NSW's Hidden Gems Within 3 Hours Drive

New South Wales has many options for weekend getaways or Sunday drives. You want to spend time together as a family, a couple, or with a group of friends, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. What better way to do that than to embark on a mini-road trip, to one of the many delights just outside of Sydney. Here are our picks:

Port Stephens, North Coast.

An easy 2 ½ hour drive north of Sydney, you'll find Port Stephens, the perfect spot for swapping the city for a relaxing beach getaway. With 33 beaches and bays to choose from, you’ll have no difficulty ‘throwing down the towel’. When you’re done lazing on the stunning beaches, get out into the pristine waters and go whale watching or swim with dolphins – amazing! If you want more activity you have plenty to choose from: slide and sandboard down sand dunes, go quad biking, kayak through the crystal water, recreate movie scenes on a horse ride along the beach or through the bush, ride a camel along the sand and into the spectacular sunset, test your nerves in a shark feeding experience, practise your swing in a game of golf, visit a winery or brewery. A multitude of gorgeous restaurant and cafe options has your dining covered, and there are award winning accommodation options if you choose to stay a day or four.

Kiama, South Coast.

Just 2 hours and 15 minutes south of Sydney is the gorgeous Kiama region, the heart of the south coast. Cool off this summer at one of the many postcard worthy beaches, visit the markets and enjoy local events, experience the magic of the Kiama Coast Walk – whether you visit for the day or for a long weekend, there are plenty of ways to unwind. With its spectacular ocean views, inviting detours and proximity to amenities and public transport, the Kiama Coast Walk is the perfect way to explore and enjoy the region. The stunning 22km pathway begins at Minnamurra and wanders past headlands, rivers, beaches, Kiama town centre (why not stop for lunch or a coffee to refuel!) up to Blowhole Point then on towards the Little Blowhole passing more beaches and bays before winding up at Werri Beach. Stop for a while at the famous Kiama Blowhole and visit the Little Blowhole nearby. Take a scenic drive to one of many unbelievable lookouts. You will return to Sydney feeling fresh and with a clear mind.

Pokolbin, Hunter Valley.

Pokolbin is the heart of wine country in the picturesque Hunter Valley, just 2 hours’ drive north of Sydney. Pokolbin will delight you with its many vineyards and cellar doors, delicious award-winning restaurants and an exciting events calendar. With the spectacular backdrop of the Broken Back Range, you’ll enjoy tasting some of the world’s best wines. There are guided tours to the boutique wineries two of Australia’s best known labels, Tyrrell’s and Tulloch. Elegant accommodation options, award winning restaurants, outdoor music events, cheese tasting (YUM!), the food and wine festival, golf at the beautiful Cypress Lakes, hot air ballooning, horse riding - Pokolbin has so much to offer. There are even fun things to do when you have the kids in tow. Spanning over 25 acres, be amazed by the sensational sights, colours, and fragrances of the ten stunning feature gardens at Hunter Valley Gardens and be sure to explore the Storybook gardens. They host many fantastic, family friendly events throughout the year including Snow Time in the Garden, Christmas Lights Spectacular and the Mega Creatures.

Katoomba, Blue Mountains.

Just 101km, or 98 minutes’ drive from Sydney, Katoomba is the most visited town in the majestic Blue Mountains. Beautiful and historic, it is filled with 5-star natural wonders; fresh mountain air, breathtaking views, world-class walks. On the edge of the cliffs at Katoomba, the lookout at Echo Point offers dramatic views over the Three Sisters, the iconic heart of the Blue Mountains. As well as its awesome scale, the valley at your feet is an open book of the earth’s history stretching back millions of years. Experience Scenic World, renowned for providing the ultimate Blue Mountains adventure - from native birdlife to seemingly endless views of the World Heritage-listed region. Journey on the world's steepest incline railway, glide between clifftops on the glass-floored Skyway suspended 270 metres in the air, descend into the ancient Jamison Valley by Cableway, explore Jurassic rainforest along the 2.4 kilometres walkway - the longest boardwalk in the Southern Hemisphere. Visit the historic Carrington Hotel for a high tea, or stay in one of the luxurious rooms or suites. Treat yourself with a visit to the Blue Mountains Chocolate Company. You won;’t be disappointed.

Terrigal, Central Coast

If you are seeking that place where you can get away from it all and just relax and enjoy a mix of rural and beachside lifestyle, then Terrigal on the NSW Central Coast is for you. In a little under 2 hours’ drive, you will arrive at the iconic seaside village, famous for its amazing accommodation, boutique shopping, upmarket restaurants and cafes and first class entertainment. Terrigal is the geographical heart of the Central Coast with spectacular coastal lookouts, national parks and a beautiful rural hinterland. Surfing is big in Terrigal, with spots for those learning and for the more experienced surfer. Terrigal also offers an assortment of holiday activities that include fishing, swimming, surfing, boating, diving and scenic walks. An easy walk up the Skillion Lookout on Broken Head provides panoramic coastal views while a fascinating dive site can be found 1.4 km offshore, where the wreck of the Ex-HMAS Adelaide rests. Other things to do around Terrigal include enjoying the tranquillity of Wamberal Lagoon and its sanctuary for protected birds and animals, swimming in Terrigal lagoon and hang-gliding at nearby Forresters Beach. A popular holiday spot, Terrigal has a multitude of accommodation options to suit all needs and budgets.

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