Best Winter Getaways For Families And Kids Near Sydney
The fun doesn’t have to freeze just because the temperature does, and with regional travel back on the itinerary after months of isolation, it's finally time for a little adventure! Make the most of the chilly weather with cosy accommodation, warm fireplaces and fresh, crisp air.
From 1st June you can officially jump in the car for a road trip anywhere in NSW, so starting planning that sneaky weekend getaway or a fun school holidays escape. There are a whole lot of amazing places to discover in our own backyard, and here are some awesome kid-friendly ideas to take the family away this winter.
The Fairmont Resort, Blue Mountains
A pleasurable 90-minute drive from Sydney, The Fairmont Resort is one of the most kid-friendly places ever and doesn't skimp on luxury. You might even get lucky enough to catch a bit of snow while you're up there! Nothing could be better than actually enjoying the cold weather with log fires, cosy rooms, fresh mountain air and even the Christmas in July giant tree in the beautiful high-ceilinged foyer. The Fairmont really does have it all when it comes to children, too. Kidzone has a circus carousel, mini-car rides, a mini train, two HUGE play centres, ball pits, a mirror maze arcade, mini bowling alleys and heated pools. Parents can relax with a spa treatment or warm up in the jacuzzi knowing the kids are having the time of their lives.
Check out our review of the fabulous Fairmont Resort.
Crowne Plaza, Terrigal
Who says you have to avoid the beach in winter? Crowne Plaza on the NSW Central Coast shines all year round with views of the gorgeous coastline. Kids will love the iconic (heated) pool, table tennis and arcade games in Florida Beach Bar, with easy access to the beach for sandcastle making and, if they dare, a dip in the ocean! During school holidays there are extra activities for kids, including cupcake-making, pizza-making, plaster-painting and more. Read our Crowne Plaza Terrigal review!
Nearby, there is loads more to do with children, like exploring the nearby national parks, seeking out scaly and furry friends at the Australian Reptile Park or swinging from the trees at Treetop Adventure Park.
With a 2.5-3 hour drive from Sydney, Bathurst offers a vibrant city centre steeped in history, surrounded by gold-rush villages and stunning natural landscapes. Some of our family picks include the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum, with a HUGE T-Rex skeleton in its centre, as well as Abercrombie House, the luxurious mansion you can explore with peacocks strutting around the grounds. Kids will love the Bathurst Miniature Trains, where you can hop on board a mini steam train, as well as run amok in the daring Bathurst Adventure Playground! While in the area, check out Ben Hall's Caves, where many a bushranger of times gone by were known to hide out.
If you happen to be there for the Bathurst Winter Festival you're in luck! Historic buildings will come alive through static and interactive illuminations, breathing life into old buildings every night from sundown. Wander through the Enchanted Forest or rug up in the Winter Playground with the open-air ice rink, giant Ferris wheel and two-storey carousel. Oh and we hear the mulled wine is amazing! Read our Guide to Bathurst.
Don't be fooled, there's nothing boring about Canberra! It will be nice and cold down there so it's a fun way to really enjoy the winter months. For kids, it is a HAVEN of fun, indoor activities, and Questacon and the National Science Museum are a dream come true. Kids will have fun in an earthquake simulator room, as well as the free-fall slides and a volcano section to name a few. The Dinosaur Museum is a must-see for kids with a love of pre-history, and the large replica dinosaurs will have them in absolute awe.
You can get a bit of a history lesson, too, with a trip to Parliament House or the War Memorial. Check out some of Canberra’s awesome playgrounds, including The Pod at the National Arboretum, plus Kings Park and Weston Park Playground. There’s so much to see and do in Canberra, we guarantee the kids won't have time to be bored. Take a look at our Canberra family weekend review.
The beautiful region of Orange is known as Australia’s 'Colour City'. Just a 3.5-hour drive from Sydney, there is so much going on in Orange. We recommend stopping off along the way at Mayfield Gardens in Oberon to see 5000 acres of nurseries, roaming chickens, a worm farm, cafe and produce store. The Orange Botanic Gardens house everything native and exotic, so stop by for a picnic and get a taste of the local history at the Orange Regional Museum – there are vintage horse and carts and old cars on display, which kids find really cool. Our top pick for families is Heifer Station, a petting zoo, farm and winery rolled into one! Kids will pet alpacas, goats and Shetland ponies and play in a giant sandpit, while you sip on delicious local wines. Amazing! Read our Guide to Orange.
If you happen to be there for the Winter Fire Festival, the three-day event showcases Orange and its surrounding villages at its winter best, with a program that’s guaranteed to get you fired up!
Fabulous Farm Stays
There’s something about winter and fresh country air that go so well together! Here are awesome farm stays we’ve already checked out and these ones have been given the ellaslist seal of approval:
Bilpin Springs Lodge
This farm stay and B&B is only a short 90-minute journey away past spectacular mountain scenery, sandstone walls and endless green fields. You'll feel immediately at home, greeted by friendly service to show you around the facilities, including games room, canoeing and hiking. The rooms are warmed with reverse cycle air and heated towel racks, and you'll enjoy a delicious provided breakfast of fresh farm eggs, sausages and local produce. Michael, the owner, will delight children by introducing them to the resident chooks, pony and alpaca. Read our Bilpin Springs Lodge review.
What is the icing on the cake of any good farm stay? A fireplace! Read our guide to the best farms stays with fireplaces.
Calmsley Hill City Farm
This gem really gets kids involved with the animals and the ins and outs of farm life. You'll see working dog displays, sheep shearing, stock whipping, and even have a go at cow milking! There are some awesome native animals to see such as koalas, wombats, kangaroos and heaps of birds. This is a true 'farmer for the day' experience. Oh, and it's only 40 minutes from Sydney! Check out more about our ellaslist experience at Calmsley Hill.
Mowbray Park, Picton
A lovely 90-minute drive from Sydney, this getaway includes accommodation, all-day activities, three meals a day and access to the whole farm! Kids will love horse riding, tennis, archery, boomerang-throwing, bush dances, a campfire and, of course, all the animal feeding experiences that make for a genuine farm life stay. Parents can relax and breathe in the fresh air while kids are at the kids club, out collecting eggs and milking cows! Check out some more about Mowbray Park.
Nothing says winter like snow and kids will love an adventure, adrenaline-packed getaway skiing! NSW has some awesome places to take the family skiing and, most importantly, they offer fabulous kids' clubs and lessons! Thredbo is a great option for the FREE Snow Play Area where kids can take a break and chill out. Thredboland has families with kids from 3-6 years covered with fun activities including races with LED flares! Perisher is also fantastic at taking care of families. They have daycare for 6 months to 3-year-olds and full-day programs for older children.
A big highlight is Tube Town in Perisher Valley, where you can ride down the snow in inflatable tubes!
Check out our full skiing with families guide.
There is so much for families to do in the Kangaroo Valley, a pleasant 2-hour drive from Sydney. If you're visiting on the second Sunday of the month, then sample the best produce the region has to offer at the Farmers' Market, or check out the markets on the fourth Saturday of the month for a more eclectic range of stalls. Take a photo under the Victorian-era style Hampden Bridge and take a kayak or canoeing trip right under it! Little legs will be able to manage the scenic walk to Mannings Lookout, where you'll pass peppermint trees and gums, before getting a view over the whole valley.
Step back in time at the Kangaroo Valley Pioneer Village Museum, where you can wander through Rendell Cottage, an old-fashioned bush school, a once-upon-a-time dairy, and then settle in for a gentle bushwalk or picnic on the grounds. If you can't get to the valley during winter, don't fear! May is a great time to go during the Kangaroo Valley Arts Festival, or in February for the beloved Kangaroo Valley Show. Find out more in our guide to Kangaroo Valley.
Who doesn't love the Hunter Valley? Hunter Valley Zoo, where you can hand-feed llamas, goats and kangaroos, as well as pat koalas and listen to keeper talks about the friendly little meerkats, is a highlight for families. Aqua Golf and Putt-Putt, where you can smash balls out as far as you can into the water, is also great fun, and they are known for giving out awesome prizes for lucky golfers here! Get a sugar rush at the Hunter Valley Chocolate Company to see jelly bean towers, a chocolate fountain, or other delights being made. Our ultimate winter pick is definitely the Hunter Valley Gardens!
The gorgeous, quaint, charming and heritage-filled Southern Highlands is less than two hours from Sydney and full of beautiful towns and family-friendly places to check out. Although it's in its prime in September for the amazing Tulip Festival, Bowral never disappoints. Cricket-lovers big and small will love the interactive, cutting-edge Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame, as well as the glorious views from Bowral Lookout.
We also love Bundanoon, where there are awesome bushwalks inside the Morton National Park, as well as a brilliant display of glow worms to be ogled over at Glow Worm Glen. If you stop in Berrima, make sure you get some quiet reading time and a cake at the Bendooley Estate Book Barn or take in some local history at the gorgeous Harper's Mansion. Read our complete Southern Highlands guide.
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