It’s been a long week, but finally the weekend is here! Fortunately, Canberra is the perfect gateway to explore some of the continent’s most stunning natural beauty. Journey a little bit outside Australia’s capital and you’ll discover world-class wine regions, gorgeous mountain scenery, pristine bays, and glorious beaches.
Planning a short business trip and looking for a place to unwind over the weekend? Here are our top 8 weekend escapes from Canberra.
Enjoy a peaceful or adventurous weekend in the heart of NSW’s rural beauty: the Southern Highlands. Just one and a half hours’ drive north-east of Canberra, this region is world-renowned for gorgeous national parks brimming with exotic wildlife, scenic country towns, and wide range of outdoor activities.
If you’re keen for an outdoors adventure, follow the hiking trails to the stunning summit and scenic lookout at Mount Gibraltar. Zipline through rainforest and enjoy stunning views out over the Pacific Ocean at the Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk, officially the highest zipline tour in Australia.
Bushwalk and enjoy stunning views of native eucalypt forests, sandstone cliffs and mountain ranges at Nattai National Park, or explore Budderoo National Park’s gorgeous rainforest walks. Explore the Wombeyan Caves, or canoe or kayak along the beautiful Kangaroo River.
Investigate picturesque historical towns like Bowral, Mittagong, Berrima or Bundanoon, where you can relax and feast on delicious handmade produce and local wines.
Just two and a half hours drive from Canberra, the Snowy Mountains’ stunning alpine scenery is perfect for travellers with an adventurous streak.
From here, you can climb Australia’s highest peak, Mount Kosciuszko, or explore the spectacular Yarrangobilly limestone caves and thermal pools beneath Kosciuszko National Park.
Enjoy camping or bushwalking through snow gum forests, or canoe, swim or raft along the Snowy River. Jindabyne’s stunning lake is the perfect place to enjoy water sports and fishing in summer, and the perfect base for skiing and snowboarding in winter.
Canberra’s wine region is home to an impressive 140 vineyards and more than 30 cellar doors. The region is within easy reach of the capital, just 40 minutes’ drive, making it the perfect choice for a quick and relaxing weekend escape.
Spend a laid-back afternoon, touring local wine cellars, relaxing in stunning vineyards, and sipping on world-class local wines.
Batemans Bay is a favourite weekend destination for Canberra locals, and for good reason. This charming seaside town, nestled in the Eurobodalla region on the mouth of the beautiful Clyde River (famous for its oysters), is known for its laid-back seaside lifestyle.
The region offers ample opportunities for bushwalking and cycling with more than 400 kilometres of scenic cycling routes. Book a cozy cabin or pitch a tent at Murramarang National Park, where kangaroos graze. Swim, fish and enjoy water sports along the long, sparkling white beaches. Catch a wave at popular surfing spots such as Wasp Head, Depot, Pebbly and Merry Beaches. Don’t forget to keep a lookout for amazing wildlife, such as kangaroos, parrots, penguins, seals and whales.
Kangaroo Valley, a picturesque valley and small, heritage-listed town on New South Wales’ South Coast, is definitely worth a visit if you’re looking to immerse yourself in Australia’s unique natural scenery and enjoy bushwalking, bird watching, and country cafe hopping at a relaxed pace. Featuring wildlife-rich rainforests and lush, uniquely Australian countryside, this valley is so beautiful that the National Trust decided to list the entire region for protection.
If you’re a fan of waterfalls, visit the nearby Morton National Park, home to the spectacular Fitzroy Falls, or explore the Carrington Falls campground or Belmore Falls walking track.
Only one hour from Canberra, Braidwood is a true gem for visitors interested in Australian history. A cozy little gold rush town which prospered during the nineteenth century, the town wears its history on its sleeve. On every street, you’ll find charming details and architecture. In fact, it’s one of the few towns left in Australia to preserve its original Georgian town plan.
If you’re looking for a restful weekend, Braidwood is an excellent place to explore adorable boutique shops and sample the specialist local produce.
Blessed with gorgeous sandy beaches and a majestic lake, Merimbula is a coastal town just three hours’ drive from Canberra. Known as the ‘Gem of the Sapphire Coast’, the town is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy a serene seaside break. Visitors are spoilt for choice with options for swimming, sailing, surfing and wildlife-spotting. Enjoy the surf at Merimbula Main Beach and spot whales, dolphins and seals bobbing under the water from the Short Point lookout. Take a relaxing stroll along the Merimbula Lake Boardwalk or explore the coastal trails at Bournda National Park.
#8 Escape to Budawang National Park
If you’re an experienced camping or hiking enthusiast, Budawang National Park is the perfect place to pull on your hiking boots for an adventurous weekend expedition. Just two and a half hour’s drive away from Canberra, this national park’s rugged wilderness area, deep valleys and pristine, high-altitude forests make it a great spot for hiking. Explore the difficult yet rewarding Mount Budawang trail for spectacular, 360-degree views of the Budawang Range, Durras Mountain, New South Wales coast, Clyde River valley, and Braidwood’s Mt Gillamatong. Camp down beside the Yadboro River at Long Gully campground and enjoy clear views of the starry night sky.
Like to experience a Canberra weekend getaway in style? Contact Hughes Limousines on 1300 615 165 and hire one of our luxury chauffeured cars today.