With a stunning coastline and wide expanses of bushland, one is spoiled for choice in New South Wales (NSW). Breathtaking views of rugged mountains, exhilarating rainforests, serene beaches, bustling business cities, fascinating country towns, hospitable people, finest wineries and delectable cuisine, makes Australia's most diverse state - New South Wales, a vibrant place to be in. Home to some of the best beaches in Australia and Sydney - one of the most exciting cities in the world, NSW offers a lot more than meets the eye!
The size of the region makes for stunningly diverse landscapes and a wide variety of flora and fauna. This south-eastern Australian state, distinguished by its coastal cities and awe-inspiring outback, is a visitor's delight and offers five World Heritage-listed sites to explore.
The must see includes the big cities of Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong, beautiful beaches, scenic, breath-taking views and historic landmarks of the Blue Mountains region, the charming inland country towns, the Hunter Valley- a world class wine region, all of the outstanding dining experiences in spectacular locations, and of course the Aussie wildlife - NSW has it all.
Getting around the iconic attractions is easy on public transport using trains, ferries, buses and the light rail. Alternately, one can enjoy the open road and spectacular views on a self-drive road trip by driving along the beautiful eastern coastline or through the World Heritage-listed wilderness to explore this beautiful region.
Sydney offers action-packed harbour experiences, sparkling beaches, pulsing nightlife and an abundance of art and culture. One of Australia's oldest and largest cities, Sydney has been rated as one of the best places in the world to live in. Home to two of Australia's most famous landmarks and architectural marvels, the impressive white sails of the Sydney Opera House and neighboring Sydney Harbour Bridge, offer an enchanting sight, to say the least.
Another must visit is Bondi Beach - one of the many easily accessible and beautiful beaches popular for surfing and other adventure sports activities. Shopping centres, dotted across the city, display some of the most famous brands of the world. Take a Sydney Seaplane flight from Rose Bay in Sydney up north past Sydney's spectacular Northern Beaches before touching down in the expansive waterway of Pittwater. As the capital of New South Wales region, this cosmopolitan city is always abuzz with things to see and do and has to be an essential stop on any traveller's itinerary.
A World Heritage-listed site and one of the most iconic buildings of the world, the Sydney Opera House is Australia's most recognisable building and an icon of Australia's creative and technical achievement in the heart of Sydney since completion in 1973. Over 2,500 performances are staged each year inside the 5 theatres and foyers of its structure which also houses some excellent restaurants and bars on Bennelong Point.
Designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon, the Sydney Opera House is a masterpiece of late modern architecture. A guided tour will take you underneath the sails to discover the stories, history and magic of the Sydney Opera House. A sight of the white sails of the Opera House gleaming in the sunshine from a ferry is a must visit and memory to be captured!
Your trip to Sydney is incomplete unless you experience an evening cruise around the Sydney Harbour. Exuding the glitz and glamour of yesteryear, Sydney Showboat Dinner Cruise, located at King Street Wharf 5, is an ideal choice to experience Australian warmth and hospitality. A gourmet three-course dinner, followed by a glamorous world-class performance of musical and dance show, and spell binding magical acts personalised to your table; add a dash of excitement to the evening - befitting of a night out at Sydney Harbour.
Visited by more than five million guests over the years and voted as one of the best experiences, the three-hour cruise on board the spectacular paddle wheeler where you get to see amazing evening sights of the harbour, the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge - this is an unmatchable experience not to be missed.
Life in Sydney revolves around the harbour area.Whether you are strolling along the shoreline, cruising the harbor waters or making your way to great vantage points, you will definitely feel dwarfed by the majesty of the glorious Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Built over a period of 8 years and opened to the public in 1932, the bridge is 1,150 meters long and its great arch, which is 530 meters long, carries eight lanes of road and two rail tracks at 59 meters above sea level. The Sydney Harbour Bridge, offering exhilarating tours with the Bridge Climb that takes you along catwalks,up ladders, and up to the bridge's summit, is an absolute not to be nissed, wow experience.
World-famous Bondi Beach is one of the top attractions in Australia and one of the hundreds of beautiful beaches on the NSW coast which stretches more than 2,000 km. Located about 8 km from the city centre, this iconic stretch of about 1km of white golden sands, turquoise waters and perfect waves, epitomises the laid-back beach culture for which the country is famous. Surfers of all skill levels head to Bondi Beach to try out the waves..
Experience Bondi's carefree, sun-drenched lifestyle with a walk along the main promenade and up to Bondi's northern headland where you may even spot a minke whale during the migration season between May - November. Beachfront dining is best experienced at Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, and several casual outdoor cafes and fish shops are available directly opposite the beach.
Bordered on the west by the dramatic Brokenback Range, the Hunter Valley, Australia's premier wine growing district is home to over 120 wineries and exudes serene beauty and country charm. The valley, most commonly known for its wineries and coal industry, spreads over an area of 29,145 sq km, is one of the largest river valleys on the NSW coast. Attracting more than 2.5 million visitors annually, the Hunter Region, which includes towns, vineyards and national parks of the Hunter Valley, Upper Hunter and Barrington Tops, is a major tourist destination ranked 6th in the most visited places of Australia.
Located just a two-hour drive from Sydney, the Valley's undulating terrain offers a pleasing landscape for wine touring. Food and wine enthusiasts can explore one of the many winery tours and sample wines from boutique winemakers. One can visit The Small Winemakers Centre's Icon Lounge to get a taste of the showcased standout wines of the region in a range of tasting sizes using their Enomatic dispensing system.
Whether you are an enthusiastic walker, a food connoisseur, a lover of natural beauty and wildlife, or a keen golfer, the Hunter Valley has it all. One can explore the wonderful country towns and heritage streets of Maitland, Pokolbin, Rothbury, Broke Fordwich, Lovedale, Wollombi Valley and Mount View, or hire a houseboat on Lake Macquarie.
Some of the other interesting things to see and do in this region include indulgence in a spa retreat, teeing off from a championship golf course, or just following The Legendary Pacific Coast touring route to uncover the very best of the region at your own pace.
Nestled at the foothills of the Brokenback Ranges, in the heart of the Hunter vineyards, are the Hunter Valley Gardens. These incredible gardens span over 25 acres and are designed to amaze visitors with sensational sights, colours, fragrance and adventures. One can explore thousands of flowers, trees and shrubs at every turn of the garden, and be amazed by the breathtaking sights, colours and fragrances of the ten stunning feature gardens including the fairy tale characters in the storybook garden making this a perfect experience for singles, couples and families to discover.
Your trip to the Hunter Valley will be incomplete if you do not experience a heart-warming ride in a Hot Air Balloon over the beautiful vineyards. The picturesque locations of the Hunter Valley offer the perfect backdrop for undertaking the flight of a lifetime in a hot air balloon. This romantic aerial adventure activity is a must try experience where you escape, relax and enjoy the excitement of the oldest and greatest form of flight.
Multi-award winning Balloon Aloft has been ballooning in the Hunter Valley since 1980. Located just two hours north of Sydney and forty-five minutes from Newcastle, the Hunter Valley - Australia's premier vineyard region - offers the perfect backdrop for the flight of a lifetime.
Balloon Aloft Hunter Valley balloon flights begin at sunrise and take in views of the picturesque wine regions of Pokolbin, Lovedale, Rothbury or Broke. Balloon flights last approximately one hour and are followed by a delicious gourmet breakfast and champagne celebration at the famous Peterson House winery and Restaurant.This professionally handled activity, including a phone check on the night before by the friendly staff and commentary from the pilot during the ride, makes the entire adventure interesting and fun. During the flight you may find yourself drifting just above the treetops, then moments later effortlessly ascending to heights of 2,000 feet or more. The amazing breathtaking views from the low and high altitudes during the hot air balloon ride are captured in the minds of the traveler for a lifetime!
If you want to experience mindfulness, Blue Mountains is the place where you can breathe deep and experience the sensational, breath taking World Heritage-listed site, which spreads over an area of one million hectares of pristine waterfalls, dramatic sandstone cliffs, salubrious Eucalypt forests and bushland. This rugged region, which falls to the west of Sydney, is truly one of Australia's magical natural wonders.
For one-of-its-kind of experiences, these enchanting mountains are the place where you can encounter the blue haze characteristic of the mountain, with its refreshing eucalyptus essence dispersed and enriched in the air that blankets the region's vast valleys of deep canopy and virgin precipice.
One of the most dramatic mountains, showcasing The Three Sisters, can be seen from the Echo Point at Katoomba. The spectacular mountains, given the backdrop of its legendary story, are worth experiencing in proximity with divine rainforest and an accessible valley, creating a romantic aura in the air. Visit magnificent Wentworth Falls, one of the most beautiful towns within the Blue Mountains, and one can also head underground at the Jenolan Caves to experience an ancient network of eroded limestone that forms one of the oldest cave systems in the world.
There are many amazing bushwalking tracks to explore. Short bushwalks or longer hikes such as Kanangra to Katoomba Walk or the winding Six Foot Track to Katoomba are an excellent way to experience scenic views and natural attractions of the region.
The Kanangra to Katoomba Walk is a 45 km scenic hike through Kanangra-Boyd National Park and the Blue Mountains National Park. Katoomba, the main town of the Blue Mountains, is well served by hotels and boasts of popular restaurants which date back to the 19th century.
One can explore the summits and rocky ridges of the Blue Mountains on this spectacular walk and lookout for lyrebirds and wombats, and relax by clear water creeks along the way, such as Kanangra Creek and Cox River.
Beginning in Katoomba and ending at the Jenolan Caves, the 45 km route of the Six Foot Track takes three days in total to complete and one can chose from one of the three dedicated campgrounds to rest overnight. The exciting and adventurous foothill trails take you through ancient forests and set you in the past, experiencing medieval romance, away from the hustle-bustle where one can live in the moment of rich and revitalizing occurrence. One can replenish peaceful moments as a take away from the rich atmosphere of the magnificent mountain.
One of the world's oldest living fossils, the Wollemi Pine tree - about 90 million years old and previously thought to be extinct, is found in the Blue Mountain region. The region, which includes the protected areas of the Blue Mountains, Wollemi, Yengo, Nattai, Kanangra-Boyd, Gardens of Stone, and Thirlmere Lakes National Parks, as well as the Jenolan Karst Conservation Reserve, extends in the north to the Hunter Valley and is an ideal getaway for families, nature lovers and adventure seekers.
One can reach the mesmerizing mountain region by road which is a 90-minute drive from Sydney. Another very relaxing way to travel is by Rail on one of the efficient services provided by Sydney Trains. An overnight stay in the Blue Mountains is a must to enjoy the flavour of the picturesque, quaint neighbourhood towns that an endless and great range of restaurant and cuisines to relish.