9 Charming Small Towns Less Than Two Hours From Sydney

Australia ReviewAustralia Review3 months ago
9 Charming Small Towns Less Than Two Hours From Sydney

These picturesque towns come with excellent markets, scenic lookouts and stunning architecture.

Dotted across NSW are these picture-perfect towns with miles of rolling hills, lush forests, cascading waterfalls and of course, spectacular beaches. There’s a distinct quality to these small towns, maybe because they haven’t succumbed to the madness and rush of their metropolitan counterparts or because they allow us to step into a time warp with cobblestone streets and vintage shops. If you’re looking to get out of the city, add these small towns just under two hours from Sydney to your list.

1. Berrima, Southern Highlands

Berrima NSW 2577, Australia

Image: Shutterstock

Berrima is a quiet village in the Southern Highlands full of history and charm. Enjoy a moment of pause in this idyllic spot and sip on its many delicious wines or head to one of its picturesque riverside walks. The Berrima Heritage Walk takes you through the history of the place dating back to the 1830s. As you saunter along Berrima’s main street, you’ll find a number of quaint cafés, antique shops and bakeries lined along the historical village. Other must-do activities include the Berrima River Walk where you can find yourself up close to some adorable platypuses and a visit to the Courthouse Museum.

If your idea of an ideal weekend includes a book, a cosy corner and a drink, you’ll want to add Berkelouw Book Barn to your list. At the century-old bookhouse, you’ll find a number of literary treasures and a quiet space all to yourself. There’s also a winery close at hand which is always a plus.

Distance: 2-hour drive from Sydney.

2. Berry, South Coast NSW

Berry NSW 2535, Australia

Image: Visit NSW

Berry is yet another scenic town with a laidback atmosphere and a tight spirit of community. Located in the Shoalhaven region of the NSW South Coast, Berry provides holidayers with a bit of everything — the coast, the bush, valleys, great eats and everything in between. Head to the Berry Historic Museum and learn more about the town’s history or browse for souvenirs in one of its many heritage shops. Have a lazy afternoon tea at The Berry Tea Shop or indulge your sweet tooth at The Treat Factory. A visit to Berry is also incomplete without a stop at its iconic Donut Van.

If you prefer the outdoors, you’ll want to explore Kangaroo Valley and Jaspers Brush or make your way to The Berry Markets, renowned for their local produce, flowers, breads and cheeses.

Distance: 2 hour drive from Sydney.

3. Bowral, Southern Highlands

Bowral NSW 2576, Australia

Image: Shutterstock

The Southern Highlands never disappoint, especially Bowral. It’s the ideal town to enjoy nature, a glass of wine and experience a slice of country life.

Cafe hopping in Bowral comes highly suggested with some of the most Instagrammed cafés in NSW located in the town. Trawl for your favourite classic reads at Plantation while enjoying their famed coffee or have high tea at Your Vintage Occasion — a cafe plus vintage emporium and antiques market. Lookouts and walking trails at Mount Gibraltar Reserve, Corbett Gardens and a picnic at Cherry Tree Walk are also worth exploring.

Distance: 1 hour, 45-minute drive from Sydney.

4. Wollombi, Hunter Valley

Wollombi NSW 2325, Australia

Image: Visit NSW

Situated 29 kilometres southwest of Cessnock, Wollombi might be the Hunter’s best-kept secret. The historic town is a maze of well-preserved streets, pretty cottages and fine country pubs. The town will throw you back to the 19th century with its magnificent architecture. Head to St Michael’s Church, St John’s Church and the Wollombi Endeavour Museum for a little glimpse. And of course, while you’re in the Hunter Valley you can’t not make a pit stop at one of its wine shops.

The Undercliff Winery comes highly recommended for some of the best wine tastings in the region. If you’re visiting around Easter, make sure to stick around for the Wollombi markets, popular for their cheese, jams, breads and of course, wine.

Distance: 2-hour drive from Sydney.

5. Leura, Blue Mountains

Leura NSW 2780, Australia

Image: Shutterstock

Leura is a small town just east of Katoomba and is often hailed as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the Blue Mountains. The town also comes with a wide range of attractions to choose from. Head for brunch to the Instagram-famous Sorensen’s Glasshouse or get your fill of Mediterranean cuisine at Leura Garage.

Take a leisurely stroll down the expansive Everglades Gardens which beautifully blend the Australian bush and with European-style landscapes or just walk around taking in the sights. Leura also has a number of fascinating bushwalks. Some to add to your list: Leura Cascades, Gordon Falls, Leura Forest, Sublime Point and Jamison Lookout. There are heaps of warm and pleasant cafes lining the streets and a distinct Edwardian-style charm to the village.

Distance: 1.5-hour drive from Sydney.

6. Terrigal, Central Coast

Terrigal NSW 2260, Australia

Image: Shutterstock

Living in NSW means being surrounded by some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. And while there’s no dearth of stunning beaches in Sydney, if you’re looking to get away from the maddening crowds, Terrigal on the Central Coast is an easily accessible location. Expect golden sand beaches, an exciting night life and loads of underwater activities.

Worth exploring is the tranquil Terrigal Beach, the Terrigal Haven, a small, sheltered cove across the main beach and it’s thriving local market scene. Also highly recommended is The Skillion, an iconic landmark with spectacular, gold-from-the-sun views of the town. Absolutely unmissable is the Avoca Beach Theatre which has been nominated as the top 10 most beautiful cinemas in the world and won a number of accolades for it’s old school vibe and nostalgic charm.

Distance: 1.5 hour drive from Sydney.

7. St Albans, Hawkesbury

Hawkesbury City Council
Hawkesbury City Council, NSW, Australia

Image: Visit Sydney Australia

The trip to St Albans is as pretty as the town itself. Passing through the outer suburb of Dural, you’ll travel along the Old Northern Road to the village. Have lunch at the delightful Settlers Arms Inn, nestled between mountains and valleys, it serves both amazing pub grub and genuinely great views.

For theatre, entertainment and dining options the Maltings Mall is an ideal option. For sailing, rowing and other activities, water enthusiasts will want to add Stanborough Lakes, a 126-acre water park to their list.

Distance: 2-hour drive from Sydney.

8. Blackheath, Blue Mountains

Blackheath NSW 2785, Australia

Image: Shutterstock

The quiet town of Blackheath is another gem in the Blue Mountains. And all the best things in the village are free. Anchored by stunning lookouts right from Govetts Leap to Anvil Rock, Blackheath is the place to be for the wild at heart. Lined along its beautiful streets are a number of cafes and galleries along with an exceptional shopping scene.

The Grand Canyon Track is an excellent spot to add to your itinerary with all the rainforest vibes and lush hiking trails.

Distance: 2-hour drive from Sydney.

9. The Entrance, Central Coast

The Entrance
The Entrance NSW 2261, Australia

Image: Shutterstock

If you’re after a coastal town, The Entrance makes for an excellent day trip. An old favourite amongst Sydneysiders, there are a number of activities to keep you occupied in this lovely seaside town. Beachgoers can swim or surf in the turquoise waters of The Entrance Beach while adventure enthusiasts can cycle the Tuggerah Lake to brilliant views. At the foreshore and high street, you’ll find a number of eateries and pubs along with live music and ice cream parlours. Also close by is Long Jetty which comes with a variety of retro shops and cosy cafes.

Distance: 2-hour drive from Sydney.

Credit: https://secretsydney.com/towns-close-to-sydney/

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