Illawarra residents took advantage of Monday morning's window of sunshine to enjoy what has unofficially become known as 'picnic day'.
Up to five fully vaccinated adults (plus any children under 12) can now gather outside for exercise or recreation in lockdown areas, including Wollongong and Shellharbour.
The new rule came into force on Monday, although local government areas of concern are still subject to tighter restrictions.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian granted the small freedom after NSW hit its target of six million vaccine doses administered before the end of August.
Paramedic colleagues and friends Jane Bridges, Chloe Betts, Samantha Marshall and Mel Milross were among those who enjoyed their first opportunity to gather with their children since June, for some "well-needed coffees" at the Stuart Park playground.
The friends said it was good for their mental health to be able to catch up and see each other again.
For Jane and Chloe, it was also the first time their friends were able to meet their new babies - something they said was especially important because being a mother of a newborn could be isolating enough, without being in a lockdown as well.
Members of the #vaxtheillawarra team - a campaign encouraging the region's residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible - used the new rule to meet in person for the first time and discuss their work over a picnic platter in the sunshine.
To date, all their communication and planning has had to take place over video calls, emails and messages.
"I think meeting face-to-face is a nice opportunity to reconnect on a human level," Vicki Tiegs, from Waples Marketing Group, said.
Jeremy Lasek said he had moved back to Wollongong after years away and this provided an opportunity for him to meet people.