It's been a summer of devastation for a staggering portion of NSW. Drought has been followed up with the most devastating bushfire season on record—the impact of which will be felt in rural communities, and Australia more broadly, for years and years to come.
As well as donating to bushfire relief, attending bushfire relief parties here in Sydney, or shopping from brands donating dollars to bushfire or drought appeals—you can do your part to help rebuild and support NSW by simply jumping in the car, picking your best road trip playlist and spending the weekend exploring one of the State's beautiful regional areas.
We love a local escape here at Urban List, and right now and this year, these quick trips are going to hold a whole lot more meaning.
Side note: We're loving the Empty Esky initiative, encouraging us foodies and adventure seekers to support rural businesses across Australia.
For more good reasons to get road tripping, here are all of the best things to do in regional NSW this month.
Lock-In A Sweet Weekend Getaway At This Coast Meets Bush Farm Stay
The farm’s location is hard to beat—you’ll find it neighbouring the towering gums of the Woollamia Nature Reserve, but also just 8 minute’s drive to Huskisson Beach, and 12 minute’s drive to the famous white sands of Hyams Beach.
The farm is also home to two mischievous baby goats (Dilly and Flip), five miniature ponies (Queen B, Tina Turner, Babe, Noni and Denise), three friendly chickens (Chicken Little, Blacky and Big Red) and, if you’re lucky, in the early morning mist, bands of shy wallabies too.
With rolling gardens, four spacious bedrooms, a large kitchen, laundry, outdoor terrace and a huge “fun room”, this farm stay is perfect for a weekend getaway with mates, a last hurrah summer trip, or a hens or bucks weekend.
Let The Long Weekends Roll, This Iconic South Coast Glampsite Is Offering 3 Nights For 2
Right now, Paperbark Camp is encouraging Australians to support the NSW South Coast, which has now been deemed safe to visit, and in the wake of the recent bushfires, are offering three nights of stay for the price of two. The “three nights for two” offer is available from $935 per couple and includes two dinners and three breakfasts for stays before February 29, 2020.
Peppered across 100 hectares of beautiful bushland, Paperbark Camp has four different kinds of canvas safari tents (pending how all-out you want to go). The Original Safari Tent has a wrap-around deck with outdoor furniture, solar panel lighting and even a private open-air ensuite bathroom with a hot shower. The Deluxe Safari means all that and a free-standing bath, and the Deluxe Plus Safari Tent includes a bath with a view and an additional sundeck with star gazing loungers.
Make Your Way To This Music Festival On Top Of An Extinct Volcano
Located in around Bathurst Region, the Inland Sea of Sound is a music, arts and culture festival you won’t want to miss. Why? Because Missy Higgins, Killing Heidi and Thando are casually locked in to perform. If you haven’t heard of this festival before, it’s pretty major due to his emphasis on all things sustainability and respect for the local Wiradyuri people. It also takes place on the summit of Wahluu – Mount Panorama (yes, an extinct volcano), which means you’ll be in for the most incredible scenes ever.
When: Friday 28 and Saturday 29 February
Where: Mount Panorama, Bathurst
Head #BackToBilpin With 50% Off At Eden Farm Escape
BILPIN, BLUE MOUNTAINS
From the creative team behind The Grumpy Baker (who have just opened another outpost in Coogee), Michael Cthurmer and Deborah Goodman, Eden Farm Escape is a picturesque farm stay in the Blue Mountains. It's made up of five charming and dog-friendly cabins and a working farm (featuring horses, pigs, goats, alpacas, miniature donkeys and more), and miraculously, was fortunate enough to only suffer minor damage during the December fires. Importantly too, no farm animals were harmed!
Cthurmer and Goodman are keen to bring tourism back to the small community, kicking off the #BackToBilpin hashtag and offering 50% off accommodation for the rest of January and throughout February.
Head over here for more details.
Discover The Bells Line Of Road
The Bells Line Of Road is one of the Blue Mountain's most rewarding routes—at just 90 minutes from Sydney, it's a must-do for cider and nature fans and, thanks to the heroic efforts of the NSW Rural Fire Service, it is officially open for business.
Drop into Bilpin Cider and Hillbilly Cider for boozy tastings, or wander through the absolutely incredible Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens. Though the fire came very close, Scenic World was also saved. It's a hands-down favourite of ours, and if you haven't been you need to go. Scenic World's Scenic Railway is the steepest passenger railway in the world, transporting you into the lush Jamison Valley where you'll spy ancient trees and Blue Mountains wildlife.
Added extra? Following the absolutely crushing devastation of the fires, some bushland in the Blue Mountains has started to sprout stunning new shoots of green. A welcome sight for anyone overwhelmed by this summer's endless images of fire-ravaged bushland.
Settle Into The Historic Settlers Arms Inn
This picturesque sandstone pub in the Hawkesbury Region is just a two-hour drive from Sydney and Newcastle, and it looks like something out of a storybook with its green and white awnings, convict-hewn sandstone and beautiful, rolling gardens. After experiencing a massive lull with people hesitant to travel due to bushfires, the team made an appeal on Facebook, asking people to drop in for a beer and good times. They’re open throughout the holiday period, are well-clear of fire danger, they have accommodation available and, as if all that wasn't enough, they’re dog-friendly too! So grab your furry friends and make a weekend of it and support this gorgeous country pub. Check it out here.
Visit Beautiful Braidwood
Across the worst of the bushfire crisis, Braidwood—a historic town in NSW's pretty tablelands region—was completely cut off with the Kings Highway engulfed in flames and smoke. This week, that road has reopened, after a team of specialists (read: legends) worked around the clock to ensure the 43km stretch of road was safe to drive on once more.
The impact has been extra devastating on local businesses in Braidwood—making now a brilliant time to suss this extra special village out. If you've never been, Braidwood is just under three hours drive from Sydney, somewhere between Bateman's Bay, Goulbourn and Canberra.
Art-enthusiasts will love to stay in one of Mona Farm's dreamy lodgings (the property's contemporary art collection is one of the biggest in regional NSW, and the sculpture gardens are second to none). Dojo Bread is also a must-see (or must-eat), and we are big-time fans of Mr Mr Store, which is led by one of our favourite jewellery designers, Braidwood local Laura Miers.
Looking for more ways to support bushfire affected communities? Head here to find out more.
Image credit: Solstock, Bells Line, Peta Pesta, Yvette de Wit