1 June 2016
The Queen’s Birthday is celebrated every year in NSW in June with a public holiday, and this year it falls on Monday, June 13. This is the ideal time to hit the road and explore the state. Here are a few ideas for a memorable long weekend away.
The Queen’s Birthday long weekend marks the official start of the snow season in NSW, making it the perfect time for a weekend away in the Snowy Mountains, a haven of skiing, snowboarding and family-friendly activities. Head to Thredbo for the resort’s opening weekend, featuring live music, entertainment, and a stellar fireworks display, or check out the party at Perisher, where you can celebrate festival-style at the resort’s Peak Festival.
Yulefest is Christmas in July (and August) at its wintry, cosy best. Held in the Blue Mountains since the 1980s, it’s your opportunity to indulge in a bit of mountains hospitality, with traditional roast dinners, roaring fires, christmas carol singalongs and a host of white Christmas-themed events.
With whale watching season starting up again, it’s the perfect time to pay a visit to the famous lighthouse at Byron Bay, the most easterly point in mainland Australia. Join a tour and head out on a whale watching excursion to see these colossal mammals close up. Tours can be arranged from a number of key coastal centres in addition to Byron Bay; check out whale watching expeditions departing Eden, Jervis Bay, Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour.
With around 150 bands and 700 musicians playing a range of jazz across the long weekend, the 36th Merimbula Jazz Festival promises to be the the region’s biggest yet. The festival includes a Street Parade, Jazz Quest, a jazz competition for under-25s, and the Jazz Hatters Party, an Alice in Wonderland jazz-themed event at the Merimbula RSL Club. With performances across multiple venues over four days, including a black tie ball on the Thursday, it promises to be a toe-tappingly good time.
The mild June weather provides ideal conditions for hiking and bushwalks, whether you a prefer a gentle stroll or something a little more strenuous. The Royal National Park, just south of Sydney, boasts plenty of great hikes, including the trek to the famous Figure Eight Pools. On the South Coast, the Kiama Coast Walk is a 22km scenic exploration of the region’s stunning headlands and beaches; perfect for those who crave a bit more time in the great outdoors. For a fantastic Blue Mountains hike, check out the Six Foot Track, beginning at Katoomba and taking three days to complete.