It doesn’t always have to be specific cities like Sydney or Melbourne, or particular national parks like Freycinet or Flinders Ranges. Sometimes it’s nice to have a clear overview of places to visit and things to do in a certain region. I’ve already covered Australia’s cities and national parks; now it’s time to take a look at its states and territories.
Let’s start with the most populous state: New South Wales.
New South Wales is located in southeast Australia and is home to Sydney, the nation’s largest city. Approximately 7.5 million people live in the state, two-thirds of which call Sydney their home. New South Wales was the very first Australian colony, founded in 1788.
Enough facts already… I’m writing this and you’re reading this because we both want an overview of the top 10 New South Wales attractions, so let’s get to it.
Top 10 New South Wales Attractions
The Hawkesbury River meanders its way through the Hawkesbury Valley about an hour north of Sydney by car. It flows past historic towns and through national parks. If you want to get away from the big bustling city, this is one of the places to do it. Hiring a houseboat on the river is one of the ways to go.
Home to the whitest beaches in New South Wales, Jervis Bay is located on the state’s southern coast. Surrounded by the clearest waters imaginable and the wilderness of Booderee National Park, this is a perfect area to do outdoor activities.
Broken Hill is Outback in the true sense of the word. It’s located in the inner regions of New South Wales, far removed from any beaches or large bodies of water. An old mining town, home to the world’s largest silver, lead and zinc mines, Broken Hill was the first city in Australia to become a national heritage site.
The Australian Alps may surprise visitors with their snow-covered peaks and their ski slopes. Activities include winter sports, mountain biking, mountaineering and hiking. Particularly Snowy Mountains National Park is worth visiting.
A near perfect holiday town, Coffs Harbour is situated on the state’s north coast, about halfway between Sydney and Brisbane. There is something to do for everyone, from surfing and bushwalking to romantic candlelight dinners and afternoons on the subtropical beach.
Sydney Harbour National Park
This fabulous national park lies entirely within the borders of Sydney and encompasses its harbor, which is officially known as Port Jackson. The Sydney Harbour National Park includes sheltered bays, hidden beaches, islands, picnic spots, trails and historic buildings dating from the city’s founding days. Suggested activities are kayaking, sailing and hiking. This is also one of the best vantage points to witness the phenomenal New Year’s Eve fireworks over Sydney.
The oldest wine region in Australia, the Hunter Valley is famed for its cooking schools, galleries, fine dining, wine tastings, spa retreats and golf courses. This is the best place in the state to try artisanal cheeses, world-class Australian wines, freshly baked breads, cured meats and olive oils.
Blue Mountains National Park
An enormous expanse of wilderness right on Sydney’s doorstep, the Blue Mountains is one of the most visited national parks in the country. Highlights include the iconic Three Sisters rock formation, scenic railroads and spectacular waterfalls.
Free-spirited Byron Bay is the easternmost town in Australia. Arguably one of the best beach destinations on the Australian east coast, Byron Bay is a place of new-age retreats, magnificent surf beaches, whale watching and huge festivals. The lush rainforests that lay right behind the town and its beaches offer excellent hiking opportunities.
Australia’s most famous city is home to two of the world’s most iconic structures, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Additionally, there are the welcoming Royal Botanic Gardens, the historic neighborhood of The Rocks and popular Bondi Beach.