When you want to unplug from the day-to-day and connect with your best friends, nothing trumps a girls' weekend away. Here, a list of our top five places that will help you escape.
Shop Your Heart Out in Sydney
Fashionistas the world over know that Sydney is home to fantastic style. But it’s the often overlooked neighbourhood options that can provide a thrilling sense of treasure hunting. Surry Hills is one tranquil, tree-lined area studded with eclectic boutiques specialising in everything from polished brogues to amber glass jam jars. On Oxford Street, running from Darlinghurst to Paddington, you’ll find designer flagship stores alongside high street chains and pint-sized boutiques. Side streets offer even more stores, as well as plenty of eating options to fuel your fashion hunt.
Order a Foodie Feast in Darwin
Closer to Asia than Sydney, Darwin is a cosmopolitan mecca for foodies craving international flavours. Markets here are abundant and many are open seven days a week. Friends can easily spend a weekend crawling through the labyrinthine packed aisles of spices, sweets and sumptuous treats. Mindil Beach Sunset Market and Parap Village Market are two notable culinary highlights. When you’re ready to rest your feet and eat a meal, you’ll face a dizzying number of options. Opt for one of the many street-side restaurants and bars if you want to chance a sunset over the Timor Sea.
Sip Wine in Adelaide Hills
The rolling vineyards that ring the city of Adelaide make a wine weekend to this region both convenient and enticing. This is South Australia’s oldest wine region, and some of its vineyards can be traced back to German settlers. In addition to hopping from town to town to admire the stone cottages and charming pubs, discerning oenophiles will want to stop at the cellar doors of such award winners as Shaw & Smith, Nepenthe, and Bird in Hand, all of which offer tasting options. Accommodations are plentiful in the towns of Hahndorf and Lobethal.
Soak at a Mineral Spring in Daylesford
Nothing says girls weekend quite like a spa retreat, and Daylesford is known as the spa centre of Victoria. The Bohemian town has been luring groups of fashionable Melburnian to its therapeutic mineral springs since the 1870s. When you and your friends aren’t indulging in a soak, you can sip local wine by the fireside or wander Daylesford's quaint streets packed with swank boutiques and art galleries. Or skip the sites and linger at the spas instead—there are enough treatments on tap to fill a weekend.
Get a Culture Buzz in Melbourne
Melbourne’s urban centre is undergoing a sweeping makeover, creating an amazing juxtaposition of old and new architecture. Garden-flanked landmarks like the Royal Exhibition now contrast with the trippy façade of the new RMIT University building, creating a sidewalk streetscape that’s worth gawking at. Soak in the architecture evolution in Melbourne with your friends, then spend the evening as the locals do: enjoying live music (from black metal in pubs to indie rock at swanky locales, Melburnians take their music seriously). Complete the culture trifecta with a bit of art immersion. Flinders Lane is home to the densest concentration of commercial galleries for browsing and buying.