There’s no better time than now to start planning your weekend getaways from Sydney. With travel restrictions easing across NSW, this is the perfect time to take a trip and escape for a couple of nights. There are a variety of adventures and weekend getaways that are easily accessible from Sydney. Whether you’re after a relaxing beach getaway, an adventurous trip, or just want to see more of what NSW has to offer, there’s something here for everyone! These weekend getaways from Sydney are some of our all time favourites and go-to’s when we are looking to enjoy a quick adventure.
Best Weekend Getaways From Sydney
1. Port Stephens
Just 2.5 hours north of Sydney, you’ll find a picturesque beach escape otherwise known as Port Stephens. It’s the perfect getaway with plenty of beautiful sandy beaches, massive sand dunes and breathtaking hikes. If you’re lucky, you’ll also come across some Dolphins which are a popular sight in the area. Port Stephens is one of the best weekend getaways from Sydney seeing as there is such a variety of things to do.
Beaches In Port Stephens
There are plenty of stunning beaches in Port Stephens to check out. Shoal Bay is one of the most popular beaches due to its calm swimming conditions and stunning views. The bay has some of the calmest water in the area, making this spot popular for kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and swimming. There are also a few restaurants and local fish & chip shops in the area. One of our favourite things to do in Port Stephens was grabbing some lunch and heading down to the picnic area in Shoal Bay. You’ll also be able to find yourself some picnic tables and barbecues along the beach, making it the perfect spot to set up for the day.
Zenith Beach is a beautiful beach that is in between two headlands, giving it a unique view. You’ll also be able to see the peak of Mt Tomaree and people doing the hike. This beach is known for big waves and shore breaks which probably isn’t suitable for everyone. If you love bodysurfing and messing around in the waves, this beach is perfect!
Another stunning and very unique beach is the Fingal Spit. There is a little sand bank that connects the mainland to Fingal Island which you can walk over and check out. On the tiny island you’ll also find a lighthouse and a headland which is a great spot for whale watching. The Fingal Spit is a unique sight to see but please take caution if you decide to cross over. The deep channel and large ocean swell can make the crossing extremely unpredictable and dangerous. Make sure you assess the conditions and give yourself enough time to cross back over.
Mount Tomaree Hike
The Mount Tomaree Head Summit Walk offers spectacular panoramic views overlooking all of Port Stephens. You’ll even be able to spot most of the beaches in the area and hopefully a few dolphins in the water below! The hike itself isn’t too bad either, with plenty of families and kids giving it a go. From the carpark, it’s roughly a 15 – 20 minute walk. The trail is easy to follow but includes some stairs and can be steep at times. The views from the top are also definitely worth it, providing one of the best views of the surrounding coastal landscape.
Stockton Sand Dunes
Another stunning attraction in Port Stephens that you must visit are the Stockton Sand Dunes. Make your way over to Birubi Beach which is where you’ll find a carpark and viewpoint overlooking the endless stretch of sand dunes in the distance. Bring a picnic blanket and find yourself a spot along the sand dunes to sit back and relax while enjoying a view of the unique desert landscape. Finishing off our day watching sunset at the Stockton Sand Dunes was one of our all time favourite things to do in Port Stephens. You’ll also find sunset camel tours available, as well as quad biking and 4WD options if you’re interested.
Where to stay in Port Stephens
Anchorage Port Stephens – Luxury: This luxury accommodation experience is set amongst the white sands of the beautiful port. The rooms are exceptionally clean and modern with most rooms also having their own spectacular waterfront views. Anchorage is ideal for those looking to enjoy the regions fine cuisine and local experiences.
Oaks Pacific Blue Resort – Midrange: Oaks is a resort style accommodation that is perfect for those looking to relax and unwind. The property features a massive lagoon-style swimming pool as well as tennis courts and a fitness centre. The resort is also only a 5 minute drive away from Salamander Bay where you can enjoy the water.
Samurai Beach Bungalow – Budget: Samurai Beach Bungalow is a Bali style backpackers that is located in a great spot. It’s only a 10-minute walk to the nearest beach. The bungalows are set amongst the rainforest and is the perfect surrounding for any nature lover. You’ll also be able to use the tour desk to book various activities.
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2. Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains is one of the most popular weekend getaways from Sydney, with plenty of stunning attractions and sights to see. It’s only a 1 – 1.5 hour drive from Sydney, making it one of the more accessible weekend trips from Sydney. The Blue Mountains region is home to some of the most amazing natural attractions. The world famous Three Sisters rock formation is a tourist favourite. If you’re looking to escape the crowds and get more adventurous, there are also countless hikes, caves and stunning waterfalls to discover.
Lincolns Rock Viewpoint
Lincolns Rock is an unfenced lookout area that is super easy to access. The carpark is right beside the lookout area and a short 2 minute walk will lead you to a large open flat rock area. Here you’ll have panoramic views overlooking the Blue Mountains and the natural landscape. It’s one of our favourite viewpoints in the Blue Mountains as it feels more natural and less touristy. You’ll find a few other people around, but there’s plenty of room to find your own space. Be sure to check out our full blog here for all the info you need on Lincolns Rock.
The Three Sisters
The Three Sisters is without a doubt the most popular spot in the Blue Mountains. Its unusual rock formation consisting of three peaks is what attracts so many visitors each year. The three rocky peaks represent three sisters from the Aboriginal legend that were turned to stone. There is also a bushwalking track nearby that will take you down to the valley floor. It’s known as the Giant Stairway as you’ll have to make your way down over 800 steps.
There are plenty of waterfalls in the Blue Mountains to check out, with some being more accessible and easy than others. Wentworth Falls is one of the most popular as there are a variety of walking tracks and viewpoints to choose from. Wentworth Falls is a massive multi tier waterfall that looks incredible from all angles. If you’re up for a big hike, you can take the challenge and descend down the steep steps all the way to the bottom of the valley. Another one of our favourite waterfalls in the Blue Mountains is Belmore Falls. You can make your way right to the top of the falls where you can peek over the insane drop. Both waterfalls have plenty of lookouts you can stop at and admire the view.
If you love the outdoors, a camping weekend in the Blue Mountains is one of the most memorable getaways from Sydney. Taking the weekend to go camping and exploring nature is a great way to spend your time in the Blue Mountains. There are hundreds of incredible spots around for you to choose from. Some campgrounds are by the water, others will require a bit of walking and there are some where you can take your car. Wiki Camps is a great app and is what we use to check out some of the free or paid campgrounds in the area. Be sure to also check the national park site for any fees or bookings that may be required.
Where to stay in the Blue Mountains
If you’re not into camping, there are still plenty of small towns within the Blue Mountains where you can find some cute and cosy accommodation options.
Blueberry Hills On Comleroy – Luxury: This stunning scenic accommodation offers guests a Farmhouse suite or a cosy cottage in a very peaceful area. You’ll be able to relax in the hot tub or by the outdoor fireplace, and even make use of the BBQ facilities. The hosts are also super lovely and the fresh breakfast is incredibly delicious.
Blackheath Motor Inn – Midrange: Blackheath Motor Inn is a motel that is set amongst the stunning Blue Mountains landscape. It’s in a great location and is close to all the attractions. The rooms are very clean and cosy and the owners are super welcoming. This place is perfect to relax and get all cosy after a big day exploring the surrounding areas.
Echo Point Motor Inn – Budget: Echo Point Motor Inn is just 200m away from Echo Point and the Three Sisters, making it one of the best places to stay on a budget if you’re looking to see either of those attractions. The central location is great for those that want to explore the various walks and hikes around the Blue Mountains. The rooms are fairly basic but are very clean and have everything you need!
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3. Jervis Bay
Jervis Bay is one of the longer weekend getaways from Sydney, but definitely one of the most beautiful. A 3 hour drive south of Sydney will take you to some of the most pristine beaches in NSW. Jervis Bay is a must visit in the warm months for an ultimate seaside escape. One of the most well-known attractions in Jervis Bay, and even Australia, is Hyams Beach.
Hyams Beach is well-known for its blinding white sand and crystal blue water. On a perfect clear day you won’t be able to resist diving right into the ocean. Most of the time you’ll find calm waters that are perfect for swimming, snorkelling and stand-up paddle boarding. During peak seasons it can get quite busy but there are plenty of other stunning beaches in the area to enjoy!
Murrays Beach is another one of our favourites in Jervis Bay. This beach is perfect for those that are looking to escape the crowds at Hyams and find somewhere more secluded. It’s an ideal spot for some kayaking and swimming. The waves are very calm as the beach is nestled away behind Bowen Island, shielding it from the open ocean wind and currents. The island off in the distance is unfortunately off limits to visitors due to it being home to thousands of Fairy Penguins.
Cape St George Lighthouse Ruins
After exploring the beaches, you can head towards the Cape St George Lighthouse to explore the ruins. The lighthouse has some great history behind it and also has some amazing views of the coastal cliffs. Around the ruins there are even some viewing platforms that overlook the ocean. The lighthouse ruins are a popular spot for whale watching. Hopefully you’ll have some luck on your side!
One of the best glamping experiences in the region is at Paperbark Camp. The beautiful campsite is surrounded by nature and the sounds of wildlife. The cabins are also gorgeous and have everything you need. There are outdoor showers to immerse yourself with nature and a stunning front deck to enjoy the view. Paperbark Camp also provide bikes and kayaks to explore the surrounding areas. At night the fairy lights come on and the food at their restaurant is delicious! There are also plenty of other camping options and glamping options to choose from in Jervis Bay to suit your needs.
Where to stay in Jervis Bay
Jervis Bay and the surrounding beaches are home to some of the most beautiful holiday houses and beachside accommodation options. There are plenty of options to suit everyones needs and budget.
Laguna Lodge – Luxury: Laguna Lodge is a the perfect place for a family getaway or even for couples looking to enjoy everything the property has to offer. They have a private jetty along the river with stunning views of the inlet. There is also a bike track in front of the property where guests can enjoy a walk or bike ride around the local area. You can even enjoy the heated outdoor swimming pool.
Jervis Bay Motel – Midrange: This stunning modern motel is located in the centre of Huskisson, with beaches, plenty of cafes and shops less than 500m away. The rooms are large, clean and very modern. They also have an outdoor swimming pool for guests if you prefer it over the beach. The staff are super friendly and are more than happy to give you some recommendations on the best places to eat and things to do while in the area.
Jervis Bay Holiday Park – Budget: This holiday park has some beautiful villas and apartments with river views. There’s a ton of different accommodation types to choose from at this holiday park so there’s something for everyone! All rooms are clean and have everything you need! The property even features an outdoor pool, barbecue area and children’s playground/splash zone.
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Just a short 80km drive south of Sydney will take you to Wollongong where there are plenty of sights and attractions to see. Wollongong is the third largest city in NSW that is full of energy and surrounded by beautiful beaches. One of our favourite things to do when heading down to Wollongong is taking the Grand Pacific Drive route instead of the highway. This way you’ll pass by some stunning coastal drives and viewpoints you can check out before heading into the city. The drive to Wollongong is easy, making it one of the most accessible weekend getaways from Sydney.
Sea Cliff Bridge
The spectacular Sea Cliff Bridge is a coastal road that carves around the cliff face and oceanside. The bridge is a popular spot amongst many tourists and locals for walks and admiring the coastal views. However, one of the best things about this place is the secret lookout which isn’t that much of a secret anymore but still worth it! A quick 10-15 minute hike through the trees and some bushes will take you to the top of the cliff. From the top, you’ll have the perfect view to admire the coastal cliffs in the distance. It’s the perfect place to quickly stop by or to spend some time sitting and relaxing while you watch the cars drive along the bridge.
Be sure to read our Sea Cliff Bridge Blog for the full details and everything you need to know about finding the lookout as it can be a little tricky!
Bald Hill Lookout
Bald Hill Lookout is another spectacular lookout in Wollongong that doesn’t involve any hiking. You can pull right up in your car and enjoy the incredible views overlooking the Sea Cliff Bridge and beaches below. It’s also a popular spot for hang gliders so you may even find some out in the distance. There is a large open grass area that is perfect for a scenic picnic, as well as a small shop to grab some coffee and a snack.
One of the most popular and thrill seeking activities to do in Wollongong is skydiving. It’s one of the best experiences you’ll have in your life if you’re up for it. Skydive Australia does a 15,000 ft Tandem Skydive for around $300 AUD. They also provide a shuttle to and from Sydney if you’re not looking to stay in Wollongong. The Wollongong Skydive is Sydney’s only beach skydive so you’ll experience incredible coastal views as you freefall. If you can gather enough courage and get outside of your comfort zone, we’d definitely recommend giving it a go!
Where to stay in Wollongong
Wollongong is a large city with a variety of areas to choose from. Whether you’re looking to stay by the beach or close to the city, there’s sure to be something here for everyone.
Novotel Wollongong Northbeach – Luxury: Novotel Wollongong is a stunning beachside hotel with modern rooms and plenty of facilities to keep you busy. They have a swimming pool, fitness centre, day spa, restaurant and 2 bars with panoramic views of the ocean. The rooms are super comfy and some even have a beach view from the balcony!
The Belmore All-Suite Hotel – Midrange: This hotel is within a 10-minute walk of the beach, Harbour, shops and entertainment centre. The rooms are spacious and clean and the staff are very friendly. The central location makes Belmore Suite Hotel a great place to stay when checking out everything Wollongong has to offer.
Adina Apartment Hotel Wollongong – Budget: Adina Apartments is located in the heart of the CBD while only being a few minutes from the beach. The property features fully self-contained rooms where you’ll find everything you need. It’s located close to plenty of bars and restaurants, making it a great budget place to stay while you explore the town.
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5. Northern Beaches
Another one of the best weekend getaways to take from Sydney is to head to the Northern Beaches. The Northern Beaches is a stunning coastal region where you can experience Australia’s finest beaches and waves. It’s one of the quickest weekend getaways from Sydney if you’re looking for a laidback beach vibe. The Northern Beaches starts at Manly which is only a 30 minute ferry from Circular Quay or a 30-40 minute drive.
Manly is a beachside city full of buzz and plenty of things to do. Its relaxing coastal vibe is what attracts so many visitors each year. There are plenty of trendy cafes, bars and delicious seafood restaurants to indulge at. Manly Beach is a large beach with plenty of space and stunning white sand. It’s also a great spot to learn surfing, go snorkelling or even set up a BBQ picnic for the day and enjoy the pool. If you happen to visit on a weekend, be sure to check out the weekend markets. You’ll find plenty of handmade crafts, jewellery, souvenirs and vintage items.
Palm Beach Sydney is one of the best and most beautiful beaches in Sydney. The beach is well-known for being the set of the popular TV show Home and Away. There are plenty of things to see and do at Palm Beach Sydney. You can spend all day relaxing at the beautiful beach, climb to the viewpoint at Barrenjoey Lighthouse, as well as explore the area where Home and Away is filmed. In the show, Palm Beach is instead called ‘Summer Bay’. You can even see some ‘Summer Bay’ signs around on the surf shacks. We’ve also been lucky enough to occasionally see them filming when we visit early in the morning.
The viewpoint at Barrenjoey Lighthouse is definitely one of our all time favourite spots to visit. The walk up is fairly easy and will only take you around 10-15 minutes. You’ll have stunning scenic views overlooking the headland and coastline. For more information on Palm Beach and the viewpoint, be sure to read our full Palm Beach blog here.
Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park
If you’re after a break from the countless northern beaches, Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park is the perfect place to have an adventure. The national park is full of scenic hikes, hidden waterfalls, swimming holes and also a few beaches. One of the most popular hikes in the park is the America Bay Walking track. America Bay Track is an easy short hike with some of the most stunning views you’ll find in Sydney. The hike will also take you to the top of a waterfall where you’ll be rewarded with a scenic view overlooking a tranquil bay.
Read our full blog post here for all the details on America Bay Track.
You can also head to the end of the national park where there is a viewpoint called West Head Lookout. There’s no walking involved with this one, so it’s a great addition to check out before leaving. The lookout gives you another spectacular view of the ocean and you’ll even able to see Palm Beach across the bay. There are plenty of benches and seating areas to relax and enjoy the view. We brought some lunch with us and found this spot to be perfect for a quick lunch break with a view.
Where to Stay in the Northern Beaches
Novotel Sydney Manly Pacific – Luxury: Located right on Manly Beach is this stunning beachfront hotel with incredible ocean views. The rooms are spacious, clean, modern and feature a balcony with scenic views. It’s in a great location, being only a short walk away to the beach, restaurants and Manly Wharf. Guests also have the luxury of enjoying the rooftop swimming pool, spa and fitness centre.
Narrabeen Sands Hotel by Nightcap Plus – Midrange: This hotel is located in Narrabeen, just between Manly and Palm Beach. Rooms feature a private balcony with some stunning ocean views. Narrabeen Sands Hotel is a great modern place to stay with everything you need. The beachfront atmosphere and great location are sure to make you enjoy your stay!
Sandy Bottoms Guesthouse – Budget: Sandy Bottoms Guesthouse is only a 150m walk to the beach and a 5 minute walk from the restaurants and bars. This place is great if you’re looking for an affordable place to stay while you explore the Northern Beaches. The room and style of the guesthouse is super cosy and the owners are always very friendly!
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