9 of the best short break destinations from Sydney



There’s nothing quite like the blur of landscape past your car window as you leave the city behind for a short while to recharge. Head somewhere new or rediscover your favourite haven with our mini guide to day trips and short breaks close to Sydney. From the remarkable Blue Mountains to the family-friendly Central Coast, let us take you away for a day or two, or three.


One hour drive from Sydney


Central Coast 

Add a nostalgic holiday to your post-lockdown holiday list – the kind of beach holiday you had as a child. Sandy feet for days, beach-hair-don’t-care attitude and fish and chips by the surf. The Central Coast is a favourite holiday destination – while the beaches take your breath away, it’s also packed with spirited adventures and inventive cuisine.  


There’s something perennially peaceful about the Hawkesbury region. Far from crashing surf and the city bustle, you’ll wind down almost immediately to a soundscape of birdsong and river ripples. Breathe in fresh air on a bushwalk, taste the freshest produce from fruit trees or get Zen meditating by the river. Take your pick from these itineraries.


Up to two hours drive from Sydney


Kiama & Jamberoo

Salty air, sunshine, surf and long stretches of sand – Kiama epitomises everything great about the NSW South Coast. Life here revolves around the water, whether you’re trekking coastal cliffs on the lookout for dolphins and whales (May through November), tackling waves on a surfboard, enjoying a dip in calm ocean pools, or watching the sea rush high into the sky at one of the region’s blowholes.


Perfectly positioned between the picturesque Illawarra Escarpment and the blue waters of the Tasman Sea, Shellharbour is a vibrant destination on the NSW South Coast of NSW. Discover gorgeous beaches, world-class surf breaks, famous dive sites and magnificent national parks.


Here in ‘the Gong’ you can soak up the serenity of a Buddhist temple or kit up for a cliffside hike along the windswept coastline. It’s a bustling coastal city of surprises. While the glorious beaches are the star, city slickers flock here for the bold food and chilled vibe.

Southern Highlands

By its very nature, the Southern Highlands is a place of classic and contemporary. Innovative winemakers immersed in traditional methods. Morning truffle hunts evolving into modern degustations. Stay in an ivy-draped country manor or an architecturally designed farmhouse. Get back to nature with the ancient art of forest bathing or see cutting-edge art in a restored dairy turned art gallery by Ben Quilty. 

Blue Mountains

There’s nothing quite like a hike in the fresh mountain air at golden hour. The crunch of leaves underfoot, being surrounded by bushland, then stepping out to the lookout just in time to see the blue haze surrender to burnished gold. The Blue Mountains is one of Sydney’s favourite weekenders. So close, and yet, a world away among ancient rock formations, forested valleys and villages from another era.


Two to three hours drive from Sydney


Hunter Valley

Embrace that surreal feeling of rising gently into the clouds above the rows of green vines below – a hot air balloon ride above Australia’s oldest wine regions at sunrise is a memorable way to begin your Hunter Valley weekend away. This is a place for slowing things down with vineyard picnics, wine tasting, horse riding and culinary masterclasses.


Newcastle is the weekender du jour out of Sydney right now. It’s got that unbeatable mix of golden beaches, luscious food and buzzing culture that makes you feel high on life. Have a dip at Merewether, dine overlooking the surf break and delve into the edgy boutiques and bars. This coastal hub is also in a sweet spot with the Hunter Valley less than an hour west.