Dreaming of a destination wedding with endless skies and cotton-puff clouds? An exquisite landscape as the backdrop to your special day? I’ll let you in on a not-so-secret secret: destination weddings don’t have to be far-off and exotic to be beautiful.
Your dream wedding destination might be right in our own Aussie backyard. Well, maybe not the backyard with the old Hills Hoist and the swimming pool. But the backyard with the wide blue sky and the blue-hazed gums and the exciting city-scapes and sparkling river ways. Oh, yes!
NSW is full of stunning locations for your destination wedding, from the sharp coastal glory of the sea and sky, to the sun-drenched regional inland towns, to the lush bushland and rainforests that stretch from one end of the state to the other. Whatever your style, whatever your preference, there’s a place to get married in New South Wales that will speak to your heart on your wedding day.
12 Best Destination Wedding Locations in NSW
Sydney is a chameleon of a city, with a thousand locations and just as many moods. It’s not difficult to find a wedding venue that offers all the good vibes and logistical ticks you’re looking for. With plenty of nearby spots for wedding photos, the choices are huge.
Wedding photos in The Rocks, Sydney. Image: Florent Vidal Photography
Going for tradition and timelessness? The sandstone and waterfront backdrop of the Rocks is classic golden beauty. Want the gritty, funky feel of urban mod? Try one of the industrial, repurposed factories found hidden away on the city’s rim.
Intimate and lively events can be booked in the many private rooms with views of the harbour. There’s loads of private elopement and mini wedding venues in Sydney too. Think historic pubs and award-winning restaurants. And if you’re looking for something a bit different there’s Luna Park or Taronga Zoo.
Sydney also has an excellent choice of eco-friendly, ethical, not-for-profit & pay-it-forward wedding venues. There’s all types of goodness in this grand and bustling city!
2. Hunter Valley
A mere two hours drive north of Sydney and close to Newcastle Airport, the Hunter Valley offers rolling hills, wide open green spaces and spectacular views across picturesque vineyards.
Wineries provide you and your wedding guests plenty to do. Sample the fruits of the local land with a wine tasting tour on bicycles and enjoy the many world class restaurants on offer. You can even explore the beautiful landscape from one of the region’s many hot air balloons.
There’s a huge choice of wedding venues in the Hunter Valley. It’s a great location for a long table wedding reception in the great outdoors and most farms and wineries have indoor options too. Plenty of estates will offer a marquee wedding if you’d rather DIY or prefer to create a space in a less well-trodden location.
The region is familiar with weekend holiday makers and home to many international music & cultural events, so there’s plenty of private properties and other accommodation options available to house your guests before and after your wedding.
3. Central Coast
The Central Coast boasts all the urban advantages of a city mingled with the softer, slower feel of the country. There’s some quirky destination wedding options here like the reptile park with native Australian crocodiles and Tassie devils for example. You can get married on a boat, at the beach, or in an old, converted factory. The classic options are also available: restaurants, golf clubs, and hotels abound, and the garden gifted from the Japanese city of Edogawa is spectacular in any and every season.
A mere hour north of Sydney, the Central Coast offers the same long summer days and temperate evenings - without the urban price tag. Accommodation is plentiful and affordable and your wedding guests will love the easy access to beautiful beaches. There’s a great variety of wedding venues on the Central Coast and finding availability is often much easier than other wedding destinations.
4. The Illawarra
An extremely popular location for destination weddings, the Illawarra region is all about fresh produce, farm life and the beautiful views out to the ocean. There’s plenty of adventurous, fun, and active options for you and your guests, from hang-gliding down from Stanwell Tops to skydiving over the ocean. Kitesurfing and windsurfing are available for water-lovers and cyclists will enjoy the challenge of the Sydney-to-Gong ride.
The Illawarra region features spectacular cliffside venues with ocean views, lush national parks, a vibrant food and arts scene, and the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere: Nan Tien Temple. Many wedding venues offer accommodation on-site, too, so your guests can celebrate through the night and sleep in come the morning.
Popular wedding spots are Kiama, Gerringong and the area’s biggest city - Wollongong. Make sure you enquire with wedding venues in the Illawarra early, as they book out months in advance thanks to the region’s gorgeous outlook and close proximity to Sydney.
5. Southern Highlands and Southern Tablelands
With over twenty townships in the region, the Southern Highlands and Southern Tablelands are two of the most popular places for destination weddings in Australia. These networks of small towns have spectacular old churches for your ceremony, all the classic venues for your wedding reception, and no shortage of accommodation or entertainment for your guests coming in from out of town.
The incredible Bendooley Estate in the Southern Highlands.
Coffee trails, heritage trails, food trails, tucked-away museums about the region’s history, and art exhibitions will keep your wedding guests busy. Long Sunday drives are a popular event in this picturesque countryside which you can also enjoy with a cycling tour available through many of these tiny towns. It’s also a short drive to Kangaroo Valley, where wildlife-and-nature lovers will find some exciting wedding venues set in the native Australian bush.
Wedding venues in the Southern Highlands include some unique and fascinating properties. There’s a book barn, farms, private golf course, heritage listed properties and places you can exclusively hire for the entire weekend. Being an easy drive from both Sydney and Canberra, you’ll want to enquire with venues early - they’re regularly booked out 18 months in advance.
Known as Australia’s Food Bowl, this destination wedding location is a must for foodie groups and wine-lovers. There’s award-winning wineries and breweries, locally-made cheese and chocolates and farmers’ markets bursting with fresh, local produce. The area is also an adventurous couple’s dream. The Murrumbidgee River runs through the region providing camping, fishing, hiking, and mountain-biking options for your entire guest list.
The largest town in the area, Wagga Wagga, has not only gorgeous gardens and parks for wedding ceremonies, but tranquil riverbank locations for you to exchange your vows. Just a couple of hours away lie the Snowy Mountains - Australia’s main alpine and ski resort - available for camping and stays through the summer. Accommodation is in high demand throughout the ski season.
The beauty of the Riverina is guaranteed to provide an iconic Australian setting for your destination wedding. It’s also an affordable location and less busy than other holiday places in NSW. Wedding venues in the Riverina tend to have better availability too, being slightly further afield from the larger cities.
7. Regional NSW
Blue Wren near Mudgee has a beautifully modern, white canvas shed for your wedding reception + 5 bedroom farmhouse.
Head out west of the Great Dividing Range and NSW’s regional towns offer a broad spread of possibilities for your destination wedding. Bathurst has a cheerful and celebratory reputation from its Gold Rush heritage, aided and abetted by the yearly Bathurst 1000. If you enjoy car racing, Bathurst will certainly get your engine revving. The town has several cute wedding venues and plenty of accommodation.
Orange is a quiet and dignified setting with crisp snowy winters and cool-climate wines. Mudgee is an international by-word for it’s wineries and farms. Meanwhile Tamworth revels in its title of ’Country Music Festival Capital Of Australia’, brassy-bold and full of laughter. Exchange your vows in the area’s world-heritage-listed Wollemi National Park, or at quirky boutique wineries.
A short flight or a long and rolling drive from Sydney, Regional NSW offers a culture-rich wedding experience that will be enhanced in the knowledge that you’re supporting the much-needed tourism in an area that was not only badly affected by the bushfires of 2020 but also hit by the preceding years of drought. Following these events, regional areas were further affected when the Covid 19 virus put restrictions on travel and tourism. There’s a surprising number of great wedding venues in regional NSW should you feel inclined to lend these communities your support by bringing your wedding to town.
8. South Coast
Stunning beaches of endless white sand and cliff-top ocean views combine with bushland and coastal farmlands to provide a great range of South Coast wedding venues. Guests can kayak, snorkel, or scuba dive in the crystal clear waters around Jervis Bay, and animal lovers will delight in the opportunity to see dolphins, fur seals, penguins, and the annual whale migration.
The area boasts all the choice in wedding venues you could ever want. There’s luxury resorts, glamping & festival-style venues, farms, wineries and boat houses. There are venues where you can book out an entire property for your wedding and DIY it all yourselves. There’s a great range of properties where your entire wedding party and guests can stay on location with you for the weekend. There’s small, intimate wedding venues for elopements and micro weddings. And there’s plenty of places where your international guests will love watching kangaroos in the early morning and late afternoon.
Whatever your pleasure, the South Coast has all the options. Perhaps for this reason, it is one of the most popular wedding destinations in Australia. Venues have limited availability 12 months in advance so if you want your pick of dates, you’ll need to enquire early.
9. Blue Mountains
Frosty air in the morning, magpies warble in the dawning,
Lookout ’cross the views: bush greens and sky blues,
Walking through Blue Mountains winterland!
World-famous for the Three Sisters, the Scenic Railway and Skyway, and the picturesque views off the long escarpment, the Blue Mountains region has opportunities galore when planning out your destination wedding. Hotels with hundred-year histories, private properties, quaint and quirky villages, and traditional pubs all provide venue possibilities, as well as activities and accommodation for your guests. For a truly unique destination wedding, a mere hour away from the main Blue Mountains township of Katoomba, you can be married in a stalactite-lined limestone cave. Your guests can stay at the one hundred and twenty-three year old hotel nearby.
Lithgow State Mine Heritage Park. Image: Samantha Heather
The Blue Mountains is a popular tourist location so there’s no shortage of activities to engage your guests here. They’ll love the bushwalking, mountain bike riding, birdwatching, shopping and learning about the rich history of the region - but beware! Certain times of year are considerably busier than others. Avoid from Christmas through to early in the New Year, as well as the Easter Long Weekend.
Wedding venues in the Blue Mountains include quaint restaurants, heritage listed buildings, state mine railway, Air Bnb’s and some fabulous spa retreats and resorts. Winter weddings are likely to enjoy snow and the area enjoys beautiful evening temperatures in summer.
10. North Coast
For the free-footed souls seeking a wedding destination that reflects their life style, the North Coast has everything from beaches of surf, sun, and glittering white sand, to walking trails through national parks that overlook the ocean. There’s lots of beautiful private places for small and secluded weddings & elopements.
If the great outdoors isn’t your style, there are luxury yoga retreats and eco-resorts, oceanfront and riverfront resorts, and plenty of venues tucked in the towns off the long and winding highway headed up to the Queensland border. Spot humpback whales off the coast from May to November, dolphins in the ocean in the spring, and koalas in the gumtrees all year round.
Wedding venues on the NSW North Coast include several budget options that provide flexibility for DIY and BYO events. Demand isn’t as intense in some spots along the north coast so it’s a great place research waterfront venues.
11. Byron Bay and Surrounds
The easternmost region of mainland Australia has not only a fantastic ocean outlook, but a classy vibe - perfect if you’re a sophisticate looking for buzz and boutique. The warm weather lends itself to the glamour and romance of an evening wedding and the views make a dazzling backdrop to your wedding day. Whether you choose the long haze of the ocean horizon or the rolling hills of the hinterlands, you can not find a venue that doesn’t offer one of the country’s most beautiful wedding backdrops.
Beautiful views from Ardeena Events in the far North Coast region. Image: Janneke Storm
Wedding venues in Byron Bay and its surrounding country towns include boutique hotels, weekend retreats and high end large AirBnB’s. Kayaking, following coastal trails, shopping, dining, celebrity spotting and mingling down on the beach are highlights of this popular tourist haven. The area is a foodie’s paradise, considerate of vegans, vegetarians, and people with specific dietary requirements.
12. Off the Beaten Track
And if you don’t particularly want to hold your destination wedding somewhere where everyone else has been, NSW is some 800,000 square kilometers of sun-washed land, and has any number of places to get away from the well-worn routes. Find an off-the-beaten-track wedding venue that suits you, whether an eco lodge deeply set in rainforest, a farmstay out beneath the sparkling night sky, or campsite out in the National parks.
Ultimately, NSW has plenty of stunning wedding destinations with world class views and excellent service. From high end luxury to affordable and fun, you’ll find a perfect destination wedding venue in NSW.