5 gorgeous places to inspire your next weekend away

Go pack your bags RN. Seriously.

By Ashley Noye

1. Tathra

This historic little town is packed with coastal charm. It’s a popular area for swimming, surfing, snorkelling, and fishing. But if you’re not into that, visit the Tathra Wharf, which houses the Tathra Maritime Museum and Wharf Locavore, a gorgeous modern Australian café. There are plenty of places to explore Tathra’s adorable quirks.

Where to Eat: Tathra Oysters
Tathra is famous for its rock oysters (aka nature’s Viagra), grown in the pristine, sparkling waters of Wapengo Lake, and Nelson’s Lake in Mimosa National Park. Try some of the freshly shucked beauties at Tathra Oysters or The Oyster Pot.

Where to Stay: Tanja Lagoon Camp, Tathra, NSW
Like the idea of getting amongst nature, but hate the idea of camping? Tanja Lagoon Camp is the way to go. Soak up the surroundings in a ~luxurious~ safari tent, equipped with its own kitchen facilities and ensuite (which means no communal showers!). You can even watch the wildlife/lagoon/campfire whilst enjoying a complimentary light breakfast. Ugh, glamping is so hard.

2. Jervis Bay

Okay, Jervis Bay is seriously pretty. Just LOOK at those white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. Dead. For some downright ‘grammable pics, check out beaches like Hyams and Seven Mile Beach. They’re also popular spots for swimming, kayaking, fishing, stand-up paddleboarding, boating, and surfing. Jervis Bay is also home to towering cliffs, and lush national parklands, perfect for picnics and bushwalks.

Where to Eat: Wild Ginger
Head to Wild Ginger on the shores of Jervis Bay for a Thai-inspired seafood banquet. Travel to nearby towns like Huskisson and Vincentia to sample top quality cheeses and popular NSW South Coast wines. YASSS.

Where to Stay: Paperbark Camp, Jervis Bay, NSW
Paperbark Camp is a tranquil bush hideaway, perfect for getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Stay in unique tented accommodation, complete with open-air ensuite to kangaroo-spot while you shower. The camp is eco-friendly, so you won’t find air-con/heating, TV, fridge, or power points. But, there is free Wi-Fi at The Gunyah, Paperbark’s dining room and communal lounge. Enjoy a lazy breakfast on the verandah, or explore the seriously gorgeous beaches and national parks. You’ll be one happy glamper.

3. Narooma

Keen for more activity on your getaway? Found on the Wagonga Inlet, Narooma is the ideal town for swimming, snorkelling, or scuba diving. Plus, it’s less than 10km from Montague Island, aka the seal kingdom of NSW. Yep, you can SWIM with adorable fur seals, plus get up close and personal with penguins, dolphins, and whales.

Our tip: Go in October, when seal numbers are at their peak (the most important factor, obvs).

Where to Eat: The Quarterdeck
Refuel post-seal swimming at The Quarterdeck, a quirky little café housed in an old boatshed over the water. Mismatched lights and multi-coloured chairs add an adorable, quirky charm to the place, and there’s live music all year round. Local seafood is the champion dish, served tapas style (insert sassy flamenco lady emoji).

Where to Stay: Surfbeach Holiday Park, Narooma, NSW
Is there anything better than flopping onto the bed after a long day of seal-swimming/whale watching/eating tapas? Not really. Surfbeach Holiday Park Narooma’s luxury cabins are just the place to do so. The park is in the prime spot on Narooma’s main surfing beach, and nestled within the Narooma Golf Course. It might not be quite as glam, but the view overlooking the ocean and Montague Island are ~dreamy~.

4. Port Stephens

How BLUE is that water?! Port Stephens is the ultimate beach getaway, just a few hours north of Sydney. Work on your tan at one of the 26 stunning beaches, or go see some Humpback whales show off their mad back flip skillz. If you’re a bit of an adrenaline junkie, check out the SANDsational (sorry) Worimi Sand Dunes, which you can hit on quad bikes with Sand Dune Adventures (SDA).

Where to Eat: Little Beach Boathouse
Treat yo’ self to some delish food and stunning waterfront views at Little Beach Boathouse. Housed in a restored boathouse overlooking Nelson Bay, Little Beach Boathouse is one of the best spots in town. Delish.

Where to Stay: Anchorage Port Stephens, Port Stephens, NSW
Live it up like Tay-Tay in one of the Hamptons-esque guesthouses at Anchorage Port Stephens. Services include complimentary Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, and room service until late (that’s what I’m talkin’ bout’). If you’re keen to dine out, The Galley Kitchen serves up some ~mouth-watering~ dishes. PLUS, Anchorage have their own day spa, Spa Lucca. BRB, booking a room.

5. Orange

Orange has something for everyone. Cafés, restaurants, wineries, beautiful parks and gardens, and a red hot cultural scene. This quaint little city is perfect for those of us who aren’t quite ready to part ways with the hustle and bustle of city life for the middle of nowhere.

If you feel like hittin’ the vino, the eleventh annual Orange Wine Festival is on from 14th – 30th October. Signature events include Party in the Vines, the Food and Wine Night Market, and Wine Central.

Where to Eat: Orange Region Farmers Market
Make sure to plan your getaway in time for the Orange Region Farmers Markets, held on the second Saturday of the month. What’s better than tasting fresh local produce? Tasting it from 40 different stalls.

Where to Stay: Duntryleague Guesthouse, Orange, NSW
If you’ve ever wanted to know what it would feel like to be in Downton Abbey, then Duntryleague Guesthouse is the place for you. This super elegant landmark sits amongst the botanical gardens of Duntryleague’s prestigious championship golf course (the SO will be happy about that). Rates include continental breakfast, and all rooms include the usual guest facilities (TV, fridge, hairdryer, etc.). FYI because Duntryleague is heritage listed, there is no elevator/disabled access. You’ll be workin’ those buns gurl!