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Australian Valentines getaways within driving distance

Amanda Grace Wall
Amanda Grace Wall

You could get your Valentine flowers and chocolate again this year, but we bet what they really want is to spend some quality time with you. Block out your weekend, choose one of these romantic road trips and enjoy some time away from it all with your special someone.

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Getaways from Sydney

Jervis Bay - 3 hours from Sydney

If clear blue waters and white sand are your idea of romance, head south from Sydney to the breathtaking Jervis Bay. Whether you’re up for an active weekend of bushwalking and snorkelling, or some solid hours of beachside relaxation, you’ll find just what the love doctor ordered at this gem of the South Coast.

Stay: CeeSpray on Owen for some 4.5 star luxury, Paperbark Camp for the ultimate glamping experience, or pitch your tent at Bristol Point Camping Ground to stay metres from the beach

Eat: 5 Little Pigs for breakfast, Wildginger for an affordable Thai banquet, or The Gunyah Restaurant for a really fancy tree-top dining experience

Blue Mountains - 2 hours from Sydney

It might be a cliche, but it doesn’t get much more romantic than a weekend in the Blue Mountains. Choose from one of the many bushwalks and lookouts (Lincolns Rock and Copelands Lookout provide stunning backdrops for a cute couple photo), or stay indoors with a movie at the family-owned Mount Vic Flicks.

Stay: Love Cabins for a private bush escape, camp at the free Old Ford Reserve campground in the Megalong Valley, or Eagle View Escape for a boutique spa experience.

Eat: Darleys for fine dining in a country manor, Echoes Hotel Restaurant for panoramic views across the Jamison Valley, or the Megalong Valley Tea Rooms for Devonshire Tea

Hunter Valley, 3.5 hours from Sydney

Two words: wine tasting. A weekend in the Hunter Valley will provide plenty of time for you to visit a winery or five. Audrey Wilkinson is a must-visit for the picturesque setting and Harkham Wines is your go-to for a drop of natural wine. If you’ve had your fill of vino, there are plenty of other ways to fill a lazy afternoon. Hire a bike from Sutton Estate Electric Bike Hire and roll along the Hermitage Road cycleway, or unwind at Heavenly Hunter Massage.

Stay: Cedars Mount View for a private villa with mountain views, Somewhere Unique for an eco-friendly retreat, or pitch your tent at Bangalow Campground in Watagans National Park.

Eat: Fawk Foods Kitchen and Bakery for all day breakfast, Margan Restaurant for some estate-grown produce, or Muse Restaurant for a really fancy, two-hatted dinner.

Getaways from Melbourne

Daylesford - 1.5 hours from Melbourne

A weekend of relaxation and good food awaits you at Victoria’s spa capital. An obvious place to start is the Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa for a dip in the mineral baths and a spa treatment. A wander down the cute main street of Daylesford is a must; scoop up a vintage bargain at the Mill Markets and finish up with a walk around Lake Daylesford.

Stay: The Lakehouse for the ultimate luxury stay, Briars Cottage for your own cute mountain home, or Cosy Tents for a glamping weekend

Eat: Larder Cafe for a true Melbourne-style breakfast, Sault for amazing local produce at a stunning French-style country house, or the Daylesford Hotel for some pub grub in a restored traditional country pub.

Red Hill - 1.5 hours from Melbourne

Can’t choose between beach, wineries or bushwalks? Red Hill will tick all your boxes. Make the short drive out to Dramana or Rosebud for a walk and some fish and chips by the beach, go winery hopping (Lancemore Lindenderry and Polperro are two of the best), or do the easy Arthurs Seat Circuit Walk for views across the bay and the Melbourne city skyline.

Stay: Lancemore Lindenderry Red Hill for ultimate luxury (and proximity to the cellar door), Hideaways for an affordable stay in a Victorian-style house, or book a site at the Peninsula Holiday Park.

Dandenong Ranges - 1 hour from Melbourne

It doesn’t get much cuter than a weekend stay in the Dandenongs. Browse through antique shops (like Mangana in Olinda), walk through the secluded and beautiful Alfred Nicholas Gardens and make and make an obligatory stop for tea and scones at Miss Marple’s Tea Rooms in Sassafras or Sassafras Cafe.

Stay: The Dandenong Ranges are made for bed and breakfasting so, hit up Airbnb to find a cute little cottage, or if you’re after something with an on-site spa book at Linden Gardens Rainforest Retreat.

Eat: Burnham Beeches Piggery Cafe for a seasonal menu, Elevation @ Emerald for woodfired pizza with floor to ceiling views of the mountains, or the Cuckoo for traditional European fare surrounded by hundreds of cuckoo clocks.

Getaways from Canberra

Snowy Mountains - 2 hours from Canberra

There might not be any snow left in February, but the Snowy Mountains are still an ideal destination for a romantic weekend away. If you’re up for an adventurous weekend, head to Lake Jindabyne for some watersports or Kosciuszko National Park for plenty of bushwalking trails. If relaxation is more your idea of romance, head to the Mountain Spa for a couples massage or Wildbrumby Distillery for an afternoon sampling some boutique Australian schnapps.

Stay: ecocrackenback for a planet-friendly cabin among the gum trees, Lake Crackenback Resort and Spa to stay right on the lake’s edge, or set up camp under the snow gums at Thredbo Diggings campground.

Eat: CBD in Jindabyne for good coffee and breakfast bagels, Cuisine at Lake Crackenback for fine dining with water views, or Rose’s in Cooma for authentic Lebanese food.

Bowral - 2 hours from Canberra

Waterfalls, wineries and historic mansions – it doesn’t get much more romantic than the Southern Highlands town of Bowral. Pack a picnic and head up Mount Gibraltar to Bowral Lookout, or for a trail of a different kind embark on the Southern Highlands Wine Trail. Browse through antiques at Dirty Janes then relax in the beautiful Corbett Gardens after a morning of bargain hunting.

Stay: Milton Park Country House Hotel and Spa for a taste of the country high life, Berida Hotel for a private suite in an ivy-covered mansion, or camp at Gambells Rest campground.

Eat: Onesta Cucina for an intimate Italian meal, The Press Shop for brunch and doughnuts, or go all out with a degustation menu at Biota Dining

Batemans Bay - 2 hours from Canberra

If you prefer the beach to the mountains, head to the clear waters of the New South Wales South Coast. You could easily spend a whole weekend enjoying the beach at Batemans Bay, but if you’re feeling more active hire a bike and roll along the Batemans Bay Cycleway or head out on the water and explore the area by kayak with a Region X tour. The Mogo Zoo is well worth a visit to see a large number of endangered and exotic animals.

Stay: Corrigans Cove Resort for a pool with bay views or set up camp at Durras Lake North Holiday Park for the chance to see some kangaroo visitors.

Eat: The Sandbar for a Japanese-inspired degustation menu with panoramic views, The River Mouya for fresh local seafood, or Sam’s Pizzeria for some of the best pizza on the South Coast.

Getaways from Brisbane or the Gold Coast

Stanthorpe - 3 hours from Brisbane or the Gold Coast

They say that the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach, and a weekend in the Granite Belt is sure to make any foodie fall in love with you. Follow the Strange Bird trail for an afternoon of wine tasting and head to Stanthorpe Cheese to stock up on award-winning gourmet cheese.

Stay: Allure Stanthorpe for glamping or a private villa complete with hot tub, Honeysuckle Cottages for a cute country B&B experience, or make the most of the stunning granite and bush surrounds and set up camp at the idyllic Foxbar Falls.

Eat: The Vineyard Cafe for great food and wine in a lovely old church, Barrellroom Dining for award-winning modern Italian-Australian fare served amidst huge old wine barrels, or Jersey Girls Cafe for a cheesy Ploughman’s lunch.

Toowoomba - 1.5 hours from Brisbane, 2 hours from the Gold Coast

Toowoomba’s growth has exploded in recent years (it’s now Queensland’s largest inland city), and so has its event calendar and food scene. Catch a show at the heritage-listed Empire Theatre, enjoy a glass of red with stunning views over the Lockyer Valley at Preston Peak Wines, and detox and destress with salt therapy at the Toowoomba Salt Cave.

Stay: Vacy Hall for a rural escape in an 1899 country house, Homewood Cottages for a cosy stay near the beautiful Davidson’s Arboretum, or camp at Murphy’s Creek Escape to really get away from it all.

Eat: Ground Up Espresso for a laneway brunch, Gip’s Restaurant for a decadent feast in the 1860s Clifford House mansion, or The Bavarian for schnitzels and beer with mountain views.

Hervey Bay - 3.5 hours from Brisbane, 4 hours from the Gold Coast

It’s a bit of a drive north to Hervey Bay, but it’s definitely worth it for a truly peaceful and relaxing weekend. Enjoy an afternoon in the calm bay waters, head out on a sunset champagne cruise to really up the romance, or stay on land with an afternoon picnic in the Hervey Bay Botanical Gardens.

Stay: Grand Mecure Allegra for a very sleek stay complete with lagoon pool, or set up camp just blocks from the beach at Hervey Bay Caravan Park

Eat: Coast for delicious local seafood, Enzo’s on the Beach to feast on share plates while watching the sunset over the water, or Eat at Dan and Steph’s for a waterfront brunch.

Getaways from Perth

Margaret River - 3 hours from Perth

It might be the most obvious choice, but there’s a reason Margaret River is the most popular weekend getaway from Perth. Or rather two reasons: food and wine. Take your pick of the region’s 95 cellar doors (Vasse Felix and Arimia Estate are two of the most popular), stock up at Margaret River Chocolate Company, or for something a little healthier head to the weekly Saturday morning Margaret River Farmers’ Market to sample some local seafood, cheeses, fruit and veg.

Stay: Balsidene Manor for a luxury stay with a touch of old-world charm, Karri House for a five-star B&B experience, or choose your location and book a glamping stay with Wild Goose Camping.

Eat: Glenarty Road for farm-to-table dining, Chow’s Table for modern Chinese using the freshest local ingredients, or Settlers Tavern for American-style smoked meats and live music.

Bridgetown - 3 hours from Perth

For a truly relaxing weekend, head to Bridgetown for a healthy dose of country serenity. Wander along the historic main street and check out Santa’s Secret Toy Store (open year-round) and Ooh La Lollipop for a classic old fashioned lolly shop experience. For something a little different, visit the Brierly Jigsaw Gallery, one of only two jigsaw galleries in the world.

Stay: Shambhala Guesthouse for a hilltop B&B stay with stunning views across the Blackwood Valley, Oakhill House for a luxury stay in a beautiful old country house, or pitch your tent along the Blackwood Review at Bridgetown Caravan Park.

Eat: The Cidery for locally-produced beer and cider served with classic pub fare, Bridgetown Hotel for locally sourced produce, or Barking Cow cafe for good coffee.

Chittering Valley - 1 hour from Perth

Just an hour’s drive from Perth, the Chittering Valley has all the essential ingredients for a romantic weekend away: good food, good wine and beautiful landscapes. Follow the Chittering Farm Flavour Trail from farm-to-farm to sample seasonal produce direct from the farm gate, take one of the many walking trails through the valley, or make the trip out to Australia’s only monastic town at New Norcia.

Stay: White Dog Farm for a secluded country hideaway, Brockman Park for a luxury farm stay, or camp at Walyunga Campground.

Eat: Stringybark Winery for seasonal dishes served with local wines, Woodfire Italian Restaurant for authentic pizza and pasta, or Mean Bean Diner for good burgers.