If you’ve lived in Sydney for a while, you’ll know that the long weekends (also known as public holidays) get booked up fast. With the long weekend approaching, it’s that time to grab the opportunity and spend some time enjoying what NSW really has to offer – the great outdoors. Here’s my top 13 long weekend ideas out of Sydney, where you’ll find something for everyone!
1. FOR THE FAMILY
Just 3 hours north of Sydney lies the ultimate family destination at Port Stephens. Expect to see something for everyone from horse riding on the beach, to exploring the sand dunes on quad bikes to tobogganing, Port Stephens seriously has it all covered to keep the kids entertained!
If you want a relaxing weekend away, then the Japanese Bath House in Blue Mountains is the place for you. Expect to see 5 hot mineral spring baths including two 38C pools, cave baths, 41C pool and a hot steam bath, as well as a very cool tea rooms, massage room and knock out views of the Blue Mountains. They also have accommodation as well so you can stay there. To use the pools, it’s only $70pp and a total bargain. I love this place!
If you’re up for an adventurous weekend, I’d recommend checking out Wombeyan Caves. These caves are similar to Jenolan but without the crowds and there’s plenty to visit during your time there.
If you’re also brave enough, a must do activity at Wombeyan Caves is swimming in the Mares Forest Creek Canyon which is the best thing I have ever done since I moved to Sydney 6 years ago! If you’re going to go out of the Summer season, I’d bring a wetsuit. I’d also recommend wet shoes as well as our feet weren’t loving us after all the climbing over the rocks!
There’s an awesome camp ground at Wombeyan Caves so if you’re thinking of buying into the camping experience (which I strongly recommend), then check out this post on my Top 6 Items You Need To Camp On A Budget In Australia.
4. FOR A REALLY CHEAP WEEKEND AWAY
Camping – this is probably the one I’ll end up doing! If I think back to a couple of years ago, camping would have been the last thing I would have ever wanted to do. But, since I bought into it last year, it’s opened up a new world to me. I no longer have to worry about spending so much money on the long weekend and can just grab my camping essentials, find a free campsite and enjoy the great outdoors for the weekend. The key to it, is buy a decent sized tent. We invested in a 6 man tent for the two of us and it’s a dream when camping.
5. FOR THE BEACH LOVER
Expect the world’s whitest sand, the most beautiful beaches you’ve ever seen with pristine clear waters, plenty of dolphins, some of Australia’s best camping spots, and a vibe that’s comparable to Byron Bay. All of this is just a 3 hour drive South of Sydney at Jervis Bay!
If you need a bit of time out from your current life, I’d recommend Sunnataram Forest Monastery in Bundanoon. They usually hold a meditiation retreat once a month on a weekend but during long weekends the retreats last a big longer. I’ve been to this place 3 times in the last year, it’s amazing! Expect a combination of walking and sitting meditation, dharma talks, tai chi and awesome vegetarian food.
7. FOR THE ISLAND STAY
If you want to get away from Sydney but not drive very far, Scotland Island is the place to go. It’s an amazing little gem, located on Pittwater. We’ve stayed at Scotland Island Lodge twice now and it’s absolutely perfect. Their home cooking doesn’t get much better, and you’ll be able to do various hikes around the small island (30 minutes each) and even hire out a kayak to get around the area. Just make sure you ask for the room with the spa 🙂
And a video of my experience at Scotland Island Lodge taken a few weeks ago below!
8. FOR THE GARDEN LOVER
If you love gardens then you’re in luck because the beautiful Breenhold Gardens in Mount Wilson in the Blue Mountain have opened their doors for Spring. They are only open during Autumn and Spring but it’s worth going to as it’s incredible. I got a lot of British vibes from these gardens in a really nice way when I visited.
9. FOR THE WILD SWIMMER
If it’s warm enough during the long weekend why not try and find some of my favourite wild swimming spots and beach spots around Sydney? You’ll feel like you’re in paradise and be wondering how on earth you’re so close to Sydney and never knew any of these places existed?
10. FOR THE ROMANTICS
If you’re stuck for ideas to impress a loved one, I’ve planned 16 romantic getaways all within a 3 hour drive of Sydney. From sleeping in a tree house, to bush walks, to romantic waterfalls, to staying in one of the most beautiful and luxury hotels near Sydney, it’s all here in this post.
If you love the chilled out beach vibes of Byron Bay but don’t want to travel far, I’d definitely recommend spending the weekend at Avoca Beach. There’s some really great beaches up there, one of the healthiest cafes in Australia, a gorgeous cinema and a chilled vibe that will make you think you’re in Byron Bay. Avoca is only 1h 30min drive from Sydney so you can save the cash from the flights and time.
And the final two honorary mentions that require a plane ride unless you’re up for a long road trip!
12. FOR THE ACTUAL BYRON BAY LOVER
It’s not quite a 3 hour drive out of Sydney, but if you want to get far, far away, then Byron Bay is a must visit. Check out the most amazing airbnb right on the beach, and another amazing airbnb at the famous Wategoes Beach and my top 14 places to eat. Byron Bay is the quintessential Australian beach town to chill out and relax in.
13. FOR THE GUARANTEED HEAT AND SUNSHINE
Let’s face it, we have to prepare ourselves for rain (hopefully not!) But, if you want guaranteed sunshine and a hot weekend, why not catch the end of the season in Northern Queensland. The three main areas to stay in can be a hard choice to decide upon, and based on my experience of visiting them all, I’ve broken it down into what each area offers best for a holiday. Book now and you could get a decent deal with Tiger Air or Jet Star.
An extra idea is to go and stay at Seal Rocks. This complete gem is where you’ll find some of the best beaches in Australia and you’ll have that cut off from the world feeling.
So, that’s my top 13 long weekend ideas out of Sydney. Hopefully that will keep you busy and entertained to really make the most of the holiday time. If you’re thinking of staying in Sydney for the long weekend, I’ll be posting my guide next week!
What’s your favourite place to visit during the long weekend?
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