The Sebel Maroochydore.
The Sebel Maroochydore. 3RDi Photography

Holidaying at home has distinct advantages

I WANT a holiday where the barista knows how I like my coffee the minute I walk through the door.

The package deal also must come with a guarantee I will adore the vast array of sophisticated restaurants and bars with reasonably-priced menus and drinks (because I've been there before).

It must have boutique assistants who greet me like a long-lost friend and enough activities to keep every member of the family happy.

Finally, this destination must have a laid-back vibe, world-class, uncrowded beaches and leave me time to relax and just be myself.

Sound like a pipedream?



All these welcome, value-added extras and so many more conveniences are included when you holiday at home.

Not everyone these days can afford to take great chunks of time away from the business, office or work duties.

Looking after pets, plants and family members (young and old) may restrict many of us from grabbing more than a day or two of R&R away from suburbia.

And then there's paying for that big trip away.

Travelling to some parts of Australia are as expensive as exotic locations overseas and both ideas may put many zeros on the end of our credit card bills.

Yes, a mini-vacation in your own backyard has many advantages.

If there is an emergency at home, you aren't separated by the tyranny of distance in another town, city or country.

You can even pop home to feed and walk pets and water the garden if need be.

And if you must, you can even duck into work to ensure things are rolling along smoothly.

They say a change is as good as a holiday. And holidaying at home can still feel like you're a million miles way.

And so one weekend recently we found ourselves 15 minutes and 15km away from home in Maroochydore with 0 worries about tolls, tiredness from driving or making that early-morning flight in the Gateway Arterial peak-hour traffic.

We did all the things we love to do, all the places we love to do them.

It started with drinks, lunch and a bet at Maroochy Surf Club, followed by shopping for new and vintage fashions and homewares plus coffee with a friend in King St, Cotton Tree.

Our sojourn then progressed to check-in at The Sebel Maroochydore in Aerodrome Rd and time to relax and soak up the good life from our Oceanview Apartment No.701.

This is no home away from home. It's much more luxurious and tastefully decorated than that and all your holiday needs within reach:

* Heaps of room for a family and space to spread yourself out over a weekend.

* Five minutes to work (not that I planned on doing that!).

* Surrounded by views.

* Across the road from the beach.

* Chic cafes, coffee shops and restaurants downstairs (McDonald's is on the corner as well) or only a short stroll away.

* Alex and Maroochy surf clubs just down the coastal pathway.

* A village-like atmosphere at Cotton Tree.

* A refreshing pool in the complex as well as the larger public one down the road.

Best of all, we were in the thick of the central Sunshine Coast action and could leave our car in the secure carpark and walk or take a very short taxi ride everywhere we wanted to go.

I made a beeline for the veranda, sat myself on a chair with arms stretched behind my head and soaked up the view: the green space and treed privacy of the caravan park to the water and Old Woman Island to my right, gazing straight down Sixth Ave to monolithic Mt Coolum, then Buderim and the Blackall Range further afield to my left.

Then I had plenty of time to read a few chapters of that book that usually sits forlornly by my bedside table at home.

Nightfall brought a gathering of friends to our balcony before moving on to tapas and drinks at the Duporth Tavern's front beer garden under the fairylights and with the footy on the ginormous screen.

A big night out with live music and the friendly vibe of Solbar was next on the list, moving from the hum of the lounge bar that spills into Ocean Street to the main stage in the back room for the headlining band.

After a sleep-in and breakfast cook-up in the better-than-home kitchen, a real coffee awaited a stroll away.

Murray's Cafe or Glass Coffee House & Surf Gallery? Decisions, decisions.

Spending time only steps away on the golden sands of Maroochydore beach and surfing was a no-brainer.

A change of pace was called for in the afternoon, though.

Our designated driver headed straight down Alexandra Parade and around to Brisbane Rd, Mooloolaba, for an afternoon of pulling our own cider and beers at Taps Mooloolaba.

While we came for the Monteith's Crushed Apple Cider and Pale Ale, Stone&Wood varieties hand-crafted in Byron Bay, Brookvale Union Alcoholic Ginger and Blue Moon Summer Honey Wheat American light-bodied ale, we stayed for the food.

The sampler platter for two (avocado bruschetta, loaded potato skins, jalapeno poppers, mozzarella sticks, barbecue bacon and Mac'n'cheese spring rolls) whet the appetite of our beer drinkers.

So over the course of the next three hours, they continued to soak up the alcohol with a procession of nachos ($18), The Clogger ($18 - Taps' beef pattie, bacon, cheese, Mac'n'cheese, tarragon, tomato relish with double cheese and mixed leaf with chipotle mayo on a brioche bun) and It's Always Sunny In Philly Sub ($16 - roasted beef, caramelised onion, roasted bell peppers, provolone cheese and horseradish aioli).

A walk along Mooloolaba Beach in an autumn twilight topped off a great weekend.

We may never again see the holidays of our childhood where the family packed up for six weeks on the Gold Coast at Christmas.

We could spend the rest of our lives travelling overseas and working to pay it off.

Or, we can take a mini-break every now and then in a different part of our varied region and remember why we love it here.

Next stop may just be Coolum, or Montville, or Bulcock Beach, or Kenilworth, or ...

* The writer paid for most of her weekend expenses but was a guest of The Sebel Maroochydore and Taps Mooloolaba as a raffle prize.

* The Sebel Maroochydore, part of the AccorHotels group, is offering Stay & Save deals: stay two nights and receive a 20% discount, available through AccorHotels and Sebel websites.

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