While Sydney has a lot to offer to both tourists and residents, it doesn’t hurt to sometimes escape the city and have a relaxing weekend getaway.
Luckily, Sydney and New South Wales have lots of options for awesome weekend getaway destinations, and some of them don’t even require a lot of driving.
To help you find inspiration for your next long weekend, we’ve selected 12 Sydney weekend getaways that we’re sure you will enjoy.
Top 12 Sydney weekend getaways:
12 Great Sydney Weekend Getaway Destinations
In no particular order, here are 12 great destinations in NSW, all within driving distance from Sydney, where you can spend a nice weekend away.
1. Coffs Harbour and Waterfall Way
The Waterfall Way is a 185km scenic drive between Coffs harbour and Armidale, passing through New England and Dorrigo national parks, with numerous impressive waterfalls as the key attraction.
With so many impressive sights to visit, the Waterfall Way is a popular weekend getaway destination in northern New South Wales.
One full day is typically enough to see most of the highlights along the Waterfall Way, but you can just as easily allocate two full days in this area which will allow you to also do some of the walking tracks and visit all the lookout points.
One of the most impressive waterfalls is Ebor Falls, a beautiful cascade waterfall on the Guy Fawkes River with a large viewing platform next to it.
With an enormous height of well over 200 metres, Wollomombi Falls, close to Armidale, is also very much worth a visit. It was even once considered to be the highest waterfall in Australia!
2. Port Macquarie
Conveniently situated between Sydney and Brisbane at the mouth of the Hastings River, Port Macquarie has been one of the most popular Sydney weekend getaway destinations for decades, and rightly so.
Known for its beaches, waterways, hinterland and near-perfect climate, Port Macquarie is a great family-friendly holiday spot.
One of the highlights in Port Macquarie is a scenic coastal walk between the town centre and the 19th-century Tacking Point Lighthouse. This walking track offers great views, and you may even spot a few whales and dolphins.
Newcastle may not be on top of people’s list of go-to NSW weekend getaway destinations, but Australia’s 7th biggest city actually has a lot to offer.
After many years of transformation, developments and upgrades, Newcastle is now so much more than just an industrial hub. Newcastle has beautiful beaches, coastal walks, ocean baths, great pubs and a lively CBD area, just to name a few attractions.
An interesting new highlight in Newcastle is the Anzac Memorial walk, a picturesque 450m long bridge and boardwalk, dedicated to the memory of fallen soldiers from World War I.
The Memorial Walk was built in 2015 to commemorate not only the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC’s landing at Gallipoli, but also the commencement of the steel industry in Newcastle. Several viewing platforms along the way give visitors great views of Newcastle and its beaches.
Canberra, some hate it, others love it. Our nation’s capital is a different kind of city, a very unique city that has actually turned a bit hipster in recent years.
Not only is Canberra home to some excellent cafés and great dining venues, you will also find some of the country’s best museums and galleries in Australia’s largest inland city.
A must-visit is the Australian War Memorial, Australia’s national memorial to the members of its armed forces and supporting organisations who have died or participated in wars involving the Commonwealth of Australia. It also includes an impressive national military museum.
5. Blue Mountains
Most Sydney-siders would consider the Blue Mountains to be a day-trip destination.
But with so many walking tracks, lookout points, waterfalls and other attractions on offer, one can easily spend two or three days in Sydney’s most popular national park.
The advantage of spending a few days in the Blue Mountains is that it will allow you to go a bit off the beaten track. While the Three Sisters and Scenic World are great attractions, there is so much more to see and do in the Blue Mountains.
Besides walking tracks and lookouts, the Blue Mountains is also home to a few interesting little towns, such as Katoomba, Blackheath and Leura. These are not only great for lunch and dinner, but also offer great boutique shopping options.
6. Jervis Bay
Just like Port Macquarie, Jervis Bay on the South Coast is another classic family-friendly Sydney weekend getaway destination.
Famous for its white sand beaches and clear blue waters, Jervis Bay has a very laid-back and somewhat paradisaical atmosphere that we can all appreciate.
Jervis Bay is also home to Hyams Beach, claimed by many to have the whitest sand in the world. Whether that’s true or not, we don’t know, but Hyams Beach definitely is one of the prettiest beaches in New South Wales.
7. Snowy Mountains
Mount Kosciuszko in the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales is Australia’s highest point, peaking at 2,228 metres above sea level.
While Mt Kosciuszko is primarily known as a busy ski destination during winter, the area is also a very popular spot for hiking, as well as for mountain biking during the warmer summer months.
Several walking tracks take you to the summit of Australia’s tallest mountain, offering breathtaking views of Kosciuszko National Park.
The best places to find accommodation in the Snowy Mountains to climb Mount Kosciuszko are Jindabyne, Thredbo, Perisher and Charlotte Pass. All of these spots are a 6 hours drive away from Sydney.
Thredbo is probably the most appealing village to use as your base. Not only is Thredbo the starting point of the main track to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko, it is also home to lots of family-friendly attractions, cafes, restaurants and shops.
8. Hunter Valley
Situated north of Sydney and west of Newcastle, the famous Hunter Valley has been one of Australia’s major wine regions since the 19th century.
The region is home to a great variety of wineries, from international brands to smaller family-run businesses. Most of these wineries offer cellar door wine tastings and tours.
9. Byron Bay
Byron Bay is a bit of a long drive away from Sydney, but we love Byron Bay so much that we just had to include it in this list of awesome Sydney weekend getaways.
Tucked away in the northeastern corner of New South Wales, not too far from the Queensland border, Byron Bay is a popular beachside town that attracts a great amount of travelers each year.
With so many natural attractions and charming towns in the surrounding area, Byron Bay is the perfect place for a short holiday break when you most need it.
Check out our list of top things to do in Byron Bay for some great tips and inspiration.
10. Port Stephens
Located just north of Newcastle in the Hunter Region, Port Stephens is a popular coastal destination with beautiful beaches, great snorkelling and diving spots, and lost of cafes and restaurants.
Nelson Bay and Shoal Bay are the two main towns in Port Stephens, with lots of hotels available to make your long weekend in this area a memorable experience.
11. Kangaroo Valley
Kangaroo Valley is both a small village and a picturesque valley, located within Morton National Park, 160km south of Sydney. The valley is home to several scenic walking tracks, famous waterfalls and other popular tourist attractions.
The Kangaroo River gently flows through the valley’s rainforests and countryside. The iconic Hampden Bridge, a 19th-century, single-lane Victorian suspension bridge supported by sandstone towers, crosses this river in the town of Kangaroo Valley.
Also worth visiting is the Pioneer Village Museum, a family-friendly outdoor display of replica pioneer-era buildings with period artifacts. The surrounding 7ha of bushland is home to a few easy bushwalking tracks.
While the coast of New South Wales has tons of great weekend holiday destinations, going inland can also result in a great adventure.
Our last destination tip in this list of Sydney weekend getaways is the city of Orange, located in the Central West region of New South Wales, 250km west of Sydney.
Orange is a growing country town, home to some great wineries, lively pubs and historic buildings, surrounded by beautiful natural scenery. Hiking is also an option, with several scenic bushwalking trails to choose from.