It’s been a long couple of months as the lockdown put a halt to any holiday plans and those short breaks away that we all need to re-energise. Now that regional travel is available again, there is no better time for a short break away within NSW before the silly season gets well and truly underway. With the added benefit that we have this beautiful backyard all to ourselves at the moment!
It could be that you are seeking to dust off those lockdown cobwebs of the last lockdown or simply looking for a change of scenery. Regional NSW can provide the perfect escape, offering a variety of types of holidays, from a relaxing weekend at the beach to a thrill-seeking to dust the lockdown cobwebs off or even that luxurious trip that you’ve been dreaming of, all options are only a short flight from Sydney. We have put together some inspiration on where to visit and what activities are offered, discover some of our top choices below:
Visit Port Macquarie
Just over an hour’s flight from Sydney, Port Macquarie is a world away from city life, located on the mouth of the Hastings River. It offers something for everyone from beautiful beaches, wildlife and rich history so whatever pace you are after there is plenty to fill your day. With an abundance of activities to suit all walks of life, Port Macquarie won’t disappoint.
For the adrenaline seekers
Port Macquarie features some of the most vivid coastal views on the east coast. What better way to enjoy these views than from the sky! Book in for a Skydive, climb to 14,000 feet and take in some of the most picturesque beaches in Australia from a bird’s eye view all while getting that adrenaline fix.
On the Water
If you are keen to get to the water then Port Macquarie has great options for all ages. There are both river and sea water activities to choose from including relaxing cruises on the river to more adrenaline-pumping activities like jet skiing and surfing.
Meet the Wildlife
There are several places to visit the wildlife of Port Macquarie, get up close and personal at the Billabong Zoo or see the fluffy locals at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, which is the world’s first hospital dedicated solely to the care and conservation of koalas. Tours of the facility, educational displays and koala yards are self-guided so you can take your time and get to know the story behind each of the koalas there. If you want an activity that offers further animal interaction, book in for a camel trek along the lighthouse beach or just minutes from the heart of the city, you can visit Port Macquarie Horse Riding Centre which offers horseback riding lessons for beginners and trail rides. You can do this as a solo traveller with a partner or the centre also offers family bookings which is a great family day out.
Two of the top must-see attractions in Port Macquarie are the stunning St. Thomas’ Anglican Church, built by convicts in the 19th century and the historic Tacking Point Lighthouse which was built in 1879. It features a great viewing deck so you could have an amazing view of the coast.
Vibrant Newcastle is a quick 35min flight from Sydney. Newcastle is the perfect mix of a buzzing beachside city with fantastic food and a thriving music scene. It is the perfect short trip if you are seeking a little creativity and fun, as you can stroll around and enjoy some street art or visit the museums.
It’s also a family-friendly location, with beautiful pools to cool off during the summer months and with three distinctly different beaches and coastal walks to choose from, you are bound to keep the kids entertained for the day.
Newcastle Art Gallery
Visit the Newcastle Art Gallery, which boasts one of the best public collections in the country with an emphasis on supporting Australian artists. It’s a relaxing activity to do alone or with a friend. The gallery is also family-friendly and has a calendar of free events, art trails and activities for children.
Newcastle Ocean Baths
The Art Deco-Style Newcastle Ocean Baths allow you to both soak up the magnificent architecture and enjoy a quick dip. It also provides a great backdrop for those keen photographers or anyone looking for an Instagram worthy pic!
The Food Scene
Newcastle enjoys a thriving café scene and there are a number of award-winning restaurants, bars and distilleries to choose from which all offer local produce to try. For the food lovers visiting that are short for time and don’t know where to start choosing where to go, you can book an experience with Underground Epicureans. Which are walking food tours that showcase the story of Newcastle dining and where to visit now. There is also a self-guided tour that allows you to discover the creative cafes, hidden bars and local produce that is shaping the flavours of Newcastle at the moment.
Byron Bay is one of the most popular and famous short trips from Sydney, located a short drive from 20 from Ballina Airport makes it easily accessible. Best known for sun, sand, sea and surf however it is not only sunbathers, surfers and swimmers that can enjoy this coastal paradise. Byron offers a wide variety of restaurants, boutiques, breweries and more, making it the perfect getaway for just about anyone to enjoy. It’s both affordable to get to and boasts a great selection of accommodation, everything from low-cost hostels to luxury hotels available. Away from the beach, you can choose to spend the day browsing the boutique shops and dining in the town’s renowned eateries, or head to the beach, the hinterland rainforest or one of the region’s coastal trails.
For the nature lovers
When it comes to nature, Byron and its surrounding area do not disappoint. From hinterland waterfalls, rainforests and a coastline filled with pristine beaches, crystal waters and rich marine life, you’ll find the serenity of nature all around you. One of the most popular walks is to the lighthouse, it takes you from The Pass car park, winds along Wategos Beach and leads up to the Lighthouse which boasts breathtaking views at the most easterly point of Australia.
Choose your adventure
Byron is famous for its wonderful beaches and surfing lifestyle, so there is an array of water activities to choose from. If you do not surf then the sea kayaking tours are a great way to enjoy the water and spot the resident dolphins. There is also the opportunity to go snorkelling or take a surfing lesson. However, if water adventures aren’t your style, take to the sky! As you can choose between a pre-dawn hot air balloon ride, skydiving or even a flight in a Tiger Moth Biplane.
Byron’s Breweries and Distilleries
If jumping out of a plane or seeking an adrenaline rush on the water isn’t your scene there is a host of alternative more chilled activities available to choose from also. There are several breweries to visit. There is a choice of Stone & Wood, Cape Byron Distillery or the Husk Distillery.
Byron Bay’s Food Scene
Byron Bay does not disappoint when it comes to the selection of cafes, fine dining restaurants and everything in between. The Farm at Byron is a popular attraction giving the diner the full farm to fork experience, as it’s a working farm where you can experience first-hand where your food comes from before enjoying a farm-fresh meal at The Three Blue Ducks restaurant located on-site. The Arts & Industrial Estate offers the required amount of retail therapy and café selection that any holidaymaker would need. Filled with independent boutiques, pop-up shops, vintage shops, locally sourced products your carry on bag will most definitely be filled upon your return to Sydney.
Wherever you choose to explore in NSW, allow yourself to catch your breath after the lockdown. There is an amazing choice of short trips from Sydney and it’s a great way to ease yourself back into enjoying travelling again. While you enjoy swapping your car for camels, horses or boats for a few days, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your car is parked safely and securely back in Sydney ready for your return home journey from the airport.
Park on King makes a short trip away more accessible and affordable. It also boasts a lot of unique features like a free, on-demand airport shuttle, 24/7 security monitoring and a great loyalty program for repeat customers. Grab a free online parking quote and make your booking early to get the best rate.