Seven Short Getaways from the City After Vivid Sydney

Seven Short Getaways from the City After Vivid Sydney

Seven Short Getaways from the City After Vivid Sydney

Submitted by Vivid Sydney

05 May 2023
This is an image of the Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains

With this year’s Vivid Sydney theme of 'Naturally', our program of Light, Music, Ideas and Food is inspired by NSW's many beauties. That looks like world-famous chefs centring our produce, free concerts celebrating our voices and communities, panels on the hidden knowledge within our flora + flora or an inflatable installation that takes its cues from landmarks like the Three Sisters and Figure Eight pools.

What better way to keep the adventure going after your Vivid Sydney visit by exploring our natural wonders just outside of the city? A treasure trove of experiences await: hike into the mountains, taste wine from the barrel and walk among the treetops. And best of all, these trips are all within 2.5 hours' drive of Sydney – perfect if you’re looking to extend a holiday for just a few days.

This is an image of Shields Orchard in Bilpin


Blue Mountains | 1.5 hours' drive

Named for the beautiful haze that hangs over the sleepy villages, ancient rock formations and bushland, the magnificent Blue Mountains is one of Sydney’s favourite weekenders for good reason.

There's nothing quite like a hike in the fresh mountain air at golden hour, though taking in the expansive valleys atop a lookout or cable car comes close.And whether you adventure and abseil all day or focus on fine-dining and uncovering some stunning op-shop finds, soak off the day at luxury accommodation.

Things to do


This is an image of Scenic World in Katoomba


Central Coast | 1 HOUR DRIVE

A stone's throw from Sydney, a million miles from a care in the world… that wraps up the Central Coast region in a nutshell. There’s an enviably relaxed beach lifestyle here – with kilometres of sand and Pacific Ocean to explore – but national parks abound, too, and calm waterways ideal for throwing in a line, or conquering with a kayak. The coast with the most? You bet.

Things to do

Umina Beach

The Hunter Valley | 2.5 HOURS’ DRIVE

The Hunter Valley is renowned for its Sémillon and shiraz varietals, acclaimed wineries and restaurants, luxury resorts, world-class spas and championship golf courses.

Wander through the wine-tasting hotspot of Pokolbin, explore the majestic Hunter Valley gardens, picnic amongst the vines on fresh local produce and don’t miss spying the lush Hunter from above in a hot-air balloon.

Things to do


This is an image of Hot Air Ballooning in the Hunter Valley


Kiama, Jamberoo & More | 2 HOURS' DRIVE

Feel the sea spray hit your skin at the blowhole at Kiama, only 30 minutes south of Wollongong. Away from the famous rock formations, epic waves and grassy seaside slopes, Kiama is a place of nature hikes, fancy seafood feasts on waterside decks and unique adventures. Take yourself on a wild and wonderful trail winding through windswept headlands and extraordinary beaches.

Things to do


This is an image of Illawarra Fly


Newcastle | 2 HOURS' DRIVE

Newcastle is an unbeatable mix of golden beaches, luscious food and buzzing culture that makes you feel high on life. Have a dip at Merewether, dine overlooking the surf break and delve into the edgy boutiques and bars. This coastal hub is also in a sweet spot with the Hunter Valley less than an hour west.

Things to do

Newcastle Memorial Walk at sunset


Southern Highlands | 1.5 hours’ drive

Located midway between Sydney and Canberra, the NSW Southern Highlands provides a welcome relief to the hustle of city life – a meld of classic and contemporary country culture. Innovative winemakers immersed in traditional methods. Morning truffle hunts evolving into modern dégustations. Pack your gum boots and head off to stay in an ivy-draped country manor or an architecturally designed farmhouse.

Things to do

This is an image of Centennial Vineyard in Bowral


Wollongong | 1.5 HOURS' DRIVE

Adorned by rainforest-covered escarpment and the stunning golden beaches of the South Coast, NSW’s third-largest city is a fun, vibrant and delicious urban centre that offers diverse appeal.

Just getting to Wollongong from Sydney is a tourist attraction. Instead of taking the M1 Princes Highway, take the Grand Pacific Drive, a spectacular touring route through the Royal National Park to Stanwell Park and south over the Sea Cliff Bridge.

Things to do

Wollongong Art Gallery


Looking to go further afield?

If you have time on your hands, NSW has plenty more wonders to explore. Head to the Snowy Mountains for some time on the ski slopes; venture west towards the edge of the Great Dividing Range for world-heritage wilderness and Mudgee’s wine region, or escape it all on the Sapphire Coast.


This is an image of Sand Dune adventures in Port Stephens



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