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If travel restrictions have taught us anything over the last few months, it’s that you can still have an incredible getaway with your partner while staying close to home. Sydney is surrounded by magical beaches, wildlife-filled national parks and rugged scenery that can easily be explored during a two-night stay. Leave the city behind and treat yourself and your loved one to a weekend dripping in romance.
Photo Credit: Guy Williment
These romantic weekend getaways are everything you’ve ever dreamed of. Read on to learn about 15 of our favourite romantic weekend getaways in New South Wales, all of which are within 3.5 hours’ drive from Sydney.
Luxury Romantic Weekend Getaways from Sydney
1. Barrington Tops National Park
252km | 3hrs from Sydney CBD
Photo Credit: Boydell’s
If easy walks, majestic picnic spots and World Heritage-listed rainforests are your thing, then make a beeline for Barrington Tops National Park. Its landscape was created millions of years ago by volcanic activity and it was here that optimistic miners flocked in 1876 when gold fever struck. While Barrington Tops is ideal for soft nature adventures, it’s also the perfect spot for couples to get their adrenalin pumping while kayaking, abseiling and mountain biking.
Photo Credit: Boydell’s
No matter how you choose to spend your days, you can sink into luxury at Boydell’s, a glamorous, safari-inspired lodge in the town of East Gresford. Each of its beautifully appointed tents features deep copper baths, king-size beds and fine linen sheets, not to mention stunning views of the surrounding eucalypts from their private verandahs. You can wine and dine at Boydell’s cellar door and restaurant in the historic village of Morpeth or pick up fresh produce and ready-to-eat picnic treats at one of the nearby farmers’ markets.
2. Bouddi National Park
94km | 1hr 20min from Sydney CBD
Located just a stone’s throw from Gosford on the New South Wales Central Coast, Bouddi National Park encompasses striking cliffs, beautiful stretches of sand and rainforest just waiting to be explored. It’s ideal for couples wanting a romantic weekend getaway in NSW, with the chance to whale spot along the famous Bouddi Coastal Walk. Mountain biking enthusiasts can tackle the Bouddi Ridge Explorer while sightings of wildlife and wildflowers are on offer in the park’s heathland.
Photo Credit: Pretty Beach House
On the edge of Bouddi National Park is the Pretty Beach House, a gorgeous boutique hotel that features four stunning pavilions, each of which is totally unique and adults-only. In the main house, you’ll find a sandstone fireplace, wine cellar and outdoor infinity pool, as well as a pizza oven where wood-fired creations are cooked. You don’t have to go far for exceptional dining, with Pretty Beach House’s restaurant specialising in modern Australian cuisine.
3. Hunter Valley
163km | 2hrs from Sydney CBD
With its endless vineyards and stunning estates, the Hunter Valley is undeniably one of the most romantic weekend getaways from Sydney. And at just two hours’ drive from the NSW capital, it’s also an easy escape. The Hunter Valley is a destination where you can enjoy leisurely sleep-ins before lazy brunches and guided tastings of the locally grown Semillon and Shiraz. After strolling through the vineyards with your lover (or retreating for an afternoon siesta), you can settle in for a degustation dinner with paired wines.
If you are looking to go the extra mile, consider a scenic helicopter flight to enjoy the beautiful views of Hunter Valley and the Broken Back Range, with special commentary from a knowledgeable local pilot.
The Hunter Valley boasts no shortage of luxury properties where you can spend the weekend, with the Boathouse at Leaves & Fishes one of our favourites. It features four Balinese-inspired lakefront cabins with stone baths to sink into, making it the ultimate adults-only retreat. When it comes to dining, you can treat yourself to award-winning European cuisine at Muse Kitchen in Pokolbin, enjoy the seasonally-inspired dishes of Margan or make the short stroll to the restaurant at Leaves & Fishes, which specialises in seafood.
Romantic Weekend Getaways with a Private Spa in NSW
4. Wolgan Valley
2hrs 30mins | 171km from Sydney CBD
Forming part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, the Wolgan Valley is a rugged tract of mountainous country to the north of Lithgow. At just 2.5 hours’ drive from Sydney, it’s the perfect getaway escape, with bushwalking trails, Indigenous cultural sites and a glowworm tunnel to explore. Rock climbing couples will also be spoiled for choice, with several slot canyons to challenge you.
Photo Credit: Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley
But if being pampered and doing very little is also your idea of a rejuvenating weekend away, then the Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley is here to answer your prayers. Comprising several high-end villas with private pools, cosy fireplaces and stunning valley views, it is the ultimate in luxury. The on-site spa offers signature skincare treatments and relaxing body therapies using essential oils and healing crystals. Hearty cooked breakfasts and seasonally-inspired dinners are served at the Wolgan by Bentley while the Country Kitchen is the place to head for delicious lunches and small plates.
5. Scotland Island
26km | 50mins from Sydney CBD
Perched just off the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Scotland Island offers a romantic weekend getaway in NSW, without having to travel too far. It’s less than an hour’s drive from the Sydney CBD to Church Point, from where a historic ferry departs for the island. On arrival, you’ll immediately get the sense of having “escaped” from daily life, with Scotland Island having a relaxed, friendly vibe. You can spend your days enjoying its network of short hiking routes, many of which lead to impressive lookouts across the yacht-studded water.
A short walk from the ferry terminal is Scotland Island Lodge, an intimate B&B run by an English couple who have a knack for making you feel right at home. Opt for the spa room for a touch of luxury and be sure to book dinner at the guesthouse to indulge in Rosemary’s culinary skills. For lunch, you can make the short hop back across the water to Church Point to dine on the open-air deck of The Waterfront Cafe & General Store.
6. Port Stephens
2hrs 32mins | 215km from Sydney CBD
Drive 2.5 hours south from Sydney and you’ll arrive in Port Stephens, a coastal playground that boasts dune-backed beaches, breathtaking national parks and a laid-back lifestyle that captivates most city dwellers. It’s the perfect place to relax and unwind for a weekend, whether that means stretching your legs on the coastal trails, sandboarding down the Stockton Sand Dunes or doing absolutely nothing beneath a beach umbrella.
The Anchorage Hotel & Spa describes itself as “breezy seaside style at its finest” and we think it’s one of the best places to bunk down for the night in Port Stephens. Aside from its gorgeous rooms, you can indulge at the luxe two-storey spa where you’ll find a jacuzzi, steam room and private treatment rooms. In the evening, you can dine on sumptuous seafood at The Wild Herring or opt for freshly shucked oysters at the Little Beach Boathouse.
Romantic Weekend Getaways from Sydney: Winter Escapes
7. Capertee Valley
2hours 30mins | 186km
You’d be forgiven for not knowing that New South Wales is home to the second-largest canyon in the world – the Capertee Valley – which lies just under three hours’ drive from Sydney. It’s dominated by immense sandstone cliffs and dense native forest, much of which is protected within the Gardens of Stone National Park. This is an outdoor lover’s paradise and the cool winter months are one of the best times to visit when the vegetation is lush and the temperatures aren’t stifling. It’s an enchanting destination for hiking, mountain biking and canyoning, with blue tongue lizards and koalas in abundance. The Capertee Valley is also a birdwatcher’s paradise and has been internationally designated as an Important Bird Area.
Overlooking this majestic scene are three bubbletents, which come complete with open-air hot tubs, fire pits and telescopes for gazing at the night sky. It’s an adults-only camping experience that is all about getting back to nature, albeit with a few creature comforts thrown in (think hot water bottles and electric blankets for those chilly winter nights). Bubbletent Australia is completely self-catering, so be sure to bring some gourmet treats and a bottle or two of your favourite wine to complete the experience.
3hours 30mins | 265km
With the Cudgegong River flowing through its heart, Mudgee is one of those historic country towns that just oozes charm. It’s located around 3.5 hours’ drive from Sydney and is a beloved foodie destination, with exceptional wine and epicurean fare. The winter months are perfect for fire-side wine tasting and feasting until you’re full, followed by a gentle stroll to admire the town’s beautifully preserved colonial buildings. If you’re feeling more adventurous, the hiking trails and picturesque gorges of World Heritage-listed Wollemi National Park are just a stone’s throw away. Unleash your adventurous side and feel as though you are staring in a blockbuster rom-com with a classy horseride, brunch and winery tour.
Photo Credit: Sierra Escape
Winter is also the best time to be toasting marshmallows by the fire at an adults-only glamping retreat. Sierra Escape (just 20 minutes’ drive from Mudgee) offers exactly that, with five luxurious tents to choose from. No creature comfort has been overlooked, with freestanding bathtubs, indoor fireplaces and outdoor fire pits, plus designer kitchens for those who prefer to self-cater. If not, you can learn about biodynamic farming while dining at the outstanding Zin House, which sources much of its produce from its extensive kitchen gardens and orchards.
1hour 30mins | 131km
Picture yourself spending the weekend strolling around gorgeous gardens, browsing local boutiques and dining at award-winning restaurants. In wintertime, Bowral (just 90 minutes’ drive from Sydney) offers a romantic weekend getaway near Sydney, no matter what the weather has in store for you. Cricket fans can head to the Bradman Museum, which celebrates the career of this locally raised son, while treasure hunters will find plenty of inspiration in the town’s antique stores, secondhand bookshops and art galleries. If you do want a more invigorating walk, you can ascend to the Bowral Lookout, which forms part of Mount Gibraltar Reserve.
While Bowral offers accommodation to suit all budgets, we think you can’t go past historic Hopewood House, the former residence of Australian artist, Tim Storrier. This grand estate offers boutique accommodation in four beautifully appointed rooms, each of which is named after one of Storrier’s works. When it’s time to eat, you can dine at one of the global eateries in Bowral’s centre, enjoy provincial cuisine at Harry’s on mingle with the locals at the Scottish Arms Hotel.
Romantic Weekend Getaways from Sydney: Romantic Cabins
10. Blue Mountains
1hr 30mins | 103km
The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains are one of the most popular weekend escapes from Sydney, with endless hiking trails, cascading waterfalls and lookout points that will leave you speechless. While it’s a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, the region also oozes romance thanks to its gorgeous gardens, historic villages and gourmet dining. Stroll through the Everglades Gardens designed by Danish-born Paul Sorensen and indulge with high tea at the Hydro Majestic’s Wintergarden Restaurant before snuggling up with your lover at the historic Mount Victoria Cinema.
At the end of the day, you can take your pick of the Love Cabins in Berambing (a 90-minute drive from Sydney), which offer panoramic views across the Blue Mountains National Park. Opt for the Enchanted Cave or the elevated Tree House or sink yourself into the hot tub of the Dream Cabin. When it comes to dining, popular options include Sorensen’s Glasshouse & Gardens in Leura or Cafe 2773 in Glenbrook with its sun-drenched outdoor area.
11. Jervis Bay
2hrs 50mins | 201km
Just under three hours’ drive south from Sydney will take you to Jervis Bay, a stunning coastal region that boasts white sandy beaches and aquamarine waters. It’s perfect if your ideal weekend centres around water sports, with everything from kayaking to dolphin-watching cruises, snorkelling and scuba diving on offer. Come face-to-face with fur seals and little penguins in Jervis Bay Marine Park or meet kangaroos along the trails of Booderee National Park. At the southern tip of the bay are the historic ruins of Cape St George Lighthouse – one of the best spots for watching whales migrating along the coastline. In the evening, embark on a romantic 2-hour cruise to watch the sunset over Jervis bay.
Just a stone’s throw from the Jervis Bay Maritime Museum are the Huskisson Holiday Motel Cabins, which offer an affordable stay in the heart of all the beachside action. They are well-equipped with kitchens, spa baths and breezy terraces where you can dine alfresco in the evenings. If you prefer to eat out, you can head to the Huskisson Hotel, World Famous Fish N Chips or the cook-your-own Stonegrill Huskisson.
12. Royal National Park
One of the world’s oldest national parks lies just one hour’s drive south of Sydney and is the perfect destination if you’re after a romantic mini-break close to home. Established in 1879, Royal National Park encompasses 160 square kilometres of coastal cliffs, eucalyptus bushland and beautiful beaches, not to mention an extensive network of hiking trails. You can soak up the views across Hacking River from the Bungoona Lookout Trail or admire picturesque Uloola Falls before getting up close to Aboriginal rock art at Jibbon Head.
Perched on a riverbank within Royal National Park is Weemalah Cottage, a rustic cottage that can accommodate 6 but is just as charming for 2. It has everything you need for a weekend stay, plus occasional sightings of goannas, wallabies and eastern water dragons. You can spend your days hiking to Winifred Falls, fishing in the river or just enjoying the native bushland setting. If you want a break from self-catering, head to the Audley Dance Hall Cafe near the park entrance, which offers breakfasts, lunches and take-away picnics.
Romantic Weekend Getaways from Sydney On a Budget
13. Pacific Palms
The Pacific Palms region is the quintessential summer getaway location – stunning beaches, plenty of recreational activities, plus great cafes and restaurants. You can take your pick from Blueys Beach, Boomerang Beach and Shelly Beach or stretch your legs on the walking trails of Booti Booti National Park. Keen anglers can cast a fishing line to see what’s biting in Wallis Lake while mountain bikers can hit the trails of Wallingat National Park.
If you’re staying on a budget, you can’t go past the Pacific Palms Caravan Park, which offers cosy cabins nestled in native bushland. Relax in the evenings on your alfresco deck or head out for pizzas at Huey’s on Blueys, dine on Indonesian-inspired fare at Kembali Cafe or enjoy a live music session at Sips at Moby’s.
14. Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park
At just 30 minutes’ drive from the CBD, Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park has long been a weekend favourite for Sydneysiders. It can easily be reached by ferry from Palm Beach, with the water arrival adding a touch of romance to the trip. Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park encompasses rainforest, rocky cliffs and mangroves, not to mention breathtaking lookouts and important Aboriginal sites. No visit is complete without hiking the Aboriginal Heritage Walk, which highlights several rock art and engravings created by the area’s Indigenous peoples.
At the end of the day, you can set up camp at The Basin, a large grassy area overlooking Pittwater. It can get incredibly busy, so we recommend avoiding the school holidays! Be aware that there is no road access to the campground, so if you’re not arriving by water, you’ll need to make the steep 2.8-kilometre-long walk from the car park at West Head Road.
15. Cockatoo Island
If it’s views across the harbour you’re after (without the price tag of a luxury hotel), then book in for a romantic weekend at Cockatoo Island. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the island lies at the junction of Parramatta and Lane Cove rivers and was known as Wa-rea-mah by the area’s Indigenous people. Cockatoo Island was the site of one of Australia’s biggest shipyards, with the first of its dry docks built by convicts. Today, you can join a guided tour to learn about the island’s storied past or coincide your visit with an operatic performance.
If you want to stay for the weekend, BYO tent options start from just $50 a night but we’d recommend upgrading to the Deluxe Waterfront Package, which comes with a pre-furnished tent and views to die for. You don’t even have to worry about bringing food supplies, with a diverse menu that caters to all dietary requirements at the Marina Café & Bar and Saturday night dinners available at Societé Overboard.