10 of the best short break destinations from Sydney



Head out of the city for just an hour or two and you’ll reach another world, where nature reigns and relaxation mode is permanently switched to ‘on’. From the spectacular Blue Mountains to the family-friendly Central Coast and the serenity of the Hawkesbury, find your new favourite haven for a day trip or a short break from Sydney. 


One hour drive from Sydney


Central Coast 

A stone's throw from Sydney, a million miles from a care in the world…the Central Coast is a favourite holiday destination. The beaches will take your breath away, but national parks and lush wilderness abound, too. Not to mention a gourmet foodie scene, creative community hubs and an array of immersive cultural experiences. 


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 and check into a riverfront house accessed only by boat for a totally relaxing getaway.  


Up to two hours drive from Sydney



Here in ‘the Gong’ there’s something for everyone. You can soak up the serenity of a Buddhist temple, kit up for a cliffside hike along the windswept coastline or jump from a plane 15,000 feet in the sky. While the glorious beaches are the star, city slickers also flock here for the bold food and chilled vibe. 

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. Discover gorgeous beaches, world-class surf breaks, famous dive sites and magnificent national parks. 

Southern Highlands

The Highlands have been a magnet for travellers for more than a century, drawn to the lush landscapes, bucolic charm and a slew of pretty villages. A new generation of food-makers, wineries, retailers and hoteliers continue to make the region the ideal destination to rewind, refresh and rejuvenate.  

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 where Sydneysiders go for the ultimate weekender. 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, delve into edgy boutiques and bars and get inspired at art galleries and museums.  

Port Stephens

Known as the dolphin capital of NSW and for its jaw-dropping sand dunes in the Worimi Conservation Lands, Port Stephens is the place for adventure in nature. Cruise its turquoise waters in search of dolphins and whales, get close to nature in a way you never have before, and wine and dine in luxury.