Discover cultural and historical delights in Australia's 'First State' - New South Wales
New South Wales lies on the east coast of Australia and is a major global and Asia-Pacific cultural hub. Australia's oldest and most cosmopolitan state, it is home to a diverse population of over 7 million people. The climate is generally free from extremes, with temperatures ranging between 12–21°C with an average rainfall of 1,138mm.
From pristine beaches to the awe-inspiring Australian outback, New South Wales is one of the most unique places in the world. While best known for its capital city and famous landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, there’s a whole lot more to discover in Australia’s ‘First State’ than you might think.
Sydney is one of the world’s most loved cities and it has a sunny and vibrant buzz that makes it the ultimate summer destination. There are always plenty of things to do in Sydney during the warmer months, from sightseeing and alfresco dining, to fun in the sand and surf at one its many idyllic beaches.
The Central Coast plays host to a number of events year-round. Tuggerah Lakes Mardi Gras is packed with family fun and is one of the longest-running festivals in Australia. Country music fans can enjoy the Central Coast Country Music Festival which takes place every March, and for opera aficionados there's the annual Opera in the Arboretum. Fans of the races can place their bets at one of the many meets at Gosford or Wyong Race Club.
The Blue Mountains offers many natural attractions for visitors. Popular sights to see within the area include the famous Three Sisters rock formation above the Jamison Valley, the vast network of limestone caverns known as the Jenolan Caves, and the stunning Wentworth Falls. Spectacular lookouts and walking trails are in abundance throughout this area, and the close proximity of the Blue Mountains to Sydney and their easy accessibility via private or public transport make it ideal for a day trip or short escape.
COUNTRY NEW SOUTH WALES
The Heart of Country region encompasses some of the state's most historic country towns and cities, agricultural and pastoral plains, forests, rivers and lakes. Many of Australia's oldest towns can be found here, offering a taste of Australia’s earliest colonial history that can include a trip on a paddle steamer, discovering 19th century architecture, and tasting wines made from some of the first grape varieties ever planted in Australia.
Australia's longest river, the Murray, forms the region's southern border with Victoria, making it an ideal recreational playground for water activities. Major inland cities such as Bathurst and Wagga Wagga are rich with cultural heritage, festivals and events.
There are many fine regional art galleries such as the Western Plains Cultural Centre at Dubbo and the region is home to the renowned Taronga Western Plains Zoo, a 300 hectare open range sanctuary that houses over 700 animals.
HUNTER NEW SOUTH WALES
If you appreciate good food and wine, you'll enjoy the Hunter region, where you can join a winery tour, attend a cooking school, and sample wines from one of the many boutique wineries in the area. There are plenty of other things to see and do, including indulging in a spa retreat, teeing off from a championship golf course or taking a hot-air balloon ride over the vineyards.
Nature lovers will also enjoy the Hunter region. Chichester State Forest, Copeland Conservation Area, Lake St Clair and Lake Liddell are all well worth a visit, and Barrington Tops National Park is a World Heritage listed natural wonder where you can bushwalk, hike, and camp surrounded by beech forests and snow gum woodlands.
The North Coast has some of the best and most well-known beaches in Australia, including Byron Bay and Lennox Head. Newcastle, the state's second largest city, is situated north of Sydney and features a beautiful harbour surrounded by many beaches and is the gateway to the mountains and vineyards of the scenic Hunter Valley.
What makes this region special is the extensive subtropical rainforests and mountains situated inland from the area’s many water front cities and towns. These rainforests feature vast wilderness areas, stunning mountain ranges and spectacular waterfalls. Whale watching is popular at many locations along the North Coast. During their northern migration, most whales come within 3 km of the NSW coast so you can see them from headlands and lookouts in national parks.
In Summer you can escape the heat and head to the Snowy Mountains. The pristine environment of the 700,000 hectare Kosciuszko National Park is one of the best places in the State to go hiking, mountain biking, trout fishing or horse-riding. There are four ski resorts in the Snowy Mountains, offering great snow conditions between June and October.
High country horse riding is also a thrill both for beginners and experienced riders. Riding locations include Cooma, in Thredbo Valley, or amongst the snow gum trees in Kosciuszko National Park. Guided horse treks are also popular for day trips, overnight or longer.
Summer is also a great time for water sports. There are lakes and streams, dams and resort pools where the you can enjoy a variety of water activities. At Lake Jindabyne, take the kids kayaking, sailing, canoeing, swimming and boating or head to Thredbo’s indoor pool and giant waterslide.
SOUTH COAST NSW
Visitors flock to the South Coast to experience spectacular coastal scenery, swimming and surf beaches, fishing, quaint villages and seaside resort towns. Inland, there are lush pastures, rolling hills and rugged National Parks.
The beautiful South Coast of NSW (including Wollongong and Shellharbour) offers spectacular scenery alongside a host of adventure experiences. Crystal-clear bays and lakes, uncrowded beaches and rivers are available year-round for fishing, diving, canoeing and boating while the native bushland is enjoyed by bush walkers and cycling enthusiasts.