Many Australians hibernate in winter, especially in New South Wales (looking at you Sydney!),  but the colder months are brilliant for exploring. These are the best winter getaways in NSW.

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Countries on which these adventures take place who have occupied and cared for these lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

We Love a Winter Getaway

Let’s play a word association game. I say Australia, you think of…? I’d bet my Jeep you thought of ‘sun’, ‘summer’, ‘surf’, or ‘Chris Hemsworth’, right? Don’t lie, we all think of Chris Hemsworth from time to time.

There’s no arguing that Australia – and particularly New South Wales – is known for its rugged and wild coastlines, stunning beaches and general fun-in-the-sun lifestyle. So, when the hot sun inevitably says ta-ta for several months of the year, where do all the sun-worshipping people of NSW go?

Of course, many of us love a good ski sesh and head to the mountains, but what about the rest of us who’ve never put on a ski boot in our life, but still want an epic winter getaway?

Good news – there are actually plenty of amazing winter getaways in NSW … if you know where to go. And at WAE, we always know where to go. From skiing (we have to include it, come on), to winter hiking, quaint towns with fresh, cold country air to cellar doors and restaurants with the fireplace crackling, no matter your ideal getaway, NSW has something to offer.

Here’s our guide to the best NSW winter getaways to keep you happy, adventurous, and free-spirited in these cooler months.

Also Read:

Looking Further Afield?

Best Winter Getaways for Snow & Skiing

1. Snowy Mountains

Distance from Sydney: 492km (5 hours and 30 minutes)
Things to do: ski, snowboard, hike, eat & drink, be merry

I did say just a few paragraphs back that not everyone loves to ski or snowboard, but there’s just no way I’m not including it in the best winter getaways in NSW round-up.

 

Sunrise in Blue Cow, Perisher Snowy Mountains.

 

For everything skiing, snowboarding and general snow-loving fun, Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains is the spot. You’ve got both Perisher and Thredbo to choose from for some skiing adventures, or if you’d rather grab your hiking boots (and snow shoes) and pound some snow, Mount Kosciuszko Summit Walk is as majestic as ever in the winter time.

 

Skip The Line This Snow Season & Buy Your All Parks Pass Online!, phtoo supplied by NPWS, skiier, Perisher, snow, skiing

Koscuiszko National Park, photo by NPWS

Or, if you’re after a quieter, less-intense winter getaway, a stroll along the mesmerising Lake Jindabyne with the surrounding alpine scenery is unbeatable, especially if you finish it off with a brewski at Jindabyne Brewing.

 

Lake Jindabyne, Photo thanks to @damontually

 

2. Blue Mountains

Distance from Sydney: 62km (1 hour)
Things to do: hike, eat & drink, spa day, meander the streets

If you don’t fancy a near 6 hour drive but still want to catch some winter snow, the Blue Mountains is a beautiful winter getaway destination that gets a light blanket of snow when conditions are right. With its stunning hiking tracks, vast valleys, caves, and top-tier restaurants and retail therapy, it’s definitely a place the whole fam can enjoy.

 

The 15 Best Natural Wonders To Visit On A NSW Road Trip, Leah Furey

Jenolan Caves @mydreamadventure

 

If you’re particularly in search of snow, your best bet is as high up as possible: Blue Mountains National Park, Wentworth Falls, Katoomba, Lithgow, Blackheath, Oberon or Jenolan Caves. Of course, it’s best to check the weather report before you go to avoid disappointment but if you’re going in the thick of winter, chances are you’ll get lucky. Regardless of actual snow, you can guarantee it’ll be cold.

 

Brooke Nolan // Explorer Of The Month - September '18, Blue Mountains, Brooke Nolan, sunrise, clouds, snow, horizon

Winter in the Blue Mountains @thedirtydogooders

 

If you’re after something a bit fancy, there are several incredible restaurants to choose from in the Blue Mountains (try Blaq in Blackheath) or book a stay at the Hydro Majestic, a heritage hotel right on the escarpment at Medlow Bath.

Best for Fresh Country Air

3. Bowral, Southern Highlands

Distance from Sydney: 118km (1 hour and 30 minutes)
Things to do: eat & drink, bushwalk, cafe hop, stargaze

If you’re after some Southern Highlands winter charm, Bowral is the place to be. Just 90 minutes south of Sydney, Bowral offers glorious country town scenery, beautiful heritage and for cricket fans – the famous Don Bradman museum.

 

Two Wheels And A Teepee // Glamping & Cycling In Bowral (NSW), Karl Reynolds, fields, drone, overhead, road

View of Bowral @magiccloud_

Winter is too early for Bowral’s famous Tulip Festival sadly, but you can still explore acclaimed cool-climate wineries like Bendooley Estate, or hike the local walking tracks, which are simply gorgeous in the winter time. Fitzroy Falls in particular are nothing short of spectacular in July (especially after a rain dump), but we also rate the nearby 6.7km East Rim Walking Track which is a perfect winter hike.

 

bendooley estate, sourced from website

Bendooley estate

 

Nattai National Park is another nearby park, just over a 30 minute drive north-west. From bushwalking or backpack camping in a remote wilderness setting, to stargazing and beyond, Nattai National Park is one of the best in the region and is lovely in winter.

PSA: If you are going to remote camp or hike in winter, always be sure you check the weather forecast and ensure you have the right skills and equipment for the adventure, here’s how to layer for the Aussie winter to get you started.

4. Mudgee

Distance from Sydney: 270km (3 hours and 45 minutes)
Things to do: eat & drink, hike, stargaze, kayak

When I think of Mudgee, I think of the amazing Aussie TV series Doctor Doctor – but I imagine most other people think of incredible wineries. It’s true Mudgee has some of the best wineries in NSW, but it’s also one of the best places to escape the city smog and breathe in the crisp country air. Winter in the country is divine, cool snuggy mornings, way less flies and campfires are all on the cards.

From fun farm stays to tree-line heritage streetscapes, you can experience both country and regional city life. The picture perfect villages of Rylstone and Kandos sit on the edge of the World Heritage-listed Wollemi National Park, and are also the gateway to the second-largest canyon in the world, the Capertee Valley (which is 1km wider than the Grand Canyon).

 

Rhys Tattersall Newnes Wollemi National Park NSW tent

Wollemi National Park @rhys.tattersall

 

There are plenty of other things to do in the Mudgee region as well, including kayaking at Dunns Swamp on the edge of Wollemi (yes, you can kayak in winter!), and stargazing at the Mudgee Observatory. In August there’s the Mudgee Reader’s Festival, if you’re a bit tuckered out from all the adventuring.

Best for a Romantic Getaway

5. Northern Rivers

Distance from Sydney: 756km (7 hours and 45 minutes)
Things to do: romance your significant other

If you’re a sun-worshipping couple who’d prefer to escape the winter weather, chances are you’ll be heading up north. And nothing screams romance like the Byron Hinterland region. There’s plenty of gorgeous nature and outdoor adventures to be had, but you can also kick back at places like Crystalbrook Byron. The infinity swimming pool is the ultimate place to romance your SO, heated to a lovely 27 degrees across the year.

 

5 Hikes Hidden in the Byron Bay Hinterland, Jordan Clayden-Lewis, Tea Tree Lookout, hinterland, mountains

Byron Hinterland @jclwrites

 

If you’re in the market for a romantic winter retreat, one of the loveliest places you can go is the 99 Acres Bangalow Retreat. Sitting pretty on one of the highest ridges in Bangalow, this retreat is a truly epic romantic getaway.

We recommend checking out Mullumbimby for a little cultural escape (maybe drop into the We Are Explorers office? – just kidding), or if you’re a chasing waterfalls kinda couple, check out Minyon Falls – a 100m waterfall which you can access via an 8km round trip hike. Peak romance, if you ask me.

 

6. South Coast

Distance from Sydney: 478km (5 hours and 30 minutes)
Things to do: toast marshmallows, hike, embrace Mother Nature

The South Coast bursts with romance at every turn. You could spend a night or two in Central Tilba in a cosy eco pod, or spend the day picnic-ing in with a bottle of bubbles as you watch the whales migrate.

 

 

What’s most romantic about the South Coast in winter (at least to this introvert), is the fact the colder days keep the crowds at bay, so it’ll be you, bae and the locals. Not to mention the South Coast beaches are particularly crystal-like come winter, the perfect time for you and your lover to get ya kit off and have a dip. We recommend Myrtle Beach for some nudey-rudey swimming fun.

If you want to be a bit more active, there are plenty of hikes, watersports, surfing and diving. Check out the White Sand Walk – the perfect winter coastal trail.

Best for Local Wineries

7. Kangaroo Valley

Distance from Sydney: 164km (2 hours and 30 minutes)
Things to do: wineries, eat & drink, canoeing, hiking

If you’re already in the Southern Highlands for your winter weekend, Kangaroo Valley is a must-visit being just 30 minutes from Bowral.

Famous for its waterfalls and rivers, fascinating history and top-tier restaurants and vineyards, Kangaroo Valley is a great spot to enjoy some local produce and of course, local wine. Definitely add Yarrawa Estate, Silos Estate and Sutton Forest Estate wineries to your list!

After a round of wine tasting, it’s time for some outdoor adventure. Hire a kayak or canoe and paddle down the glass-like Kangaroo River, or take a hike to the nearby Fitzroy Falls and bask in this beautiful waterfall’s majesty, which happens to be truly majestic in winter and after a period of rain.

 

When Everything Flows // Kangaroo Valley Canoeing Escape, Aron Hailey, canoe, gear, laden, packed, saddle, buoyancy aid, trees,

Kangaroo River @aronhailey

 

8. Orange

Distance from Sydney: 256km (3 hours and 45 minutes)
Things to do: wineries, Orange Winter Fire Festival, eat your heart out

Orange has some fantastic wineries, including Bloodwood Wines, De Salis Wines and Swinging Bridge. There are also plenty of incredible restaurants to sink your teeth into – with my favourite being The Union Bank (and it’s doggo friendly!)

 

We Had an Exclusive First Ride of a New 360km Cycling Trail in Orange, mattie gould - cycling, orange, NSW,

@mattiejgould

 

If you’re visiting in August, you have to check out the Orange Winter Fire Festival which is an ode to the beauty of country living. From bonfires at wineries and orchards to food served from open fire pits, arts, entertainment and more, it’s truly one of the best Orange experiences.

If you’re after a great hike, check out the Young Man Canobolas summit track at – it’s one of Orange’s most popular tracks and a lovely winter hike. There are also some cool mountain biking trails, 4WD tracks and more scattered around the region for some serious winter adventuring.

 

Best for Adrenaline-Seekers

9. Mungo National Park, Outback NSW

Distance from Sydney: 937km (10 hours and 30 minutes)
Things to do: 4WDing, hiking, camping, cycling

OK hear me out – yes it’s a near 11 hour drive away but Mungo National Park needs to be on your NSW winter getaway list.

You’ll feel like you’re in a completely new world as you marvel at the never-ending sand dunes, while taking in the rich Aboriginal history of Mungo lady and Mungo Man, some of the most important human remains ever found in Australia (and the world).

 

 

Because it’s outback NSW, winter is the best time to visit and it doesn’t get too cold during the day (nighttime is a different story but just be prepared and you’ll be fine, mmkay?) There are several campgrounds to choose from but it does get busy during wintertime, so make sure you book ahead!

Mungo National Park has some epic hikes and 4WD tracks, walking tracks and cycling routes too. It’s an adventure-seekers playground, just make sure your car is ready for the journey.

Read more: How To Prepare Your Car For A Road Trip

10. Port Stephens

Distance from Sydney: 216km (2 hours and 30 minutes)
Things to do: hiking, 4WDing, sandboarding

A 2.5-hour drive north of Sydney just past Newcastle you’ll find Port Stephens. There’s plenty to see and do, especially if you’re after more of an adventurous winter weekend.

Port Stephens is pretty lucky to get good year-round weather, so if you’re a thrill-seeker and still want to do your usual outdoor summer activities but in winter, Port Stephens is where it’s at.

There’s the iconic Tomaree Head Summit Walk, and of course, Stockton Bight Sand Dunes in the Worimi Conservation Lands, which can reach upwards of 30m high at 60-degree angles, making it a sweet spot for 4WDing or sandboarding (or quad biking!)

 

Go On, Tell Us Your Fave Winter Escape

We hope we’ve given you some mad inspo for your next winter adventure, but we also wanna know what we missed and where you love to play in the cooler months! Let us know in the comments, please and thank you!

Winter Getaways NSW FAQs

Where to go in NSW in Winter? 

There are so many great places to go on holiday in NSW in winter. From Bathurst, Kangaroo Valley, the Northern Rivers and so much more.

Where is the coldest place in NSW in winter?

The coldest place in NSW in winter is Thredbo in the Snowy Mountains

Where is the warmest place in NSW in winter?

The warmest place for a winter getaway in NSW is anywhere north. Byron Bay is a great option with an average winter temperature of 21 degrees celsius.

Feature photo by @rhys.tattersall

We’ve shared these recommendations because we genuinely rate them and want you to enjoy them too. Our writers use a mix of personal experience and research to compile these lists, and they’re also encouraged to be honest when things aren’t up to scratch. For more information on our approach, check out our Editorial Standards.