How to have the best hol­i­day in your own home

Weight Watchers Magazine (Australia) - - Contents -

There you are, vac­uum-packed into your tiny Econ­omy Class seat on a flight that left six hours late and will get you to your des­ti­na­tion in the dead of night rather than the af­ter­noon. You only have a week’s break and al­ready it’s stress­ful. Why, you think, did I not just stay home? Well, lots of peo­ple are choos­ing to do just that. If health and hap­pi­ness are your goals, some­times there re­ally is no place like home.


e best way to avoid hav­ing your ‘stay­ca­tion’ turn into seven days of watch­ing Youtube videos and snack­ing is to plan ahead. De­cide what health out­comes you would like to achieve and re­search how to make them hap­pen. Keep your sched­ule flex­i­ble but make sure you have some­thing on every day. Let the lo­cal tourism of­fice be your new best friend for a few days and check out all the things on of­fer to vis­i­tors to your town or city. Change how you get around, too. If you nor­mally com­mute by bus or train, walk, cy­cle or take a ferry in­stead.


Most of Aus­tralia’s cap­i­tal cities are coastal and tak­ing to the wa­ter is a great way to ex­pe­ri­ence them. In Syd­ney, catch a ferry from Cir­cu­lar Quay to Shark Is­land. is 1.25h is­land has pic­nic shel­ters, grassy ar­eas and a wad­ing beach. Or take a ferry from Mel­bourne’s South­bank to the his­toric sea­side port of Wil­liamstown. Check out the her­itage ar­chi­tec­ture and have a swim. Bris­bane’s free Ci­ty­hop­per ferry me­an­ders along the river from North Quay to New Farm. Sit out­side and watch the city slide by.

Al­ways wanted to try scuba div­ing? Perth has a cou­ple of com­pa­nies that can get you started, then take you to dive sites just a skip along from the city. Or, if you live in New Zea­land, do the 40m adren­a­line-pump­ing bungy leap from the Auck­land Har­bour Bridge.


Fit­ness can be fun when you have time on your side. Skip the gym and head for the great out­doors. Walk or cy­cle around the Como fore­shore in Syd­ney’s south, with its bush­land set­ting and serene views of the Woronora River. Or run the Bondi-toCoogee coastal path, mov­ing on to Wat­sons Bay for grilled fish and salad on the har­bour.

Mel­bourne is the coun­try’s most bike-friendly city, with cy­cle paths all over town, along the Yarra and from St Kilda to Half Moon Bay. ere are loads of rail trails in the sur­round­ing coun­try­side for gen­tle, safe cy­cling.

Ho­bart is great for moun­tain bik­ing. Try the 10.5km North South Track through Welling­ton Park. If that’s too easy, tackle the breath-bust­ing road to the sum­mit of Mt Welling­ton it­self.

New Zea­land’s moun­tain bike trails range from easy to epic and the scenery takes cy­cling to a whole new level. Whakare­warewa For­est near Ro­torua is re­garded as a moun­tain bike mecca and the South Is­land’s West Coast Wilder­ness Trail is leg­endary.


A lit­tle pam­per­ing is an im­por­tant part of your stay­ca­tion ex­pe­ri­ence. If your bud­get can stand it, try a lux­ury spa. Mel­bourne’s won­der­ful multi-pur­pose Ab­bots­ford Con­vent of­fers well­ness cen­tres and yoga classes as well as con­certs, gal­leries, artists’ stu­dios and cafes. Or head to Penin­sula Hot Springs on the Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula for a soak in the cave pool and one or more of the health and beauty treat­ments on of­fer. Ma­jor ho­tels in most cities of­ten have lux­ury spas. Com­bine a ses­sion at one with an overnight stay.

If you can’t af­ford that, you can turn your home into your own spe­cial re­lax­ation zone. Set out a fancy deckchair in a sunny spot, whip up a fruit-based

mock­tail in a long glass and bury your­self in that novel you’ve been mean­ing to read for the past six months. In the even­ing, throw a few rose petals in the bath, light some can­dles and set­tle back for a soak, with gen­tle mu­sic thrum­ming in the back­ground.


When did you last while away a cou­ple of hours lis­ten­ing to mu­sic or look­ing at pictures? e Queens­land Cul­tural Cen­tre at Bris­bane’s South Bank, which clus­ters to­gether art gal­leries, the­atres, the mu­seum and the state li­brary, is one of the city’s top as­sets. Take in a play or per­for­mance or just en­joy the many free events that take place in the cen­tre and at the river­side park nearby. In Mel­bourne’s north­east, check out the Hei­del­berg School Artists Trail, a free self­drive, walk­ing or cy­cling trail.

Lucky Tas­ma­ni­ans can ferry across from Ho­bart to what surely must be the na­tion’s most pop­u­lar gallery: David Walsh’s Mu­seum of Old and New Art.

Or just drop in to your lo­cal art­house cin­ema and watch the lat­est Euro­fest, or maybe the lat­est chick flick is more your style. What­ever you choose, make sure you in­dulge in it.


A busy work­ing life of­ten means com­pro­mis­ing with food. Your stay­ca­tion is an op­por­tu­nity to eat well every day. Stock up on fresh pro­duce at a farm­ers’ mar­ket you don’t nor­mally fre­quent. Or treat your­self at spe­cial­ist gro­cery stores, then cook up a feast. Pack a gourmet pic­nic to take on your ex­pe­di­tions.


Per­haps the most im­por­tant item needed to make your stay­ca­tion a suc­cess is the off switch. Leave com­put­ers, ipads and other de­vices in sleep mode. Put an out­of­of­fice mes­sage on your email and turn your phone off un­less you re­ally need it.


With the right book, you can take a fab­u­lous jour­ney from the com­fort of your lounge. Syd­neysiders should try Jan Mor­ris’s Syd­ney. David Hunt’s ir­rev­er­ent dash through our past, Girt: eu­nau­tho­rised­his­tory ofaus­tralia, will have you gig­gling, while Geral­dine Brooks’s mem­oir, For­eign­cor­re­spon­dence, will have you in tears. Sarah Mac­don­ald’s Holy­cow!anin­dian Ad­ven­ture man­ages to com­bine ev­ery­thing you could want in a hol­i­day read – per­sonal growth, love and the magic of In­dia. En­joy. #

mos“ e t im­por­tant item needed is the off switch.

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