Sydney Weekend Getaways to Discover NSW

by | Last updated Feb 20, 2024 | New South Wales, Sydney | 10 comments

It’s been a busy week for you in Sydney. Sounds like you need a weekend Sydney getaway. Maybe you have a favourite place you head to already but if not, in this post I’m going to offer you my suggestions of some of the best weekend trips from Sydney. From relaxing beach breaks to adventurous hikes, a romantic getaway or a family friendly weekend escape to the countryside with the kids, this post has it all.

There are so many excellent places in New South Wales that are only a couple of hours away from Sydney worthy of NSW weekend getaways. From wineries, great hikes, beautiful beaches and quaint towns with award winning bakeries. There is really somewhere for everyone. For families wanting a weekend trip to spend time together. Solo travellers backpacking and exploring NSW to couples seeking a romantic Sydney weekend getaways. There are many places in NSW to find your perfect Sydney weekend away. Here is my handpicked selection of best Sydney weekend getaways to explore NSW and all are within a few hour’s drive of Sydney’s CBD.

Even just a couple of nights away and a break from your routine can leave you feeling refreshed and ready for another busy week in Sydney. Even though I love Sydney and all it has to offer, it is great to get away to unwind and recharge. The places I have listed in this post are in alphabetical order and not in any order of preference. I love going away on weekend breaks from Sydney to all the places mentioned in this guide. Where I go depends on the season and what I fancy doing!

So start scrolling through my list until you find one of the Sydney getaways which is just perfect for you! Where will you go first from my list of suggestions?

 

Best Weekend Trips from Sydney

 

Bathurst

 

Mount Panorama Track and sign from Rydges Mount Panorama hotel room.

Open your curtains to the Mount Panorama Circuit on your Sydney weekend getaway to Bathurst

 

I’m kicking off my best weekend getaways Sydney suggestion with a weekend getaway to Bathurst. Most people know Bathurst as the home of the Bathurst 1000 and other motor car races. And yes, this is a big reason to go to Bathurst but it’s not the only reason. If there isn’t a motor car race on, you can drive the Mount Panorama circuit yourself. And to discover the history of motor racing head to the National Motor Racing Museum at Murrays Corner at the end of Conrad Straight. It’s filled with a 100 or so racing cars, racing motor bikes, helmets and gear, trophy’s and lots of motor racing history.

Bathurst though, is so much more than motor racing. There are a number of museums to visit. The National Fossil and Mineral Museum is home to the only full T-Rex dinosaur skeleton in the world. Then there is the home of Ben Chiefly, a former Australian Prime Minister to discover. If this isn’t enough take a walk around town and check out the historical buildings with their beautiful architecture. 

All the sightseeing is making me hungry, and surprisingly Bathurst is a foodie heaven. There are many cafes and restaurants to grab a bite to eat. Looking for a good steak? Check out Pantano’s Bar and Grill. If visiting Bathurst with kids, kids of all ages will love an ice cream at Annies Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlour. And us bigger kids may enjoy a drink at the Reckless Brewing Co! Just what the doctor ordered on a Sydney weekend getaway.

Distance and Time: about 200km west of Sydney along the Great Western Highway. As you wind up and down through the Blue Mountains to get to Bathurst, it can take around 3 or so hours to reach – but worth the drive!

One of the best places to stay in Bathurst is at the Rydges Mount Panorama. This hotel is right on the Mount Panorma circuit and only a 5 minute drive in to the centre of Bathurst. Book your stay at the Rydges Mount Panorama here. For other options where to stay in Bathurst click here

 

Blue Mountains

 

Sign At Three Sisters Showing The Walks.

Plenty of gorgeous walks to undertake on a getaway from Sydney to the Blue Mountains

 

One of the best weekend getaways from Sydney is to the Blue Mountains. If you are looking for a scenic weekend trip from Sydney with lots of natural attractions, outdoor activities with gorgeous accommodation, unique galleries and quaint tea houses and coffee shops, then you need to visit the Blue Mountains.

Located west of Sydney only 62 km from the CBD, it only takes about an hour to drive via the M4 up the Blue Mountains to Katoomba. Katoomba is the main town at the top of the Blue Mountains. I like to stay in Katoomba as it is a great base to explore this beautiful part of NSW.

There are plenty of things to see and do in the Blue Mountains. The number one thing being to visit the Three Sisters Lookout for breathtaking views across the Jamieson Valley. And there are plenty of hikes you can do in the Blue Mountains. But there is also plenty of things to look at if you walk the main street of Katoomba.

If you are travelling to the Blue Mountains with kids, they will love being able to run around in the open spaces. And if travelling solo in the Blue Mountains, you will be able to get around easily to see all you want to see. There are some beautiful old houses to stay in the Blue Mountains making it a romantic getaway for couples to the Blue Mountains.

Distance and Time: The Blue Mountains are 60kms west of Sydney’s CBD. It will take about 1 hour to drive or you can catch a train from Central Station to Katoomba taking 1.5 hours by train. 

There is plenty of accommodation to stay in while visiting the Blue Mountains with kids, on a romantic weekend away or as a solo traveller. I have stayed the Three Explorers Motel near the Three Sisters. I chose this hotel as it is an easy walk to see the Three Sisters at night, plus it is a short walk to Katoomba RSL. Book your stay at the Three Explorers Motel here. For other accommodation options Katoomba Blue Mountains, click here

 

Bowral

 

#Bowral #DonaldBradmanMuseum

Welcome to Bowral

 

Bowral is a vibrant country town located in the Southern Highlands of NSW. If you are seeking to unwind with the countryside on your doorstep yet still have access to a vibrant town centre with lots of bakeries, cafes and restaurants, then consider Bowral for your next Sydney weekend getaway.

A mere 2 hours drive will see you transported to Bowral. As well as lots of peace and tranquility cricket lovers will want to visit the Donald Bradman Cricket Museum. From the moment you arrive you will know you are in cricket territory with the beautiful cricket oval and grand stand. Sometimes, there may be a game of cricket happening. But it’s inside the museum where you not only discover more about one of Australia’s greatest cricketers but also cricket through the ages. Not just test cricket but one day cricket and T-20 cricket through lots of interactive displays.

If visiting the museum isn’t enough, put your walking shoes on and discover the Donald Bradman walk. It takes you to many of places he lived and visited. Then, wet your whistle at one of the great cafes! Or use Bowral as your base to venture further into the Southern Highlands. There are many other small towns to visit plus natural features such as Fitzroy Falls.

Bowral has many accommodation options, click here to find the best option that suits you.

 

Canberra

 

Sitting On Steps Of National War Memorial Canberra Looking Down To Parliament House.

Sitting on the steps of the National War Memorial looking to Parliament House

 

Canberra is the capital of Australia and is a great weekend getaway from Sydney and is an easy drive down the Hume Highway then Federal Highway. If you have never been to Canberra before you will want to tick the big tourist spots off your list. First would be a visit to Parliament House sitting high on Constitution Hill overlooking all of Canberra. Look out for politicians while walking around the corridors of power – though many of them leave Canberra for a weekend at their home constituencies!

To get the best views of Parliament House and over Canberra, nothing beats the Mount Ainslie Summit. Go there at different times of the day to enjoy the different lights. And if going to watch the sunset over Canberra don’t forget your picnic and a glass of bubbly or soft drink if you are visiting Canberra with kids.

There are plenty of museums and attractions to visit while on a Canberra weekend getaway. There is the National War Memorial, the National Museum, Institute of Sport and Questacon to name a few. Museums not your thing? Don’t worry, there are plenty of walks including the easy bridge to bridge path around Lake Burley Griffin. Maybe you want to take a drive through Yarralumla and see some of the Embassies. And for foodies, you will be delighted to enjoy some of the best food and wine in some of Canberra’s local eateries. 

Consider Canberra as a Sydney weekend escape, even though it sounds boring because it is Australia’s capital, it is actually quite surprising when you scratch its surface on a visit.

Distance and Time: Canberra is 285km south-west of Sydney taking around 3 hours to drive. There is a train from Central Station to Canberra taking about the same time. 

On my last visit to Canberra I stayed at the Ibis Styles Canberra Tall Trees Hotel in Ainslie. It was conveniently located to get to all the top sights in Canberra. Plus is an easy walk to Edgar’s Inn, a great local pub with great meals. Click here to check out where to stay in Canberra.

 

Gerroa

 

Kingsford Smith Park at Gerroa

Sir Charles Kingsford Smith Memorial Park overlooking Gerroa and Seven Mile Beach

 

Gerroa is a quiet little seaside village about 130 kilometres south of Sydney’s CBD. The drive can take around 2 hours to reach, but this does depend on which part of Sydney you are coming from. Often overshadowed by the local South Coast towns of Kiama, Gerringong and Nowra, Gerroa has a lot to offer those seeking a weekend, or longer, escape from city madness.

Gerroa sits at the north end of Seven Mile Beach that seems to stretch forever. And the best thing to see and do in Gerroa is to visit the beach. The beach is great for swimming, surfing, fishing and all sorts of water sports. Behind the beach is an inlet and river for those visiting Gerroa with small kids who don’t want to jump in the surf. And its a great place to kayak or stand-up paddle.

And here, at Seven Mile Beach, unbeknown to many, the beach is steeped in aviation history. It was along this stretch of beach Sir Charles Kingsford Smith took off in his aircraft, the Southern Cross on January 11, 1933 bound for New Zealand. This history making Trans-Tasman crossing is commemorated at the Sir Charles Kingsford Smith Memorial Lookout which can be found across the road from the Fishermans Club. The club by the way, offers great meals and views over Gerroa. The memorial lookout at 1 Headland Drive has the shape of the Southern Cross on the ground in concrete. Great views over Gerroa, Seven Mile Beach and over to Mount Cambewarra can be seen here.

Food is limited in Gerroa. There is a coffee shop, the Blue Swimmer, that is only open at certain times. There is also the Fisherman’s Club on Crooked River Road and the take-away shop at the local caravan park. For a nice meal, head into Gerringong, Berry or Nowra.

If you are looking for a quiet beach weekend away from Sydney, Gerroa is probably the place for you.

Distance and Time: Gerroa is 130km south of Sydney taking around 2 hours to drive. You could catch the train to Kiama, then a bus to Gerroa.

Most accommodation in Gerroa is in holiday beach homes or caravan park. Click here to check out where to stay in Gerroa for your weekend escape from Sydney.

 

Hunter Valley

 

Rolling hills of Hunter Valley Wine Region in Australia.

Hunter Valley wineries

 

One of the most popular Sydney weekend getaways has to be to the Hunter Valley wine region. A weekend escape from Sydney to the Hunter Valley wine regions is the perfect amount of time to get a taste for this beautiful area of New South Wales. In fact, the Hunter Valley is one of Australia’s best wine regions. So if you love wine and food, you will love the Hunter Valley as it is home to some 150 wineries with some dating back to the early 1820s. The main varieties grown in the region are Shiraz, Semillon, Chardonnay, and Verdelho. So get your taste buds ready!

To best appreciate the Hunter Valley, choose your wineries to visit first, as there are many of them on offer. If that is a bit too hard, I know there is a lot to choose from, consider going on the iHop Hunter Valley. This is a bus you can hop on and hop off bus service taking in some 14 different stops including the Hunter Valley Shopping Village and a number of estates. This is a great way to visit some of the wineries without having to worry about being ‘over the limit’ to drive yourself. Meaning, you can taste a lot of the wines – if you want, of course!

If looking for somewhere to eat, many of the wineries have restaurants plus there are lots of cafes and restaurants dotted throughout the region. The Hunter Valley is also known for chocolate, so a visit to the Hunter Valley Chocolate Company may be in order. 

Besides visiting the wineries and eating, which if visiting the Hunter Valley with kids, they may not appreciate as much as you, head on over to the award-winning Hunter Valley Gardens. There are 10 themed gardens to walk around, or if you brought the kids to the Hunter Valley, they could run off a bit of energy, particularly if you just visited the Hunter Valley Chocolate Company. Or blow their minds and yours with a hot air balloon ride over this beautiful part of Australia.

Distance and Time: about 250km north of Sydney or about a 3 hour drive.

Click here to check out where to stay in the Hunter Valley for your weekend escape from Sydney.

 

Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay

 

Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay has some of the whitest sand.

Beautiful white sands of Hyams Beach – perfect for a weekend getaway from Sydney

 

If seeking a beach getaway from Sydney, look no further than Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay. Known as a beach having some of the whitest sand in Australia – yes, it truly is white and beautiful with some of the bluest water lapping it.

Hyams Beach is a great place for relaxing on the beach and sitting in coffee shops and restaurants. Huskisson Pub ‘Husky Pub’ is not to far away and offers great pub meals at good prices. And the view over the small harbour is spectacular.

While Hyams Beach is one of the main attractions in Jervis Bay there are plenty of other things to occupy your time. You can take a walk along the White Sands Walk linking a number of nearby beaches. Plus, you can hop in the car and beach hop if you like as there are many great beaches dotted around Jervis Bay. Plus there are unique little towns. Or perhaps take a dolphin watch cruise from Huskisson Pier as many dolphins call Jervis Bay home. 

No matter if visiting Hyams Beach and Jervis Bays with kids, on a romantic getaway, on a girls or guys weekend escape or visiting on your own, this part of the South Coast of New South Wales is a wonderful Sydney weekend getaway. You can be as active or chilled as you like!

Distance and Time: about 190km south of Sydney or 2.5-3 hour drive

Click here to check out where to stay at Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay for your weekend escape from Sydney.

 

Kangaroo Valley

 

Hampdon Bridge is a one lane suspension bridge of the Kangaroo River in Kangaroo Valley.

Hampdon Bridge, Kangaroo Valley

 

Kangaroo Valley is a picturesque valley with a cozy little village located in New South Wales. It is a couple of hours drive south of Sydney making it a great weekend getaway from Sydney. If you love getting into nature, seeing waterfalls, going on bush walks and spending time in a cute village with quirky shops, then you will love a visit to Kangaroo Valley. 

For a tiny village in a beautiful valley, Kangaroo Valley surprisingly has many great things to see and do. Arriving in Kangaroo Valley village from the north you will be met by the historic Hampden Bridge. This heritage listed one lane suspension bridge spans over the Kangaroo River flowing below. It was first opened in 1898 and became a valuable link between the Southern Highlands and the New South Wales south coast. You cannot stop on the bridge but you can stop either side to get great photo shot showing the castle-like sandstone towers.

Within the little village, take a walk along the main street and you will discover many old buildings. Many of them housing unique gifts and local produce. The Kangaroo Valley Fudge House and Ice Creamery or Sweet As Kangaroo Valley for locally-made fudge and lollies are favourites. If you think I have a sweet tooth, you would be right! There are a number of coffee shops and restaurants to enjoy including a couple of bakeries. Stop in for a pub lunch at The Friendly Inn, Kangaroo Valley’s pub. The pub is located in the heart of Kangaroo Valley and is one of the oldest pubs in the region having been established in 1892. If you want to learn more about the history of Kangaroo Valley you can step back in time at the Pioneer Settlement Museum. Many of its buildings built to the standards of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

There are plenty of outdoor activities to experience in Kangaroo Valley too. Kayaking on Kangaroo River is a popular as are walking through the rainforest on one of the tracks. So get back to nature in this quaint area of NSW on a weekend escape from Sydney

Distance and Time: about 156km south of Sydney or 2.5 hour drive

Click here to check out where to stay in Kangaroo Valley for your weekend escape from Sydney.

 

Kiama

 

A burger and chips from The Hungry Monkey Burger Shop in Kiama.

I can vouch for the burgers @ Hungry Monkey, Kiama

 

I have been visiting Kiama ever since I was a little girl. It is one of my favourite places to have a weekend getaway from Sydney. Known for its famous blowhole this is always my first stop. I like to see if the blowhole is ‘blowing’ or not and listen to the visiting tourists scream with delight if it is. 

But there is more to Kiama than just the blowhole. If the weather is welcoming why not have a swim in the rock pool, it’s located at the north end of Black Beach Reserve, not far from the blowhole. When tired of seeing the blowhole walk along the main street of Kiama and check out the boutique stores. If you are in Kiama on the 3rd Sunday of the month, check out the Kiama markets. They are the biggest in the region and offer crafts, clothing, arts and food! If you don’t grab a bite to eat there, maybe pop into one of the many cafes or restaurants for something to eat. A favourite is the Hungry Monkey on Collins Street. It does a mean burger and chocolate milkshake. Overall, a weekend spent in Kiama is one of the best weekend trips from Sydney.

Distance and Time: about 120km south of Sydney or 2 hour drive

Click here to check out where to stay in Kiama for your weekend escape from Sydney.

 

Nelson Bay, Port Stephens

 

plenty of white sand and water to dip your toes in at Nelson Bay.

lots of places to walk on the sand and dip your toes in the water in Nelson Bay

 

Nelson Bay is a significant little town in the Port Stephens local government area. It is found just inside the mouth of the Port Stephens harbour and is a great place to visit on a Sydney weekend getaway.

Being on the water, Nelson Bay has everything a visitor to the area can want or need. You can be as chilled or adventurous as you like. The diving, snorkelling and swimming is top class particularly in the tiny promontory of Fly Point. As here you will find an aquatic reserve with prolific marine life. Or perhaps you would prefer to jump on a whale watching cruise! If you want to get some exercise there are plenty of walks by the water. Perhaps visit to Nelson Head where you will find the Inner Lighthouse dating from 1872. Discover the other buildings there that incorporate a small historical display.

As the largest town in the Port Stephens area, Nelson Bay has many dining options from cafes to restaurants for all tastes and budgets. So if you are looking to chill, enjoy nature and eat great food, a weekend visit to Nelson Bay should be on your list of Sydney weekend getaways.

Distance and Time: about 223km north of Sydney or 2.5 hour drive

Click here to check out where to stay in Nelson Bay for your weekend escape from Sydney.

 

Newcastle

 

Merewether Beach Newcastle Australia is a stunning beach.

Merewether Beach

 

For a great weekend trip from Sydney, head north to the port side town of Newcastle. It was known as a major industrial city with a steelworks until it closed in 1999 after the world wide market for steel dropped. Around 2000 people lost their jobs with the closing, including my uncle. But today the Port of Newcastle continues to be the single largest coal export port in the world. To learn more about the history of Newcastle check out the Newcastle Museum.

Aside from the port, Newcastle is right by the ocean, so there are many water activities to enjoy on your visit to Newcastle. There are many beaches, including Merewether Beach in Newcastle itself to enjoy. But there are also a couple of rock pools or ocean baths for swimming without too many waves. Great for adults and kids to Newcastle who don’t like the big waves, but want to enjoy the water. 

If you enjoy walking, and would like to see reminders of Newcastle’s maritime history, take a walk along the Shipwreck Walk in Stockton. This is an easy flat walk taking in shipwrecks and scenic views. It was during the 19th and early 20th centuries that ships were shipwrecked here as they tried to navigate through Newcastle Harbour, and alas, some didn’t make it.

If you need a change from the seaside, check out Newcastle’s main street – Hunter Street. This is the main thoroughfare in Newcastle. As well as being the CBD, Hunter Street is a great shopping experience for those seeking to shop in boutique stores. And there are plenty of cafes and restaurants for every taste and budget.

Distance and Time: about 170km north of Sydney or 2 hour drive

Click here to check out where to stay in Newcastle for your weekend escape from Sydney.

 

Palm Beach

 

Barrenjoey Headland With Lighthouse Standing Proudly At The End Of Palm Beach On Sydney's Northern Beaches.

looking back over Palm Beach from Barrenjoey Lighthouse

 

Palm Beach is a popular weekend getaway from Sydney. It is the last beach of the northern beaches region. So if you are after a beach getaway, then Palm Beach is the perfect spot to try. Besides swimming and surfing you can go on a hike up to the Barrenjoey Lighthouse. Discover the history of the lighthouse plus get fabulous views around the area including into Pittwater and over to the Gosford area. 

If you are a lover of the tv show Home Away, filming is done at Palm Beach. You can visit surf club where a lot of the filming is done. Call in and get some souvenirs at the Home and Away shop! There is plenty of great surf this side of the peninsula and you can take surf lessons or hire a board at the local surf shop. On the other side of the Peninsula is the entrance to Pittwater – the calming waters that surround Scotland Island.

Palm Beach is one of Sydney’s best beaches and many homes with million dollar views overlook it. If you get tired of the beach you can shop till you drop in the boutique stores or sit in one of the cafes and enjoy the surroundings.

Distance and Time: about 45km north of Sydney or 1 hour drive depending on traffic. If you don’t want to drive, catch the ferry to Manly, then the bus 199 to Palm Beach. The bus trip in itself is very scenic as it pass many of the beaches on this Northern Beaches Peninsula.

Click here to check out where to stay in Palm Beach for your weekend escape from Sydney.

Sydney City Staycation

 

Sydney Harbour wharfs at Circular Quay with ferries, ocean liner and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Circular Quay, Sydney Harbour

 

One of my favourite family weekend trips from Sydney is to spend a weekend in the heart of Sydney on a Sydney staycation. We often do this to coincide with a sporting or music event or festival. 

The big advantage of a staycation in Sydney is that it is closer than many of the Sydney weekend getaways on offer in this post. And there is plenty of accommodation available for every budget and type of traveller. For solo backpackers, couples looking for a romantic weekend and families visiting Sydney with kids. I often like to stay near Sydney Harbour as I love all the attractions there. I never get sick of seeing the Sydney Harbour Bridge or Sydney Opera House! And enjoying a meal around the harbour foreshore is always on my list of things to see and do in Sydney.

Plus, there are so many other great things to see and do in Sydney. The shopping is great and there are many cafes and restaurants to get a meal. So if you are thinking of a getaway from Sydney, include a getaway to Sydney city as an option.

Click here for accommodation options in Sydney

 

Are You Ready for a Sydney weekend getaway?

 

I’ve really enjoyed writing this post as it has been getting me out and about from Sydney. So this weekend trip from Sydney guide has got you covered. So where are you going first?

 

The Three Sisters and Gerroa Beach are two of the best places for a Sydney weekend getaway.

10 Comments

  1. Lauren

    Great list! I’m originally from the NSW Central Coast (now living in LA) so this post made me so homesick!! Would love to have a chicken schnitty at the Husky Pub next time I head home.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Sounds like a plan – the schnitty is good at the Husky Pub!

      Reply
  2. Jolayne

    So many great options for a weekend getaway. I think the beach would be at the top of my list!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      This is just a taste of weekend getaways – there are plenty more to discover, which I am trying to do so I can add to this post.

      Reply
  3. Linda (LD Holland)

    We have Australia on our plan for a long return visit. I love the variety in the short getaways if we set up a base in Sydney. A good reason to look at renting a car.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      It’s great to have a base where you can travel to and from, particularly Sydney as there are so many great places outside of Sydney to visit.

      Reply
  4. Amanda

    Thank you for this wonderful information. I’ve saved it for my future trip planning! I’ve only been to Sydney once and have been wanting to visit it again. I’ve heard the most incredibly things about Newcastle!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Yes, Newcastle has come a long way since the steel works closed. Instead of being an industrial town, it is known for its great beaches! I’m sure you will love it when you get there.

      Reply
  5. Melanie

    Okay but can I find kangaroos in Kangaroo Valley?? 😉 haha

    These sounds lovely! I actually like the idea of some small town trips, like Kiama. Many I hadn’t heard of before so thanks for sharing

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Yes, there are kangaroos in Kangaroo Valley. There is plenty of bushland, rain forest and open grazing areas that kangaroos love – so I’m sure you will see them – i have.

      Reply

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About Me

Bells Beach Surfing Recreation Reserve Sign shaped like a big white wave with Sharyn McCullum On the Great Ocean Road.

G’Day! Sharyn here, an Aussie loving discovering Australia. Let me show you around so you can discover Australia too.  Read my story here.

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