Cherry Cottage in Leura, Blue Mountains

Cherry Cottage is a holiday rental in Leura, one of the prettiest towns in the Blue Mountains. Cosy, tranquil and well equipped, the cottage is situated in a picturesque part of the town, with Leura’s galleries, shops, cafes and restaurants a brisk 10-minute walk away.

There are three bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms, as well as a fireplace, central heating, modern kitchen, entertainment system and free WiFi. The hosts are friendly, efficient and provide great local area tips.

The biggest perk, however, is the daybed on the large decked balcony, which overlooks the stunning gardens – a perfect position for a read, wine or nap (or all of the above in one sitting).

Cherry Cottage is around 90 minutes drive from Sydney and you can stay from $295 per night – excellent value given the quality and location of the cottage.

Book through Stayz (where it has near perfect reviews) or Airbnb.

Mornington Peninsula, Victoria – Fine Food, Wine, Beaches and More

An easy one hour drive from Melbourne CBD (15 minutes longer if coming from the airport), Mornington Peninsula is a compact area with a diverse array of activities, ticking lots of boxes for a perfect holiday destination – beautiful beaches, renowned restaurants and vineyards, a thriving art scene, thermal springs, pristine national parks and sporting and adventure activities for those that can muster the energy. My first home swap experience exceeded expectations and landed us in Arthurs Seat, perched on a hilltop with stunning views of Port Phillip Bay. A well-positioned base for exploring the area, we cracked through a lot of the recommendations kindly and expertly put together by our host. View my best food, wine and other picks from the area. Visit Mornington Peninsula.

Love Home Swap – Save on Travel

A friend told me about the Love Home Swap website (also an app) a while ago and I am kicking myself that I didn’t get onto it sooner.

Love Home Swap is a site where you put your home up to swap with others around the world, which means you can save a lot of money when you travel.

It’s not limited to swapping houses at the same time though. You can also earn points by having someone stay in your home while you’re away and use those points for future holidays. There is also the option to rent someone’s home.

The properties range from studio apartments to grand mansions so there is something for everyone. It’s also reassuring having a stranger stay in your home if you’re staying in theirs.

There is a membership fee but they often and are currently running a 2 week trial period if you join in October. See how it works.

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