As you wind your way through small fishing villages you will find small hotels, guest houses and private homes to rent. My favourite – a short drive out of Melbourne – is Ocean House, simply beautiful and elegant, and ideal for a getaway with a group of friends.
Drift House, VIC
A great incentive to do the beautiful drive is the end destination of Drift House, a 4-bedroom hotel in Port Fairy. From the exterior – your quintessential Australian colonial verandah -wrapped house, to the modern inside; recycled timber, sleek Japanese tiles, splashes of fabulous colour and a gorgeous pool to boot. All the rooms are set up for self-catering and come with well stocked pantries or try one of the many great restaurants of Port Fairy.
Drift House, VIC
If you want to grab the last of the summer sun, head up to NSW’s Bouddi Peninsula on the Central Coast and spend a long weekend at the newly reopened Pretty Beach House.
Pretty Beach House, NSW
The luxury lodge sees four beautiful pavilions that sleep up to eight people in each. Pretty Beach House reopened this month after the tragic fire in 2013 that destroyed the original beach house and its incredible collection of Australian art.
Stephen Manfredi (of Bells at Killcare Boutique Hotel fame) is a part-owner – so expect fabulous fresh Italian-inspired meals in a beautiful Australian bush setting. Enjoy the luxury before heading back to the city and the real world.
Another great Australian road trip has to be the three and a half hour drive from Perth, WA to the beautiful wine region of Margaret River. Experience everything from pristine, sandy-white beaches and crystal waters to lush vineyards producing some of Australia’s best wines.
Busselton Jetty, WA
Driving through Yalgorup National Park, south of Perth, you will discover Geographe Bay – as voted by Lonely Planet as one of the top beaches in the world – all 30 kilometers of it. A little further south is Busselton with its picturesque jetty and bustling town full of cafes and restaurants. If you get a chance to meander a little further, you can catch the daily surfing display at Yallingup Beach.
Voyager Estate, WA
After the drive you’ll deserve a drink, and what better place to head to than the wineries of Margaret River. With at least 120 producers the choices are endless. The must-sees include the Cape Dutch-style Voyager Estate, stylish cellar door and restaurant at Vasse Felix and lunch at Leeuwin Estate under the umbrellas.
The Atlantic Byron Bay, NSW
If driving is not your thing, head to Byron Bay for the 2015 Bluesfest with its stellar line up of over 200 international and local jazz musicians. Stay at the Atlantic, the super stylish holiday house by the beach, to relax and settle into five days of fabulous music.
Further afield, and my idea of heaven, is Easter in Tasmania. Being that much further south, you’ll get a real change of season colour you often don’t get further north in warmer climates.
Jump in a car and in 5 days you can really fit a lot in – from fantastic foodie haunts to cheese making classes, fantastic walks, plenty of fresh air and lovely brisk autumnal days. Visit the increasingly popular Museum of New and Old Art (MONA), and all its sensational art in the true sense of the word ‘sensation’.
If you’re feeling flash, a stay at Saffire Freycinet Lodge is an inspired option.
The Agrarian Kitchen, TAS
The Agrarian Kitchen is on my list of must-visit destinations, especially in Autumn – just imagine the produce coming out of their amazing vegetable garden at this time of year!
Wherever the road takes you this Easter extra-long weekend, enjoy the trip there as much as the destination when you arrive. Breathe in the fresh air of autumn wherever you end up and may the Easter Bunny be able to find you!