When it comes to enjoying a family getaway in NSW, you’re spoiled for choice. From the sweeping beaches of the Central Coast to the idyllic, unspoiled rurality of the Hawkesbury Valley, each serves its own unique take on fun, relaxation, and escapism.
Whether it’s long days in the pool, exploring local parks and natural beauty hotspots, or getting closer to local wildlife, here are five of the best family weekend getaways near NSW you need to know about.
Taking the top spot and located roughly an hour’s drive from Sydney, the Hawkesbury Valley is a truly amazing place to enjoy a family weekend getaway in NSW. Home to endless activities suitable for all ages, ample wining and dining opportunities and plenty of fun – make every moment count when you stay at Crowne Plaza Hawkesbury Valley.
On-site, you’ll have full use of the tennis courts, heated indoor swimming pool, play equipment, and award-winning restaurants and bars. Villa Thalgo Day Spa is perfect for an afternoon of pampering and destressing, while the Prosecco Garden Bar lets you enjoy a tipple or two under the sun.
Things to do in Hawkesbury:
Putt-Putt: With two 18-hole mini-golf courses to enjoy, Dural Putt Putt in the Gardens challenges your skill levels as it guides you around beautifully landscaped and manicured gardens. When your game is over, why not grab a bite to eat at the on-site cafe before heading off? With hot chips, gelato and fruit pies on the menu, all taste buds are catered to.
Wisemans Ferry Park: A popular spot to enjoy an afternoon picnic, a wander through the wildlife-rich no-mow zone and plenty of kids’ time at the playground. With electric and wood BBQs, a park kiosk and picnic areas to make use of, bring your favourite cuts and spend the day grilling, exploring and relaxing on the river’s edge at Wisemans Ferry Park.
Koala Park Sanctuary: Spend some time feeding, cuddling and getting to know the koalas before watching the penguin and wombat shows. Located just a short 35-minute drive from Crowne Plaza Hawkesbury Valley, it’s well worth a visit for some memorable one on one time with Australia’s favourite marsupial.
Governor Phillip Park: Overlooking the Hawkesbury River, Governor Phillip Park is a favourite amongst locals and visitors alike. Home to an outdoor water play park, huge playground, BBQ and picnic facilities and plenty of space to run, play and explore, it’s easy to see why this is such a popular spot for families.
Book your next stay at Crowne Plaza Hawkesbury Valley and get ready to enjoy an amazing weekend family getaway. With everything you need on-site for endless fun and relaxation on the outskirts of Windsor, stay in newly-refurbished rooms in Hawkesbury’s best resort and let the memory-making begin.
One of the most popular destinations for a coastal family holiday, the Central Coast is a hive of fun activities and new experiences perfect for the whole family. From beautiful beaches to unspoiled national parks and plenty of iconic attractions well worth a visit, there is something for everyone.
Located just a little over an hour away from Hawkesbury Valley, the Central Coast makes for a great day trip to the beach while taking in some of the best local attractions and areas of interest.
Things to do in the Central Coast:
Australian Reptile Park: Just an hour away from both Sydney and Newcastle, the Australian Reptile Park is a firm favourite with families holidaying in NSW. With almost 50 species of reptiles on display and over 2,000 animals, it is home to one of the largest reptile collections in the country. With mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and insects galore, take part in one of the many experiences or simply spend time with your favourites.
Central Coast Marine Discovery: With a focus on kids under 12, the Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre brings the wonders of the marine world to curious minds. With a whole host of games, quizzes, puzzles and talks, it’s ideal for a couple of hours of educational fun that they can use on the beaches of the Central Coast throughout their stay.
Central Coast Beaches: From Toowoon Bay, Terrigal Beach and Ettalong Beach to Avoca Beach, Norah Head Beach, and Pearl Beach – the Central Coast is home to some of the best beaches in Australia. Thanks to its calm waters and rock pools, Terrigal Beach is popular with families with young kids. Meanwhile, Avoca Beach is the place to go if you’re after surfing, body boarding and watersports.
Famous for its iconic Big Banana statue, amusement park, beaches, coral reefs and marine parks, Coffs Harbour is an excellent place for a weekend getaway on the coast. Spend the day sunning yourself on the beach, exploring the marina, whale watching, reef diving and wildlife spotting on the nearby wildlife reserves.
Things to do in Coffs Harbour:
Big Banana: The Big Banana Fun Park is the ultimate day out for the whole family. Open 7 days a week from 9 am to 5 pm, enjoy laser tag, ice skating, tobogganing, mini golf, 4D simulators, and of course, the iconic water park. With enough to do to keep the whole family entertained for days, it’s well worth adding to your family holiday bucket list in Coffs Harbour.
Dolphin Marine Magic: Home to a fantastic array of dolphins, sea lions, turtles and penguins, this Marine Conservation Park is one that will have little ones squealing with delight. Get up close and personal with some of the most characterful creatures of the oceans while teaching little ones the importance of respecting the environment and many species we share the planet with. Open daily from 10 am to 2 pm, take part in behind the scenes tours, exclusive shows, animal meet and greets and much more.
Solitary Aquarium: Discover the vast array of local and native marine life that calls the ocean of Coffs Harbour home at Solitary Aquarium. Head beneath the waves and learn more about the local ecosystems, wildlife and fish without needing to don the diving gear. Make your way around the aquariums, and interactive displays every Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm, bringing the best of educational fun and hands-on learning together.
Nestled in the northern reaches of NSW, Yamba is the perfect place to head for families looking to enjoy the water.
Things to do in Yamba
River Cruise: Spend a few hours cruising around the waterways of Yamba, taking in the history and natural beauty of the area. Tickets can be purchased on board from the end of River Street at 9:30 am, 11 am, 1.45 pm, 3.15 pm, and 4.45 pm. Check the website for updated cruising times and prices.
Beach Days: With 11 beaches between Yamba and Agourie, finding one the whole family will love is a breeze. Main Beach, Whiting Beach and Turners Beach are fantastic for soaking up the sun to the sound of the ocean, swimming, snorkelling and surfing. Being located on the river mouth also provides calm, wave-free waters to cool off in – or indulge in a spot of fishing.
Picnic at Angourie Pools: Up until 1899, Angourie’s freshwater green and blue pools were a bluestone mine. Providing a place to cool off from the heat of the day, this watery haven was created by accident when quarry miners stumbled across an underground natural spring that went on to fill the excavated hole. Algae blooms can sometimes take hold of the pools, turning them into a place to admire from dry land (made even better with a picnic).
If you’re more of a city vacationer looking to make the most of the beach and the city at the same time, then Sydney is the place for you. Home to icons such as the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, the golden sands of Bondi Beach and a cosmopolitan food and entertainment scene, Sydney is a fantastic place for a family weekend getaway. Enjoy long, lazy days on beautiful beaches, get pulses racing with adventure activities, and explore parks, museums and restaurants at every turn.
Things to do in Sydney
Sydney Aquarium: Home to over 13,000 individual fish and 700 species of aquatic life, Sydney Aquarium is a staple on the tourist trail. Walk the ocean floor as you make your way through the transparent underwater tunnels. Explore touch pools, penguin shows, and a whole host of unique opportunities to get up close and personal to some of the ocean’s most majestic and playful creatures. Tickets can be booked online.
National Maritime Museum: Set within Darling Harbour, the Sydney Australian National Maritime Museum takes you on an adventure both above and beneath the waves. Discover historical replicas, walk around submarines and enjoy interactive displays that bring maritime history to life in a fun yet educational way.
Royal Botanic Gardens: Spread out over 30-hectares of Sydney City land, the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens are the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and reconnect with nature. Be sure to spend a bit of time at the Calyx for a spot of dining, shopping and fun at one of the workshops or events. The Palace Garden Tour is also well worth checking out, as is the Tropical Garden.
Book Your Next Family Getaway
With so many unique family-friendly attractions, activities and things to do, NSW is the gift that keeps on giving. Whether you’re looking for a few days by the beach, a luxurious rural escape or time away in the city, you’re literally spoiled for choice.
If you are seeking a fun and relaxing family weekend away, why not visit Crowne Plaza Hawkesbury Valley? With 105 beautifully-appointed rooms, a dedicated children’s play area, heated indoor pool, fitness centre, family-friendly restaurants and easy access to the best things to see and do in the local area – it’s the perfect place to make new memories that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.