Sydney’s beautiful harbour, hidden beaches and sprawling parks all beg to be explored by new expats, but for those who have been in Sydney for a while, a break from the city is sometimes necessary.

The areas surrounding Sydney make for great weekend getaways. Just a few hours out of the city, adventurers can find stunning scenery and the chance to glimpse local wildlife such as koalas, kangaroos, wombats, platypuses and dolphins, not to mention miles of empty beaches.

Weekend breaks from Sydney

Blue Mountains

A trip to the Blue Mountains is probably the most popular weekend getaway from Sydney as it’s only a short drive. The bluish haze that surrounds the soaring crags is the result of the oil produced from the many eucalyptus trees. On crisp sunny mornings, visitors will also notice the wonderfully refreshing smell of eucalyptus in the air.

A drive to Katoomba, the largest town in the upper mountains, affords expats the chance to explore lush bushwalking trails, ranging from family-friendly treks to more challenging rock-climbing routes.

The most popular attraction in the Blue Mountains is a distinct rock formation known as the Three Sisters. To catch a better glimpse of these interesting rocks, visitors can hop on a Scenic World train, cableway, walkway or cable car to better view the area. Expats shouldn't miss the Jenolan Caves, rich in Aboriginal and geological history. The large network of caves dazzles with brilliant crystal formations and pristine underground rivers. And if expats are lucky and plan the day right, they might just spot a platypus; these unique creatures live along the Blue Lake next to the main entrance of the caves.

Hunter Valley

Hunter Valley is a dream come true for any foodie looking to spend an indulgent weekend outside of the city. The Valley is one of Australia's oldest wine regions and is best known for its superb Semillon. Visitors can sip on the region's famous wines while taking in the view of the seemingly endless vineyards.

Southern Highlands

There are a number of great spots in the Southern Highlands, all offering something unique. Visit the Tulip Time festival between September and October, enjoy lunch in a cosy cafe in Bowral or explore Berrima, a historic and well-preserved Georgian village.

On the other hand, nature lovers or those simply looking for a respite in the outdoors would do well to rent a cabin in the country. The deeper into the wilderness one goes, the better the chances of spotting wallabies, wombats and kangaroos.