New South Wales

Indulgent luxury escapes in NSW for a weekend away

The Opera House, Darling Harbour and The Rocks all might be luxurious, but venture out of the city limits and you're bound to enjoy a memorable escape.

Within a few hours’ drive of Sydney, you can stumble upon craggy mountains towering above deep valleys, tropical rainforests humming with native wildlife and the gentle, rolling hills of lush vineyards. A state rich in diverse natural beauty, it’s worth swapping city living for a luxury escape in NSW.

Imagine waking up to unspoilt coastlines on the eastern side of the state, or dining on mouthwatering cuisines brought to your luxe suite by white-gloved service experts. You could greet the morning from a Juliet balcony, fuel up on a gourmet breakfast in bed, embark on an epic whale-watching cruise and be back in time for a rooftop sundowner.

With such irresistible choices for luxury resorts in NSW, you’ll soon be booking a romantic seaside suite for two, escaping to the mountains for cosy seclusion or wandering the wineries of the Hunter Valley from your countryside abode.

Ultimate comfort with a luxury escape to NSW's Blue Mountains

With the untamed splendour of the Blue Mountains at your feet, Parklands Country Garden and Lodges is both an epic and cosy weekend jaunt less than two hours from Sydney. Here you can go out in search of bushwalking trails, mountain vistas, native wildlife or thrilling experiences like canyoning, or just stay in with a bottle of wine on your private patio.

Walk through European-style gardens to get to your room, painted in soothing greys and set up with squashy armchairs that invite you to curl up in front of the fire. Make the most of the peaceful setting by bedding down for a long sleep on your king-size mattress draped in luxuriously crisp sheets and plump cushions.

In the morning, you’ll wake to a chorus of birdsong and watch the sun illuminate the bushland from your Juliet balcony. Should you be in need of some pampering first thing, book a treatment with a view at the on-site day spa. De-stress with a steam, then let your therapist draw you a mineral or herbal bath to melt your tensions away.

Breakfast is a leisurely affair of pastries and hot dishes made to order in the sun-dappled dining room, and in the evening you can refresh with a change of scene at one of the hotel’s three sister properties. A favourite is The Wintergarden restaurant at The Hydro Majestic, just a seven-minute drive away, where you can watch the sun set over the awe-inspiring Megalong Valley. The refined, seasonal menu will give you a taste of the Blue Mountains, with dishes like twice-cooked corn-fed chicken and 55-degree kangaroo filet.

Parklands Country Garden & Lodges - Blue Mountains

9.5 Excellent (602 reviews)

Blue Mountain beauty for a luxury escape in NSW

Around an hour’s drive west of Sydney is Spicers Sangoma Retreat, cradled in rugged wilderness chock full of natural beauty and dramatic scenery. A UNESCO World Heritage-listed area, the Blue Mountains region has a diverse topography of jagged rock formations that rise up from deep valleys, limestone caves, tumbling waterfalls and leafy rainforests teeming with wildlife. So for a romantic, luxury getaway NSW-style or an action-packed escape with friends, the resort’s setting couldn’t be more intoxicating.

The all-inclusive hotel is an idyllic sanctuary away from the business of everyday life. There are five styles of rooms, each designed to feel both luxurious and immediately inviting – think deep, earthy palettes with timber and stone details and a serene ambience that echoes the natural surroundings. Overlook the landscape from your king-size, custom-made bed covered in thick, plush linen, or soak in your deep bathtub and bask in unfettered views of the escarpment through floor-to-ceiling windows. Little details like low-hanging lights and snuggly throws complete the contemporary luxe vibe to get you feeling fully relaxed and pampered.

Even in the heart of nature, you’ll find a world-class restaurant on your doorstep. Feast on locally sourced ingredients prepared with classical cooking techniques, like braised rabbit with smoked corn broth or mandarin and violet semifreddo. When your appetite is satisfied, sooth your body and soul with a hot stone massage or facial at the on-site Spa Anise, followed by a sauna session. If you’re up for something a little more strenuous, grab a complimentary mountain bike and explore the local trails, or stay back for a lazy dip in the pool.

Spicers Sangoma Retreat

Top rated
9.9 Excellent (70 reviews)

A decadent luxury escape on NSW's Central Coast

Soft green lawns and a cheerful country-style exterior greet you when you arrive at Bells at Killcare. The boutique hotel, also part-restaurant and part-spa, combines luxury and elegance with a laidback beachside vibe.

In your fresh, uncluttered room, feel your spirits lift amid the white walls and furniture designed to emphasise the airy feeling, while details like striped blue duvet covers and driftwood are a subtle nod to the hotel’s nautical theme.

Settle in on your private veranda with a cold bevvie and admire the immaculate gardens while you listen to chattering kookaburras. And if you’re in need of pampering, a visit to the on-site Bells Day Spa will do the trick. Many treatments are inspired by Australian aboriginal techniques and use native botanicals to leave you feeling naturally refreshed.

Dining plays an integral role here, and the in-house restaurant has a reputation for culinary excellence. Order off a menu of authentic Italian cuisine prepared with ingredients from local suppliers, not to mention the estate’s very own garden. Every component of a dish—from fresh-caught fish from the nearby sea to olive oil specially imported from Italy—reflects the chef’s care and attention to detail.

Located on the Bouddi Peninsula, the hotel is tucked within Bouddi National Park and is a five-minute drive from Killcare Beach. Lovers of the outdoors need not go far: spend idle hours on a coastal bush trail through the park or surf the tumbling waves on the beach. Grab a bushwalking map from the hotel, and ask the staff to arrange thrilling activities such as sailing, mountain biking or whale-watching.

Bells at Killcare

Top rated
Killcare Heights
9.5 Excellent (390 reviews)

Sophistication on tap at a luxury escape in NSW by the sea


Less than three hours from Sydney, The Anchorage Port Stephens is ideal if you want luxury digs in a quintessentially Aussie location. Sandy beaches, dazzling waters, native fauna and pristine coastline are the backdrop for this Hamptons-inspired waterfront resort. Feel your stresses leave you as you settle into your room, ocean-esque in calming shades of navy and pebble grey, with views of the bay and the marina. Open the French doors and step onto your private balcony, where you can sit and listen to waves lapping gently at the rocks.

Relaxing seaside retreats in NSW aren’t complete without some self-care, so visit the on-site Spa Lucca for a rejuvenating treatment personalised just for you. A Rejuvenate therapy package is the ultimate indulgence, combining a body polish, clay mask, scalp treatment and soothing facial.

Then with your skin and spirit tended, head to the aptly named The Wild Herring restaurant for a meal that works in harmony with the seafront setting. The head chef combines modern Australian cooking with the freshest seafood to create a menu that celebrates the local fishing industry. Enjoy a dinner of poached lobster bisque and kingfish fillet while overlooking the marina, marvelling at your meal’s journey from sea to fork.

You’ll find plenty of things to do in Port Stephens, from action-packed water sports and parasailing to chilled-out shopping and sunbathing. Browse the boutiques or board a dolphin-watching cruise at d’Albora Marinas, a seven-minute drive away, or head to the dunes of Stockton Beach for a four-wheel drive adventure and some sandboarding.

Anchorage Port Stephens

Top rated
9.4 Excellent (2117 reviews)

Vineyards and 'vintage' luxury in an escape to NSW


Tear off to The Convent and you’ll reach a countryside estate deep in the vineyards of Australia’s oldest wine region. The easy drive of just over two hours from Sydney puts you on the doorstep of around 120 independent wineries in the Hunter Valley, ideal for a day or two of tasting the broad spectrum of wines from the area.

Flanked by topiary and an ornate fountain at the entrance, The Convent is dripping in finery. Open the French doors of your breezy room and step out on your private veranda to survey the serene estate, then curl up in a plump armchair with a book and a glass of local wine. A game of boules, followed by a refreshing dip in the pool or a leisurely bike ride, are delightful precursors to a visit to the on-site cellar door.

You’ll sample some of the region’s finest produce at Circa 1876, the on-site fine dining spot housed in a historic cottage. Treat yourself to the extravagant seven-course tasting menu for dishes like crispy skinned quail, wagyu and chai pannacotta, many of the ingredients for which are grown in the kitchen’s own garden. For a more laidback setting, stop in at Restaurant Eighty Eight, which offers an organic, sustainable menu with a few quirky elements, like pork belly with smoked bourbon aioli.

Embrace the spirit of the country manor lifestyle with a horse-drawn carriage tour that visits a selection of local wineries. Or to really impress a special someone, get a bird’s-eye view of the idyllic Hunter Valley with a private helicopter tour or hot air balloon ride.

The Convent

Top rated
9.0 Excellent (244 reviews)

Dramatic clifftop views at a seaside luxury escape in NSW


Part of the Bannisters Hotel family, Bannisters by the Sea is a boutique hotel a stone’s throw from the white sands of Mollymook Beach—well worth the drive of a bit over three hours from Sydney. Perched on a clifftop, you’ll be welcomed by sweeping views of the glittering Pacific Ocean and the New South Wales coastline.

From your private balcony, try to spot frolicking dolphins in the rolling water. Relax as you sink into deep lounge chairs in your room’s calming ocean-inspired aesthetic of clean whites, pale blues and slate greys. If you’re here for romance, book a suite with a double spa or Roman tiled bath for a leisurely shared soak. And to win even more points with your partner, line up a Kindred Spirits couples’ treatment at the on-site day spa.

With bright poolside umbrellas and rows of sun loungers, the hotel looks every bit the quintessential beach resort. Take a dip in the infinity pool overlooking the Pacific—you’ll barely be able to tell where the pool ends and the sea begins. Float with an innovative fresh cocktail from the Pool Bar, or order snacks straight to your lounger for some poolside nibbles.

For a more refined dining experience, you can book a table at the in-house restaurant, Rick Stein at Bannisters, where dishes are prepared with simple techniques to let the fresh seafood shine. Begin with freshly shucked oysters before moving on to pan-fried saltwater barramundi, warm shellfish or a hearty fish pie.

Bannisters by the Sea

Top rated
9.2 Excellent (638 reviews)

Blissful Byron Bay for a luxury escape


A bird’s-eye view of Elements of Byron – MGallery by Sofitel reveals a seemingly endless stretch of a eucalyptus forest. While Byron Bay isn’t a drive from the capital, Sydneysiders have long been taking the quick 80-minute flight here to bask in the beachy locale and unique vibe. And at this luxury accommodation in NSW, you can soak it all up in one of eight different styles of villa designed with a weekend escape in mind.

Light wooden flooring and white walls emphasise the generous space in your villa, while large abstract art prints and geometric cushions add a colourful twist. Chill out with a soak in the tub in your private bathhouse, then get cosy in your cushy king-size bed or fall asleep on the sofa with a complimentary in-house movie.

At dawn, you can watch the sun rise over the ocean at an outdoor yoga class (or book a one-on-one session). Have a lazy float in the heated outdoor pool, complemented by a drink from the swim-up bar, while a member of staff delivers breakfast bites right to your cushioned poolside daybed.

Aspiring food bloggers can join the hotel’s food tours to discover local producers and artisans, then take part in a cooking class to master essential techniques. If you want to leave the cooking to the experts, have your fill of creatively prepared local produce like scallop sashimi and wood-fired whole fish at on-site Azure Bar and Grill. And as for outdoor adventures, set off with an experienced ranger to journey on foot through 20 acres of wild rainforest, or gallop across the beach and forest on horseback.