Here we suggest the 12 Best Weekend Getaways from Sydney. Visiting Sydney is an amazing experience and one where you will find a lot to do and to see. At times however, it is nice to explore just a little further afield and to experience the diversity of Australia. From beaches to wineries, from small rural villages to gastronomic centres, you will be quite amazed at what is so close. Sydney is ideally situated for weekend getaways.
12 Best Weekend Getaways from Sydney
- 1 12 Best Weekend Getaways from Sydney
- 1.1 Bundeena
- 1.2 Blue Mountains
- 1.3 Bathurst
- 1.4 Wollongong
- 1.5 Kiama
- 1.6 Kangaroo Valley
- 1.7 Berry
- 1.8 Hunter Valley
- 1.9 Canberra
- 1.10 Jervis Bay
- 1.11 Bowral
- 1.12 Mollymook
“a village set in the Royal National Park”
1 h 10 min from Sydney by car, 55.6 km
The villages of Bundeena and Maianbar are set in the Royal National Park and are 10 minutes apart by car. Both of these villages are located on the southern side of Sydney and located on the Port Hacking River. You will need a car to access both of these villages and also to get around to other attractions located within this 16,000 hectare National Park. Some of the very popular places to visit where a car is necessary, are Audley, Wattamolla and Garie Beach.
The Royal National Park is the oldest national park in Australia, and the second oldest in the world. It is a mecca for visitors and there are many places to explore and things to do here. Staying at either Bundeena and Maianbar gives you a good base for your explorations.
How to get there
You will only be able to access Bundeena and the Royal National Park by car, which are easy to hire in Sydney.
What to do in Bundeena
- Go Bushwalking – A very popular walk is the Bundeena to Maianbar Heritage Walk. Do the 23km walk from Bundeena to Otford in the south. There are four beaches that attract beach lovers to Bundeena and Maianbar. Bonnie Vale, Horderns, Gunyah and Jibbon are each unique and locals will guide you to the one, which is the best for families, for naturalists or for a picnic.
- Go Fishing – Fishing is a very popular pastime for many residents of Bundeena to Maianbar and also for people visiting the region. Bundeena’s Bonnie Vale, Jibbon and Horderns Beaches and Maianbar’s Fisherman’s Bay are popular fishing spots.
- Row a boat or kayak – The historic Audley Boatshed is where you will be able to hire rowboats, canoes, kayaks, aqua bikes and mountain bikes and explore the river in the Royal National Park, and the beautiful Hacking River
- Have a picnic – Bonnie Vale Picnic Ground is a very popular area to have a picnic, but then any of the beaches or the many parks are well set up for this.
- Catch the Ferry to Cronulla – The little green and yellow ferries cross back and forth between Bundeena and Cronulla, a southern vibrant suburb of Sydney. Cronulla & National Park Ferry Cruises also offer extended trips in the summer months giving an excellent view of the National Parks and often of dolphins and whales pass by.
- Do the Art Trail – Bundeena is home to many artists. The Art Trail held on the first Sunday of every month and is an opportunity to visit local artists in their studios and view their paintings, sculptures and artworks.
Where to eat in Bundeena
- Cafe Manna – Healthy gourmet food, kebabs, salads, vegetarian meals, fresh juice-smoothies, and more. – Shop 2/22 Brighton Street, Bundeena
- Passionfruit Cafe – Great Coffee, famous Bundeena Breakfast, Fish & Chips, Burgers, Sandwiches, Fresh Juice, Salads, and more – 46A Brighton Street, Bundeena
- Bundeena Bowling & Sports Club – Bundeena Bowling & Sports Club is a family friendly club and is always good for a hearty meal with some amazing views over the water – Liverpool Street, Bundeena
Where to stay in Bundeena
- Bundeena Base Holiday Home – Self-contained with an outdoor BBQ area; top location. Latest prices here 33 Loftus Street, Bundeena,
- Solveena – Has a terrace with sea views. 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 4 separate living areas. Ideal for families or groups. Latest prices here. 6 Beach Street Bundeena
- Bottlebrush Lodge I -L’Abode – 4 bedrooms, self-contained, great views and close to everything. Latest prices here.71 Scarborough Street
Read more about exploring Bundeena.
Please Note: You will need to purchase a park entry pass because this is a National Park. The latest prices are $12 per vehicle per day. Seasonal ticket booths at Bonnie Vale, Wattamolla and Garie Beach are cash only, as there is no power or mobile connection. Please bring correct change.
“World Heritage listed natures playground, and cosy log fires”
1 hour 30 from Sydney by car, 100km
The Blue Mountains of NSW, Australia are justifiably a very popular destination and just 100km’s from Sydney. The Blue Mountains are a World Heritage-listed National Park, and home to the famed 3 Sisters rock formation. The area is rich in Aboriginal lore.
People come to the Blue Mountains because it is a natural wonderland and is popular with walkers, cyclers and for romantic weekend getaways. Think open fireplaces, crisp mountain air, stunning environment, and the Blue Mountains were made for romance.
Why are the mountains blue?
Many believe that “the blue haze blanketing the mountains is created by the atmosphere whereby dispersed droplets of Eucalypt oil combine with dust particles and water vapour to scatter refracted rays of light which are largely blue in colour”, however there are other more scientific thoughts
How to get to the Blue Mountains
- By Train: You will need an Opal Card. Details here. Catch the train from Central Station and travel to Katoomba, which is about 100 km west of Sydney and takes about 2 hours.
- By car: From Sydney’s head west and the roads are clearly signposted.
- By bus: there are innumerable bus tour companies offering day and weekend trips to the Blue Mountains NSW.
What to do in the Blue Mountains
A great idea is to get the Blue Mountains Hop on Hop off & Scenic World Rides Pass and get all bases covered for the following activities.
- Scenic Railway – this is the steepest incline in the world, with a 52-degree incline and descends 310 metres through a cliff-side tunnel, coming out into the ancient rainforest at the Jamison Valley floor. It is terrifyingly good.
- Scenic Walkway – 2.4kms through the rainforest. Rug up, no matter what the season despite it having a rainforest canopy. Beautiful experience.
- Scenic Skyway – this is suspended 270 metres in the air giving you a 360-degree panorama – up, out and down to the rainforest floor. It’s not that scary and I don’t like heights.
- Scenic Cableway – The 545-metre journey takes you to the bottom of the Jamison Valley in a fully enclosed cabin and also returns visitors to the top of the escarpment.
- Wander around the arty village of Leura with its many craft shops and cafes,
- Explore the town of Katoomba and just wander around the streets admiring the many beautiful buildings.
Where to eat in Katoomba
- Blue Mountains Chocolate Company – Watch them make the chocolate on site. Drink hot chocolate, and eat chocolates. 176 Lurline St, Katoomba
- Up Beet Juice & Espresso – Vegans and vegetarians will love Up Beet Juice & Espresso café in Katoomba’s. The juices are the best.. Great atmosphere, great staff, and you will feel virtuous but very satisfied. Shop 9, James Building, 72 Bathurst Rd, Katoomba.
Where to eat in Leura
- Leura Garage – Wine, tapas, pizza in a very cool place. 84 Railway Parade, Leura
- Flemish Flavours – Think Belgian beers and Flemish cuisine, with the pre-requisite open fire. 117 Leura Mall, Leura
Where to stay in the Blue Mountains
- Hydro Majestic Hotel Blue Mountains – Romantic hotel destination at Medlow Bath. Do not miss the high afternoon tea. Read about our experiences at the Hydro Majestic here. Latest prices here.
- Lilianfels Blue Mountains Resort & Spa – Chic hotel in ideal location, where you will be spoilt. Great on-site facilities. Latest prices here.
- Bethany Manor Bed & Breakfast in Leura – Charming and graceful in an idyllic garden setting. So, Leura, so blue mountains.Latest prices here.
Read more about what to do in the Blue Mountains here.
“An arty regional New South Wales City”
2 h 54 min from Sydney by car, 200 km
Bathurst is the oldest inland city in NSW. After explorers Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth had achieved crossing the Blue Mountains of NSW, it was declared a township on 7 May 1815 by Governor Lachlan Macquarie. The colonial settlers were in search of land to be able to feed the ever-growing population of Sydney.
When gold was discovered near the city in 1851, the township of Bathurst boomed, and this can be seen in the architecture of the city. We noticed that the relationship between the people of Bathurst, and the indigenous Wiradjuri People appears very strong and this is a good thing.
Bathurst is now known for the many educational institutions like the famous Charles Sturt University, the magnificent Kelso High School which you can read about here, as well as many private boarding schools.
With an amazing food and wine scene, a thriving art scene, cute as coffee shops, as well as being home to Mt Panorama, home of the famous racetrack.
How to get there
Bathurst is an easy weekend getaway from Sydney. It is a 3-hour drive. I suggest when you visit Bathurst that you stop for a high afternoon tea at the Grand Hydro Majestic on the way and admire the stunning Blue Mountains of NSW. This will take you 2 hours to get to.
What to do in Bathurst
- Drive Mt Panorama – drive around the Mt Panorama racing track, which is a public road when the super-fast cars aren’t racing. You will see exactly why international and local drivers find this a challenging course. We went around it at the prescribed speed limit of 60kms per hour and can only imagine how frightening it would be to drive the track at 270kms per hour.
- Walk Around the historical City of Bathurst – It is a good idea to start your walking tour from the local train station. While that might sound weird, it isn’t. This is a critical place to Bathurst’s development and where you can see the Bathurst Railway Station (circa 1875), which is an excellent example of the Victorian Tudor style of architecture. Bathurst’s historic Chifley Engine is on display at the Bathurst Railway Station. Learn more about Ben Chifley, Australia’s 16th Prime Minister and a local Bathurst boy, right here.
- Visit the Bathurst Regional Art Gallery (or BRAG) – The Bathurst Regional Art Gallery was the first purpose built regional gallery in NSW and the current curator is Richard Perram OAM, who is unafraid to push the boundaries in the exhibits.
- Visit the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum – It is worth visiting this collection of 2000 rare fossils and minerals from around the world. The collection is thanks to a passionate collector named Warren Somerville and includes crystals from over 100 Australian mine sites, plus a dinosaur. It was interesting. 224 Howick Street Bathurst 2795. Open 10 am – 4 pm Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 2 pm Sunday.
Where to eat in Bathurst
- The Hub Café – The Hub Cafe is where locals congregate, and where visitors head to because The Hub is iconic to Bathurst. You can also get a great Australian breakfast here. It has a really nice feel to the café, and it is chic and urbane as well, with a delightful outdoor area and some local artworks on the walls. Address: 52 Keppel St
- Legall Patisserie – Want a French kick, then head to Legall Patisserie for a lovely cake. Address: 56 Keppel St
- The George Hotel- Go to The George Hotel for some fresh local food and local wines, and nice ambience.- Address: 201 George St
Where to stay in Bathurst
- Bishop’s Court Estate Boutique Hotel – Bishop’s Court Estate Boutique Hotel and loved. It is elegant, it is very luxurious, but the bonus is that it is friendly. Christine LeFevre runs the property and is the also chef at her grand hotel. I am telling you, the home cooked breakfasts are to die for, coming from her own garden and her own chooks called the Spice Girls, and anything else is sourced locally. Latest prices here. Read about our experience staying at Bishop’s Court Estate. 226 Seymour St, Bathurst
- Panorama Bathurst – Close to everything, and just a 3-minute walk from Bathurst Showground and a 5-minute drive from Bathurst Train Station. Moderately priced with great reviews. 51 Durham Street
- Governor Macquarie Motor Inn – Quiet location 500 m from the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum this is a great base to explore Bathurst. Check latest prices and details here. 19 Charlotte Street, Bathurst
Read more about visiting Bathurst on your weekend getaway from Sydney.
“Between the mountains and the sea …literally”
1 h 28 min from Sydney by car, 89.8 km
Ok, we live here so we are totally biased. Wollongong literally means between the mountains and the sea. With 17 patrolled beaches running along this narrow city, and the escarpment running along the other, it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Home to a large University, and known as the city of innovation, Wollongong is a very multicultural city, and one where surfers, professors, artists and more co-exist very happily.
How to get there
You can drive the 80kms or take a train which run regularly from Sydney. If driving, Take the scenic route along one of the most beautiful drives in the world called the Grand Pacific Drive.
Expect to see some of the most spectacular coastlines in the world as you drive down the NSW South Coast. Pass through the second oldest national park in the world, subtropical rainforests, and theatrical cliffs. Cross over the Sea Cliff Bridge, the cantilevered bridge that arcs out over the sea. Then just keep a long line of surfing beaches on your left, and a mountain range on your right. You will then have arrived at your new destination, Wollongong, called by the locals The Gong.
What to do in Wollongong
- Visit the Nan Tien Temple – The Nan Tien is the largest Buddhist Temple in the Southern Hemisphere. For details on how to get there, and more about this incredible temple, read the following about the Nan Then Temple.
- Do a Street Art tour. – Wollongong has been the home to the Wonderwalls street art festival for many years. Reading these articles will give you directions of where to see and find the best street art in Wollongong and this one too.
- Go to the Beach – You are never far from the beach in the Gong. Make sure you also check out the two lighthouses in Wollongong because this is unique to have them so close together.
- Go Bushwalking or Mountain/Dirt Bike riding – The escarpment is home to many bushwalking tracks, and many dirt and bicycle tracks. This will enable you to see much of the flora and fauna that Australia is famous for, including some epic views.
- Enjoy a festival – Wollongong is festival central, from food, to wine, to Harley Days, music, arts. There is always a festival happening, and we love it.
- Jump out of a plane – Parachuting onto the beach is very popular in Wollongong.
Where to eat in Wollongong
- Mylan Vietnamese Restaurant – Seriously, you are welcome. The best Vietnamese outside of Vietnam, and hugely popular. 193 Keira St, Wollongong
- Connies Cliff Road Café – Aussies do breakfast, and our favourite words are all day breakfast. Located at North Beach, this is super popular also with consistently excellent food …ergo breakfast. As proud Australian coffee snobs, we cannot complain about the standard. 16 Cliff Rd, Wollongong
- Samaras Lebanese Restaurant – Yum, yum, and yum. Top Lebanese food, top service, great place. I want Kafta now. Corner of Market &, Corrimal St, Wollongong
Where to stay in Wollongong
- Novotel Wollongong North Beach – Located overlooking North Beach, Wollongong this is prime real estate. With the funkiest bar, Pepe’s downstairs which faces onto the beach, this is a top choice. Latest prices here. 2-14 Cliff Road
- Adina Apartment Hotel Wollongong – Adina always do well with apartment living, right in the middle of the city. Perfect for seeing performances at the Wollongong Entertainment Centre, going to the football and right on the restaurant belt, it is a good choice. Latest prices here.19 Market Street, 2500 Wollongong, Australia
- Beach Park Motel, Wollongong – A 200 metre stroll to the beach, across the road from Stuart Park this is a moderately priced hotel. It is immaculately clean and well maintained, and you can watch the festivals in the park from your balcony. Latest prices here. 10 Pleasant Avenue
“beaches, blowholes, surfers, and a trendy seaside vibe”
1 h 51 min from Sydney by car, 121 km
Kiama is a seaside town 39 kms south of Wollongong, and famous for the blowholes that periodically erupt, and are well worth seeing. Not only are there beaches, lots of cutesy shops, but Kiama has a trendy café scene. It is very popular with visitors, and is in close proximity to the dairyland village of Jamberoo. This views from Kiama are incredible of the mountains and the sea. And they do great fish and chips.
How to get there
There are frequent trains from Sydney to Kiama, and it is a lovely trip taking 2hrs and 15 mins. It is also a lovely drive particularly if you travel down the Grand Pacific Drive, one of the most stunning drives in the world.
What to do in Kiama
- Visit the Blowholes – there are two blowholes in Kiama, the little one, and the other Blowhole is the largest in the world. Watching them go ‘off’ is amazing.
- Get pumped at Jamberoo Action Park – families come from near and far for this experience. This is NSW’s favourite water theme park.
- Saddleback Mountain – is a mountain, which rises to about 600 metres with the most epic views. Terrific drive up the steep mountain, and some amazing bush walks to be had. Photographers love the vistas.
- Listen to bush music at Jamberoo Pub – Jamberoo is one of the loveliest and most lush farming communities just 11 km inland from Kiama. The pub is quintessentially Australian, and if you time it correctly you can not only eat good food, but listen to Australian bush music. Check their website for details.
- Surfing and Swimming at beach – From Bombo to the main Surf Beach, from Jones Beach to Kendalls Beach, if you like surfing then you will be in your element. Kiama is a town of surfers.
Where to eat
- Penny Whistlers – Café Kiama – Great view of harbour. Caters for vegans, vegetarians, and meat lovers too. 5/31 Shoalhaven St, Kiama
- Silica – Based around locally sourced South Coasts produce, this is a popular place to dine. With amazing views they do a great menu, with the fish and chips, and the gnocchi being popular. 72 Manning St, Kiama
- Hanoi on Manning – Vietnamese food and the beachside location of Kiama, and indeed Australia, just seem to go hand in hand. Lots of great reviews, so well worth the visit. 10 Manning St, Kiama
Where to stay
- The Sebel Kiama Harbourside – Overlooking Kiama Harbour this is a magnificent property in an ideal location.Latest prices here. 31 Shoalhaven St, Kiama
- Kiama Shores Motel – Offering free parking, and free WI_FI, this is an nice little hotel to base yourself in Kiama.Latest prices here. 45-51 Collins St, Kiama
- Kiama Harbour Cabins – Top location near the blowhole, these are great cabins, centrally locates with amazing views. Latest prices here.Blowhole Point Road, Kiama
“Charming rural village set in a valley with mountain views, with wineries and food”
2 h 11 min from Sydney by car, 56 km
Kangaroo Valley is one of the most delightful places to visit on a weekend getaway from Sydney. The drive there is totally worth it as you go through lush green pastures, past crystal clear creeks through a canopy of trees, all along a rainforest. Expect to descend through the mist to this charming village and expect to see kangaroos. A little hippy and a little rock and roll.
How to get there
You can get to Kangaroo Valley using the trains, but it is a little complicated as the train stops in Nowra, and then you have a 19km walk to Kangaroo Valley. Really, you will need a car to visit this most delightful village.
What to do in Kangaroo Valley
- Nothing really. It is so peaceful.Wander the quaint shops, walk over the bridge, have a meal.
- Visit the Pioneer Village Museum. Which shows how the early Australian settlers lived. Have a billy tea, because it is iconically Australian and very good. Admire the Hampden Bridge, a Victorian suspension bridge with sandstone towers.
- enjoy the walks in Budderoo National Park
- Go kayaking and boating on the Kangaroo River.
Where to eat in Kangaroo Valley
- Bistro ONE46 Kangaroo Valley – Enjoy local fresh produce, home-made delicacies, local wines and craft beers. 146 Moss Vale Rd, Kangaroo Valley
- The General Cafe – Locally sourced produce, in a very Australian styled building this café sources local produce. 151 Moss Vale Rd, Kangaroo Valley
- Jing Jo Café – A very popular Thai restaurant in the Kangaroo Valley. It is ironic that you are eating very good Thai while watching the kangaroos, and goannas outside the windows.160 Moss Vale Rd | Shop 8, Kangaroo Valley
Where to stay in Kangaroo Valley
- Kangaroo Valley Golf and Country Resort – 18-hole golf course, outdoor swimming pool and tennis court, 3.5km from village centre. Check out latest rates. 390 Mount Scanzi Road, 2577 Kangaroo Valley, Australia
- Holiday Haven Kangaroo Valley– Next to the historic Hampden Bridge are these self-contained cabins. Family friendly. Latest prices here. 5 Moss Vale Road, 2577 Kangaroo Valley, Australia
- Romanz in the valley Luxury B&B, Australia – Set on 25 acres of beautiful countryside just 1km from village centre, this is a romantic getaway from Sydney. Latest rates here. 2168 Moss Vale Rd, Kangaroo Valley
“Very trendy rural escape from the city destination”
2 h 3 min from Sydney by car, 143 km
Berry is a pretty little heritage town in NSW with a thriving food, wine, antique and arts scene. It is a very popular place for people from the city to visit, and in fact to move to. Drive through rolling dairy lands to reach this stunning little country retreat.
How to get there
There is a train from Sydney to Berry on the South Coast Line. Should you wish to visit the surrounding wineries, and you do, a car is a good idea …and a designated driver. Australia is very strict with its road rules and that particularly includes drinking and driving, and you can read more about driving in Australia here.
What to do in Berry, NSW
- Eat … Berry is renowned as a foodie destination, and it will be impossible to try everything in a weekend getaway from Sydney. We advise that you do a food walking tour, with Foodscape Tours, they know their stuff. We visited artisanal cheese places, a gorgeous tea shop, and a lot more. Check out our coverage of eating in Berry, NSW right here.
- Drink … the wineries in and around Berry will blow your mind. Make sure to visit Coolangatta Estate Berry, and the incredible Silos Winery and Restaurant, at B640 Princes Hwy, Berry
- Shop … at the Berry Markets, which are held twice a month on the second Saturday and fourth Sunday from 8am to 2pm. It is a boutique-style market. Wander the myriad of shops in Berry from antiques to hand crafted goods and more.
Really, there is your weekend in Berry, NSW, Australia done and dusted. Read about what we ate and drank in Berry, NSW.
Where to eat in Berry, NSW
- The Sourdough Bakery, Berry – Famous for its sourdough, this bakery is an institution in Berry and with good reason. Trust me and go there. 23 Prince Alfred St, Berry NSW 2535
- SOUTH on Albany – Outstanding food that won’t break the bank. Come here for dinner and be spoiled by the staff, and more spoiled by the fresh and amazing food. This is what Berry is about. 3/65 Queen St, Berry NSW 2535
- The Burrows in Berry – Pretty neat little place, that is cosy, yet has an industrial-vintage styling. Particularly good for breakfast, in a town where breakfast reigns supreme. 71 Queen St, Berry NSW 2535
Where to stay in Berry
- Mt Hay Luxury Retreat – Located just outside of the township of Berry, this is an ultra-luxurious property with the most stunning views over Berry, and the surrounding rural countryside. Read about our experiences staying here. And check out latest rates here. 260 Mount Hay Rd, Berry
- Coolangatta Estate Berry – We love this winery, restaurant and accommodation, and the people. Located just outside of the town this is a special place that is well worth staying. Latest prices here. 1335 Bolong Road, Berry
- Berry Village Boutique Motel – Perfect location to explore the village of Berry. Clean, comfortable and perfect for a weekend getaway from Sydney. Prices to stay are here. 72-76 Queen St, 2535 Berry, Australia
“Wine, Wine, and Wine … oh, and awesome food”
2 hours from Sydney by car, 160km
The Hunter Valley encompasses the towns of Pokolbin, Newcastle to Scone and south to Cessnock and as far north as Lake Macquarie, so you can see that it is a vast area. Choosing where to stay, which wineries to visit, and where to eat can be daunting. I am going to be recommending Pokolbin as we like this area a lot.
How to get there
There are a number of different options to get to the Hunter Valley, which you can find here. However, if you get a car and drive, and then leave your car and do a winery tour, it will make the most of your weekend getaway from Sydney.
What to do in the Hunter Valley
- Let’s not beat around the bush. The Hunter Valley is about food, wine, and romance … if you can fit it in.
- So, sticking with Pokolbin let is recommend some wineries to visit, and make sure that you do it on a private or group tour, so that the police do not get you for driving under the influence.
- Try this tour, a 6 hour exploration of the Hunter Valley – Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate Tasting Tour. These all work together.
- What about a Hot-Air Balloon ride with Breakfast & Champagne?
- Then again you could do a horse drawn carriage winery tour. It is the penultimate in romance, and convenience.
Where to eat in Pokolbin
I will keep this brief. Most of the wineries have a restaurant on site, and by the end of the day(s), you will probably not feel like going out for a meal.
But if you do, in Pokolbin some of the most popular are:
- Muse Restaurant – Great tasting menu. 2450 Broke Rd, Pokolbin
- Restaurant Botanica – Great food, great service, unusually good prices for this area. 555 Hermitage Rd, Pokolbin
- Matilda Bay Brewhouse Hunter Valley – Rustic and Italian cuisine, good to soak up the day’s work. Hermitage Rd &, Mistletoe Ln, Pokolbin
Where to stay in Pokolbin
I am going to recommend accommodation in Pokolbin as the Hunter Valley is vast, and we like this area the best.
- Spicers Vineyards Estate – Rural setting with access to vineyards and bikes available to ride to wineries. Compulsory open fore for romance, and cocktails. Latest prices here. 555 Hermitage Rd, 2320 Pokolbin, Australia
- The Carriages Boutique Hotel and Vineyard– Quite close relatively speaking in the Hunter Valley. 2.2 km of Hunter Valley Gardens. Latest prices here. The Carriages 112 Halls Road, Pokolbin
- Pokolbin Village – The Pokolbin Winemakers Outlet, Pokolbin Chocolate & Jam Company and the Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop are on-site. Latest prices here. 2188 Broke Road, 2330 Pokolbin, Australia
“The capital city of Australia, and home to many iconic places; great family destination”
3 h 18 min from Sydney by car, 286 km
Did you know? A decision could not be reached on where to place Australia’s new capital city. Sydney wanted the honour. Melbourne want the honour. So, they picked a sheep farm right in between the two rival cities, and a purpose-built capital city was created.
An obscure American architect named Walter Burley Griffin won a competition for someone to design the new seat of power. His vision was to divide the area in two with a lake being the fence between the civil area on one side and the residential on the other.
How to get there
There are buses that regularly run between Sydney and Canberra, as well as many domestic flights (only an hour max.). You can also catch a train but that will take nearly 5 hours and cut into your weekend getaway from Sydney. Driving is easy as there are freeways the entire way.
What to do in Canberra
- Experience Floriade – This is an internationally recognised flower, food and wine festival and shows how very stunning Canberra is in spring. It is held annually through September and October. Check all of the dates and details here at the official site.
- Visit Both Parliaments Houses – Both the old and the new Parliaments Houses, offer a view into the history of the country, and the way that Australia is governed.
- Check out The National Art Gallery – The National Art Gallery holds incredible static displays and hosts many major national and international exhibitions.
- Have fun at Questacon – Questacon is the Science and Technology centre and is a real attraction for children and adults alike. Most of the exhibits are interactive.
- Explore Lake Burley Griffin – Lake Burley Griffin is the central divide of the city and is magnificent centrepiece. It is a massive man-made lake that you can sail on or walk or cycle around the foreshores. This is where Floriade, the annual flower festival is held, attracting visitors, both nationally and internationally. Make sure to check out The Carillion also, which has 55 bronze bells that play music.
- Visit National Dinosaur Museum – Kids and big kids will enjoy the National Dinosaur Museum with Australia’s largest permanent display of prehistoric specimens, located in Gold Creek Village near Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia.
- Have fun at Cockington Green – This is a beautiful village built in miniature, with a perfect little coffee shop to enjoy tea and scone afterward. It is located 15km north of the city on Gold Creek Road at Gold Creek Village, off the Barton Highway, Nicholls, Canberra
- Discover the National Arboretum – The National Arboretum is worth checking out for its fascinating Bonsai specimens as well as the striking ‘wide brown land’ sculpture on the hill.
- Go for a ride in a Hot air balloon in Canberra – Hot air balloon at dawn over the nation’s capital and appreciate the enigma of this artificially designed city. Canberra still retains a rural charm and does shock visitors as to its laid back atmosphere. A hot air balloon ride at sunset is an amazing way to see the nation’s capital. Book tickets in advance.
- Go on a craft beer tour. – Craft beer is big in Canberra. Let locals show you where to go and what to drink. Tickets here for a 3 hour tasting session.
Where to eat in Canberra
Canberra has so many eateries, from fine dining to the food vans in Braddon, a suburb of Canberra, and you can read about these and other cafés in this foodie belt of the nation’s capital, Canberra.
But here are some stayers.
- Aubergine – A four-course fixed menu that changes seasonally and a perennial favourite. 18 Barker St, Griffith
- Monster – Hugely popular, this is the go to place to meet friends, have an amazing meal, and be wowed by the décor both inside and out. Hotel Hotel, 25 Edinburgh Ave, Canberra
- Tipsy Bull – With 190 Gins from around the world, it is a winner already. Great quality food. Coming back …again and again. Lonsdale St, Braddon, Canberra
Where to stay in Canberra
- Jamala Wildlife Lodge, Canberra – If you want to sleep with animals literally …then this is the ideal weekend getaway for couples. Check whether you can bring children as they tend to frighten the animals. We slept with a giraffe. Read about our experiences here at Jamala Wildlife Lodge, and also read about what the owners are doing to support endangered animals. Latest prices here. National Zoo & Aquarium, 999 Lady Denman Dr, Canberra
- Adina Serviced Apartments Canberra Dickson – Great location, just ideal for families. Read about our experiences at Adina Serviced Apartments Canberra here. Latest prices here. 45 Dooring St, Dickson
- Mantra on Northbourne – Apartment living, suites come with kitchen, laundry and living areas. Great location.Latest prices here. 84 Northbourne Ave, 2612 Canberra, Australia
“Whales, beaches, pure nature, and the whitest sand in the world”
3 hour drive from Sydney by car, 183km
Jervis Bay is renowned worldwide for its bluer than blue sea water, its whiter than white sand beaches, the plethora of wildlife including a huge dose of dolphin spotting. This is one of Australia’s most beautiful places.
How to get there
Jervis Bay is an easy drive from Sydney. Taking approx… 3 hours by car. Head down the Grand Pacific Drive, to get the most iconic views, and then Jervis Bay is just 37 kms from Nowra. If you choose not to drive there is a day trip from Sydney to Jervis Bay, which includes a cruise of Jervis Bay Marine Park and picnic lunch.
What to do in Jervis Bay
- Visit Hyam Beach for the whitest sand in the world. The water is amazingly blue and perfect for swimming.
- Scuba dive Jervis Bay Marine Park – Scuba divers and snorkellers love the clear waters of Jervis Bay Marine Park. There are a number of companies who run snorkelling and diving tours.
- Go whale and dolphin watching – Watch humpbacks and southern right whales of the shore. There are many whale and dolphin watching tours, as well as cruises to seal colonies. Check out the lighthouse is at the end of Stony Creek Road.
- Explore Booderee National Park – Booderee National Park is beautiful, and nature and beach lovers will be amazed at the pristine beauty of this area. Go camping at Green Patch, Bristol Point, and Cave Beach and get in tune with nature. Book your campsite online in advance. You can do so with Parks Australia as it is very popular and limited also.
Where to eat in Huskisson
Huskisson is close to Jervis Bay, and where you can stay this visit this iconic area of Jervis Bay. Because Australian’s abbreviate all words, it is known as Husky.
- Dine at the Husky Pub – The Huskisson Hotel, known as the Husky Pub, is an institution with amazing views, epic seafood to get you into your weekend away from Sydney. 75 Owen St, Huskisson
- Stonegrill – Steaks served on stone, fresh local fish; very popular with good reason. 1/48 Owen St, Huskisson
- The Quarters Huskisson – People rave about the chicken wings, but the menu caters for all tastes. 13 Currambene St, Huskisson
Where to stay in Huskisson
- Sea Mist Huskisson – Fully self-contained, and 400 metres from the beach, and a short stroll to the town, these are lovely apartments. Latest prices here. 13 Berry St, Huskisson
- Bowen Street B&B – Just 14 km from Jervis Bay, and 10kms from Hyam Beach, and close to town, you can’t go wrong. Latest prices here. 16 Bowen St, Huskisson
- Sundowner Huskisson Bayside Motel – Great location, and well-priced hotel in a good location to explore the surrounds. Latest rates here. 28 Bowen St, Huskisson
Please note: You will need a pass to get into Booderee National Park. Details of costs here.
“Australia’s English country garden in the Southern Highlands”
1 h 34 min from Sydney by car, 114 km
Bowral is as close to England as you can get with its greener than green lawns, its rose and tulip gardens, and its climate. It is colder here in the Southern Highlands, so expect to see roaring log fires. Bowral is home to many people who are wealthy, and this can be seen by the cars in the street. It exudes charm and that sense of style and is an ideal weekend getaway from Sydney.
How to get there
There is a train from Central Station, Sydney that stops at Bowral train station. Driving, however, gives you more options to enjoy this lush countryside and the surrounding areas like Kangaloon.
What to do in Bowral
- Cricket tragics will head straight to the Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall, where Australia’s most beloved cricketer is honoured.
- If you are then in Tulip time, then head to Corbett Gardens for this visual display. Runs from September till November but check website for details each year.
- Drink on the Southern Highlands Wine Trail. Centennial Vineyards is a lovely winery specialising in cool climate grape growing and winemaking. 252 Centennial Rd, Bowral
- Artemis Wines, Sunshack Cider & BEE mead. At nearby Mittagong, you will find Artemis Wines, Sunshack Cider & BEE mead. Try the wine, cider, mead and craft beer whilst enjoying a platter of cheeses, olives, prosciutto, and chutney. 46 Sir Charles Moses Ln, Mittagong
- Go Antique shopping at Dirty Janes – Many people come to Bowral for the antique shopping, and Dirty Janes must be your first point of call. This is the only permanent antique store in the village, and you will find your vintage hunters gathered here. Just worth wandering around because of the amazing things in the shop.
Where to eat in Bowral
Bowral, like many of the other weekend getaways from Sydney, is another food mecca.
- Raw & Wild Market Cafe – Super healthy and super tasty. Very popular café with locals and visitors alike. 250 Bong Bong St, Bowral
- Grand Bistro – Excellent for a real Australian breakfast, which let’s face it, include Baghdad eggs, smashed avo (avocado) and the emphasis on local fresh produce. The Grand Arcade 291 Bong Bong St, Bowral
- The Bowral Brasserie – French inspired restaurant, great for dinner. Good menu without being overwhelming and excellent wine choices. 1 Wingecarribee St | Shop 2/1, Bowral
Where to stay in Bowral
- Peppers Craigieburn Resort – Lovely resort where you know you are in Bowral. Very fine. Latest prices here. Centennial Road, Bowral
- Belle in bowral – Close to everything including the Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall. This apartment had 3 separate bedrooms and 1 bathroom. Latest prices here. 3A Funston St, Bowral
- The Sebel Bowral Heritage Park – Well appointed, walking distance to many attractions, clean and well managed this is a lovely property. Latest prices here. 9 Kangaloon Road, Bowral
“Seaside destination, foodie heaven”
3 h 7 min from Sydney by car, 223 km
Mollymook is located in the unspoilt Shoalhaven area on the south coast of NSW. Located just over 3 hours from Sydney and 2½ hours from Canberra, the Shoalhaven area of NSW has earned a reputation as a foodie’s paradise. It also a mecca for surfers and golfers, and with the plethora of wineries and restaurants, this area of southern NSW is a draw card for local and international visitors.
How to get there
It is easiest to hire a car from Sydney, drive slowly down through the Grand Pacific Drive, crossing the insane Sea Cliff Bridge and stopping to admire the most beautiful places hugging the cliffs over the sea. Then head through the Shoalhaven region, stopping at times, until you reach Mollymook.
What to do in Mollymook
- Eat – there are many restaurants and cafes in Mollymook and Ulladulla, which is just 5 minutes away, Highly recommend Cupitt’s Winery and Restaurant
- Drink – St Isidore Restaurant and Winery is tucked away in the picturesque hills of Milton in the foodie mecca of the Shoalhaven area of NSW, Australia. It is a very short distance from Mollymook.
- Swim – Bogey Hole Mollymook is popular, but always swim at a patrolled beach
- Walk the beaches
- Fish – Burrill Lake is the closest lake to Mollymook, and is the best fishing spot.
- Golf – both Mollymook Golf Club, and Hilltop Golf Course are very popular
- Just chill
Where to eat in Mollymook
- Tallwood, Mollymook – Tallwood epitomizes the local culture with its approach to free-form dining and the shared food concept. This is where people are brought together by a shared passion for food, and very good food at that. Go for breakfast, go for dinner. Read about why we loved it so much. Shop 2/85, Tallwood Avenue, Mollymook
- Bannisters – Rick Stein at Bannisters, the restaurant in Mollymook Australia was opened in October 2009. Rick Stein has a love affair with Australia, which has spanned a long time since his first visit at the age of 19. The lure of this the Shoalhaven area where Mollymook is located is part of the unspoilt south coast of NSW. Here Rick Stein found pristine beaches, great weather and the freshest seafood, which is one of his signatures. This is what drew him away from his loved Padstow in the UK, if only for limited times throughout the year. Read about our experiences dining at Rick Stein at Bannisters. 191 Mitchell Parade, Mollymook Beach.
- Cupitt’s Winery and Restaurant – At just 4.7km from Mollymook, Cupitt’s Winery and Restaurant has to be visited for the most amazing food, fantastic wine, rural views and a great family who run this delightful business. Read more about our experience at Cupitt’s Winery and Restaurant here. 58 Washburton Rd, Ulladulla
Where to stay in Mollymook
- Bannisters Pavilion -Chic hotel recently redesigned by iconic Australian fashion designer, Collette Dinnigan. This is a lovely property in prime location with Rich Steins restaurant on site. Latest prices here. 87 Tallwood Ave, Mollymook Beach
- Mollymook Ocean View Motel – 500 metres from golf club, with all rooms offering ocean views. Nice property. Get prices here. 8/12 Princes Hwy, Mollymook
- Mollymook Shores Motel and Conference Centre – Centrally located, views from balconies to sea. Great prices here.11 Golf Ave, Mollymook
So there you have the 12 Best Weekend Getaways from Sydney. We know you will love each and everyone of these experiences.
Great article. So many great suggestions.
I lived in Sydney for a couple of years in the late 1960s. Then, last year, I had the opportunity to revisit Australia. We spent a week looking at the places I lived and worked, then spent a week in Perth. I selected Perth because it was the only major city I didn’t see when I lived there.
I love Australia.
Rita blogging at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide
So pleased you like Australia