Sydney is on the cusp of spring but there’s one more month to go and we’ve got wintery adventures on our mind. While you’ll find beaches, art and culture aplenty in the Big Smoke, for a true taste of winter we recommend getting out of town and experiencing NSW in all its glory. There are cosy alpine getaways to explore, wineries to unwind at, snowcapped mountain escapes and romantic retreats just for two. These are some of the best winter getaways in NSW that you should check out to make the last of winter extra special.
SEE ALSO: 6 Charming Winter Day Trips From Sydney
1. Snowy Mountains
Australia’s largest alpine region is a winner all year round but it’s a true wonderland during winter. If you haven’t been, now’s your chance to visit because it’s transformed into a snowy paradise with stunning snowcapped mountains, dramatic scenery and serene glacial lakes. It’s also home to Australia’s highest peak, Mount Kosciuszko at 2,228 metres above sea level. And if you’re keen to brave the snow and head out for adventures, there are more than a few excellent opportunities in the Snowy Mountains.
There’s Thredbo — a village and ski resort which has Australia’s longest runs, Perisher — the Southern Hemisphere’s largest ski resort and the resort village of Charlotte Pass which is Australia’s oldest ski resort and a charming getaway from Sydney. The Snowy Mountains are perfect for skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing and other winter sports. Head here to find out where to eat, drink and stay in the Snowy Mountains and get planning.
When it comes to quick winter getaways from Sydney, there’s no better spot than the Blue Mountains. At just 90 minutes from the city, it’s the ideal place to head to when the din of the city gets a bit too much. And respite is guaranteed in the form of cosy villages, quaint gardens, excellent cafes and pretty gardens. The natural landscapes in this beloved part of NSW are also second to none with some stunning lookouts, waterfalls and hiking trails dotted around the region. What makes it special during winter? It’s the promise of snow, pristine views, crisp and clear air and misty landscapes for us.
They even have a winter festival in the form of Yulefest which transforms the region into a European wonderland full of festivities and feasts. Our recommendations include exploring Scenic World which offers a variety of nature-based experiences, or hopping on the recently re-opened steam train, the Zig Zag Railway or simply taking in the views of the iconic Three Sisters and Katoomba Falls. Get more info on where you can stay in the Blue Mountains here.
If you time your visit well, Orange is one place in NSW where you can see snow. But that’s far from the only reason this country town is on our list. To begin with, it’s cold, really cold so if you want to embrace the chill and experience winter the way it’s intended to, you know where to go. Then there’s the vineries, the art scene and cosy pubs with crackling fireplaces.
Orange is also known for its fresh local produce so shopping is a must when you’re in this beautiful part of NSW. They also love winter festivals up there with a whole winter festival dedicated to jazz and The Orange Winter Fire Festival which is curated for lovers of wine, good food and good times. There are several great local restaurants to explore if you’re looking to eat and drink your way around town including Charred Kitchen & Bar, Sister’s Rock Restaurant, Nile Street Café and more.
4. Hunter Valley
If you’re looking to escape the too-cold temps then we would suggest a trip to the Hunter Valley. One of Australia’s major wine regions has a lot going for it when winter rolls around offering pleasantly cool weather, excellent food and drink, and exciting outdoor activities from hot air balloons to kangaroo spotting, go-karting and more. But most importantly, the wine.
If you consider yourself a wine connoisseur of sorts, you’ll be spoilt for choice with a staggering variety of wineries and pubs at your disposal. Our recommendations include the Audrey Wilkinson vinery which offers a side of spectacular mountain views to go with your drinks, the family-owned and operated Scarborough Wine Co., Hanging Tree Winery with views of lovely duck ponds and gardens and so many more. Take your pick here.
If snow is on your mind this winter, Oberon is the place you need to check out. It traditionally gets a few snowfalls every year so keep it on top of your list. In fact, according to Visit Oberon, snow can fall anytime in and around Oberon, including on Christmas Day. But aside from that, the picturesque town offers many more adventures and experiences that are worth driving down for.
Check out the stunning Mayfield Garden, Australia’s largest privately-owned, cool climate garden which is an absolute delight to explore. You can also make a trip out of it and try their luxe glamping experience if you’re feeling extra indulgent. Plus, step back in time and explore the stunning Jenolan Caves or enjoy a picturesque picnic at Lake Oberon. Our favourite thing to do is gaze at its spectacular dark skies for an unforgettable star-gazing experience. At 3 hours from Sydney, Oberon is a lovely getaway this time of year.
The historic village of Berrima in the Southern Highlands is a lovely weekend getaway from Sydney which serves old-world charm in spades and stunning landscapes as far as the eye can see. The Victorian village was first established in the 1830s making it Australia’s most popular and longstanding historic villages. And villages debatably look prettier in winter so we insist you check out this lovely spot in NSW.
As for what’s on offer, there’s plenty to do but we suggest checking out one of its many quaint cafés. Head to Josh’s Café for the hospitality and good food or go to Eschalot and enjoy an elegant dining experience in a stone cottage and you cannot go to the Southern Highlands and not try the pies and pastries at The Gumnut Patisserie. If you have a penchant for history, the town is excellent for a walk around with many heritage sites to explore including the Berrima Gaol which was built in the 1830s. Check out all the cosy events happening this winter here.