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Real Aussie Christmas breaks – from the kitchen, crowds and inlaws

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Western Australia Horse Riding Gold Coast International Hotel Sydney Christmas Cruise

Shopping + parties + in-laws = sore feet, hangovers and stress. Wouldn’t it be nice to escape the usual Christmas grind and do something different? Go three wise men trekking, learn to cook a BBQ feast and follow the stars for a novel Noel.

Yule have a wise old time in the Aussie bush on a horse riding tour near Perth, seeing native birds, wallabies and kangaroos — not quite Bethlehem, but spectacular all the same, even more so with a gourmet picnic. If you want to stay on Christmas Day, the Duxton Hotel Perth is having a fully catered lunch or dinner complete with turkey, brandy custard and all the trimmings.

Which star to follow? It doesn’t matter, when they’re all so beautiful when seen on an Aussie Night Safari near the Gold Coast at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Start off with a 3-course Aussie feed, then join a park ranger as they take you for a spotlight walk to see nocturnal animals, such as dingos and crocodiles. Get some sunshine at the Patio Seafood Buffet Restaurant inside the Gold Coast International Hotel, which is running a Christmas Day lunch.

No need for doing the dishes after Chrissie lunch when you opt for a cruise on Sydney Harbour, complete with an extensive Seafood and carvery Christmas buffet and dessert. Get into the spirit with the Christmas music and bon-bons to pop, the red man himself may even dock his reindeer. Come back to the Quay West Suites Sydney and enjoy the harbour views again, this time from your room — then work off that pudding with a swan around the pool.

Ask anyone but an American – or an Aussie film star with a big knife and stapled back face – and they’ll tell you that cooking a hot Aussie Christmas dinner requires a little more skill and effort than knowing how to throw a prawn on the hotplate. But just how do you cook a turkey to perfection on a BBQ? Learn the answer to one of life’s greatest mysteries and more at a BBQ Christmas Feast Class in St Kilda, Melbourne. Your experienced chef describes how to match wine and use BBQ tools, so you can try out your skills. And what goes best with a barbie? The beach of course! Stay at the Urban St Kilda, just a 5 minute waddle from the beach.

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