Kieran Resevsky gives some holiday ideas so you can make the most of that long awaited summer break!
Not only is the end of semester fast approaching, but the days are longer, the air is warmer and the buzz of springtime is all around. This can only mean one thing, summer break is coming around, and it’s coming faster than you think!
The end of semester is always a busy time, filled with assessments and exams, with little spare time for rest breaks and lounging. While you’ve been working hard, I’ve been putting in the yards to help plan your next summer break getaway. So grab a tall glass of water and forget about exams for a few minutes, let’s start planning your next retreat.
I’ve chosen a few different styles of retreat, ranked below by budget. These prices are sure to vary, but will be a handy guide to get you well on your way to relaxation, because after another huge semester, you deserve it!
The Happy Camper
Camping is one of the simplest, cheapest and easiest getaways, and with a multitude of awesome places not too far from home, its sure to be a winner idea amongst friends. Nothing quite compares to the earthy serenity of pitching a tent with some mates, toasting marshmallows under the stars and waking up with the sunrise. Not only is camping an easy retreat, it can also be a very cheap one. Gather some mates together, organise a tent, some water, booze, firewood, food and all the other extras, and choose one of the many great camping sites we have in the area.
Some of my favourite camp sites include The Basin, in the Olney State Forest (Watagans), less than an hour from Newcastle. Here you will find waterholes, great hiking tracks, and plenty of space to relax. Best of all, it’s free and you can stay as long as you like. Another favourite of mine is Diamond Head campground, a beautiful oceanfront area with BBQ’s, showers and great coastal walks. However, Diamond Head is situated in Crowdy Bay National Park (2.5hr drive from Newcastle) which will cost a small fee per person and car, to go towards maintaining Australian National Parks. Make sure you check for any weather warnings before you go. Estimated cost for 3 nights, $30-$100.
The City Seeker
If camping isn’t quite your thing, or you just want to go a little further from home, Melbourne might be calling your name. This beautiful city has been ranked the ‘worlds most liveable city’ for the sixth consecutive year, closely followed by international gems such as Vienna, Vancouver and Toronto. It’s a top destination whether you’ve been one hundred times or never before, as there is always something new to do and its culture always inviting. The art and theatre scene is huge in Melbourne, with great shows and performances always on offer including Aladdin, Matilda and Burlesque toward the end of this year. The quality and exoticism of the food in Melbourne is a good enough reason in itself to make the trip, delivering Australia’s best ranked burgers, smashed avo’s and cocktails, everyone is sure to have a good time.
Flights can often be found from Newcastle-Melbourne for as little as $100 return, just check out the deals page on a few competing airlines. Maybe you’d be up for a big road trip with friends? The 10.5 hour drive from Newcastle can be split over a few days, and would make for some great travel stories! Just make sure you Google a ‘hook-turn’ before you arrive in Melbourne CBD. While prices for a Melbourne trip can vary greatly (flights, accommodation), you can easily get away for 4 nights for around $400-$600.
If you really want to get into relaxation mode while going on an awesome adventure, maybe a summer cruise is the right thing for you. The best thing about a cruise is having everything planned for you, all you have to do is show up on time before sailing out into the sunset. There is plenty to do onboard, whether it’s bathing in hot tubs under the stars, ice-skating, seeing a performance, bowling, clubbing, getting a massage or returning to the multitude of restaurants for unlimited food (thats right, it’s included in the price).
The only setback is the price of drinks, though book your cruise at the right time and you will likely score yourself a drinks package or some onboard credit. Once you’ve reached the Pacific Islands, get ready to spend your days snorkelling, boating and sun bathing on some of the worlds most beautiful shores. Keep your eye out for deals and you may score a 11-14 night cruise for as low as $800, including food, accommodation and entertainment!
The Euro Explorer
If you really want to have an adventure this summer break, Europe is always calling. With a culture shift so big between each border, it feels like you have traveled the world each time you make the hour-or-so long journey to the next country. Whether you want to gondola in Italy, see the Northern Lights in Iceland, stand in awe at the architecture of Spain or eat schnitzels like there’s no tomorrow in Austria, Europe offers something for everyone. Many Australians shriek at the idea of a European winter, though the smaller crowds, cheaper accommodation, mulled wine and powdered snow all make Europe an even more beautiful wonderland. There’s nothing quite like bathing in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon with snow falling on your face, or drinking real hot chocolate and eating crepes with new friends in an 8th century castle in Prague.
Whether you have a travel buddy or go alone, Europe will change the way you live and look at the world like no other destination. Tours with TopDeck and Contiki often have last-minute deals and are a great way to see as many places as you can, while making life-long friends. It’s not a cheap destination, but as they say, travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. It is very difficult to give an estimated price for a Euro trip, though a travel agent may help (check out STA Travel outside the Shortland building), but around $5,000-$10,000 is a fair price point. Airlines and tour companies are always offering great deals, so shop around and get ready for the trip of a lifetime.
No matter how you choose to spend your summer break, make sure you treat each day as a new and fresh adventure. Take the time to care for yourself and be happy. Take up yoga, go on road trips, pick flowers for your loved ones, take risks, visit old friends and make new ones. You were made to thrive, not just survive.
Feature Image: via Unsplash.