HAVE A HEALTHY STAYCATION
How to have the best holiday in your own home
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.
ON THE WATER
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.
UP AND GO
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.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
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.
WHAT TO READ
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.