Sydney is a popular base for both Australians and travelers to the country, but it’s not just because the city is one of the most exciting, beautiful cities in the world. Right on the doorstep of Australia’s iconic city is a plethora of things to do, just a short drive away.
Hiring a car is the best way to get around New South Wales if you don’t own a vehicle. Car comparison at Motoring.com.au is a good place to start when looking into hiring a car and you can compare different vehicles – consider whether you need a 4×4 or whether you can splash out on a slick convertible for the ultimate stylish weekend getaway.
Just an hour and a half drive outside of Sydney, the Blue Mountains are the perfect escape from the heat of the city in summer or for a winter getaway, when you might even chance upon snow (a rare find indeed). These mountains have beautiful hiking opportunities with waterfall-adorned ravines and hillsides covered with eucalyptus trees, the leaves of which create the blue haze after which the mountains are named.
Three hours north of Sydney is one of the world’s most famous wine regions, Hunter Valley. As well as having lovely countryside scenery through which to drive, Hunter Valley is an oenophiles dream. There are over a hundred wineries and vineyards from which to choose, with Semillon and Shiraz being the dominant type of grape.
A couple of hours or so up the coast is Port Stephens. This beach-side getaway is great if you have kids – and plenty of fun if not! Between May and November, there’s whale watching trips, and dolphins can be spotted all year round. The sand dunes are ideal for body boarding and off the coast you can swim with turtles. There’s also some amazing hiking trails in Tomaree National Park and even camel riding to be had too.
Less than an hour south of Sydney CBD, the Royal National Park is a stunning area to explore for a day, or to camp overnight. There’s great surfing off the coast and you can often see whales breaching from Wattamolla Beach. Park trails follow the coastline or along the river.
Only three hours south of Sydney, in its own territory, Australia’s capital city may not get the sort of attention that its big city neighbors Melbourne and Sydney do, but it is an interesting place to spend a weekend. Custom built for government purposes, Canberra is a quiet, safe city with several interesting museums recording the history of Australia’s government. Due to the young population that live here (many graduates putting in their time in government jobs), there is a good bar scene and somewhat of a collegiate atmosphere. Around the city there is also plenty of cycling and walking tracks through the bush.
Three hours down the coast, Jervis Bay is a spectacular shoreline of white sand and sea, which is perfect for diving and swimming, all backed by lush tropical forest. As one of the prettiest places on the southeast coast, it’s very popular with Sydneysiders for weekend breaks, so off-peak is the best time to avoid crowds.