From laidback to utterly adventurous, here's our pick of the state's best getaways.
Hunter Valley: About two-to-three hours north of Sydney (depending on traffic and which town you're heading to), the Hunter Valley is home to more than 150 wineries, many of them producing world-class semillon. Brokenwood, Krinklewood, Bimbadgen, Tempus Two and Tyrrell's are not only some of the region's best producers, but boast astonishingly scenic vineyards, too. Check into the charming Convent Hunter Valley Hotel or the chic Spicers Guesthouse if you want to turn up the luxe factor. Just don't forget to book a winery tour, perhaps in a horse-drawn carriage with Hunter Valley Classic Carriages.
The Blue Mountains: Hike through dense eucalypt forests, feast your eyes on vivid peaks in the distance and feel small next to soaring sandstone escarpments in this UNESCO World Heritage site just 1.5 hours west of Sydney. Families should check into the sprawling Fairmont Resort - complete with billiards room, arcades, indoor/outdoor pools, and tennis and basketball courts - then make a beeline for Scenic World, where you can ride the steepest passenger railway in the world and walk through Dinosaur Valley, while couples should ensconce themselves in the romantic universe of Lilianfels Resort & Spa, just a 10-minute walk from Echo Point with breathtaking views of the Three Sisters.
Port Stephens: Where in the world can you swim with bottlenose dolphins in the morning, chase humpback whales in the afternoon as part of a cruise and blast across legit sand dunes in a 4WD or a quad bike in the evening? In Port Stephens, on NSW's Mid North Coast, of course, dotted with pristine beaches where you can even saddle up on a camel for a coastal trek like nowhere else. Keep the adventure going by checking into Oaks Port Stephens Pacific Blue Resort, where onsite facilities range from enormous swimming pools to tennis courts.
Central Coast: There's never a dull moment for the kids on NSW's Central Coast, where activities range from kayaking and pedal-boating at Aquafun on the banks of Avoca Lake to horse riding, quad biking and abseiling at Glenworth Valley Outdoor Adventures, to ridiculously family-friendly beaches at every turn (Avoca, Terrigal, Macmasters and Copacabana, we're looking at you). Crowne Plaza Terrigal Pacific is located in the centre of all the action, with a dedicated Family Zone for kids and a peaceful spa for adults, when you want to escape the madness.
Jervis Bay: Contrary to popular belief, Hyams Beach does not have the whitest sand in the world (google it!). But it's white enough to hurt your eyes even when you're wearing sunnies. And that's not all; this part of NSW's South Coast is dotted with impossibly stunning stretches of sand (from Huskisson and Blenheim to Greenfield and Moona Moona) with varying levels of blinding-ness. Hunker down at Jervis Bay Holiday Park located next to its own slice of paradise: Currambene Creek.
Lord Howe: Lush mountains that rise like walls until they pierce the clouds, creamy beaches that give way to crystal-clear waters and heart-racing hikes with heart-stopping views... no, we're not talking about Hawaii. We're dreaming of Lord Howe Island, where there's a hideaway for everyone - from beachfront Admiralty Apartments for families to next-level luxury lodge Capella for those no-expense-spared special occasions.
Dubbo: You can totally roar and snore at Sydney's Taronga Zoo in a safari-style tent with harbour views. Or you could head to Dubbo, where Taronga Western Plains Zoo is 10 times larger and is home to more than 5000 animals (compared with Sydney zoo's 2000-plus). Just don't forget to book one of the African-safari-style tents at Zoofari Lodge. There are "rooms" with animal and bushland views, and we know which one we would be booking.
Sometimes the lure of the big smoke is just too hard to resist. And if thoughts turn to a Sydney staycation, then we have the perfect itinerary for you. Check out the dazzling Ribbon building in the heart of Darling Harbour, which is home to the just-opened and even more dazzling W hotel.
With 585 rooms, next-level interiors and an eye-popping rooftop infinity pool, it's the biggest W property in the world. But things get even bigger next door.
Housed in the same building you'll find the brand-spanking-new IMAX theatre, which has reopened after seven years and features a 692-square-metre (or six storeys tall) screen, 4K laser projection and reclining seats that'll give business-class seats on domestic aircraft a run for their money.
W and IMAX are a hard act to follow, but not if you drop in at Maybe Sammy (which has just been named - fifth time in a row - Australia's best watering hole by the World's 50 Best Bars) in the Rocks and book a table at the brand-new Martinez Restaurant in Circular Quay, where chefs Alex Wong and Andrea Sonnante are leaving diners speechless with their fab French fare.
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