The Winter chill is on its way, which means it’s time to lock in a few spontaneous cosy weekends away. Think cute village style cafes, hot chocolates, frosty countryside walks, comfort food filled evenings and of course, “red red wine”.
Leading travel and lifestyle site, lastminute.com.au has put together some recommendations for cosy weekends away to make sure you live last minute this Winter.
Whether you are in need of a romantic escape, group getaway or a weekend with the girls, rug up and start planning one of these escapes:
Just over an hours’ drive from Melbourne is the magical spa town of Daylesford, located on the edge of the Great Dividing Range. This village town is literally dedicated to relaxation, wellbeing and the finer things in life.
Warm up at the mineral spa at Peppers Mineral Springs, which includes jet hydrotherapy day spas, various massage treatments and a guest relaxation lounge with organic tea options and a big open-fire.
For awesome coffee, check out Harvest Café or Larder (both are located in town) and dine-out at the culinary treat that is Kazuki’s, a Japanese-meets-French restaurant. After dinner hit the local wine scene by visiting A Perfect Drop in the main street.
Plus, pay a visit to the Swiss Italian Farm, Lavandula just 10 minutes’ north of Daylesford.
Here you’ll find restored 19th Century farm houses, lavender fields, olive & chestnut groves and vineyards. Could you think of a better way to spend a Winter weekend?!
Stay at Peppers Mineral Springs Hotel.
What’s better then wine time? Winter wine time! Home to more than 220 wine producers and 100 cellar doors, Margaret River is the ultimate wine lovers escape.
Some lastminute.com.au favourites include Vasse Felix, Voyager Estate, Sandalford, Leeuwin Estate and Xanadu.
After a spot of wine tasting, stock up at the local deli and pack your own picnic filled with fresh produce and local delicacies. And for the sweet tooth’s, don’t miss the local chocolate and fudge factory.
Although Winter may not be the perfect beach weather around the Margaret River region, it is the ultimate time for a spot of whale watching. Throw on a coat and scarf and head for the beach to watch the Australian humpback and Southern Right whales pass by as they head north for the cooler months.
Choose from a range of Margaret River hotel, B&B, guesthouse and apartment style accommodation options.
The Blue Mountains is one of those iconic places that you really have to visit in Winter to truly appreciate. The fresh mountain air, crispy mornings, occasional snow falls is the ultimate in embracing the chill.
Visit during Yulefest (which is also known as Christmas in July) and you can experience the town coming alive with white Christmas style events.
Stay at the Fairmont Resort Blue Mountainsand dress up for the sophisticated afternoon high tea experience at Sublime Lounge, or lap up the intimate fire-side casual dining experience at Embers.
In between indulging there are plenty of bushwalks, or for the more adventurous abseiling and canyoning experiences on offer.
Just 90 minutes’ drive from Adelaide, the beautiful Barossa was recently named Australia’s favourite wine region according to lastminute.com.au research*.
Barossa is well known as a region famous for its Shiraz, so what better time to visit then in the perfect red wine drinking season, Winter.
Be sure to pop by Hentley Farm Winery, which was recently named as the best winery in Australia by renowned wine writer James Halliday. Other fabulous Barossa wineries worth a visit include Yalumba and Yelland & Papps.
Don’t miss the Barossa Farmers Markets held each Saturday in Angaston. Here you will find everything from fresh fruit and vegetables, meats, organic olive oils, pickles, dukkah and more, which will accompany a glass of Barossa wine later in the day perfectly.
Speaking of which, retreat at the end of the day to one of Barossa’s many character filled B&B's or Guesthouses.
If your idea of a Winter wonderland is rugged mountain peaks, picture perfect lakes and the potential of snow falling, then Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park is the place for you.
However, it’s not all about the scenery. Get some fresh air by walking one of the more-than 20 different self guided tracks, tobogganing (snow dependent), quad biking, mountain biking and horse riding. You’ll definitely earn some cosy relaxation time at the end of a day of outdoor action.
Enter Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge located just on the edge of the National Park. Here you can warm up by the crackling fireplace, pamper yourself with a post hike indulgent spa, take part in a wine and cheese tasting event (yum!) and indulge in local seasonable produce at the lodges Highland Restaurant.
Rather escape then embrace?
If you REALLY can’t handle the chill of Winter, then beat the blues with a tropical escape to cocktail drinking, bikini wearing year round destinations such as Fiji , Tropical North Queensland, Bali or Cook Islands.
* Results based on lastminute.com.au’s 2015 survey of 4100+ Australians.
Visit www.lastminute.com.aufor more information.