Fuss-free, no-fly weekend breaks

The best spots for a climate-friendly getaway

With everyone’s northern hemisphere summer holiday snaps having flooded feeds through our winter, that old familiar itch to grab a bag and go might feel stronger than ever. Luckily, adventure lies just beyond your doorstep – free from long-haul travel complications (visas to flight delays) and the added guilt of ‘am I contributing to the climate crisis?’.

From Capital Territory to Queensland, the Barossa Valley to the Bay of Fires, we’ve curated a list of road-trip-worthy, no fly destinations in each territory – perfectly suited for a few days away. Below you’ll find the best weekend breaks – and the best ways to get there – whether it’s by car from Cairns, across the bight on a ferry, or along tracks snaking through the Blue Mountains.

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Weekend breaks in New South Wales

Take Grand Pacific Drive to glamp in Shoalhaven

Distance from Sydney: 2h by car

Beat the crowds at Bondi and Sydney’s northern beaches and head south to Shoalhaven‘s coastal plains instead. With a whopping 100 beaches to explore and a celebrated art precinct (Bundanon is a must-see), Shoalhaven is the perfect weekender combining nature and culture. Where to stay? Look to the white sands of Jervis Bay and its Paperbark Camp. This glamping spot gets our nod as much for its eco cred as its eatery, The Gunyah, named after the indigenous word for ‘meeting place’.   

Explore the Blue Mountains by bus
(but get there by train)

Distance from Sydney: 2h by train 

You won’t need wheels of your own to embark on this getaway: take a train from Sydney Central to the mountain town of Katoomba. Once there, the Blue Mountain hop-on, hop-off explorer bus sees travellers through all the major sites – from the Lost Bear Gallery and Narrow Neck Lookout to Gordan Falls and the neighbouring town of Leura. For further ease, we’d suggest choosing a B&B along the route 

Did you know?
Staying in a hotel releases up to 10 times more CO2 than staying in a caravan. Click here to read more.

Weekend breaks in Victoria

Take a caravan to Gippsland

Distance from Melbourne: 3h by road 

The gateway to Gippsland Lakes is just three hours from Melbourne – its waterways, camping sites and nature trails along with it. Let your exploratory spirit take the wheel in an RV (the area’s geared for them) while you take in this stretch of coastline. Marvel at Buchan Caves, visit the Den of Nargun, or simply stick your toes in the sand on your outdoor getaway.

Trace the Great Ocean Road to
Port Campbell

Distance from Melbourne: 4.5h by car 

An abundance of travelgram-worthy lookouts and detours dot the Great Ocean Road, and while the entire route can take several days to complete, a long weekend in the charming coastal hamlet of Port Campbell will see you meander past some of the B100’s most enticing stops. Detour to the Cape Otway lighthouse and take a rest stop at Castle Cove lookout – or head straight for the staggering scenes on offer from the 12 Apostles viewpoint.   

Studies showed that choosing to travel by public transport instead of your own vehicle reduces CO2 emissions by 45%. Click here for more.

Weekend breaks in Queensland

Venture back in time with Lamington National Park

Distance from Brisbane: 1.5h by car 

Lush subtropical climes lie less than two hours from Brisbane, making Lamington National Park a leading outdoor getaway from the grind – plus you’ll be able to knock a UNESCO World Heritage Site off your list with the park forming part of the prehistoric Gondwana Rainforest. You’ll want to explore on foot with Lamington’s trails ranging from fully paved and family-friendly to category five. Nightfall’s glamping safari tents get our vote for places to rest your head. 

Cairns to Kuranda via the Kuranda Scenic Railway 

Distance from Cairns: 2h by train 

Conquer the Great Dividing Range in a century-old carriage with this scenic railway journey. Wind your way through the Wet Tropics to the rainforest village of Kuranda – eyeing waterfalls and the awe-inspiring Barron Gorge en routebefore disembarking to wander the town’s heritage markets, and butterfly and koala sanctuaries. You can overnight in Kuranda, with campgrounds and self-contained cabins nearby, or choose to return to Cairns after a full day out.  

To travel sustainably, choose accommodation providers with an accredited social and/or environmental sustainability policy on their website.

Weekend breaks in Western Australia

Move to a different rhythm in Margaret River

Distance from Perth: 3h by car 

Time flows differently in Margaret River, following the six seasons laid out by its traditional custodians, the Wadandi Boodja.

Living in harmony with nature is front of mind out here, which is why the area’s slow living cred offers relaxation in spades, whether you’re catching a wave, sipping Chardonnay from the region’s founding winery, tucking into local produce, or ambling through the multitude of art galleries in town. 

Head to Albany for whale watching 

Distance from Perth: 4h by car 

Each year between May and October, southern right and humpback whales forego the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean for the natural protection and abundant food sources found in King George’s sound – the perfect nursery for their young calves. The small port city of Albany is a natural gateway to the sound and its sights, whether you’re taking them in on foot on the Whale Walk or by boat.  

In 2021, Margaret River was listed as one of the Sustainable Top 100 Destinations in the world. 

Weekend breaks in South Australia

Ferry to Kingscote to camp (or caravan) on Kangaroo Island

Distance from Adelaide: 45m by ferry  

With its soft sandy bays and burgeoning wine, fine dining and creative arts industries, we’d suggest giving Kangaroo Island more than just a two-day weekend break. While remaining relatively under the radar of international tourists, Australians know what’s up, with many heading there to dive among shipwrecks, sample locally caught baby abalone and southern rock lobster, or take in the area’s natural wonders. 

Knock the Barossa Valley off your bucket list  

Distance from Adelaide: 1h by car 

We’d be remiss to leave the Barossa Valley off this list, with Australia’s most iconic wine valley having made it onto the global map as one of the best wineproducing regions on earth. And what naturally pairs with good wine? Barossa is home to eateries aplenty, along with distilleries, breweries, and the biennial Barossa Vintage Festival – making the area a true epicurean delight.

You can calculate your vacation footprint online using this free calculator. Click here to read more.

Weekend breaks in Tasmania

Quench your thirst for adventure in the Bay of Fires

Distance from Hobart: 4h by car 

If the name alone doesn’t imprint itself in the mind of any intrepid explorer, the Bay of Fires’ scenery certainly will. Owing its moniker to the ochre-coloured boulders (a side effect of sunburst lichen) that stretch along the bay, a road trip here is all about taking in the dramatic landscape (on foot, if you’d like, with walking trails found in abundance). 

Visit one of Australia's most picturesque lookout points on Bruny Island

Distance from Hobart: 1h by car (and ferry) 

Offering the kind of views that screensavers are made for, Bruny Island is sure to entice even the most comfortable armchair traveller. Walking trails abound (be sure to make the obligatory stop at The Neck lookout point), as do oceanic pursuits (we’d recommend the three-hour eco cruise to really see – or is it sea? – the sights). A local culinary icon, Get Shucked, plates up fresh fare from the Tasman Sea, and is the perfect pitstop located on the island’s main road.

No-fly holidays have never been more popular, especially following the creation of THAT celeb jet Twitter account. Click here to see more.

Weekend breaks in Capital Territory

An outdoor getaway for all seasons in Kosciuszko National Park

Distance from Canberra: 2.5h by car 

There’s no need to head to Mount Hutt for decent powder when Kosciuszko’s slopes – the highest in the country – are on your doorstep. Less than three hours by car from Australia’s capital, this national park and certified eco-destination takes to different seasons with ease, offering horse-riding, fishing and hiking in the warmer months, and all manner of snow sports in winter.  

You'll be saving 0.59 metric tons of CO2 emissions by snowboarding in Kosciuszko instead of Mount Hutt next winter season.  Click here to see more.

Weekend breaks in Northern Territory

Head to Katherine for bush land and a Top Didj cultural experience

Distance from Darwin: 3.5h by car 

Katherine has long lured adventurers as an Outback gateway town, but we’ve found another reason to visit. With more than 160k followers on TikTok, Top Didj & Art Gallery harnessed the power of social media during the pandemic to offer insight into aboriginal culture through one of its artists, Manuel Pamkal (skin name: Godjok). Manuel regaled viewers with stories of growing up in the bush, and now a trip to Katherine is incomplete without stopping at Top Didj, and hopefully catching a glimpse of Godjok himself.