The ultimate travel guide to exploring New South Wales
Whether you are visiting New South Wales to work, play or study, here is a short travel guide, which includes attractions, events, wineries and activities.
Let’s kick start our travel journey with Sydney
Sydney is Australia’s largest city and best known for its harbour front and the famously breathtaking Sydney Opera House.
Here is a short guide on how you can have a great time in Sydney:
1: Visit the Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House is one of Australia’s most famous landmarks. The Sydney Opera House comprises of five performance spaces for dance, concerts, opera and theatre. To fully experience the Sydney Opera House you should attend a performance but if you are pressed for time there is also the guided tour option available.
On New Year’s Eve, step into the Sydney Opera House’s magnificent Concert Hall to watch the Opera Gala concert of popular arias by Verdi, Puccini and Rossini. Then watch the world famous Sydney fireworks through the glass-fronted sails of the Sydney Opera House. Now that is really a once in a lifetime experience.
2: Walk across the famous Sydney Harbour bridge
Located close to the Sydney Opera House, The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the largest steel arch bridge in the world. The arch spans 503 meters and the top is 134 metres above the water. You should climb all the way to the top to experience the best views. Otherwise we recommend walking or cycling across the world famous bridge.
3: Darling harbour
Located in the heart of Sydney, beautiful Darling Harbour has it all. Experience fine waterfront dining and sip on a cocktail in one of the trendy bars. There are firework displays every Saturday night. It’s a truly magical illumination of the sky.
The SEA LIFE Aquarium with more than 13,000 individual fishes and other water creatures from around the world and Australia’s water habitats is also, located in the heart of Darling Harbour.
Walking along Darling Harbour to Bangaroo Reserve is a great way to explore the city and take in the harbour sights. The reinvented western waterfront is a great spot for a picnic with so many terraced gardens and different walking paths winding around the hill.
4: Bondi Beach
Go for a swim or surf away at Australia’s most iconic beach. If you want to learn how to surf, Bondi beach is definitely the perfect spot. The famous Bondi Beach lifeguards also patrol this site 365 days a year.
Don’t forget to walk the amazing Bondi to Coggee walk with its breathtaking views and wonderful nature. This 6 km walk features beautiful beaches, rock pools, bays, cliffs and parks. Go for a swim, have a picnic or eat at one of the cafes and restaurants along one of Sydney’s most spectacular walking paths.
5: Taronga Zoo Sydney
Only a short stroll from the city, this award winning zoo is a must see when in Sydney. Strike a pose with a koala, watch their seal show or get eye to eye with Taronga’s tallest friends: the giraffes.
Do you want a truly unique zoo experience? Become a Keeper for a Day and get up close to some of the zoo’s most popular animals. The program takes you behind the scenes and shows you a whole new side to Taronga. You will get to experience places not seen by the general public and be part of preparing food and feeding some of the animals.
6: Royal Botanic Garden
The Royal Botanic garden in Sydney opened in 1816 and has since been recognised as one of the most important historic botanical institutions in the world. Explore the gardens and enjoy the stunning outdoors views or take a free tour and learn about Aboriginal culture and the beautiful plants.
Are you up for something different? Experience the scenic wonders of the gardens from the Carriages of the Choo Choo Express. The touring train guide will happily tell you about the history of the Garden and point of the famous landmarks and spots you should visit around the spectacular harbour.
7: Luna Park Sydney
Unleash your inner child and pack your Sydney experience with fun at Luna Park. Get there by train or arrive in style by catching a jet boat to Luna Park from Circular Quay. A jet boat ride around Sydney Harbour is an amazing way to see the best of Sydney.
At Luna Park, take a ride on the Ferris Wheel and enjoy stunning views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. If you’re in for a thrill head towards the Hair Raiser where you will be raised 50 metres above sea level before being dropped over 80kms towards the ground. Definitely not for the fait hearted.
8: Manly beach
In 1964, the first worlds surfing contest was held at the lovely Manly Beach. If you want to learn how to surf then trying out the Manly Surf School might not sound like such a bad idea. Enjoy waterfront dining on the promenade, bring a picnic basket or join a snorkelling or diving tour. Hop on a ferry at Circular Quay and it will bring you to Manly in no time.
When in Manly you don’t miss out on one of Sydney’s finest coastal walks: The Manly Scenic Walkway. The 19.5 km walk is rarely done in one go so most people do the famous Manly to Spit walk. The walk features natural bushland, inner Harbour beaches, Aboriginal Rock Engravings and spectacular ocean views.
9: The rocks
Located in the southern shore of Sydney Harbour, The Rocks is an urban locality and historic area of the Sydney’s city centre providing an opportunity to experience an environment where buildings and public places of the eighteenth-century still remain. The heritage buildings, meandering walkways and historic notices are just wonderful. The Rocks features museums, themed and historic pubs and a variety of souvenir and craft shops.
Explore the Rocks and discover the local history at The Rocks Discovery Museum, Sydney Learning Adventures, Big Dig Archaeology and Education Centre, Sydney Observatory, Cadman’s Cottage and Susannah Place Museum. The latter is a block of four terrace houses built in 1844 and the museum showcase the evolution of occupation over 150 years.
Visit The Rocks on the weekend if you want to experience The Rocks Markets. At the market you will discover uniquely different Australian products with everything from locally-designed fashion, handcrafted jewellery to gourmet street food.
The Rocks is a terrific place to just wander around, shop authentic goods and nibble. At night, dance the night away at the area’s many late night entertainment venues.
Let’s continue to regional New South Wales
1: Blue Mountains
Discover breathtaking landscapes and reconnect with nature at the Blue Mountains, Australia’s most accessible World Heritage listed wilderness. The Three Sisters is the Blue Mountains most spectacular landmark with the name representing three sisters who according to Aboriginal legend were turned to stone. The Three sisters are an unusual rock formation that constantly change as the sun crosses the sky. View the famous sisters from Echo Point’s cliff-top viewing platform.
Head to one of Blue Mountains wineries in Megalong Valley or eat at Darleys Restaurant situated in the original Lilianfels House, which was built over 100 years ago. For the adventurous type, get breathtaking views of rainforests and clifftops from a glass cable car ride. You also do not want to miss out on the Blue Mountains National Park with over 140km of beautiful walking trails.
2: Byron Bay
Who does not want to go for a swim here? If you are planning to travel in New South Wales, this beautiful coastal town known for its spectacular beaches should definitely be on your list. Byron Bay is a popular surfing destination and attracts thousands of surfers every year. Go for a walk up to the Cape Byron Lighthouse or check out one of the popular scuba diving sites. The Cray Cave is a small cave where you will encounter grey nurse sharks, turtles, rays and cod.
Byron Bay is not only known for its great beaches and beautiful surrounding, but also its regional markets showcasing the creative spirit of Byron. Indulge in some fresh food and culture at the Byron Bay’s Community Market and don’t forget to take in all the stalls offering handcrafted wares, locally-grown produce and artworks of every kind.
3: Hunter Valley
When in New South Wales you don’t want to miss out on Hunter Valley, with a viticulture history dating back to the early 1800s. Being one of Australia’s major wine regions, it’s really the perfect place to indulge in fine food and wine. From famous wineries to boutique beauties, try out a Hunter Chardonnay or Semillon in absolute beautiful surroundings. Not a wine lover? Don’t worry, Hunter Valley is also home to several award winning breweries. Hunter Valley is also known for its great outdoors. Hike up to Mount Bright Lookout or experience the region’s most significant Aboriginal cultural heritage sites in Yengo National Park. Alternatively, experience the best of Hunter Valley up in a Hot Air Balloon.
4: Port Stephens
Only 2 ½ hours drive north of Sydney, experience picture perfect beaches and bays on the NSW coast. Also in the Hunter region, beautiful Port Stephens offers something for anyone. Go for a 4WD sand dune tour or join one of their great whale and dolphin cruises. Are you after a unique and exciting experience? Join Oakfield Ranch Camel Rides along the silky sand beach. Go for a beautiful day trip or ride at sunset. Now that’s a once in a lifetime experience you don’t want to miss out on.