yTravel’s 5 family-friendly NSW short breaks

26 June 2017

Caz & Craig Makepeace are the founders of, one of the world’s biggest travel blogs and have been featured by notable brands such as Virgin Australia, Expedia, and Lonely Planet. When not traveling and writing about it, you can find them swinging in a beach hammock at sunset to the tunes of Jack Johnson, or screaming in the stands of their favourite sporting match. Connect with them on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. 

As a busy family, we always appreciate an opportunity to take short breaks together to escape from the chaos of life. Our family motto is to accumulate memories, not just possessions.

A short break can be anything from a day trip to a weekend away or longer, and below are 5 spots we loved visiting in New South Wales.

Bathurst, Country NSW

Bathurst, Country NSW

Bathurst, Country NSW. Image credit: yTravel

Bathurst may be famous for Mount Panorama motor racing circuit but we think it’s the perfect country getaway for families or couples! It’s an easy three-hour drive from Sydney to the vibrant and charming city centre. The surrounding region offers gorgeous natural landscapes, and a rich heritage. In 2015 Bathurst celebrated its Bicentenary as Australia’s oldest inland settlement.

Our highlight was the Abercrombie House night tour. Our daughter loved exploring this 50 room heritage mansion by torchlight whilst Chris Morgan, the owner, shared fascinating stories of his childhood growing up on the property.

You cannot visit Bathurst though without driving the famous 6.2 kilometre Mount Panorama Motor racing circuit, and no you don’t need a V8 Ford or Holden. Racing enthusiasts will also appreciate the National Motor Racing Museum situated alongside the race track.

For food and beverages, the Church Bar & Woodfired Pizza housed in the historic Anglican Church School House serves up delicious pizzas in a casual and family friendly atmosphere. The Hub Cafe is also a local’s favourite and the place to be on Sunday mornings for brunch.

Another foodie institution is Annie’s Ice cream Parlour! This American style diner is fitted with funky retro decor, a jukebox, posters of Elvis on the wall and the ice-cream tastes great too!

Newcastle, North Coast

Newcastle, North Coast

Newcastle, North Coast. Image credit: yTravel

Newcastle, a two hours’ drive north of Sydney, is Australia’s 7th biggest city and has undergone a transformation in recent years, especially in the CBD.
Whilst it has always been a great beach town with lively pubs and a big university, the city has moved on from its primary industry of steel and implemented creative programs to bring back the culture and arts to the city.

The waterfront is home to many lively cafes and restaurants making it a popular spot to relax. It is exciting to see Newcastle offering travellers much more these days.

Fort Scratchley has immense history and is a great vantage spot for whale watching and admiring Newcastle’s pretty landscape from afar.

Newcastle’s Bathers Way is a scenic five kilometre coastal walk spanning Nobbys Headland to Glenrock Reserve and Burwood Beach. The coastline beckons surfers, day trippers, health nuts and those wishing to relax.

And for quirky culture, boutique shopping and seriously good cafes, Darby Street is the place to wander of an afternoon.

Mudgee, Country NSW

Mudgee, Country NSW

Mudgee, Country NSW. Image credit: yTravel

Mudgee is a great alternative to the well-known Hunter Valley wine region and not just for the quality of wine on offer – we also fell in love with Mudgee’s heritage buildings, wide streets, parks and overall country charm.

We highly recommend bike riding through the wineries when in Mudgee, they’re in close proximity to each other and the terrain is generally flat making it a great day out. Cycling between the wineries put a fun twist on the experience with our kids. Check out Blue Wren Wines, Huntington Estate Wines, Robert Oatley Vineyards and Lowe Wines.

The Mudgee Brewery is a family-friendly place to have a bite to eat and sample the local craft beer. We sat in the little courtyard and enjoyed the live acoustic set over lunch. For dinner, we ate across the street at the Lawson Park Hotel.

I know it is cliché, but Mudgee is a truly hidden gem and only 3.5 hours’ drive from Sydney.

Byron Bay, North Coast

Byron Bay, North Coast

Byron Bay, North Coast. Image credit: yTravel

Our favourite place for a getaway in northern NSW is Byron Bay, the legendary beach town that has been attracting thousands of surfers from around the world for years.

But it’s not just for surfers. All types of people come for the National Parks, the arts and culture, the markets, the festivals, the food, the shopping, the health retreats and the vibe.

Byron Bay has a lot going for it; the spectacular sunsets and sunrises are definitely a highlight. You’re also spoilt for choice when it comes to beautiful beaches in the Byron Bay area which are family friendly and great for swimming, sandcastle building, walking and playing. We recommend Main Beach, Clarkes Beach, Wategos Beach and Belongil Beach.

The Cape Byron walking track is so rich in delights making it a must-do when visiting Byron Bay. It’s a 3.7km loop that leads you on a hike across clifftops and up to the Cape Byron Lighthouse.


Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk, Sydney

Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk, Sydney. Image credit: yTravel

If you haven’t visited Sydney as a family yet, the list of things to do with children is endless. Sydney is one of the world’s top tourist destinations for a reason and whether you have toddlers, teens or young adults, you’ll enjoy a getaway to the big city!

We always start our visit in Circular Quay, the main transport hub of Sydney Harbour and it’s here that two of Australia’s most famous landmarks reside – the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. We then walk around the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney one of the most impressive gardens in the world.

From Circular Quay you can jump on a ferry and head to Manly, a seaside suburb on the Northern Beaches. The short ferry ride is a great and cheap way to experience Sydney Harbour with stunning views of the city skyline, Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney.

Another good viewpoint of the city is walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. You could book to climb the bridge, or you can simply walk across for free on the walkway!

Another must do in Sydney is the stunning 1.5km South Bondi to North Bronte coastal walk starting from the Bondi Promenade. It is the perfect way to spend a gorgeous morning in Sydney and discover some of Sydney’s most famous beaches.