Consult our short list of where else to visit in New South Wales besides Sydney for a quick look at what this part of Australia has to offer.
There’s no disagreeing that there are plenty of things to see and do in Sydney. The city is absolutely gorgeous! But if you’re like us, you’re probably intrigued to explore what else New South Wales has to offer. Our guest writer, Alex Johnson, has put together a short list of where else to visit in New South Wales besides Sydney to inspire you into planning a more well rounded itinerary during your visit to Australia. Here’s what he has to say:
So . . . after years of contemplation weighing up the amount of time and effort, you took the plunge and made your way down to Australia! G’day mate! Chances are you’ve flown into Sydney, Australia’s largest city, in the state of New South Wales. But what’s the point of just staying in Sydney proper after you’ve come all this way? Have you ever considered where else to visit in New South Wales besides Sydney? There are so many great things to do in New South Wales, too, that it would be a shame not to add a few to your adventure!
There are great places to visit in New South Wales, so go on, and get out there!
If you’re looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, you can’t get much better than Byron Bay. Here, you’ll find people walking around barefooted, with sand in their hair fresh from the beach, without a care in the world. It’s this stress-free and carefree surfer lifestyle that draws people into Byron Bay, probably the most famous of the very northern New South Wales beaches. People of all ages and stages of life live and play in this coastal town, where it feels as if time doesn’t exist. It comes as no surprise that the vibe of Byron has attracted waves of meditation and yoga retreats, and a variety of festivals like Bluesfest and Splendour in the Grass.
There are plenty of things to do in Byron Bay, but the main reason people visit is for the beaches. With the same beauty as Bondi minus the big crowds, Byron is the perfect place to learn how to surf. Other activities include paddle boarding, kayaking, and whale watching tours, or simply just enjoying the sun on the beach. The only downside is Byron Bay is a 9-hour drive from Sydney (it’s actually closer to Brisbane). Not to worry though: a flight to Ballina from Sydney only takes an hour and fifteen, and is 30 minutes away from Byron Bay! Byron is the ultimate beach escape, and the only thing you’ll need to remember when you’re there is the sunscreen!
Check out a 3-Hour Dolphin Spotting Tour by Safe and Stable Kayak in Byron Bay.
If Byron Bay is appealing but you think it’s too far to travel from Sydney, Jervis Bay is the right fit for you. Located only a two hour drive away from Sydney, Jervis Bay is one of my favorite places to visit south of Sydney, for the perfect day trip or weekend getaway. Swim in the clearest waters, and the whitest sands you’ve ever seen. The white sands are such a stand out feature that there is a walking track dedicated to showcasing the beaches. This beachside town is smaller than Byron, but benefits by being closer to Sydney and offering the same wide range of activities.
In all honesty, my recommendation is not to plan a rushed itinerary of things to do in Jervis Bay. Lounge on the beach, where time pressures and stress will be simply be a far distant memory. Some notable beaches you’ll want to explore are Chinamans Beach, Hyams Beach, and Murrays Beach. Spend some leisure time at Jervis Bay Marine Park exploring protected areas near the town of Huskisson. Join an eco-adventure cruise with Jervis Bay Wild to see dolphins, whales, and enjoy boom netting in the waters along the South Coast Passage.
If your preference for what to do in New South Wales includes not sand, but mountains and trees, the Blue Mountains could be the answer. Only a 90 minute drive from Sydney, this world heritage listed region is beautifully untouched, full of stunning sights. Be sure to check out the famous natural rock formation of the Three Sisters, and beyond. When checking out the Blue Mountains you’ll have a few options: you can view from the lookout points, or travel to Scenic World where you will travel by Scenic Railway down to the base of the mountains, or if you don’t mind heights take the Scenic Skyline.
If you’re in the mood to squeeze in some hiking, make your way to Glenworth Falls. The walking track will take you down the side of the mountain with plenty of stunning views of the falls. At one point of the track you’ll be directly below the falls and you’ll be able to see the water from the falls glistening in the sunlight. You’ll have to see it to really appreciate how stunning of a site it is. Fair warning that although the walk may be easy on the way down, the climb up is very steep and requires a decent amount of fitness.
From Sydney: Blue Mountains Small Group Tour and River Cruise – explore natural wonders, interact with koalas and kangeroos, and return to Sydney by river cruise. Duration: 1 Day
Blue Mountains Day Tour with 3 Scenic World Rides – Full day tour takes you to Featherdale Wildlife Park, Echo Point, and on the cableway, skyway, and railway at Scenic World. Duration: 10 hours
Blue Mountains All Inclusive: Tour, Lunch and Water Taxi – a personalized luxury tour gives you a full day of adventure starting out in a comfortable mini-bus visiting the Three Sisters, Scenic World, Katoomba Falls Cascade, and a private location in either the Jamison or Megalong Valley away from the crowds. Lunch with beer or wine included. On to Featherdale Wildlife Park to interact with native animals, and return by private water taxi to Darling Harbor or Circular Quay.
From Sydney: Blue Mountains and Jenolan Caves – includes guided tour through the Blue Mountains to Katoomba, and on to view the Three Sisters Rock formation, guided tours of the Jenolan Caves and the Lucas Cave, photo op at Blue Lake.
All-Inclusive Blue Mountains Day Tour – A full day visiting the Blue Mountains, Scenic World, Waradah Aboriginal Culture Centre, country club lunch, Featherdale Wildlife Park and river cruise back to Sydney.
Greater Blue Mountains: 2-Day Safari – Discover the heart of the Blue Mountains from the insider on canyon, rainforest and waterfall walks. Look for wildlife including platypus, kangaroos, wombats and numerous birds. You’ll stay at the heritage-listed Jenolan Caves house. Includes morning coffee and tea, all transfers in air-conditioned vehicles, commentary in five languages, lunches, breakfast, and accommodations at the Jenolan Caves house a wilderness retreat designed in 1897 for wealthy travelers in a combination Arts and Crafts/alpine style. Dinner on your own.
Whether you fancy yourself a wine connoisseur or you happily embrace that you’re just there for the samples, there is a wine for everyone at the Hunter Valley. The Hunter Valley is Australia’s premier and largest wine region. If you’re looking for the wow factor, the sunrise hot air balloon ride is an experience not to be missed. You’ll be able to wake up with a bird’s eye view of the sunrise along the vineyards.
If you’re worried about having a few too many wines and driving, there are plenty of wine tours that chauffeur you around to various vineyards during the day. Another option is to leave the cars at home and hire a bike out! There really is something so cathartic about riding a bike, taking in the sunlight, and feeling the wind in your hair! After a day on the wines no doubt you’ll want to relax so why not continue the rest and relaxation with a luxurious spa visit. If you’re a fan of golf, you’ll be happy to hear that the region is home to multiple golf courses, with most being nestled between picturesque vineyards.
From Sydney: Hunter Valley Wine Tasting – Includes 3 wine tastings (including McGuigans Winery) and a 2-course luncheon with accompanying wines – Full Day
Hunter Valley Helicopter Flight with Picnic and Wine – VIP private helicopter experience with tasting and luxury gourmet hamper picnic at Audrey Wilkinson Vineyard.
Well there you have it. Whether you want the mountains and lush green environments, the wines, or the secluded beaches, New South Wales has got something for you. After all, chances are you’ve flown a fair way to get here so why not venture out of your comfort zone and explore areas less travelled to. Bonus, it’ll make great stories to tell back home since most people would have never even heard of these places.
Alex is a 23 year old lover of life, exploration & adventure. After moving to Sydney when finishing a journalism degree, he began his blog Inspire A Better Life to positively influence others to get out there and see all life has to offer. Join Alex as he discovers this life one day at a time, documenting his thoughts and those of others along the way!