From Orange to Gerringong, take the family on a NSW road trip from Sydney.
Coasts - Kiama to Pearl Beach:
A holiday on the South Coast can be as close as Wollongong (1.5 hour-drive from Sydney) and as far as Merimbula (6-hour drive from Sydney). Even within just 3 hours of Sydney CBD the options for a coastal getaway with the family are superb.
Winter walks by the sea:
Where: Kiama (1.5 hour drive from Sydney)
Home of the blowhole and the old Kiama Lighthouse, this splendid South Coast town has oodles to offer families. Enjoy Kiama’s wonderful scenery on a 3-hour coastal walk that starts at Minnamurra River and ends at the Kiama Blowhole. If family members are keen for a surf and intrepid enough for a cold-water dip, then most of Kiama’s surf schools are open year-round. If dryland is preferred, then the highly rated Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures and Saddleback Mountain Lookout are two lofty options for the family.
Settled by Europeans from circa 1839 the region has some charming heritage homes such as Blake House, a 19th century coastal homestead. Or for something contemporary then Sandcastle on Manning is a similarly top-rated alternative for families.
See all holiday homes in Kiama.
Whale watching and seven-mile walks:
Where: Shoalhaven to Gerringong (2-hour drive from Sydney)
With winter comes the opportunity to take the family on a whale-watching quest. Each year the chance of spotting one of these great mammals grows as migration numbers slowly increase. Other cool weather activities include a brisk walk on Seven Mile Beach sand track or, for indoor stimulation, a visit to Fern Street Gallery in Gerringong.
A country getaway but still close to the coast, try the The Winery Barn at Durham Park. Children are welcome and the home is surrounded by rows of vines and brilliant country scenery. This is a great place for country and coastal types alike.
For an exceedingly special getaway then Elanora Gerroa is one of the regions standout homes. With an ocean front position, luxurious interiors, a cosy fireplace and a deck built for Instagram this is a winter treat, to say the very least.
North of Little Wobby
From Little Wobby in the south (55-minute drive from Sydney) to Norah Head (2-hour drive from Sydney) the Central Coast is as large in size as it is contrasts. A region where National Parks meet trendy coastal towns and centuries-old villages.
Where: Pearl Beach (1.3-hour drive from Sydney)
This small coastal suburb is just 1.3 hours from Sydney but, ensconced over the top of a headland, feels comfortably isolated. Indeed, this small town has no mega-attractions, having just the one café and restaurant. But for a family road trip the payoff is peace, quiet and proximity to a delightful sand beach and ocean pool. Local walks include Mount Ettalong which offers brilliant coastal scenery or the native arboretum.
For this small coastal cove there are bountiful options for families. Splash out on a Hamptons style home; stay in this newly built designer house or take the family to one of Stayz' top-rated homes on the Central Coast.
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Where: Pearl Beach (1.5-hour drive from Sydney)
Farther up to the coast from Pearl Beach is Terrigal. Although a comparatively thrumming metropolis next to the ever-quiet Pearl Beach, Terrigal’s ‘long beach’ (some 2.8kms) ending at Wamberal Lagoon Nature Reserve ensures this traditional beach destination always has peace and isolation for those looking for it.
For the lover of cold and water, learn to surf at one of the local academies; for the curious head to the Marine Discovery Centre; for the relaxed but active do the 2km Terrigal Lagoon to The Skillion walk. This well-known suburb is a great all-rounder for your next road trip from Sydney.
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Head for the high ground: :
Where: Blue Mountains (From 1-hour drive from Sydney)
While a chance of snow is vanishingly small, the Blue Mountains keep a cool average temperature of 5°C though June, July and August. With amazing virews, chilly days and cold nights this lofty region close to Sydney is a great base for any Christmas in July plans.
Built shortly after the Second World War, The Linden Observatory is a great reason to visit the Blue Mountains over a long weekend with this volunteer-run organisation running weekend astronomy beginner courses.
One of the oldest tourist activities in the Blue Mountains, walking is a year-round activity. But we don’t need to elucidate here, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service has put together a fantastic guide: walks to ‘brave’ this winter.
While adventure awaits in the mountains, the local towns of Bilpin and Leura are excellent short-stay options. Famed for its apples, pick your own at Bilpin Springs Orchard or head over to The Pines Orchard for a tasty apple-based treat.
When in Leura, strolling the pretty main street is a singularly wonderful activity - especially when you can take the kids for a baked-treat at Unique Patisserie.
With parts of the town being certified by the National Trust, seeing some of the heritage buildings is a must. Built in the 1890s and listed on the NSW Heritage list, Mondeval is a beautiful example of Victorian Regency design and a great starting point for any historical tour.
Mining was an early industry in Leura and many of the miners’ cottages have been beautifully restored and maintained. Examples include Loran @ Luera, an 1890s miners cottage and the cosy 1-bedroom home Piccolo. For a more modern stay then the 4-bedroom Umtala House is dotted with artworks and filled with character. In Bilpin Curraweena House, built in the 1920s, is a fine mix of grandeur and country charm.
See all holiday homes in the Blue Mountains.
Where: Orange (From 3.5-hour drive from Sydney)
Although itself a city, Orange is a tonic for any family looking to getaway from stresses and business of urban life. Like Leura, mining was an early industry but in this case the mineral was gold. To get a grasp of the region’s history take the family for a walk through Millthorpe’s Heritage-Listed main street or dig deeper at the Golden Memories Millthorpe Museum.
For some kid-free time, amateur sommeliers of all grades will find many excellent cellar doors with numerous top-rated restaurants to match.
A wonderful winter activity are Orange’s many outdoor activities. Enjoy a family walk through Orange Botanic Gardens, up Mount Canobolas (an ancient volcano) or a leisrely stroll around Cook Park.
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The Quarters is a 6th generation sheep station some 11km from Orange. Close enough for convenience but distant enough for the family to have a relaxing and authentic farm stay. Staying in town, The Orange Fox is a top-rated favourite and a luxury option is this stylish Edwardian Home.