We’re heading into the European autumn, when thrifty Aussies score in the travel sales and fly north. And why not? The queues at the Louvre are shortening, its quicker to buy a gelato, and the Biergartens are just getting geared up for Oktoberfest.

It’s got everything going on – except you. Because you’re broker than a broken thing with no money. Sigh.

But wait, you can lose the FOMO! There’s hope for you yet, and it’s closer to home than you think. With your significant other and a little imagination, the following staycay ideas are the next best thing to sliced bruschetta.

We’ve looked to the hills no further than a 90-minute radius of Brisbane for this one, namely Mt Tamborine on the way to the Gold Coast and the Maleny-Montville region near the Sunshine Coast.

Both hilltop ’hoods have lower temperatures than you would usually find in southeast Queensland which is why you’ll find the tops of these mountains are dotted with vineyards, fromageries and European-themed restaurants.

There’s also some hilly bushwalks you can do that are nothing like the Pyrenees, but the views are spectacular all the same. You’ll just have to use your imagination – and the best thing is, it’s free.

FRANCE

France_travelsales_230817Ah, Paris. It’s full of sexy French people with smouldering eyes and languid poses, mouldy cheese, great wine, and buttery pastries. The French are deeply cultured, surprisingly thin and unafraid to say non.

So if you’re going to fake going to France because you couldn’t afford the travel sales, you’re going to have to be all of these things and more. The subject of your affection will love you for it and your whole weekend will have a Serge-Gainsbourg-meets-Brigitte-Bardot intensity to it. Or not. We can only make suggestions. It’s up to you to bring your game face.

Here’s a little something to get you in the mood:

Our staycay suggestions?

STAY | Bungunyah Manor Resort, Mt Tamborine

DINE | Jacques Manor Restaurant, Mt Tamborine

WALK | Joalah Circuit (4.2km)

ITALY

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Ah, Italy. It’s a beautiful, old-world country with more UNESCO heritage sites than any other nation, so that’s going to be hard to fake, right? Wrong. Granted, it’s hard to imagine ancient relics with the grandeur of the Colosseum or the goofiness of the Leaning Tower of Pisa on Mt Tamborine, but we’re asking for a little imagination here.

As you gaze over small-lot farms of avocados, kiwifruit and grape vines, if you squint just a little, you could be on Monte Subasio looking over patchwork valleys bathed in gentle Umbrian light. Just try it. Italy is said to produce more wine than anywhere else in the world. Mt Tamborine is home to seven wineries. See? Close.

To really get the Italy feels, try watching this before you go:

Our staycay suggestions?

STAY | Mountain Sanctuary Bed and Breakfast,  Mt Tamborine

DINE | Belvedere Restaurant on Main, Mt Tamborine

WALK | Cameron Falls Circuit (2.6km)

GERMANY

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Ah, Germany. You’re as tightly wound as a cuckoo clock, and as beautiful as ein junger Mann in  Lederhosen. Not only do you serve highly alcoholic beer in giant glasses, often with breakfast, you enshrine the purity of your amber fluid in legislation. Das ist sehr gut, Germany.

To fake being in Germany because you couldn’t raise the Deutschmarks for the travel sales, you will have to cultivate Gemütlichkeit. No, it’s not brought on by eating too much sauerkraut. Gemütlichkeit is to Germans what hygge is to the Danes: a state of being as snug as a bug in a rug, with a bobble beanie, knitted socks and a cup of steaming hot chocolate to boot.

The Germans cop a lot of flak for the way their language sounds, but a country that comes up with words like schnitzel and dirndl and Gemütlichkeit has a lot going for it, IMHO.

Before you go, you should learn some German sayings so people won’t think you have tomatoes on your eyes (trust me, it will make sense when you watch the video):

Our staycay suggestions?

STAY |  King Ludwig’s Cottage, Maleny

DINE | King Ludwig’s German Restaurant, Maleny

WALK | Kondalilla Falls circuit (4.7km)

IRELAND

Ireland_travelsales_230817

Ah, Ireland. Perennially green, permanently damp, full of contradictions. And that’s just the people.
The country itself is one beautiful bed of peat and moss with, oh, about a gazillion pubs thrown in. Public houses are fewer in the Montville-Maleny-Mapleton region but a few very good ones can still be found. And from glen to glen, the views across to the Glasshouse Mountain from the ridge at Maleny are every bit as beautiful as those of the Emerald Isle.

And just so you don’t feel too bad about missing out on the travel sales, here’s some Irish humour:

Our staycay suggestions?

STAY |  Tranquil Park Resort, Maleny

DINE |  Patrick’s Restaurant, Maleny 

WALK | Wompoo Circuit, Mapleton Falls (1.3km) and Mapleton Falls lookout (50m)

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