Without a doubt the biggest silver lining to restricted overseas travel this year has been that we’re finally forced to explore our own backyard. This year, we’ve had no other choice than to store away our passports and holiday within our own state or territory, or another within Australia.
In saying that, however, for those of you still craving that overseas getaway – specifically to Europe – you’ll be pleased to know there is still a way to get your fix. You see, our own lovely country is filled with spots that don’t just resemble parts of the continent, they appear to be downright replicas of them.
Ahead, we share four of our favourites. From a tulip farm in Tasmania with scenes seeming straight out of Holland to a town in Adelaide with authentic German bratwurst, these are the places we guarantee will give you serious Europe feels – without requiring flights.
What it’s like: Tuscany, Italy.
Where is it, really: In Sydney suburb area The Hills, roughly an hour from the CBD.
Dreaming of Tuscany? Guestlands will have you sorted.
Set around an Italian-style piazza, complete with cobblestones, stucco tiles and a rooftop terrace, and surrounded by gorgeous gardens and a lake, this bed and breakfast located in Arcadia, NSW was modelled after Lake Como in Italy. It took 3.5 years to build and opened late this year.
Book into one of its four villas – all equally-priced but with their own unique perks, including double balconies, a beautiful, standalone bathtub, a private courtyard and a spacious lounge room.
Stays include a self-made breakfast, a daily happy hour and access to a Tuscan-style pool and jacuzzi spa. Bookings are a two-night minimum and range from $450 to $500 per night.
What it’s like: A German village.
Where is it, really: In South Australia, 30 minutes from Adelaide.
Still bummed you had to cancel your Oktoberfest or visit to Berlin? Head to Hahndorf, a tiny town outside Adelaide, easily reachable by car or public bus.
Founded in the 19th century by Germans, Hahndorf today consists of a main drag lined with dozens of traditional German pubs, restaurants and cafés, and specialty shops.
Take a walking tour of it or wander through on your own. Highlight spots include Udder Delights, a shop dedicated to all things cheese; Beerenberg, a farm where you can pick strawberries and roam the paddock; and German Arms, an iconic pub where you can try schnitzel, wurst or kransky.
Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm
What it’s like: Provence, France.
Where is it, really: North of Daylesford, Victoria.
Tucked just 10 minutes north of Daylesford in the farmlands of Shepherd Flat, Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm comprises 40 hectares of European-styled gardens, historic stone buildings and, the reason why we’ve dubbed it a mini Provence, rows and rows of lavender.
For a small fee of $5 or $1 per school-aged child, spend an afternoon here strolling the property, stopping to marvel at the building’s mottled brickwork – impressively, the same rock and mortar from its initial build over 150 years ago – and for lunch at La Trattoria. The bar and eatery serves up a takeaway-style menu that you can tuck into at its outdoor tables or as a picnic on the gardens’ grassy areas.
Table Cape Tulip Farm
What it’s like: Holland.
Where is it, really: Wynyard, Tasmania – reachable via Launceston, Devonport and Stanley.
Tulip farms are synonymous with Holland, but did you know Australia’s home to one too? Table Cape Tulip Farm in Tasmania was founded in 1984 when the Roberts-Thomas family first imported bulbs from Holland and planted them in the fertile volcanic soil of Table Cape.
Today, the farm is now home to more than 80 varieties of tulips and is open for viewing the one month of the year the tulips bloom – September 26 to late October. During this time, for $12 admission charge, you’ll get the chance to wander the flower fields, learn about the bulbs or try your hand at floral arranging.