NSW TRAVEL

Top 10 Places to Visit in New South Wales

This list of best places to visit in New South Wales – quite a glamping spot, magnificent beaches, top winery destinations, and islands – will surely amaze you no matter what kind of traveller you are.

This guide to NSW will help you plan the short trip you have been waiting to take.

Where to Visit in New South Wales?

Sydney

Home to some of Australia’s most iconic sites, Sydney is the cultural capital to famous places such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. Don’t also forget the amazing food scene and beaches.

You can take buses and trains to connect smaller towns and major cities within NSW to get here. You can also take direct flights from the major Australian capital cities.

The top five things you can see and do here include taking a cruise in Sydney Harbour, exploring Darling Harbour, visiting beaches such as Bondi Beach, touring Sydney Opera House, and climbing the Sydney Harbour.

Byron Bay

Byron Bay is a much-loved holiday destination perched on NSW’s north-east coast. It has been drawing local and foreign visitors in for yonks. What brings the people here is not the incredible nature, architecture, or culture, but the vibe. Super laid-back, Byron Bay is popular with backpackers and hippies to carve the waves, whale watch, discover, diving, and tuck into a raw diet or detox.

You can get here through direct flights available from Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney to Ballina Byron Airport. Buses stop in Byron Bay from some destinations along the east coast.

You can enjoy the place by exploring its local markets, taking a day trip to Nimbin, taking a surfing lesson, kayak with dolphins, and watching the Byron Bay Lighthouse sunrise.

The Blue Mountains

The UNESCO World Heritage area, the Blue Mountains, is a hiker’s paradise with trails going through the small towns that dot the region. Even if it’s most popular for a day trip from Sydney, considering a night staycation in Katoomba is a great time to see more than the famous Three Sisters rock formation.

It is prevalent to see day trips from Sydney to the Blue Mountains, but traveling on your own may take 1.5 hours of driving time. If you opt for trains, the departure from Central railway station to Katoomba may take around 1.5 to 2.5 hours.

Here, you can either take a sunset tour and roam through villages, hike to Wentworth Falls, ride the Scenic Skyway, and visit the iconic Three Sisters.

Southern Highlands

The Southern Highlands is the winning combination of cosy accommodating, quaint towns, wineries, and national parks that can fill your weekend or two. Mossvale, Mittagong, and Bowral, and just some of the dozens towns and villages in the region.

Get here by train from Sydney’s Central Station. You can also get a 1-hour drive from Wollongong or a 1.5-hour drive from Sydney to Bowral, the Southern Highlands’ largest town.

Some of the activities you can do here include checking out the Bradman Museum if you are a cricket fan, strolling around the region’s charming towns, checking out the surrounding views with a tree-top walk, hiking in the region’s national parks to see waterfalls, and tasting the local wines and dine on award-winning cuisine.

Port Stephens

Made for coastal breaks, Port Stephens offers 20 beaches and is home to more than 100 resident dolphins. The Nelson Bay and Shoal Bay are a handful of towns lining the port larger than Sydney Harbour.

It is a 2.5-hour drive from Sydney to Nelson Bay and a 1-hour drive from Newcastle. You can also fly to Newcastle Airport, which is 30 minutes from Nelson Bay.

You can see the top five things and do like a kayak through calm waters, a dolphin-watching cruise and meet the local residents, explore the Stockton Sand Dunes, and climb to the top of Tomaree Head for scenic views of the area.

Hunter Valley

One of the country’s main wine regions, the Hunter Valley, produces Semillon and shiraz at its best. Located at 250km from Sydney, it has all the makings of a weekend trip. Moreover, it is not only the wine that is the topic here, though. There are hot air balloons ride above the region regularly, foodies can rejoice with the amount of gourmet fare available, and country roads make for scenic drives.

From Sydney, Hunter Valley is just a 3.5-hour drive.  There are also direct buses here. Alternatively, you can take the train to Morisset or Maitland, connect onto a bus or take the train to Single station, and catch a 20-minute taxi. Lastly, tours are a popular way to reach Hunter Valley from Sydney.

Jervis Bay

Named itself as the place for holidaymakers to venture to in the summer, Jervis Bay boasts what is said to be the whitest sand globally. Fine white sand, picturesque aqua clear waters, lovely dolphins are jumping in the distance, and small yet beautiful villages. With ample opportunities for diving and some of the country’s safest beaches, a trip to Jervis Bay is a perfect one.

From Canberra and Sydney are both a 3-hour drive away. It is also possible to get Jervis Bay from Sydney on a day tour.

You can do the White Sands Walk, a whale/dolphin watching, relax on Hyams beach, diving, and spot wildlife on a cruise.

Snowy Mountains

Surprisingly, the snowy mountains can be enjoyed year-round. Ski the slopes of the tallest mountain in mainland Australia, Mt. Kosciuszko, during the winter. Put your best foot forward on one of the several hiking trails during summer.

From Sydney, you can get here in 5.5 hours. Flights are also available to Snowy Mountains Airport on REX airlines, which will take an hour. Another option is to fly into Canberra and drive for 1.5-2.5 hours in a rental.

The activities you can do here are going horseback riding through the mountains, see the Boggy Creek Show, unwinding at a spa, and spending a day or more on the slopes.

Newcastle

Newcastle may only be a fraction of the size of Sydney but still packs a punch. As the second oldest city in Australia, difficult times may have passed through it. However, it is still a place to visit.

Its laid-back vibe will make you want to include Newcastle on your list. It also has modern neighbourhoods filled with cool bars and boutique shopping, a great food scene, and excellent surf spots.

Bus companies regularly stop in Newcastle. Trains can be taken from Sydney to Broadmeadow or Hamilton station, where you can connect to a shuttle bus. Just 25 minutes out of the city, you can also reach an airport in Williamtown.

Take a scenic cruise, try skydiving, walk the Bathers Way, and whale watching are some of the activities you can enjoy doing here.

Coffs Harbour

The touristic coastal town, Coffs Harbour, brings in visitors with its famous Big Banana, beautiful beaches, solemn nature, and easy access to hinterland villages. The Mutton Island Nature Reserve, coral reefs, whales, and marine parks are the Coffs Harbour’s highlights, which makes it an excellent travelling point along the NSW coast.

From Sydney, Coffs Harbour is a 6.5-hour drive. Trains from CountryLink services from Sydney to Coffs harbour, which takes 8 to 9 hours.
The top five things to do here are walking the Forest Sky Pier, visiting Dorrigo National park, exploring the beaches, taking a picture with the Big Banana, and visiting  Muttonbird Island.