Wishing you could call Australia home? A long stay on one of its beaches along Australia’s coastline could be just the ticket. Sydney leaves many visitors wishing they could stay longer. But the city’s high prices can be an obstacle to a leisurely extended visit. The gorgeous beaches however, don’t stop at the city limits. Just to Sydney’s north lies a long stretch of national parks, charming coastal towns, and picturesque beaches bound to reward any traveller with extra time to spend on their Australia vacation.
A number of resort options make the New South Wales Central Coast a highly accessible long stay destination. Ettalong Beach, for example, is located an easy 90 minute drive from Sydney, and combines nature parks with beaches that are well suited for swimming. River cruises are another popular pursuit for visitors to the area, since the waterways of the Central Coast are lined with impressive scenery. Many parts of the waterways are sheltered from strong currents, making them a great option for young families. On the sporting side, holiday-makers who enjoy deep sea fishing and/or golf are well covered. The town even has its own seaside village market on weekends.
The Brisbane Water National Park is a natural playground too often missed by visitors to New South Wales. Spreading out just a few kilometres from Ettalong Beach, bounded by the Hawkesbury River and the Pacific Highway, this rugged, protected area supports charter vessels and ferries that offer scenic tours, fishing trips, and even whale watching in season.
Specializing in long-term accommodation, the Mantra Ettalong Beach Resort offers studio, one, and two bedroom suites with ocean or inland views. An on-site day spa takes care of all guests’ therapeutic and relaxation needs, and for those missing ‘The Big Smoke,’ Sydney is just a 90 minute drive, or a 75 minute train journey from nearby Woy Woy station. Like most long stays, units are well equipped for self-catering. For those special nights out, Ettalong Beach offers a wide range of options, from simple eateries and pubs to more sophisticated dining, and ideal waterside picnic spots abound. You can also visit one of Australia’s premier wine regions, the Hunter Valley, just 90 minutes drive to the north.
The Gold Coast is an Australian family getaway favourite, thanks to its variety of theme parks, picture perfect surf beaches, world class shopping and nightlife, and proximity to many national parks in the region, as well as a thriving boutique wine industry. For a long-stay, guests may prefer to leave the busy hubs of Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach behind, instead settling into Coolangatta.
Though located within a half-hour drive of the busier, most touristy parts of the Coast, the beaches are quieter here, and the pace of life is more relaxed. Those also wanting to sample the beaches of New South Wales can literally walk to fulfil that goal. Coolangatta is one of two cities that line the state border, the other being Tweed Heads. Photos striking a dramatic cross-border pose (or handstand) are popular with visitors, but the so-called ‘Twin Towns’ also let you enjoy the best of both worlds, with beautiful local beaches on one side and wildlife-rich hinterland on the other. Getting there is easy too. Coolangatta is just a 75 minute drive from Brisbane airport, while Gold Coast airport is practically next door.
For an even more local beach experience, head north from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast. Just an hour’s drive from Brisbane Airport, the towns along this beautiful strip are generally smaller, and you’re more likely to meet locals enjoying the beaches. There’s also no shortage of attractions if you’re planning to holiday with family, including world famous Australia Zoo. Formerly the home of late ‘Crocodile Hunter’ Steve Irwin, the zoo is today operated by his family, continuing a legacy of conservation through education. At the northern end of the coast, Noosa is a popular getaway, boasting what are arguably Southeast Queensland’s most beautiful beaches.
Along the way, guests may want to stop in for a taste of one of Australia’s favourite South Pacific destinations. Fiji has been luring Australians eager to explore a tropical island destination for decades. Its sundrenched shores and island culture are also a stark contrast to the beaches of New South Wales or Southeast Queensland, bringing a touch of diversity to any extended holiday. Fiji’s destinations are diverse as well, from the resorts of Denarau on the main island of Viti Levu, to the family friendly Coral Coast, to the romantic Mamanuca Islands, and the remote Yasawas.