10 of the best winter stays in NSW

Embrace the cooler weather in NSW and check in to one of the state’s cosiest retreats – think toasting marshmallows and sipping wine by the fire, rugging up for invigorating walks and hitting the ski slopes. Winter retreats never looked so good.

Destination NSW

Destination NSW

May 2024 -
min read

Wilga Station, Bathurst 

Set on an enormous working sheep farm, Wilga Station takes country luxe to new levels. There are just two accommodation options on the property, both crafted from sustainable materials: The Farmers Hut, a romantic getaway for two; and The Shearers Hall, a style-driven retreat for groups of up to 10. Rug up and head out for a brisk morning walk along misty trails, toast marshmallows by the fire, or snuggle in bed with a bottle of wine and a hamper of local produce.   

Woman enjoying coffee with a view of Wilga Station, Evans Plains

Wilga Station, Evans Plains

Where to eat & drink: Order a warming coffee by the fire while you peruse the breakfast and lunch offerings at The Hub, a cosy space with plenty of atmosphere. There’s equal character at Cobblestone Lane, housed in a former department store and replete with exposed brick walls, timber floors and romantic décor. The menu changes regularly to make the most of the seasons.  

What to do: The Bathurst region comes to life over the cooler months thanks to the annual Bathurst Winter Festival, where diversions range from ice skating to foodie events, live music and even a pet parade. Check in to Wilga and you’re only a 40-minute drive from the Orange wine region, where you can order a glass of something delicious to enjoy by the fire in any number of restaurants or cellar doors.    

Distance from Sydney: Wilga Station is 200km (three hours) west of Sydney. 

Couple enjoying camp fire at Wilga Station, Evans Plains

Wilga Station, Evans Plains

Osborn House, Bundanoon 

A perfect marriage of simplicity and elegance, Osborn House is a lovingly restored, impeccably styled luxury boutique hotel reminiscent of a rustic farmhouse in the English countryside. In reality, it sits pretty in the Southern Highlands, the closest wine region to Sydney. Rooms are all individual in design, but might feature plush four-poster beds to curl up in, an open fireplace or even outdoor tubs, for an invigorating soak. Features include a spa and sauna, as well as a cosy communal space where you can sip wine by yet another open fire. 

Osborn House in Southern Highlands, Country NSW

Osborn House, Southern Highlands

Where to eat & drink: Speaking of fire… from April to November the retreat hosts ‘Fire Fest’, an epic lunch where chefs get the Argentinian asado hot and grill up all manner of proteins and vegetables for you to enjoy. In surrounding villages you’ll find restaurants like award-winning EschalotPaste and the dining room at Bendooley Estate.  

What to do: There’s no shortage of things to do and see in the Southern Highlands over winter, whether you want to warm up while exploring trails on bikes or foot, are inspired to take a tour of local wineries, fancy your hand at truffle hunting (only available here during the cool months), or relish the thought of browsing twee antique stores.   

Distance from Sydney: Osborn House is 150km (1.5 hours) southwest of Sydney. 

Couple enjoying a fine dining experience at Eschalot restaurant in Berrima, Southern Highlands

Eschalot, Berrima

Aframe, Kangaroo Valley 

Winter is a time to slow down, reset, reflect and reconnect with the ones we love. And off-grid Aframe was designed with this ethos in mind. Echoing the beauty of the Australian landscape, the property features recycled building materials throughout, from native hardwood floors to 150-year-old terracotta tiles. Spend days bushwalking along nearby trails or kayaking down the beautiful Kangaroo River, then soak weary limbs in the outdoor, wood-fired hot tub – there’s a fire to cosy beside when you finally head inside.  

Wood fired hot tub at Aframe Kangaroo Valley in Kangaroo Valley, Jarvis Bay

Aframe Kangaroo Valley, Kangaroo Valley - Credit: Hayley Rafton Photography

Where to eat & drink: Drop into the Kangaroo Valley’s town to make the most of popular eateries like The General Café, Hampden Deli or the General Store – at the latter you can pick up provisions to take back to Aframe for dinner. You might also want to pop into The Friendly Inn for a classic pub meal with the locals.  

What to do: You’ll need a bottle of wine to go with your provisions – head over to Yarrawa Estate Vineyard to pick up a bottle of Verdelho or cab sav, perhaps. Nature awaits at Fitzroy Falls, where a short walk takes to a thundering waterfall that plunges 80 metres. Nearby, peruse pre-loved knick knacks and antiques at Grandpa’s Shed.  

Distance from Sydney: Aframe is 160km (two hours) south of Sydney. 

Canoes, Cool Climate Wines & Canapes guided excursion with Wildfest, Kangaroo Valley

Guided excursion with Wildfest, Kangaroo Valley

Carawirry Forest Escape, Hunter Valley 

Just four cottages share 100 hectares or pristine wilderness at Carawirry, a Hunter Valley retreat where nature is like a salve for the soul. Each of the accommodations comes with different perks: perhaps an open fire, maybe a ‘bathhouse’ or a double rainfall shower. Each space pays homage to Australian designers and makers, giving any stay an extremely personal touch. Sit by a crackling fire, ride a horse, cook a feast (or have one delivered), or doze off with an in-cottage massage… we’re in.  

Sunlit bedroom at Carawirry Forest Escape, Main Creek

Carawirry Forest Escape, Main Creek - Credit: Carawirry Forest Escape

Where to eat & drink: You’re in the Hunter Valley, so are spoilt for choice when it comes to standout cellar doors to frequent. The list is endless, but includes Brokenwood WinesAudrey WilkinsonBimbadgen Winery and Boydell’s – the latter comes with an award-winning restaurant. Other places to dine include MarganMuse KitcheneRemo Restaurant and Restaurant Botanica.  

What to do: There are plenty of reasons to visit the Hunter Valley over the cooler months, not in the least the Wine & Beer Festival, which celebrates everything edible and local. Families travelling with kids will want to make a beeline to the Hunter Valley Gardens, where the annual Snow Time festival unites activities like tobogganing, ice-skating and amusement rides – there’s plenty of hot chocolate to warm up with between cool experiences.  

Distance from Sydney: Carawirry Forest Escape is 220km (2.5 hours) north of Sydney.   

Kimo Estate, Riverina 

Covering a whopping 2,800 hectares on the outskirts of Gundagai, Kimo Estate unites style, sustainability and country swagger in equal measure. There are a range of accommodation option offerings available on this working sheep and cattle farm, including the Shearer’s Quarters, with space to sleep 12, as well as A-frame eco-huts that are perfect for couples – the open fireplaces are a welcome touch in winter. If you want to bring your dog along, Windies and Daleys are two- and three-bedroom workers cottages that have a fenced-in yard. 

Sweeneys Hut at Kimo Estate, Nangus - Credit: Matt Beaver

Kimo Estate, The Riverina - Credit: Matt Beaver

Where to eat & drink: Whether you want to splurge or enjoy a cheap-and-cheerful meal, you’ve come to the right part of the state. The region’s Tumblong Hills Winery is a great place to chill out with a glass of something delicious in the sun. But in Gundagai proper you can pop in to any number of pubs to rub shoulders with the locals – we love the Tumblong Tavern for atmosphere. 

What to do: At the foothills of the Kosciuszko National Park, the beautiful Riverina region of the Snowy Valleys has to been seen and experienced from above. Gain some perspective with Truenorth Helicopters or Riverina Helicopters, taking you on a scenic jaunt over the highest peaks in the country. The other big Gundagai allure is the Dog on the Tuckerbox shrine. Drop in to learn about this poignant part of Aussie history.  

Distance from Sydney: Kimo Estate is 400km (four hours) southwest of Sydney.  

Woman enjoying a scenic flight over Tumut River and the Talbingo Reservoir in the Snowy Mountains

Truenorth Helicopters, Snowy Mountains

Kyah Hotel, Blue Mountains 

It’s hard to beat a road trip to the Blue Mountains, that World Heritage-listed expanse of wilderness to Sydney’s west. If you made the sojourn in the 1970s, chances are you’d spend a night in the motel that is today known as The Kyah. Following an extensive and playful renovation, the Blackheath property today evokes the nostalgia of family holidays of yesteryear – although with design-driven attention to detail. Character-filled rooms are set across wings named after the region’s famed Three Sisters rock formations, and are part Art Deco and part Palm Springs in design – think pastel hues, cacti arranged just-so, archways and curves, and velvet flourishes. In winter, we particularly love the indoor and outdoor fireplaces, not to mention the hot tub and wood-fired sauna.   

Kyah Hotel, Blackheath

Kyah Hotel, Blackheath - Credit: Steven Woodburn

Where to eat & drink: You don’t have to go far to indulge: Kyah’s award-winning farm-to-table restaurant Blaq dishes up the best of the region. Other places that are highly regarded in the region include two-hatted ArranaAtes, Tempus, Darley’s Restaurant and Megalong at Lot 101 – the latter is set on a working farm. It doesn’t get any fresher.  

What to do: With its high elevation, cool temperatures and even the occasional snowfall, winter is a magical time in the Blue Mountains, channelling the festive spirit of a traditional European Christmas. As soft mist swirls around the rugged sandstone cliffs, warm up before a crackling fire with a glass of spicy mulled wine or enjoy a roast dinner feast at one of the mountains’ atmospheric hotels or restaurants as you celebrate Christmas in July at the annual Yulefest.  

Distance from Sydney: Kyah is 110km (1.5 hours) west of Sydney.  

Family enjoying views from the Scenic World Skyway with Diamond Tours Scenic World, Katoomba

Scenic World, Katoomba

Byng Street Boutique Hotel, Orange  

The 22 rooms in the Byng Street hotel occupy a grand 1896 building, set across two wings: one offering contemporary stylings and the other with flourishes reminiscent of the original heritage home. Enjoy a delicious multi-course breakfast showcasing regional produce in the Yallungah Dining Room each morning – the only thing more enticing than your meal is the eye-popping art throughout.  

Foyer area of hotel with fireplace at Byng Street Boutique Hotel, Orange

Byng Street Boutique Hotel, Orange - Credit: Pablo Veiga

Where to eat & drink: Australia’s second-highest wine region doesn’t disappoint when it comes to cosy cellar doors; the kind you could hibernate in throughout the season. Its vintages, and produce, are celebrated at the annual Winter Fire Festival, where wood-fired ovens and barbeques send an intoxicating aroma over the bucolic countryside. All you need now is a shaving of Orange truffles.   

What to do: With the last leaf-pepper departing Orange – this part of NSW is known for its fiery autumnal colours – a stillness descends over the countryside. Frosted mornings bring sprinklings of snow, burnt off as bright sunshine days unfold and filter rays through crisp mountain air. Hiking trails carve through powdery fields around Mount Canobolas, where early-morning walks reward with sightings of wombats and kangaroos.  

Distance from Sydney: Byng Street is 250km (3.5 hours) northwest of Sydney. 

Winter sun shining over Robertson Park, Orange

Robertson Park, Orange

Sierra Escape, Mudgee  

Deep in Mudgee wine country, Sierra Escape is the place to go when you want to retreat from the world in luxury glamping tents. The spacious accommodations here come with all the trimmings, from wooden floors and plush beds to freestanding outdoor bathtubs, for soaking up country views. Toast marshmallows around an open fire, sip wine as the sun goes down, then wake up to pastures full of kangaroos, deer, wallabies and all manner of birds. What a way to start the day.    

Luxury Glamping Experience at Sierra Escape, Mudgee

Sierra Escape, Mudgee


Where to eat & drink: You’ll find delicious food (and wine) at top vineyard restaurants like Pipeclay Pumphouse and The Zin House, cool wine bars such as Roth's Wine Bar and lovely cafes like Alby & Esther's tucked down a historic cobblestone laneway. For locally made craft beers, head to The Mudgee Brewing Co and Three Tails Brewery and Smokehouse. Taste award-winning local drops at wineries and cellar doors throughout the region, such as the signature shiraz at renowned Logan Wines and Robert Stein Winery

What to do: Get your bearings with a stroll along Mudgee’s elegant tree-lined streets on the Heritage Walking Tour and discover its beautifully preserved colonial buildings. Mudgee is also renowned for its vibrant arts and culture. Visit the state-of-the-art Mudgee Arts Precinct, Australia’s newest regional gallery, and see exciting contemporary exhibitions or join a workshop. From the gallery, you can also explore the Cudgegong River and Lawson Park Sculpture Trail. 

Distance from Sydney: Sierra Escape is 260km (3.5 hours) northwest of Sydney.  

Morning frost over the countryside, Mudgee

Morning frost over the countryside, Mudgee

Nimbo Fork, Snowy Valleys 

Kosciuszko National Park sprawls south of Australia’s capital, Canberra, its towns linked by one of Australia’s great road trips: the Kosciuszko Alpine Way. Between Gundagai and Tumut at the northern end of Kosciuszko National Park you’ll find Nimbo Fork, its 10 cottages and suites blessed with views of the Snowy Mountains and the Tumut River. Style and sustainability unite across this estate, not only in the country-style cottages but also in the dining room where the Three Blue Ducks team offer a taste of place in their paddock-to-plate menus.  

Rolling fog across the property at Nimbo Fork Lodge, Killimicat

Nimbo Fork, Snowy Valleys

Where to eat & drink: Enjoy fireside drinks in the lounge before dining on fare crafted by the Three Blue Ducks team, applauded for their dedication to local and seasonal produce. When it’s time to explore further afield, call into the Tumut River Brewing Co for a tasting paddle and wood-fired pizza.

What to do: Take a fly-fishing lesson with Aussie Fly Fisher to experience some of the great fishing spots in rivers, lakes and nearby dams. At any time of year, it’s lovely to stroll along Tumut River Walk to the bird-rich Tumut Wetlands. Autumn is particularly spectacular, with the leaves lining the river turning from green to gold. 

Distance from Sydney: Nimbo Fork is 400km (four hours) southwest of Sydney.  

Tumut Fly Fishing - Kosciuszko National Park

Fly fishing in Kosciuszko National Park

Mona Farm, Braidwood 

Art, nature and luxury collide at Mona Farm, a unique curation spread across 50 hectares in the heritage-listed town of Braidwood. This beautiful property boasts award-winning gardens, grand buildings, bespoke experiences and a rich history, with a diverse collection of modern Australian and International art and sculpture dotted throughout the estate, creating an unparalleled sensory experience. 

Mona Farm at Braidwood in Queanbeyan, Country NSW

Mona Farm, Braidwood

Where to eat & drink: You’ll never go hungry in Braidwood with its plentiful country pubs, cafes, and bakeries. Enjoy a coffee at Deadwood, pick up a sweet treat from Dojo Bread or tuck into a rustic pizza at Casanova’s. Afterwards, relax in the leafy garden courtyard of Vanilla at Altenburg. Stop by for a delicious country meal and a cold beer at The Bushranger Restaurant in the historic Royal Mail Hotel or settle in for wood-fired pizza and live music at the Braidwood Hotel, built in 1859. Braidwood is also renowned for its rare black truffles.  Savour this gourmet delicacy with Terra Preta Truffles or Durran Durra Truffles on a truffle hunt. 

What to do: Braidwood is a creative hub for artists, designers and craftspeople, with quirky boutiques and galleries to browse like Studio Altenburg, as well as a busy events calendar. Nearby is the beautiful Deua National Park, where you can bushwalk through remote wilderness past pinkwood rainforest and eucalyptus trees, walk past limestone caves, see gushing waterfalls and there are many places to swim and picnic while watching the birdlife.  

Distance from Sydney: Mona Farm is 280km (three hours) south of Sydney.   

Owners Peter and Kate Marshall with their freshly dug truffles - Terra Preta Truffles - Braidwood

Terra Preta Truffles, Braidwood


More articles by theme


You may also like...