In a sentence: Perched around a massive bay and featuring a cluster of enticing townships, this scenic sub-region possesses all the ingredients for a fun-filled break.
The drive: A 185km journey north that follows the Pacific Motorway before steering towards the water just beyond Newcastle.
Top attractions in Port Stephens
What’s nearby: The Hunter Region Botanic Gardens in Heatherbrae are a delight, or head to neighbouring Newcastle and enjoy its many and varied attractions.
In a sentence: This charming Central West city has instant appeal, planted at the heart of a historical wine region.
The drive: A 265km path that heads northwest, cutting through the famed Blue Mountains before passing a succession of small towns.
Top attractions in Mudgee
What’s nearby: Mudgee Observatory offers excellent viewing of the night sky not too far from the CBD. Elsewhere, Gulgong is an instantly likeable old-gold town that’s home to the Henry Lawson Centre. And Goulburn River National Park is a gem.
Stay at: BIG4 Mudgee Holiday Park.
In a sentence: This alluring south coast hamlet is sandwiched between sublime beaches and sprawling national parks, making it ideal for a getaway from the city.
The drive: A pleasant 260km southbound path that never strays too far from the coast. There are various ‘distractions’ along the way, including Nan Tien Buddhist temple at Wollongong, the ferocious blowhole at Kiama and nearby Saddleback Mountain Lookout, and charming Ulladulla.
Top attractions in and around Bawley Point
What’s further afield: Head further south past Murramarang to explore Batemans Bay.
In a sentence: A historical and relaxing riverside town on the mid-north coast that’s within easy reach of epic lakes and other waterways.
The drive: A 250km largely straight stretch northwards that invites diversions to popular destinations such as Newcastle, the Hunter Valley, and Port Stephens.
Top attractions in and around Bulahdelah
What’s further afield: Head further inland to explore Barrington Tops National Park, part of the impressive Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area.
Stay at: BIG4 River Myall Holiday Resort.