What’s your plan for the weekend, Sydney?

Sydney, Australia is one of the world’s most recognizable and beautiful cities in the world. Every year, thousands of tourists flock to the iconic landmarks, beaches, and suburbs. To the surprise and amazement of visitors, there is much more that meets the eye of Sydney than the city itself. Whether you want to escape the big city life, or just want a change of scenery, Sydney boasts a bevy of beautiful neighbors. Take a car or jump on a train to one of the following gorgeous locations, just 3 hours or less from Sydney!

Photo by Alyssa Graham / Unsplash

#1. Blue Mountains

Head to the mountains to ground yourself and reconnect with nature. The Blue Mountains hosts a unique ecosystem of Australia’s natural flora and fauna combined with inimitable waterfalls, sandstone caves and expansive ravines, boarded by sweet country towns. According to Tony Neale of Wellbeing Health Retreats, surrounding yourself in nature is vital for a clear mind. He says,

“the hustle and bustle of the everyday grind can take a toll on mental clarity. Spending time in nature is one of the best way to regain mental clarity after a busy work week.”

If you stay for the day or the weekend, you’ll be occupied by an awesome array of adventures to choose from.

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So iconic it hurts. #ThreeSisters

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To do...

  • The Three Sisters is The Blue Mountain’s most famous landmark, and a must-see if you’re making the two hour drive from Sydney. The site is swaddled in stories from The Dreaming and it’s not hard to see how this site remains to be of such spiritual importance. To experience the full scope of this enchanting location, do some research on the story that surrounds these sisters.
  • The Jenolan Caves are another unmissable location on your day trip. They are an impressive combination of the oldest caves in the world and the largest caves in Australia. Learn all about stalagmites and stalactites (and which is which!) and see the beautiful limestone formations up close.  

#2. Newcastle

Newcastle is a harbor town and known as the world’s largest coal exporter; however, there is more to the town than its exports. Newcastle is quickly evolving to be one of Australia’s coolest young cities, with a coastline of glittering beaches and a pumping cultural hub. Promising to be 100% run-off renewable energy from the start of 2020, Newcastle is becoming a formidable force that you won't want to miss!

To do...

  • Newcastle Ocean Baths are a beautiful spot to swim at, whether it be for pleasure or exercise. Opening in 1922, The Ocean Baths have a gorgeously aesthetic art-deco design that has been maintained throughout the years.
  • The Bogey Hole is another unmissable spot. The hole was hand-hewn by convicts for Major James Morrison for his pleasure. Today, the bath is public and boasts scores of visitors daily, so to optimise your experience, arrive early before the crowds visit!
  • Newcastle Art Gallery is well worth the visit too! The gallery is home to over 6,000 works of art, many of these being from exciting contemporary artists, who are continuously pushing the boundaries of art.

#3. Hunter Valley

The Hunter Valley is one of Australia’s largest wine regions. The valley is studded with wineries, both large and small, set to a backdrop of rolling green hills. A trip to the Hunter Region is the perfect romantic getaway, family holiday, or girls weekend, just 3 hours away from Sydney! According to marriage celebrant, Fiona King, the Hunter Region is one of NSW's most underrated destinations. She says,

“the Hunter Region is such a secluded and romantic location, perfect for couples to touch base and to reconnect with what really matters.”
Vineyard with hills in the background
Photo by Jennefer Zacarias / Unsplash

To do...

  • You're in wine country, visit the wineries! It’d be a crime to not make the most of the fruit of the region. If you're feeling guilt about your pleasures, remind yourself that you're supporting the local economy!
  • After wine tasting (or perhaps before!), make sure to explore the charming townships in the region, as each town is so unique.
  • Visit The Hunter Valley Gardens when you’re in the region. The gardens are truly a thing of beauty, with 10 different meticulously sculpted and themed areas.
  • Enjoy a spot of lunch at The Cellar Restaurant and treat yourself to some locally made dessert from the Hunter Valley Chocolate Country.

#4. Canberra

See the nation’s capital! Australia’s natural beauty is incredible, but take a day off from tanning on the beach, and learn about the political and cultural history of the country.

Oh, and maybe grab a bite to eat from the locally sourced produce at the Capital Region Farmers Markets.

Photo by Linda Xu / Unsplash

To do...

  • Visit Parliament House and Parliament Hill to get a feel for the place where the country’s laws are made. Tourists are able to explore (some) of this culturally significant building and glean a deeper insight into Australia’s law-making and political process.
  • Immerse yourself in galleries and museums and then immerse yourself in Lake Burley Griffin. The Lake is located in the middle of the city and is much loved by locals. If it’s too cold for a swim, walk the bridge-to-bridge path around the lake to take in the stunning view!

Looking for your next getaway? Check out RoadGoat to find the best destinations to go next!