There are loads of great weekend getaways near Sydney. Sydney does have so much to offer – check out my Sydney Highlights and Watsons Bay posts – but it is nice to experience something not so big city and a bit more non-urban Australia. Here are the 10 Best Weekend Getaways from Sydney along with boutique hotel recommendations – and some food and wine choices of course!
1. Best Weekend Getaways from Sydney – Mt Kosciuszko Walk
To climb Australia’s highest mountain of course! And to see the little-discussed ski fields of Australia. Yes, it does snow in Australia!
Mt Kosciuszko Things to do
-Mt Kosciuszko Walk
I did quite a bit of pre-research on this and it was quite hard to figure out which route to take for the Mt Kosciuszko Walk. As always it was much easier once you arrived and then all the brochures you needed were at the Valley chairlifts! But here is a good link that I found.
We began our walk in Thredbo at the bottom of the chairlift and went up the Meadows Nature Track. This was a lovely peaceful walk – hardly anyone on it. We followed the path to where it meets the more challenging Merits track. This stretch was steep! Lots of water needed. This walk takes you up to the top of the chairlift where you join the Mt Kosciuszko Summit Walk.
From here the track got busy. We did the walk on Easter Saturday so I guess that is to be expected. From the top of the chairlift, it is 9km round trip and relatively steepish. There was every type of nationality and language being spoken as we passed people along the way to the Mt Kosciuszko Summit. And very brave people with prams!!!
We decided to take the chairlift town as round trip from the village it had been a 24km walk up and down Mt Kosciuszko and we were rather weary.
We had a beautiful blue sky day and the scenery was stunning. Such a beautiful walk and so peaceful if you could ignore the many others seek serenity!
In hindsight, another nice option for the Mount Kosciuszko walk would have been to take the Merritts Traverse vs the Meadows walk. The more full on option is to hop in the car and start the walk at Charlotte’s Pass. At the very top, this connects with the Mt Kosciuszko Summit Walk. This one is about 42km round trip.
We did a packed lunch which was perfect. The only place to eat is the restaurant at the top of the chairlift. Which was nice (see the highest section) but I’m sure would have been busy and is a bit slow. Much nicer to stop and sit on the trail and eat and watch the world go by.
-Enjoy the Highest
So there is a lot of The Highest in Australia action here! Of course, the summit of Mt Kosciuszko is the Highest Point in Australia. If you then head to the very nice Eagles Nest restaurant you can enjoy the highest coffee in Australia, the highest beer, the highest scones – anything you can consume can be posted on facebook as the highest of its kind in Australia! And when you get to Rawson’s Pass you can also visit the highest toilet in Australia!
Mt Kosciuszko Restaurants
So apparently this used to be a pretty average region for coffee. That is until Central Road 2625 opened up. It is in the main village square in Thredbo and has a very inner suburban feel and the fab coffee to match! We also did breakfast here on our final morning and it was fantastic. As I had burnt so many calories the day before I went all in with the pancakes, banana, bacon and maple syrup. A fantastic breakfast!
Mt Kosciuszko Accommodation
Thredbo Village is the main place to stay for the Mount Kosciuszko walk and it is very cute. Loads of lovely chalets and a nice little main square and road. It was much nicer than what we could see driving through Jindabyne which is the town at the bottom of the mountain.
We got a chalet which was fab – over 3 floors and massive. It even had a sauna! We ended up cooking and staying in both nights as we had nice wine and the living room was so big and comfy! We found our place through this link and the chalet was owned by Visit Snowy Mountains. Ours was called Knickerbocker. It has a lovely terrace with a bbq and everything you could possibly need.
In Thredbo boutique hotel options are rather limited. Well, there aren’t really any and a chalet is the best option. However, if you definitely want to stay in a hotel there are some absolutely fine options – they just aren’t boutique. Imagine more that typical ski accommodation set up of the light wood and tiled floors and you will get what I mean!
The best options that are in Thredbo Village so have good access are:
Make it a road trip! It is the best way to get around and see stuff. We started from Sydney and headed South. We had a lovely lunch in Mittagong – The Glass Café – where I had a very tasty hamburger and a chocolate milkshake (going to burn all those calories climbing the next day)!.
On the way back we headed into Bungendore and enjoyed a great lunch at Gunnadoo pies. What a fantastic name for a pie shop! And the pies were outstanding.
Looking to visit a few more major Australian attractions? Check out this post on 10 Popular Australian Landmarks
2. Bowral Weekend Getaway
NSW’s Cutest Country Town!
Things to do in Bowral
-Hit the wineries
The Southern Highlands is quite a big area for wine – and drinking it is one of the best things to do in Bowral! First up after passing Canberra is Lark Winery – it is very well signed from the Hume highway. They have a fabulous Rose that is heavy on the shiraz and the restaurant looked lovely (I didn’t think to book and they were full up when we got there). Much closer to Bowral we headed to the lovely Artemis where I picked up some lovely chardonnay.
However, the highlight was Centennial. It does appear to be the main winery in the area. There is a large cellar door area where I discovered their sparkling shiraz which was fantastic. We then went on to have a wonderful lunch in their restaurant. Everything we ate was lovely but the highlight was the fig, walnut and blue cheese salad. The cauliflower gratin was pretty sensational as well. All washed down with some pinot noir..
We did a brief stop at the Artemis winery and picked up some pinot noir. It is worth visit.
-Go Bra and Antiques Shopping
It’s all happening in Bowral. And some of the purchases are not as you might expect. There is a great Bendon outlet on the main street – so a bit of bra shopping in Bowral! There a couple of fantastic classic bookshops and loads of lovely shops selling candles etc. One of the big Bowral attractions is antiques and they have loads.
There is a fantastic antique warren called Dirty Jane’s just off the main street which is like entering another world. I’m not that into antiques but I loved exploring this place. Every nook and cranny is filled and it appears every stall holder is also a stylist in their spare time as they all look fabulous! My favourite was Suzie Anderson Home – visiting her “stall” (it is much more than that) is like a mini trip to Southern France. Her taste is immaculate.
Our hotel recommended the Bowral Hotel for dinner. We did have a lovely meal – a delicious lamb rump with polenta and spinach for me – but the pub was dead. It was easter Sunday so I guess it was only going to go one way or the other! There is a nice outdoor seating area at the Bowral Hotel that is also smoking friendly. The outdoor area is pretty much on the Bowral main street so we enjoyed a bottle of Veuve sitting on the wonderfully named Bong Bong Road!
On one of your trips into town make sure you get a coffee at Elephant Boy. This little café is fantastic. The whole place is decked out like a library or bookshop and also has lots of you guessed it elephants all over the place. And then it has this sort of Indian feel to it as well – and some amazing looking cakes. And most importantly fab coffee!
Bowral Boutique Hotels
You must stay at Links House – this is one of my favourite boutique hotels I’ve stayed in a long time. Links House Bowral is boutique adventurer heaven – high thread count and loads of character! The rooms are lovely but the best thing is the shared spaces and fabulous service. There is a lovely outside courtyard/winery that begs for wine to be drunk.
There are also sitting rooms in the front of Links house where port is suggested. The manager is an absolute delight and the night manager was the same. So genuinely friendly and helpful. I can’t say enough good things about this place! Oh, and there is also a great dvd selection and a fabulous breakfast.
If you would like to check out some other Boutique Hotel options in Bowral try The Gibraltar Hotel which is in town and has a pool. Click here for latest prices and availability.
For full country house glamour, you might like the Milton Park – prices and availability here.
If you are happy to stay a bit out of Bowral have a look at the Peppers Craigieburn Resort – latest prices and availability.
Getting to Bowral
It takes about 1 ½ hours to drive from Sydney to Bowral traffic dependent of course.
For another great eclectic Australian weekend getaway have a look at my post on a Daylesford Weekend in Victoria.
If you’re staying in the Southern Highlands avoid the hassle of figuring out which wineries to visit and making sure you don’t swallow with a Southern Highlands Wine Tour. It includes pick up and drop off from your hotel, lunch and up to 5 wine door visits.
3. Blue Mountains Getaway
Stunning mountain ranges only one hour from Sydney. Possibly the most popular Sydney day trip – but even better as a weekend.
Things to do in the Blue Mountains
-The Three Sisters
A Blue Mountains getaway is not complete without seeing the Three Sisters. These 3 rocks form the iconic image most associated with the Blue Mountains. They are absolutely stunning. I highly recommend going to see The Three Sisters at the end of the day in the magic light the hour before sunset when they positively glow.
You can see the Three Sisters from Katoomba’s Echo Point. It is well signed and has a huge car park. Once you’ve arrived there it is a 5-minute walk to get to the viewing deck. You can decide from there how far down you want to walk to get shots
Wentworth Falls are lovely! You can park not too far away and then head down to see them. This is an easy option. The better option is to include Wentworth Falls in a hike – see below! Several hikes around the Blue Mountains involve visiting Wentworth Falls.
-Do a hike
We started our hike from the Conservation Hut – also where we were able to park although it was a bit of a walk to get from the car to the start of the track. We took the overcliff and undercliff paths – walking to Wentworth Falls and then heading back. It was a relatively easy going walk but a decent workout. There were quite a few steps and ups and downs! It took about 3 hours. Definitely, take water and snacks with you as once you start walking there isn’t anything on the way.
Blue Mountains Restaurants
Head to the super cute town of Katoomba for Blue Mountains restaurants. It is filled with art deco buildings, antique stores and generally cute restaurants, shops and galleries. The highlight is the Paragon, a heritage listed 1916 art deco café. And its speciality is handmade chocolates which are delicious! You will have earnt your chocolate after doing all those walks during your Blue Mountain weekend getaway!
Have a wander around the town as there are many interesting shops and cafes that are worth a visit. This is heaven if you are into antiques.
Blue Mountains Boutique Hotels
For somewhere quite different and rustic check out the Old Leura Dairy. The property consists of 6 lodges, each of which sleeps between 2 and 11. Click here to check out the Old Leura Dairy and see prices.
If you’re after a more traditional luxury country getaway try Lilianfells Resort and Spa. This stunning property is right on the edge of the national park making full on day walks and evening luxury very compatible! Click here to see more and get prices.
Somewhere Extra Special
For the ultimate in luxury combined with the quintessential Australian bush experience, you cannot beat the stunning Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley. The resort is located on a 7000-acre conservation area and consists of 40 private villas, each with a private pool and fireplace. You can also enjoy fantastic treatments at the on-site Spa.
How to get there
We drove there which took about a good hour but there are lots of public transport options and a hop on hop off bus once you get there.
It is also possible to take the train – check out this great post on Blue Mountains Itinerary by Train Options.
As Sydney’s most popular day trip there are lots of day tour options. Avoid the hassle of hiring car and dealing with Sydney traffic (which is terrible!):Save Time & Stress - Book a Blue Mountains Day Trip Now
4. The Golden Door Getaway
To detox and relax
Things to do at The Golden Door
The Golden Door is one of Australia’s top health spas. It has a stunning location in the Hunter Valley. However, you won’t really be exploring the Hunter Valley as it is full of wine and there is no wine at the Golden Door. And no caffeine.
But there are many fantastic things to do from early morning classes of Tai Chi Qi Gong to interesting and different seminars from all types of practitioners. Different types of classes are then held throughout the day. The Golden Door spa is open and ready for you to come and have treatments. And there are loads of kangaroos just hopping around the property which I really enjoyed!
I highly recommend the deep water running in the pool. Good fun and a great work out you don’t really feel till after.
I took a cooking class with their chef whilst there which was excellent. I picked up on some great tips on cooking with lower fat/calories without compromising taste which I am still using to this day.
For another great Australian spa option check out my post on The Hepburn Spa & Bathhouse Victoria
What to Eat at The Golden Door:
The food is absolutely delicious – albeit the portions can feel a little small if you decided to go down the heavy exercise route.
How to get there:
The Golden Door is 2 ½ hours from Sydney. It is an easy drive or they run a shuttle service.
6. Northern Beaches Getaway
This is where Home and Away is set and filmed. Need I say more?
Things to do in the Northern Beaches
Visiting the Northern Beaches is a very easy thing to do from Sydney – depending on which ones you want to visit it is only about an hour’s drive. But much nicer to experience them properly with a weekend. This area is all about visiting beaches – here are a few to get you started:
–Palm Beach is the home of Home & Away and has the fabulous Barrenjoey Lighthouse which provides amazing views.
–Avalon is the classic aussie surf beach
–Narrabeen is for hard core surfers, not so great for swimmers. There is a fantastic walk between Narrabeen and Warriewood Beach.
Northern Beaches Boutique Hotels
In Palm Beach, you can stay and eat at Jonah’s. Miramare Gardens in Terrey Hills is a relatively new boutique hotel.
Northern Beaches Restaurants
In Palm Beach check out the Boathouse for great views and food. Narrabeen has several interesting restaurants clustered around the water – Barbuto for meat, Limani for seafood and Ocean’s for a great breakfast.
How to Get There
Like most of Australia, the easiest option is to drive. The Northern Beaches begin only 20km north of the Sydney CBD. Or kick back and relax in an air conditioned coach that does all the driving for you and gets you to Palm Beach plus other key sites and allows you to ride the Manly ferry back!Save Time & Stress - Book a Northern Beaches Tour Now
6. Kangaroo Valley Getaways
It’s called Kangaroo Valley! It’s a stunning inland valley located along Kangaroo Lake.
Kangaroo Valley Things to do
-Explore the Kangaroo River
Use a kayak or a canoe to explore the lovely Kangaroo River
-See Some Waterfalls
Fitzroy Falls and Gerringong Falls are both only about 20km from Kangaroo Valley
Kangaroo Valley is surrounded by Morton National Park which has loads of great walks.
Kangaroo Valley Boutique Hotels
Crystal Creek Meadows features boutique cottage accommodation in a lovely 16-acre garden. For a cosy cabin experience have a look at Little Pig Creek.
Kangaroo Valley Restaurants
The Kangaroo Valley Pie Shop is at the Barengerry Old Store and claims to have the best pies in the world! For a good old aussie pub atmosphere visit The Friendly Inn Hotel. Head to the Woolshed Restaurant at the Kangaroo Valley golf club for a decadent dinner. The Yarrawa Estate has a cellar door as well as crops from macadamias to avocados.
How to Get There
Kangaroo Valley is about a 2-hour drive from Sydney.
7. Jervis Bay Getaway
The stunning white sand Australian beaches of which you have dreamed.
Things to do in Jervis Bay
-See whales and dolphins
The annual whale migration takes places May through November when they visit the sanctuary. Huskisson is the centre for whale and dolphin watching cruises as well as deep sea fishing.
-Go to the Beach
Jervis Bay is filled with perfect beaches with crystal clear waters that are perfect for snorkelling, scuba and swimming.
-Go bush at Booderee National Park
Go swimming, bushwalking or bird watching in this beautiful National Park.5 Best Jervis Bay Day Tours - Book Now
Jervis Bay Boutique Hotels
Experience luxurious glamping at the lovely Paperbark Camp. That is pretty much it when it comes to boutique hotels. If that doesn’t suit have a look at taking an apartment or a villa/cottage – this is a great link to use – or have a look at these lovely cottages.
Jervis Bay Restaurants
Jervis Bay has become quite the foodie destination! Even if you aren’t staying at Paperbark Camp try their treehouse style restaurant The Gunyah. In town, if you are after Italian head to Faro Bianco. Asian highlights are Wildginger or The Waterhouse.
If you’re after a cafe check out 5 Little Pigs.
If you have a car check out the fishing village Greenwell Point, about 20 miles south of Jervis Bay. Have lunch at Pelican Rocks for some great fish and chips.
How to Get There
Jervis Bay is about a 3 hour drive from Sydney.
8. Hunter Valley Getaways
Wine, wine and more wine.
Things to do in the Hunter Valley
-take a Wine Tour
When in Rome! The Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest wine region. Here are a load of companies that can drive you around so you can relax and enjoy sipping!
-Hot Air Balloon Ride
Float over vineyards as the sunrises
There are loads of wonderful little shops crammed full of delicious gourmet cheeses, relishes, chocolate etc etc etc. Try the Lovedale Smokehouse and the wonderfully named Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop.
For more information about how to enjoy a Hunter Valley Getaway click here
Hunter Valley Boutique Hotels
Spicers Vineyard Estates is the most luxurious option in the Hunter Valley. If you would like to stay at an actual vineyard have a look at Harkham Wines. A cosy option is Little Orchard Cottage.
If you’re after more than a weekend you could fill yourself with wine and cheese for a couple of nights and then head to the Golden Door to work it off!
Hunter Valley Restaurants
How to Get There
The Hunter Valley is about a 2 ½ hour drive from Sydney. If you don’t have time to stay overnight there are quite a few fantastic tour options from Sydney. You can try the classic full day wine tour, or perhaps combine your wine with some local wildlife or combine you wine with both a cheese and a chocolate tasting!Let someone else do the driving - Book your Hunter Valley Tour from Sydney Now
For more wine check out my post on The Mornington Peninsula in Victoria
9. Lord Howe Island Getaways
Have a World Heritage Island experience close to Sydney – only 400 visitors are allowed on this 11km long island at a time.
Things to do on Lord Howe Island
-Dive, snorkel and swim
-Take long walks across the island and hang out with the seabirds
Lord Howe Island Boutique Hotels
The stunning Capella Lodge is the top of the range option on the island. It is the ultimate in barefoot luxury with its 9 suites. The lodge boasts amazing views of both the sea and the mountains.
Pinetrees Lodge and Arajilla Resort are also lovely boutique options.
Lord Howe Island Restaurants
How to Get There
If you have a yacht then this is one of the two ways to get to Lord Howe Island! Otherwise, Qantas Link runs out of Sydney most days and Brisbane on weekends. Lord Howe Island is a two-hour flight from Sydney.Click Here for Cheap Flights to Lord Howe Island
10. Mudgee Getaways
Eating and drinking heaven – Mudgee is NSW’s latest gastronomy hotspot.
Things to do in Mudgee
-Mudgee Farmers Market
Held the 3rd Saturday of every month. There is a food and wine festival that takes place in September.
-Explore Wollemi National Park
Mudgee Boutique Hotels
There are loads of gorgeous boutique hotel options in Mudgee. At the more stylish end is Trelawney Farm, or try Mudgee’s Getaway Cottages for something more rustic. Two great guesthouse options are Mudgee Homestead and Rosby.
If you’re heading to Melbourne and want more great meals check out my post on The Best Brunches in Melbourne.
And have a look at my post on Melbourne’s Hidden Gems.
How to Get There
Mudgee is a 3 ½ hour drive north west of Sydney.
And finally, another great option for a weekend getaway from Sydney is Wollongong – Click here to read all about Things to do in Wollongong
Weekend Getaways from Sydney Useful Links:
Heading to Australia? Read my other Australia posts here.
If you’re going to be in Sydney check out my post on Barangaroo:
Heading to Melbourne? Read my Melbourne posts here
Flights to Sydney:
Yes, I am afraid it is a very long flight and there is no way around that! A stopover in Asia is often a good idea to break things up.
The only way to make the 24-hour flight not a hideous slice of hell is to find a great deal and go business class! Skyscanner also gives you a good sense of business class prices.Save Money & Time and Book Your Sydney Hire Car Now
Heading to Australia solo? Group tours can be a great option. Here are a few websites worth visiting: Just You Holidays Australia, Exodus Holidays Australia, Explore Holidays Australia and G Adventures Australia
Need travel insurance? Click here for a good deal
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Also published on Medium.