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Weekend getaways from Sydney: 11 of the best short breaks you can take

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According to the travel experts, 2024 is a year where we’re going to opt for more short breaks closer to home rather than one big international holiday. Luckily for Sydneysiders, you don’t really have to go far to feel like you’ve well and truly gotten away from it all.

For those who’ve had to hop on a plane to make it to Sydney, a special side trip during your stay can make your journey all the more memorable. And boy, does Sydney have some excellent short break options for you.

We’ve put together some of the best weekend getaways from Sydney including places to stay, eat and play all within a three-hour’s drive from the city.

If you’d like to jump ahead to the escape that most appeals to you, just click below. Or better yet read them all so you can see all your options. So whether you’re ready to pack those bags for an overnighter or simply get away for the day, here are eleven of the best Sydney weekend escapes.

Sea Cliff Bridge, Clifton, image Destination NSW
Hit the scenic highway along Sea Cliff Bridge, Clifton, image Destination NSW


If you’re ready to stretch your legs on one of the best walking trails in Australia head on down to the Kiama Coast Walk. This 22km walk combines stunning beaches, ancient rock formations and sweeping views, with that famous blowhole and its little sister in the mix.

Read: New Perth Hotels – the latest ways to stay in WA

Keep an eye out for humpback whales putting on a show. From May to November tens of thousands of whales make their way up and down the coast and you don’t need to head out in a boat to see them breaching or slapping their tails.

You can easily hop on the train to Kiama from Sydney Central Station or you’re driving you’ll also get to cross the Sea Cliff Bridge as you make your way down the Grand Pacific Drive. 

Kiama Blowhole, image Dee Kramer


For a boutique hotel stay, the Nova Kiama has 32 rooms, ranging from singles to executive apartments and is built around a central courtyard with an outdoor swimming pool. And when you want a saltier dip or to feel the sand between your toes it’s just 250m from Surf Beach

Or if you’d rather stay in your own place, Bathers at the Beach is a three-bedroom house that sleeps up to six and has beach views and a BBQ on the balcony to cook over with a beer in hand.


Then again, as much as BBQs in your holiday home are fun, there are so many great cafes and restaurants to try in Kiama you might want to put your tongs down.

Read: How to tell if your hotel room is clean

Mention Kiama to foodie friends and they’re bound to start talking about Otis. This café-deli is the creation of Emily Herbert who spent the last four years as head chef at Ottolenghi Belgravia, which has a cult following in London. The menu is constantly changing but expect fresh Middle Eastern flavours with local ingredients and always save room for one of their Portuguese tarts.

For modern Australian you may want to book ahead to guarantee a spot at Silica, where you can dine on locally sourced and home grown ingredients as you look out over Surf Beach. Or if you miss your spot in the restaurant grab some fish and chips from their take-away menu and head down for a bite on the beach.

And a locals’ favourite Hanoi on Manning is a family owned and operated Vietnamese restaurant serving up traditional and modern takes on Vietnamese dishes with the freshest of ingredients.

Make time to

Indulge in some pottering around the shops. Pop into local boutique stores including The Retro Room and Deer Willow for homewares, art and a wearable souvenir or three.


This Southern Highlands gem is only around 120km southwest of Sydney and can take less than 120 seconds to make you feel like you’ve gotten away from it all.

Life moves at a slower, gentler pace in Bowral where beautiful old country style buildings are surrounded by pretty valleys and rolling hills.

The Orangery, Bowral, image Destination NSW
The Orangery, Bowral, image Destination NSW

Famous as the birthplace of cricket legend Don Bradman, Bowral is home to the Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame and hosts one of Australia’s best floral festivals, the annual Tulip Time where you can see around 80,000 tulips in bloom.


For more than 100 years Peppers Craigieburn has been serving up those country retreat vibes. The original homestead was built in 1887 and started welcoming guests in 1909 and these days you can feel like you’ve stepped back in time as you wander the gardens before a spot of high tea. There’s a private golf course or if tennis is more your game there’s a court waiting. You can also finish the day with a leisurely game of billiards over a nightcap in the billiards room.

Read: Glamping South Australia, luxury tents, helicopters and swags

Peppers Craigieburn has 72 rooms but if you’d prefer a more intimate Grand Estate experience the historic Hopewood House has just four places to stay. There’s the Serendipity cottage that sleeps up to four, the Wayfarer cottage that sleeps up to six, and the Arcadia and Mandalay studios that sleep up to two each. Each is named after one of landscape painter Tim Storrier’s works, who is not only the local artist but owns the property with his wife Janet.

If you’d rather have a place all to yourself Bowral has some lovely holiday homes to book. You can stay in places out in the countryside or go for a spot in the heart of town like The Hidden Door, which is a cosy little getaway a mere 50m from the main street.


Named after Sir Harry Veitch, the horticulturist who started the Chelsea Flower Show, Harry’s on Green Lane is a charming spot where you can pick up some new plants or maybe some garden furniture after tucking into a delicious rustic dish beside an open fire.

Read: The best new Sydney Hotels to stay in

Meanwhile a strong contender for the cutest cafe award, the Press Shop Café is found behind a pretty blue door and has a menu that is 100% sourced by local Southern Highlands small batch producers with a focus on sustainability.

Make time to

Don’t even try to rush a stationery lover off to the next spot when you meet at the Press Shop Café. As part of the flagship store for Bespoke Letterpress this is part café, part one of the world’s best letterpress studios, where they print the old fashioned way with antique cast iron machines on lovely thick paper. Here you can watch the vintage printing presses doing their thing and take home a piece of the highlands with you.

Bubbletent Australia

One for the stargazers, this isn’t a well-known spot. In fact its exact location is kept secret until it’s time for you to go but we can reveal that Bubbletent Australia is somewhere between Lithgow and Mudgee and looks out over the second largest canyon in the world, the Capertee Valley.

Created by a couple that turned their desire to be able to look up at the stars from a comfortable bubble into reality (my kinda people!) these Bubbletents protect visitors from the elements and the insects so they can really enjoy the starry show.

They all come with outdoor wood-fired bathtubs, telescopes and an iPad loaded up with stargazing and birdwatching apps, and they’re far away enough from each other that you will feel like the only bubble out there.  


There are three Bubbletents to choose from, each named after some of the constellations you can try to spy from bed.

Bubbletent Australia Virgo.Swedish Woodfired Bathtub

The original bubble, Leo, is perched highest and has the best views because, well, it’s a Leo. The Cancer bubble has a floating day bed and is in a corner where you may spot kangaroos, wombats and wild goats on the ground and wedge-tailed eagles in the sky, while the Virgo bubble has a Swedish wood-fire hot tub and its own herb garden.


Anything you like, as long as you bring it with you. These babies are BYO bubbles for food and drink.

Bubbletent Australia Sunrise Credit Mayumi Iwasaki

Make time to

Watch the sunrise. Make sure to set the alarm early so you can watch the light change over Australia’s grand green canyon, and try to wrap your head around the fact that it’s 1km wider than the Grand Canyon. Fun fact.

Jervis Bay

You may have heard that Hyams Beach has the whitest sand in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records, and oh boy oh boy is it white.

Read: Farm stay fun in Guyra, New England’s highest town

It’s whiter than Bondi and Manly and almost every beach you’ve ever been on, but before you share that ‘world’s whitest’ titbit on your Instagram snap from the day you should know that there’s no such category in the Guinness Book of Records and it’s not even the whitest sand in Australia. That title goes to Lucky Bay in Western Australia.

A stunning weekend getaway Sydney siders will enjoy - Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay, image Mark Fitzpatrick, Destination NSW
Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay, image Mark Fitzpatrick, Destination NSW

Now we’ve dodged that social media faux pas we can say that we can understand why so many people believe that old line because it’s so pure and soft and white and not only looks good it feels great between your toes.

The water in and around Jervis Bay is also a pretty special place to be and you can go snorkelling with seals and maybe even spot pods of dolphins and humpback whales going by.


The safari style eco retreat Paperbark Camp is one of the best glamping experiences in Australia. The canvas tents have private en-suites, polished hardwood floors, wrap around decking and outdoor furniture. There’s full insect screening to keep the mozzies at bay and you can raise the roll up walls as high as you like to enjoy that great outdoors.

Paperbark Camp Glamping, image Paperbark Camp

At Worrowing Estate you can choose to sleep in wilderness huts and boat sheds built from reclaimed timbers, glamping tents, stables, beachfront cottages and more.

Or snuggle with your honey in one of the pretty pastel coloured Hyams Beach Seaside Cottages. These 1920s fishermen’s cabins have been fully renovated to comfortably sleep two but also make a cosy getaway for solo travellers. 


You don’t have to stay at Paperbark Camp to get a taste for their glamping life. Their restaurant, The Gunyah, is built high off the ground and positioned among the trees, and while set menus change from day to day you could find yourself feasting on lamb rump with pea hummus, almonds, feta & coriander. Only a few tables are reserved for outside guests though so do make sure you book well in advance.

Read: How to road trip your way to all of the NSW silo art

Thai food lovers should make a beeline for Wild Ginger. Chef Kierrin McKnight picked up more than a thing or two when he worked for David Thompson at Sailors Thai Sydney and Darley Street Thai in the late 90s, and you can tuck into a South East Asian banquet that will make you wish this was your local.

And for a hearty brunch with a smile 5 Little Pigs is the place to be. Their goal is to be the ‘happiest little café on the planet’ and their menu has some treats that would make it very easy to be happy there.

Snorkelling with seals, Jervis Bay, image Jordan Robins, Destination NSW
Snorkelling with seals, Jervis Bay, image Jordan Robins, Destination NSW

Make time to

Do the 90 minute White Sands Walk along those gorgeous beaches and keep an eye out for kangaroos, possums and gliders as you take the Scribbly Gum track back.

The Hunter Valley

When it comes to weekend getaways Sydney siders who love their wine know the Hunter Valley well.

With more cellar doors than any other Australian wine region, the Hunter Valley is best known for its Semillon, Chardonnay and Shiraz, and is home to some of the oldest vine stock in the world, with some vineyards dating back to the 1820s.

A Weekend Getaway Sydney wine lovers will remember - Murchessons Horseback Wine & Dine Tours, Pokolbin, image Destination NSW
Murchessons Horseback Wine & Dine Tours, image Destination NSW

You can draw straws to pick a designated driver or join a Hunter Valley wine tour. Get Your Guide has Hunter Valley tours that start and end in Polkobin so you can do them during your stay, or you could do a day trip from Sydney if wine time is short.


The Hunter Valley has something for every style and budget from cute cottages to grand guesthouses and resorts.

Treat yourself to a special vineyards stay at Winmark Wines where the accommodation options range from the four bedroom Residence with a two way sandstone fireplace and swimming pool, to the tiny chapel for two, Villa Vino.

Villa Vino is a tiny chapel that sleeps two in the at Winmark Wines vinyeards

Winmark is also home to the 2023 Hunter Valley Cellar Door of the Year, so you can sip great wines in a beautiful setting, before exploring the vineyard’s sculpture garden on your way back to your home for the night.

Embrace the country farmhouse feels with a Spicers luxury touch at Spicers Guesthouse, where you can sit by the fireplace while sippping wine from the floor to ceiling wine wall before dinner in eRemo Restaurant.

Or wake up to the sight of hot air balloons rising in the valley at Voco Kirkton Park, an elegant and modern estate with an indoor pool, spa and sauna. 


You just know I’m going to say wine, and oh boy do you have a few options to choose from. There are more than 150 wineries and cellar doors in the Hunter Valley including the award winning Margan Wines, First Creek Wines, Usher Tinkler Wines, Mount Pleasant Wines and Brokenwood.

Forget your traditional cellar door experience when you get a taste for Lisa McGuigan’s way of doing things. Lisa’s stunning VAMP Wine Rooms are a sexy blend of fashion, art, music and wine and as well as tasting her own creations you’ll be able to try some of her favourite drops from around the world. 

When it’s time to eat highlights include fine dining at EXP. where you should try to get a counter seat to see head chef Frank Fawkner and his team in action, a memorable food over fire experience at Yellow Billy, and the European bistro meets Hamptons style Muse Kitchen.

Make time to

Smell the roses. Literally. The Hunter Valley Gardens has more than 35,000 rose bushes along with waterfalls and statues and is pretty as a picture.  

Hunter Valley Gardens, Pokolbin, image Destination NSW
Hunter Valley Gardens, Pokolbin, image Destination NSW


I spent many a Christmas holiday in Newcastle visiting relatives when I was a child and when I went back a few years ago I was blown away by how much had changed. The Steel City has reinvented itself and has a whole new, cool personality.   

When it’s time to think about weekend getaways Sydney peeps sometimes want that whole countryside vibe. But when it’s time to visit another city, Newcastle is a top choice and an easy drive up the freeway.

Merewether Beach, Newcastle, image Destination NSW
Merewether Beach, Newcastle, image Destination NSW

Take a dip in the ocean or swim in the Merewether Ocean Baths, the largest seawater public pools in the Southern Hemisphere, watch hang gliders soar over the beach, or if you’re feeling brave sign up for a tandem flight, and explore boutiques shops in Islington and along Darby Street.


When I was a kid visiting the David Jones windows at Christmas was an exciting night out. These days, checking into the QT Newcastle, which now sits in that very same spot, is a grown up thrill.

The QT Newcastle is part of the $1.4 Billion revitalisation of the city centre and you can still see the changes taking place around the hotel as the city continues to evolve. As with all the QTs, this one has its own personality and is a whole lot of fun. And if you’re travelling with your pooch it’s pet friendly too.

The Crystalbrook Kingsley is another stylish addition to the city and a green one too. Sustainable solutions include the use of upcycled and recycled materials in the hotel’s construction, 100% waste free bathrooms, a single-use plastic free environment, and 80% of the produce in the bar and restaurant coming from a three-hour radius of the hotel.

For total beachfront moments, Noah’s On the Beach is directly opposite Newcastle Beach and if you get the right room you can step through your floor to ceiling glass doors onto a balcony with ocean views. 

Read: Twenty Sydney tours for every budget and adrenaline level

For a top pub stay, The Lucky Newcastle is an historic hotel that’s been given a mega makeover that you’re bound to snap and share on your socials. There are 30 rooms upstairs with comfy beds, flat screen TVs, and ensuite bathrooms with L’Occitane products.

And the Airbnb and holiday home options range from large beach front homes like this one to cute cottages.


You’ll be spoilt for choice on the foodie front in Newcastle. Try to get a seat at the counter at Flotilla to watch head chef Jake Deluca and his team work their magic at this hatted restaurant, before slipping next door to the new winebar Vecina where Jake’s bar snacks can be enjoyed with the largest by-the-glass wine list in Newcastle.

The hatted restaurant Flotilla now has the Vecina wine bar next door

The 2024 Good Food Guide Awards added another Newcastle restaurant to the hatted list, with Humbug receiving the accolade for the first time. Here chef Michael Portley and his wine consultant partner Stephanie Wells are doing very good things including delicious dumplings, handmade pasta and natural wine.

Other standouts include Jana Restaurant & Bar where Shayne Mansfield, had me savouring every bite from a menu with a focus on premium local produce and sustainability, the Âpé Yakitori Bar where you can enjoy a very long lunch with incredible food, cocktails and Japanese whiskeys, The Lucky Hotel where the next level pub dishes include fried chicken tenders topppd with crème fraîche and avruga caviar, and a toastie to remember (trust me) at Arno Deli.

When it’s time for a nightcap you’ll need a special code to get into the award winning Coal and Cedar speakeasy. But don’t worry, they make it easy enough for newcomers to find.

You can also time your trip for extra foodie fun at the Newcastle Food Month which will be taking place in April and packed with events from family friendly fun to decadent fine dining.

Make time to

Do the Bathers Way Coastal Walk. One of the best coastal walks in the state, it stretches six kilometres from Nobby’s Beach down to the Merewether Baths, and take in 360 degree views of the coast from the top of the Newcastle Memorial Walk.

Newcastle Memorial Walk, image Destination NSW
Newcastle Memorial Walk, image Destination NSW

Port Stephens

If you keep on heading north past Newcastle you’ll discover the charms of Port Stephens. There are 26 beaches to choose from but the most incredible sand here isn’t being lapped by waves. Instead it’s the Stockton Bight Sand Dunes, 32km of the largest moving sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere.

Go sandboarding down the massive dunes, join a quad bike adventure or go for a sunset camel ride and feel like you’re in another part of the world.

Stockton Bight Sand Dunes on Worimi Conservation Lands, Anna Bay, image Destination NSW
Stockton Bight Sand Dunes, Port Stephens, image Destination NSW

Sunset is also one of the best times to hike up to the top of Mount Tomaree for stunning views out over Port Stephens and beyond.

In the water you can go swimming with wild dolphins or snorkelling in a secluded bay. It’s also one of the best places to go scuba diving with grey nurse sharks if you’re up for the adventure.


For a stylish boutique getaway, Bannisters Port Stephens is tapping into those sixties and seventies holiday vibes after taking over an old retro motel on Salamander Shores and giving it a Bannisters makeover.

Bannisters Port Stephens, image Kate Bennett
Bannisters Port Stephens has given a luxury makeover to a retro motel, image Kate Bennett

The Anchorage Port Stephens is channelling Hamptons getaway style with luxury guesthouses and their own marina on a secluded beach. Or you could opt for a holiday home, like this One Mile Retreat where you can take in the view from the infinity pool.


Local favourite The Little Nel is a hotspot for breakfast where your smashed avo comes with roasted pumpkin, eggplant kasundi, feta and picked onion on soy and linseed sourdough and you can be naughty or nice with a Snickers or a green boost smoothie. 

At the Little Beach Boathouse you can go for a snacks side to your drinks on the lower level, or book a table at the restaurant upstairs. If you get in early enough ask for one of the corner front tables for the best views over the water.

And if you missed out on a guesthouse but still want a taste of The Anchorage, book in for High Tea by the Sea where tiny lamb sausage rolls and chicken finger sandwiches join the sweet treats, and where the free flowing sparkling wine makes the afternoon even bubblier.

Weekend getaways Sydney folks love - Tomaree Head Summit, Port Stephens, image Destination NSW
Tomaree Head Summit, Port Stephens, image Destination NSW

Make time to

See koalas in the wild. The Tilligerry Habitat State Reserve is a top spot to see local koalas, and they share the latest koala sightings to make it easier to find our furry friends.

Kangaroo Valley

While there’s never been an official competition, many say that Kangaroo Valley is Australia’s most beautiful valley, and it only takes a couple of hours drive south to see if you agree.

There’s around 80km of river systems to explore and a Kangaroo Valley Canoes, Cool Climate Wines and Canapes Tour lets you get a taste for both the rivers and fresh water lake and some award winning wines.

If you’re happier on land there are bush walks and mountain bike trails, and while the valley may be named after kangaroos you can see a whole lot of other Aussie wildlife as well, including rare brush-tailed rock-wallabies, wombats, goannas, echidnas, platypus and sugar gliders.

Hampden Bridge, Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales


A Scandi style retreat for up to six people, The Lair has a living and a sleeping space with three bedrooms with six metre high ceilings and 180 degree views over the valley. Set on 14 acres of bushland the home has a open fire pit for night time star gazing while inside all of the rooms have underfloor heating and ceiling fans to stay warm or cool depending on the season.

For old school charm The Laurels B&B was built in 1919 and is now filled with antique furniture, clawfoot tubs and chandeliers. Each of the four bedrooms has king sized beds and private bathrooms, and you can thank the chickens in the coop for helping out with traditional country-style cooked breakfas

Meanwhile Lyra in the Kangaroo Valley is a hand crafted post and beam mud brick home with views out over the Barrengarry mountain range with glass roof panels for star gazing or eagle spotting.


For weekend getaways Sydney foodies will love, it wouldn’t be the craziest idea to get in touch with The Hampden Deli, Dining and School to see when there’s a spare spot at their next event and then time your trip around it.

Chef Nick Gardner has worked at Michelin starred restaurants including Arzak in San Sebastian, Frantzén in Stockholm and The French Laundry in California. Now he and his partner Stevie-Lee Bounader host weekly changing events including chef dinners and degustations, have a deli you can pick up some top shelf takeaway from, and also host cooking classes.

Pies in Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales

People in the Southern Highlands are so passionate about good Aussie pies they’ve put together a Pie Trail that you can follow, including some tasty Kangaroo Valley numbers. For the sake of balance you should probably try one from the Barrengarry General Store, also known as the Kangaroo Valley Pie Shop, and another from Southern Pies. Though you’d need more than a weekend to hit all of them, with thirty bakeries around the highlands on the pie trail list.

And if you’re there on the second Sunday of the month, head along to the Kangaroo Valley farmers market to stock up on some farm fresh fare.

Make time to

Walk through gothic Victorian sandstone towers as you make your way across Hampden Bridge, Australia’s last surviving wooden suspension bridge.


As someone who went to university in Bathurst (shout out to the Mitchell Mafia members!) I’ll admit it took me a while to go back after I headed off to the bright lights of Sydney and London. But when I did I realised I shouldn’t have left it so long.

Australia’s oldest European settlement was built around the country’s first gold rush and there are still some beautiful old buildings to be seen from the golden times.

Abercrombie House, Bathurst

When some of the world’s best aren’t racing for the crown you can drive around the Bathurst 1000 racetrack (under the speed limit of course), and see more than 100 racing cars and bikes from Australian motor sport history at the National Motor Racing Museum.

If you’re more into natural history or pretty crystals the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum has some treasures including one of the best crystal collections I’ve seen in the world and a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, and the Bathurst Regional Art Gallery (BRAG) is where you can see both local and touring exhibitions.


If driving around Mount Panorama isn’t enough Bathurst 1000 action for you, get a room overlooking the Conrod Straight. Rydges Mount Panorama has studios, standard doubles and twins, along with two and three bedroom apartments. Usually you can snap up a room relatively easily but if you’re thinking about staying there while the race is on you’ll need to get on the wait list.

Budget friendly family fun awaits at the NRMA Bathurst Panorama Holiday Park. The park has a pool with a surprisingly fast water slide (seriously, I was still laughing at how fast it was on the 10th go around), a giant jumping pillow, mini golf and children’s playground, and accommodation includes studios, one, two and three bedroom cabins, and cute miners huts.

For a beautiful boutique stay Bishop’s Court Estate is top of the list. Originally built as the residence for the Anglican Bishop back in 1870 it is now owned and run by Christine Le Fevre who worked as an interior designer on some of Australia’s top hotels before working her magic on her own place to stay.

Bishops Court Boutique Hotel, Bathurst

And for a fun pub stay, the recently renovated rooms upstairs at The Victoria Bathurst are clean, light and bright with original local artworks on the walls. Most of the rooms have shared modern bathrooms but there are also two spacious rooms with floor to ceiling windows and their own private bathrooms if you move quick.


For a delicious take on American style dining head on down to Dogwood. It’s also THE place to go for a cocktail. Owner Evan Stanley has worked on some of the world’s best cocktail bar teams and won the 2013 ALIA Australian Bartender of the Year and the 2014 Melbourne Time out Bartender of the year.

Back when I was a uni student in Bathurst an exciting new café called Zieglers opened on Keppel Street. These days it’s still a great spot to be but now The Hub is in its place and is where the Buddah Bowl dressings are made of kombucha, turmeric, pumpkin seeds and ginger. You get the healthy and delicious idea.

Wherever you end up, if you see Fish River Roasters coffee on the menu do yourself a favour. This local small batch roaster has won 36 awards and counting so you’ll not only be supporting local you’ll be drinking a great cuppa too.  

Make time to

Visit Abercrombie House. Built by Bathurst pioneers, the Stewart family back in 1870, this Tudor Gothic mansion has 52 rooms, seven staircases (including a rather unusual looking one), 29 fireplaces and a ballroom where they host high teas on Sunday afternoons and other events including jazz nights throughout the year. 


Okay, so I’m being a little cheeky on the within three hours concept here as according to Google Maps it takes 3 hours and 4 minutes to drive from Sydney to Mollymook. But maybe you’ll get great traffic and will scrape in under three.

Beach at Mollymook, image Visit Shoalhaven

Before Rick Stein opened Bannisters by the Sea, Mollymook wasn’t a spot all that many people talked about. Well, except for all the marshmallows out there who know it from the season two finale of Veronica Mars.

But Mollymook and neighbouring Milton, or Molly and Milly as they’re known, have become weekend getaways Sydney slickers look forward to repeating as often as possible.


There are so many great ways to stay we’ve created a whole story all about the best Mollymook holiday rentals from beachfront to Milton hideaways. If you’d rather stay in a hotel your biggest decision could be which of the two Bannisters to stay in.

Bannisters by the Sea is the original luxury boutique hotel overlooking Mollymook Beach that came to life after an old 1960s motel was given a sleek and stylish makeover. If you’re going for a very special weekend there are two penthouses designed by Collette Dinnigan, and there’s even a level above that. The Cameron Kimber Penthouse has its own private Hammam steam room and home cinema.

The little sister Bannisters Pavilion joined the family in 2015 and is full of clean lines and light, white spaces with a killer rooftop bar.  

Weekend Getaways Sydney locals love include Bannisters Pavilion, Mollymook, image Bannisters

Holiday home options include the seven bedroom Nirvana when you’re looking for an absolute beachfront stay with friends or family, while up in Milton the Elysian Retreat is a stylish solar passive and sustainable stay with three bedrooms and a private pool.


You just know I’m going to mention a certain chef again and you’d be right.  One of Australia’s best seafood restaurants, Rick Stein at Bannisters serves up the freshest local catch using Rick’s classic recipes.

Seafood at Rick Stein at Bannisters Mollymook, image David Griffen

Make your way to the old cheese factory now known as Milk Haus for a menu where the produce either comes from their own farm or from one of the neighbours, and pop into Flour Water Salt at Milton for organic artisan breads and gourmet pies.

Make time to

Snorkel or just swim in the Bogey Hole. This tidal pool is a family favourite but is also fun for those who just like to float in a safe space and let their troubles melt away.

The Blue Mountains

And last but definitely not least we have an old favourite. One of those weekend getaways Sydney people have been doing for so long they have their special spots to go and sometimes forget to explore the other green corners.

Govett's Leap Lookout, Blackheath, Blue Mountains NSW

There are those who are team Leura, team Katoomba, and team Blackheath, but no matter where you choose to stay there’s nothing like breathing in that fresh mountain air and feeling your body do a reset as you leave the city behind.


For a rather special Blue Mountains retreat, the Chalets at Blackheath has four gorgeous free standing chalets set on 17 acres of bushland on the edge of the UNESCO World-Heritage listed Blue Mountains National Park.

Built with biophilic design in mind, the Chalets have a focus on blending nature into manmade spaces, and have used sustainable materials including clay, hemp, and stone. I adored everything about my stay from the luxurious chalets down to the native ingredients from the indigenous edible garden at breakfast. And I still smile when I remember our night time adventure to go find glow worms on a night time walk down into the Grand Canyon.

Down road in Medlow Bath, the Hydro Majestic is one of the Blue Mountains’ grand dames where you can stay in heritage rooms with a view out over valley. The history lessons continue at The Carrington, which back in the early 1900s was considered one of the finest British colonial hotels in the world and a rival for Singapore’s Raffles. Now a heritage listed landmark you can feel like you’ve stepped back in time as you take in the original stained glass windows and play snooker on a table that’s more than 100 years old.

For a more contemporary stay, Parklands Country Gardens & Lodges is a five star country retreat with 28 rooms including garden suites and loft rooms, and if you’re looking for something truly unusual check out this adults only Enchanted Cave.


Refuel for another round of Leura shopping at the The Leura Garage, an award-winning restaurant, café and bar that serves up delicious, locally sourced food in an eco friendly space.

At Mayfield Garden you can explore the largest cool climate garden in the Southern Hemisphere before dining on fruit, vegetables, lamb and beef that was grown right there on the farm.

The Victory Café in Blackheath is a local favourite where classic breakfast dishes mix with a seasonal lunch menu. Check out the huge Jenny Kee mural on the side of the building and give yourself time to potter around the antique centre that shares the old Art Deco building. 

Make time to

Visit Govetts Leap lookout. While most people head to the Three Sisters you should make sure you do both. Apart from the incredible views across the Grose Valley it’s also home to the Bridal Veil Falls, which with a 180m drop are the tallest waterfall in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.

For those who love the water, another great way to experience Sydney’s unique charm and get away from the city without going too far is to take a boat charter in Sydney and enjoy a different perspective of the city’s spectacular coastline and landmarks.

So there we have it. Eleven places that are so close and easy to get to from Sydney they make perfect weekend getaways. So which one is calling your name first?

Leave a Comment

  1. Rebekah Domonkos says

    Thank you Amanda, you have just created a new 2020 escape from reality bucket list. Perfect suggestions for a year of celebrations. The Mitchell Mafia will thank you. xx

  2. Lots of great adventure activities to be had here. You can hire electric mountain ebikes and standard mountain bikes to get yourself to some amazing lookouts (Blue Mountains Biking Adventures), Rock climbing, canyoning (BMAC and High’n’Wyld), horse riding (Megalong Valley) .. the Blue Mountains (Blueys) has it all!!!!

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