Global uncertainty, budget pressures or just a desire to see more of our own amazing country are inducing many of us to holiday at home this year. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take a break from the everyday – even in your own backyard. Here are some capital city staycation ideas that are guaranteed to leave you recharged and ready to face the year ahead. Book your staycation accommodation at ChoiceHotels.com.
Seaside delights in Sydney
Sydney is world-famous for its majestic harbour, and while international visitors flock to the city in droves to enjoy the water, it’s something we locals sometimes take for granted. Why not theme a whole staycay around the city’s incredible waterways and its golden beaches? Include a dawn tour of the bustling Sydney Fish Market, where you’ll learn the secrets of sashimi and how to shuck with the best. Drop by the Museum of Contemporary Art at Circular Quay to take in the million dollar views of the Opera House and harbour from their rooftop cafe. The six-kilometre Bondi to Coogee Walk will reconnect you with two of the city’s most iconic beaches, then Uber over to Watson’s Bay afterwards for fancy fish and chips at Doyles. Traverse the harbour on board one of the mighty Manly ferries, before wiggling your toes in the sand or donning a snorkel at pretty Shelly Beach. Top off your stay with a dinner of posh ocean-sourced nosh at Cirrus in Barangaroo.
Culture and coffee in Melbourne
Paris, Rome and Venice may be famous for their culture and cafes, but Melbourne sets the standard on this side of the world – and it’s easy to plan a whole staycation around caffeine and canvas. Include a lazy start to the day at a sidewalk café in bustling Degraves Street. You’ll feel like you have actually landed in some far-flung European city. Make your way over to the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) and hop on a free guided tour of this epic arts facility. Melbourne’s best kept café secrets are known only to the locals, so bring in the experts on a guided café walking tour with Hidden Secrets Tours. You’ll visit four cutting edge coffee houses (including fabulous Captains of Industry for an included lunch) and pass by plenty of street-art emblazoned laneways.
Tropical vibes in Brisbane
If your idea of the perfect holiday consists of white sand, crystal clear water and chilled glasses primed with paper umbrellas, you can recreate much of that magic in Brisbane. Streets Beach in Southbank is Australia’s only inner city man-made beach precinct and it’s a true piece of paradise – especially during the week when the crowds thin out. Relax beneath swaying palms or take a stroll through the verdant parkland that surrounds the beach. A day cruise out to Tangalooma on Moreton Island is another fitting tropical getaway stand-in. Spend your day lazing by the beachfront and opt for the add-on to hand-feed wild bottlenose dolphins that cruise in to the shore at sunset. For those all-important holiday cocktails, try the lush retreat that is the rooftop Elixir Bar on Ann Street, or head to the shiny new Howard Smith Wharves and pull up a pew at Mr Percival’s for stunning river views and a backdrop of glittering city lights.
Tantalising tastes in Adelaide
Why even think of leaving the country when some of the best cuisine in the world awaits you in our very own Adelaide? The South Australian capital has always been renowned as a foodie destination, and these days you can plan a gourmet staycay that will take your tastebuds anywhere they have a whim to wander. Culinary must-trys include Africola in the East End – a pan-African eatery where you can enjoy biltong and boerewors snacks, followed by grilled and smoked meats and an array of vegetable-based specialties. Over in super-cool Leigh Street, Shobosho also uses smoke and fire to conjure up traditional Japanese yakitori with a modern twist. Handmade pastas and seasonal local produce are the key ingredients at Italian-style eatery Osteria Oggi, and there’s plenty of delicious French-style fun to be had at Delicatessen Kitchen & Bar on Waymouth Street. For a casual Vietnamese pho, tiny Sit Lo is big on flavour.
Unique treats in Perth
Watching a golden ocean sunset is not something we do a lot of in Australia. That’s unless you happen to live by the beach in the west, in which case, they’re a daily treat. In Perth they’re best accompanied by fresh fish and chips at famous Cottesloe Beach. There are lots of other amazing experiences that are all but unique in Oz to the Western Australian capital, and a staycation is a great time to tick them off. Stop and smell the flowers in stunning Kings Park – one of the biggest inner city parks in the world (a Segway tour is a fun way to explore). Drive the fine wine trail through the Swan Valley; it’s one of the wine regions closest to a capital city anywhere on the planet. What could be more romantic than a sunset cruise on the Swan River in an authentic Venetian gondola? And from celebs to sporting heroes, no one can resist the quokka-selfie phenomenon on beautiful Rottnest Island.
About the writer
Adam Ford is editor of The Big Bus tour and travel guide and a travel TV presenter, writer, blogger and photographer. He has previously had the opportunity to travel the world as host of the TV series Tour the World on Network Ten.