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  • The 10 Best Weekend Getaways from Sydney

    January 17, 2024 8 min read

    The 10 Best Weekend Getaways from Sydney

    The 10 Best Hikes and Walks in NSW

    Written for Auski by Pink Lemonade Social

    City dwellers occasionally need a weekend escape, even in Sydney, one of the world's most beautiful cities with a plenty of interesting sights, activities and things to do. Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives for weekend getaways within a short drive from Sydney's hustle and bustle.

    Situated close to the city are designated World Heritage Sites, charming little towns, sun-drenched beaches, verdant valleys, mountain tops, and wilderness regions. Families, couples and solo adventurers can find a variety of inexpensive weekend getaway options that will distract them from the 9-5 blues. Our selection of the best weekend getaways from Sydney may serve as inspiration for whatever kind of travel plans you may have, including quick getaways for singles, romantic weekend getaways, epic road trips, and mini-vacations.

    1. The Blue Mountains, NSW

    Some individuals will enjoy travelling through the gum trees of the Blue Mountains bringing them a peaceful and solitary experience. Some will enjoy scaling mountains and spontaneously organising expeditions with other adventurers to locate waterfalls, swimming holes, and scenic vistas. You can escape Sydney's bustle and enjoy the breathtaking mountain views at the Blue Mountains, which make for the perfect weekend getaway. Situated near the city, this World Heritage-listed location is well-known for its waterfalls, cliffs, and eucalyptus woodlands. If you're coming during the warmer months, don't forget your bathing suit! There are several of swimming holes in the area where you can unwind after a tiring day of touring. Couples can spend quality time together in cosy cottages beside a blazing fire throughout the winter, when there's even a chance of snowfall.

    The Blue Mountains provide a wealth of interesting places to visit. Discover the eucalyptus-scented air, marvel at the renowned Three Sisters rock pinnacles cloaked in mist, and explore the extensive network of trails within the breathtaking Blue Mountains National Park. You can also experience cool-climate plants at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden. Discovering the attractions of the neighbouring towns is equally rewarding. Explore charming alpine towns featuring shops, galleries, and tea rooms. For a unique perspective, ride the world's steepest railway through an old rainforest or take the Scenic World Skyway or Scenic Cableway, which both have glass floors, to soar across the valley.

    Blue Mountains NSW, Best Getaways from Sydney

    Port Macquarie, NSW

    2. Port Macquarie, NSW

    The finest things about Port Macquarie for a weekend getaway include the water activities, wildlife, beaches, and bushwalking. This well-liked holiday spot is around four hours north of Sydney. Lovely beaches, such as Flynn's, Nobby's, and Shelly Beaches, are located to the north and south of the thriving little town. Take a camel ride at the breathtaking Lighthouse Beach, which seems to continue on forever. If you're short on time or travelling with children, the nine-kilometre Port Macquarie Coastal Walk in Sea Acres National Park is an excellent opportunity to view the coastline. It can be broken up into several small sections. For a breathtaking view of the region, make the quick trek to Tacking Point Lighthouse or ascend North Brother Mountain to Laurieton Lookout in Dooragan National Park. Port Macquarie is home to one of the largest native koala populations on the Eastern Seaboard. Discovering the Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail and gazing upon the cute Australian animals at the Koala Hospital will delight visitors.

    3. Byron Bay, NSW

    Byron Bay is so beloved that it makes it onto this list of weekend getaways even though it's a bit of a drive from Sydney. Byron Bay is a popular seaside town that sees a large influx of visitors each year. It is situated in New South Wales' northeastern region, close to the border with Queensland, making it a popular day trip from Brisbane or the Gold Coast. Because there are so many charming towns and natural wonders close by, Byron Bay is the perfect place to go for a brief vacay. It should come as no surprise that Byron Bay is home to a multitude of excellent beaches. In addition, you can visit the Hinterland to take in some absolutely stunning landscape. In Byron Bay, bodyboarding, surfing, and beachside activities are all quite popular. This famous beach is the perfect place to just unwind and relax. Byron also has shopping, upscale dining, and resorts.

    Byron Bay NSW, Best Getaways from Sydney

    NSW Central Coast

    4. The NSW Central Coast

    The New South Wales Central Coast is a beautiful playground located directly outside Sydney's front door and a beach-lovers delight. This beachfront shoreline is just an hour's drive from Sydney and makes for one of the best day excursions out of the city. The culinary scene on the Central Coast is continually expanding and highly regarded. Well worth the travel are the restaurants and cafés in Long Jetty, Avoca, Terrigal, and Woy Woy, with some very talented young chefs, excellent restorations, and distinctive locations. Gosford functions as the main hub on the Central Coast. Still, most weekend travellers base themselves at one of the little beach towns along the Central Coast. The Entrance, Avoca Beach and Terrigal Beach are the most well-known beaches, and among the most popular activities are water sports. You can go kayaking along the shore, swim, fish, or surf the waves. Avoca Beach's focal point is a seductive curve of sand and ocean surrounded by Norfolk pines. Take a surf lesson, go scuba diving near the wreckage of the former HMAS Adelaide, or just have fun in the waves. The beaches near The Entrance are among the most beautiful on the Central Coast; two of the most well-liked are Shelly and Bateau Bay. Terrigal also boasts a gorgeous beach with golden sand and a little rock pool. Take a stroll along the eight-kilometre Bouddi Coastal Walk to see wildlife, forests, and beaches worn smooth by the sea.

    5. Jervis Bay & the South Coast

    It takes two hours to go to the South Coast, an adventure playground, from Sydney. Fresh seafood, locally produced goods, and a thriving culinary scene are just a few of the possibilities available for those who would prefer to decompress physically. There are also plenty of spots for surfing, cliff climbing, and hiking along the coast. Most Sydneysiders agree that some of the best beaches in the state can be found on the South Coast, especially in the Shoalhaven area. Actually, the shimmering Hyams Beach, some three hours south of Sydney and near Jervis Bay, is one of Australia's most beautiful beaches. This is the perfect place for a weekend getaway if you want to cool off in smooth, vivid blue water and enjoy the sun on what are supposedly the world's whitest beaches on a hot summer's day. But Hyams isn't the only amazing stretch of coastline. Murrays Beach, Huskisson, and Steamers Beach are further great choices. There are hiking trails slicing through the surrounding bushland in Booderee National Park. Popular activities here include kayaking, scuba diving at Jervis Bay Marine Park, fishing, boating, stand-up paddleboarding, and dolphin and whale watching tours.

    Jervis Bay, Best Getaways in NSW
    Jervis Bay, Best Getaways in Sydney

    Hunter Valley NSW
    Hunter Valley, Best Getaways in NSW

    6. The Hunter Valley

    The Hunter Valley has great street cred in the Australian and international wine industries because its proud farmers and winemakers have been squeezing the most flavour out of grapes for over 180 years. This stunning NSW wine area is well worth visiting since it has lots of hot air ballooning, cheese, and really good food to salivate over. A little over two hours' drive north of Sydney is the Hunter Valley, a haven for foodies. The oldest grape-growing region in Australia also provides farm-fresh produce for multi-course tasting menus at high-end restaurants. Specialties from the area include olives, aromatic oils, fresh-from-the-hive honey, chocolates, cheeses, and chutneys. You can work off all the culinary indulgences by hiking the lovely trails in the nearby national parks, Barrington Tops and Wollemi. The Hunter Valley also offers a number of family-friendly activities. Enjoy the natural beauty of the Hunter Valley Gardens, ride a bike along quiet country roads, and visit the Hunter Valley Zoo to feed kangaroos. Active couples can play a few games of tennis or golf and then finish their trip by relaxing at one of the posh day spas nearby.

    7. Kangaroo Valley, Southern Highlands

    Travelling two hours to the southwest of Sydney, you’ll find the perfect weekend escape for city people in need of a change of scenery. Kangaroo Valley, a charming Southern Highlands town, is bordered by emerald escarpments on three sides and is home to farms and rolling green fields without traffic signals. In addition, there's the one-lane Hampden Bridge, constructed in the late 1800s. Past those locations lie wilderness areas boasting waterfalls, hiking paths, and an abundance of animals, including, yes, kangaroos. Don't forget to visit Morton National Park and the famous Fitzroy Falls. In addition, you can go wombat spotting, kayaking along the Kangaroo River, and equestrian riding. This location will also appeal to foodies. Enjoy a freshly made pie from the well-known Kangaroo Valley Pie Shop, browse the farmers market for fresh produce, and have afternoon tea in one of the town's quaint tearooms.

    Fitzroy Falls, Morton National Park, Kangaroo Valley
    Hampden Bridge, Kangaroo Valley

    Coffs Harbour

    8. Coffs Harbour

    If you have a long weekend planned, the 5.5-hour trip north of Sydney to Coffs Harbour is well worth it. Families in particular won't have any problem finding activities here. Savour the breathtaking beaches, interact closely with adorable aquatic life at the Dolphin Conservation Park, or stroll along the beautiful walking trails at the Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve. Swimming, kayaking, fishing, surfing, and swimming are among other popular activities. Additionally, you can look for migratory whales from May through November. For breathtaking views of the ocean and forests, visit the Forest Sky Pier. A visit to the well-known Big Banana Fun Park would not be complete without stopping for a photo op. The kids are going to love the water park, rides, and banana-themed cakes.

    9. Port Stephens

    At Port Stephens, the water reigns supreme. Ribbing volcanic headlands enclose a stunning bay with turquoise waters and white beaches. Less than three hours north of Sydney, this area boasts more than twenty stunning beaches where you can throw down your towel. In addition to being a popular spot for swimming, surfing, paddleboarding, kayaking, and boating, this is one of Australia's best fishing spots. Dolphins and whales also frequent the bay on a regular basis. Take a tour to witness them up close and observe them in action. Take a walk on the Tomaree Head Summit Walk for breathtaking views of the Port Stephens shoreline, or ride down the largest dunes in the Southern Hemisphere to discover pristine pockets of natural vegetation.

    Port Stephens, NSW, Best Getaways from Sydney

    Snowy Mountains, NSW

    10. The Snowy Mountains

    Whether it's summer, winter, spring, or autumn, the Snowy Mountains are mostly known for outdoor activities, any time of the year. This weekend hideaway is perfect for active individuals, families and couples. The Snowy Mountains are home to some of Australia's best ski resorts, where visitors can snowboard or ski, create snow angels, or simply curl up by a crackling fire. Popular non-wintertime activities in the Snowy Mountains include mountain biking along the massive Snowy River, trekking through Kosciuszko National Park, and trout fishing in the stunning lakes and streams of the region. Do you wish to travel in comfort while taking in the wild alpine scenery? Travel the 108-kilometer Kosciuszko Alpine Way, which links Canberra and Albury and is a stunning self-drive route.

    New South Wales is known for many attractions and sights, but we recommend you change it up and set off on one of these incredible hikes through NSW and experience the state as you've never seen before.

    See you out on the trails! ✌🏻

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