Summer, you beauty! Stoked that you’re here. As lovely as your beloved city may be during the warmer months, there’s something about loading up the car (or jumping in a plane) and getting the heck outta town. But sometimes amidst all the festive flurry, NYE hooha and general pressure to make the most of your days off, it’s hard to find the time to plan a trip to the beach let alone a different part of the country.
To help you suss out a sneaky summer getaway, we’re rounded up some pearler spots. These destinations are spread across Australia and New Zealand because a trip across the ditch might be exactly what you need.
Here are seven last-minute summer escapes in Australia and New Zealand.
Gold Coast Hinterland
While it’s tempting to spend the entirety of summer splashing about and sunbathing it up at the beach, here’s another idea. The Gold Coast Hinterland is where it’s at. Arguably one of Australia’s best-kept secret, this beautiful area is home to rainforests, waterfalls, wineries and retreats galore. It’s basically bliss. Tamborine Mountain offers everything from glow worm caves and rainforest Sky Walk to cooking classes, cheese (yes, cheese) and distilleries. If you’re into chasing waterfalls, you’re also in luck. The Cedar Creek Falls are gold.
Soz to state the obvious but what’s a summer escape list without mentioning Auckland’s iconic (and beautiful) Waiheke Island. This place has it all. We’re talking wineries, beaches, restaurants, wineries…did we mention wineries? If you’re a wine-lover, vineyard hopping will keep you busy but if your belly has priority, Waiheke’s world-class restaurants will dish up some of the best food you eat this summer. To top it off, Waiheke is home to some seriously stunning, B&B’s, lodges, baches and resorts for you to completely unwind in.
The Western Australian spot, not the North Auckland spot. A couple of hours drive from Perth and you’ll hit a coastline gem boasting epic beaches (Little Beach is a goodie), top-notch vino and even better food. Plus, it’s a tad cooler than the rest of Australia so you won’t have to worry about melting. Hit up the Albany Farmers Markets for quality cheese (yep, cheese is always on our minds), produce and of course, coffee and Liberte for one of the best bao buns you’ll ever eat. Don’t leave without paying a visit to the National ANZAC Centre.
New Zealand’s South Island is next-level beautiful, especially during summer. We rounded-up 30 amazing things to do there this summer but one particular region stands out—Central Otago. Considered one of the most stunning parts of Aotearoa, Central Otago is a playground of lakes, mountains, walking tracks, wineries, adrenaline rushes and so much more. Hire a camper van or buy a tent and head out on a roadie, hitting up the likes of Arrowtown, Queenstown, Hawea and Wanaka along the way.
Nope, we could never get sick of Noosa. How could we?! Noosa in the summertime offers everything we could want from a summer getaway. There’s loads of water activities, hikes in the national park and a truly amazing food and bev scene. In fact, we’ve found 30 epic things to do there—make it your mission to tick ‘em all off.
Just a three-hour drive from Sydney (along the bucket list-worthy Grand Pacific Drive) and you’ll find yourself at one of Australia’s best summer spots—Jervis Bay. Not only is it buzzing with marine life and home to some of the world’s whitest sand beaches, it offers incred seafood, coffee and sprawling views almost everywhere you look. Spend your time on rotation between swimming, eating, snoozing and being gobsmacked by the scenery. Just don’t forget to dial up the SPF! No one wants to be that person. Need some extra tips? Check out out Jervis Bay guide here.
You can’t beat Welly on a good day and, well, most of the good days are during summer. Make your way to New Zealand’s often windy, sometimes sunny capital and get amongst the infectious summer vibes. This wee places goes off when the sun is out. The waterfront comes to life with buskers and bars while Oriental Bay turns into the go-to spot to cool down, catch some rays and consume too many ice creams. Climb Mt Victoria for the best views of the city, Dirty Little Secret for summer rooftop bevies and Scorching Bay for an arvo picnic.
Looking to travel a little further? Here's our ultimate bucket list of 50 things to see around the world before you die.