New South Wales

6 weekend getaways in New South Wales for escaping bustling Sydney

With so much to see up and down the coast of New South Wales, dropping city life for a weekend getaway is as easy as hopping in your car.

With its famous landmarks, scenic harbours and bustling cosmopolitan vibe, Sydney sure is one of Australia’s national treasures. But when Sydneysiders get caught up in the rat race, it can be refreshing and exciting to get away from it all.

Imagine settling down on a secluded patio with a glass of local sparkling wine, or hiking away from city troubles into the untouched flora of national parks. There’s a destination, activity and hotel for every type of traveller, and you don’t even have to drive far to find them. So pack your weekend bag, hop in the car and ready yourself for a rejuvenating (and cheap!) weekend getaway, NSW-style.

Treat yourself to a beach resort NSW weekend getaway

A weekend away at the beachside Crown Plaza Terrigal Pacific will make you forget about the hustle and bustle of city life. The coastline and its soft sand beaches are steps from the foyer, so you can spend the morning walking along the shore or floating in warm blue waters.

If you’ve come on a romantic retreat, you’ll want to check into the Premium Ocean-view Suite for long, intimate evenings on your private balcony over the sea. In the morning, wake in your luxurious king-sized bed with views out to the ocean through swaying pine trees while your partner ­– earning serious brownie points – orders an in-room breakfast of freshly squeezed juices, jam-filled pastries or the hotel’s signature Terrigal Eggs Benedict.

You’ll have a view of the hotel pool from your balcony, but rather than watching the swimmers below you might opt to join them for a post-breakfast splash. Or kick-start the day with a sweat session in the resort’s light-filled gym, followed by an invigorating barefoot run down the beach. Reward yourself for your exercise with a fresh seafood platter for two at Seasalt Restaurant, where you’ll tuck into succulent local prawns, oysters and blue swimmer crab. When the sun begins its end-of-day display, order a glass (or bottle) of wine sourced from local Firescreek Winery to enjoy to the gentle lullaby of ocean waves.

Crowne Plaza Terrigal Pacific

Top rated
Terrigal, 0.4 km to Terrigal
8.7 Excellent (3355 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.2 / 10
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Get back to nature with a Blue Mountains getaway

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You’ll find Blue Mountains Heritage Motel in the historic and charm-filled mountain town of Katoomba, nestled snugly in the serene Blue Mountains. At just a two-hour drive from Sydney, you can leave work and be in the mountains in time for happy hour (we say go for a Pino Grigio from Megalong Creek Estate). You’ll pass the night in cosy comfort, what with a crackling fire, a soft snowfall beyond your window and the cool mountain air to lull you to sleep.

The next day, fill up on pan-fried eggs, bacon and tomatoes in the hotel dining room before heading out to explore nearby local landmarks like the Three Sisters lookout or Echo Point. Or if you’d rather stick around for the day and take it easy, you can fire up the guest barbecue for a feast with the family as the sun sets over the mountain range.

Groups or families of up to four will feel at home in the Family Room, where various bed configurations and kitchen facilities give you independence during your stay. Kids will be kept entertained by the free Wi-Fi when you’re not off exploring Katoomba, and aircon and central heating will keep you cool in summer and toasty on crisp winter nights.

Those without kids in tow can check into the King Spa Suite for a romance-infused getaway: picture a luxe king-sized bed and shareable spa bath, both best enjoyed in combination with the complimentary bottle of wine you’ll find in your room on arrival.

Blue Mountains Heritage

Katoomba, 1.5 km to Scenic World
8.2 Very good (1258 reviews)
Excellent Location 9 / 10
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Feast on seafood under the sun on a weekend getaway from Sydney

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Up the northern coast of NSW and within driving distance for an easy weekend trip from Sydney, you’ll find sun, surf and seafood at the Quality Inn City Centre. Flanked by blue waters, pristine beaches and vibrant green forests, the town of Coffs Harbour makes a quaint, marine-based weekend getaway destination for couples and groups alike.

The hotel’s Marinara Restaurant, located on the ground floor, plates up modern Australian cuisine mixed with Italian seafood classics. Order up a plate of fresh pasta or shellfish while you sip on a glass of Riverbank Red from local Raleigh Winery. Later, you can welcome the evening with a casual stroll along the marina to the soundtrack of crashing waves and gentle sea breezes.

Three-bedroom townhouses let friends or family groups spread out across large, spacious living areas. You’ll want to swing by the Harbourside Markets for fresh produce to prepare a group meal in your fully serviced kitchenette, then eat at your leisure in the large dining area and lounge. Or you can go super local by fishing for your supper off the town jetty, then grilling your catch of local bream on your personal barbecue.

Kids can scamper out to the townhouse’s private courtyard while the adults crack open a cold one from nearby Bellingen Brewery. Deluxe hotel-style rooms are ideal for couples’ retreats – picture cuddling up to watch a film from your king-sized bed as the sun sets over the beach through floor-to-ceiling windows.

Quality Inn CIty Centre

8.3 Very good (831 reviews)
Excellent Service 8.9 / 10
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Lavish yourself with luxury on your NSW weekend getaway

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Surrounded by lush rainforest and white, sandy beaches, Elements of Byron by Sofitel is a top-shelf luxury resort near the coveted locale of Byron Bay. When you arrive, head straight to the poolside café and order a herbal tea or coffee to be brought to your sunlounger while you dip your toes in the invitingly warm water of the lagoon swimming pool. With your sandals off, you might as well feel the sand beneath your feet on the beach – you can reach the ocean shore via a private path reserved for guests of the hotel. Or, if you’re all about the pampering, head to the hotel spa for an afternoon of scented oil and stress-busting massage.

Villas here come in all shapes and sizes, but if romance is what you’re after you’ll want to reserve a Luxury Villa for two. Imagine sinking into the hot, soapy water of your freestanding bath while you gaze out large windows into the lush treescape of the grounds. Rooms are whitewashed for a feeling of never-ending summer, made even better by the sound of the water lapping the beach when you wake in your crisply dressed bed.

The on-site Azure Bar and Grill offers world-class dishes made from locally sourced produce for all tastes. The restaurant puts an emphasis on cooking with fire, so sit back to enjoy the dramatics of your kingfish or a Darling Downs wagyu scotch fillet being grilled to perfection over a roaring flame. Veggie lovers will find plentiful all-veg options, too, and there are Asian fusion dishes like scallop sashimi and prawn dumplings for lighter bites.

Elements of Byron - MGallery by Sofitel

Top rated
Byron Bay, 5 km to Byron Bay Lighthouse
9.2 Excellent (202 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.4 / 10
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Head to happening Newcastle for a fun-filled weekend

The Lucky is smack in the vibrant hub of Newcastle, a mere two-hour drive from the centre of Sydney and a convenient option for a weekend getaway. Once a regional mining town, Newcastle has grown in popularity over the past decade and is now known for its trendy bars, pubs, restaurants and booming nightlife – a winning recipe for getting away from Sydney’s rat race without losing that cosmopolitan energy.

This heritage pub, built in the 1800s, is chock full of antiques for a cool vibe of bygone days. You’ll still have access to modern comforts in the large, leafy beer garden and dining area, though, so settle in for a nice cold glass of Little Creatures or O’Brien’s IPA while you groove to nightly live bands. If you’re feeling peckish, the restaurant on the hotel’s ground floor offers some of the best American barbecue fare north of Sydney. Treat yourself to smoked and sticky ribs, sausages or salads while you bask in feeling the sun on your back.

Rooms here are close to the action of the bar but are soundproofed and double-glazed so you can sleep undisturbed. You could spend your evening exploring the Newcastle foreshore, popping into local gems like Lord Nelson or The Harbour Bar to experience the nightlife like a local, before taking the short stroll back to your room. After a restful sleep, wake in your Terrace Suite and greet the new day from your private balcony or garden. A strong coffee brewed in-room will be the perfect re-energiser before a day wandering Bathers Way Coastal Walk or the Newcastle Farmers Market.

The Lucky

Top rated
Newcastle, 17.9 km to Beresfield
8.8 Excellent (777 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.1 / 10
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Jump in the car for a NSW weekend getaway in easy-access Wollongong

The Adina Wollongong is in a prime locale for surf, sand and sunshine, making it ideal for the kind of chilled weekend getaways Sydney-siders love – so get to packing your boogie board and sunscreen! After your breezy journey down the Grand Pacific Drive, you’ll reach the shimmering beaches of Wollongong and your short-term home – which, conveniently, is in walking distance to the beaches, restaurants and nightlife of the area.

You’ll have your choice of three room types: studio, one and two bedroom. In the studio, you can start each morning with a lazy lie-in in your cushy king-sized bed while sunlight pours in through floor-to-ceiling windows. The bedroom apartments provide light, airy spaces both inside and out – think whitewashed lounges and private balconies – so you and your friends can breathe in that ocean air whether you’re outside or not. If you’re feeling energetic, you can go for a bush walk and survey Illawarra from Mt Keira’s highest vantage point.

You can easily try out the endless dining options in Wollongong using the hotel’s handy charge-back service. Pop into cool eateries all over the city, and the restaurant will arrange your bill with the hotel so you can grab your grub without having to dig for your purse. We recommend checking out the menu of fragrant, spice-laden curries at Manjit’s Indian Restaurant – you can wash down a mouthwatering shahi chilli chicken with an ice-cold Tiger beer, then stroll down to Wollongong beach to sit in the sand and watch the sunset.

Adina Wollongong

Top rated
Wollongong, 19.8 km to Albion Park
8.9 Excellent (2439 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9 / 10
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Feature image courtesy of gg-foto / Fotolia