Last Updated on July 1, 2020 by Travels with Kids
As a city, Sydney is blessed with a lot to do and see. There are tons of things to do in Sydney for kids and adults alike. However, if you start getting itchy feet and wanting to get out of Sydney, we have called on some bloggers to help us put together these Best Weekend Getaways from Sydney. You will be spoiled for choice! In the south visit stunning beaches, including the world’s whitest beach, while less than two hours’ drive to the west you are amongst Australia’s iconic Blue Mountains. If you are still not convinced that we have some of the best weekend trips from Sydney here in this roundup, to the north of Sydney is the famed Hunter Valley, rural Mudgee and Orange, and – yet more stunning beaches and coastal getaways. There are tons of things to do in Sydney for kids and adults alike,
Whichever direction you head, there are some amazing short trips from Sydney that you can take over a weekend. So what’s stopping you? Get out and enjoy it!
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The Best Weekend Getaways From Sydney – South
The following Short trips from Sydney are located in a southerly direction.
Canberra is a great destination for a weekend getaways from Sydney as there are a lot of activities to do regardless if you are traveling with a baby and toddler or older kids.
Families love to visit Questacon, the National and Science Technology Centre. It has more than 200 interactive science exhibitions over eight galleries. Families also love the CSIRO Discovery Centre, National Zoo and Aquarium, Yarralumla Play Station, Cockington Green, the Australian War Memorial, the National Museum of Australia, Old Parliament House, Canberra Glassworks, and the National Arboretum. For beautiful views of Canberra, families enjoy the Lake Burley Griffin Bridge to bridge walk and the Mount Ainslie Summit Trail.
Ensure you make time to get a bite to eat at Brodburger. They offer some of the tastiest flame-grilled burgers in Canberra. For dessert, head to Frugii Dessert Laboratory for unique, smooth, and creamy ice cream gelato flavors. The Novotel Canberra is a great hotel because of its central location in the CBD.
Canberra is an easy 3.5-hour drive from Sydney CBD. Canberra is one of the best weekend trips from Sydney.
Clara, from Petite Capsule
If you are looking for an amazing short trips from Sydney idea, Jervis Bay will be your paradise! Jervis Bay is located on the coast of New South Wales, 3 hours south of Sydney CBD. The best way to get there is by car. It will give you more flexibility.
Home to 2 beautiful national parks, Jervis Bay and Booderee. It’s the perfect place to enjoy some of the most beautiful beaches in Australia. You can also go on amazing walks in the bush.
The most popular beach is Hyams Beach. It was recognized as the whitest beach in the world by the Guinness record book and is absolutely stunning! It’s a great place to start your visit. You can also grab a fish and chips at Hyams Beach cafe and enjoy a picnic on the sand. But that’s not all! There are also many other beaches to check out.
If you go on the white sands walk, you will get to discover Chinamans and Greenfield Beach. They are both gorgeous and a bit more secluded. Nelsons and Huskisson Beach are two other good options.
It’s also a very dog-friendly destination. There is a wide range of pet-friendly accommodation in Jervis Bay near the beaches. No need to leave your furry friend in Sydney, s/he can come with you!
Jervis Bay is a great place to visit all year round. In summer, you will enjoy the sunshine and beaches. In winter, you can go on a whale-watching cruise. It’s a good thing to do if you’d like to observe the beautiful humpbacks swimming up the coast.
Pauline, from Bee Loved City
Kiama is a picturesque seaside town 2 hours drive from the center of Sydney. For a weekend getaways near Sydney destination, I challenge you to find a prettier place or another with more to do especially if you have kids.
The must-do in Kiama is to check out the Kiama Harbour home to the famous Kiama Blow Hole, a natural landmark where through a hole, in the right conditions, the ocean throws water up in burst into the air. Kids love listening for the whooping noise she makes before she blows. Also while you are there for a great photo opportunity have a look at the Historic Kiama Light.
A tip, if the blowhole is quiet, there is a smaller second one that is also impressive but also more reliable.
Of course, you can’t go to Kiama and not visit a beach. With a mix of surf and sheltered beaches take your pick of water activities. Swim, surf, SUP, snorkel, kayak or take a stroll. There are also two stunning ocean pools, with the Blow Hole Rock Pool being more suitable for small children.
There are a number of parks and green spaces around Kiama with the most visited being the Kiama Harbour. From there it is an easy stroll to the main street of Kiama. There you will find an array of cafes, restaurants, boutique shops, and supermarkets.
Emma, from Our Wayfaring Life
Australia’s 10th largest city is an easy day trip and one of the best weekend getaways from Sydney. With stunning beaches that are patrolled and safe to swim, national parks, great restaurants, and a relaxed small city vibe. One of the top attractions in Wollongong is to spend the day on the beach learning to surf, going fishing, and building sandcastles with the kids. If you’re adventurous, Wollongong is famous for its skydiving and hang gliding due to the thermals around the region. An iconic place to visit in Wollongong is the Bald Hill Lookout. Here you can watch the hang gliders and enjoy stunning views.
Wollongong has plenty to do if you’re visiting with kids. The top place to go is the Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk. It has a range of walkways through the rainforest and adventure activities the kids will love, such as the Illawarra Fly zip line. A fun fact about Wollongong is it is home to the only point on the east coast with two lighthouses!
A great place to eat is the Rookie Eatery for its contemporary Australian menu and an excellent spot to stay is right on the beach at Novotel Wollongong Northbeach.
Wollongong is around one hour and thirty minutes from the Sydney CBD (91 km). The trip along the Grand Pacific Drive starting from the southern side of Sydney is an impressive journey across the impressive Sea Cliff Bridge to Wollongong.
Christina, from Travel2Next
Best Weekend Trips From Sydney – West
The following weekend escapes are located to the west of Sydney.
As you drive west of Sydney CBD you will see the blue glow that gives the Blue Mountains their name coming closer. It is an effect of the Eucalyptus vapor radiating from the plethora of trees that cover the mountains landscape. The base of the mountains is just an hour’s drive from Sydney CBD. It makes the perfect day trip or weekend away. So whether you want to visit the towns along the highway, pick up some local produce, check out some historic sites or get back to nature, the Blue Mountains has something for you.
For nature lovers, there are countless bushwalks of varying difficulty and length throughout the mountains. Filled with epic scenery, sandstone cliffs, and tumbling waterfalls they take your breath away. If you keep a sharp eye out you may catch flashes of the brightly colored native Australian birds that reside in the mountains.
There are also sites of Aboriginal significance all through the mountains. Red Hands Cave at Glenbrook is probably the most well known and a great example of Aboriginal rock art. If you follow the signs of the Oaks Fire Trail in the National Park and the lower path from the carpark, it is a short easy walk for kids down to the cave and well worth the effort.
There are great restaurants all over the mountains depending on where you head. Check out 2773 at Glenbrook, The Bunker at Springwood or Leura, Schwarzes Bakery at Wentworth Falls for the best eclairs around, and Graze and Main at Katoomba.
If you are looking to make it a weekend getaways near Syndey overnight trip, Lilianfels Blue Mountains Resort & Spa is a must-stay hotel. It has both indoor and outdoor pools and jaw-dropping views.
Holly, from Globe Blogging
If you are looking for a little city getaway that has great views, is fun for the kids, and doesn’t involve strenuous activities, head to the historic town of Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. Only 102km from the city centre (or 1.5 hours drive). Katoomba is packed full of fun and diverse things to see and do.
First on your list is Scenic World where there is plenty to keep you busy. Hop one of the steepest incline railways in the world, travel from cliff to cliff via a glass-floored skyway with views of Katoomba Falls, descend to the Jamison Valley floor via a cableway or walk through a Jurassic rainforest along Australia’s longest boardwalk – the choice is yours. I recommend doing all four!
After your day out at Scenic World head to Echo Point lookout for a fantastic view of the Three Sisters. Three Sisters is an incredible rock formation with an aboriginal legend to boot. Extend your view by dining at The Lookout location right on Echo Point.
A walk through the historic town of Katoomba is a great way to walk off your meal and explore the most visited town in the Blue Mountains. Odd Mountain is a fun, old-fashioned curiosity shop that is worth a peek inside or head over to the Blue Mountains Chocolate Company for a fun (and delicious) chocolate demonstration.
If you are taking the train from Syndey rather than driving, The Carrington Hotel in Katoomba is a great place to stay. It is located only 650 feet from the train station and offers old-world charm. Katoomba is truly one of the best weekend getaways from Sydney spots.
Ashley, from Impact Winder
You can’t miss arriving at the Jenolan Caves car park, as you arrive through the ‘Grand Arch’, one of the many unique cave features in this area. The caves are explored by guided tour and there is an array of tour options to choose from. On the Lucas Cave tour, you can see the expansive underground ‘Cathedral’ and photogenic ‘broken column’. Adventure and multilingual tours are also available. They are fun and educational for children but definitely suitably intriguing for adults too.
A Jenolan Caves trip is not complete without a look at Blue Lake, just beside the entrance. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a wild platypus swimming in the lake. (I’m fortunate enough to confirm this is true!) After your cave tour, you can also take the 2.1km riverwalk to view more of the regional flora and fauna. Other activities in the area include the two caves which you can view without a tour – the Devil’s Coach House and Nettle’s Cave.
To complete your stay as a short trips from Sydney, enjoy the quiet tranquillity of the limestone arches for an evening walk or go on a spooky night tour. The historic Caves Houses offers unique, rustic accommodation or the Mountain Lodge is popular with families.
The driving time from Sydney is just under three hours, or two hours from West Sydney. It is also easy to do as part of a tour or as an additional stop on a trip to the Blue Mountains.
Cassie, from Cassie The Hag
If you’re looking for the ultimate epicurean weekend away from Sydney, you can’t go wrong with a visit to the regional wine town of Mudgee. Mudgee, a 19th-century heritage town, is roughly a 3.5-hour scenic drive from Sydney’s CBD.
The main attraction of Mudgee is its reputation as one of Australia’s oldest wine region and the ‘birthplace’ of Aussie Chardonnay. With over 40 cellar doors to explore, you’ll be spoilt for choice. The best way to experience wine tasting in Mudgee is through booking onto a wine tour; I highly recommend Mudgee Explorer Tours.
Alongside wineries, there are lots of awesome foodie destinations to visit including the paddock to plate Pipeclay Pumphouse located in the picturesque Robert Stein Winery. Whilst they’re well known for their dinner menu, don’t miss their breakfast options including the locally renowned bacon and eggs with homemade gnocchi. Don’t miss Roths Wine Bar in Mudgee town center either for woodfired pizzas and live music on the weekends. After a busy day of eating and drinking, check into unique, heritage accommodation, ranging from winery and farm stays to boutique BnBs. We opted to stay at ‘Wine Lovers Den’ which we found on Airbnb.
Jessica, from Jessica Pascoe
Best Weekend Trips From Sydney – North
The Hunter Valley
The Hunter Valley is one of the most popular wine regions within Australia. It is located around 166 km North of Sydney and takes just over 2 hours to drive. As you get closer to the Hunter Valley region the views get better as there are vast amounts of greenery to enjoy.
The most obvious reason to visit Hunter Valley is for the delicious wine. It is known for its vast range of wines and in particular their Semillon and Shiraz. The wine tasting is made easy as each winery is within walking distance and if not; at most the drive time between wineries would be no more than 10 min.
It makes it one of the best weekend trips from Sydney as you sit back, relax, and sip on some of the best wine Australia has to offer. There are mouth-watering eateries to indulge in too as some of the wineries even grow and produce their own food. This can include complementary cheeses, jams, and spreads.
In addition, the Hunters Region is just an amazing landscape, making it perfect for a stroll soaking up the beautiful views.
If a sit-down meal is what you want then be sure to visit The Fawk Foods Kitchen & Bakery, particularly for breakfast or brunch.
The most ideal place to stay would be at the Leisure Inn Pokolbin Hill, as it’s close to most wineries, has a pool and tennis court with a small playground, to keep the kids entertained.
Kerrie & Woody, from Just Go Travelling
Lake Macquarie is the ideal place to spend a weekend away from Sydney or a great stop on a Sydney to Brisbane road trip. It is located just 126 kilometers (or 1 hour and 40 minutes) from Sydney’s Central Business District. It offers lots of natural attractions and a laid back vibe that is glaringly different from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Lake Macquarie is Australia’s largest coastal saltwater lagoon and there are many tour operators that offer lake cruises to explore it. These cruises are an excellent way to enjoy the tranquility of the area and you might spot a pod of dolphins and other marine life along the way.
If you visit in summer, we suggest you take a dip in Lake Macquarie by visiting Caves Beach. In the wintertime, it is a pleasant place for a stroll. Alternatively, hire a kayak to explore the shoreline.
For a touch of history, visit the former home and studio of one of Australia’s most famous artists, Sir William Dobell. Dobell House is part gallery, part museum, and provides an interesting look into the life of the artist.
If you are looking for great accommodation near Lake Macquarie, try Rafferty’s Resort located right on the lake. It has several pools and even it’s own private beach. There are several different accommodation styles to choose from at Rafferty’s Resort.
Port Stephens is a great place for a weekend getaway from Sydney, Australia with a driving time of 2 hours 30 minutes.
This coastal town in New South Wales offers families, couples and solo travelers some great things to do from water sports and animal encounters to a great choice of golden sandy beaches for sandcastle building and sun-worshipping.
Don’t miss the beach area of Nelson Bay Reserve. It is probably one of the best spots in the area as the natural bay has a gently sloping entry point into the sea and there are no riptides or large waves, so it is safe for children. The beach is clean with a grassy area for BBQs and a children’s playground. It also has public restrooms/showers, always a bonus when you are on the beach.
What makes Nelson Bay unique is the “pelican area” by the boat ramp. At least 10-15 pelicans are there on a daily basis waiting for the fishing boats to come in so they can steal some fish. They are a joy to watch for both children and adults. If you are lucky you may also catch a glimpse of the dolphin pod that calls Nelson Bay home.
Little Beach Boathouse Is a fantastic dock-side restaurant that does great food for all the family. We enjoyed a meal and drinks there one evening and it was lovely. If you want something more casual there is a little shop selling burgers and ice-cream nearby.
We stayed in a self-catering apartment at Marty’s at Little Beach which was a 5-minute walk to the beach through a pathway lined with palm trees. We loved walking through each day and seeing rabbits hopping about and kookaburras cracking fruit open with their beaks!
At the end of the day walk around the bay and watch the sun go down over the ocean – truly magical for all the family to experience.
Angela, from Where Angie Wanders
Best Weekend Getaways From Sydney – The Verdict
If you are looking for the best weekend getaways from Sydney you really have numerous options to choose from. Whether it is the best weekend getaways near Syndey or short trips from Sydney ideas you are after there is something for solo travelers, couples, and families alike. Many of these adventures can be had over the two days of a weekend, but you can even make a longer itinerary out of the places suggested. Or, if time is not on your side, choose one and do a quick day trip from Sydney. Either way, there is so much to see and do.
Are there any best weekend trips from Sydney spots that we missed? If so, leave us a comment below!
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