How brightly you shine!
How brightly you shine indeed! The state’s motto describes it perfectly. NSW is home to the most iconic harbour in the world, and the most recognisable building. Sydney is, of course, the beating heart of NSW and reason alone to take a trip here during your travels. But there’s way more besides. Rainforests and mountains, beaches and ancient rivers, iconic surf side towns, wineries, the best road tripping in the country and a fascinating history. One thing is certain, you’ll never be bored when you’re here.
Start in Sydney and make your way across this beautiful state enjoying all the natural wonders it has to offer. Here are our top 10 sights in NSW, some you may well have heard of, and some you won’t. NSW is all about surprises.
NSW's TOP 10
You can’t visit NSW without spending a few days immersed in the city buzz of iconic Sydney. Have a beer down at Circular Quay and get that selfie in front of the Sydney Opera House to make all your mates jealous. Next take a walk through the beautiful Botanic Gardens and spot cockatoos and parrots on the way. Spend the afternoon shopping to your heart’s content in the CBD and spend the evening sipping cocktails and enjoying world class food. The next morning its over to Bondi for a refreshing swim and coastal walk over to Coogee. Just your typical weekend in Australia’s premier city.
Home to more celebrities than hippies these days, gorgeous Byron still has an alternative vibe all its own. Surfers dominate the waves from dawn to dusk and there’s no shortage of yoga retreats and wheatgrass shots when you need one. Spend a few days hanging out at the beach, hiking the stunning coastal paths or just chilling in one of the many bars and cafes as you spot celebs and backpackers alike. Byron is one of Australia’s most famous towns and well worth your time.
The Hunter Valley
If you want to taste the best wines in NSW, spend a few days in the Hunter Valley. Best known for excellent semillon and shiraz, all the wine you’ll taste here is top class. Stunning scenery of rolling hills greets you at every turn. The vineyards are some of the best in the country and a few days spent sampling different wines and eating fresh, locally produced food is the perfect way to spend your time here.
The Snowy Mountains
Head into the Snowy Mountains for skiing and snowboarding all in the shadow of Australia’s highest mountain, Mount Kosciuszko. Add to that music festivals, historic towns and wine tasting, the Snowy Mountains have got something for everyone. When the cold gets a bit too much, warm up in the beautiful Yarrangobilly Caves thermal pool.
The Blue Mountains
Easily reached on a day trip from Sydney, the Blue Mountains are a World Heritage-listed natural wonder you can’t miss. And yes, the Blue Mountains are actually blue! The famous blue haze occurs when eucalyptus oils, dust and water vapour combine. When the sunlight hits it a blue tinged haze appears and the Blue Mountains live up to their name. Spectacular views and hiking trails to suit every ability abound, plus historic hotels, galleries and boutique shopping in the sweet towns in the area. The Blue Mountains are as unique as they are beautiful.
Echuca and Moama
Get a taste of Australia’s paddle steamer past with a visit to the twin towns of Echuca and Moama. Located on opposite banks of the mighty Murray river, bordering Victoria, these two historic towns are the place to come to ride an original paddle steamer up the river and learn about the region’s fascinating riverboat heritage. Stunning red river gums line the banks and riverside wineries and restaurants offer up excellent food and drink. Quiet and rural, Echuca and Moama offer a snapshot into a little known but fascinating part of Australia’s riverboat history. You can even stay a few nights on famous paddle steamer, Emmy Lou and enjoy riverbank campfires by night.
The Worimi Conservation Lands
A stunning area covering 4,200 hectares, the Worimi Conservation Lands are home to the largest moving coastal sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere. The area also has huge Indigenous significance. The shifting sand dunes are constantly uncovering ancient sites including campsites, burial sites, tool-making artefacts and other cultural sites. Check out NSW’s longest beach at Stockton Beach and get your thrills on a 4WD adventure or learn more about the area on a Aboriginal guided cultural tour, horse or camel ride.
Whale Watching at Jervis Bay
Thousands of whales migrate along the NSW coast during their migration up north every year. From May to November, the “Humpback Highway” gets into full swing and humpbacks, southern right whales, orcas and even blue whales can be seen. Jervis Bay is one of the best places in the state to see the whales.Calves are born here and the whales stick around the play and raise their young for a few weeks.
Experience the Outback at Broken Hill
This legendary town is full of fascinating stories and has an iconic place in Outback history. Australia’s first heritage-listed town, Broken Hill is also Australia’s oldest mining town, dating back to the 1880’s. There’s a thriving arts scene here with an art gallery or sculpture on every street corner, and film buffs may recognise the town as the backdrop to cult classic, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert! Cool cafes, galleries, sculptures and a diverse crowd make this Outback town a must see destination.
Lord Howe Island
This tiny patch of land in the Pacific Ocean will fulfil every island paradise dream you can have. Covered in lush forests and surrounded by azure blue waters, Lord Howe Island has a stunning coral reef home to amazing marine life, and a relaxed unhurried atmosphere thanks to a cap of 400 visitors allowed on to the island at any one time. Relax on the beach, snorkel and dive on a pristine reef and forget all your worries on this magical island.
NSW has one of the most pleasant climates in Australia with year round sub-tropical temperatures. Summers can be hot but never as brutal as the NT or as humid as Queensland. Cool winters are short and sunny, and springtime between September and November are particularly gorgeous with lush greenery and balmy days.
NSW’s history is reflected in its residents which are made up of a diverse mix of city dwellers, rural farmsteaders and everything in between. The multicultural landscape of the state is one of its biggest assets and whoever you meet during your travel to New South Wales will greet you with a warm welcome.
Try not to spend all your time in Sydney (though it’s tempting). As wonderful as Australia’s iconic city is, there are many more places to visit in New South Wales. Hire a car and take a journey up the coast and inland and get a feel for the whole state, its people and history. You won’t be disappointed!