Ahem, let’s clear something up, we want you to soak in every bit of New South Wales when you’re there. While Sydney offers miles of adventure, don’t let the sights beyond the harbor go unseen.
So, before you even think that we’re advising you ditch Sydney all together, we’re actually just alerting you to the beauty beyond the shore.
Sydney is a legendary must-see destination, but visitors tend to get kind of stuck because they just love it so much they find it hard to tear themselves away.
Yes, you must climb the Harbor Bridge. Yes, you must take in the view of the Sydney Opera House from the Manly Ferry. And yes, of course, you must learn to surf on Bondi Beach. A trip to Australia would feel a little unfulfilled if you didn’t do those things.
That said, there’s so much more to New South Wales than just Sydney and here are 10 things that will take you beyond Sydney…
You can get busy by hiking, rock climbing, and mountain biking the rocky landscape. If you’d prefer to take things a little easier (unless you’re scared of heights) and ride the world’s steepest railway incline up the mountains and then jump in the Skyway – a glass bottomed box that will dangle you over ravines and cliff tops over 270m up. Yikes.
Kiama Blow Hole
Kiama, is a small coastal town around 120kms south of Sydney. Its got a much talked about natural blow hole can be spray up to 25 meters in the air in the elements.
The blow hole is Kiama’s main attraction, but don’t think that’s all there is for you here. About 10 minutes away is the beautiful and completely inspiring Seven Mile Beach with miles and miles of beautifully dramatic coast line. If you get up early enough, you should be able sit in the quiet morning sun and watch pods of dolphins swim in the water below.
Walk through Minnamurra Rainforest
Budderoo National Park is approximately 100kms southwest of Sydney. The park is the perfect juxtaposition to the city scapes, mountains and cascading coastlines found in other parts of the state.
The Minnamurra Rainforest, full of lush greenery, beautiful cascading hidden waterfalls and lots of wildlife, is also positioned in the park. .
To protect the forest, you walk the whole way on an impressive boardwalk meaning the plants below are protected from repetitive walking keeping the park in it’s natural state for everyone to enjoy.
Head North to Newcastle
Newcastle is New South Wales’ second largest city and is jam packed full of hipsters and cool kids. This is probably due to the fact that the city is a hub of the very best of New South Wales culture. Examples of the very best in Australian art, fashion, and music are everywhere, and the beaches are very impressive. There are so many to choose from, so try and get to them all if you have time, otherwise place Merewether at the top of your list.
Ski in the Snowy Mountains
Yes, we have skiing on this list. You may not think it, but New South Wales actually has some pretty awesome winter sports potential. The Snowy Mountains are Australia’s highest mountain range and can be found in the southern part of the state, near the border with Victoria.
If you’re visiting during winter, hit the slopes for some great skiing opportunities. If you visit during summer months, you’ll just have to swap the skis for hiking boots, a kayak or a horse.
The beach at Byron Bay justice, it’s more awe-inspiring. Imagine lying on powdery sand with a tropical rainforest to one side of you as you gaze upon miles of blues waves, and you’ve pretty much got Byron Bay. Throw in some chilled out beach bars playing chilled music over your shoulder and you’ve pretty much got the gist. It’s about a 9-hour drive from Sydney, so it’s a bit of a trek, but worth it.
Go whale watching in Stanwell Tops
Stanwell Tops near Wollongong is one of the best places to spot whales outside of Sydney, and with about 45 species of whales in Aussie waters, you won’t be disappointed.
If Wollongong isn’t floating your whale watching boat then take your pick…you can spot them in Byron Bay, Newcastle, Post Stephens, Crowdy Head at Crowdy Bay National Park and so many more. The feeling you get from watching these incredible ocean giants is an experience that will stay with you forever. So, get a bit outside of your comfort zone and do it!
Feed the fish at Neds Beach, Lord Howe Island
One of Australia’s cleanest beaches, and home to 500 species of fish, Neds Beach on Lord Howe Island provides a unique opportunity to stand knee deep in warm waters as hundreds of fish flap beside to you waiting to be fed.
Bring some bread and help feed eager mullet, wrasse, garfish, silver drummer, spangled emperor and metre-long kingfish. Beware that these hungry little ones aren’t shy!
It’s a bit of an effort to get to (a 2 hour flight is easiest) but this tropical oasis is absolutely worth the effort if you have some time to spend exploring New South Wales. Book an in-country flight here.
Absorb some Aboriginal culture in Mutawintji National Park
It feels a little wrong to come to Australia and not spend some time learning about Aboriginal culture. It’s he beating heart that’s at the very core of what it is to be an Aussie.
You don’t need to travel for days to get into the outback. Mutawintji National Park in New South Wales has tons of examples of Aboriginal culture including ancient rock art in the middle of the desert.