Looking for inspiration for the best weekend getaways from Sydney? Having explored a lot of incredible places in New South Wales, we’re going to break it all down so you’ll know exactly where to spend your future weekend trips.
To make it easier for you, skip to weekend getaways from Sydney within 1hr drive, 2hr drive, 3hr drive and 3hr+ drives (perfect for long weekends from Sydney or places to visit in Sydney on public holidays). We’re giving you a short run down on each place and where to stay.
You can find detailed guides on our site for the majority of places we mention in this post.
And, to make it super easy for you if you’re unsure which Sydney getaway is best for you, you’ll find our summary for different types of people. Expect to find the best family getaways from Sydney, romantic weekends from Sydney, best weekends from Sydney with public transport, best for hikes, camping and so much more!
Table of Contents
Short Trips From Sydney Within 1hr
Discover short trips from Sydney within 1 hour for those who might not usually venture further away than your local suburbs in Sydney.
1. Scotland Island
Distance from Sydney: 40 min drive // Northern Beaches Perfect for: Couples weekend getaway from Sydney
Scotland Island in Sydney is one of those hidden gems! Located in Pittwater, and just a bit further south from Palm Beach is an island which will make you feel like you’re a million miles away. This Sydney getaway is all about relaxing and enjoying the beauty of Pittwater. We’ve been here twice and would easily go back in a heartbeat! Hire a kayak to nearby beaches, spend about 40 minutes walking around the island, simply sit back on a jetty and enjoy a beautiful sunset!
Scotland Island Restaurants There’s no restaurants on the island, but eat at Church Point Wharf or Pasadena at Church Point (both are excellent). Pasadena is the perfect place for afternoon sundowners.
Where to stay in Scotland Island We stayed at Scotland Island Lodge which is run by a lovely British couple (book the room with the outdoor spa!).
Public Transport friendly? Yes! Take a bus to Church Point, then jump on the 10 minute ferry ride over to Scotland Island. If parking, you’ll have to pay for parking at the car park at the wharf, or park a good 5 – 10 minutes away for free parking.
Distance from Sydney: 45 min drive // Northern Beaches Perfect for: Beach lovers!
One of our favourite parts of the Northern Beaches in Sydney is without a doubt Avalon Beach. With beautiful shops, cafes and restaurants to choose from, walk down Old Barrenjoey Road to discover it all. Drive five minutes up the road over to Pittwater side and discover beautiful beaches including family friendly Clareville Beach, and our personal favourite Paradise Beach nearby for quieter swimming options.
We were really impressed with the food options in Avalon. Koto is where you’ll find one of the best acai bowls in Sydney! Head to Sunset Diner for burgers and Alma for Mexican.
Although Palm Beach is another fantastic day trip from Sydney, it also makes one of the best weekend getaways from Sydney too! Take the boat over to Great Mackerel Beach and discvoer the walking trails over to Resolute Beach (although not suitable for young children). Check out The Bible Garden, hire a SUP board in Clareville, and of course hike up to the top of Barrenjoey Lighthouse!
Distance from Sydney: 1h drive to Brooklyn // North of Sydney Perfect for:Affordable cruises, experience on house boats
The Hawkesbury River is such an underrated getaway from Sydney. Expect to discover loads of relaxing activities, perfect for everyone! We absolutely loved the Riverboat Postman Cruise. You’ll spend the morning helping the postman deliver the post to the residents around the Hawkesbury River. It’s a great activity for kids, but it’s also pretty cheap which includes either morning tea or lunch.
Also, head over to Dangar Island and spend a few hours on the walking trails or hire a kayak to explore further.
Distance: 1h // South Sydney Perfect for:Hiking & wild swimming
The Royal National Park tends to be another day trip from Sydney, but don’t let it put you off from one of the best weekend getaways from Sydney! With campsites within the national park and accommodation nearby, spend a gorgeous weekend getaway exploring the hikes and swimming in the world’s second oldest national park.
There are so many hikes in the Royal National Park, some of our favourites include The Figure 8 Rock Pool, Wedding Cake Rock and so many more. Discover some of the best waterfalls in Sydney you can swim in and of course hire a rowing boat at Audley for a fun day floating down the river. Or spend the weekend at a beautiful wellness retreat in Royal National Park, eating vegan food, doing yoga and kayaking at The Heart & Soul Retreat.
To be honest, most of the best weekend getaways from Sydney are located just 1h30m or up to 2 hours from the city. This means you can take the whole family on a beautiful holiday from Sydney without having to spend the whole weekend driving.
6. Blue Mountains
Distance from Sydney: 1h30m // Blue Mountains Perfect For: Everyone!
Although Blue Mountains makes a great day trip from Sydney, don’t underestimate what a jammed packed weekend you could have! Please don’t just go to Three Sisters and wonder down the main street in Katoomba, there is so much waiting for you. The good news is, we have so many articles for you to read, let’s help you out with where to start for the perfect winter getaway.
If you’re looking for a cheap weekend getaway, check out our hiking and camping itinerary for a weekend exploring bush walks in Blue Mountains National Park. You’ll find the best Blue Mountains campgrounds, where to eat, hike and so much more. We recommend checking out our guides below for what to do and see and for those looking for a romantic weekend getaway as well.
Distance from Sydney: 1h15m // North of Sydney Perfect for: beach lovers & camping
We couldn’t believe how gorgeous Pearl Beach in Sydney really is! This little gem feels like you’re a million miles away from Sydney, even if you can see Palm Beach across the water. Enjoy relaxing on Pearl Beach, go on a hike down to Warrah Lookout before reaching Patonga Beach. Stop for lunch at The Boathouse at Patonga and enjoy the beautiful water views while enjoying the perfect Sydney weekend getaway.
Public Transport Friendly? Yes! A combination of train and bus will take over two hours to get to the beautiful Pearl Beach.
8. Wisemans Ferry
Distance from Sydney: 1h20m // North of Sydney Perfect for:Hiking, family getaway
Wisemans Ferry is a gorgeous part of Sydney and New South Wales. Located just 1h20m away from the city, enjoy hiking, beautiful campgrounds and historical sites. You can’t come here and not do the UNESCO Old Great North Road Walk in Dharug National Park. This incredible bush walk extends to 260km up the coast, so tackle a shorter part of it to Hangmans Rock. This 3h30m walk will take you along the remnants of convict life.
If you’re not interested in hiking, enjoy kayaking down the Hawkesbury River instead! And if you have kids, take them to Tobruk Farm for a bit of fun getting up close to loads of animals.
Wisemans Ferry Accommodation Camp at Mill Creek Campground, Koveda Holiday Park or Del Rio Resort. Or, if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, stay in a Hawkesbury River House Boat!
Public Transport Friendly? Yes! It will take around 3 hours to get there by train and bus.
9. Avoca Beach
Distance: 1h20m // Central Coast, North of Sydney Perfect for:Beach getaway
Avoca Beach is a beautiful little beach town, nestled in the Central Coast NSW. It’s got a gorgeous market and honestly feels like a little Byron Bay at times. This is a gorgeous Sydney getaway you need to put on your list. Scuba dive at the EX-HMAS Adelaide, check out the views at Captain Cook Lookout, have fun at Aqua Lake, visit the gorgeous Avoca Beach Picture House and swim at the many beaches in the area.
Distance: 1h30m // Central Coast, North of Sydney Perfect for:Hipsters / vintage lovers
Although we’ve been to Central Coast loads before, we recommend checking out the hip Long Jetty. Although it’s known as ‘the Newtown of the Central Coast’, expect to find cool street art, vintage shops, yoga studios, healing & tarot shops, lots of independent kids clothing stores, homeware shops and awesome Long Jetty restaurants and cafes.
Check out the jetty at Long Jetty to top up your insta feed, take photos of the famous Long Jetty mural outside Green Tangerine Cafe & outside Reapers Barbers. Visit, Long Jetty Vintage shop, book a seat at The Savoy Cinema, shop at Plain Janes & Shadow Bang for cool clothing and homewares, and don’t forget to visit A Dash Of Christmas which is an amazing grotto style Christmas shop open on weekends! If you’re looking to find the best beach in Central Coast near to Long Jetty, go to Toowoon Bay.
Distance from Sydney: 1h30m // North of Sydney Perfect for:Discovering hidden gems, beaches and caves
There are loads of amazing beaches, national parks and so much more to visit around Lake Macquarie. Situated just south of Newcastle, you’ll find the largest saltwater lake in the Southern Hemisphere! It’s twice the size of Sydney Harbour and is absolutely beautiful, especially at sunset.
Check out the caves at Caves Beach & Ghosties Beach, swim under the pier at Catherine Hill Bay, drive your 4×4 onto Redhead Beach, swim in the rock pools at Bongon Beach and surf at Frazer Beach. We must admit, Lake Macquarie is home to some of the best beaches in Sydney! All of the above beaches are absolutely beautiful, making it a perfect weekend getaway.
Distance: 2h drive // North of Sydney Perfect for:City break without feeling like you’re in a city
After living in Newcastle on an off for the last few years (Steve’s family are based here), I must admit it’s an underrated city near to Sydney. One of my favourite things to do in Newcastle is to take my yoga mat down to Bar Beach at sunrise and go for a swim after I’ve perfected my sun salutes! I also love shopping at Sourced Vintage tshirt shop on Darby Street, running from Merewether to Nobby’s Lighthouse and checking out the incredible beaches in Newcastle as well.
Distance: 2h drive // North of Sydney Perfect for: Wine lovers & families
The Hunter Valley always makes it to the top of the best weekend getaways in Sydney list because it’s home to the some of the best wineries in Australia! As a popular wedding destination in Sydney as well, Hunter Valley packs a punch for an excellent weekend away from Sydney.
Go to Hunter Valley Gardens, and at Christmas they have a massive light display. Go on a sunrise hot air balloon ride, watch a famous band at A Day On The Green (we saw The Rolling Stones there a few years back!), and check out the following wineries: Tempus Two winery, Miguigans winery and Brokenwood Winery.
Distance: 1h30m drive // South of Sydney Perfect for: culture, waterfalls, hikes, families
Wollongong in NSW is an underrated weekend from Sydney. Start with the Grand Pacific Drive and enjoy driving along the coast and over the famous Sea Cliff Bridge. Stop off at Sri Venkateswara Temple and Kelly’s Falls, before checking out Simbio Wildlife Park. Continue on to the blow hole in Kiama and head inland to the brilliant Jamberoo water park and Illawara Fly Tree Walk.
Distance from Sydney: 1h30m // Southern Highlands Perfect for: Country getaway for everyone, especially foodies
If you’re missing UK, head down to Southern Highlands and you’ll feel like you’re in the countryside. As Bowral is the main hub in the Southern Highlands, you’ll find more cafes and restaurants here than any other town in the area, as well as plenty of activities to keep you busy!
Head to Green Lane which sort of reminds me of The Grounds of Alexandria, but complete with gorgeous restaurant and cafes, plant and flower shops and Dirty Janes antique shop. Check out the famous Bradman museum of cricket, the amazing Tudor style antique shop Lancelot Hill, and explore plenty of hikes including, Box Vale Walking Track, 40 Foot Falls and 60 Foot Falls.
Don’t forget to visit Kangaroo Valley, Robertson and Berrima as well for beautiful pubs, amazing waterfalls, the stunning Kangaroo River and much more.
If you’re looking for a meditation retreat near Sydney, you absolutely must go to Sunnatarum Forest Monastery in Bundanoon. We’ve been three times now because it’s that good. This donation based retreat is held at a Thai Buddhist Monastery. On a good day, you’ll be able to see out to Jervis Bay! Expect a schedule consisting of sitting and walking meditation, Thai Chi and Buddhist teachings. A weekend here and you’ll feel like you’ve been away for ages. You won’t regret it!
It’s no wonder Berry is one of the most beautiful getaways from Sydney. Although it’s kinda obvious Berry is a tourist town, it’s a beautiful one you could easily spend the weekend at.
The most popular draw card to Berry is the famous Berry Doughnut Van. We lined up feeling quite sceptical about the whole thing, but I must admit, those cinnamon doughnuts are really worth talking about. Hike to the beautiful Drawing Room Rocks, do wine tasting at Silo Estate Winery (one of the best wineries in NSW), and shop at the gorgeous shops in Berry.
The Japanese Bath House in Blue Mountains is a fantastic weekend getaways from Sydney for spa lovers. We feel it deserves its own title in this article because you could spend days relaxing in the hot pools overlooking Lake Lyell.
Situated a 40 minute drive from Katoomba, this traditional onsen is a fantastic escape from Sydney. With loads of hot baths to choose from, there’s a gorgeous tea room to chill out in and relax after a dip in the pools and a massage. Either make it a day trip from Sydney or spend the weekend staying in the Japanese style accommodation at the spa.
Distance: 2h30m // North of Sydney Perfect for: Everyone, particularly families
Port Stephens is a really popular Sydney getaway for a lot of people because it offers up so much for a weekend away. With plenty of resorts to choose from, gorgeous beaches and loads of family friendly activities, the islands honestly transports me to Krabi in Thailand.
Make sure you go to Anna Bay for sand duning on the largest sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere. You can also go swimming with dolphins with one of the only companies in NSW. Hike up to the top of Mount Tomaree and of course discover some of the incredible beaches. Port StephensAccommodation Mid-Range: Ramada Resort Luxury: Salt At Shoal Bay
Public Transport Friendly? Yes! You can take a train and bus, but expect it to take at least 4 hours.
Distance: 3h // North of Sydney Perfect For:Beach holiday, camping, surfing
I remember Steve’s cousin telling us about Seal Rocks and it was on our list for ages. When we went to visit, we couldn’t believe how amazing this place truely is. It’s one of those special places in NSW which you’ll want to come back time and time again, perfect for beach and camping getaways and for surfing too.
Seal Rocks is all about the beach. Bring your surfboard and enjoy some of the best surf in Sydney. Walk up to the top of the Lighthouse and if you’ve got a 4×4, drive along the beach.
Distance: 3h // North of Sydney Perfect For:Beach holiday, surfing
We spent a couple of months in Blueys Beach and we just couldn’t get over how gorgeous this little gem truely is. Instead of staying in Forster, stay in Blueys Beach instead. Whilst Blueys Beach is the main little hub of the area, there are about five beaches back to back including Blueys Beach which are all incredible. Just make sure you also check out the gorgeous Boomerang Beach as well, making this area a fantastic long weekend getaway.
Distance: 2h20m drive // Blue Mountains Perfect for:Anyone who loves English Countryside or gardens
Mount Wilson in Blue Mountains is a magical place. This hidden gem is so beautiful, it honestly reminds me of the English countryside. Visit during Spring or Autumn and enjoy the trees changing colour. There are quite a few gardens in Mount Wilson to visit. We’ve been to Breenhold Gardens in Autumn and Spring and they are absolutely beautiful! But to stay in Mount Wilson would be the perfect Sydney weekend getaway. I can only imagine how romantic is would truly be to wake up and go on an early morning walk with the Autumn or Spring leaves all around.
Distance from Sydney: 3hr drive // South Coast Perfect for: Couples weekend from Sydney and families
Just below Jervis Bay is one of the best getaways in New South Wales called Mollymook. Expect beautiful beaches, loads of kid friendly activities and so much more for a couples getaway or family weekend away.
Things to do in Mollymook Mollymook is all about sitting back and relaxing. If you’re looking for a couples weekend away, look no further. Learn to surf, visit Spa By The Sea or go on a wine tour to nearby wineries with Wine Knot Tour. A bit further up the coast is a magical rockpool called Mermaid Lagoon in Berrara, with crystal clear turquoise water!
Public Transport Friendly? Yes! It will take more than 5 hours to catch a train and multiple buses.
24. Jervis Bay
Distance: 2h30m drive // South of Sydney Perfect for: Beach lovers, families
It’s no wonder Jervis Bay is known as ‘The Whistundays of NSW’. Having been to both recently again, we had totally forgotten how amazing Jervis Bay really is. It’s an incredibly special part of NSW, everyone needs to visit! The White Sands Walk is a gorgeous walk which ticks off some of the incredible beaches in Jervis Bay including the Whitest Sand Beach In The World – Hyams Beach. As one of the best weekend escapes, don’t miss out on the dolphin and whale watching tours.
Perfect For: City getaway for art lovers and families.
Canberra is easily one of the best weekend getaways from Sydney, especially if you’re into art. Go to National Gallery Of Australia and stand in awe of global artists such as James Turrell, Yayoi Kusama and so much more! Explore the street art, vintage shops, museums and of course Parliament House and you’ve got yourself a jammed packed weekend ahead.
Canberra Accommodation Ovolo Nishi is our go to hotel in Canberra. This is a one of a kind hotel you’ll want to photograph for hours.
Public Transport Friendly? Yes! A direct train from Sydney will take around 4 hours.
Distance: 3h drive // South West of Sydney Perfect for: hiking, camping, wild swimming, caves
Wombeyan Caves is a little hidden gem near Sydney. You’ll find less people here than at the neighbouring Jenolan Caves, plus you can visit the caves on self guided tours. When we visited, we were the only people in the caves – it was amazing!
Wombeyan Caves is all about the caves. You can go on guided and self guided tours around the different caves here. Plus, if you’re visiting in Summer, embrace the Mares Forest Creek Canyon and hike and swim your way through the ice cold water. It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done near to Sydney!
Distance: 3h drive // North West of Sydney Perfect for: Hiking & camping
Newnes is one of the best camping getaways from Sydney. The free campsite is incredible and the Wolgan Valley is breathtaking. There is a river next to the campsite so you could spend the day sitting in it to cool down after one of the many hikes to choose from. We hiked to the glow worm tunnels which takes you along the old railway tracks. It’s beautiful!
Consider the below weekend getaways from Sydney which are between 3 and 5 hours driving time. Although driving for more than three hours might not be on top of your list, the below places in NSW are definitely worth a visit on a long weekend from Sydney.
Distance from Sydney: 3h30m drive // West Sydney Perfect For: Couples, foodies, wine lovers
Mudgee is one of those weekend getaways from Sydney, perfect for couples, foodies and wine lovers. Start your trip to Mudgee by visiting Logan Wines and Lowe Family Estate, two of the big hitters when it comes to Mudgee wineries. For the adventureres, check out plenty of walks including: Castle Rocks, The Drip Walk to Aboriginal rock art and Wellington Caves.
Distance from Sydney: 3h30m drive // West of Sydney Perfect for: Foodies, wine lovers
Orange is a foodie haven, complete with boutique breweries, cider houses and wineries. Head over to Small Acres Cyder, Badlands Brewery for cider and beer tasting as well as Nashdale Wines Cellar Door. There are so many amazing Orange wineries and cellar doors to check out, so could literally spend the entire weekend go around them all.
Public Transport Friendly? Yes! You can take a direct train to Orange which will take nearly 5 hours!
30. Barrington Tops
Distance from Sydney: 4hr drive // North of Sydney Perfect For: People who prefer a bit off the beaten path.
Barrington Tops tends to make the lists as one of the best national parks in Australia, and you’ll see why when you visit. We were blown away by this Gondwana National Park because it honestly feels like you’ve been transported to the Jurassic era.
Barrington Tops is all about camping and hiking. We did the Antarctic Beech Tree Forest Walk which took around 2hours. There is a waterfall you can swim in on this walk, but check first as at the time of visiting it was closed.
Barrington Tops Accommodation Camp at Barrington Tops and enjoy being in the heart of one of the best national parks in Australia.
Port Macquarie might be best known for the koala rescue centres, but it’s also a fantastic family getaway from Sydney. Choose between 17 beaches, plenty of restaurants and so much more in this popular beach town.
Distance from Sydney: 4h45m drive // Mid-North Coast Perfect for: scuba diving, hiking, camping, beach lovers and families
We heard about South West Rocks a while back and knew we had to visit. We were blown away by this little slice of heaven. With incredible beaches, fantastic campsites and so much more, it makes one of the best weekend getaways from Sydney!
Check out the famous Trial Bay Gaol, an historical prison you can visit and wonder around. The beach at Trial Bay is fantastic and flat – perfect for families. Go up to the top of Smokey Cape Lighthouse and feel like you’re on the edge of the world.
Nambucca Heads is a relaxed beach town on the Mid-North Coast. Just a 10 minute drive from there is the beautiful beach town of Valla Beach. It’s a stunning quiet beach with a couple of places to eat at. Head over to the V-Wall, a beautiful walk along the coast with an art gallery of painted rocks. Passerbys are encourage to leave their piece of art on the rocks as a memory of their time in Nambucca Heads.
Bellingen is one of the best towns in NSW! We literally nearly moved there, but then the pandemic happened so we couldn’t. This hippy town is home to some of the best hikes in NSW, waterfalls, wild swimming spots and fantastic places to eat and drink.
Things to do in Bellingen & Dorrigo Book kayaks and float down the Bellinger River, drive out to The Promised Lands in Gleniffer (there’s something really special about this area), swim at Danger Falls, do the Crystal Showers Falls hike in Dorrigo.
Distance from Sydney: 5h10m drive // Orana Region Perfect for: Hiking, star gazing, camping
The Warrumbungle National Park is known as one of the best National Parks in NSW. Although it was relatively unknown by many people until recently, the Breadknife Walk went viral on social media and it’s become really popular. Affectionately known as The Warrumbungles, it’s also home to the first dark sky park in Australia because of the amazing amount of stars in the sky.
Warrumbungles Accommodation It’s all about camping at Warrumbungle National Park!
Public Transport Friendly? Unfortunately you’ll need to hire a car to get to Warrumbungles.
Kanangra-Boyd National Park is known as a bit of a gem near to Blue Mountains. Just a 40 minute drive from the popular Jenolan Caves will bring you to Kangangra Walls Lookout. It honestly made us wonder whether we had been transported to Borneo because the views really are jaw-dropping. Put it on your list to visit for your future Sydney weekend getaways.
Kanangra Boyd National Park Accommodation You can camp near to the Kanangra Walls Lookout, just bring everything with you as it’s a basic campsite.
Public Transport Friendly? Unfortunately you’ll need to hire a car to get to Kanangra-Boyd National Park.
Distance from Sydney: 5hr drive to Bermagui // South Coast Perfect for: Families, camping, hiking, beaches, foodies
Known for its sublime beaches, you could easily spend a couple of weeks exploring the South Coast. The main towns people stay in South Coast tend to be around Batemans Bay, Narooma and Bermagui. Head to the beautiful tourist town of Tilba Tilba, check out Australia Rock in Narooma and Horses Head rock formation in Bermagui.
It’s also home to some of the best beaches in New South Wales to discover such as Mystery Bay, Depot Beach and South Durras. Make sure you check out the crystal clear rock pools in Mimosa Rocks as well.
Public Transport Friendly? It will take at good 8 hours with two train rides and a bus trip to get to Bermagui.