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How to 'Staycation' this Summer.

Whether you've missed out on booking that dream holiday, are limited with your budget or you've got to go to work throughout peak holiday season, we have some brilliant ideas about ways you can spend your holidays and capitalise on those occassional days off. 1. The Picnic.

If you're strapped for time off and you really don't feel like doing a great deal (aside from catching up with the laundry) on your day off, getting your better half / friends / family together for a spontaneous picnic can be a great way to catch up while grazing on some seriously good food. We recommend finding a local park that has plenty of shade, packing a picnic blanket (or a couple of old towels will do), a home packed picnic basket (or laundry basket) filled with cheese, fruits, health lean cold cuts, dips and vegie sticks as well as a couple of paper plates and cutlery. Throw in some ice cold infused water (with fruit, that is), some cups and you're all set for a great day! 2. The Camp.

If you can't quite bear the thought of two weeks without your creature comforts, a couple of days in the great outdoors can be an excellent alternative. You won't need to pack as many items as you would with a full blown camping kit. We reccommend pitching your tent at a fabulous, cheap as chips camp site such as Coledale Camping Reserve, right on the beach. They have all the amenities you will need to have an enjoyable and safe trip. This beach is also great if you have small children in tow as there is an abundance of great parks, rockpools to explore, fish and chips down the road and of course - plenty of icecreams to be had. For the adults, theres a brilliant pub down the road: The Scarborough Hotel, which boasts gorgeous, panoramic vies of the coast line as you enjoy a cold bevvie or two. Visit their site for reservations:

(Above: The Scarborough Hotel, Wollongong)

3. The Road trip. We recommend this one if you have a little more time up your sleeve. A cruisy trip up north can be exactly what your soul needs to feel refreshed after a long year sitting behind the office desk! Sydney to Hunter Valley is about a 2.5 hour drive and is a good chance to stock up on all your gourmet snacks such as olives, cheese, wine and chocolates for the trip up. Stop in at Nana Kerrs Organic Restaurant and enjoy picturesque views of a wine Vineyard. If you have more time, head to the Hunter Valley Gardens for a wander around and check out the stunning displays on offer. After enjoying a nice break from driving, hit the road again from Hunter Valley to Port Stephens which would take approximately 1.5 hours. Port Stephens has some excellent things to do including horseback riding, whale watching, snorkelling or diving, fishing and even go-karting! If you are going to stay the night, we would highly reccommend The Anchorage. It's absolutely gorgeous.

(Above: The Anchorage Port Stephens. Below: The Hunter Valley Gardens)

For the final leg of the trip, a 2.5 hour journey is required to reach Port Macquarie from Port Stephens. Here, you can go camel riding on the beach, go on walking trails for a bit of cardio, visit the Aqua Park or Koala Hospital and so much more! We reccommend spending the whole day here as there is just so much to see and do.

4. The Day trip.

If you only have a day off, heading to the Blue Mountains is our suggestion. Stop off at Glenbrook and hit up Cafe 2753 for a spot of breakky and for amazing coffee! Next, check out the pretty town of Leura. Vintage and Antique lovers will truly enjoy the quiry nature of this little township. Art Deco buildings of the 40's still stand and are worth taking a look at too. Keep on driving util you hit the Blue Mountains for some sight seeing fun at Scenic World. The Scenic Railway is not for the faint hearted, don't say we didn't warn you.

5. The Beach day.

Hit a beach, any beach for some free fun in the sun. Little Bay, Bronte and Towradgi are our top 3 beaches.

6. The Fitness Retreat.

(FF Member & Miss Australia Contestant Melissa Arndell stretches it all out at the Club!)

Head on over to Fitness Forum Health Club for a fitness session. Be sure to stretch before and after your session. If you're feeling like really loosening up, we reccommend you speak with Shayne who specialises in this area. After your time in the gym; head home for a nice, warm bath with Epsom Salts to ease muscle aches and joint inflammation as well as de-stress and detoxify the body. You can also pop cold cucumbers over the eyes to de-puff and soothe tired eyes. We hope you enjoyed our Staycation guide and we look forward to hearing any suggestions that you may have for future editions of the 'Staycation' blog segment.

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