2019 is officially the year of the experience gift, with more and more of us ditching traditional presents (and the crowded shopping centres, carpark queues and waves of panic that come along with them) in favour of more meaningful experiences with our loved ones as Christmas gifts.
In fact, a recent USA study found that some 33 per cent of Christmas shoppers were planning on purchasing an experience gift this year. And the number is even higher among millennials, with 46 per cent choosing memories over physical gifts these holidays.
So, now we’ve ditched that mountain of wrapping paper for good, now what? Here are our five best experience gifts for two, whether for you and your partner, your best mate or your parents.
Who doesn’t love watching the sun rise over wine fields? Ok, so maybe it depends on how much of the local vino you enjoyed the night before, but still, floating high above some of this country’s most stunning landscapes in a hot-air balloon is one of those true pinch-me moments that needs to be experienced to be believed.
And these epic experiences are often best shared with someone special - and someone to grab a great snap of you with the rolling hills in the background! A great surprise to show your mum how much you appreciate her or even a great date idea for your partner.
RedBalloon has hot-air ballooning experiences over the Hunter Valley in NSW, Victoria’s Yarra Valley, or the Barossa in South Australia, with prices starting at just $558 for two.
2. Get crafty
Yep, you and your besties can have your very own moments, with a Paint Your Date class in Queensland. Or if landscapes are more their scene (see what we did there?), book them into a watercolour class. And the best part? Almost all of them are paired with wine, which should help get those creative juices flowing.
3. Glamp it up
The major problem with camping with your special someone is, of course, the whole camping part. Wrestling a tent in the dark, inflating an impossibly uncomfortable air mattress and squabbling with your partner about how to get the gas oven to light does not equal a relaxing weekend away.
But that’s where glamping comes in, which offers all the back-to-nature beauty of a regular camping trip, only with five-star tents, luxury bedding and easy access to kitchen facilities. And better yet, it’s all set-up and waiting for you when you arrive - more time to sit back, relax and enjoy the good company.
Have you got a thrill seeker in your life? We’ve got you covered. How does a pulse-quickening jet boat ride across Sydney Harbour sound? Or canyoning down waterfalls before leaping off rocks into natural pools? Or a day at the racetrack driving a real rally car? In a land as vast and varied as Australia, your adventure options to spoil your bestie, boss or bae are pretty much unlimited.
Gift your parents a ticket to Melbourne Zoo, or Taronga in Sydney. Both offer an amazing Roar ’n’ Snore package, where you can bed down with the animals overnight, drifting off to sleep to the sounds of the jungle (or the forest, ocean or desert, depending on which animals you’re closest to). Guided behind-the-scenes tours, gourmet meals and the ability to get up close and personal with the animals make this experience a dream come true for any animal lover.
For more gift inspiration visit www.redballoon.com.au