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Cheap ways to spend summer

Regions across New South Wales where you can spend less these holidays.

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As the weather warms up and the year winds down, there’s plenty of things to see and do that won’t break the budget. From stunning coastal escapes to a country tree change, we take a look at hot spots across New South Wales that won’t cost you a fortune this summer.

Hunter and Central Coast regions

Watch a movie under the stars

Newcastle Permanent’s free Cinema Under the Stars event is back for the summer season. The family-friendly outdoor cinema will be screening blockbuster films across a variety of locations including Newcastle, Maitland, Lake Macquarie and the Central Coast.

Embrace the holiday spirit

Santa Claus is coming to town! Deck the family out in festive cheer, pack a picnic and spend a free evening singing along to your favourite carols at Lake Macquarie’s Carols by Candlelight on 8 December or Newcastle’s Carols by the Beach on 22 December.

Get back to nature

After a long year cooped up in the office or classroom, recharge your batteries by getting out into the fresh air and sunshine. Blackbutt Nature Reserve is teeming with wildlife ranging from reptiles and roos to koalas and wombats. Along with a variety of self-guided walking trails, the reserve also hosts daily animal feedings and a reptile show. Scoot, skate, cycle or simply stroll the Fernleigh Track which offers 15km of uninterrupted pathway along a former rail corridor connecting Adamstown to Belmont. For a more adventurous experience, Glenrock State Conservation Area is great for mountain bike riding or hiking through the rainforest where you can enjoy waterfalls along the way.

Take a bath

As the temperatures rise, cool off in one of Newcastle’s iconic ocean baths. Take your pick between Newcastle Baths, Merewether Baths, or visit the popular Bogey Hole – the oldest ocean pool on Australia’s east coast which was cut out of the rock platform by convicts back in 1819.

Mid-North Coast region

Watch a movie under the stars

Newcastle Permanent’s free Cinema Under the Stars event is back for the summer season. The family-friendly outdoor cinema will be screening blockbuster films across a variety of locations including Forster and Port Macquarie.

Sample local produce

Stop in and sample a local market anywhere along the Mid-North Coast, which stretches from Forster up to Port Macquarie. With dozens of options to choose from, you’ll find a wide range of stalls offering fresh produce, free entertainment and artisan items. It’s an opportunity to grab some unique products to gift for Christmas and you’ll also be supporting the local community. Market dates and frequencies differ between towns, so do a quick search ahead of time to see what’s on in the area.

North Coast and Far North Coast regions

Watch a movie under the stars

Newcastle Permanent’s free Cinema Under the Stars event is back for the summer season. The family-friendly outdoor cinema will be screening blockbuster films across a variety of locations including Coffs Harbour, Lismore and Ballina.

Sea it to believe it

Undoubtedly, one of the main reasons to visit the North Coast is to soak up the beach lifestyle that places like Byron Bay and Ballina are renowned for. White sand, crystal clear water and warm temperatures make it a haven for water sports. Be sure to pack some snorkelling gear to take advantage of the abundance of sea life living beneath the surface or try your hand at surfing if it’s on your bucket list.

View from the top

Stretch your legs and walk up to the Byron Bay Lighthouse for some great photo opportunities. Not only is it the most eastern point of Australia, but it also offers stunning coastal views and you can often spot whales and dolphins frolicking out in the ocean.

Connect with culture

The North Coast provides a range of options to experience the Indigenous customs of the region’s traditional land owners. Be immersed in local artwork at one of the many Aboriginal art galleries or take a guided tour to tickle your taste buds with bush tucker from the area.

North West and Central West regions

Watch a movie under the stars

Newcastle Permanent’s free Cinema Under the Stars event is back for the summer season. The family-friendly outdoor cinema will be screening blockbuster films across a variety of locations including Mudgee, Dubbo, Tamworth, Armidale and Orange.

Visit a farm

Escape the hustle and bustle of major towns and discover your country roots with a farm visit that will delight both the little and big kids. Roll up your sleeves and spend a couple of hours or a whole day being immersed in unique experiences ranging from fruit picking and feeding animals to learning about crops and farm machinery.

Nothing to wine about

It is the season to celebrate and what better way to do so than by sampling some incredible Australian wines? The growing conditions across New South Wales are some of the most diverse in the country, resulting in award winning wines that are often showcased alongside fresh local produce. With many cellar doors offering complimentary tastings, commemorate your trip by bottling up some of the Central West to take home with you.

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. Information in this article is current as at the date of publication. We do not recommend any third party products or services and we are not liable in relation to them. Any links to third party websites are for your information only and we do not endorse their content.

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