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Top 5 Country Getaways in NSW

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by Tim Falk (subscribe)
A freelance writer with an interest in just about everything.
Published December 3rd 2014
Get out of the city and into the wide open spaces of NSW
Whether you're looking to head north, south or west from Sydney, New South Wales is home to some fantastic holiday destinations.

We've previously looked at the Top 5 Beach Holiday Spots in NSW, so here's our list of the top five towns for a country getaway in NSW.

Kangaroo Valley
Rolling green hills, fresh air and cascading waterfalls - Kangaroo Valley is just as pretty as its name implies. Less than two hours south of Sydney, the peaceful surrounds of Kangaroo Valley have been caling those eager to escape the concrete jungle of the city for decades.

Kangaroo Valley, Top 5 NSW Country Getaways
Image: North Sullivan; Destination NSW

Image from Destination NSW

If you're looking for relaxing country getaways, this place has to be on your short list. There's a sleepy atmosphere to Kangaroo Valley that makes the pace of life slow down, and there's a special feel as soon as you cross the unique Hampden Bridge to enter the town.

You can indulge in meat pies purported to be the best in the world, browse unique and eclectic local stores, or simply get back to nature. From sugar gliders and possums to platypuses and wombats, there's ample native fauna in the valley. Of course, you're also bound to see a few of the animals for which the valley was named - unsurprisingly, they're here in abundance.

But the true beauty of Kangaroo Valley is probably best summed up by the man who discovered the valley in 1812, George Evans, who said it offered a view "no painter could beautify".

If you've ever explored the wineries of the Hunter Valley, you will have spent some time on the winding country roads around Pokolbin. Pokolbin sits at the heart of the Hunter Valley wine region, which also happens to be the oldest wine growing region in Australia.

Pokolbin, Top 5 NSW Country Getaways
Image: Destination NSW
Image from Destination NSW

Surrounded by more vineyards than you'll be able to count and gazing out at the Brokenback Range, Pokolbin is the perfect spot from which to start your Hunter Valley country getaway. There's more than 120 wineries in the area, so prepare yourself for a big weekend of cellar door hopping. You can visit some of the bigger and more well-known producers, or just follow your nose (and taste buds) to stop in anywhere that takes your fancy.

There's plenty of other natural produce in the area to sample, including everything from boutique beers to gourmet cheese, or you can explore the beautiful surrounds on a hot air balloon ride.

And when you need somewhere to rest your head, you seemingly can't drive more than a few-hundred metres without coming across a cosy B&B.

Continuing the wine theme, Mudgee is an ideal location for a NSW country getaway. No matter which direction you start exploring from this country town, you won't have to travel far before you come across vines.

Mudgee, Top 5 NSW Country Getaways
Image: Ben Janeczko; Destination NSW
Image from Destination NSW

Wine has been made here since the 1850s, and today there are around 30 cellar doors for you to visit. Chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and shiraz are the hallmarks of the region.

If wine isn't your cup of tea, there are plenty of other gourmet foodie experiences on offer. You can wet your whistle at the Mudgee Brewing Company, tuck into a hearty breakfast at the Butcher Shop Cafe or stock up on fresh produce at the Mudgee Fine Food Markets. There's also a host of fine dining options to explore.

Other options for activities include bushwalking in Wollemi National Park, perusing local art galleries or just exploring one of many winding country drives through the area.

The NSW north coast is stacked with wonderful little towns that are perfect for escaping the city. But while many of us stick to the coast and the beautiful beaches, there's even more pristine beauty if you look just a little bit inland.

Bellingen, Top 5 NSW Country Getaways
Image: Hamilton Lund; Destination NSW
Image from Destination NSW

Bellingen is one such town. Found inland from Coffs Harbour and roughly halfway between Sydney and Brisbane, this sleepy village runs along the banks of the picture-perfect Bellinger River. The abundant greenery and lovely water views draw many to the region, as does nearby Dorrigo National Park, but there's more to Bellingen than just natural beauty.

Boasting something of a New Age feel, this relaxed town has a strong arts scene and happily welcomes all sorts of travellers. You can explore the work of local artists or even drop by for the annual Bellingen Jazz Festival, or just wander the local markets to pick up some fresh produce or hand-made crafts.

From boutique guesthouses to backpacker hostels and even eco huts, there's accommodation to suit all sorts in Bellingen, so add it to your bucket list of NSW country towns to visit.

Perched at the edge of Kosciuszko National Park, Jindabyne offers a unique experience to travellers taking NSW country holidays. It's the perfect base from which to explore the Snowy Mountains and hit the skifields, but there's plenty to see and do in the region outside of winter as well.

Jindabyne, Top 5 NSW Country Getaways
Image: Don Fuchs; Destination NSW
Image from Destination NSW

There's abseiling, rock climbing, horse riding and mountain biking for adventurous travellers, as well as fly fishing for those who like to enjoy life at a slower pace. The town itself sits alongside Lake Jindabyne, which provides wonderful opportunities for trout fishing and all sorts of watersports.

This breathtaking part of the world was perfectly captured in Banjo Paterson's The Man From Snowy River, so why not take a road trip to explore this iconic region of Australia?
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Why? Explore country NSW
When: All year round
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