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Many of us have a favourite wish list of the top cities in Australia for a weekend break. Australia is a diverse nation, the scenery, climate and history have formed great cities which have their own unique vibe and attractions. Come along with us while we explore these differences to create our own wish list and help inspire you to make yours.
No weekend break would be complete without a great hotel, a place to relax and get away from it all. One where you can enjoy the ambience of a great restaurant after a day of sightseeing. Here are our choices of the top attractions, accommodation and best hotel restaurants for the top cities in Australia for a weekend break.
- 1 Brisbane, Queensland
- 2 Sydney, New South Wales
- 3 Melbourne, Victoria
- 4 Adelaide, South Australia
- 5 Margaret River Western Australia
- 6 Last words on top cities in Australia for a weekend break
As Queenslanders we start with our state capital, Brisbane! There was a time when Brisbane was considered a sleepy backwater, outshone by its glittering cousins Sydney and Melbourne. These days Brisbane has a dynamic entertainment and food scene that rivals these cities. Brisbane also has another plus up its sleeve, its year round sunny climate and relaxed lifestyle.
Things to do in Brisbane
The Brisbane River snakes its way through the cities heart and is the focal point for many Brisbane attractions and the best way to see them is to take a CityCat Ferry.
First stop should be Southbank Parklands, the place to enjoy the sunshine and a swim at Streets Beach. Take in the sights from the heights of the Brisbane Wheel and have a bite to eat at the Southbank restaurants. Sample a little culture at the Performing Arts Centre, Queensland Museum or Queensland Art Gallery.
Continue your journey downstream and marvel at the views as you pass under the Story Bridge. Stop off at New Farm Park and head on over to Brisbane Powerhouse for the latest in comedy, theatre, film, markets and more.
Where to stay in Brisbane
Sofitel Brisbane Central
With views overlooking ANZAC Square, the Sofitel Brisbane Central is minutes from the Queen Street Mall, the shopping hub of Brisbane.
In addition, the Sofitel Brisbane Central is located directly above Central Railway Station offering direct train connections to Brisbane Airport and regional Queensland train routes.
Thyme2 – Sofitel Brisbane
A Brisbane institution, the Thyme2 Sunday Buffet Lunch is famous for its selection of seafood, international dishes and desserts. Relax with a sparkling wine and mouth-watering food, the perfect end to a weekend of indulgence.
Sydney, New South Wales
When people think of Australia, they immediately picture Sydney Harbour. The unique design of the Sydney Opera House is instantly recognisable while Sydney Harbour Bridge has welcomed immigrants and tourists for generations.
Sydney has a rich history that reaches back millennia. From Australia’s indigenous beginnings to first settlement and beyond, you will find a city that is proud of its past, relishing its present while gazing firmly into the future.
Things to do in Sydney
To discover more of Sydney’s history head over to The Rocks area which is a short walk from Circular Quay in the shadow of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Established not long after the colony’s foundation in 1788, The Rocks was once a slum with a wild unruly reputation. These days The Rocks is a popular tourist attraction, home to small historical laneways, restaurants and markets.
While visiting The Rocks, stop off at The Rocks Discovery Museum to hear more about the history of the original Gadigal people, the colonial and port history, as well as the transformations made since 1900. A fascinating museum which underlines the essence of Sydney, and best of all it’s free!
Sydney is famous for its sun drenched beaches and the best way to see them is to hop on the Manly Ferry and take the journey across the harbour to this seaside playground. Along the way you will see spectacular views of Sydney Harbour and pass craggy sea washed cliffs and virgin bush land that gives a hint of a pre-settlement Sydney landscape.
Once you arrive in Manly walk straight ahead along The Corso until you come to Manly Beach. This beautiful treelined beach is a favourite with swimmers and surfers and the place to have a relaxing lunch in one of the nearby restaurants and bars.
Where to stay in Sydney
Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour
With views overlooking the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Circular Quay, the Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour should be on the top of every Sydney break wish list.
Wedged between the Sydney Opera House and Circular Quay, the Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour would have to be in one of the world’s most iconic landscapes.
Imagine watching cruise ships and ferries pass the Sydney Harbour Bridge from the comfort of your own private balcony and being just steps away from the Sydney Opera House and the historic Rocks area.
Q Dining – Pullman Quay Grand
Q Dining is the window of Sydney Harbour and the perfect place to discover a fresh menu which showcases the best of the reef, paddock and market garden. Enjoy delicious food and wine while watching the sky turn mauve and pink as the sun sets over Sydney Harbour, a truly romantic and memorable experience.
Melbourne is often called the cultural capital of Australia. The city has a certain excitement and vibrancy, like an entertainer with a knowing smile waiting to dazzle you with their latest talent.
Things to do in Melbourne
Melbourne takes great pride in nurturing and promoting all forms of performing arts and throughout the year you can catch an array of comedy, dance, theatre and shows, opera and arts festivals.
Of course, you can’t come to Melbourne without a healthy respect for sport, from the city’s passion for AFL football, to the Australian Open tennis, Spring Racing Carnival and Australian Formula One Grand Prix, Melbourne has every sporting enthusiast covered.
Where to stay in Melbourne
Novotel Melbourne Central Hotel
The Novotel Melbourne Central Hotel is located right in the heart of Melbourne shopping precinct. Stepping out of the hotel you will find an assortment of shopping styles.
You can shop till you drop at cutting edge boutiques, take a step back in time and stroll through the charming Royal and Block Arcades or for something completely different head over to the Queen Victoria Markets and Chinatown.
Pretty Boy Italian Steakhouse – Novotel Melbourne Central
With its gangster theme, Pretty Boy Italian Steakhouse has the best of both worlds. With home style Italian dishes like Mama used to make, a selection of mouth-watering steaks from the grill and Italian inspired cocktails there’s no better place to relax after a hard days shopping.
Adelaide, South Australia
Adelaide began its life as a free settlement, welcoming a rich international melting pot of immigrants. Embracing these cultures Adelaide has transformed into a city famous for its food, wine and festivals.
Things to do in Adelaide
With a reputation as an inspirational music venue, Adelaide has earned the title of UNESCO city of Music. The WOMADelaide Festival, Adelaide Cabaret Festival and Adelaide Fringe Festival showcase a wealth of talent and guarantee a fun and memorable visit to the city.
No visit to Adelaide would be complete without a visit to the Barossa Valley wine region. The Barossa Valley is famous for its award winning wines and artisan food culture, a legacy of the early English and German settlers.
One of the ways to discover the best of South Australian cuisine if to attend the annual Tasting Australia Festival. From unique native Australian ingredients, award winning wine and craft gins to succulent seafood, Tasting Australia is a celebration of food and drink.
Where to stay in Adelaide
The Playford Adelaide MGallery
The Playford Hotel is an impressive Art Nouveau inspired boutique hotel. The deeply ornate Art Nouveau curls and swirls decorate the entrance to the hotel. The theme is continued throughout the hotel and rooms are a pleasing mix of contemporary design with Art Nouveau accents.
The hotel is in the heart of Adelaide, just steps from the Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide Casino and a short walk to Rundle Mall shopping.
The Playford Restaurant
If you are visiting Adelaide this award-winning restaurant should be on top of your weekend break wish list.
The Art Nouveau inspired decor of The Playford Lounge Bar and The Playford Restaurant takes you back to a time of elegance. The restaurant showcases top quality organic and free range locally grown produce to create an innovative selection of world class dishes.
Margaret River Western Australia
Margaret River is on the top of many Australians wish list and often the first attraction ticked off for a weekend break in Western Australia. This much loved destination is home to some of the best wineries in Australia.
Things to do in Margaret River
Margaret River region is well known for its caves and Lake Cave is considered one of the most beautiful in Western Australia. Entering the cave is like descending into another world as you make your way down into a sunken forest. Once inside the cave a soft mirrored glow reflects across the underground lake echoing the delicate crystal formations that hang from the ceiling.
A trip to Margaret River is an indulgence, the region is home to several wineries and breweries which offer wine and beer tastings. Wineries such the Leeuwin Estate have a tasting menu that pairs gourmet food and wine and can be reached by taking a wine tour.
Where to stay in Margaret River
Grand Mercure Basildene Manor
The Grand Mercure Basildene Manor is a short 2 minute drive from Margaret River town centre, a 15 minute drive to Leeuwin Estate and 20 minute drive to Lake Cave.
Basildene Manor was built in 1912 and classified by the National Trust of Australia as a significant heritage property. When staying at the Grand Mercure Basildene Manor you can stay in the original manor house or in the newer king suites. The Manor is surrounded by manicured gardens within a bushland setting.
The Conservatory – Grand Mecure Basildene
The conservatory overlooks bushland, a peaceful backdrop for one of the best hot and cold buffet breakfasts in Margaret River. Take the time to relax in the garden with the Manors famous Devonshire Tea.
Last words on top cities in Australia for a weekend break
Australia has one of the best climates in the world so why not take advantage of our sun filled days and take the time for a weekend break.
This is our wish list of the top cities in Australia for a weekend break, do they match yours? If you have a favourite city for a weekend break feel free to comment, we would love to hear about it.
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This article was sponsored in collaboration with Accor Hotels.