If you’re looking for a weekend getaway from Sydney, Australia, there are plenty of options. In fact, you can even find several small towns within a day’s drive of Sydney. The area around Sydney is known as the Illawarra Coast and boasts beautiful beaches and great surfing spots.
If you’re more interested in exploring the outdoors than lounging on the beach all day long, then consider visiting some of these less-known but equally beautiful locations.
A weekend trip from Sydney can be a great way to get out of the hustle and bustle of city life and explore the stunning natural beauty of Australia. From the pristine beaches of Bondi to the lush greenery of the Blue Mountains, there are many wonderful sights that can be experienced in just a few days.
Traveling by car is one of the most popular ways to take a weekend trip from Sydney due to its convenience and flexibility when it comes to planning an itinerary. Driving through the countryside allows you to enjoy spectacular views as well as stop off at interesting places along the way such as local markets and charming towns.
Alternatively, taking public transport such as trains or buses is another option for getting around while on your weekend away. This form of transport is usually more affordable than taking a car, but it does require careful scheduling if you want to make sure you get back in time on Sunday night before work on Monday morning!
Whichever mode of transportation you choose, taking a weekend trip from Sydney is an exciting adventure that can help you escape from everyday life and give you memories that will last a lifetime.
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Best Weekend Getaways from Sydney, Australia
Looking for some of the best weekend getaways from Sydney? Take in these experiences within a reasonable distance from Sydney.
1. The Royal National Park
The Royal National Park is a national park in Sydney, Australia, famous for its coastal scenery. It was established in 1879 and is the second oldest national park in the world after Yellowstone. The Royal National Park has a wide variety of wildlife including kangaroos, koalas, and wallabies.
The park itself is home to more than 300 different species of birds which include rocky shorebirds such as plovers and sandpipers; forest-dwelling birds like owls, parrots, cockatoos, and cuckoos; waterfowl such as spoonbills; shorebird species like terns or gulls as well as inland woodland birds such as ravens or currawongs.
The Royal National Park is also home to a wide variety of reptiles including snakes, lizards, and turtles. The park is also home to more than 300 different species of fish in its lakes and rivers.
See Related: Best Things to Do in the Great Barrier Reef
2. Port Stephens
If you’re looking for a great weekend getaway from Sydney, Port Stephens is an excellent choice. Located on the Tasman Sea just three hours north of Sydney and about an hour southeast of Newcastle, this coastal town has plenty of attractions including beaches and national parks as well as vineyards producing award-winning wines. The region’s mild climate makes it a great place to go fishing or boating.
If you’re up for some adventure during your visit to Port Stephens, be sure to check out 4WD tours that take visitors through the bushland surrounding the town, where they’ll see koalas in their natural habitat—and maybe even spot one doing something adorable!
See Related: Best Hostels in Sydney, Australia
3. The Hunter Valley
The Hunter Valley is a wine region in New South Wales, Australia. It’s also home to some of the most beautiful scenery and charming towns in the country. The best way to get there is by train, which runs from Sydney once per day (otherwise it’s a 90-minute drive from Central Station).
If you’re looking for the perfect weekend getaway from Sydney, Hunter Valley is it! In addition to enjoying all of the usual touristy things—wineries and restaurants galore—you can also hike through nature reserves like Wollombi Brook National Park or take a walking tour around Pokolbin for some local color.
If you want an activity with more adrenaline than just tasting wines (but still plenty of wine), try kiteboarding on Lake Macquarie or skydiving over Cessnock Airport in the Hunter Valley.
See Related: Best Restaurants in Sydney, Australia
4. The Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a major tourist destination as a wonderful weekend getaway. It is located approximately 100 kilometers west of Sydney and 70 kilometers northwest of Wollongong.
The Blue Mountains region has been inhabited by indigenous Australians for at least 20,000 years. Europeans discovered and slowly explored it during the early eighteenth century, first by land and then by sea.
Scenic World in the Blue Mountains is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Australia and is one of the best weekend getaways from Sydney for a reason. This world-class destination offers breathtaking views of the Jamison Valley and surrounding mountains.
Visitors can take a ride on the world’s steepest railway, explore ancient rainforest on the Skyway cable car, or traverse elevated boardwalks and glass-floored gondolas for exciting views.
In addition to breathtaking natural scenery, visitors can also see a variety of native animals such as wallabies, kookaburras, and water dragons. Scenic World is also home to an interactive museum that explains the history and ecology of the Blue Mountains.
The region has since become one of the most popular destinations for both domestic and international tourists in Australia, attracting more than 3 million people annually.
See Related: When is the Best Time to Visit Sydney Australia?
5. Kangaroo Valley
Kangaroo Valley is a small town in the Southern Highlands of Australia, in the Wollondilly Shire. It is located about 75 kilometers southwest of Sydney and about 10 kilometers from Bowral. This is the best for a country-themed, romantic weekend getaway.
The Kangaroo Valley is consistently among the prettiest towns in the Southern Highlands. This small place has only one tiny tourist street and plenty of activities and is one of Sydney’s best weekend escape destinations.
The Kangaroo Valley is one of the most popular tourist sites, and kayaking is an interesting activity. It’s easy to reserve kayaks right next to Hampden Bridge. Driving on Mossie Valley Highway at Fitzroy Falls in the morning you’re likely to see smog sweeping the Valley.
The best time to visit the Kangaroo Valley is during spring and summer when the weather is warm enough for swimming or hiking. You can also come here in autumn or winter, but it will be a bit chilly.
See Related: Best Pet-Friendly Hotels in Sydney, Australia
6. Jervis Bay
Located on the south coast of New South Wales, Jervis Bay is a large bay with golden beaches and crystal clear waters. The area has been inhabited by humans for at least 40,000 years. The Aboriginal people living here used tools made from a stone called “Hand Axes”, which were used for hunting fish and animals like kangaroos or koalas (an Australian marsupial).
The first Europeans arrived in Jervis Bay during Captain James Cook’s travels in 1770. In 1819 Lieutenant Jervis explored the bay which was named after him by Governor Macquarie in honor of his contribution to Australia’s history as well as for his bravery during the Napoleonic Wars (a series of wars between France and its allies against other European powers from 1792 until 1815).
When visiting Jervis Bay, ensure you go scuba diving in search of shipwrecks or snorkeling around reefs where you will see colorful fish swimming all around you.
See Related: Best Travel Books About Sydney, Australia
7. The Southern Highlands
The Southern Highlands is one of the top Sydney weekend getaways for a good reason. The distance from Sydney is less than an hour’s drive away, and there are plenty of things to do here. You can visit wineries in the historic Southern Highlands, go hiking through the mountains, rent horses for a ride out into the bush, or even go on a bushwalking adventure with your friends.
If you’re looking for some wildlife spotting, this part of NSW has lots of birds for you to spot! You won’t be able to see these beautiful creatures if you don’t take some time out of your busy schedule in Sydney to visit The Southern Highlands.
Newcastle is Australia’s first settlement, and it’s still a great place to visit. Located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, Newcastle is home to Australia’s oldest university, which includes a beautiful campus.
The city itself is surrounded by rugged cliffs and beaches, making it an ideal spot for surfing and exploring. If you’re looking for things to do in Newcastle on your trip there, consider checking out some of these attractions:
- Fort Scratchley
- Newcastle Swimming Pool (also known as “The Plunge”)
- Nobbys Head Lighthouse
- Hunter Valley Gardens & Sculpture Park
Newcastle Beach – A popular spot for swimming, surfing, and other water sports. The beach is also known for its beautiful views of the ocean and surrounding cliffs. Fort Scratchley was constructed in 1881, this historic fort was built to protect Newcastle from foreign invaders during World War II. Today it offers visitors a glimpse into Australia’s colonial history as well as sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean.
9. Byron Bay
Byron Bay is a small town in the far north-eastern corner of New South Wales, Australia. It’s a popular tourist destination and a gateway to the nearby Gold Coast. The town has become known for its beaches and surfing culture and relaxed lifestyle.
If you’re looking for an adventure-filled weekend getaway that is within driving distance from Sydney, this should be at the top of your list!
The town has a population of 5,826 people and is situated on the Tweed River. It’s known for its beaches and surfing culture, as well as its relaxed lifestyle. There are plenty of great places to stay in Tweed Heads if you want to explore the area further or just relax on your trip away from Sydney.
Lithgow is a town in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. It’s best known for its coal mining history and as the home of the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame, which houses a replica of a traditional sheep shearing shed from the 1860s.
The town has more than 900 heritage-listed sites including historic buildings like The Pines Hotel, built in 1870 and once used as accommodation for miners who came to work in the mines during peak periods. There are also several Aboriginal rock art sites nearby that you can explore on foot or by bicycle if you’re feeling adventurous!
Wollongong is a coastal city in the Illawarra region and is located 60 kilometers south of Sydney and forms part of the South Coast tourism region.
Wollongong is a great place to visit if you want to get away from the crowds or just need a change of scenery. Located on the south coast of NSW, Wollongong has plenty to offer travelers looking for some weekend fun or an extended holiday with plenty to do and see in this seaside town with views that span across Port Kembla Harbour right through to Mount Keira and beyond.
In addition, there are many ways for visitors to explore Wollongong’s natural surroundings including bushwalking trails through some beautiful parks such as Nadgee Nature Reserve (located just 45 minutes away by car), Jibbon Head Lighthouse Walkway which offers stunning panoramic views from its summit at 250 meters above sea level (just 35 minutes away by car), Tallow Beach which features pristine white sand beaches along with spectacular coastal scenery (20 minutes away by car).
See Related: Best Beaches in Sydney, Australia
Bowral is a great place to visit in the Southern Highlands. Located just an hour and a half from Sydney, it’s the perfect weekend getaway for those who want to escape and relax. There are many things to do here, but one of our favorites is enjoying some fresh air at Bowral Park.
The park offers plenty of space for picnics and outdoor activities like walking or cycling along its many hiking and walking trails. Another fun thing you can do while in Bowral visits Jamberoo Action Park, which has something for everyone: go-karts, go-boats and paintballing!
It’s not just parks and gardens that make this little town so charming; there are also some great restaurants, cafes, and bars (some with live music) where you can stop by on your way home from exploring one of the many attractions located within easy reach of town (like Morton National Park).
If you’re looking for a weekend escape from Sydney, look no further than Mudgee. Located about 290 km northwest of Sydney and about 70 km southwest of Bathurst, this charming town has a lot to offer visitors.
The best way to begin your journey through Mudgee is by taking one of their guided tours that provide insights into the history of the region. If you are traveling alone or with friends, make sure you take advantage of this opportunity!
If you love wine tasting as much as us here at Adventurous Traveler, then we highly recommend stopping by some local wineries during your stay in Mudgee. You can sample some delicious reds or whites while learning more about how they are made at these wineries:
- Dungog Hills Estate
- Berri Coop Wines & Spirits (Yarraman)
- Hargraves Hill Vineyard
If you are in the mood for some good food, then Mudgee is the place to be. The town is home to some of the best restaurants in NSW and there are plenty of options for everyone’s taste buds.
Orange is located in the Central West region of NSW and is a thriving rural community with stunning countryside and a unique history. Orange’s name derives from the distinctive reddish-orange color of its soil, which was first noticed by Governor Hunter who likened the hue to oranges.
This city’s location in the heart of the Macquarie River catchment area makes it an ideal destination for weekend trips from Sydney. Orange offers plenty of outdoor activities, as well as interesting historical sites to explore, making it a superbly diverse destination for curious travelers.
15. Lake Macquarie
Lake Macquarie is a coastal town in the Hunter Region and is located on the western shore of Lake Macquarie, approximately 60 kilometers (37 mi) from Newcastle and 90 kilometers (56 mi) from Sydney.
There will be lots of beautiful beaches, parks, and other attractions around Lake Macquarie. The largest saltwater lake is just east of Newcastle and is located here. The harbour has twice as much surface space. Things to do on Macquarie Lake.
Visit the caves at Caves Beach and Ghosties Beach. Swim under the bridge at Catherine Hill Bay, drive your 4×4 onto Redhead Beach, swim at Bongon Beach, and surf at Frazer Beach. It must be admitted that Lake Macquarie has some great sandy beaches
16. Long Jetty
Long Jetty is a suburb of the Central Coast and is part of the local government area. It is a popular fishing spot and a place to walk along the jetty. Perfect for hipsters and vintage lovers. Although we have been to Central Coast lots before, we recommend seeing the long Jetty.
We were shocked at the fact that there was no road access to this town, you will have to park your car by an off-road curb and walk down a very steep path that descends from above what looks like nowhere! There are lots of amenities here such as cafes and restaurants but watch out because they charge more than usual because they know how hard it is getting here!
Kiama is a coastal town in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia. It is located approximately 90 kilometers south of Sydney and has a population of 10,000 people. The town features stunning views over the Kiama Blowhole, one of Australia’s most famous natural wonders.
The windy weather makes it difficult to predict when the blowhole will explode with water spray and shower tourists with sea foam—but don’t worry: if you miss it this time around, there are plenty more opportunities for adventure!
Canberra is the capital of Australia, and there are a lot of reasons why you should visit it. You’ll get to see some of Australia’s most important landmarks and museums, like Parliament House, the National Gallery of Australia, and the National Portrait Gallery. You can also take in some natural beauty at places like Cotter Dam or Mount Ainslie.
If you’re looking for something more active than just sightseeing on your weekend getaway tour around Canberra then there are plenty of options available too! You can go hiking through one of the many nature trails or even try gliding through one on a zip line!
19. Glenworth Valley
Glenworth Valley is located in the Central Coast region of NSW and is easily accessible by train or car, making it one of the best Sydney weekend getaways. This charming town has a reputation for being an ideal place to raise children, with its picturesque landscapes, excellent schools, and friendly community.
There are so many things to do in Glenworth Valley that you’ll be spoilt for choice. Take your pick from sailing on Lake Glenworth or exploring the surrounding bushland on horseback. If you want something more relaxing, head to the beach for a swim at one of two sheltered coves: Killcare Beach or Careel Bay Beach—both offer great views over Broken Bay.
When it’s time for dinner there are plenty of options here too! Whether you’re looking for seafood washed down with local wine or burgers with chips from one of several food trucks parked around town each weekend night—Glenworth Valley will not disappoint!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of the best weekend getaways from Sydney. The city is a great place to start your journey, but there are so many other places to explore, including iconic national parks, towns dedicated to beach lovers, and iconic road trips! If you have any questions about these destinations or others we didn’t mention, please feel free to reach out.
Where should I go for a weekend getaway from Sydney?
If you’re looking for a weekend getaway from Sydney, I’d suggest heading to the Blue Mountains. The area is known for its stunning views of the valleys and mountains, as well as its many outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, canyoning, and abseiling. You can also explore the quaint towns and villages that dot the area, enjoy delicious local cuisine, or take a trip on the iconic Scenic Railway. With something to suit all tastes and budgets, the Blue Mountains make a great weekend getaway from Sydney.
Where can I go within 3 hours of Sydney?
Within 3 hours of Sydney, there are plenty of places to explore. Popular destinations include the Blue Mountains, Hunter Valley, Central Coast, and South Coast regions. Each area offers a variety of activities to enjoy such as bushwalking, wine tasting, and exploring national parks. There are also various historical sites and museums to visit in each location.
Where can I take a short break in NSW?
New South Wales is full of great places to take a short break. From the beautiful Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley to the Southern Highlands, you can find plenty of stunning scenery, world-class restaurants, and plenty of activities to do while on vacation. Additionally, coastal towns like Newcastle and Port Stephens offer stunning beaches and nature reserves perfect for a short weekend getaway.