Recession? What recession?
HERE are some great ideas on how to make that $900 stimulus package stretch to its full potential - we've found some great getaways that will cheer your holiday spirit at some of Australia's best locations.
This month, we look at 25 great ideas and show what's on offer in sensational Victoria and beautiful South Australia. At this rate, you'll be going on a holiday every couple of weeks!Victoria
1. Go into lockdown at the Old Melbourne Gaol. The national trust building, located in Russell Street, is a chilling environment and well worth it for the scare factor.
This was the scene of 135 hangings, including that of the infamous Ned Kelly. His armour and death mask are displayed.
Cost: Adult $20, child $11, Family $49 (2 adults, up to 4 children)
For more go to www.oldmelbournegaol.com.au or call (03) 9663 7228
2. To market, to market … The Foodies' Tour of the famous Queen Victoria Markets in North Melbourne is a gourmet gaze at the three main produce sections of the market: the meat and fish hall, the fruit and vegetable aisles, and the dairy hall.
Discover the newest foods and trends in the company of a fully qualified market guide.
Cost: $30 includes generous samplings, a coffee and an environmentally friendly shopping bag.
For more information go to www.qvm.com.au
3. Be one of the first to explore Melbourne Aquarium's amazing new Antarctica exhibit, which features majestic King and cheeky Gentoo Penguins.
Marvel as the only sub-Antarctic penguins in Australia slip and slide across the snow-covered ice in their incredible state-of-the-art enclosure.
Cost: Adult $31.50 child $18.
For more, call (03) 9620 0999 or go to www.melbourneaquarium.com.au
4. Strap on your roller blades and head to Melbourne's answer to LA's Venice Beach … St Kilda esplanade.
St Kilda is one of Melbourne's beach side suburbs and does a frenetic Friday night whirl with laidback Saturday morning style featuring extra panache - and great breakfasts!
Cost: Free. Unless you're tempted by the cakes!
5. Make it a day of culture and discover the many wonders of Melbourne's museums and galleries.
Scienceworks is Melbourne's award winning hands-on science and technology museum, featuring changing exhibitions, historic objects, live shows, tours and events.
Cost: Adults $8, concessions and children free.
Melbourne Museum explores life in Victoria from the natural environment to culture and history.
Located in Carlton Gardens, opposite the historic Royal Exhibition Building, the award-winning museum houses a permanent collection in eight galleries, including one just for children.
Cost: Adult $8, concession and children free.
The international collections of the National Gallery of Victoria are regarded as the most comprehensive in the country.
Cost: Free to the permanent collection. Fees may apply to special exhibitions.
For more on Science Works, go to www.scienceworks.museum.vic.
gov.au or call (03) 9392 4800
For more on Melbourne Museum call 1300 130 152 or go to http://museumvictoria.com.au/melbournemuseum/
For more on NGV call (03) 8620 2222 or go to www.ngv.vic.gov.au
6. Eighty eight floors in under 40 seconds should do it for the thrill factor - Eureka Skydeck sits on the 88th floor of Melbourne's Eureka Tower, currently the world's tallest residential building.
Once up there, test your nerve with a visit to The Edge, a switchable glass cube that slides out from the building... while you're on it!
Cost: Adult $16.50, child $9.
For more phone (03) 9693 8888 or go to www.eurekaskydeck.com.au
7.And while we're in the air, how about paying a visit to Australia'sfirst observation wheel, the Southern Star, open for business in theDocklands' Waterfront City.
The 120 metrehigh wheel provides a stunning addition to the city skyline withspectacular views over the city and Port Phillip Bay.
Cost: Adult $29, child $17.
For more, go to www.thesouthernstar.com.au
8. Immerse yourself in some therapeutic pampering and take in the stunning village of Hepburn Springs in the process.
The Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa (pictured), is one of regional Victoria's most popular attractions.
The original Edwardian Bathhouse (circa 1895) boasts a contemporary architectural design with more than 30 wet and dry treatment rooms, making it one of the largest spas in Australia.
Cost: Bathhouse entry (Monday -Thursday) $15, (Friday-Sunday and public holidays) $30. The Sanctuary entry (Monday-Thursday) $50.
And hot bubbles are also on the boil at Rye with the Peninsula Hot Springs, the first natural hot springs and day spa centre in Victoria. Five hot spring pools and baths provide visitors with a variety of bathing experiences to enjoy.
Cost: Adult from $25, children from $16
For more on Hepburn call (03) 5348 4399 or go to www.hepburnbathhouse.com
For more on Peninsula Hot Springs, call (03) 5950 8777 or go to www.peninsulahotsprings.com
9.Surf World is recognised as the world's largest surfing and beachculture museum and houses the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame as partof its comprehensive displays.
Cost: Adult $9, child $6, family $20.
For more call (03) 5261 4606 or go to www.surfworld.org.au
10. Queensland might have flash theme parks, but Ballarat's still got the original - Sovereign Hill.
This is a fabulous re-creation of life in Ballarat in the 1850s.
Getstuck into the theme and pan for real gold, buy boiled sweets from theconfectioner's, ride in horse-drawn carriages or go underground on atour of the Red Hill Mine.
Cost: Adult $37.50, child $17.
For more call (03) 5337 1100 or go to www.sovereignhill.com.au
11.Experience the sunset magic of the world's smallest penguin, the LittlePenguin, as they waddle ashore at Phillip Island Nature Park.
Some things money just can't buy, and this is one of those experiences.
For more go to www.penguins.org.au
12.The Otway Fly is a 600 metre long, 25 metre high elevated tree top walkascending at a gentle grade through a magnificent stand of temperaterainforest.
The Tree Top Walk is the world's longest and highest.
Cost: Adult $19.50, child $9, family $49.50.
For more, go to www.otwayfly.com or call 1800 300 477
13. Go for a picnic at Hanging Rock. The site at Woodend was made famous by Joan Lindsay's narrative Picnic at Hanging Rock, about the disappearance of a group of local school girls in 1900.
But beyond the spookiness, the rock is said to be the best example of a volcanic plug in the world.
For more call 1800 244 711 or go to www.hangingrock.infoSouth Australia
14. South Australia's acclaimed wine industry is on display under one cellar door at the National Wine Centre.
Enjoy an extensive range of wine-tasting packages, allowing you to sample some of Australia's rarest vintages.
Cost: Standard tastings from $5.
For more, go to www.wineaustralia.com.au/exhibition/wine
15. Go loopy in Adelaide. Eat by the fountain at Victoria Square and shop at the shopping hub in Rundle Mall.
For more go to www.adelaidemetro.com.au
16. There's something terribly romantic about taking a tram to the beach - a certain old world charm sets the mood as you make your way to Adelaide's beachside gem, Glenelg, a 20-minute tram ride from the city.
Cost: Adults $4.20, or $8 for a day trip.
For more, go to www.adelaidemetro.com.au
17. Chocoholics, this will feel like you've died and gone to heaven.
Whatever you do, don't miss the opportunity to experience a tour and tasting of South Australia's iconic Haigh's chocolates.
For more, go to www.haighschocolates.com.au
18. Cricket tragics will love to visit the world's most picturesque cricket ground and take in the sporting history exhibited at the Adelaide Oval Museum and the Sir Donald Bradman Collection.
For more, go to www.cricketsa.com.au
19. Discover the vibrancy and diversity of indigenous culture at the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, Tanyanda.
It's free entry into the gallery every day.
And you can catch a didgeridoo performance or traditional Torres Straight Islander dance for just $5, or $3 for concession entries.
For more go to www.tandanya.com.au/tours.asp
20. And while you're in the mood to learn more about Australian history, don't miss the largest collection of Aboriginal artefacts in the world at the South Australian Museum. Entry is free.
For more, go to www.samuseum.sa.gov.au
21. Adelaide has some stunning heritage buildings, none less than the town hall. Pay a visit to this city landmark building, steeped in history and a magnificent architectural wonder.
For more go to www.cityofadelaide.com.au
22. Only 20 minutes outside of the CBD, you'll find the historic Magill Estate Winery. Take part in a 50-minute tour to relive the grandeur of the historic Penfold label, followed by a tutored wine tasting of Penfold's premium wines.
23. Home to 100 species of birds and dozens of native mammals, Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary claims it is the best place on earth to see the elusive platypus in the wild at sunset.
Cost: Free admission with a range of excellent special walks and attractions for around $12-$15.
For more, go to www.warrawong.com
24. Adelaide's famous Central Market is arguably the best fresh food market in Australia.
Tours cost $35 per person.
For more, go to www.topfoodandwinetours.com.au
25. Trying to justify a visit to the Barossa Valley that will wash with the kids? A must for them is a visit to the world famous Whispering Wall.
For more, go to http://www.southaustralia.com/9001624.aspx