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Avoca Vale Lookout, Blue Mountains
Photograph: Destination NSW

The best short getaways from Sydney

We've tried and tested these weekend escapes in New South Wales

By Time Out editors
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International travel may be a distant dream, and for the time being, interstate jaunts are off the cards. But in NSW, you don’t need to travel far to make a couple of nights away feel like a proper holiday. Whether you’re in the mood for a beach break, a hike in the mountains, or an escape to the country, we’ve found a host of getaway destinations that are easily accessible from Sydney.

Need to squeeze your excursion into a day? These are the best day trips from Sydney.

RECOMMENDED: The best camping spots near Sydney.

Short getaways from Sydney within NSW

Vineyards in the Hunter.
Vineyards in the Hunter.
Photograph: MJK Creative

The Hunter Valley

Travel Short getaways

Ah, wine country. Proud growers, wine makers and vintners from this region have been squeezing the good stuff out of grapes for close to 180 years, and it has earned the Hunter solid street cred on both Australian and international vinous scenes. 

Sunset at Belmont, Lake Macquarie over a jetty.
Sunset at Belmont, Lake Macquarie over a jetty.
Photograph: Supplied

Lake Macquarie

Travel Short getaways

While you may only know Lake Macquarie for its expansive body of water, this unassuming region sandwiched between Sydney and Newcastle has a lot to offer city folk looking to slow down and get back to nature.

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The Three Sisters
The Three Sisters
Photograph: Destination NSW

The Blue Mountains

Hotels Boutique hotels

For some, a trip to the Blue Mountains holds the promise of seclusion and serenity among the gum trees. For others, it’s about conquering mountain trails and spontaneously teaming up with other avid adventurers to explore the bush waterfalls and swimming holes.

Kiama, South Coast
Kiama, South Coast
Photograph: Destination NSW

The South Coast

Travel Short getaways

Drive only two short hours south of Sydney and you’re in an adventure playground. Destination surfing spots, climbing cliffs, and coastal treks draw in those who relax by doing, but if you prefer to recline and dine, there’s fresh seafood, local produce and a burgeoning dining scene to ensure all your relaxation goals are met.

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Vineyards in Orange
Vineyards in Orange
Photograph: Destination NSW

Orange

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Drive through cherry blossoms, lurid wattle and gold mine adjacent creeks (that still yield a nugget or two) to find some of Australia’s most interesting wines and meet the passionate makers. 

Family enjoying a day of skiing at Charlotte Pass Ski Resort in the Snowy Mountains.
Family enjoying a day of skiing at Charlotte Pass Ski Resort in the Snowy Mountains.
Photograph: Brett Hemmings/Destination NSW

Thredbo, Perisher, Charlotte Pass

Travel Short getaways

New South Wales has some spectacular ski resorts and snow fields. You can hire all your gear at any of these spots (think skis, snow jackets, helmets – anything). 

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Pipeclay Pumphouse Restaurant
Pipeclay Pumphouse Restaurant
Photograph: Supplied

Mudgee

Travel Short getaways

‘Mudgee’ comes from the Wiradjuri word ‘Moothi’ which means, romantically, ‘Nest in the Hills’. It has a climate several degrees warmer than the surrounding high country, which, along with sandy loam soil, makes the area attractive to viticulturalists. 

Byron Bay
Byron Bay
Photograph: James Horan; Destination NSW

Byron Bay

Travel Short getaways

While Byron Bay’s town centre has succumbed to a backpackers-meet-the-one-per-cent influx, the lifetime fire twirlers and queer communes haven’t been completely expunged from the Byron Bay region. 

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Houseboat on the Hawkesbury
Houseboat on the Hawkesbury
Photograph: Destination NSW

The Hawkesbury

Travel Short getaways

Here you can walk a World Heritage convict road, sample locally brewed cider or go horseriding. Winding through it all is the river, a place for fishing, watersports or a lazy cruise amid stunning scenery.

Avoca Beach, Central Coast
Avoca Beach, Central Coast
Photograph: Central Coast Tourism

The Central Coast

Travel Short getaways

The dining scene across the Central Coast is really hitting its stride. Thanks to some seriously talented young chefs, excellent refurbs and creative spaces, there are restaurants and cafés in Long Jetty, Avoca, Terrigal and Woy Woy that are well worth a road trip.

Tried and tested places to stay

Jonah's hotel view
Jonah's hotel view
Photograph: Mandy Zieren

Jonah's, Palm Beach

Hotels Luxury hotels Palm Beach

This storied and secluded seaside getaway has ‘Sydney institution’ written all over it. The hours really do seem a little bit longer in the Northern Beaches, and the distant echo of the crashing waves far below is pretty much all you can hear at this intimate clifftop retreat overlooking Whale Beach.

Unyoked Tiny House, Kangaroo Valley

Travel Short getaways

We stayed at one of Unyoked’s three wilderness hideouts in NSW to see what #cabinporn is all about (and to see if we could hack the ‘spiciness’ of this off-the-grid style of aspirational travel). We had a wild time – in every sense of the word – during this wonderful experiment.

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Diamond Head Campground, Crowdy Bay National Park

Travel Short getaways

Can you imagine kangaroos hopping around at dusk, set against the backdrop of the ocean? At Diamond Head Campground, you’ll get to see this most days and sometimes these cuties even laze amongst the tents all day long. With 75 campsites to choose from, there are plenty of options for where to park your caravan or pitch your tent for the night.

Bubbletent Australia, Capertee Valley

Travel Short getaways

There are three tents to choose from, each overlooking a different aspect of the Capertee Valley, the largest valley in the world. All three offer total seclusion, which is not only pleasant but needed, since the central chamber of each one has a 360 degree view out, and in. 

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Bath tub at Sierra Escape glamping in Mudgee
Bath tub at Sierra Escape glamping in Mudgee
Photograph: Supplied

Sierra Escape, Mudgee

Travel Short getaways

Situated around 25 minutes north of Mudgee, Sierra Escape is an off-the-grid, camping-style experience that offers the comforts of a five star hotel. Emphasis should be placed on ‘escape’ here – the dirt road from the centre of Mudgee means it's a bit out of the way – but the journey is a small trade-off for its secluded location. 

Bed inside hotel at Barrenjoey House Palm Beach
Bed inside hotel at Barrenjoey House Palm Beach
Photograph: Supplied

Barrenjoey House, Palm Beach

Travel Palm Beach

This is the kind of mini-break accommodation designed to feel like a guest room in a very rich friend’s holiday home. The linens are blindingly white; the textiles are printed with aquatic species and tropical leaves; and there’s Netflix available on each TV if you want to hibernate. 

Hit the road

Car driving over bridge aerial view
Car driving over bridge aerial view
Photograph: Dee Kramer

The best road trips around New South Wales

Travel

Pack the boot, roll down your windows and let gorgeous scenery whizz past you – be that soaring coastal cliffs, native bushland, or towering alpine forests. Trust us, no one will be asking if you're nearly there yet.

Small, but perfectly formed

A tiny home with porch, doors open to queen bed.
A tiny home with porch, doors open to queen bed.
Photograph: Sarah Proctor

The best tiny houses and cosy cabins to rent near Sydney

Travel

We’ve rounded up some of the best tiny house escapes across New South Wales that you can knock over in a weekend getaway from Sydney. Most are perfect for a romantic escape for two adults or are the ideal retreat for solo travelers looking for the ultimate me-time. Others have a little more room so you can vaycay with friends, the kids, and even the dog. 

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