Short breaks and weekend getaways from Sydney

The Blue Mountains’ Three Sisters formation makes for a memorable sight. 

Sydney enjoys one of the best locations imaginable, and we’re not just talking about that incredible harbour-front positioning. More so, the city is engulfed by astounding scenery and experiences that ensure it is the perfect place from which to enjoy a weekend escape.

In fact, there is a string of magnificent New South Wales destinations with BIG4 parks that are perfect for a short break from Sydney.

Become acquainted with breathtaking landscapes and fabulous experiences. Admire shimmering coastline of secluded beaches, watch the sunset across a shiny lake, sample world-class wine, and uncover cultural gems.

A short break from Sydney reinvigorates the soul and refreshes the body and mind. So where are you going for your weekend getaway?


BIG4 parks 1-1.5 hours from Sydney CBD (all times approximate)

Emu Plains

This destination is evidence that you don’t have to venture too far to earn that holiday feeling. While technically a suburb of Sydney and within the city of Penrith, Emu Plains’ positioning places it within easy reach of magnificent natural surrounds while it also acts as a gateway to the majestic Blue Mountains.

Best outdoor attraction: Follow the Great River Walk for a succession of sparkling views.

Best rainy day attraction: The Museum of Fire. Admire a flamin’ impressive collection.

Underrated attraction: Muru Mittigar Aboriginal Cultural & Education Centre. You’re sure to learn a thing or twelve.

Budget tip: Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest has so much to see.

Stay at: Ingenia Holidays – Nepean River.


Lake Macquarie

Enjoy a leisure-filled weekend away from Sydney in an area that boasts the largest coastal saltwater lake in the country, combined with easy access to sparkling beaches. While water recreation abounds, Lake Macquarie also has land-based attractions with equal allure.

Best outdoor attraction: That oh-so-versatile lake. Kayak or sail on it, fish in it, or walk or cycle around it.

Best rainy day attraction: Indulge your creative side at either Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery or Dobell House.

Underrated attraction: If you’ve made it this far, explore the rainforest-cloaked surrounds of Watagans National Park.

Budget tip: Enjoy the facilities of Speers Point Park. It’s particularly appealing for families.

Stay at: BIG4 Ingenia Holidays – Lake Macquarie.

Croudace Bay, Lake Macquarie is serene. 

Umina Beach

Natural beauty abounds at Umina Beach, making it the ideal destination for a short break from Sydney. This Central Coast location has snatched a prime piece of turf: various scenic waterways, a long stretch of golden sand, and national parks are all within a whisker of here.

Best outdoor attraction: If you’re not spending all day playing at the beach, Brisbane Water National Park is great for exploring.

Best rainy day attraction: Get yourself to the action-packed Australian Reptile Park in nearby Gosford.

Underrated attraction: Mt Penang Gardens in Kariong. It’s quite the surprise.

Budget tip: The glittering views afforded from Mt Ettalong lookout come at zero cost.

Stay at: NRMA Ocean Beach Holiday Park.

BIG4 parks 1.5-2 hours from Sydney

The magnificent scenery of the Hunter Valley is captivating.

The Hunter Valley (Cessnock)

As one of Australia’s most-loved wine regions, the Hunter Valley makes a popular weekend getaway from Sydney. But to just mention delicious wine is to only scratch at the surface of this gorgeous region and its surrounds. Uncover incredible scenery and natural attractions, view works from talented local artists, and be captivated by several surprise finds.

Best outdoor attraction: It has to be the winery experience. Start at Ernest Hill Wines.

Best rainy day attraction: The Australian Army Infantry Museum in nearby Singleton mixes history with contemporary displays.

Underrated attraction: Monarchs in the Hunter at neighbouring Nulkaba. View an exceptional collection of British royal memorabilia.

Budget tip: The Hunter Region Botanic Gardens in Heatherbrae has so much to see, and it’s all for free.

Stay at: Ingenia Holidays – Hunter Valley

The famous Kiama Blowhole in Kiama is sure to prove mesmerising.


Claiming an enviable patch of land that overlooks spectacular coastline is just one part of Kiama’s elevated appeal. This Illawarra region town is also within a stone’s throw of sublime national parks that showcase the astounding natural beauty that this country offers.

Best outdoor attraction: The Kiama Blowhole. More entertaining than a circus; more ferocious than a dragon.

Best rainy day attraction: If the weather spoils your plans, Crooked River Winery at nearby Gerringong will brighten your mood.

Underrated attraction: Budderoo National Park is not exactly radar dodging, but with so much jaw-dropping scenery on display it deserves more footprints than it receives.

Budget tip: Stroll the Kiama Coast Walk for 22km of awesome scenery.

Stay at: BIG4 Easts Beach Holiday Park.

BIG4 parks 2-2.5 hours from Sydney


Plant yourself in this welcoming village and you’ll be relaxed in no time when taking a short break from Sydney. Like Kiama, this gem highlights the immense appeal of the Illawarra region, blending a stunning coastal location that’s backed by lush greenery.

Best outdoor attraction: The Sir Charles Kingsford Smith Memorial Lookout has the type of views you could stare at all day.

Best rainy day attraction: Visit the nearby Gerringong Heritage Museum and learn about the area’s connection to an aviation legend.

Underrated attraction: The neighbouring historical village of Berry should not be missed.

Budget tip: Spend the day at Seven Mile Beach. It suits all manner of water fun.

Heritage structures abound in Goulburn.


Goulburn is billed as the first inland city in Australia and tangible signs of its rich history are scattered throughout. Many of Goulburn’s leading attractions are heritage based, including the unmissable Big Merino (yes, it’s more than just a giant sheep). The laidback vibe makes this spot the ideal location for a weekend getaway from Sydney.

Best outdoor attraction: You can’t go past the views from Rocky Hill Lookout on a sunny day, followed by a picnic in Belmore Park.

Best rainy day attraction: Retrace Australia’s extensive wool history at the Big Merino, and hope the rain clears so you can admire more sensational views from the top.

Underrated attraction: Goulburn Historic Waterworks Museum – more than meets the eye.

Budget tip: Grab a map from the visitor info centre and take a self-guided heritage walking tour to admire striking structures.

Stay at: BIG4 Governor's Hill Carapark.


Port Stephens

Go nuts with aquatic-based fun in a region where water is the key focus. Port Stephens is concentrated around a humungous bay and boasts a bevy of beautiful beaches as well as inviting inlets. But there’s so much more in this sub-region - part of the wider North Coast region - that includes bushland, sand dunes, and entertaining indoor attractions.

Best outdoor attraction: Worimi Conservation Lands (Stockton sand dunes) is top of the must-do list.

Best rainy day attraction: Irukandji Shark & Ray Encounters. All-age entertainment.

Underrated attraction: Fighter World museum has a brilliant range of aircraft to view.

Budget tip: Burn calories and not cash along the sensational Tomaree Head Summit walk.

Stay at: BIG4 Karuah Jetty Holiday Park, BIG4 Koala Shores Port Stephens Holiday Park, or BIG4 Ingenia Holidays Soldiers Point.

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