Spicers Peak Lodge | Image credit: Ariana Gillrie
Things are feeling a little bleak, aren’t they? Three weeks into the new work year, and the holidays are quickly becoming a distant memory. Sigh. Back-to-work blues are such a bore.
There is but one remedy: plan your next vacay so your daydreaming isn’t so far-fetched and painful.
In our humble opinion, there’s nothing like a micro-holiday (read: weekend escape from the big city life) to jolt you out of the big blue, and inject a bit of optimism back into your dreary outlook.
Thankfully, Brisbane is the lucky country when it comes to weekend escapes that are a.) not too far from the city, but b.) still feel far enough away that you could almost believe you hopped on a plane to get there.
R-E-L-A-X, friends. Your grand escape is sorted with these nine weekend getaways.
Spicers Peak Lodge
The Big Daddy of weekend retreats, Spicers Peak Lodge is a no holds barred, luxe weekend escape that you will never want to leave. EVER. Just a hop-skip-jump over the Great Dividing Range (aka a scenic 1.5 hour drive south-west from Brisbane), its reputation is most definitely deserved. A killer restaurant, plush spa rooms, and a totally cosy but luxe log-cabin-in-the-woods feel thanks to fireplaces in each room (which the friendly staff will build for you), Peak Lodge wins the weekend escape game.
Spring Creek Cafe and Mountain Cottages
The Scenic Rim is one of our fave weekend country escape destinations—it’s a wine region after all—and Spring Creek Cafe and Mountain Cottages is throwing woo straight at us with just the right amount of provincial-country-charm. Three self-contained cottages (all named after native birds) sit atop the range, holding court over the Condamine Gorge, Wilson’s Peak and the Border Ranges, and the cafe serves up delish eats on the daily. Chase dem waterfalls at Queen Mary Falls, soak in the view at Governor’s Chair, or just up your wildlife spotting game as you explore the many winding bush tracks at Spring Creek.
Hardcore relaxation requires commitment, and no weekend escape is more committed to the idea of inner-peace than Chenrezig Institute in the Sunshine Coast’s hinterland. This zen Buddhist retreat focussed on meditation and the study of precepts of Tibetan Buddhism has a range of packages, retreats and accommodation options, plus the Big Love Cafe—serving up all the vegetarian noms—to help you switch off and #blissout.
Don't let the laidback island-vibes fool you, Straddie is a pocket rocket of weekend escaping. And it’s not all beachside hangs, either! There’s plenty of eating and drinking to be done plus hikes galore, lakes to explore and more miscellaneous adventuring than can be fit into a two-day weekend. The ferry leaves from Cleveland on the hour (you can walk on or take your car) and there are plenty of apartments and beachside houses to rest your head after a long day of livin’ it up. Hit the Stradbroke Island Beach Hotel for Sundowners once you’ve had your fill of sun, surf and sand.
Glass on Glass House
Glass is the word at Glass on Glass House, thanks to three breathtakingly positioned cottages in the foothills of the Glasshouse Mountains. And we mean breathtaking. The views are to die for thanks to the floor-to-ceiling glass walls, there’s an eco-fireplace for cold winter nights, and a spa bath for some serious down time (with bubbles, of course). Only 10 minutes from Australia Zoo and the quaint villages of Maleny and Montville, there are plenty of day-trippin’ options if you’re up for something a little more ‘active’.
Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat
As you cruise up the motorway to Narrows Escape, you’ll feel the stress just slipping away with every kilometre ticking by on the odometer. By the time you arrive, you’ll be asking ‘Brisbane, where is that even?’. Nestled in the rainforest, this getaway’s luxury relaxation cup overfloweth; choose from one of six beautiful pavilions, chill out in the hammock and nibble on the gourmet hamper that has been delivered to your door. Eat. Chill. Sleep. Repeat.
Byron at Byron Bay
Oh, Byron. You just know how to get us, you cheeky thing. Byron at Byron Bay ticks all of our boxes. And we aren’t pushovers when it comes to getting our relax on. Resort, spa, amazing restaurant; all essential keywords in the ultimate retreat category, of which we consider ourselves very discerning judges. Luckily for Byron at Byron Bay they do it all well, and you can either choose to have a pre-designed package experience, or make it all up as you go!
Nightfall Wilderness Camp
Most people baulk at the idea of camping, but in case you missed the memo in the last few years, glamping is camping’s very glamorous cousin. Nightfall Wilderness Camp is elegant simplicity embodied and sits like a sparkly crown jewel amongst the rainforest of Lamington Park and Christmas Creek. With room for only six guests at a time, it has secluded glam nailed. Book in for a massage out in the rainforest, or spend your days exploring the trails and tracks around the campsite before sitting down to an organic meal sourced from Nightfall’s kitchen garden.
QT Gold Coast
From the frying pan into the fire, escaping Brisbane for the Gold Coast’s glittery streets and shimmering shores may seem like a contradiction but no one ever said weekend escapes were only about relaxation. Although, thanks to QT’s award-winning spa and amazeballs rooms, relaxation is still on the cards. If non-stop eating is more your jam, then stuff your face at the QT Bazaar restaurant’s buffet… you’ll be rolling back to your suite.