The oldest state in Australia, New South Wales (NSW) is home to at least one of the world’s most beautiful cities: the stunning harbor city of Sydney. This sophisticated capital , wows tourists from round the world with its glittering harbor; the long-lasting Sydney Opera House; and top-notch restaurants, galleries, and museums. Venture beyond the large city, and you’ll find a state filled with surprises, with six of Australia’s World Heritage Areas.
Topographically, New South Wales reflects the various landscapes of the country as an entire . the good Dividing Range cuts through the middle of the state, carving it into an eastern coastal strip, rimmed by dazzling beaches, while the stark desert great thing about the Outback sprawls to the west. Exploring New South Wales is straightforward , and you’ll find many rewarding things to try to to . you’ll climb or ski the rugged peaks of the Snowy Mountains, search for opals in red-earthed Outback towns, hike through World Heritage-listed rain forests, dive the coral reefs of Lord Howe island, and step back in time at Norfolk Island ’s World Heritage historic sites. Learn more about the simplest places to go to within the state with our list of the highest attractions in New South Wales.
Sydney, the capital of NSW, is one among the world’s most alluring cities. Graced by the long-lasting Sydney opera and harbor bridge, the sparkling blue harbor is that the city’s assets . Hop aboard a ferry or harbor cruise to actually appreciate these top Sydney attractions and therefore the city’s stunning waterfront location.
In addition to world-class restaurants, festivals, galleries, and museums, you’ll find many things to try to to in Sydney. Stroll along the cobblestone streets of the historic Rocks area; wander through the Royal Botanic Gardens; climb the Sydney Barbour Bridge; explore the shops, restaurants, and attractions at Darling Harbor; or surf the breaks at Bond Beach. Stretching northwest from Sydney, the picturesque Hattiesburg River and surrounding national parks are great excursion destinations, with excellent opportunities for bush walking, birding, and boating.
2. Explore the Blue Mountains
For quite 100 years, the Blue Mountains are a favourite New South Wales’ holiday destination for nature lovers. About 65 kilometers west of the town , the mountains rise steeply out of the land , combining magnificent gorges, waterfalls, rock formations, and sacred aboriginal sites with excellent tourist facilities.
Named for the blue haze created by the various eucalyptus trees, the Blue Mountains region is one among the state’s magnificent World Heritage Sites and offers excellent hiking, hiking , abseiling, and mountain biking. Top attractions within the area include Went worth Falls, the towering sandstone rock formations called the Three Sisters, the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Toma, and a few of Australia’s best hiking trails. At Nolan Caves, the world’s oldest known open cave system, you’ll view glittering stalactites and stalagmites.
A popular thanks to explore the region and admire the scenery is by signing up for the adventures offered by Scenic World. These include a Sky way, cable way, an elevated walkway, and one among the world’s steepest railways. you’ll also prefer to experience a mixture of those adventures to ascertain the park from different perspectives. Blue Mountains park is one among the highest places to go to near Sydney by car, but you’ll also catch a train or join a guided excursion tour.
3. Byron Bay
On the north coast, Byron Bay may be a hot spot for surfers and New Age nature buffs. a good stretch of golden beach fronts the ocean here, and a stunning hike along the Cape Byron Track results in the foremost easterly point on the Australian continent and its famous lighthouse. Dolphins and whales frolic within the waters, and water sports abound.
In the hinterland, you’ll explore World Heritage-listed Columbine park (formerly Mount Warning National Park) with tranquil rain forests and waterfalls. Byron is additionally known for its colorful markets, also as its health and yoga retreats, spa resorts, and luxury boutique hotels.
To take in the soul of old Byron Bay, venture about an hour inland to the small town of Nimbi, a hippie hub and hotbed for counterculture and alternative lifestyles.
4. Editor’s Pick Lord Howe Island
World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island may be a haven for serenity-seekers and nature lovers. Surrounded by the world’s most southerly reef , this spectacular island, about 660 kilometers off the New South Wales north coast, only allows a maximum of 400 guests at a time. The island encompasses variety of islets, which are a part of a former volcano, with dramatic cliffs rising along the rugged coast, white-sand beaches, pristine native forests of panda nus and gentian palms, and spectacular views from atop 875-meter-high Mt. Gower.
Nearly two-thirds of the island is protected. Birding is superb on Lord Howe with quite 130 permanent and migratory species, and therefore the island is additionally home to an upscale diversity of flora. The Lord Howe Island Marine Park protects offshore coral reefs with superb diving and snorkeling. Fishing, surfing, kayaking, and hiking along the various walking trails also are popular activities. Bicycles are the most mode of transport, and you won’t find any telephone reception here, which helps to preserve the peaceful ambience. Lord Howe Island lies but a two-hour-flight faraway from Sydney or Brisbane, and although it’s not technically a tropical island, it still ranks together of the foremost beautiful islands within the South Pacific .
5. Bask on the South Coast’s Beaches
Blenheim Beach, Jervis Bay
The South Coast of latest South Wales, from the southern fringe of Sydney to the Victorian border, is home to a number of the state’s most beautiful white-sand beaches set against the dark summits of the good Dividing Range. Rolling green hills, lakes, inlets, and forests fringe the coast, and therefore the climate is mild throughout the year.
Strung along the coast here are a series of small holiday resorts, many with fantastic opportunities for water sports from their beaches, including swimming, fishing, and surfing. Kama is home to the world’s largest blowhole, and Jervis Bay may be a standout with its radiant powder-soft sands. Nearby, the dazzling H yams Beach, reputedly with the world’s whitest sand, is one among Australia’s best beaches. Batman’s Bay, Perambulate and its sister village, Ambulant, also are popular holiday spots famed for his or her beautiful beaches and fantastic opportunities for water sports.
One of the foremost southerly places on the coast is that the old fishing village of Eden, once a prosperous whaling station. North and south of town lies the Ben Boyd park with magnificent views of reddish sandstone cliffs from Boyd’s Tower, a former lighthouse.
6. Orion Valley
The picturesque Hunter Valley, a few two-hour drive north of Sydney, is one among Australia’s most famous grape-growing regions. It’s a well-liked weekend shake Sydney — especially for foodies, who come here for the delicious farm-fresh produce, cooking schools, and gourmet restaurants with chef’s tasting menus. Highlights of the region include the gorgeous Hunter Valley Gardens, several excellent art galleries, and vast stretches of unspoiled bush land.
At World Heritage-listed Barring ton Tops park , you’ll hike through ancient rain forest and see impressive waterfalls and a diversity of wildlife. Also within the region, Willem park , is one among the most important national parks in New South Wales. It’s home to the famous Willem pine and offers excellent bush walking, hiking , and canoeing. Newcastle is one among the most important towns within the region, and therefore the Bathers Way coastal walk is one among its hottest attractions. Accommodations within the Hunter region range from luxury spa resorts and boutique hotels to rustic cabins.
7. Coffs Harbour
Coffs Harbour Marina looking south towards Corambirra Point
Blessed with beautiful beaches and a light , subtropical climate, C offs Barbour may be a favorite holiday destination for families. The town is legendary for its Big Banana, an homage to the local banana-growing industry, with interesting displays and kid-friendly attractions. Along the coast, you’ll bask on uncrowded beaches, fish, surf, dive, kayak, and visit the Mutton bird Island Nature Reserve.
About 50 kilometers west of Offs Barbour, nature lovers can explore the rain forest and waterfalls of Rigor park , a World Heritage Area. To the north lies a string of pretty beaches (Emerald Beach may be a favorite), and therefore the town of Grafton. Famous for its jacaranda trees, Grafton has six large national parks within easy reach, including the planet Heritage Areas of Gibraltar Range park (Glen Inness) and Wash pool park .
8. Norfolk Island
Once a brutal convict colony, Norfolk Island is now an enthralling resort with World Heritage-listed historic sites. Although the island is an external territory, it remains a part of the Commonwealth of Australia and is home to the Pitcairn Island descendants of the Bounty mutineers.
Today, you’ll tour ruins of the old settlements and study the island’s Polynesian heritage and colonial past at its excellent museums. a 3rd of this emerald island consists of national parks and reserves with scenic hiking and biking trails, excellent birding, and sweeping green landscapes dotted with native Norfolk Island pines. Diving, swimming, and snorkeling are popular pastimes.
Beach lovers will find a couple of secluded coves carved into the rugged and rocky coast. Coral reefs lie offshore, and therefore the fishing is great in these remote waters. Norfolk Island is a few 2.5-hour flight from Sydney or Brisbane.
9. Port Stephens
About an hour drive north of Newcastle, Port Stephens may be a large and delightful blue-water bay enclosed by two volcanic headlands. Natural bush land fringes many of the 26 white-sand beaches here, and whales and dolphins are often spotted within the bay. Despite the various vacationers who come here within the summer, you’ll still find a quiet stretch of beach. this is often also one among the highest fishing destinations in Australia, especially for giant game fishing. Other popular water sports include swimming, surfing, kayaking, and boating.
To see panoramic views of the Port Stephens coastline, take the Amaretto Head summit walk. Another popular activity here is quad biking or sledding on the southern Hemisphere’s largest sand dunes. the most holiday resorts are Nelson Bay and Shoal Bay, but you’ll also occupy Soldiers Point, Fingal Bay, and lemon Passage. Nearby, Mall Lakes park encompasses one among the state’s largest lake systems and is another great destination for fishing, swimming, and kayaking.
10. Ski, Hike, or Fish within the Snowy Mountains
Forming a part of the good Dividing Range, the Snowy Mountains are home to the continent’s highest mountains, including 2,228-meter Mount Kosciusko, Australia’s highest peak. Kosciusko park here may be a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and a well-liked year-round recreational area. Snowy winters lure skiers, while, within the summer, the easily accessible alpine terrain of ghost gum forests and glacial lakes attracts hordes of bush walkers, climbers, anglers, horseback riders, mountain bikers, and water sports enthusiasts.
Famous for its excellent trout fishing, Dependably may be a great base for adventures into the Snowy Mountains. Perisher Blue resort incorporates the favored Perisher Valley, Swigging Holes, Guthrie, and Mount Blue Cow, while Bothered Village, at the foot of the Crackerjack Range, boasts a year-round chair lift and is one among Australia’s best ski resorts. Near the summit of Mount Kosciusko, Charlotte Pass may be a great base for ski tours to the very best peaks within the Australian Alps . With of these snow-capped peaks, it’s not surprising the Snowy Mountains are one among the foremost popular places to go to in New South Wales in winter.
11. Kangaroo Valley
Gorgeously green, the Kangaroo Valley may be a quintessential and impossibly picturesque Aussie country town surrounded by lushly-cloaked escarpments and rolling pastures. It lies a few two-hour drive southwest of Sydney within the scenic Shoal haven Region. Perhaps the town’s most distinctive landmark is that the handsome, historic Hampden Bridge spanning the Kangaroo River, Australia’s only remaining wooden bridge . Driving across its single-lane between the soaring sandstone pillars sets the tone for a relaxed visit here, encouraging visitors to hamper and smile at passing drivers.
Popular things to try to to include horseback riding, hiking, golfing, kayaking along the rivers and creeks, and absorbing some local history at the Pioneer Village Museum. Nature is additionally a highlight. Don’t miss the impressive Fitzroy Falls in Morton park , and while you’re within the valley, keep an eye fixed out for the namesake marsupials, also as wallabies, especially at Tallow Dam, where you’ll also kayak and fish. Beautiful Bender Camping and picnic ground is one among the simplest spots to ascertain wombats within the wild.
The Kangaroo Valley is additionally earning a reputation as a foodie destination, with its abundance of fresh produce, cute tea rooms, and farmers market. attempt to squeeze during a cooking class, and don’t miss the fresh-baked pies at Kangaroo Valley Pie Shop in Barrelling Old Store.
12. Outback NSW
Mutawintji Gorge Walk, Mutawintji park
Outback New South Wales may be a land of sacred aboriginal sites, harsh deserts, and haunting beauty. Munro park within the Willard Lakes World Heritage Area holds records of aboriginal life dating back some 40,000 to 60,000 years. At Unwarrantable park , within the zone of transition between the arid areas to the west and therefore the rainy east, spectacular rock buttresses and domes are the results of volcanic activity. On the summits of the hills are snow gums, while deep spring-fed gorges dwell the valleys. you’ll explore this park on a superb network of hiking trails and see colorful displays of wildflowers within the spring.
In addition to exploring the rugged national parks, the country towns within the Outback are a number of the foremost unique places in New South Wales, with many unusual things to try to to . you’ll search for opals at the mining towns of White Cliffs and Lightning Ridge; visit the Living Desert Sculptures of Broken Hill; and ride a motorcycle around Tarragon Western Plains Zoo in Dumbo.
In the Northern Tablelands of latest South Wales, the elegant university town of Armidale may be a city of 4 seasons. Just shy of 1,000 meters in altitude, it’s the state’s highest town, with relatively mild summers, riotous spring blooms, fiery fall foliage, and even a sprinkling of snow during winter. Highlights of a visit here include heritage tours of the town’s lovely old buildings funded by the region’s rich agricultural wealth, also as visiting the superb galleries, gardens, and museums. Saints Mary & Joseph Catholic Cathedral may be a famous landmark, and therefore the University of latest England adds a youthful buzz to the present stately town.
Pristine wilderness areas surround the town , with attractions for families and nature lovers, also as many outdoor adventures on tap. Trout fishing, mountain biking, canyoning, hiking, and bird watching are just a few of the favored things to try to to .
If you’re driving to Armidale, don’t miss Waterfall Way. This 185-kilometer scenic drive connects the coastal town of Coffs Harbour with Armidale, revealing beautiful scenery around almost every bend, from river-carved valleys and World Heritage-listed rain forest to picturesque cascades. Ebro Falls may be a highlight. The road also passes through five national parks, including Rigor National Park; the Colombia Gorge and Falls, with one among Australia’s highest waterfalls; and New England and Oxley Wild Rivers national parks.
Brimming with cultural treasures, the Canberra city of Canberra lies about 280 kilometers southwest of Sydney. It’s technically within the Canberra Territory (ACT) a 2,400-square-kilometer self-governing administrative district , instead of the state of latest South Wales, but it’s entirely surrounded by New South Wales and is a simple weekend getaway from Sydney.
Besides the city’s excellent museums and memorials, it’s also known for its fun family-friendly festivals — especially , the Deloria festival, usually held in September to October, which celebrates the city’s many spring blooms.
A central feature of this carefully planned city is sparkling Lake Burley Griffin, an extended reservoir surrounded by parks, picnic areas, and a walking trail. Canberra’s streets are laid out on a generous scale, with many of them flanked by colorful flower gardens and thousands of trees with glorious autumn colors.
Canberra’s principal buildings lie within the Parliamentary Triangle and include the National Gallery of Australia, with three levels of exhibitions and a sculpture garden; the National Library of Australia; Old Parliament House, now a museum depicting the story of Australian democracy; and New Parliament House. Don’t miss the poignant Australian War Memorial, and confirm you save time to walk round the impressive collection of native plants at the Australian National Botanic Gardens.