The Queen’s Birthday is around the corner. What?! That means we’re nearly half way through the year already. Time to start ticking things off the 2018 bucket list.

If a weekend escape is on your list, then the Queen’s Birthday long weekend is the ideal time to hit the road.

Here are our best suggestions for a weekend getaway.

Rutherglen, Victoria

293 km north of Melbourne | 3-hour drive

This seemingly unknown town should get more of a plug for all it offers, but perhaps that’s why it’s such a treat. Home to some of the most picturesque vistas – autumn/winter is the perfect time to visit the region.

Cycling enthusiasts adore Rutherglen and flock from all over the country to experience the road, mountain and rail trails – the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail is a popular one.

Boasting over 20 wineries, the Rutherglen region is best known for producing award-winning fortified wines; port, Muscat, and tokay.

The nearby town of Glenrowan is also worth a visit – where our most iconic outlaw Ned Kelly engaged in a final gun battle with the police before being captured.

Pick up your ride from any of the Melbourne car hire locations – you’ll enjoy the drive through country Victoria, and a long weekend break is all you’ll need to discover this hidden gem.

Canberra

286 km south of Sydney | 3.25-hour drive

Where better to celebrate the birthday of our Monarch than our glorious capital.

If you think Canberra is made up of parliaments and roundabouts, you clearly haven’t been paying attention. Over the last few years, our capital city has blossomed into a burgeoning metropolis full of to-dine-for restaurants, sublime hotels, and the most relaxing day spas.

Rumour also has it, the coffee scene here is giving Melbourne a run for its money.

If you are an outdoorsy type, there’s even an alpine range to keep you entertained! Situated in the Brindabella mountain range is the Corin Forest Alpine Resort, which sports the longest alpine slide in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Lost World Valley, Qld

196 km | 1.75-hour drive 

You’ll be forgiven for thinking it’s a scene out of a certain Spielberg blockbuster because the Lost World Valley is every bit as stunning as scenes from the film. Minus the dinosaurs.

This picturesque corner of Queensland’s Scenic Rim is simply spectacular. Home to prehistoric volcanoes, rain forest, and mountainous ranges as far as the eye can see. Here, it’s all about getting out in nature and being in the moment.

A 4WD would be particularly good for this weekend getaway, so choose from Thrifty’s large and pick it up from one of the many Brisbane car hire locations.

Riverland, South Australia

174 km | 2.5-hour drive north of Adelaide

Recharge your batteries on this idyllic South Australian getaway.

Explore Australia’s longest river, the Murray from sunrise to sunset, stopping in towns such as Paringa, Berri, Blanchetown, and Kingston-on-Murray for brunch, lunch, and afternoon treats.

Hot tip: free vehicle ferries operate 24/7 at Lyrup, Waikerie, Cadell, and Morgan.

The best way to experience this region is on a houseboat, which you can hire for the weekend. Your driver’s licence is all that’s required, and you’ll already have one of those on you if you’ve driven up in a Thrifty hire car from Adelaide, so the only decision you’ll need to make is choosing from the fleet of houseboats.

Bridgetown, Western Australia

257 km | 3-hour drive south of Perth

WA’s ‘winter capital’ is the perfect weekend getaway for Perthians to escape to for some cooler weather.

Bridgetown is a pretty sweet spot full of bushwalks, blues festivals, and beautiful restaurants to enjoy a nice, long lunch. A stop at The Cidery is required. Even if you don’t like cider, you’ll certainly love the surroundings.

Explore the region at your own pace and settle in for the night in one of the many quaint B&Bs available.