New South Wales is home to Australia's global city, Sydney, and attracts most first-time visitors to the country, but it's out of the city where the state really shines. Within several hours of Sydney you can find the dramatic cliffs and forests of the Blue Mountains, the coastal bays, inlets and lakes of the Central Coast and the romantic vineyards of the Hunter Valley.
The North Coast region is an area of outstanding natural beauty where laidback Aussie surf culture and Australia's natural lifestyle is waiting to be discovered. The world-famous Byron Bay and any number of cosy coastal communities should be on any itinerary.
Sydney & surrounds
Confident, cosmopolitan Sydney is Australia’s oldest and largest settlement, renowned for its fine weather, fashionable nightspots, excellent eateries and iconic attractions. It’s a buzzing backdrop for the icons of its world-famous harbour, home, of course, to the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. There are some excellent beaches to enjoy here, too, including those well-known favourites - Bondi and Coogee.
For a complete contrast, the Blue Mountains are a swathe of gum trees, gorges and gullies home to an abundance of wildlife; expect to see everything from kangaroos and koalas to rare brush-tailed wallabies and long-nosed bandicoots. Take it all in on bushwalking trails and from scenic lookout points that make the most of this UNESCO World Heritage site. Amid its natural splendour, you'll find a delightful range of luxury hotels and gourmet restaurants. And, it’s all just a 65-kilometre hop from central Sydney.
Australia’s oldest wine region is home to more than 140 estates, with cellar doors and tastings abound. Delve into the avant-garde with verdelho or chambourcin, or savour Hunter Valley classics – semillon and chardonnay. Whichever you choose, it's all set to a backdrop of pretty hills and verdant valleys that invite rambling hikes and bike rides, the perfect preamble to gourmet dining at a collection of outstanding boutique hotels.
New South Wales Coast
The north coast of New South Wales sets the scene for one of Australia’s great road trips. Pretty seaside towns dot a coastline of fabulous beaches, while even the larger tourist centres, such as Byron Bay, exude character and charm. Alternatively, head south from the city to find endless, empty roads connecting enticing destinations such as Jervis Bay and Marimbula.
Lord Howe Island
This tranquil, volcanic island is widely considered to be among the most beautiful in the Pacific. You’ll enjoy plenty of solitude, coupled with the chance to spot rare species, including the endemic Lord Howe woodhen. The beaches here are an absolute delight - all sweeping curves of gold sand. It's an idyllic setting for days of unadulterated relaxation and a full range of activities from scuba diving and snorkelling to fishing and birdwatching.
Special offers in New South Wales: Sydney, the Hunter Valley & the Blue Mountains
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Between the sights of Sydney and Brisbane, hop out to the Whitsundays to enjoy some island relaxation alongside hikes, cruises, kayak paddles and snorkelling trips.
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Take to the rails on this luxury journey aboard the Indian Pacific. You'll travel across Australia’s vast outback as you journey coast-to-coast from Perth to Sydney, enjoying fine dining and tailored touring throughout.
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Departing from one of the most progressive cities in the world, set sail for 18 days of adventure and discovery. This voyage is a tapestry of blue; from sea to sky imbibe in a palette of colour as never seen before.
Top itineraries in New South Wales: Sydney, the Hunter Valley & the Blue Mountains
New South Wales offers a plethora of attractions. Explore them all on this self-drive that visits Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Hunter Valley, Port Stephens and Killcare.
Enjoy a luxury road trip from Sydney to Byron Bay, pausing at the mist-shrouded Blue Mountains, dolphin-rich Port Stephens and the Hunter Valley’s world-famous vineyards.
Be charmed by Sydney before discovering the stunning beaches, coastal towns and lush hinterland of New South Wales' East Coast as you wind your way north.
Top places to stay in New South Wales: Sydney, the Hunter Valley & the Blue Mountains
Shangri-La, Sydney offers fine facilities and finer dining set back from Sydney harbour. Its location gives it superb access to both the waterfront and the city centre.
The Nelson is a modern, intimate hotel that gives guests the perfect opportunity to experience coastal New South Wales and its stunning beaches and landscape.
Ovolo 1888 is one of Sydney’s most unique hotels. The modern rooms are stylishly decorated in bold colours that belie the hotel’s friendly, boutique atmosphere.
Where to go in New South Wales: Sydney, the Hunter Valley & the Blue Mountains
Sydney is blessed with the one of the world’s most iconic harbours. But, look beyond its historic Rocks District, city icons and foodie scene and you’ll find the Australian outdoors obsession in harbourfront parklands, mountain day trips and countless inviting beaches.
Driving from Sydney to the reefs and rainforests of north Queensland is one of the most popular ways to discover Australia. The section from Sydney to Brisbane, known as ‘The Legendary Pacific Coast Touring Route’, is the country’s favourite drive.
The Blue Mountains is a stunning wilderness area of dramatic cliffs, sandstone plateaus and deep canyons, around an hour west of Sydney.
When to go to New South Wales: Sydney, the Hunter Valley & the Blue Mountains
Fine weather year-round makes New South Wales an excellent place to visit whatever the season. Autumn, from March to May, is a time of fine days and mild nights. Sydney averages a pleasant 25ºc during summer, from December to February, and though there’s a chance of rain between September and November, it usually clears quickly.
New South Wales: Sydney, the Hunter Valley & the Blue Mountains articles
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