Things to Do in New South Wales
The Australian state of New South Wales is one of the best known regions in the country thanks to the iconic city of Sydney. But venture beyond Australia's largest city, and you'll find a collection of charming beach towns, vast bushland and inspiring wildlife. With these features and more, you’ll be spoilt for choice with things to see and do in New South Wales. Don’t feel overwhelmed though; here we help you narrow down your list:
Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney has to be one of the world’s most attractive cities, and what better way to gaze out across the glittering harbour than from the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge, a.k.a. the Coathanger. Don your jumpsuit and harness, clip into the state-of-the-art safety system and ascend the 332 steps to the top of the steel arch, rising 134m above the roaring traffic below. With the wind in your hair and the vast expanse of the city laid out in front of you, it’s an exhilarating experience reaching the top, and you’ll have the best view of the Opera House you could possibly ask for. Just don’t look down.
How to do it: Embark on our tailor-made East Coast Highlights itinerary which includes the Sydney BridgeClimb Sampler.
Tour the vineyards of the Hunter Valley
Located a few hours’ drive north-west of Sydney, the Hunter Valley is New South Wales’ premier food and wine destination. The region is Australia's oldest and most-visited wine region, home to over 150 top-class wineries, vineyards and cellar doors. To match the region’s knack for delicious food and wine, the Hunter Valley also boasts a number of day spas and Championship golf courses, providing the perfect place to stay, wine, dine and relax for a few days.
How to do it: The Hunter Valley is just west of Newcastle and a perfect place to stopover as you make your way up the Pacific Coast. While visiting, we can arrange a number of activities for you to enjoy such as a sunrise hot-air balloon flight, or a picnic amongst the vines (included in our Highlights of New South Wales itinerary).
Hike in the Blue Mountains
Just inland from Sydney, the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains take their name from the lavender mists exuded by the canopy of eucalyptus trees that cover the plateau. Explore on a day trip from Sydney, or stay a night or two and admire the stunning scenery, from waterfalls to rock formations, on foot or by bicycle, or by rock climbing or abseiling through the forest.
How to do it: Hire a mountain bike or hit the Blue Mountain trails on foot with our Highlights of New South Wales holiday itinerary.
Meet whales in Port Stephens
There’s a reason that Port Stephens’ nickname is the ‘Blue Water Paradise’: it features tranquil coves, ripe for swimming; unbeatable marine scenery; and of course, whales. Indeed, this is one of the top spots in the state to see humpbacks and southern right whales passing during their annual migration. Also be sure to look out for cetacean pods from the Tomaree Head Summit Walk.
How to do it: Visit May to November for prime whale watching season. You’ll spend two nights in Port Stephens as part of our Sydney & the Legendary Pacific Coast holiday itinerary.
Learn to surf in Byron Bay
Australia is surfing at its very best and New South Wales boasts some of the best waves going. For beaches that offer perfect beginner conditions without the crowds, we recommend visiting the Bohemian coastal town of Byron Bay. Beloved by Australians for its pristine beaches, laid-back vibe and luxury accommodation options, Byron Bay also offers fantastic coastal walks and has a burgeoning dining scene.
How to do it: Byron Bay is a perfect stopover point when driving from Sydney to Brisbane along the Pacific Coast highway. For an idea on how to drive this route, see our Sydney & the Legendary Pacific Coast holiday itinerary.
Snorkel off Lord Howe Island
Located 370 miles off the mainland, Lord Howe Island may be a small landmass, but it’s big on beautiful marine life. So grab your flippers, mask and snorkel and take to the water – here you can swim in secluded seas home to over 90 vibrant types of coral and 500 fish species, like the elusive double-headed wrasse. If you’re feeling adventurous, diving is incredible here too, or if you’d rather stay dry, opt for a glass-bottom boat tour.
How to do it: Chat to our Australia Experts about adding Lord Howe Island to your Australia holiday itinerary.
For more ideas on things to do in this Australian state, see our New South Wales holiday itineraries.