Before we go any further, let us say this: Sydney is AMAZING. It’s a legendary traveller magnet – people come here and kind of get stuck, they love it so much they find it too hard to tear themselves away.
Yes, you must climb the Harbour 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 Sydney would feel a little unfulfilled if you didn’t experience those things.
That said, there’s so much more to New South Wales than just Sydney. Whether you’re a local yourself – born and bred in Sydney and looking for something different to fill your weekend or just passing through, make sure you get out of the city and explore.
If you’re still hankering for some Sydney action after reading this, then check out our tips on discovering a ‘Secret’ Sydney. It will show you an entirely new face of what is undoubtedly one of the best cities in the world. Can you tell we’re a fan?
Now, back to what you came here for – 9 amazing things to do in New South Wales that will take you on a journey beyond Sydney…
Climb the Blue Mountains
In approximately 2 hours, you can go from heaving metropolis, to dramatic, deserted landscapes, in the Blue Mountains.
You can get busy by hiking, rock climbing, canyonning and mountain biking the rocky landscape. If you’d prefer to take things a little easier) and ride the world’s steepest railway incline (unless you’re scared of heights and then jump on the Skyway – a glass bottomed box that will dangle you over 270m ravines and cliff tops. Yikes.
Kiama Blow Hole
The Grand Pacific Drive, south of Sydney is a spectacular 140 kilometre scenic route which takes you through rainforests, over the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge and through the coastal cities and townships of Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama and the Shoalhaven. Kiama’s renowned for its natural blow hole which makes a pretty impressive stop over – the sea water can be sprayed up to 25 metres in the air in the right conditions. A little further down the route 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 can be found around 100kms southwest of Sydney. The park is the perfect juxtaposition to the Sydney’s cityscape Within the National Park is Minnamurra Rainforest, which is exactly what you would expect a rain forest would be; rich green folliage, beautiful hidden waterfalls and wildlife; lots of wildlife!
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 its natural state for everyone to enjoy.
Image: Destination NSW
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 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. Bar Beach – Merewether is a famous stretch of beach that regularly produces great waves. The quality of surfers in the water is high if you enjoy spectating, and it’s where 4 x world champion surfer Mark Richards grew up.
Ski in the Snowy Mountains
Yes, Ski. You may not think it, but New South Wales actually has some pretty awesome winter sports potential come winter time. 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 and if you’re here in summer then you’re not left out, you’ll just have to swap the skis for hiking boots, kayak a mountain bike or a horse.
We couldn’t leave it out – and why would we?! Byron Bay is not far behind Sydney in legendary status amongst travellers and Aussies alike, but for very different reasons – so it’s only fair that you experience both right?
One similarity is that they both have cracking beaches – in fact ‘cracking’ doesn’t really do the beach at Byron Bay justice. It’s more… Magnificent. Imagine lying on powdery sand, with tropical rainforest to one side of you, and a beautifully blue ocean to the other, and you’ve pretty much got it.
Throw in some chilled out beach bars playing chilled music over your shoulder and you’ve pretty much got the gist. There’s nowhere in the world quite like Byron Bay. At around a 9hour drive from Sydney it’s a bit of a trek, but it’s so 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 believe us, with around 45 species of whales in Aussie waters, you won’t be disappointed with your early start.
If Wollongong isn’t floating your whale watching boat then take your pick…they migrate all the way up the East Coast! 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 – DO NOT miss it!
If you are after a true hidden gem then you need to head 2 hours outside of Sydney to Jervis Bay. With pristine white beaches of Hyams Beach and Murrays Beach you can spend the day out at sea surfing, kayaking or stand up paddle boarding. As this is not a big tourist area you can take your pick of the beach, be prepared though to share the sea with some dolphins! This is truly a magnificent place to spend time away from city life. Camping is also available here so after a day of activity you can pitch your tent and sleep under the stars.
Image: Discover Jervis Bay
Do some wine tasting
Australia is home to some of the world’s best vineyards, and New South Wales is home to the largest number of vineyards in one State – meaning the choice is yours to explore! The vineyards of The Hunter Valley have been producing some of the country’s best wine for years, and with a beautiful back drop of the rolling Brokeback Ranges, it’s the perfect place to relax and learn more about wine if that’s your thing If New South Wales is firmly on your travel radar, check out some of the amazing deals we have on flights, and adventures right now! This is one travel experience that you won’t want to miss.