Berrima is a charming, historic village. Established in the 1830s, it's now considered the best-preserved Georgian town on the Australian mainland. Buy handmade country produce at the Two Skinny Cooks, Mrs Oldbucks Pantry and The Little Hand-Stirred Jam Shop; sort out your sweet tooth at the Lolly Swagman; and revamp your winter wardrobe at The Australian Alpaca Centre. For a hatted fine dining experience, stop for lunch at Eschalot, housed in a gorgeous heritage building. The Berrima River is lovely for an afternoon walk - keep an eye out for platypuses - and there are 16 wineries to visit in the surrounding district. For some thrills (and a dose of local history), check out the light and audio show at the Berrima Courthouse or book yourself a ghost tour.
Find Berrima 134 kilometres (or 90 minutes' drive) southwest of Sydney, in the Southern Highlands, just off the Hume Highway.
Find Bundanoon 149 kilometres (or 100 minutes' drive) southwest of Sydney, in the Southern Highlands.
To add some surf and sand to your country town experience, head to Thirroul. English author D.H. Lawrence put the place on the literary map in the early '20s, when he lived there while writing his novel Kangaroo. Spend some time on the one-kilometre long beach or in the ocean pool; sample excellent fish and chips at local eateries; or take your bicycle and try out the local cycleway, which runs along the coast.
Find Thirroul 71 kilometres (or one hour's drive) south of Sydney. Catch a train if you want leave the car at home.
Framed by endless rolling farmland, Jamberoo is one of the prettiest country towns within cooee of Sydney. Spend the afternoon at the welcoming pub, where football memoribilia lines the 'Johnny Warren Dining Room' and free live music usually happens on a Sunday (bigger names like Wes Carr and Ian Moss drop by on Saturday nights for ticketed gigs). Alternatively, make tracks to the famous Jamberoo Recreation Park or, to factor in some beach time, pop over to Kiama, just 15 minutes' drive east.
Find Jamberoo 114 kilometres (or 100 minutes' drive) south of Sydney.
If your ideal day out involves exploring book shops, shopping for curiosities and loads of tasty treats, Berry is the country town for you. Key attractions include the Berry Sourdough Cafe, Broughton Antiques, Goldfish Toy Shop, Pompadours Chocolate House, The Berry Tea Shop and The Treat Factory. For relaxation, take some time out in the laid back Great Southern Inn.
Find Jamberoo 143 kilometres (or two hours' drive) south of Sydney. There's a train station, if you don't feel like driving.
Leura is one of the most beautiful towns in the Blue Mountains - and there's some fair competition. The hardest part is deciding whether to spend your day marvelling at natural wonders like the Leura Cascades and the stunning views afforded from Cliff Drive or exploring some human-made goodness, from tip-top coffee shops to the Toy and Railway Museum, where you'll find the country's biggest collection of toys.
Find Leura 99 kilometres (or 90 minutes' drive) west of Sydney. Catching the train is an option.
With a population of just 500 or so, Bilpin is one quiet spot. Once you've toured the CBD, which consists of a Post Office, a hardware-grocery shop and an eatery, you'll be ready to take in the surrounds and, most importantly, Bilpin's famous apples. A must-do experience is popping into a local orchard for a help-yourself fruit picking session. In addition, Mt Tomah Botanic Garden is just 15 minutes' drive, as are plenty of bush walks and lookouts. Visit on a Saturday to explore the Bilpin Community Market, where the apple pie is legendary.
Find Bilpin 90 kilometres (or 80 minutes' drive) northwest of Sydney.
Wollombi is the first stop for many a Sydney-sider on the way to the Hunter Valley region. It consists of a scattering of inviting shops, including The Wollombi Quilt, The Wollombi Wool Store and The Wollombi General Store, which dates back to the 19th century and stocks an array of locally-made honey, jams, oils and relishes. Leave yourself time to follow the Wollombi Wine Trail, winding through several boutique wineries and avoiding the crowds that can get overwhelming in the Hunter.
Find Wollombi 130 kilometres (or 100 minutes' drive) northwest of Sydney.
Morpeth is where Hunter Valley weekenders go to break up their wine tasting with interesting, eclectic shops, selling everything from independent fashion to hand-crafted jewellery to unusual antiques. Then, of course, there's that renowned Morpeth sourdough. Stroll along the river when you're done.
Find Morpeth 165 kilometres (or two hours' drive) northwest of Sydney.