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The Best Ways to Experience New South Wales

Could you pack your bags now and fly to Australia tonight?

That's exactly what four couples did when they were invited to our Suitcase Party at the Shard in London in May. Designed to reward our most loyal customers, the party invited guests to bring their suitcases packed to the party with the chance to win one of four trips departing that night. The destination was revealed on the night as the Australian state of New South Wales, home to Sydney, the Blue Mountains and a stunning stretch of coastline.

Watch as the winning couples were announced:

After celebrating their unexpected wins, the couples were then whisked off to Heathrow Airport where they boarded a Qantas flight bound for Sydney. Once there, each couple set off on a unique itinerary as part of our tailor-made holidays range: Journeys.  The highlight experiences included:

Indulging in pure luxury in the Blue Mountains

Seeing Sydney is great, but the Blue Mountains is even better when it comes to feeling like you're on holiday. John and Helen French enjoyed a relaxing two days soaking up the wilderness of this iconic national park, staying at the luxurious One&Only Wolgan Valley Resort while sampling the region's local produce. Wine and gourmet cuisine is taken very seriously here, as is getting close to the nature of this iconic World Heritage area. Indeed, the hotel offers an abundance of horse riding, mountain-biking and wildlife tours to keep you busy all through the day. And with so much untouched wide-open space to choose from (4,000 acres to be precise), you can even forge your own path.

Sandboarding in Port Stephens

If you're a big kid at heart then sandboarding in Port Stephens is an experience not to be missed. Stephen and Hayley Smith were lucky enough to slide down the incredible Stockton Sand Dunes on their New South Wales Journey with the help of AAT Kings. Following their thrilling slide, the couple enjoyed a slower pace with a cruise of Port Stephens. Despite the name, Port Stephens is less a place for docking boats and actually a stunning marine park home to beautiful beaches, blue waters and a great amount of marinelife including dolphins and whales.

Dolphin watching in Jervis Bay

If you've always dreamed of having a beautiful sprawling beach to yourself, that dream can come true in Jervis Bay. Located a 2.5 hour drive south of Sydney, the pristine bay is said to have some of the whitest sand and clearest water in the country. While it's beaches are stunning, it's wildlife is an even bigger draw card to the region. To experience it for themselves, our winning customers Peter and Alexandra Cawdery traveled to the region with AAT Kings Peter  where they then enjoyed a cruise of the bay with Jervis Bay Wild, spying dolphins and seals along the way.

Surfing in Byron Bay

If you'd prefer to experience New South Wales' stunning beaches with an organic juice in hand and laid back locals by your side, then Byron Bay is the place to go. Beloved for it's pristine beaches, bohemian roots and trendy dining and shopping scene, Byron Bay is one of Australia's favourite beach towns. It's also one of the country's most popular surf spots. You don't have to be a pro to take to the waves though as Kenneth and Jennifer Morgan found out when they took part in a surfing lesson from Lets go Surfing.

Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge

For the ultimate experience in New South Wales though, it's got to be climbing the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge. Famed for it's coat hanger shape, the climb will see you strap on some safety equipment before taking on the 1332 stairs to the top where you will be rewarded with uninterrupted panoramic views of the city. All of our winners (and a camera man) enjoyed the climb to the top,  stopping at various vantage points along the way to fully take in this 'pinch-me' moment.

Experience New South Wales for yourself with our tailor-made New South Wales Journeys


Written by Lauren Burvill

Australian born but London based, I'm a sucker for big cities and small tropical islands. When travelling, I like eating like a local, dressing like a local, but staying in 5 star style. Have a travel story to share? Tweet me @laurenburvill.

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