7 Genius Ways to Make the Most of Your Christmas Holidays

Planning a break this Christmas? You don't have to go long haul for festive fun  there are plenty of places to visit in Australia. This is your ticket to an unforgettable Australian getaway

When we imagine Christmas, we think of spending time with family, opening presents around the Christmas tree, and eating so much that we fall into a two-day food coma. But for those who are lucky enough to have more time off other than on Christmas Day, why not make the most of it by planning something rather special?

Whether you have a whole week free or just a few days here and there, we’ve gathered some ideas for you below that are guaranteed to give you something to look forward to as soon as the holidays hit — other than Santa coming to visit, of course.

1. Enjoy a beach bum break — Port Stephens, NSW

When spending Christmas in Australia, it seems only natural to make the most of the summer heat by heading to the beach. If you’re looking for inspiration, the picturesque coastal town of Port Stephens ticks every box. Just under three-hour’s drive from Sydney, this sunny town sports a variety of beautiful beaches, including Soldier's Point with its calm, crystal clear waters, and Box Beach – a popular local for surf enthusiasts. What’s more, this coastal enclave is also renowned for its dolphin watch cruises, a magical highlight for the festive period. Plus, if you want to make a weekend of it, Rick Stein's newly opened Bannisters Port Stephens is on standby to provide delicious food, luxe lodgings and beautiful beachfront vistas. Tempted much? 

2. Go on a surfing sojourn — Byron Bay, NSW

A trip to the coastal town of Byron Bay is always a good idea — particularly for those who want chilled vibes and good surf. It’s no secret that Byron Bay, located in the far-northeastern corner of New South Wales, happens to have some of the world’s best surfing locations, so if you’re longing to spend your days hanging ten, this is the place for you. For beginners, try Belongil Beach, a perennial favourite and fitting for all levels of surfing ability. Or, there’s The Pass, perhaps Byron Bay’s most popular surf spot with the best breaks on the North coast. 

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3. Take a foodie holiday — Melbourne, VIC

Perhaps your dream holiday break can all be summed up in one word — food. If this is the case, why not take a little foodie holiday (or a staycation) to Australia’s culinary capital? From a long, lazy lunches to deliciously quick bites, Melbourne takes itsfood gameever-so-seriously. Care for some dumplings? Take a stroll down one of the city’s many cobblestone laneways, on route to Chinatown. Or how about pasta? Well good news, here there are pasta-slinging spots aplenty, including that of Cafe Di Stasio, a popular go-to in St Kilda that’s been an Italian fine dining institution in the area for over 30 years.

4. Book a spa day — Daylesford, VIC

If you’ve spent the second half of the year feeling as though you’ve been hanging on for dear life, then make a point to book in some quality ‘me time’ during the Christmas break, to take a break from the daily grind. After all, they don’t call it a ‘break’ for nothing, and what better place to slow down than Australia’s spa capital? Daylesford's dreamy getaway location houses more day spas than anywhere else in the country, including Salus Spa, the famous Lake House’s very own onsite spa, and the Daylesford Massage Spa which offers massages, facials, foot treatments, meditation and spa packages at prices that won’t break the bank.

5. Find your happy medium — Newcastle, NSW

Located just two hours’ drive from Sydney, Newcastleis a melting pot of art, culture, surf and sun. Expect laid-back coastal living with a welcome hit of Inner City buzz – it’s a destination where you could spend all day at the beach, before retiring to a nearby café for a long, lazy lunch with salty hair and sandy toes. Whilst here, be sure to take a dip in the

Merewether Ocean Bath – opened in 1935, it’s thought to be the largest in the southern hemisphere.

6. Head out on a hiking hiatus — Hobart (surrounds), TAS

Widely known for its vast, rugged wilderness and protected parks and reserves, Tasmania is the ideal destination for those who enjoy a good hike. So, if you’re looking to get back in touch with MotherNatureover the festive season, consider Hobart as a great starting point. From here, there are many surrounding hiking spots to choose from, including the Organ Pipes Circuit in Wellington Park, a wonderfully diverse loop walk past historic huts and scenic outlooks. Or there’s Russell Falls in Mt Field National Park, located less than an hour's drive from Hobart. This easy walking trail even has wheelchair access and leads visitors out to the gorgeous Russell Falls.

7. Hit the road for the day — Great Ocean Road, VIC

Lastly, even if time is limited, you should never underestimate how fun a good old fashion road trip can be, even if it’s just for the day. For Melbournians for example, there’s the Great Ocean Road, home to one of Australia's most famous sights — the Twelve Apostles. However, as much as this sight is no doubt the star attraction of this route, do make sure to take your time and explore the many other delights along the way. For an idyllic lunch stop, head to A La Grecquelocated in Aireys Inlet, known for dishing up some of the best seafood on the coast. Or, if you’re up for a hike, make a pitstop to the Great Otway National Park where you can take walking trails through a lush rainforest, past moss-covered trees and fern-fringed pools.

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