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7 gems for a short break

The Contentious Character, WamboinCREDIT: Destination NSW

Scenic views across The Contentious Character vineyard in Wamboin.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

7 gems for a
short break

The Contentious Character, Wamboin CREDIT: Destination NSW

Scenic views across The Contentious Character vineyard in Wamboin.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Hashtags #lovensw #newsouthwales

From food and wine trails to country cottage getaways, here are some picture-perfect weekend getaways within driving distance of Sydney. So whether you’re impatient to arrive (two hours), want to feel like you’re getting away (three hours), or need a road trip (four hours), pack your bags and discover a new ideal break in New South Wales. 

DRIVE TIME FROM SYDNEY: 2–3 HOURS 

Fine food and wine: Lake George 

Head out to the Canberra District, south of Sydney, and book a seated weekend wine tasting at Lake George Winery, which sits 700 metres above sea level, where the cool climate is perfect for vegan-friendly wines. Dine in elegant style at Grazing Restaurant in nearby Gundaroo. Try local produce, such as yabbies and grain-fed lamb, and admire the restored 1830s traveller’s inn. Next, make a sweet detour to Robyn Rowe for handcrafted Belgian chocolates. 

Stay overnight in a cute country cottage — Tallagandra Hill Cottages is nestled in a family-owned winery — before tackling one of the unexpected experiences, from yoga with rosé to cheesemaking workshops, at The Contentious Character winery, where you can also sample the single-vineyard wines.  

Family getaway: Lake Macquarie  

Point north of Sydney for a good-value family weekender at Lake Macquarie and stay at Macquarie 4 Star, Argenton, where two adjoining rooms house a king bed plus four single beds. The contemporary hotel is a short drive to the saltwater lake.  

Drop in a line straight from the jetty to reel in a fish; kayak to a sand island on the lake or watch the sunrise from ancient cave formations on Caves Beach. For aerial and aquatic adventures you can skydive, take a surfing lesson or hire a boat or kayak from Jet Buzz.  

DRIVE TIME FROM SYDNEY: 3–4 HOURS 

Local treats: Braidwood 

Don’t miss Braidwood, halfway between Canberra and the South Coast. Stroll the picturesque streets lined with 19th-century buildings — it was settled in the 1820s — then fuel up with a pie or pastry from the famed Braidwood Bakery.  

The area has become known for its truffles, and local black truffle farmer Terra Preta supplies some of Sydney’s top restaurants. Don’t miss the Braidwood Farmers Markets for regional produce on the first and third Saturday every month. For quiet and comfortable rooms, try Torpy’s Eco Motel or Braidwood Colonial Motel, or for ultimate luxury book in at Mona Farm.  

Wine and dumplings: Rylstone  

Aim to arrive in Rylstone, a 3.5-hour drive west from Sydney, just in time for yum cha and tea at cult dumpling house 29 Nine 99. Then stroll the streets to admire the Federation sandstone buildings of this beautiful town in the Mudgee wine region. Visit Australia’s answer to Burgundy in France, at De Beaurepaire Wines, 10 minutes’ drive from Rylstone — book a space in its 170-year-old cellar door for a guided wine experience or picnic on the lawn overlooking 100,000 vines.  

Cosy up at Wollemi Retreat with a spa and fireplace, or stay in the heart of town at White Corner Cottage — it’s storybook charming, with a rambling garden and thoughtfully stocked pantry.  

Naru Beach, Lake Macquarie CREDIT: Destination NSW

Friends enjoying a day of stand up paddleboarding on Lake Macquarie off Naru Beach.

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Naru Beach, Lake Macquarie CREDIT: Destination NSW

Friends enjoying a day of stand up paddleboarding on Lake Macquarie off Naru Beach.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

29 Nine 99 Yum Cha and Tea House, Rylstone CREDIT: Destination NSW

Patrons enjoying food and drink at 29 Nine 99 Yum Cha and Tea House in Rylstone, east of Mudgee.

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29 Nine 99 Yum Cha and Tea House, Rylstone CREDIT: Destination NSW

Patrons enjoying food and drink at 29 Nine 99 Yum Cha and Tea House in Rylstone, east of Mudgee.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

DRIVE TIME FROM SYDNEY: 4–5 HOURS 

Outdoor adventure: Barrington Tops  

Explore this mosaic of eucalypt forests, rainforest and grasslands north of Sydney, part of the awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforest. Barrington Tops National Park is a 25-kilometre-long plateau set among long-extinct volcanoes, accessible by short, easy walks as well as overnight treks.  

Base yourself in the delightful town of Dungog and stay at a classic Australian pub, the Settlers Arms. Or head to the tranquil Riverwood Downs property at the foothills of Barrington Tops. Here, you can spot wildlife, kayak along the river and stay overnight in a cabin, bunkhouse or tent.  

A sweet stay: Junee 

See the sights of Junee, known for its beautifully preserved historic streetscapes, fresh food market brimming with Riverina produce and, of course, its famous licorice. The Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory is a landmark attraction housed in a restored flour mill — take a tour and sample organic confectionaries.  

Fill the rest of the day with a hit of golf at Junee Golf Club. In the evening, be brave on a ghost tour at Australia’s ‘most haunted house’, Monte Cristo Homestead (circa 1884), or dine at a quintessential country pub, the Red Cow Hotel. Stay in a log cabin or camp at Junee Tourist Park.  

Leaf peeping: Tumut 

Discover Tumut, a pretty town where autumn hues of poplar, elm and maple trees colour the surrounding countryside at the foot of the Snowy Mountains. Climb to Rotary Lookout on Wynyard Street for views of the valley; hike or fish in Tumut State Forest; and pop into Tumut River Brewing Co, a microbrewery crafting beers from local ingredients, for pizzas or burgers with a cleansing ale.  

Stay overnight in the French Provincial-style Monarch Tumut House, a short stroll from Tumut River. In the morning, travel to the wine region of Tumbarumba. Visit the cellar door of Courabyra Wines to try the chardonnay and pinot noir and stay for lunch at the onsite restaurant. Afterwards, hire some bikes from Tumba Bikes and Blooms and tackle the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail. This 21km sealed trail opened in April 2020 and follows a former rail line through scenic countryside.

SOCIAL MEDIA 1:1 - Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory, Junee CREDIT: Destination NSW

Food and drink at Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory, Junee.

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SOCIAL MEDIA 1:1 - Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory, Junee CREDIT: Destination NSW

Food and drink at Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory, Junee.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Tumut River Walk, Tumut CREDIT: Destination NSW

Couple enjoying the autumn colours along the Tumut River walk.

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Tumut River Walk, Tumut CREDIT: Destination NSW

Couple enjoying the autumn colours along the Tumut River walk.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

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