5 Australia Day long weekend getaway ideas in your own backyard

Perfect Aussie escapes for a four-day long weekend.

Heads up holidaymakers, Australia Day falls on a Thursday this year and if you’ve built up a day in lieu/are dying for a holiday already/can sacrifice a day of annual leave (cross out whichever is irrelevant) then you’re looking at a pretty sweet four-day weekend ahead of you.

This calls for a getaway.

Yeah, you know where we’re going with this. To help you celebrate Australia’s national day in style, we’ve come up with a guide to some of the best long weekend destinations in Australia you can take this year. You’re welcome.

Top 5 picks for an Australia Day long weekend getaway

1. Best for a patriotic Australia Day: Canberra

Where else would you go to celebrate Australia Day than our nation’s capital?

Canberra comes alive on Australia Day with all your standard celebrations and more. This includes the flag raising and citizenship ceremonies as well as an Australia Day in the Park festival and fireworks over Lake Burley Griffin at night.

  • What to do: Cycle around Lake Burley Griffin, climb Mount Ainslie, visit the National Museum of Australia, Ben & Jerry’s Openair cinema.
  • Day trips from Canberra: Batemans Bay, Merimbula and the Sapphire Coast.
  • Where to stay: Peppers Gallery Hotel.

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2. Best for a city break: Melbourne

For a long weekend, Melbourne is always a good idea.

Hip cafes, boutique shops and a walkable city centre make Melbourne the ideal destination for a short getaway. Wherever you turn on Australia Day, celebrations with be rife with parades, concerts and fireworks to highlight the day.

  • What to do: See the Victoria Street Markets, sunbake or kitesurf on St Kilda Beach, have a picnic in Kings Domain, shop Brunswick Street and relax in the Royal Botanic Gardens.
  • Day trips from Melbourne: Visit Phillip Island, drive the Great Ocean Road, relax at Daylesford and take the kids to Werribee Open Range Zoo.

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Looking for things to do in Melbourne on Australia Day? Read our guide to the 2017 events.


3. Best to go bush: Tasmania

Escape the summer heat in our nation’s most southernmost state. During January, it revels in comfortable 20-24℃ temperatures. True story.

It’s one of those escapes that you can cover in anything from a few days to a few weeks. If you’ve saved yourself four, why not rent a car and road trip your way around this picturesque island? Be sure to stay in Hobart on Australia Day though as its local beach Kingston hosts a great event which includes an iconic inflatable thong race – something that other Australian cities have stopped doing.

  • What to do: Cradle Mountain, Museum of Modern Art, Salamanca Markets, Freycinet National Park, Port Arthur, Burnie Island and Coles Bay.
  • Day trips: Tasmania is so small it’s possible to do a day or overnight trip practically anywhere from your base. From Hobart we suggest Port Arthur and the Devil’s Kitchen / Tasman Arch.

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Looking for things to do in Hobart on Australia Day? Read our guide to the 2017 events.


4. Best to cap in on the summer sun: Hamilton Island

An idyllic island escape for an idyllic four-day long weekend.

Family-friendly activities fill the island from December to January so if you’re taking the brood out for a long one this weekend, you’ll not be short on activities. That’s not to say that couples or sunseekers can’t enjoy Hamilton on their own. With plenty of activities and private bungalows at your fingertips, you’re sure to find exactly what you need to unwind on Hamilton Island.

  • What to do: Snorkelling, diving, sailing, golfing and other watersports.
  • Day trips: Whitehaven Beach, Airlie Beach and Conway National Park.

Browse cheap flights to Hamilton Island

5. Best for the Australia Day fireworks: Sydney

Love Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks? Wait until you get an eye on its Australia Day celebration.

Sydney goes off with a bang on Australia Day with a fantastic 15-minute pyrotechnics display over Darling Harbour. During the day there are more celebrations than you can poke a stick at including a concert at the Sydney Opera House and a ferrython race through Sydney Harbour. With four days, you can sightsee the city and then some, making it an ideal destination for such a long break – especially if you’ve never made the trip before.

  • What to do: Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Bondi Beach, Sydney Tower, Taronga Zoo and Barangaroo.
  • Day trips: The Blue Mountains, Hunter Valley and Wollongong.

Browse cheap flights to Sydney

Looking for things to do in Sydney on Australia Day? Read our guide to the 2017 events.

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Stephanie Yip

Stephanie is the travel editor at finder.com.au. On top of being an avid traveller, she's an all-round bargain hunter. If there's a deal or cheap flight available, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too.

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