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Great NSW Getaways For Shaking Off The Iso Blues

Amanda Grace Wall
Amanda Grace Wall

Most of us love chill time on the couch, but with restrictions easing, we’re all feeling like we’ve earned a getaway from binge-watching Netflix. We’ve put together some great ideas to inspire you to shake off the iso blues, and escape for one to two days around Sydney and NSW.

Please refer to the NSW Government for the latest COVID-19 rules and restrictions when planning your trip.

One day outings & day tripping escapes

There are so many great places to visit in and around Sydney - and you don’t have to travel far. With restrictions easing you can visit a local exhibition, hike along a headland, visit the zoo, swim, or take off for the day on a road trip.

If you’ve been missing a bit of culture, then a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art at the Rocks will inspire and renew your spirits. Together with the Art Gallery of NSW, you can visit the 22nd Biennale of Sydney, which this year features an expansive arts and first-nations led exhibition of contemporary art. The museum reopens on June 16, while the Art Gallery of NSW opens on June 1. Admission is free.

2. Gardens: Royal Botanic Gardens & Australian Botanic Gardens

Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens are a stunning oasis, providing great views across Sydney harbour and over 28,000 plants. It’s the perfect place to explore and enjoy a picnic with friends or family by the water. While tours are not running, you can find out all about the history of the gardens by downloading the app. Entry is free.

For more botanical delights explore 416 hectares of Australian native flora at the Australian Botanic Gardens at Mt Annan - about an hour’s drive from Sydney. Walking tracks, wide-open lawns, and native wildlife will provide a great day out, plus it’s free to enter.

3. Visit the animals: Taronga Zoo

If you haven’t visited Taronga Zoo for a while or you’ve never been, then now is the time to go. Taronga Zoo is Australia’s largest zoo, providing access to an array of animals, amazing views over Sydney harbour and a cable car! The Zoo reopens on June 1, with safety restrictions in place. All ticket sales are online.

4. Picnic & boating: Lane Cove or Ku Ring Gai National Parks

For wildlife encounters and natural bushland only 20 minutes from the centre of Sydney, visit Lane Cove National Park. Located on the peaceful Lane Cove River, and inhabited by abundant birdlife and swamp wallabies, you’ll find picnic areas, walking tracks and playgrounds for kids. You can also rent a rowboat, pedal boat or kayak and explore the river.

If you don’t mind travelling slightly further afield, Ku Ring Gai is another beautiful destination. Be sure to check out the America Bay hiking trail and Flint and Steel Beach.

5. Swim, surf and walk: the Northern Beaches

If you’re eager to get out to soak up some sun and have a swim or surf, jump in the car and head north of Sydney. Manly is of course one of Sydney’s favourite spots for swimming. You can also head to the more chilled-out Warriewood, or further north to Palm Beach.

There are a couple of great walks that will reward you with outstanding views - as well as toning your leg muscles. A track from Manly to the sandstone headland at North Head provides outstanding coastal views. The lighthouse walk along Barrenjoey headland to the Lighthouse at Palm Beach is also worth working up a sweat for, and provides amazing views across the beaches below.

6. Coastal drive: Grand Pacific Drive

Who doesn’t love a road trip! If you want to get out of town, then one of the most beautiful road trips will take you south of Sydney to Wollongong, along the Grand Pacific Drive. Enjoy spectacular views of the ocean, as you wind your way for 100 kilometres through the famous Royal National Park, ending at Sea Cliff Bridge.

7. World heritage sights: The Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains is a World Heritage site formed millions of years ago and provides spectacular scenery, with deep valleys, sandstone cliffs and spectacular waterfalls. Located an hour and a half west of Sydney, you can visit the Blue Mountains for a day trip, but with so much to see, it’s worth booking accommodation for a night, so you can spend more time.

Some tracks are closed at the moment, as well and camping is not allowed in many spots. Check for up to date information on the national parks website.

A choice of walks provide awe-inspiring scenery, guiding you to numerous waterfalls and lookouts, including Fletchers Lookout, which takes you to the top of Wentworth Falls and Echo Point lookout, which provides incredible views to the Three Sisters and across the Jamison valley. Here’s just a few:

  • Wentworth Falls Track
  • Echo Point Lookout (Three Sisters) - Part of this track is currently closed
  • Grand Canyon loop Track
  • Valley of The Waters Picnic Ground - perfect for picnics, with access to walking tracks for exploring nearby waterfalls
  • Lincolns Rock -  a popular location for romantic couples and photos. The photos appear as though you are risking your life on a crazy rock ledge.

Exploring a little further

A two-day road trip with a one night stay in local accommodation will allow you to venture further and discover more. Enjoy sampling local food and wineries, hire a bike, go kayaking, and put your feet up in boutique accommodation for the night.

1. Romance & wine tasting: The Hunter Valley

The Hunter Valley, home to some of Australia’s best winemakers is about 3.5 hours north of Sydney. Offering sweeping views, picturesque vineyards and luscious wine tasting at over 150 wineries, it’s the ideal setting for a romantic weekend. Most wineries are open and conducting tastings, but make sure to ring ahead and check the latest local information to avoid disappointment. To experience more of this beautiful area, you can also hire an electric bike from Sutton Estate Bike Hire and cycle along the Hermitage Food And Wine Trail.

Stay: Choose from quaint B&Bs, guest houses and Resorts.

2. Rolling hills & waterfalls: Kangaroo Valley, Carrington Falls & Berry

The region south- west of Sydney is known for lush green valleys and impressive waterfalls. It’s a great area to head for a relaxed couple of days, stopping to see sites along the way and exploring local townships.

Head to Carrington Falls to see rushing waters surging over the cliffs into the Kangaroo river far below. There are also plenty of walking tracks. The nearby Fitzroy Falls is closed until further notice.

Stop for lunch at Robertson and visit the famous Robertson Pie shop and then head to Kangaroo Valley. Located in a beautiful valley on the Kangaroo River, Kangaroo Valley has lots of romantic B&B options and farm stays, and is also known for its historic single span swing bridge, with stone turrets. The award-winning Yarrawa Winery is also open for tastings, offering verdelho, chardonnay, shiraz and rose. Continue through the rolling hills to Berry, for galleries, museums and boutique shopping.

Stay: an ideal romantic getaway destination, Kangaroo Valley and surrounds has plenty of B&Bs and farm stays.

3. White beaches sand and sun: Jervis Bay

Stunning turquoise water and the whitest sand in the world, Jervis Bay is a nature lover’s paradise, perfect for soaking up the sun, walking, swimming, snorkelling and whale watching, between May and November. Pack a picnic and head for Greenfield Beach picnic ground, a starting point for many walks and a hub for visitors.  Jervis Bay is known for stunning beaches and walking tracks. One of the best is the White Sands track which travels along the coast to several beaches, ending at Hyams beach, where you can grab a bite to eat at Hyams Beach Store And Cafe. A trip to this stunning part of the world should include Booderee National Park, where you’ll discover some of the most breathtakingly beautiful beaches and walking tracks, and camping on the beach at Bristol Point.

Stay: You’ll find plenty of accommodation options at Huskisson and Hyams Beach. For luxury tented accommodation try Paperbark Camp in Huskisson. Bristol Point camping ground at Booderee National Park will remain closed until the 23rd of June.

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