Whether you're after a romantic couples weekend on the coast or a family-friendly retreat on farm, we've found eight of the best weekend getaways ideas across NSW. The only trouble is picking which one to book first.
For a wellness escape: Northern Rivers region
Experts are forecasting that wellness tourism will boom and you’d be hard-pressed to find a richer offering than what awaits you in this part of the state. Base yourself at Mullumbimby Creek’s Blackbird (pictured top), a rustic-luxe bed and breakfast with three pavilions, views across the hinterland towards Cape Byron Lighthouse and a magnesium pool. You’re about 15 minutes from the Crystal Castle, where you can explore a 120-million-year-old amethyst crystal cave, and half an hour from hippie-meets-hipster Byron Bay. Any stress you may feel choosing from the range of indulgent massage and body treatments on offer at spa Comma (pictured above) will quickly be undone. Or you could let nature ease your worries with a soak in the ti-tree lake near Tallow Beach or a walk in the Nightcap National Park. When it’s time to refuel, there’s a host of cafés and restaurants in the region focusing on organic, local and seasonal fare: Harvest at Newrybar is a must-try, as are The Byron Bay General Store and lunchtime burger hotspot Osteria in Casuarina. But breakfast is on Blackbird.
For a hipster hangout... Newcastle
t’s the cool kid just north of the NSW Central Coast and much of the action happens close to Flourish at Bull, the two-bedroom, loft-style apartment in Cooks Hill where interior designer Morag Argiris hosts guests above her studio, Flourish Interior Design. Take in the inner-city scene from your arched window before discovering the town’s buzzing coffee spots (try Corner House Cafe; 29 Union Street; 0492 134 889), eateries (such as the produce-focused Flotilla) and bars (order a whisky-based Luca Brasi cocktail at The Koutetsu).
For immersion in nature... Capertee Valley
Image credit: Cam Darcy.
Somewhere in the state’s Central Tablelands, between Mudgee and Lithgow and overlooking Capertee Valley, is one of the coolest accommodation concepts ever conceived. Bubbletent Australia offers transparent, bubbleshaped tents that let you lie in bed (the kind with linen) and take in the night sky. Book the Virgo tent for climate control and a wood-fired tub but pack your own provisions, including water. If you can’t be bothered cooking, make the short drive to the charming Capertee Royal Hotel (67 Castlereagh Highway, Capertree; 02 6359 0172) or cast the net a little wider to the popular wine region of Mudgee, an hour away.
For a group getaway... Southern Highlands
A deck that juts out so far over bushland that you feel like you’re levitating. A roof that mimics the curve of a breaking wave. Windows wherever there’s a view to be had of the dense, undulating countryside – and there are views in just about every direction. The four-bedroom Seidler House (pictured above), built on an escarpment in Joadja, is the kind of place that doesn’t make you feel bad for spending all your time indoors because here the lines are blurred. And if you do have any guilt over holing up, a drop from nearby Joadja Estate will see to that.
For a coastal escape... Bundeena
The trouble with a getaway that’s just an hour from the CBD is that it’s hard to really shake off the city. Unless your destination is Bundeena. This quiet waterside enclave may look across to the lights of Sydney’s southern suburbs but as you wind through the Royal National Park to reach its north-eastern corner you’ll feel the stress of city life dissolve. The Periscope House is a sleek, private home that sleeps eight, looks over Port Hacking and comes with an exclusive stretch of sand (make good use of the paddleboards provided). A gourmet hamper will be waiting for you and catering
For a romantic couples retreat... Palm Beach
They call it a “floating villa” but think of it as a tiny house crossed with a luxe yacht. Lilypad is a mini-break destination moored off Sydney’s Palm Beach, offering both isolation and indulgence. By day, plant yourself on the deck or discover nearby beaches with the self-drive boat included for use; by night dip into the wine cellar, cook supper from a provided hamper then settle in to be rocked to sleep by the waves. can be arranged through your off-site concierge, leaving you free to drift along.
For a farm stay... Jervis Bay
Countryside or coast? Have both at The Woods on the South Coast with cows, goats and alpacas as well as the waters of St Georges Basin a short walk away. Each of its eight chic cottages has three bedrooms and all the necessities for self-catering or, better still, head to Greenwell Point for fresh oysters from local growers or Huskisson for a meal at 5 Little Pigs, which recently welcomed a chef from hatted Geelong restaurant Igni to its kitchen.
For glamping at a winery... Hunter region
It’s Out of Africa in wine country: Boydell’s Safari Tent (available from September) is a luxe 52-square-metre structure with freestanding copper bath, plush king-sized bed and a fire pit outside. Being the only tent on this boutique vineyard in East Gresford means that it’s just you, nature and wine. (Boydell’s cellar door and restaurant are half an hour away in Morpeth.) There’s a locally sourced continental breakfast included in your stay as well as a gourmet barbecue dinner and views of the Allyn River valley.