If you’re in the mood for a holiday without the kids, these six destinations are the opposite of family-friendly.
Once upon a time, an evening tipple could be enjoyed, uninterrupted, with your partner-in-life. There was even ample time to read for pleasure, free from relentless intrusions. And, in a time long since passed, there existed a thing called ‘sleeping in’. Well, parents, take heart because you can have those things again, even if fleetingly. All it takes is a little shuffling and shirking of children to facilitate an escape to one of these incredible adult-friendly destinations and enjoy a holiday without the kids.
Hamilton Island, Qld
Any remotely guilty feelings you may harbour about taking a holiday without the kids and leaving them with Nan will quickly dissipate the moment you step onto stunning Hamilton Island. Sure, this blue-sky, reef-edged veritable paradise in the Whitsundays is welcoming to all, including families, but you can just as easily side-step squads of Paddle Pop-licking kids.
If budget allows, ultra-luxe qualia is a serene haven, catering to over-16s only. Each naturally hued and elegantly appointed pavilion gazes outward to that scene-stealing water and virtually pleads with you to relax, breathe and order yourselves another glass of bubbles.
You’re here, so make the most of this rare, dependant-free moment and go all out with a couple’s spa date, romantic picnic on dazzling Whitehaven Beach or just simply lounge by the pool all day; the infinity pool at the adults-only Beach Club resort makes for a lovely spot to do just that.
Mornington Peninsula, Vic
Congratulations, you have managed to abscond from daily life and are free to get down to some proper adulting. That can only mean impeccable wining and dining in this vine-woven peninsula just an hour’s drive south of Melbourne.
Accommodation options abound, from the sleek, art-focused Jackalope Hotel with its ‘lairs’ in lieu of mundanely titled ‘rooms’, to a proliferation of adorable bed and breakfasts.
Pop a cork in any direction and you’ll hit a truly superb winery or en pointe eatery where you can indulge in not just beautiful produce-driven meals, but the actual, pithy conversation of your courtship.
There are even hot springs in the area, should you wish to take things in that direction after a day of flitting from cellar door to cellar door. Take a box of your favourite new wine home and, once deeply reinserted into everyday life, each sip will return you to this incredible grown-up escape.
Draw a line in the sand, quite literally. On one side place any conversations concerning schools, persistent nappy rash and developmental milestones, then step to the other side and remain there for the entirety of your stay on the remarkable Ningaloo Coast.
This region on WA’s north-west cape is a World Heritage-listed area and the gateway to the world’s largest fringing reef, where you can swim with genial whale sharks, turtles and manta rays.
Slipping into the glassy waters with these majestic creatures is bound to restore your equilibrium. Once you’ve taken the plunge, soar above this pristine natural treasure in a microlight plane to take in the full might of Ningaloo’s beauty.
When it comes to accommodation, the luxury glamping tents of Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef Safari Camp provide the perfect home base to watch the sun dip below the horizon.
Cradle Mountain, Tas
Remember what it felt like to walk for pleasure, without dragging protesting children along with you? Rediscover the true joy of immersing in nature one step at a time in Tasmania’s breath-snatching Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.
Whether your idea of romance is lacing up hiking boots, strapping into a backpack and unfurling a swag under the stars or indulging in the beautifully appointed Cradle Mountain Lodge, the rugged jewel in this verdant crown is undoubtedly Cradle Mountain itself, so be sure to find a walk that suits your stamina.
From the six-day, guided Overland Track hike to short two-hour walks, there are plenty of ways to admire the haunting majesty of the mountain. Best of all, you’re free to amble hand-in-hand with your partner at your absolute leisure, entirely complaint-free.
Blue Mountains, NSW
For true romance, particularly when a chill begins to lace the air, there are few places as accommodating to relationship rekindling than the Blue Mountains.
A mini-break-friendly 90-minute drive from Sydney, this national park offers everything from bushwalks that take in vistas of lush valleys, thundering falls and the famous Three Sisters rock formations to mountain bike riding, exploring the underworld of Jenolan Caves and wandering around historic towns, such as Katoomba.
But if your focus is more inwards, there are plenty of stunning locations to revel in rare alone time together set to the backdrop of the bush, such as at Spicers Sangoma Retreat, Lilianfels Resort and Spa, and Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley.
Lord Howe Island, NSW
Yes, you’re still in Australia, but Lord Howe Island is one of those places that seems to embody an otherworldly enchantment. A place of misty twin mountaintops, a vibrant marine park, and truly unique flora and fauna, this Pacific Ocean-anchored utopia makes the perfect adult retreat.
Whether you choose to go luxe, such as at Capella Lodge, or more budget-friendly, in one of the many holiday apartments, you can spend your days here alternating between white sands and a clichéd turquoise lagoon. You can hike the peaks of Mount Lidgbird and Mount Gower, acquaint yourself with the plentiful underwater life, and take a nature tour.
With a limited number of people permitted on the island at a time, this forest-meets-the-sea escape feels wonderfully removed from daily life. In fact, you’ll only want to return home to pick up the kids so you can share the experience with them.