6 Easy must-do weekend trips from Sydney

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Weekend trips from Sydney

Sydney, the capital of the Australian state of New South Wales, is a place where you could live for a century or more and never run out of things to do. One of the biggest cities in Australia, it's famed for the Sydney Opera House and the magnificent Sydney Harbor, but it's also one of the cultural powerhouses of the country and a place where there is always something going on.

With that said, though, there's more to New South Wales than just its biggest city and its Central Business District. Sydney is practically surrounded by national parks, which make spectacular destinations for weekend getaways. So if you want to see more of eastern Australia, Sydney makes the perfect base for a weekend getaway.

Traveling is always easier when you don't carry more than you need to. So before you set out on a weekend getaway, consider dropping off your unneeded bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Sydney. Knowing your bags are safely looked after while you enjoy these weekend getaways from Sydney will be a load off your mind and will allow you to really make the most of your trip.

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Weekend trip from Sydney to Central Coast

Central Coast

This region, located on the Tasman Sea, lies just to the north of Sydney and is undoubtedly one of the best weekend getaways from the city. The Central Coast sits between Sydney and Newcastle, and it contains charming towns, beautiful beaches, and tons of activities to keep you happy without requiring a long drive from Sydney itself.

Distance from Sydney

The central coast begins more or less immediately north of Sydney and runs for about 150 km to Newcastle. Therefore, how long it takes you to get there will depend on where exactly you want to go, but just about everywhere is within an hour to two hours of Sydney.

Our activity recommendations

Feed the pelicans: Check out Pelican Plaza in the Central Coast town of The Entrance. One of the most popular weekend getaways from Sydney, this town is famous for its wild pelicans that flock to this plaza at 3:30 PM every afternoon like clockwork. You can feed these huge birds with food available from local vendors, and it's a great thing to do with kids on the Central Coast.

Australian Walkabout Wildlife Park: One of the things Australia's best known for around the world is its iconic wildlife, and you can get up close and personal with unique animals of the continent at this wildlife park. You can walk through the park and encounter animals like emus, koalas, echidnas, and kangaroos, and you can even help feed some of them. Plus, you can spend the night in a tent sleeping in the bush for a true outback experience on your weekend getaway.

Glenworth Valley Outdoor Adventures: Just an hour's drive from Sydney, this is the best weekend getaway for those who crave adventure. This outdoor activity center offers kayaking, ATV riding, and horseback trails, among other thrilling activities, so you can get a true experience of the adventurous side of Australia here.

Best season to visit

Given all the outdoor activities it offers, summer is probably the best time to visit the Central Coast. Remember that Australian summer takes place in December, January, and February, the opposite of what those of us in the northern hemisphere are used to.

Royal National Park, NSW

Royal National Park

One of the oldest national parks in the world, Royal National Park is also one of the most popular Sydney weekend getaways. With beautiful scenery and so much to enjoy here, this may be the perfect weekend getaway for outdoor lovers in New South Wales.

Distance from Sydney

Although it feels much further away, Royal National Park is one of the closest to Sydney, at less than 40 km from the center of the city. Therefore, you can drive to the park in around 40 minutes. It's definitely a good idea to have a car with you, as that will make it much easier to explore while you're there.

Our activity recommendations

Hiking: Royal National Park offers more than 100 km of walking trails that make it perfect for those who want to cover some miles during a weekend getaway. One of the most famous is the fairly demanding Coast Walk which covers 26 km each way the gives incredible views toward the South Coast.

Whale watching: From May to October, the sea off the coast of Royal National Park sees the migration of hundreds of humpback whales. You can spot these majestic animals from some of the park's walking trails if you keep your eyes peeled, though a pair of binoculars is recommended. It's also possible to take whale-watching excursions from Sydney for the perfect Sydney weekend getaway.

Dharawal Aboriginal Engraving Site: If you want to experience Australia's history, this archaeological site is home to engravings by aboriginal Australians that date back a thousand years. It's the perfect place to learn more about this fascinating culture and the original inhabitants of New South Wales.

Best season to visit

Many of the outdoor activities in Royal National Park are best done in summer. However, the annual whale migration takes place in Australia's winter, which means there's always something to do here no matter what time of year you visit.

Weekend getaway to Orange from Sydney

Orange

Located in the Central Tablelands and surrounded by the Blue Mountains, Orange is a former gold rush town with a historic core. But it's also surrounded by some magnificent scenery that makes it perfect for a romantic weekend getaway or an outdoor adventure.

Distance from Sydney

At 257 km from Sydney, Orange is only suitable for longer weekend getaways. It will take just over three hours of driving to reach the town, so you'll want to stay at least a couple of nights to make the trip worthwhile. Still, it's worth the drive to experience one of the best weekend getaways from Sydney.

Our activity recommendations

Orange Botanic Garden: The perfect place to decompress, this beautiful botanic garden is home to both native and exotic plants that will take you on a tour around the world. There are a couple of billabongs to explore too, making it hard to tell if this beautifully cared-for garden is artificial or natural.

Orange wine region: The temperate climate of the Blue Mountains makes Orange a great region for wine production. It's mainly cool whether varieties that are grown here, so expect lots of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Exploring the wineries allows you to try different vintages and learn more about the winemaking process on a weekend getaway from Sydney.

Mount Canobolas: Perhaps the defining feature of this region of the Blue Mountains, Mount Canobolas rises to nearly 1400 m and is the highest peak for miles around. This extinct volcano offers many hiking trails where you can explore the forest and even attempt the summit for an unparalleled view from what is the highest peak between the Blue Mountains and the Indian Ocean.

Best season to visit

Summer is a great time to visit and take advantage of the outdoor activities here. Orange summers are not oppressively hot, so it can be one of the best weekend getaways for those looking to escape the heat.

Blue Mountains weekend getaways from Sydney

Blue Mountains National Park

The Blue Mountains provide some exceptional weekend getaways from Sydney. As well as the town of Orange, the nearby Blue Mountains National Park, one of Australia's best-loved national parks, provides an unforgettable place to explore in New South Wales.

Distance from Sydney

This sprawling park begins more or less on Sydney's western edge, so you can reach it in as little as 50 minutes of driving. However, exploring the park to the fullest means that you'll cover a lot more ground than that.

Our activity recommendations

Jenolan Caves: The spectacular show caves here make this one of Australia's most impressive cave formations. A guided tour through the caves will show you crystal formations, underground rivers, and echoing chambers beneath the earth that feel a world away from the city.

Hiking: As is generally the case with Australia's national parks, Blue Mountains offers an incredible wealth of hiking trails. You can find everything from a short and easy stroll to a challenging multi-day backpacking adventure in this exceptional national park, making this one of the best Sydney weekend getaways for people who like to stay active.

Night walk: Taking place in the Katoomba Falls Reserve, this night walk gives you the opportunity to get a different perspective on this national park. You'll hear nocturnal animals and get to see some of the most iconic sites of the park lit up, such as the Three Sisters rock formation.

Best season to visit

You'll want some warm weather to enjoy all the outdoor activities this national park has to offer, so summer is probably the best time to visit. However, you may also get lucky with some very mild days in spring or autumn.

Hunter Valley weekend getaway from Sydney

Hunter Valley

One of Australia's finest wine regions, the Hunter Valley is home to a variety of vineyards and winemakers where you can sample some of the best plonk Australia has to offer.

Distance from Sydney

Located around 240 km north of Sydney, Hunter Valley can be reached with a drive of around three hours.

Our activity recommendations

Wine tours: Wine tours are a huge reason why this is one of the most popular weekend getaways from Sydney. The Hunter Valley is packed with wineries, and as you tour from one to another, you'll get to sample a huge variety of different wines, along with some exceptional food.

Hot-air balloon ride: The scenery around the Hunter Valley is spectacular no matter how you see it, but there are few better ways to enjoy it than with a hot-air balloon ride. Soar over the Hunter Valley in a silent balloon and watch the sunset over New South Wales, and you'll have an absolutely unforgettable experience to remember forever.

Enjoy a day spa: If you're looking to unwind, there are few better places to do it in all of New South Wales than the Hunter Valley. The valley is loaded with spas where you can enjoy a variety of relaxing treatments that will leave you feeling pampered and ready for more exploration.

Best season to visit

The harvest season here takes place in June, July, and August, depending on the type of grapes, and this can be a great time to visit and try the latest vintage. However, summer is also a good time to take advantage of the outdoor activities here.

Best weekend trips from Sydney

Bowral

The beautiful scenery of the NSW Southern Highlands is the backdrop to the town of Bowral. Here, you'll be able to explore the history, enjoy nature, and take part in some fun experiences.

Distance from Sydney

Around 120 km south of Sydney, Bowral can be reached by car in around 1.5 hours, making it ideal for weekend getaways.

Our activity recommendations

Visit Berrima: This gold rush town had its heyday in the 1830s and was intended to be the region's major town. That didn't happen, but it does explain the presence of the courthouse, which is now a museum and a great place to explore to learn more about the history of this part of Australia.

Bowral beekeeping: Explore the lives of bees with this immersive experience guided by a local beekeeper. You'll learn how beehives operate and get to taste honey straight from the hive, plus sample other products made by bees on this fascinating adventure.

Best season to visit

This is really a year-round destination, so don't worry about when to visit.

Conclusion

If your time in Sydney is short — for example, you only have three days in the city — you'll want to restrict your activities to urban adventures to make sure you get the most out of your time in the city. But if you never leave Sydney, you haven't really seen Australia.

With a little more time on your hands, you can take some of the best day trips from Sydney or one of these fantastic Sydney weekend getaways to really enjoy what this part of the world has to offer.

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