Beautiful street view in Berry, New South Wales, via Willowtreehouse /

7 Serene Towns in New South Wales for a Weekend Retreat

Escape the hustle and bustle of city life with a journey to some of the most serene towns in New South Wales. Whether you're seeking a tranquil retreat nestled in the heart of nature, a coastal haven with whispering waves, or a historic village brimming with charm, NSW offers a plethora of destinations that promise relaxation and rejuvenation. Each town in this list is a treasure trove of unique landscapes, activities, and local culture, making them perfect for a weekend getaway.


The architecture of covered walkways, arches, and wrought iron decorative balconies in Bellingen
The architecture of covered walkways, arches, and wrought iron decorative balconies in Bellingen. Image credit James Davis Photography via Shutterstock

Nestled in a verdant valley beside the Bellinger River, Bellingen is a haven for nature lovers and creative souls alike. This picturesque town is renowned for its vibrant community, eclectic mix of cafes, galleries, and music festivals such as the Bellingen Music Festival. A stroll down the leafy, heritage-listed main street offers an array of artisanal shops and historic buildings, creating a sense of stepping back in time.

For the adventurous, the surrounding landscapes offer magnificent opportunities for bushwalking in the Dorrigo National Park, where the Skywalk lookout provides breathtaking views of the rainforest canopy and waterfalls. The Bellinger River is perfect for kayaking, offering serene waters and lush greenery, making Bellingen an idyllic retreat for those looking to immerse themselves in nature and culture.

Kangaroo Valley

Street view of Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales
Street view of Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales

Kangaroo Valley, a charming country town situated between the Cambewarra and Barrengarry mountains, is a testament to untouched natural beauty. This scenic gem offers visitors the chance to unwind amidst rolling hills, lush forests, and a tranquil river that flows through the valley. The historic Hampden Bridge, Australia’s oldest suspension bridge, serves as a gateway to the town’s rustic charm and rich colonial history.

Activities in Kangaroo Valley are abundant, from kayaking on the Kangaroo River to exploring the lush trails of Morton National Park. The town’s friendly locals, quaint shops, and cozy cafes add to the relaxed atmosphere, making it an ideal location for those seeking peace and quiet. The local vineyards and farms also offer a taste of the valley’s fresh, local produce, ensuring a delightful experience for the senses.


Shops and pedestrians along Leura Mall.
Shops and pedestrians along Leura Mall. Image credit Stephen B. Goodwin via Shutterstock

Leura, known as the Jewel in the Crown of the Blue Mountains, offers an enchanting escape with its Edwardian-style streets, stunning gardens, and panoramic views of the mountains. The town's main street, Leura Mall, is lined with cherry blossoms in spring and offers a delightful mix of boutique shops, art galleries, and cafes. The Everglades Historic House and Gardens is a must-visit, showcasing beautifully landscaped gardens and art deco design.

Adventure seekers will find Leura a convenient base for exploring the natural wonders of the Blue Mountains, including the iconic Three Sisters and the breathtaking Wentworth Falls. The town’s quaint atmosphere and natural beauty make it a perfect retreat for those looking to relax and rejuvenate amidst the splendor of nature.


Town center in Mudgee, New South Wales
Town center in Mudgee, New South Wales

Mudgee, with its charming 19th-century streetscape, vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see, and a vibrant food scene, is a feast for the senses. This town is a foodie's paradise, boasting over 40 family-owned vineyards, gourmet eateries, and artisanal markets. The Mudgee Wine Walk is a popular way to explore the town’s rich viticulture, sampling exquisite local wines along the way.

Beyond its culinary delights, Mudgee offers a rich tapestry of history and culture, with its heritage-listed buildings and museums narrating the town’s past. The surrounding nature reserves, such as the Wollemi National Park, provide a serene backdrop for outdoor activities like hiking and bird watching. Mudgee’s blend of gastronomic excellence and natural beauty makes it an ideal destination for a relaxing weekend away.


People in restaurants in Berry, New South Wales
People in restaurants in Berry, New South Wales, via stanciuc /

Berry, a quaint village nestled in the Shoalhaven region, is the epitome of country charm with its historic buildings, lush landscapes, and friendly community. The town is a hub for artisanal craft and local produce, with markets, boutique shops, and bakeries lining its picturesque streets. Berry’s proximity to the coast also means that visitors can enjoy the best of both worlds: tranquil countryside and stunning beaches within a short drive.

The Drawing Room Rocks hike, offering panoramic views of the coastline and escarpment, is a highlight for nature lovers. Meanwhile, the Berry Historic Museum provides insights into the town’s rich heritage. Whether you’re exploring its scenic beauty or enjoying the warmth of its community, Berry promises a peaceful and enriching retreat.


Werri Lagoon Gerringong, New South Wales
Werri Lagoon Gerringong, New South Wales, via Astrid Turner /

Gerringong is a picturesque coastal town located on the Illawarra coast of New South Wales, offering breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere. This hidden gem is renowned for its stunning beaches, such as Werri Beach, which is a haven for surfers and beachgoers alike. The town's rolling hillsides, home to dairy farms and vineyards, present a beautiful contrast to the rugged coastline, providing visitors with a diverse range of scenic experiences.

Aside from its natural beauty, Gerringong is rich in cultural heritage, with the Gerringong Heritage Museum showcasing the town’s history, from its Aboriginal roots to its development as a coastal village. The town also boasts a vibrant local arts scene, with galleries and workshops displaying the work of local artists. For those who enjoy the outdoors, the Kiama Coastal Walk extends from Gerringong to Kiama, offering walkers stunning ocean views and the chance to spot whales during migration seasons. Gerringong’s combination of coastal charm, cultural richness, and natural beauty makes it an idyllic retreat for anyone looking to unwind and soak in the serene atmosphere of a coastal town.


Street scene and shop fronts in the historic village of Millthorpe, New South Wales
Street scene and shop fronts in the historic village of Millthorpe, New South Wales, via Warren Lloyd /

Millthorpe, a picturesque village in the Central West region of New South Wales, stands as a testament to its gold rush heritage with well-preserved 19th-century buildings and cobblestone streets. This charming town is not only a step back in time but also a contemporary retreat with its boutique wineries, acclaimed restaurants, and vibrant arts scene. The Millthorpe Markets, held twice a year, showcase the region's best produce and crafts, attracting visitors from across the state.

Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy exploring the surrounding countryside, which offers beautiful landscapes and opportunities for cycling and picnicking among the rolling hills. The town's friendly atmosphere and slow pace of life encourage relaxation and reflection, making Millthorpe a perfect destination for those seeking a peaceful escape with a touch of nostalgia and elegance.

The Takeaway

New South Wales is home to numerous towns that offer serene retreats from the fast-paced city life. From the artistic allure of Bellingen to the historic charm of Millthorpe, each town boasts its unique character and beauty. Whether you’re in search of adventure, relaxation, or a taste of local culture and history, these seven towns provide the perfect backdrop for a rejuvenating weekend getaway. Pack your bags, hit the road, and prepare to explore the tranquility and splendor of these hidden gems.

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