We chose our list based on a few important criteria:
- Cheap to fly to
- Under 4 hours of travel time
- Lots of budget-friendly entertainment options
- Good range of affordable hotels
- Damn nice
So if you’re on a budget, but still want to head somewhere special with your partner, here are our top picks for the best cheap weekend getaways.
What are the best domestic cheap weekend getaways?
1. Waiheke Island
Waiheke Island kinda has it all, a gorgeous shoreline that is perfect for swimming and sunbathing in the summer, plenty of parkland for hiking, biking and horseriding, and beautiful wineries to wine and dine in.
There are a good range of budget or mid-range hotels on the island, but you can also choose to stay in Auckland and spend your days on the island instead.
Best domestic cheap weekend getaway for: wining and dining
We know this doesn’t scream BUDGET GETAWAY but it does pack a punch in terms of romance, and actually, there are definitely ways to keep your weekend getaway in Queenstown affordable.
As a huge backpacker destination, Queenstown has a range of hotels that cater to tighter budgets, but don’t make you sleep in a room with 6 other people (and that inexplicably opens a can of tuna in the bedroom). In terms of cheaper activities, horseriding in Glenorchy is really affordable and romantic, as is walking and hiking around the hills of Queenstown.
Best domestic cheap weekend getaway for: hiking
Lovely Nelson manages to tick all the boxes: it’s affordable, it’s beautiful, and it’s romantic. The incredible Abel Tasman National Park is nearby, offering views of turquoise waters, golden beaches, and emerald forests. Then there are the stunning vineyards of the Marlborough Region, which produces some of NZ’s finest wines.
Nelson itself is small and delightful, with friendly pubs, trendy oyster bars, and fine dining restaurants available for whatever type of romantic evening you’re after.
Best domestic cheap weekend getaway for: beaches and oysters
Taupo is perfect for a couple who love the outdoors, because there are tons of water activities available in the summer, as well as opportunities for skiing in winter. You can also hike in the Tongariro National Park all year round.
Beyond that, Taupo is a cute little town whose bars and restaurants cluster on the lakeshore, meaning every evening you’ll be able to have dinner and drinks whilst watching the sun set over the water.
Best domestic cheap weekend getaway for: water sports and activities
What are the best international cheap weekend getaways?
Australia’s City of Culture is a brilliant weekend getaway destination for romancing couples. There are tons of events on throughout the year, like the Moomba Festival, the Melbourne Comedy Festival, and Summer Night Markets.
You can find some of the best restaurants in Australia here, from the super duper fancy Attica, to budget-friendly and no-frills restaurants like Soi 38 and La Tortilleria. And for the those truly looking for something special, why not ascend the stairs and watch the sun go down at some of Melbourne’s most stunning rooftop bars.
Best international cheap weekend getaway for: dining and cultural events
6. Gold Coast
The Gold Coast may seem like a bit of an expeezy option, but it doesn’t have to be. There are lots of cheap hotel deals to be found along the coast, especially if you choose to stay a little further out of Surfer’s Paradise. There is also a huge range of local nightlife options that don’t hike up the prices like they do in Surfer’s.
But the real draw here is the coastline, and as the sun and climate is so uber reliable in this part of the world all you have to do to have fun for free here is bring a beach towel and some sunscreen. To amp up the romance, head to Burleigh Heads before sunset, grab a blanket, a bottle of wine, and some fish and chips, and watch the sun go down.
Best international cheap weekend getaway for: nightlife
7. Cook Islands
Paradise is weirdly not as expensive as you’d think: you can often get super cheap flights to Rarotonga and be lolling on a white-sand beach and snorkelling in crystal clear waters in no time.
The Cook Islands also operates on NZ dollars, so you won’t lose money on the exchange. We can also help you save on the most expensive aspect of any weekend trip: the accommodation. Search for cheap hotels in Rarotonga with yours truly.
Best international cheap weekend getaway for: beaches
Another dreamy destination in Oceania is Fiji, and with an easy 3 hour flight time, it makes for a great weekender desto. The key here, is stick to exploring the islands closest Viti Levu, partially to keep to a budget, but partially to make the most of your few days away. Keep in mind too, that Fiji has a vaunted reputation for snorkelling sites, and that’s a great free activity to indulge in.
There are also plenty of budget and mid-range hotels on this main island that offer amenities like pools and organising day trips. And then just let the scenery and coastline of Fiji do the rest.
Best international cheap weekend getaway for: snorkelling