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24 Irresistible Weekends From Sydney

Need a break from city life? These weekends from Sydney will have you rested and recharged in no time. From romantic breaks in pretty highlands towns with someone special to weekends visiting national parks and reconnecting with nature, we think there is something for everyone on our list of weekend getaways from Sydney.

Contents

Ideas for perfect weekends from Sydney

We have listed almost two dozen Sydney weekend getaways that are just the thing to change the pace and recharge the batteries.
Before we dive into our list of favourite weekend getaways, let’s do a quick Q&A for those of you in a hurry.

Which are the best short getaways from Sydney?

Three places on our list fit the bill for quick weekend trips from Sydney, coming in at under ninety minutes’ drive from the city centre.

  • Illawarra Coast–The scenic drive down the Illawarra escarpment makes a perfect quick getaway from Sydney. Don’t have a car? Don’t worry; there is also easy access from Sydney by train.
  • Palm Beach and Pittwater–You don’t have to go far for a Sydney escape. Palm Beach on Barrenjoey Headland is perfect for finding paradise close to town. Explore Broken Bay and Pittwater on land and sea.
  • Hawkesbury River–As the northern boundary of Sydney, the Hawkesbury offers plenty of options for water-based holidays and even houseboat rentals.

Where can I go for a cheap weekend from Sydney?

A weekend away from Sydney doesn’t have to break the bank. These three getaway spots are perfect for those on a budget.

A weekend away from Sydney doesn’t have to break the bank. These three getaway spots are perfect for those on a budget.

  • Canberra–the capital of Australia, makes a great cheap getaway because many of the most popular attractions, including the Australian War Memorial and Parliament House, are free to enter. Hotels are quieter on the weekend when many of the parliamentarians go home.
  • The Blue Mountains–a fab spot for a budget trip; the YHA in Katoomba is a fantastic base for a trip when funds are tight. There are also several heritage guest houses affordably priced outside peak season and plenty of opportunity for romance. Oh, and bush walks don’t cost a cent.
  • The Royal National Park–home to the Coast Track, one of Australia’s most popular two-day walks. There are several campsites in the park, just perfect for a budget camping trip.

What destinations make great foodie getaways from Sydney?

If you like your holidays full of delicious eats, then we think these three options are perfect!

The Old Mill Cafe and Restaurant in Millthorpe NSW
  • The Southern Highlands–a great foodie escape with boutique cellar doors, great local restaurants and even truffle hunts!
  • The Hunter Valley–Pokolbin in the heart of the Hunter Valley is one of the best places to stay in the region if you don’t want to drive too much. We stayed at Cypress Lakes on our last visit, and it was a great base for evening dining.
  • Orange–with award-winning restaurants and its own annual food festival, Orange is a top choice for a gourmet getaway.
  • Milton, Mollymook and Ulladulla – These towns may not immediately spring to mind when thinking of destinations known for their food scenes. Still, we were recently very impressed by the fantastic bars, restaurants and cellar door options we found here.

What are the best winter escapes for weekends from Sydney?

Instead of running north from the cold, why not embrace it we really don’t get to enjoy open fireplaces and bracing morning walks very often as Sydneysiders.

Sydney Weekend Getaway in winter
Embrace the cold and head inland for a winter getaway
  • The Blue Mountains – Along with its annual Winter fest and Christmas in July celebrations, the walking tracks in the mountains are perfect for weekend escapes in the winter. The cool weather is exactly what you need for exploring the hiking tracks in the World Heritage Listed Blue Mountains National Park, and in the evening, you can return to your accommodation for a big glass of red in front of the fire. Whether it’s a boutique hotel or a family-friendly vacation rental, there are a ton of great options across the mountain villages.
  • Thredbo – if you fancy a quick adrenalin hit, it’s hard to go past a couple of days enjoying the NSW Snowy Mountains. Thredbo at the top of the mountain makes a great base and is the perfect place to enjoy the après-ski atmosphere.
  • Southern Highlands – sitting by roaring fireplaces, tasting your way through a pie festival and drinking cool climate wines all make wonderful winter pastimes. A stop at the pie shop is also a must-do.

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Our favourite places to head for weekends from Sydney

Here are 24 weekends away from Sydney we have loved and recommend to anyone wanting a getaway.

1. The Blue Mountains and Jenolan Caves

Many people make the day trip from Sydney, but the Blue Mountains really deserve more time; it’s a great weekend destination and one idea for repeat visits. The mountain villages make a great base for a weekend getaway, and each offers something different.

Choose Blackheath as your base for exploring some of the less well-known tracks and trails.

5 tops things to do on your Blue Mountains weekend getaway

  • Hike one of the many walking tracks
  • View the Three Sisters
  • Pop into Scenic World
  • Explore beautiful gardens in Leura
  • Check out the local galleries – Lost Bear and Gallery One88 are our favourites
  • Have high tea with a view at the Hydro Majestic

See our favourite properties in the Blue Mountains

Distance from Sydney: 102km to Katoomba
Driving time: 90 minutes
Public Transport rating: Easy – trains service the upper and lower mountain villages. Local buses are available to explore once you are there.
Best time to visit: The Blue Mountains is a year-round destination

Check out our weekend in Blackheath for ideas on a Blue Mountains itinerary

2. Ettalong and Pearl Beach

Only ninety minutes from Sydney, the Woy Woy Peninsula on the southern end of the Central Coast is a brilliant spot for a quick Sydney getaway.

With two charming coastal villages, Pearl Beach and Patonga, the area is surrounded by Brisbane Water National Park and offers many less-known bush walks.

NSW Central Coast Umina Beach
Sunrise over the sea at Umina Beach on the Central Coast,

8 Things to do near Ettalong

  • Visit the Australian Reptile Park
  • Taste the Canoli at Sasa Sicilian Street Food in Ettalong
  • Enjoy a meal at Pearl’s at Pearl Beach or the Boathouse Patonga
  • Learn to paddle or rent a board Bombora SUP at Ettalong
  • Hire a BBQ Boat and cook your own lunch on the water
  • Take the ferry from Woy Woy around the local waterfront communities
  • Eat fresh seafood on the deck at Woy Woy Fishermans Wharf
  • Take in the view from Mount Ettalong Lookout

Distance from Sydney: 85km
Driving time: 60 minutes
Public Transport rating: Easy – Trains to Woy Woy, or Gosford. Buses service the smaller communities.
Best time to visit: Best in spring and summer when you can enjoy the beautiful beaches of the region.

Check out our weekend in Ettalong – a mix of walking, eating and exploring.

3. Canberra

Capital of Australia, it’s likely you have visited as a child, but Canberra makes a great grown-ups weekend away these days. Just 3 hour’s drive south-west of Sydney it possible offers the best rainy-day attractions in the country with dozens of museums and galleries, many of them free to visit.

Lake Burley Griffin and iconic Telstra Tower

5 Things to do in Canberra

Choosing a base for your Canberra visit: Couples will find Kingston and NewActon make perfect bases for a brief stay in Canberra. These two areas are both lakeside and offer a great range of restaurant and bar options. We stayed in

We stayed at Ovolo Nishi apartments, they also have a hotel option. If they are booked out, this apartment is another option we like. All these are within walking distance to both the lake and Civic.

Read our Canberra 3 Day Itinerary before you visit

Distance from Sydney: 285km
Driving time: 3 hours
Public Transport rating: Possible, take the bus in 3.5 hours or the train which takes 4hrs 30 mins.
Best time to visit: We think Canberra looks her best in autumn when the leaves change colour and spring during the annual Floriade festival. However, with all the great indoor activities, this is a year-round destination.

Take a read of our favourite things to do in Canberra on a budget

4. Port Stephens

Flying under the international traveller’s radar, Port Stephens offers lots of adventure opportunities for thrill-seekers. Great for diving and snorkelling and beach time. There is more than enough to keep you busy for a week or two.

Port Stephens Sydney Weekend Getaway
Fingal Bay in Port Stephens

With over 26 beaches to choose from, it is hard to pick a favourite. We think Shoal Bay, One Mile, Zenith Beach, Fingal Bay and Box Beach all deserve to be at the top of any list.

7 things to do on your weekend in Port Stephens

Check out Oaks Port Stephens, one of our favourite spots to stay

Distance from Sydney: 215km
Driving time: 2hrs 30 minutes
Public Transport rating: Train to Newcastle and then bus (4hrs 30m)
Best time to visit: Port Stephens is a great spring and summer holiday spot.

5. Lake Macquarie

A paradise for water sports lovers, Lake Macquarie, is a boating or fishing enthusiast’s dream. Holiday accommodation from caravan parks to 1-2-bedroom waterfront apartments are in ample supply, making this a popular choice for families.

Redhead Beach, Sydney Getaway
Redhead Beach, Lake Macquarie

Best weekend ideas for Lake Macquarie

  • Check out the State Heritage-listed Catherine Hill Bay Village
  • Find the cave at Caves Beach Swansea
  • Photograph the wooden lookout tower at Redhead beach at Sunrise
  • Rent a kayak or a boat and explore the lake
  • Explore the Watagans National Park

Distance from Sydney: 135km
Driving time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Public Transport rating: Possible if you are happy to stay in a central base. You can take a train and a bus depending on your location.
Best time to visit: Lake Macquarie is best for watersports, so the warmer the weather, the better. Late spring to early Autumn is ideal.

Take a look at this guide to Lake Macquarie for families by Boy Eats World

6. Hunter Valley

With ample accommodation and activities for planning a romantic getaway, the Hunter Valley is a top choice for a romantic NSW Getaway. It’s an easy drive from Sydney and one of the best weekend choices for any wine lover. 

It makes a great long weekend option giving you two full days of wine tasting before you have to sober up for the drive home.

Running Horse Vineyard Broke
At the very modern-looking Running Horse Vineyard, in Broke you can taste a variety of aged wines

We highly recommend spending a day wine tasting with iHop. They will help you choose the best stops based on the type of wine you enjoy, and by leaving the car at home, everyone gets to relax and join in the tastings.

Top things to do in the Hunter Valley:

  • Spend the day exploring on the iHop Hunter Hop on Hop Off bus
  • Taste all the cheese at Binorie Dairy – yes, all of it!
  • Conquer your fear of highs on a hot-air balloon ride
  • Indulge in at least one fine dining experience
  • Visit a mix of old and new wineries.

We stayed at Oaks Cypress Lakes on our last visit and have also enjoyed stays at The Convent. If you fancy trying out a tiny house, this one looks great and top of our hit list for our next visit is the stunning Spicers Guesthouse.

Distance from Sydney: 170kms
Driving time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Public Transport rating: Not recommended train to Cessnock, but you would need to join a local tour to see the vineyards.
Best time to visit: Spring is the prettiest time in the Hunter Valley. Summer harvest is also a great time to visit, but it can be warm.

Already stayed in the Hunter Valley – Check out our weekend visit to Maitland and Morpeth

7. Kiama

A popular spot for a quick weekend getaway from Sydney Kiama with its pretty Norfolk lined waterfront swells with weekend guests most warm Sundays. By staying for the weekend, you get the early morning and evenings without the crowds.

Aerial overlooking Kiama Harbour and the Continental Ocean Pool in Kiama.
One of the ocean pools in Kiama Credit: Mark Fitzpatrick Destination NSW.

Our favourite things to do in Kiama include:

  • Tackle the 22km Kiama Coastal Walk – best over 2 days for most people
  • Explore the Minnamurra Rainforest and waterfall
  • Witness Cathedral Rocks at sunrise or sunset
  • Take a day trip to nearby Berry for some great shopping
  • Grab some takeaway from Otis Deli and head to Seven Mile Beach for a picnic
  • Check out the local golf course overlooking the sea

We have written up 15 of our favourite things to do in Kiama you should check out before you visit.

Choose an apartment or holiday home in Kiama or surrounding beach towns.

Distance from Sydney: 120km
Driving time: 1 hr 40 minutes in good traffic
Public Transport rating: Easy train takes 2 hours and 10 minutes
Best time to visit: Spring to early autumn sees temperatures in Kiama perfect for time on the areas beautiful beaches.

8. Newcastle

The second-largest city in NSW, Newcastle was once best known for its steelworks and coal mines. Today it offers a fantastic lifestyle and a vibe that had us seriously considering moving north away from Sydney after our last visit. This is a weekend getaway for when you don’t want to spend too much time driving.

Take an early morning walk along Bathers Way before a well-deserved breakfast

Check out our favourite things to do in Newcastle

  • Take in the view and history of the Anzac Memorial Walk
  • Walk all 5.8km of the Bathers Way
  • Ride the ferry to Stockton Beach to check out the dunes, the largest dunes in the Southern Hemisphere
  • Have a picnic with the kangaroos and koalas at Blackbutt Reserve
  • Swim in the historic ocean baths at Merewether Beach
  • Wander Darby Street for cafes and restaurants and boutiques

Distance from Sydney: 170km
Driving time: approx 2 hours to 2hrs 30 in traffic
Public Transport rating: Easy
Best time to visit: Great year-round spot with plenty of museums and restaurants to enjoy when the weather is cooler.

Check out our list of what we got up to on our recent Newcastle Weekend Getaway.

9. Orange

One of the largest towns in Central NSW, most people who make the trip to Orange go to enjoy the cool-climate wines. There are 30 cellar doors to visit. The area also offers a great food scene. We, however, usually trek there to see family and friends, and in many years of doing this, we always find new things to do.

Orange is beautiful in spring and autumn, it’s bracingly cold in winter, but that can also be a lot of fun and a great time to sip red wine by an open fire.

The Falls Waterfall in Orange NSW
A short hike from the car park is the Falls waterfall at Mullion Range

On our most recent visit, thanks to the pandemic, most of the cellar doors were closed, so we spent our time exploring the great outdoors. A local put us onto The Falls Water Falls, at Mullion Range. If there has been some good rainfall before or during your visit, be sure to take the short, easy hike for the view above.

We also trekked the stairs to the top of Pinnacle Lookout and along with a sense of achievement that we actually made it, the view was well worth the effort!

5 Things you should do in Orange

  • Grab some great local goodies and head to Lake Canobolas for a picnic
  • Climb all the stairs to Pinnacle Lookout
  • Treat yourself to a lovely meal in Millthorpe
  • Book a tasting at Ferment, the wine centre in town.
  • Pop into the excellent regional gallery and museum

Tip: If you have an extra day, take a drive to some of the surrounding villages like Manildra, Carcoar or Canowindra.

Check out de Russie Boutique Hotel, we loved our stay there on a previous visit.

Distance from Sydney: 250km
Driving time: 3 hours and 30 minutes
Public Transport rating: Easy – train from Central to Lithgow and a change for the train to Orange
Best time to visit: Anytime but summer – Spring and Autumn are the most popular. Winter can be freezing.

10. Kangaroo Valley

If your idea of the perfect weekend away involves walking trails and waterfalls, look no further than Kangaroo Valley, just a couple of hours south of Sydney. The scenery and wildlife here will have you wondering why you don’t visit more often.

Fitzroy Falls NSW Southern Highlands
Fitzroy Falls where the water drops over rock at Kangaroo Valley

8 things to see when you visit Kangaroo Valley

One of our go-to spots for a budget visit to Kangaroo Valley is Holiday Haven Park

Distance from Sydney: 160km
Driving time: 2 hours
Public Transport rating: Not recommended – possible in a pinch, train to Moss Vale Station, then a bus. You will need transport on arrival.
Best time to visit: April and May are ideal for weather and rainfall. Summer is cooler than Sydney.

11. Southern Highlands

The Southern Highlands towns of Berrima and Bowral are perfect for a winter getaway. This is the closest you can get to an English Country holiday in Australia.

There are lots of great small shops to explore

Five things to do in the Southern Highlands

Bowral is our preferred base for a Southern Highlands break because of the number of good places to eat and drink. From here, you are just 15 minutes away from most of the other villages. This string of villages offers some of the best weekend getaways for Sydney’s winter months.

Not sure which highlands town to make your base? Check out our beginners guide to the Southern Highlands

We think the Gibraltar Hotel is a fabulous base for exploring the Southern Highlands

Distance from Sydney: 120km
Driving time: 90 minutes south of Sydney to Bowral
Public Transport rating: A car makes exploring easier but you can take a train from Central to Bowral in 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Best time to visit:

12. Jervis Bay

Best known perhaps for Hyams Beach with its white sand, said to be among the whitest in the world, and crystal clear blue water. The region is home to over 100 beaches in giving you ample opportunity to find your own favourite. Add to this great local produce and its own emerging wine region, and this south coast paradise is the perfect Sydney weekend getaway in our book.

Jervis Bay Beach Narrawallee near Mollymook
Narrawallee Beach at Mollymook in Jervis Bay

Lush green hills and fantastic snorkelling and diving in the Jervis Bay Marine Park await only three hours’ drive south. Make the most of the bay by joining one of the many cruises, fishing charters or dive boats that leave from Huskinson. For an insanely romantic option book at Bannisters by the sea, the outdoor pool is one of the best along the NSW coast.

Check out our recent visit to Bannisters in Mollymook for ideas of what to see, eat and do.

It’s insanely busy in summer, so try to visit at other times of the year for the best experience.

7 Great things to do in Jervis Bay

The area offers everything from luxury stays and boutique hotels in Mollymook to rustic camping in Booderee National Park.

Bannisters at Mollymook is a lovely base for a couple’s escape

Distance from Sydney: 185 km to Huskinson
Driving time: 2hrs 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on traffic.
Public Transport rating: Not recommended – 4 hours (2 trains and a bus)
Best time to visit:

13. Robertson

The best Southern Highlands town for visiting what we refer to as the home of the trinity of waterfalls, Robertson is an easy and beautiful drive from Sydney.

Spring colours in Robertson
Spring is a fantastic time to visit Robertson

The town has just enough to keep you busy for 2-3 days. There is a good range of dining options, lots of walking trails, some great small shops and plenty of lookouts to find.

The beautifully restored Robertson Hotel makes a fantastic base for your visit.

Things to do when you visit Robertson for a weekend away.

  • Take in the views at Belmore, Carrington and Fitzroy Falls
  • Have breakfast at Moonacres
  • Take a walk through historic Burrawang and enjoy lunch in the pub garden
  • Do a tasting at the Cheese Factory
  • Laugh at the Big Potato, Australia’s lamest “big thing.”
  • Taste test the pies at the town’s three local pie shops and declare your winner.
  • Find a treasure at The Cool Room Emporium

Distance from Sydney: 140km
Driving time: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Public Transport rating: Possible – average 3 hours 10 mins.
Best time to visit: Year-round – each season offers something unique, but autumn colours are stunning.

14. Bundeena

Right on the city’s doorstep, Bundeena is only an hour from Sydney’s CBD and easily reached by public transport. The town on the edge of the Royal National Park is a great base for the Coast Track walk, which traverses 26km south from its official start right in town.

Looking from Bundeena to Cronulla

Bundeena is home to numerous artists’ studios, and an art trail opens once a month, allowing visitors to peek inside and meet the artists in their studios. If you fancy a weekend exploring the park or just lazying by the beach in a town with an old school summer holiday vibe, this is an excellent choice.

Things to do when you stay in Bundeena for a weekend

  • Visit the Aboriginal Rock engravings
  • Ride the Tom Thumb Ferry
  • Take a walk to Wedding Cake Rock
  • Rent a kayak and explore the Port Hacking River
  • Tour the Bundeena Art Trail

There are plenty of holiday rentals and also campsites in the Royal National Park if you want to get closer to nature.

Distance from Sydney: 55km
Driving time: 1 hour
Public Transport rating: Excellent, train to Cronulla then the Bundeena Ferry
Best time to visit: year-round but lovely in Spring and Autumn when crowds are low, and it’s perfect weather for a walk.

15. Maitland and Morpeth

The regional town of Maitland and the nearby village of Morpeth were one of our big surprises in 2020. A little over half an hour from both Newcastle and Cessnock it’s often passed by on the way to somewhere else but next time you are looking for a weekend getaway give this a shot.

The Bronte Guesthouse on the main street of Morpeth

The entire town of Morpeth is beautifully preserved and restored and the perfect base for exploring. Both here and in Maitland a short drive away there are excellent restaurants and cafes making it hard to decide where to eat. Check out where we ate on our last visit here.

Things not to miss in Morpeth and Maitland

  • Visit the Maitland Regional Art Gallery
  • Uncover a treasure at Campbell’s Stores
  • Try to find the “Dr Morse’s Indian Root Pills” Barn
  • Treat yourself to a three course dinner at Boydell’s at Morpeth
  • Have sunset drinks by the Levee at COQUUN
  • Take a guided tour of Maitland Goal – hear the fascinating stories of its inmates

Distance from Sydney: 77km
Driving time: 1 hour
Public Transport rating: not recommended – the closest you can get easily is Gosford. It’s a 15-minute drive from there.
Best time to visit: year-round but lovely in Spring and Autumn when crowds are low, and it’s perfect weather for a walk.

16. Glenworth Valley

If you want a weekend of adventure with some horse riding thrown in, then a visit to Glenworth Valley is a superb choice. Lying in the Central Coast Hinterland, the area is home to the towns that historically fed the city, including Peats Ridge and Mangrove Mountain.

If you love the outdoors and you have not discovered the Glenworth Valley, you are in for a treat. With endless opportunities to get your blood running. You can abseil, climb, kayak, hike, go quad biking or horse riding.

Things to do in Glenworth Valley on an adventurous weekend away

Distance from Sydney: 77km
Driving time: 1 hour
Public Transport rating: not recommended – the closest you can get easily is Gosford. It’s a 15-minute drive from there.
Best time to visit: year-round but lovely in Spring and Autumn when crowds are low, and it’s perfect weather for a walk.

17. The Hawkesbury River

Hawkesbury River weekend getaways are especially suited to aspiring boaties. You can rent a vessel to reach one of the many secluded properties that line the waterfront or book a houseboat for a weekend on the water.

A stop on the Riverboat Postman route

Things to do while visiting the Hawkesbury River

  • Take a tour with the Riverboat Postman while they deliver the mail
  • Enjoy a meal on The Floating Oyster Wine Bar
  • Learn all about pearls at the Broken Bay Pearl Farm
  • Wander Dangar Island and have a beer with the locals at the Bowling Club
  • Head upriver to the Spencer Village Store
  • Enjoy a meal at Peat’s Bite

Distance from Sydney: 65km
Driving time: 50 minutes
Public Transport rating: Train to Hawkesbury River Station at Brooklyn
Best time to visit: Near a bad time to visit, just bring the right clothes!

18. The Entrance

Surrounded by water on all sides, The Entrance offers surf beaches and accommodation overlooking Tuggerah Lake. A longtime favourite family getaway for Sydneysiders, and it’s easy to see why there is so much to do with kids.

The famous “long jetty” try to see it at sunrise and sunset if you can.

From calm beaches along the lakefront to water play areas in the centre of town and, of course, the famous Pelican feeding, it is very easy to entertain the entire family here.

Couples might like to choose the Pullman Magenta shores or Kim’s Beachside Retreat.

Things to do on a visit to The Entrance

  • Watch the Pelican Feeding at Memorial Park daily at 3:15pm
  • Take a swim at the ocean baths
  • Explore the shops and cafes of Long Jetty
  • Take the coast walk at Wyrrabalong National Park
  • Do the Coast to Lake Walk – an easy 7.6km walk

Distance from Sydney: 107km
Driving time: 70 minutes
Public transport rating: Yes, train to Gosford and bus to The Entrance (2.5hrs all up)
Best time to visit: Spring and summer allow you to enjoy the water

19. Killcare

Sitting at the end of the Bouddi Peninsula, Killcare is a bit of a secret for many, with its 1.6km long beach and the stunning Bouddi National Park almost enclosing the area. This is a paradise for bushwalkers and anyone who enjoys the beach.

Sunrise at Killcare Beach on the Central Coast
Killcare Beach on the Central Coast

Things to do on weekend getaways to Killcare

  • Walk the Maitland Bay Track in Bouddi National Park
  • Visit the Box Head Lookout, Gerrin Lookout over the ocean and Alan Strom Lookout over Brisbane Water.
  • Pop into the Distillery Botanica cellar door and try the local gin
  • Swim at Lobster Beach
  • Have breakfast at Fat Goose Cafe
  • Check out nearby Copacabana Beach and Avoca Beach

Distance from Sydney: 103km
Driving time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Public Transport rating: Possible but takes close to 3 hours with poor connections
Best time to visit: Summer and spring for beach days but winter watching the moody ocean can be so relaxing.

20. Mudgee

With country charm in bucket loads, a weekend in Mudgee is a lovely way to relax with the perfect mix of rolling hills, historic buildings and wineries. While it’s a well-known escape for foodies, if you enjoy a good hike, then Ferntree Gully or Putta Bucca Wetlands will deliver just what you need.

Lowe Family Wine Co Credit: Destination NSW

Things to do on a weekend in Mudgee

  • Join the Mudgee 1hr Orientation Tour
  • Stoll the Mudgee Farmers’ Market and try not to eat everything in sight!
  • Try your hand fishing at Cudgegong Waters Park
  • Explore the historic gold rush town of Gulgong
  • Do a tasting at the charming Lowe Family Wine Co or another of the region’s 65 cellar doors.
  • Spend some time (and dollars) in the shops along Market and Church Streets.
  • Make your way to Flirtation Hill Lookout for a splendid view over the town.

Distance from Sydney: 266km
Driving time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Public Transport rating: Possible but takes close to 3 hours with poor connections.
Best time to visit: Mudgee is a great year-round destination.

21. Pittwater

Church Point, Cottage Point or Scotland Island, whichever of these idyllic waterfront locations you choose, you will feel you have left Sydney far behind. Paddle, swim or just sit and watch the world go by from a waterfront rental.

Cottage Point at Pittwater

Things to include on your weekend getaways on Pittwater

  • Eat Brunch at Cottage Point Inn
  • Ride the ferry between the islands and explore them all
  • Have drinks in the garden at the Pasadena
  • Spend the day at the Basin
  • Take a walk or two in Kur-Ring-Gai National Park

Distance from Sydney: 40km
Driving time: 50 minutes
Public Transport rating: Bus to Palm Beach and local ferry service
Best time of year to visit: spring wildflowers are stunning but Pittwater is beautiful all year

22. Bathurst

A weekend in Bathurst is not just for motorsports enthusiasts. The town will be just as exciting for any history lover. As the oldest inland city in Australia, a stroll through the main street and a visit to the nearby towns will reward with some fine colonial architecture, including Abercrombie House.

Weekends from Sydney Bathurst
Heritage Buildings in Bathurst

Things you should do on a weekend in Bathurst

  • Drive the Mount Panorama Motor Racing Circuit
  • Explore the nearby gold rush towns of Sofala and Hill End
  • Visit Mayfield Garden – a must in autumn and spring
  • Check out one of the many local bush walks
  • Spend time in one of the twenty museums

Distance from Sydney: 205km west of Sydney
Driving time: 2 hours and 50 minutes
Public Transport rating: Train (3hrs 45m)
Best time of year to visit: Rug up in the winter but visit anytime. October when the motor racing comes to town can be expensive.

23. Wollongong

Two lighthouses guard Wollongong Harbour on the Illawarra Coast south of Sydney. The third biggest city in NSW may not immediately pop into mind when thinking about a weekend getaway, but there are plenty of reasons it should.

Wollongong beach getaway
Wollongong Beach

Make your way from Sydney through the Royal National Park and the famous Grand Pacific Drive. This tour will take you over the South Coast’s famous Seacliff Bridge and onto Wollongong via a string of beautiful beaches.

Things to do when you spend a weekend in Wollongong

  • Visit Nan Tien Temple, the biggest Buddhist Temple in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Check out the city’s street art
  • Take one of the region’s fantastic walks
  • Check out all the lookouts from Stanwell Tops to Sublime Point
  • Discover the collection at Wollongong Regional Gallery (it contains work by many of Australia’s greatest artists)
  • Swim at all the Illawarra’s Beaches – Thirroul, Austinmer, Coledale and, of course, North Wollongong just for a start.

Distance from Sydney: 85km
Driving time: 90 minutes
Public Transport rating: Easy – trains from Central to Wollongong many of the towns on the route
Best time to visit: Wollongong has plenty to offer year-round.

24. Bungendore

Bungendore, just 30 minutes from Canberra, describes itself as a traditional Australian country town. It was one of the early Cobb and Co Stage Coast stops

Gunna Doo Bakery on Gibraltar Street Credit: Grahamec – Wikimedia

Things to see and do on a weekend in Bungendore

Distance from Sydney: 277km
Driving time: 3hrs and 20 minutes
Public Transport rating: Train from Sydney stops at Bungendore and takes 3.5 hours.
Best time to visit: It’s pretty cold in winter, and quite warm in summer but perfect the rest of the year.

Weekend getaways over 4 hours drive from Sydney

We generally like shorter drive times on our getaways, less time in the car and more time exploring however if you like driving and don’t mind going a little further you could consider the following places:

  • Port Macquarie – great coastal walks and family fun
  • Forster – perennial favourite and home to some of the best NSW beaches
  • Byron Bay – perhaps book into a resort and relax after the long drive or fly to Ballina and pick up a car.
  • Snowy Mountains – something to offer at all times of the year hiking or skiing
  • Coffs Harbour and the Waterfall Way – our favourite road trip of all time
  • Batemans Bay – family holidays don’t get much more old school than a weekend in Batemans Bay.

Check out these road trips into regional New South Wales for more inspiration.

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