What does the Australia lifestyle offer? Many of us are moving Down Under for a more outdoorsy, sporty and relaxed weekend life. More “me time”. Rosie Pariser found that life in Australia gave her the chance to squeeze every pleasure out of her weekends!
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Australia is a dream destination for many of us wishing to escape the daily grind. Indeed, Melbourne was the first place in the world to introduce an 8-hour working day into law. Work-life balance seems to be ingrained into the Australian psyche. Everyone has their own idea of a perfect weekend, but I found that after moving in Australia my idea had changed. So, this is my dream Aussie weekend.
You probably know that Australia likes a drink, but did you know that a new micro-brewery opens every six days?!
Leave work promptly to beat the crowds to the buzzing bars in the city centre. Grab a table outside and snap up some happy hour bargains while watching the sun go down. You probably know that Australia likes a drink, but did you know that a new micro-brewery opens every six days?! So you won’t be short of a fantastic pub, bar or brewery to help you wind down after a long week, serving great local wines and beers. There are also espresso martinis on tap to pep you up for a busy weekend.
The Australian weather makes al fresco dining an appealing prospect for most of the year. While restaurants, pubs and bars often have outdoor areas, some of the best food (and best bargains) can be found at food trucks and night markets. There’s a wonderfully diverse range of food on offer. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic Greek souvlaki or Thai curry, or something more unusual like a Japanese pizza, there’s bound to be something to tantalise your tastebuds. Particular favourites of mine are Brisbane’s Eat Street Markets and Sydney’s Spice Alley.
Waddle away from the market, and head to a bar with live music. From big cities to small towns, there always seems to be an abundance of high quality live music. Enjoy a few more drinks and you’ll soon be singing along, even if it’s not karaoke night.
Weekend mornings seem to be a popular time for exercise; so rub those bleary eyes and pull on your trainers. Whether it’s along the beach, river or park, public open spaces are abundant throughout Australia so you’ll never be far from a beautiful view. If running isn’t your thing, then blow away the cobwebs with a morning stroll, and a double-shot flat white in hand.
If the sun continues to shine, why not stay out and enjoy a BBQ? Public BBQs are available in most outdoor spaces. As a sporting nation, many local sports teams (AFL, rugby, cricket, netball) will be playing at the weekend, which can provide some light entertainment whilst you put your shrimps on the barbie.
In the evening, follow the crowds and pack in to watch a major sporting event. Australian Rules Football is the obsession in Victoria, though crowds are growing in other states. This fast-paced, bone-crunching sport is great fun to watch. Try to find a friendly Aussie (there are plenty) to help explain the rules if you’re a first timer.
If you’re in New South Wales or Queensland, then rugby is the obsession. Catch a “State of Origin” match (where players born in Queensland and New South Wales face off against each other) for a really electric atmosphere.
If you fancy a change of pace (or sport isn’t your thing), take the sophisticated option and head out for some fine dining. If your budget allows, treat yourself to degustation menu at a modern Australian restaurant, or tapas at an edgy wine bar. Carry on your evening at one of the numerous “secret cocktail bars”. These could be hidden behind the facades of laundries, pawn shops and other unexpected places. Ask a local (or look online – they’re not that secret!).
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Treat yourself to a lie-in after the last action-packed day, and head to a cafe for brunch. Seemingly Australia’s favourite meal, Australian chefs have elevated brunch to delicious heights. (Some say Millennials can’t afford a house as they spend too much on avocado toast). While a traditional fry up is usually on the table too, you may find your baked beans come served in a rich homemade sauce on artisan sourdough toast. Beyond the fry up, look for healthy bircher museli, pimped up scrambled eggs with chilli and marinated feta. In fact, why not fritter away your house deposit on the classic smashed avo?
If you have kids and they’re raring to get outdoors, Australia is a wonderful country to raise a healthy family. So where shall we go?
Sundays are made for day trips. Once you’re suitable stuffed, hop in the car and escape the urban jungle. Most major cities have a wonderful wine region within easy reach (Yarra Valley near Melbourne, Hunter Valley near Sydney, Barossa Valley near Adelaide). If you’re looking for some family friendly activities, a wildlife park is always good fun, often giving the chance to get up close and feed the kangaroos.
Hot day? Put the surfboards on the roof rack and head to the coast. Around 85% of Australians live within 50kilometres of the coast and with over 16,000 miles of coastline, there’s plenty of space for everyone. If surfing isn’t for you, top up your tan or take a dip in one of the many ocean pools (such as the famous “Icebergs” at Bondi Beach).
If you fancy something more active, why not get out the walking boots and go for a hike? From short, accessible strolls round the lakes, to multi-day treks through the rainforest, you’ll never be far from a great walk to suit any ability and timeframe. Finish off the day trip by stopping of at a scenic vista to watch the sun set.
If you’ve still got the energy, consider catching a show at the theatre. You’ll find such contemporary shows as “The Book of Mormon”, “”School of Rock”, or home-grown classic “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” in major cities. Many smaller towns also have excellent theatre productions. If you fancy something more relaxed, save yourself the washing up and head to the local pub for a classic Sunday Roast, complete with roaring log fire in the winter. Or if you’re like me, collapse on the sofa, order a takeaway and fire up Netflix for a binge watch (culture can be exhausting).
Whilst major Australian cities offer culture, food and shopping to rival capital cities around the world, much of Australia’s unique charm lies outside of these areas. The weekend makes the perfect opportunity to get out of town and explore slightly further afield. “The open road” has a more literal meaning, with little traffic outside of major cities, and some stunning landscapes to see as you drive. The honking horns and tailbacks on a Friday afternoon on the M25 really does seem like a different world.
The (generally) warm and dry climate makes camping a popular option, with plenty of reasonably priced campsites with stunning views and clean facilities. A campervan or caravan can add an extra level of comfort if you wish. Alternatively, there’s plenty of indoor accommodation for those who want to experience the great outdoors in daylight only, with a range of options to suit every budget. Pitch up in the rainforest for scenic hikes, swimming in picturesque waterholes (check online or with a local to ensure its crocodile-free if up north!), world class fishing or adrenaline-fuelled mountain biking.
For the less-outdoorsy Australian lifestyle, your weekend could involve a luxury mineral spa or maybe visiting a vineyard with a superb restaurant? And with the distances so much greater, Australias weekend city break could help you decide where in Australia you want to settle.
Want to see the outback? Direct flights to Uluru (Ayres Rock Connellan airport) make a short break to the red centre easy. You’ll never be short of inspiration for your next weekend; next Friday’s never more than seven days away.