Hotel rooms, long lunches, and constant invitations to explore a different city: travelling for business sounds a lot like a holiday. But as with any office job, it can also be exhausting, stressful and sometimes lonely.

Like a brisk walk or lazy lunch in the park breaks up the office hours, utilising your spare time on a business trip to rest and recharge can work wonders.

It’s all about knowing where to go. Here’s a cheat-sheet for making the most of a few spare hours around Australia.

Sydney

Tackling the endless options of Sydney on a short stop can be daunting – and time-consuming – so plan ahead. Potts Point is a great, central cul-de-sac of daytime eating options, including Macleay St Deli, The Deli Potts Point or The Farm Wholefoods. A short stroll across to Arthur McElhone Reserve at Elizabeth Bay provides an excellent vantage point to put down the phone and while away the time with some spectacular harbour views.

Venturing inland and Enmore has more than enough attractions to sate the business traveller’s palate. Flying Tong is a no-frills eatery serving up peerless Korean fried chicken, and just 100 metres down the road you’ll find The Gretz, a stylish neighbourhood bar featuring a short seafood-centric menu and interesting cocktails. For those needing to keep a clear head, return to the hotel via Cow and the Moon, Enmore’s award-winning gelato bar.

Perth

No matter where you find yourself in Perth with a moment to yourself, make a beeline for Northbridge. Depending on your timeframe, try the Perth Cultural Centre, a one-stop shop for eating, drinking and absorbing a few spare hours. Some of Australia’s finest Indigenous art is on display at the Art Gallery of WA, while the year-round roster of exhibitions and cultural events at Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA) is a reliable visit. There you’ll also find PICA Bar, a versatile venue good for breakfast or, if later in the evening, cocktails.

The peckish should seek out the Mechanics’ Institute on William Street for a Flipside burger and a craft beer while taking in city skyline from the rooftop terrace. If your flight isn’t until the morning, head around the corner to Lot Twenty, which serves beers, cocktails, and in-house sodas, as well as brisket, burgers, bar snacks and sandwiches until 11.30pm. Just in time to get yourself to bed at a reasonable hour.

Brisbane

The great thing about visiting a gallery is that even a short time exploring can be as revitalising as a day-trip. In Brisbane, zip around the Gallery of Modern Art at South Bank before grabbing a table at GOMA Restaurant, the venue’s own produce-driven restaurant and attraction in its own right.

For somewhere that works as both an ideal location for a private meal or low-key business meeting, Montrachet in Paddington does classy French cuisine and stellar service. Current owners Shannon Kellam and Clare Wallace have maintained the classic French brasserie’s high standards since taking over from founder Thierry Galichet in 2015.

Don’t even have an hour to spare? Male business travellers in need of a refresh can duck out to Esquire Male Grooming in Tattersall’s Arcade for a 30-minute open blade shave.

Adelaide

A free afternoon in Adelaide can easily be accounted for with a visit to The Central Market, where you can graze on a heaving array of fresh produce, cured meats and cheeses. The Grind @ Central does a good coffee, you can grab something sweet at bakery Dough, or just take a moment to wander around and absorb the goings on away from the office.

A failsafe option for dinner is Osteria Oggi, a contemporary Italian eatery from restaurateur Simon Kardachi. Weekends are booked out a fortnight in advance, but walk-ins can be catered for around the large concrete bar. If you know you’ll be in town and requiring a private meeting spot, there’s also a hideaway split-level room that doubles as a fully functional cellar.

Melbourne

The city’s new go-to work and brunch spot is Higher Ground, a vaulted-ceiling, old warehouse-style space down by Southern Cross Station, where you can check emails over a light meal of steamed fish or charcuterie small plate. If you’re more central and time-poor, head to Agathé Pâtisserie Petite, a hole-in-the-wall patisserie in Royal Arcade serving authentic French pastries.

Reliable dining options include Andrew McConnell’s slick pan-Asian offering Supernormal, on Flinders Lane; basement hideout Il Solito Posto; Cumulus Inc; and Kirk’s Wine Bar, a cosy venue serving top-notch sharing plates, conveniently located on the corner of Hardware Lane and Little Bourke Street in the CBD.

For a nightcap, head to The Elysian Whisky Bar or Good Heavens, a rooftop bar on Bourke Street. And if at nightfall you simply require a moment to yourself, wind down in the lowlight of Gertrude Street bar The Everleigh and let their bartenders take care of the remaining day’s business.

This article is presented in partnership with Quest Apartment Hotels.

Book a room now for your next business trip.