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Many business owners neglect the opportunity for some ‘me’ time. Here are a few weekend getaway ideas for leaving business worries behind and relaxing in beautiful, interesting and exciting places.

New South Wales

Able Hawkesbury Houseboats

Active ImageFloatation tanks can only do so much, and sometimes you need something a bit bigger to float your cares away. Able Hawkesbury Houseboats have been around for more than 25 years and have a fleet of seven houseboats ranging in size from a four-berth to their 12- berth Island Penthouse. All boats depart from Wiseman’s Ferry, about 90 minutes out of Sydney’s CBD. Cruise along the Hawkesbury at your own pace, stop for a spot of fishing (all boats come with a dingy), or drop anchor and visit one of the many national parks or small towns along the way, sampling local eateries and produce. Don’t stress if you haven’t set sail before, staff will tell you all you need to know.

Cost: From $460 for two days, depending on berths required and time of year.

Contact: 1800 024 979 or cruising@hawkesburyhouseboats.com.au

Web: http://www.hawkesburyhouseboats.com.au

Southern Cross Seaplanes

Nothing puts things into perspective more than looking down from a height of 1,000 feet. Southern Cross Seaplanes class themselves as a “boutique luxury seaplane company”, and have a range of packages designed to put enough distance between you and terra firma to distract you from any work-related thoughts. Take a scenic flight over the harbour and Bondi beach, or further north to Manly and Palm Beach. Talk to them about a picnic on a secluded beach, or a dining and/or accommodation package for a break to remember.

Cost: From $160 for scenic flights (per person, minimum two adults). Fly/dining packages start at $370 per person. Fly/accommodation packages from $625 per person.

Contact: 1300 780 284 or info@southerncrossseaplanes.com.au

Web: http://www.southerncrossseaplanes.com.au

Rock Lily Cottages

A large proportion of the New South Wales Sapphire Coast is wilderness, national park or state forest, so it’s a good place to lose yourself and enjoy some spectacular countryside and scenery. Rock Lily Cottages has two mud-brick cottages and a timber mountain cabin on their property in Bega, on the NSW south coast. You’ll get a breakfast hamper on arrival, and plenty of time to relax, enjoy the mountain views or head to the beach. Or why not take a tour of the Bega Cheese Factory to sample some cheddar. And in case man’s best friend doesn’t like being left alone, Rock Lily Cottages are dog friendly, with a fenced-in dog yard and kennel for each cabin.

Cost: From $160 per couple/night, costs vary depending on season and length of stay.

Contact: (02) 6492 7364 or rocklily@asitis.net.au

Web: http://www.rocklily.com.au



McLeod Eco Farm

Active ImageFrench Island is the largest island in Victoria’s western port, and 70 percent of the island is national park. There are no power poles, no sealed roads and no shopping malls, and it is only accessible via ferry from Philip Island. Staying in a former jail will certainly be among the most interesting accommodation you’ll find on the island. The McLeod Eco Farm has been in operation since 1997, on a property that was a jail between 1916 and 1975. Accommodation is either in one of the 31 two-person bunk-rooms that are renovated former cells, or in the guesthouse which has double, twin and four-bed bunk rooms. There’s plenty of room for bike riding, or take a bushwalk and make friends with the local koalas. If you’re a wannabe farmer, you can even help feed the pigs or collect eggs.

Cost: $85 per night for the guesthouse, or $37 for a bunk-room. Twin-share rates, and other accommodation packages are also available.

Contact: (03) 5678 0155 or info@mcleodecofarm.com

Web: http://www.mcleodecofarm.com

River Country Adventours

Active ImageEver feel the urge to try canoeing and camping, but can’t be bothered buying or hiring all the right equipment? River Country Adventours take out all that hassle and offer organised canoeing and camping trips down Victoria’s Goulburn River departing from their base at Wyuna. There’s a range of canoeing safaris on offer, including a three-day Kanyapella Safari or a weekend getaway. They’ll feed you on the way (depending on the safari) and get the campsite ready for your arrival. There are also full and half-day safaris, which include catering, and a selection of self-guided safaris are available. They’ll even make sure you get back to your car at the end of the trip.

Cost: From $55 for the half-day safari, to $250 for the three-day safari.

Contact: (03) 5852 2736 or info@adventours.com.au

Web: http://www.adventours.com.au



Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours

Active ImageYou can simply walk through a rainforest to appreciate its beauty, but why not glide through it? The Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours in the Daintree Rainforest, located in tropical north Queensland’s Cape Tribulation, offer a unique way to see this World Heritage area. The Jungle Surfing team will take you on a tour from the forest floor to the top of the canopy via their zip line flying fox. The team are very careful to protect this environment, and money goes towards aiding re-vegetation and environmental education. Anyone from three years of age upwards is encouraged to strap in and take flight. A night walk package is also available for a completely different perspective.

Cost: $75 (an extra $49 will secure you an immediate second go) or $95 for the night walk and tour combo.

Contact: Bookings are essential, so call (07) 4098 0090 or enquire@junglesurfingcanopytours.com

Web: http://www.junglesurfingcanopytours.com


The Sunshine Coast Hinterland region is home to several vineyards and wineries, as well as some fabulous countryside. Combine all three by participating in a winery and gourmet trail. Organised through travel group GoDo, the tour offers foodies and wine lovers a walk through the picturesque and tranquil area. Visit the Glasshouse Mountains, subtropical rainforest and some gorgeous wineries such as Flaxton Grove Estate, with its rose garden and panoramic coastal views. And it’s hard to resist a visit to Maleny Mountain Wines to sample the wares, and Maleny Cheese to watch cheese, yoghurt and butter being made.

Cost: $49

Contact: Book via www.godo.com.au or call 1300 463 648

Web: http://www.godo.com.au (and search ‘Sunshine Coast Winery’)

Wych-Wood Forest Escapes

A trip into the woods might be just what you need to get away from it all. And Wych-Wood Forest Escapes’ secluded cabins-for-two mean you can get as far away from any work concerns as possible. Set in 140 acres of forest, each cabin receives a hot and cold breakfast basket each morning. Treat yourself to a Thai massage, or just soak the stresses away in your ensuite spa. If you must get out, there are plenty of walking tracks to explore the natural wildlife in the area. Beaches are wit
hin 30 minutes’ drive, and there’s plenty to explore in Coolangatta, Murwillumbah or Kingscliff.

Cost: $175 per couple, per night. Specials do apply for midweek stays. There is a minimum of two nights for weekend visits.

Contact: (02) 6672 5826

Web: http://www.bigvolcano.com.au/custom/wychwood



Diamond Island

Active ImageDiamond Island’s self-contained apartments took home the prize for deluxe accommodation at the 2005 Tasmanian Tourism Awards, and it’s not hard to see why. The resort has its own private beach (although you might have to make some room for the penguins who also live there), and each one- or two-bedroom apartment has an ocean view. Nestled on the Tasmanian east coast, and close to Freycinet and Douglas Asprey national parks, there’s plenty of opportunity to get out and about if lazing around the pool or beach gets too much.

Cost: From $150 per night, depending on season.

Contact: (03) 6375 0100 or bookings@diamondisland.com.au

Web: http://www.diamondisland.com.au

Huon River Jet Boat

Active ImageFor an adrenaline rush, hop on one of the Huon River Jet Boats in Huonville. A little over half an hour’s drive from Hobart, the boats depart from the Huonville Visitor Centre jetty and combine hi-speed travelling and 360 degree spins, slowing down occasionally to allow passengers to take in the stunning scenery of the region. The same company also offers four-wheel drive tours of the region, heading off-road to offer passengers an alternative view to the beaten track.

Cost: $60 (adult), $38 (child).

Contact: (03) 6264 1838 or info@huonjet.com

Web: http://www.huonjet.com


Western Australia

Wogarno Sheep Station

Active ImageAlthough staying on an outback sheep station may not be the first thing that comes to mind when looking for a getaway, the Wogarno Sheep Station, 540km north of Perth, combines a glimpse of traditional shearing life (the station is still a fully-functional sheep station) with relaxing accommodation. There are five comfortably furnished guest rooms in the main homestead. Guests can sample gourmet bush tucker in the dining room, and hampers are available for bushwalking around the 150,000 acre property. For a more authentic experience, the Shearer’s Quarters offers more dormitory style accommodation. And those wanting to go a rustic step further can bring their tents and camp out. Take a peek at the day-to-day activities on the station, or head out on one of the many bushwalks and take in some spectacular scenery. Unfortunately, there’s so much wide open space, it might be hard getting used to inner city living again.

Cost: $15 (caravan site), $22 (Shearer’s Quarters). Homestead bookings start at $132 per person, per night, and include meals.

Contact: (08) 9963 5846

Web: http://www.wogarno.com.au

Hidden Valley Forest Retreat

Active ImageFor something really special, head to the Hidden Valley Forest Retreat, tucked away in the Margaret River wine region in south west WA. There are five abodes available for hire, all self-contained and stylishly designed to help guests forget about invoices, product lines or anything at all connected to work. And when you’re not busy exploring the wineries and beaches in the area, they can organise massages, guided meditation, spa treatments, or even a private chef to cook for you.

Cost: From $210 per couple/night for the Stone Stable, to $485 per couple/night for the luxurious Deepwater Retreat.

Contact: (08) 9755 1066 or stay@yourhiddenvalley.com

Web: http://www.yourhiddenvalley.com


South Australia

Adelaide Hills Country Cottage

Active ImageIf retreating into the quiet of the Adelaide Hills seems like a perfect break from the hustle and bustle of running a business, consider Adelaide Hills Country Cottages. There are five self-contained residences, each with a private garden and warmed by an open fire. On arrival you’ll find enough provisions to prepare a cooked breakfast. The ‘indulgence package’ will ensure some other goodies, such as chocolates and sparkling wine, so you can pamper yourself just that little bit more. The cottages are an hour’s drive from the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale wine districts and Victor Harbour and surrounding beaches. There are several other wineries and restaurants in the Adelaide Hills region, so you won’t go hungry or thirsty for long.

Cost: From $280 per couple/night, cheaper on weeknights or for longer stays. The Indulgence Package is an additional $40.

Contact: (08) 8388 4193 or relax@ahcc.com.au

Web: http://www.ahcc.com.au

Adelaide Biplanes

Some people’s idea of a joy flight might be gentle cruising over Adelaide’s south coast as the sun sets, while others may prefer something a little more hair-raising to get the adrenaline pumping. Adelaide Biplanes offers both. The scenic joy flight takes in the coastal area, including the hills, cliffs, and vineyards, all seen from the open cockpit 1,000 feet up. The aerobatic flight promises to show you the view of the area from every perspective imaginable via twists and turns, and at a faster speed! Rest assured, the company promises to take you “as extreme or gentle as you wish”.

Cost: $175 for a 30-minute flight.

Contact: (08) 8556 5404 or flythedream@adelaidebiplanes.com.au

Web: http://www.adelaidebiplanes.com.au


Northern Territory

Sacred Earth Safaris

Active ImageSacred Earth Safaris specialise in luxury small group four-wheel drive jaunts through the territory, including Kakadu National Park and the Kimberley region—some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country. See ancient aboriginal art, take a dip in pristine watering holes or enjoy a sunset cruise. Your tour leader will keep you fed, and provide fishing rods if you want to cast off and catch your own meal. Tours range from two to 13 days, or the company can tailor a private charter to suit your interests. All camping equipment is provided, you literally just go along for the ride.

Cost: From $565 for a two-day safari (with meals and accommodation).

Contact: (08) 8981 8420 or res@sacredearthsafaris.com.au

Web: http://www.sacredearthsafaris.com.au

Sounds of Silence Dinner

Active ImageFor something a little out of the ordinary you might want to try the Sounds of Silence Dinner. You’ll be dr
iven to a location in the desert where you’ll enjoy a gourmet dinner under the stars, with Australia’s iconic Uluru in front of you and the Olgas just behind, as didgeridoos play in the background. A storyteller will take you on a tour of the stars as darkness falls. Sounds of Silence is an award-winning eating experience, and you can expect some true Northern Territory delights on the menu, including kangaroo, emu and crocodile.

Cost: $145 (adults), $73 (child).

Contact: 1300 134 044 or travel@voyages.com.au

Web: http://soundsofsilence.voyages.com.au/experience   

*Disclaimer: All prices and packages are correct at time of print.

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