Best Places to Elope in New South Wales
Best places to elope in New South Wales! This is your planning guide to having an elopement in the amazing state of New South Wales (NSW). We’ve done all the work for you, and discovered the perfect locations around New South Wales for you. Get inspired for your awesome day and try to narrow down the locations that inspire you and appeal to you both.
New South Wales is a state located on the east coast of Australia. It has Queensland to the north of it and Victoria to the south. It is the most populated state of Australia, with over 8 million people. The city of Sydney is the capital city. And NSW is a beautiful place to have an elopement with a huge variety of locations and regions to consider.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are over 40,000 marriages each year in New South Wales alone.
NSW has so many amazing locations for the elopement of your dreams. All these places and locations are absolutely gorgeous and you can have an awesome small wedding or elopement at each of these locations. It really just depends on the style of elopement you want.
Say your vows on the white sandy beaches of the central coast as migrating whales swim by. Drink wine and explore the vineyards in the Hunter Valley. Or can get married on a mountain top in the Blue Mountains or Snowy Mountains. The choices are endless.
- 1. Sydney Elopements
- 2. Goosewing Cottage Hunter Valley
- 3. Lincoln’s Rock (Flat Rock), Blue Mountains
- 4. The Snowy Mountains
- 5. Jenolan Caves
- 6. Somersby Falls
- 7. Watagans in Olney State Forest
- 8. Lord Howe Island
- 9. Kanangra-Boyd National Park
- 10. Hyams Beach
- 11. Byron Bay
- 12. The Firs – Stewarts Brook State Forest
- 13. Wolgan Valley
- 15. Mungo National Park
- 15. Capertree Valley
- 16. Sydney Aquarium
- 17. Horse Head Rock
- 18. Norfolk Island
- 19. Stockton Sand Dunes
- 20. Bouddi National Park
- 21. Budgong Lodge
- 22. Dangar Falls, Dorrigo National Park
- New South Wales Elopement Regions
- Frequently Asked Questions About New South Wales Elopements
1. Sydney Elopements
Sydney is the capital city of NSW and it is the oldest and the largest city in Australia. It has arguably the most beautiful harbour in the world, with it’s two iconic landmarks. The Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. With a population of over four million people so it is safe to say that Sydney has a lot of wedding each year.
The city of Sydney is built around the harbour and there are so many elopement locations hidden all around the harbour. Parks, beaches, bays and National Parks are all over and around Sydney Harbour.
Sydney is also full of hundreds of wedding venues. From large wedding and function centres to more intimate and unique properties, venues, restaurants that are more catered to elopements. Making it one of the best places to elope in New South Wales.
To get an idea of what a beautiful Sydney elopement, check out our ‘real elopement’ feature of this intimate Sydney elopement. It should give you some inspiration for your Sydney elopement.
2. Goosewing Cottage Hunter Valley
Goosewing Cottage would have to be one of Australia’s premier destinations for rustic, country elopements in New South Wales. It doesn’t get any better or any easier than elopements at Goosewing.
This amazing place is totally dedicated to elopements. They don’t do big weddings, they don’t do parties, they just do elopements. And they do them really, really well.
Located in Mount View in the Hunter Valley, this is one of the most stunning locations in the Hunter Valley for an elopement. You can stay overnight in their large homestead or cottage and then have your sunset ceremony, followed by photos. They have all-inclusive elopement packages and do all the planning for you. So all you need to do is show up, get married and have an amazing experience.
If you are looking for a rustic, country elopement in a stunning location then this would have to be top of your list.
3. Lincoln’s Rock (Flat Rock), Blue Mountains
If you are looking for a mountain top elopement, with a huge, death-defying drop, then Lincoln’s Rock in the Blue Mountains might tick all the boxed for you.
The Blue Mountains is a world heritage listed area with huge mountain peaks, deep gorges and waterfalls. It is a beautifully rugged landscape and is perfect for an epic elopement. And this location is particularly epic.
Due to the power of social media, this once-hidden location can get pretty busy with tourists. All trying to get that sitting on the edge photo. So if you want to elope at this location then make sure you get a permit and think about having in mid-week and not during school holidays.
4. The Snowy Mountains
The Snowy Mountains region in NSW is the highest mountain range on mainland Australia. And it contains Australia’s highest mountain, Mount Kosciuszko (2,228 m). So you know it is totally spectacular for an elopement.
The Snowy Mountains is located about 5 1/2 hours drive from Sydney or you can fly into the airport located 15km from Cooma. And there are quite a few locations within the Snowy Mountains that would be great elopements. These include Cooma, Jindabyne, Berridale, Adaminaby, Perisher Valley, Thredbo, Charlotte Pass, Lake Crakenback and Selwyn Snowfields.
For an elopement, I would recommend just to avoid peak ski season. It is just too busy and everything is booked out. Spring, Autumn and Summer are good options.
5. Jenolan Caves
Elope in one of the worlds most spectacular cave formations at the Jenolan Caves. Do something completely unique and different for your elopement and get married at an underground wedding venue.
The Jenolan Caves are limestone caves located west of the Blue Mountains in the Central Tablelands region of NSW. The caves stay at a constant temperature of 15°C and there are nine of the three hundred caves are open to the public. There is accommodation available onsite at the Jenolan Caves House and the surrounding landscapes are quite beautiful.
If you had your elopement ceremony here, it would be in a big limestone cave with stalactites and stalagmites surrounding you. It would be fairly dimly lit, almost in an ancient or medieval setting. With the sound of a violin playing the setting could be extremely romantic and dramatic.
So if you are looking for something a little different to the normal that this place might be the perfect elopement location for you.
6. Somersby Falls
Somersby Falls on the Central Coast of NSW is one of the most spectacular sets of waterfalls in NSW that is so easily accessible. It is located less than an hour from Sydney in the Brisbane Water National Park and it is a beautiful location for a waterfall elopement.
This beautiful waterfall is probably one of the easiest waterfalls to access. It is just an easy stroll down some steps from the car park and over a few rocks and then you are at the first waterfall.
It has two main sets to it. The first one is the biggest and most popular. It has a little creek that people swim in and a nice open rock area to sit and watch the falls.
Then it is just a couple of hundred metres walk down to the bottom of the falls where the landscape opens up a bit more into Floods Creek. The bottom of the falls is another magical place but it is really slippery. Once you leave the stone steps you are basically crawling over moss-covered rocks. So take it easy and be careful.
If it hasn’t rained for a while the falls can be less than impressive, but after some recent rain, the place looks spectacular. It is extremely popular in summer and on the weekends. So if you are thinking of an elopement here, I would do it early, late and mid-week.
7. Watagans in Olney State Forest
The Pines Picnic Area in Olney State Forest is one of the most beautiful forests in NSW and is a real hidden gem that most people don’t know about.
Olney State Forest is located west of Lake Macquarie and it is bordered by Watagans State Forest, Wyong State Forest and Watagans National Park.
The area that is amazing is a small pocket of forest called The Pines Picnic Area and this slash of pine trees were planted in the 1920s and 1930s and they are incredibly impressive when you see the area. You can have your ceremony in the pine forest and then take a short walk to a couple of waterfalls. There are also a number of camping areas close by where you can make a set yourselves up. Contact the State Forest for a permit.
8. Lord Howe Island
Stay on a beautiful subtropical island and have an elopement on Lord Howe Island. This tiny island is located in the Tasman Sea east of Port Macquarie just a two-hour flight from Sydney or Brisbane.
It is a tropical paradise located in New South Wales! The first thing you notice when you see Lord Howe Island is Mount Gower, which at 874 metres, towers on the island. The water is crystal clear and full of fish and sea life. And this island has many beaches, coves and hills to explore.
There are various dining and accommodation options but Lord Howe Island will only accommodate up to 400 people, which actually makes it even more special.
Have your ceremony on a beach, in a park or at a lookout with views out over the island. Wedding photography opportunities here are literally endless as the island is stunning. If you had your elopement here you would get unbelievable photos.
9. Kanangra-Boyd National Park
Kanangra-Boyd National Park and in particular, Kanangra Walls Lookout offers some of the best views in Australia in my opinion and would make an epic elopement location.
It is located about 3 1/2 hours drive from Sydney, about 45 minutes from Jenolan Caves, and is part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.
From the car park, it is an easy ten minute walk to the lookout but please note that it is unfenced and there is a seriously huge drop below. So it is not suitable for young children. And no photo is worth taking unnecessary risks. But the views are incredible.
From the lookout you can see over Kanangra Deep and also the Kanangra Walls. Out in the distance there is also Mount Cloudmaker. You can walk around and do the Plateau Walk which is equally incredible.
10. Hyams Beach
Would you want to elope on the beach with some of the whitest sand in the world? You can at Hyams Beach!
Hyams Beach is a tiny village town located in the Shoalhaven city of Jervis Bay. It has a population of just over one hundred people and it is said to have some of the whitest sand in the world. If you have never experienced this kind of sand, it is a fine powdery type of sand that actually ‘squeaks’ when you walk on it.
I would avoid eloping at this location in Summer or school holidays as the population explodes from 100 to over 4000 people. But other times it would be perfect.
You don’t get such white sand and such blue water in many places around the world. This makes it one of the best beach locations to elope in Australia.
11. Byron Bay
Byron Bay is a coastal town located on the northern end of New South Wales, close to the Queensland border. Renowned for its spectacular ocean views, sweeping countryside and an easy going lifestyle, Byron Bay is one of the most beautiful coastal towns in Australia.
Byron Bay is very popular with tourists and locals looking for a weekend getaway destination. It is also fast becoming one of the most popular destinations for weddings and elopements. Some of the accommodation and properties that can cater to an elopement are unbelievable.
There are also some lovely places for photos around Byron Bay. There is of course the beautiful beaches with their rocky outcrops. Clarkes Beach and Fiasherman’s Lookout would have to be a couple of my favourite locations. Cape Byron Lighthouse. And Kitten Falls is a big beautiful waterfalls that you can walk under and swim in.
Byron Bay is a perfect location for an elopement and a perfect place to start your honeymoon.
12. The Firs – Stewarts Brook State Forest
The Firs is like another world and one of the most amazing places I have ever visited. So if you are looking for a magical place to elope in, then look no further than here. This is one of the most enchanting places to elope in Australia.
This small pocket of enchantment is located in Moonan Brook near the Barrington Tops National Park. It is just over four hours from Sydney by car or three hours from Newcastle.
It is a wonderful drive as you ascent up a mountain into the Stewarts Brook State Forest. And the temperature changes so much from the bottom of the mountain to the top. It was a nice, slightly overcast day at the bottom, and at the top it was misty and about ten degrees colder. In winter it often snows!
I did an engagement session at this place and I didn’t want to leave and I can just imagine that an elopement ceremony here would be even more amazing.
13. Wolgan Valley
Wolgan Valley is a beautiful valley located along the Wolgan River in the Lithgow region of NSW. It is part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and it has some of the most majestic Australian landscapes around.
Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley is the major resort there, but there are a few other farms, cottages and properties in the area where you may be able to elope.
The photo below is from a recent elopement I photographed there, and from the picture, you can see just how big it is and grand the valley is. And I could shoot fifty elopements there and they would all look completely different because there is just so much land to explore and take photos on. One of the most epic places to elope in Australia.
15. Mungo National Park
Mungo National Park is part of the Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage area and it is a location with scenery that you would very rarely see anywhere.
It is located about 10 hours west of Sydney by car. 6 hours Melbourne, 6 hours from Adelaide or just 1.5 hours from Mildura.
Mungo National Park is very important to the Aboriginal Culture and human history. There are archaeological finds that carbon date to over 40,000 years old which indicate that Aboriginal people lived in the area during that time. Making it the oldest know human inhabitance in the southern hemisphere.
This would be the most amazing place for an elopement and is definitely one of the best places to elope in Australia. A ceremony near the Walls of China in Lake Mungo, followed by photos around the landscape and in the nearby sand dunes would be out of this world.
An elopement would be perfect because it is so low impact on the environment. But they don’t let visitors just walk everywhere anymore. You need to be accompanied by an authorised ranger or tour guide. So if you were somehow able to get permission and a permit here, you would be one of the very few that have.
15. Capertree Valley
You could get married in the Capertree Valley the worlds second-largest canyon and spend your wedding night glamping in a Bubble Tent. How good would that be?
The Capertee district is beautiful and awe-inspiring with its natural wonders, like its sandstone escarpments. It is surrounded by National Parks and farmlands
16. Sydney Aquarium
If you are looking to get married with sharks, you can actually elope in Sydney Aquarium. You can choose to marry in front of different marine exhibits and also have a private dinner for two.
A Sydney Aquarium elopement would be really unique and you would get some really amazing wedding photos. If you are from Melbourne, it is worth noting that you can also elope or have a small wedding at the Melbourne Aquarium.
17. Horse Head Rock
Horse Head Rock is somewhere I think would be perfect for an elopement ceremony on the beach. Time it with sunrise or sunset and it would be perfect in my opinion.
It is located on the Sapphire Coast in Lake Wallaga and it is away from the main beach so it is fairly secluded. It’s hidden around the corner from the Camel Rock headland.
If you are planning a ceremony here I would just plan it for low tide so you can access the rock easily and safely.
18. Norfolk Island
This tiny island in the South Pacific Ocean, Norfolk Island, is characterised by its huge pine trees and jagged cliffs. And it would be a lovely location for an elopement.
Norfolk Island is about a three-hour plane ride from Sydney and is located about halfway between Australia and New Zealand. It has World Heritage convict buildings and some beautiful scenery.
A Norfolk Island elopement or small wedding would be laid back, relaxed and beautiful. It is also a great location to combine your elopement and honeymoon, making it one of the best places to elope in Australia.
19. Stockton Sand Dunes
If you are looking for a desert elopement on the coast of NSW then the Stockton Sand Dunes might be the location for you.
The Stockton Sand dunes are located up towards Port Stephens, just past Newcastle. And they are the largest coastal sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere. They are thirty-two kilometres long and they are the largest towards the Anna Bay end.
A Stockton Sand Dunes elopement towards sunset would be really beautiful as it would really bring out the colours and contours of the dunes.
20. Bouddi National Park
Located on the Central Coast of NSW, Bouddi National Park is an incredible and diverse landscape for an elopement. It is a slightly mountainous area located right on the water’s edge. It gives you both the mountain top and coastal sceneries. There are stunning mountain views, bushlands and plenty of secluded beaches.
It is located in an area that has some of the best restaurants and accommodation facilities. So you can have luxurious accommodation and still have your beautiful and natural and off the beaten track elopement.
21. Budgong Lodge
Budgong Lodge is located in the stunning Kangaroo Valley and is a luxurious wilderness property and working farm, located on the side of a mountain. And wow it is amazing!
If you want to have an elopement here, contact the owner directly to discuss.
It is a very large property and there is no shortage of photo options to choose from. Mountain lookouts, tall forests and farmlands. It is a beautiful property for couples looking for a little bit of luxury in the Kangaroo Valley wilderness.
22. Dangar Falls, Dorrigo National Park
The Dangar Falls is a beautiful waterfall situated over the Bielsdown River approximately 1.2 km north of Dorrigo, in New South Wales.
Landscape photographers love this waterfall and if you are looking for waterfall places to elope in Australia, Dangar Falls should be on your list. It is easy to access and there is a nice area to have a beautiful elopement ceremony.
New South Wales Elopement Regions
New South Wales, like most states of Australia, is absolutely huge. It is bigger than Texas and four times the size of the United Kingdom. Therefore we can break down the state into the best elopement locations regions.
NSW Elopement Information
There are some marriage guidelines you need to follow to make sure your marriage is fully legal. Your marriage celebrant will go over all these, but basically they are:
- Neither of you can be married to someone else.
- You cannot be marrying a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister.
- Both of you must be at least 18 years old.
- You need to understand what marriage means and freely consent to marry.
- Each partner has to sign a witnessed Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) at least one month prior to the elopement. This is done through your authorised celebrant. (So it takes at least one month to get married in Australia).
- A registered civil celebrant must conduct the marriage ceremony and submit all the legal paperwork for you.
- You need two witnesses over the age of 18, to sign your marriage certificate and other legal documents at your ceremony. (So that means there needs to be at least 2 other people, not including the celebrant at your elopement. You can use your photographer, videographer, stylist or someone from your elopement venue).
Other Information About Eloping in NSW
- If you’re an overseas couple dreaming about eloping in Australia, you may marry here lawfully and legally. You do not need to be an Australian citizen or a permanent Australian resident to get married legally.
- Same-sex marriage in Australia is officially legal .. Woohoo! As of December 2017, Australia has equality of marriage. The act read out at the elopement ceremony now reads “the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”.
- At your elopement ceremony, you and your witnesses will need to sign all the relevant papers with your marriage celebrant. Your celebrant then turns in the papers to the ‘registry of birth, deaths and marriages’ in the state where you got married, within 14 days.
Frequently Asked Questions About New South Wales Elopements
What is an elopement exactly?
If you were to ask my parents or grandparents what an elopement is, they may start to speak in hushed tones, shaking their heads and make you feel guilty that you are running away to get married.
But this is the old-fashioned sense of the word elopement. To run off, without telling your parents or family, and marry in shame and secrecy. There is a real negative link with that.
These days the current definition of an elopement is changing. It’s not said any more in a bad, negative way anymore. It doesn’t suggest that couples run away without telling someone. It doesn’t imply your parents don’t even realise you’re getting married. And this doesn’t suggest it’s just the two of you who get married without someone else present.
Our modern definition of elopement is:
“An elopement is to get married with a small number of guests, in a beautiful location, where the ceremony and the day is all about the two of you.”
What are the benefits of Eloping in NSW?
- One of the biggest benefits of eloping is that it will save you a lot of money. Do you really need to buy one hundred people a three-course dinner and unlimited drinks at the bar?
- Saving money on your wedding means you can spend more money on the things that matter to you for your elopement or your honeymoon. You can get your dream wedding dress, stay in the best accommodation, have your dream photographer and still have money left over to honeymoon in the Maldives.
- By eloping, you can avoid any family dramas. Families can be complicated. Eloping is an easy way to avoid these unnecessary dramas.
- Having fewer people at the marriage ceremony mean everything will be more intimate and personal. It becomes more about the two of you.
- You will be less stressed. Planning a big wedding with a hundred or more guests has got to be far more stressful than planning a small intimate elopement will less than twenty people.
- You don’t have to do all the wedding traditions that are associated with a standard wedding. Do what works for you and your personalities.
- You can say your vows in the most amazing location you can think of. You’re not restricted to where a hundred people of all different age groups are able to physically get to.
- The best part of elopement is that the day becomes all about the two of you, doing what you want, where you want.
How do you make an elopement in New South Wales Special?
- Go somewhere spectacular. Go to a destination that is on your bucket list and get married there. They can be tricky to plan, logistically, but it is far easier than planning a big wedding.
- Eloping doesn’t mean you are having a cheap wedding. It means you can spend the money on the things that are important to you.
- Do a “First Look”. I love couples that break with traditions and I think seeing each other before the marriage ceremony works really well with elopements. With elopements, couples normally get ready together and you will normally travel together to the ceremony location. So it makes sense to do a “first look” so you can see each other in your wedding attire for the first time.
- Make the elopement a whole day affair. They are not just a quick thing where you say your vows and you are done. Spend the whole day together. Do something fun together in the morning. An activity you both love. Have an awesome lunch and slowly get ready together.
- Write your own vows. Don’t let the celebrant do all the taking. And make these vows as personal promises to each other. Commit your lives together, not only legally, but mentally and even spiritually.
- After you say your vows and are officially married, there always comes a moment of “what do we do now?”. One of the best things you can do is to put your favourite song on and do a ‘first dance’ together. Not a choreographed routine. Just dance however you dance. Hug and sway to your favourite love song. Or just hug each other, look into each other’s eyes, and really imprint this moment into your memories.
- Ask special people who can’t attend your elopement to give you letters. And read them out together sometime after you are married.
- Bring your most special people along with you. Yes, you can have people at your elopement. But keep it to only your closest family and friends.
Can you have a wedding after a NSW elopement?
Yes! A lot of couples will have a big party or reception after they have eloped. And it makes total sense. The elopement day is all about you and the reception is more about hosting a big party for your family and friends.
With most traditional bigger weddings, the wedding couple basically is flat out mingling and chatting to everyone and night. You are hosting a big event and the day and night become about that. So it is a great idea to split the two events up.
Is eloping selfish?
Eloping is not selfish. You can choose to have your closest family and friends at your elopement. And you can choose to have a party with everyone afterwards. There is nothing selfish about it in any way.
If you are not inviting someone to your elopement or small wedding, then you probably have a very good reason. It is selfish for people to think that their presence at your marriage ceremony is so important.
New South Wales Elopements
So to conclude, there is a perfect location for your New South Wales elopement. NSW has so many different landscapes, climates, properties so you have a huge variety of choices for your dream elopement.
Check out each elopement region and hopefully, this will help you narrow down your choices for the best places to elope in New South Wales.
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