As Australia starts to open back up, we’ve partnered with RedBalloon to uncover the best of what our country has to offer. From experiences and weekends away, to gift ideas (to treat yourself, and others), we’re encouraging you to make every moment count, think outside the box and get out there to support local businesses and communities.
No one deserves a weekend escape more than you. Yes, you. With everything 2020 has thrown your way, we bet you’d just love a cosy winter escape to a luxurious and private retreat, tiny home or remote cabin, where you can kick back by the fire and switch off, if only for the weekend.
With travel restrictions easing in most states, we think now is the perfect time to hit the road and reconnect with nature, whether by greeting the wildlife in the area, or by sampling local produce from nearby pastures.
Below, we’ve rounded up the best and most unique winter escapes on experience platform RedBalloon, many of which come with full weekend itineraries that include wine, food hampers and activities. Good luck choosing just one.
Tiny homes present the unique opportunity to reconnect with nature and disconnect from reality in a way hotels simply cannot. More often than not, tiny homes operate off-the-grid and leave behind no carbon footprint, which makes them favourable for an environmental escape you’ll remember forever.
It’s like camping, only with no mosquitos, a comfortable mattress, and all the luxe amenities of a five-star hotel. Glamping is the new way to camp as it makes no compromises on luxury however presents the same opportunities to kick back under the stars and spend quality time within nature.
Paperbark Camp is a favourite among influencers and travel obsessives for its Instagram-worthy interiors and setting in the picturesque bushlands near Jervis Bay, NSW. Cooked breakfast and three-course dinner packages on RedBalloon are just the beginning; a stay here comes with kayaks and the option for in-room massages, if that’s your thing.
Sitting pretty alongside the Brunswick river, some five kilometres out of Mullumbimby in the Byron Shire, lies this picture-perfect silver Airstream caravan, waiting to host your next adventure.
What it lacks in size (though it’s impossibly roomy in there), the caravan makes up for in luxury. There’s a plush queen bed, well-equipped kitchen, an ensuite with Aesop amenities, a gas BBQ, and an outdoor setting with a view over the river.
The jaw-dropping views out over the Grampians National Park is reason enough to visit the Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkfield Victoria, but it’s the degustation dining that has us planning a visit.
On RedBalloon, an overnight escape package offers a night in the luxe mountain view room, plus a degustation dinner in the two-hatted Wickens Restaurant, with a menu that samples fresh produce from the kitchen garden and neighbouring pastures. Even better, the escape includes a wine cellar tour and tasting.
Nothing says private luxury quite like a bubble bath in the rainforest, and that’s exactly what a visit to Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat brings. The resort’s Rainforest Canopy Bungalows are positioned among the treetops on a 102-hectare property that is in the Tweed Valley of New South Wales, just a short trip from Byron Bay and the Gold Coast.
It’s the ultimate escape for hopeless romantics and anyone looking to ignite the spark. The RedBalloon two-night package is perfect for such guests, and comes with rose petals, candles, and a bottle of wine on arrival. Breakfast is delivered to your room daily, ready to fuel you for a day of exploring the more than eight kilometres of walking tracks nearby.
What was once a dairy bail is now an idyllic and stylishly renovated property positioned within a 125-acre property in the Byron Bay Hinterlands. This country home boasts enough room for four, and is fully equipped to host your next stay with a full chef’s kitchen, tennis court, swimming pool and private outdoor firepit.
This is truly the ultimate couples’ escape. With plenty of room to move and endless exploring to do, you’ll feel completely at peace the moment you toast to a bold glass of red as the sun sets over the Nightcap Ranges.
The outback meets the reef at Sal Salis on WA’s picturesque Ningaloo Reef. You’ll stay in a eco-friendly Wildnerness Tent, though the digs are perhaps more reminiscent of a five-star hotel. While one may picture themselves here in the summer months, winter is, in fact, a fantastic time for a visit. The water stays warm here and in some months you may even spot whales among the abundant marine life.
It’s described as “heaven on earth” and the RedBalloon inclusive package only further enhances this. A two-night stay comes with all meals, drink (alcoholic, too), guided wilderness experiences, and equipment for snorkelling and kayaking.
How about a real-life castle for your next weekend adventure? It may appear as if positioned in a quaint town a few hours from London, but the Thorngrove Manor is actually situated in the South Australian town of Stirling in the Adelaide Hills. While the Medieval-inspired boutique property is able to be booked by the room, suite, chamber, whatever you want to call it, we think a stay is only done right here when you needn’t lift a finger.
With the RedBalloon luxury package, you’ll be treated to a Castle Chambers Suite and a romantic three-course dinner cooked by a private chef to be enjoyed in your room. The evening is capped off with aged Port and handmade chocolates, and in the morning, you’ll wake to continental breakfast in bed.
For Sydneysiders looking to get away, while staying close to home, there’s nothing quite like an escape to a luxurious five-star hotel. The time you save on commuting is made up indulging on spa treatments, fine dining, sipping lavish cocktails and sinking into your king-sized bed for a day nap, which is all anyone could ever ask of you during a stay at The Langham.
A romantic overnighter for two includes a deluxe city view room, bottle of sparkling Australian wine, and access to the health club, which includes this glamourous indoor pool. It’s what you deserve.
Blackbird in the Byron Hinterland is the eco-escape you need to recharge those worn out batteries and feel the space around you once more. In a raised position overlooking Mount Chincogan, Cape Byron and the Pacific Ocean, the vantage is best enjoyed with a cocktail in hand overlooking the magnesium mineral pool.
Upon arrival, you’ll enjoy a produce platter of cheeses and champagne before being shown to your eco-friendly Pavillion, where you’ll spend the next two nights catching up on your sleep, relaxing poolside, or making the most of the infrared sauna.