In Travel

Beach Breaks And Rainforest Retreats: Indulgent Escapes For Your Next Long Weekend

From the Villas of Byron for a beachside break, to a gourmet getaway on the scenic Sunshine Coast Hinterland, there are plenty of amazing escapes that are only a short drive from Brisbane.

Vibrant nightlife, a thriving arts scene, and an ever growing-list of ultra-luxe hotels and apartments, Brisbane has truly come into its own over the last few years. But, as wonderful as the city is, even die-hard fans need to get away – if only for a night or two.

From a lazy beach break to a romantic rainforest hideaway, here are five indulgent escapes only a short drive from Brisbane.

The Gourmet Getaway

Only 90 minutes north of Brisbane, at the heart of the scenic Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Spicers Tamarind Retreat in Maleny is the gourmet paradise you’ve been searching for. Home to award-winning The Tamarind restaurant, it also boasts a fabulous onsite cooking school where you can learn the finer points of modern Asian cuisine from expert chefs.

The boutique retreat offers just 22 guest rooms across 14 villas, including a one bedroom studio with picturesque valley views and a relaxing outdoor cedar hot tub. Guests can wake to the sounds of the rainforest; relax with a book in an egg chair beneath the giant fig tree; sample some of the 400 foodie experiences in the region, and indulge at Spa Anise.

The Tree Change

One of the Gold Coast Hinterland’s most loved properties, O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat has been delighting visitors with its unique mix of nature, adventure, relaxation and romance since the 1920s. Over the last 90 years, it has picked up a host of well-earned awards.

The retreat offers numerous accommodation options, each of which takes full advantage of the retreats location within the Lamington National Park, plus a wide range of adventurous activities including hiking trails, a treetop walk, Segway safaris, birdwatching and more.

At The Lost World, the retreat’s fabulous onsite day spa, you’ll find seven state-of-the-art treatment rooms, including two couple’s suites, plus a full menu of pampering treatments to help you relax and de-stress. Their signature ‘Vinotherapy’ treatment, a detoxifying bath featuring O’Reilly’s wine, is an indulgent yet oh-so-soothing way to finish the day.

O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat is just under two hours drive from the Brisbane CBD.

The Romantic Retreat

Love is in the air at this Tweed Valley hideaway. Set on 100 hectares in northern NSW, Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat is an exclusive adults-only property where romance is all but assured. The Mountain View and Rainforest View lodges, each positioned for maximum privacy, are equipped with a roaring fireplace and deep spa bath overlooking the forest.

If you’re planning something special, such as an anniversary or proposal, Crystal Creek has you covered with the 100 Candles Surprise package. While you and your partner are out exploring the rainforest at dusk, staff will fill your bungalow with a hundred twinkling tea candles, a dozen long-stemmed red roses, and a bottle of chilled Moet champagne.

The retreat has everything you need to escape the world for a few days, but if you want to go exploring, you’ll find several villages, waterfalls and lookouts within a short drive. Natural Bridge in Springbrook National Park is around 40 minutes away, while Tweed Regional Art Gallery in Murwillumbah – home to the Margaret Olley Art Centre – is just 30 minutes.

The Beachside Escape

A former surfing motel turned luxury hotel. Located in the sleepy seaside village of Cabarita, only 15 minutes south of the Gold Coast airport, Halcyon House is one of the most intriguing boutique hotels to open on the New South Wales far north coast in the last decade.

The star of the hotel is its rich fabric-upholstered walls, handpicked antique treasures, and original art collection from around the world, all combined to create a distinctly Australian feel. There are just 21 guest rooms, each with its own individual aesthetic lovingly crafted and curated by Anna Spiro, the hotel’s interior designer, and the owners of the hotel.

Halcyon House is also home to the hatted Paper Daisy restaurant, which showcases the incredible produce available across the far north coast. Headed by chef Ben Devlin, Paper Daisy was awarded 2016 Best Regional Restaurant by Australian Gourmet Traveller. Set directly overlooking one of the country’s top surf breaks, it is a truly underrated gem.

The Hidden Oasis

Further south, in the hippie haven of Byron Bay, The Villas of Byron is an exclusive slice of paradise only two hours drive south of Brisbane. Like an interior design catalogue brought to life, each of the one and two bedroom villas is an impeccably styled work of art.

The villas are all fully self-contained, equipped with modern kitchens, open plan living and dining areas, king-size bedrooms, outdoor rain showers, and palm-filled courtyards with their own mineralised plunge pool and spa. The Villas of Byron offers a range of romantic packages, from midweek escapes to a cheeky weekend away and honeymoon bliss.

Directly next door you’ll find Byron Bay Brewery and the fabulous Buddha Gardens Day Spa, while the Byron Bay town centre is only 10 minutes stroll, or short drive, down the road.

Published 21 November, 2017