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Seven Destinations in NSW That Are Perfect for That Long Overdue Group Trip

Get the gang back together at one of these glorious riverside, beachfront or mountaintop locations.
By Olivia Gee
May 27, 2022
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By Olivia Gee
May 27, 2022
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SEVEN DESTINATIONS IN NSW THAT ARE PERFECT FOR THAT LONG OVERDUE GROUP TRIP

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Get the gang back together at one of these glorious riverside, beachfront or mountaintop locations.

When we were kids, spending time with our favourite people — our mates — was a regular occurrence. Nowadays, with different schedules and responsibilities, catching up is trickier to coordinate. And organising a group trip? Even harder.  

Trust us when we say the slog — juggling competing preferences and calculating budgets — is worth it once you're all together. The sense of belonging you'll experience when surrounded by people with shared passions or history is simply unmatched.

To minimise holiday admin and finally get your gang on the road, we've investigated destinations around New South Wales that are ideal for a getaway with friends. Whether you're part of an outdoorsy circle or you hang with folks who prefer to spend their leisure time at a constant recline, there's something here to satisfy every taste in vacay.

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    There couldn’t be a better spot to gather for a feast after a day’s exploration than in the mess hall of The Shearers Quarters at Kimo Estate. A 12-person gaggle of friends can spread out in this rustically renovated shed that sits within 7000 acres of rolling sheep- and cattle-grazing land.

    The earthen, knobbly kitchen benches are ideal for cooking up a storm after touring the Gundagai wine region or dropping lines in the Murrumbidgee and Tumut rivers searching for a catch of trout, Murray cod, yellowbelly or bream to bring to the barbecue.

    If you’re an adventurous lot, consider planning your trip around the estate’s five-day horse riding program, or jump out the front door and into a helicopter for a stunning flight through the Snowy Mountains foothills.

    Image: Destination NSW

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    The rocky outcrop of Montague Island (AKA Barunguba), nine kilometres off the coast of Narooma, is a stunning location for friends to kick back and reconnect. Since its construction in 1881, the Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage has been carefully restored with all the comfortable mod-cons and now accommodates up to 12 guests.

    Your booking here includes boat transfers plus a guided tour of the historic lighthouse and short island walking loop — at its widest, the island measures 1.4 kilometres long and 525 metres across. Keep your eyes peeled for families of little penguins who come to shore to breed, fur seals sunning themselves on the rocks in winter and whales and dolphins surfacing over nearby waves during spring.

    The surrounding waters are part of a nature reserve, meaning they’re ideal for snorkelling, scuba diving and kayaking adventures, which can be organised through local tour operators. Want to explore more of this region? Check out our road tripper’s guide to the far south coast.

    Image: Destination NSW

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  • 5
    St Josephs Guesthouse

    You can practically skip stones into the Hawkesbury River from this magnificently restored 19th century church. The grand sandstone structure has been divided into five private bedrooms (four with ensuites, one with an in-room clawfoot tub), a kitchen, dining area and living room complete with movie projector screen.

    The deck and plunge pool are welcome features for the warmer months, while a soaring steel steeple protects the rooftop lounge area from the elements for optimal sunset sessions by the fire pit. If you can drag yourself away from this ultimate chill-out pad, visit your hosts for dinner at the Settlers Arms Inn (which they also run) just five minutes up the road.

    And if you want to extend your stay in the area, hit the Womerah Range trail for a challenging two-day hike that takes you to the remote Heartbreak Hill campground in the Parr State Conservation Area.

    Image: Destination NSW

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  • 4

    Half house, half sculpture, this blazing white abode juts out dramatically from the escarpment overlooking Belanglo State Forest. The award-winning, open-plan casa is from the mind of celebrated architect Harry Seidler and was completed in 2000.

    Breathe in the panoramic vista through floor-to-ceiling windows or from the viewing deck that thrusts even further towards the Wingecarribee River gorge, before taking a dip in the pool hidden in the rocky gardens.

    Up to eight guests can while away a holiday at Seidler House, flitting lazily between the open fireplaces and entertaining areas while spying on wombat, kangaroo and koala neighbours. Or, venture into the nearby townships of Joadja, Mittagong and Bowral to seek out wineries, gourmet dining, boutiques and antique stores. Bowral’s emporium of vintage wares, Dirty Janes, and its neighbouring clutch of garden shops, cafes and restaurants provide a fabulous taste of Southern Highlands charm. Want more Southern Highlands tips? Check out our weekender’s guide to the region

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  • 3

    The white sandy shores and lush subtropical forest of Lord Howe Island can only be explored by 400 lucky visitors at any one time. So, if you want to swim through these aquamarine waters, you’ll need to snap up accommodation for your crew, quick smart.

    Looking for an isolated sanctuary? You’ll find a private oasis among a forest of kentia palms and banyan trees at Island House, which accommodates up to eight guests across two villas. These carefully curated, light-filled spaces feature sleek Danish furnishings and kitchens stocked with island-grown and -caught produce, plus a bevy of top-shelf drinks.

    The venue will also kit you out with all the equipment you need for your explorations, offering everything from fishing gear, snorkels and fins to glass-bottomed paddleboards, pushbikes, yoga mats and trekking accoutrement. The team can also help you book a tour for anything that can’t be attempted solo, such as deep sea fishing, scuba diving or hiking more arduous trails like the dizzying Mount Gower ridge. Head here for more Aussie island inspiration. 

    Image: Destination NSW

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    Goonoo Goonoo Station

    Around 9000 cattle are still run at the historic Goonoo Goonoo Station, just 25 minutes south of Tamworth. But in recent years, this gem has become best known for its boutique accommodation and award-winning on-site dining offering, Glasshouse Restaurant.

    The buildings that once made up the station village (many dating back as far as the 1840s) have been expertly restored in a massive project, which has delivered a spectacular event destination and unique holiday spot. Of the nine transformed heritage buildings, The Homestead is the largest. It sleeps up to ten guests and includes a private pool, billiard room and epic views of the undulating landscape from every sitting room and sunchair.

    What to do when you’re not reclining or dining at the station? Visit local landmarks like the Big Guitar, the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame or the Tamworth Regional Gallery. And if boot-scootin’ is your group’s jam, line up your trip with the next Tamworth Country Music Festival (January 13–22, 2023).

    Image: Destination NSW

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  • 1
    Blue Lagoon Beach Resort

    Stake your claim on the sand at Shelly Beach by booking a couple of waterfront cabins at Blue Lagoon Beach Resort. These airy beach pads sleep four adults a piece, in a classic family holiday atmosphere — think bunk beds and no-fuss wicker furniture. So, pack your easy-breezy picnic attire, bodyboard and sandcastle-building kit to match the laidback vibe of this quiet corner of the Central Coast.

    To relive more childhood thrills, ascend to dizzying heights at Treetops Adventure and soar through the eucalyptus canopy of Ourimbah State Forest. There are a series of stomach-churning ziplines and aerial obstacle courses, which you can mellow out from over a cruisy paddle around Tuggerah Lake (kayaks can be hired at The Entrance Boat Shed).

    Or, for a more gastronomical exploration, head to a factory tour of Little Creek Cheese — with plenty of tasting opportunities — or learn how to make your own dairy dreams come true at a lesson. Find more Central Coast tips over here.

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If you are looking for more places to feel a sense of belonging in New South Wales, head to visitnsw.com.

Top image: The Seidler House

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