Renowned for its stunning beaches and iconic skyline, Sydney is frequently celebrated as a thriving epicentre that attracts the masses when it comes to the summer months. But as winter descends upon the glittering city, the bitter chill and unrelenting winds leave many craving a few days immersed in a landscape vastly different than their usual day-to-day.
So whether you’re in serious need of a delicious cellar door experience, or perhaps in seek of a more mild hinterland retreat, there’s no better time to gather those gorgeous winter getups and of course, your best girlfriends, because we’ve rounded up the top five winter getaways – all within two hours of Sydney’s hustle and bustle.
Vinden Estate Vineyard & Winery
Only an easy 2 hours from the city, everything Vinden Estate offers comes with its own unique flair, specifically, the opportunity to stay on a working commercial winery right in the heart of Hunter Valley. As one of the country’s most admired wine regions, you’ll be spoilt in 1840’s early Victorian architecture and breathtaking vineyard views. Plus there’s a tennis court, swimming pool, and olive grove. Oh, did we also mention there’s a cellar door only meters away from your accommodation?
However, should you be eager to spoil your taste buds with a new boozy pallet, head on over to Hunter Distillery. With $5 tasting experiences on offer, you’ll be treated to an array of locally-made Gin, Vodka, Liqueurs and soul-warming Schnapps.
While about town, be sure to also stop by another award-winning establishment, Audrey Wilkinson winery. With over 150 years in the winemaking game, their vineyard experiences excel beyond your usual; be it a picnic among the vines, a behind the scenes tour, or even a mouth-watering fortified and Fromage sampling.
Thistle Guest House
Just under 2 hours north of Sydney sits the most charming of winter getaways at Thistle Guest House. Steeped in generous terrain views and a sprawling 20 acres of grounds to explore, this charming abode combines everything you could ever need; a gorgeous Semillon vineyard, a fruit-filled Orchard and a dream-worthy cottage that’ll have you refusing to leave.
For those eager to get the adrenaline pumping, a sky-high adventure with Balloon Aloft, Hunter Valley’s favourite hot air balloon experience, is sure to do the trick, where you’ll be treated to the jaw-dropping sights of Polkobin and its picturesque mountain surrounds.
If you prefer your feet planted firmly on the ground, a visit to Wombat Valley Wine Club will be more to your liking. With luscious scenery of the distant Barrington Tops National Park and limited wines available only through their cellar door, this is your chance to taste to your heart’s content and stock up on bottles before you leave.
Reids Flat Cottage
Fancy the idea of spending the night in the middle of a national park? Reids Flat Cottage, an easy 50 minutes or 36km outside of the city, is the ultimate experience for you. Sleeping up to 8 guests, this idyllic and newly-renovated abode is tucked away alongside a stunning riverside setting. With scenes of the flowing Hacking River and copious overhanging canopies, the heritage cottage exceeds far beyond any initial expectations.
While visiting another winery is always a great idea, Ballina Clash Orchard & Cellar Door offers a whole new field of entertainment – literally and figuratively. Touted as a ‘pick-your-own’ orchard farm, the locals behind this community favourite have combined the best of both worlds; fruit-picking and the consumption of some delightful wine. What’ve you got to lose?
Another must-visit is the award-winning Grove Estate Winery. Voted ‘Winner of Gourmet Traveller Wine’ and ‘Best Cellar Door for’ 5 years running, there’s obviously a big reason as to why – so come find out for yourself. While you’re at it, make sure to grab a little parting gift to enjoy when you’re back in the big city.
Mountainside Bed & Breakfast
Nestled into the bountiful hillside of the world-famous Blue Mountains, this secluded retreat makes for the perfect short break or romantic weekend getaway. Only a quick 1.5-hour drive out of Sydney, the Mountainside Bed & Breakfast, quite literally, takes unique accommodation to new heights. Combining exquisite modern Asian and Western interiors, each guesthouse is both cosy and elegant in its spoilings, particularly with its gorgeous Blue Mountains backdrop.
While in town, switch up your scenery with a visit to the Adrian Gilbert Art Studio, a self-titled gallery owned by the renowned local artist. With an array of national exhibitions to his name, the masterpieces inside will have you wishing you paid more attention in art class.
When you’re done exploring the region’s abundance of talent, Dryridge Estate is the best bet to wet your whistle. With a weekend-only cellar door, there’s no better reason to book a weekend escape and indulge in a hearty charcuterie board and some exquisite Pinot Noir.
The Audley Cottage
This quaint little hinterland retreat gifts all the stunning New South Wales terrain in all its glory. With the added bonus of being only a 70-minute journey, Audley Cottage will have you feeling worlds away from the city’s hustle and bustle – particularly with its gorgeous balcony views. Teaming rich timber features with white statement pieces, this heavenly abode makes for the perfect place truly unwind. Plus, you’re only a short drive from Bundeena’s Village Centre, meaning more access to an abundance of exciting activities.
If you’re willing and ready to get your hands dirty, there’s no better solution than pottery making at Something at Mary’s Pottery. With classes for beginners right through to the more advanced, the nightly sessions promise plenty of laughs and lively entertainment.
But when you’re done spinning the wheel, head onwards to Giro Osteria. The fine dining experience offers an array of carb-heavy Italian food; from homemade pasta, woodfire pizzas, and plentiful salumi boards to fill your belly before a good night’s sleep.
So, now that you’re armed with the knowledge of Sydney’s best winter escapes, there’s no better time to book in that annual leave and make an unforgettable long-weekend of it – with all of your favourite girlfriends right by your side.
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