Top 5 Winter Getaways


by Lauren Piggott

Source: Scenic World

Image Credit: Scenic World

As the weather gets colder, it becomes harder to resist the temptation to stay indoors and watch Netflix under a blanket. But there’s no need to hibernate this winter – these amazing getaways are all just a short drive from Sydney and are perfect for beating the winter blues. Whether you’re after a foodie experience, action-packed adventure or relaxing getaway, we’ve found the best winter destinations to suit any traveller.

Hunter Valley

Image Credit: One One 3

Image Credit: One One 3

It’s no surprise that Australia’s oldest wine growing region has been a popular holiday destination for Sydney-siders. With bright, clear days in winter, the Hunter Valley is the perfect place to visit when the weather gets cooler, with many activities on offer all year round.

With over 150 wineries, vineyards and cellar doors and so many opportunities for wine tasting, this is the ideal place for wine lovers to sample and indulge their senses. Not a wine connoisseur? There are tours and wine tasting classes run by the experts for an all-round educational experience.

The Hunter Valley is also a dream for foodies, offering the best home-grown local produce. The region is dotted with dairy farms, offering delectable cheeses to accompany the fine wine. Alongside artisan bakers there are over 150 olive groves producing the best quality olive oil, so you can create the perfect picnic while taking in the extraordinary views of the countryside.

You can enjoy a spectacular aerial view in a hot air balloon, soaring high above the vineyards, or for the thrill-seekers there is tandem skydiving and parachuting also available. If you don’t want to be stuck indoors all winter, Hunter Valley is the perfect getaway to explore the great outdoors.

Special winter event: Wine & Food Month (June)

Blue Mountains

Image Credit: Visit NSW

Image Credit: Visit NSW

Less than two hours from Sydney by road or train, the Blue Mountains is the perfect setting for a romantic, adventurous or relaxing holiday.  The World Heritage listed area is known for its stunning natural beauty, which you can explore on the many paths and trails made for bushwalking. The walks will lead you to some amazing views of the mountains, valleys and spectacular waterfalls, such as the popular Wentworth Falls.

You can take the historic Six Foot Track to Echo Point where you will get the best view of the iconic Three Sisters, or you can embrace 360 degree views of the Jamison Valley from the thrilling cableway. For a more daring vista, there are tracks made for mountain biking, rock climbing, canyoning and abseiling.

After exploring the wonders of the outdoors, there’s also plenty to see in the quaint towns surrounding the area. Stroll down the main streets of Katoomba or Leura for antique shops, gift shops, art galleries, bookstores, confectionary stores and charming cafes. You’ll find many specialty food stores where you can buy artisan breads, cheese and chocolates and there are many options for high tea or fine dining.

Blue Mountains is the perfect place to treat yourself while taking a break to breathe in the fresh mountain air. As the region will often receive snow in the coldest months, you can snuggle up in front of a fireplace and enjoy the magical winter experience.

Special winter event: Yulefest ‘Christmas in July’ (June, July and August)

Mudgee

Image Credit: Mudgee Guardian

Image Credit: Mudgee Guardian

The charming country town of Mudgee is the perfect place to escape busy city life and become one with nature. Set in the scenic Cudgegong Valley, this secluded region can be explored in many ways. You can cycle around the valley to get spectacular views of the rolling hills, take a leisurely stroll along the tree-lined streets or explore the Dunns Swamp sandstone canyons by waterway cruise or canoe. You can embark on bushwalks through the scenic Wollemi National Park or Goulburn River National Park where you can see native wildlife as well as historical Aboriginal caves and art sites.

The region is famous for its food and wine scene, as the surrounding fertile farmland is the perfect location for food production. You can sample the region’s award-winning wine at the many wineries and cellar doors that are known for their distinctive red wines and chardonnays. The Mudgee Brewing Co. also produces signature beers and offers a unique countryside dining experience not to be missed. Mudgee has markets and festivals held all year round, serving gourmet local food that you can also find at the many cafes and restaurants in town.

Special winter event: Mudgee Small Field Farm Day

Bowral

Image Credit: Southern Highlands

Image Credit: Southern Highlands

Take a cultural trip to the Southern Highland’s friendly town of Bowral. Just a short 1.5 hour drive south of Sydney, Bowral truly has something for everyone with many indoor activities that are perfect for winter.  Art lovers will be spoiled for choice with dozens of galleries on offer, including the Milk Factory Art Gallery and the Berrima District Art Society that runs classes and workshops including life drawing, printmaking and more.

Bowral is also famous for its historic buildings, including the Empire Cinema, Australia’s oldest commercial cinema. Celebrating its 100th year anniversary, the cinema is worth a visit to see new release films or even live performances. You can also get a taste of history at the Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame, which provides extensive exhibits on the history of cricket and pays homage to the famous local cricketer Donald Bradman.

Known for its excellent local produce, you can also get a true foodie experience in Bowral. Start your day with the exquisite coffee on offer and end the day with the delicious fruity wine produced from the local vineyards. Award-winning restaurant Biota is a dining experience for food connoisseurs, using their own kitchen garden and greenhouse to produce the freshest fare. Biota offers seasonal menus made especially for winter, five course degustation menus, weekend brunches and even packages for dining and accommodation. With amazing gardens and bushwalks also in the area to explore, Bowral is the perfect holiday destination to explore inside and out.

Special winter event: Southern Highland Writers’ Festival

Barrington Tops

Image Credit: Experience Hunter

Image Credit: Experience Hunter

Barrington Tops is the ideal getaway for nature lovers looking to immerse themselves in rainforests and breathtaking scenery. With walking paths and cycling trails located throughout the 83,000 hectares of wilderness, there are many untouched areas for bushwalkers to explore. If you’re looking to relax and breathe in the fresh country air, there are many easy walks that will take you to breathtaking lookouts as well as secluded picnic and barbecue areas.

For the experienced bushwalker, you’ll find more difficult overnight hikes that will take you throughout the diverse landscape of subtropical rainforest to ancient beech forests and subalpine woodlands. If you still haven’t had enough of the great outdoors, there’s plenty more to do, with activities as diverse as horse riding, mountain biking and white water rafting.

Although a great place to take a day trip, you can take the weekend to relax and explore as the area has many accommodation options on offer, ranging from rustic cottages and B&Bs to mountain retreats and cosy cabins. Snowfall in winter gives the area an enchanting look and most lodging will be equipped with log fires so you can rug up on cold nights. If you’re looking for a unique romantic getaway, or conversely an action-packed adventure, Barrington Tops will suit any winter itinerary.

Special winter event: Chill Out Festival

 

 

If you enjoyed Top 5 Winter Getaways, check out our other Top 5‘s:

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