Australia’s cities are great place to spend a long weekend but when it comes to it, it can be good to escape your familiar surroundings for somewhere new. And NSW’s regional centres have so much going for them, spend a little time there and you’ll wonder why you’ve left it so long.[related_articles]71333,71338[/related_articles]
Here are five unique ways to spend this long weekend if you’re planning on escaping the city.
#1 Pick a small town and see all it has to offer
The whole state of NSW is dotted with beautiful and quaint small towns ripe for exploring.
Have you ever been to Bowral? The Southern Highlands are a true food bowl, with incredible produce and even what some call the best restaurant in Australia.
Down that same way are also Berry, Kiama and the Sapphire Coast. Or you could head north and explore Newcastle (actually quite a delight, btw), or west to Orange, Dubbo or Mudgee. The options are really endless – after all, NSW is actually larger than France in size. Visit NSW can help inform your choice of destination.
Once you know roughly where you’re going, pack a backpack and jump on a train, or fill up the car and hit the road.[related_articles]52311[/related_articles]
#2 Take the 100 Beaches Challenge
The Shoalhaven area is home to more than 100 beautiful beaches, and while you can explore the spectacular coastline at any time (it is only two hours from Sydney and Canberra, after all), a long weekend gives you ample opportunity to tick a bunch of sandy stretches off the list.
Register for the 100 Beaches Challenge online and download the guide, then start sharing snaps of your sandy discoveries on Instagram and Facebook. The week’s best pictures are featured on the @VisitShoalhaven Instagram account, and you’ll have discovered a beautiful new corner of the world.
#3 Hike to your heart’s content
The daily grind is pretty good at keeping us plugged in, connected, staring at screens. But a long weekend is the perfect opportunity to get out into nature.
There are so many national parks scattered around NSW, and many hide incredible hiking trails for you to lose yourself on.
Take your pick from any of these best hiking trails in NSW national parks, from the mega Royal National Park and Blue Mountains to smaller parks like Macquarie Falls and Popran National Parks. They’re all doable from Sydney in a day.[related_articles]55814[/related_articles]
#4 Get a taste of the Hunter Valley
If you’ve ever wondered where your wine comes from (and how it disappears so quickly…), make your way to the beautiful Hunter Valley, just over two hours north of Sydney. Producing some of the country’s best wines, the Hunter Valley is always worth a visit – it’s beautiful and there’s so much to do.
The experts recommend hiring an e-bike from Sutton Estate in Pokolbin and peddling around some of the area’s picturesque wineries, grab a bite to eat at the on-site restaurants, and sample drops from some of the region’s boutique winemakers. Pick a few cellar doors, figure out a path between them and go.[related_articles]55572[/related_articles]
#5 Road trip Waterfall Way
There are five national parks boasting 13 picturesque waterfalls on the 190km drive between Coffs Harbour and Armidale, including World Heritage-listed Dorrigo National Park and Wollomombi Falls, Australia’s second-tallest falls. For this reason, it’s been appropriately dubbed Waterfall Way.[related_articles]70797,56255[/related_articles]
On your drive, stop in at Dorrigo National Park to stroll across the stunning Skywalk, or take the suspension bridge behind Crystal Shower Falls. West of Dorrigo, you can see the Guy Fawkes River tumble 100m over the Ebor Falls, or, closer to Armidale, marvel at the 220m Wollomombi Falls. Magic.
(Lead image: Destination Tamworth via Destination NSW)
Kristen Amiet is a previous AWOL editor, bona fide travel addict, sometimes whisky drinker and full-time breakfast food enthusiast.