Spending a fun weekend in Sydney is not difficult - the city has everything from gorgeous beaches to buzzing nightlife scenes. However, you may want a change of pace. Thankfully, there is no dearth of options in this case. You have beautiful cities, laidback beach towns and breathtaking outdoors to explore - all just a few hours away from Sydney. Whether you are looking for a family-friendly destination or a place to let your hair down, you are sure to find something. Check out our list of best weekend trips from Sydney, Australia to know your options.
Around 280 km (150 mi) southwest of Sydney lies Australia’s capital city Canberra, roughly three hours’ drive away. Not usually considered an exciting getaway option, it nonetheless is the perfect destination to explore the country’s fascinating history and its cultural past. Touring the national monument New Parliament House is a must. There are museums galore as well, such as National Museum of Australia and Canberra Museum. Natural attractions include the centrally located Lake Burley Griffin, Namadgi National Park and Wetlands, as well as National Zoo and Aquarium and Australian National Botanic Gardens. Do not miss out on the enthralling bird’s-eye view of the city from Mount Ainslie Lookout, located at the city’s outskirts.
This inland rural town in New South Wales, just west of the Blue Mountains, is perhaps most well-known for Wellington Caves. These are a network of underground caves that feature gigantic megafauna fossils and rock formations. Great for a laidback trip, this city is around 362 km (225 mi) from Sydney, roughly a 4.5-hour drive away. Wellington’s other attractions include historical buildings and beautiful natural spaces like Cameron Park, Mount Arthur Reserve and the small but pretty Osawano Japanese Garden. Just outside the city, you will find the historic town of Montefiores and the man-made Lake Burrendong.
The charming city of Orange is located 255 km (158 mi) away from Sydney in the Central West region of New South Wales, which involves a drive through the breathtaking Blue Mountains. This agriculturally rich city is best known for its luscious wines and award-winning restaurants, and also for fresh produce from local farms. Beyond vineyard tours, wine festivals and fruit picking farms, you can wander around pretty, tree-lined streets and admire noteworthy historic houses. This destination also promises a lively nightlife. Outside the city, you have plenty of scenic landscapes to explore, including the ancient volcano Mount Canobolas and Nangar National Park, where you can enjoy mesmerising views of the countryside.
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4. Port Macquarie
Gorgeous coastal views, warm beaches and fascinating wildlife - it’s no wonder why the picturesque town of Port Macquarie is a popular getaway spot. Pet a koala at Billabong Zoo and see these cute animals treated at Koala Hospital, which is the world’s only such hospital. Explore the coastal rainforests of Sea Acres National Park by taking Port Macquarie Coastal Walk. Savour magnificent views of the ocean from Tracking Point Lighthouse. Of course, don’t miss out on whale and dolphin watching boat tours. The port is also popular for its restaurants and vibrant craft beer scene. Port Macquarie is around 390 km (240 mi) north of Sydney.
If you are looking for a lowkey beach holiday, then consider Newcastle. Located 163 km (100 mi) from Syndey, this city offers stunning beaches that aren’t as crowded and where you can swim, sunbathe and enjoy water sports. Take in the captivating ocean views by walking along one of the many trails bordering the beaches. As the country’s second-oldest city, there are several historical sites you can explore as well. For nature lovers, natural reserves like Blackbutt and Hunter Wetlands offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy wildlife.
Located within Cudgegong River Valley, Mudgee is around 270 km (168 mi) from Sydney, a journey of about 3.5 hours. Well known as a wine-growing region, Mudgee has about 40 vineyards, so be sure to tour of one of them to enjoy local flavours. There’s also a lot of heritage to explore here, as the city is chock-full of historic buildings that showcase impressive architecture. Examples are the sandstone-based St. Mary’s Catholic Church and the 19th-century Mudgee Post Office.
At nearly 500 km (310 mi) south of Sydney, the ski resort of Thredbo is a fair distance away. Though it’s a five-hour drive, it’s worth the trip! The country’s most well-known alpine destination, Thredbo offers over 70 km (43 mi) of skiing slopes of different levels where you can enjoy skiing, snowboarding and more. The cute alpine village teems with chic cafes, restaurants and stores. During the summer months, you can go bushwalking through the trails of Kosciuszko National Park and hike up the summit of Australia’s highest mountaintop, Mt Kosciuszko. Other outdoor activities possible here include river rafting and kayaking at Thredbo River.
8. Port Stephens
As the epitome of beach destinations, Port Stephens offers miles of beautiful beaches and a host of water sports! But beaches are not all there is to this town. You can also go quad biking on sand dunes! Alternatively, you can hike up Mount Tomaree in Shoal Bay to enjoy spectacular coastal and ocean views. An experience not to be missed is spotting wild koalas at Tilligerry Habitat. Port Stephens is 208 km (174 mi) from Syndey, requiring a drive of around 2.5 to 3 hours.
9. Byron Bay
Nearly 770 km (480 mi) north of Sydney is the famed beach town of Byron Bay. Its many pristine beaches welcome you to enjoy swimming, surfing, scuba diving or just taking in the enchanting coastal sights that abound here. Head to Cape Byron Marine Park for dolphin watching, whale watching, snorkelling and kayaking. The walking track that goes up Mount Warning is a must-do for the spectacular views of Gold Coast. The town itself is vibrant and has a lively nightlife and arts scene.
10. Hunter Valley
Australia’s premier wine region Hunter Valley is perfect for a leisurely vacation. Located three hours away from Sydney, you can tour vineyards and appreciate wines while enjoying the abundant natural beauty of the countryside. Hot air balloon rides are a wonderful way to enjoy the landscapes as you float over the serene, green vineyards. Keen on exploring further? Then head to Yengo National Park where you can go bushwalking and mountain biking.
A weekend to remember
Weekend trips are a wonderful way to refresh yourself! Spending a few days exploring a new destination is sure to de-stress you and uplift your mood. Given the huge variety of choices available, you can make your weekend itinerary one that’s perfect for your mood. Look over our list of best weekend trips from Sydney, Australia and pack your bags for a few days of fun.
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