Most travellers will find it impossible to *not* visit New South Wales. Home to Australia’s largest city and tourist favourite, Sydney, New South Wales is a part of every travellers itinerary. During our Great Australian Overland Adventure, we spend a considerable amount of time in New South Wales (and ACT), and I even went back several more times for other press trips and holidays.
New South Wales is one of the more densely populated states, and there is A LOT to do and see. The following list includes out favourites of New South Wales (and ACT) and includes some places we didn’t make it to, but will definitely return for.
New South Wales (and ACT) Highlights
The one place I am not going to discuss is Sydney. We all know that Sydney is a major tourist destination and highlight already. The city is great, really great, and doesn’t need any more press here. If you want to read more about Sydney check out my guide to the city.
The Blue Mountains are a UNESCO world heritage site. Why? For their natural beauty and the sheer amount of native flora that are growing in this region. The Blue Mountains are a popular day trip destination from Sydney and have many great hiking and sightseeing options available, as well as some activities for the more adventurous, such as kayaking.
Hunter Valley Wine Region
Another great day trip option from Sydney is the Hunter Valley Wine region. Several tours depart daily from Sydney, but for a full experience I would recommend finding a small holiday park or holiday rental in the region and stay for a day or two. The Hunter Valley is one of the most famous wine regions in Australia and is renowned for it’s semillon. It also boasts three micro breweries, and a great smelly cheese shop for when you need a break from all the wine.
The Hunter Valley, like most wine regions, is also breathtakingly beautiful. Rolling hills covered in vines, dotted by quaint little cellar doors and wineries make for an enchanting break from the city.
Canberra IS NOT boring. Canberra is awesome! That’s my opinion anyway, and I think you will find that the people who say Canberra is boring have never actually been to Canberra. We first passed through Canberra on the Great Australian Overland Adventure, and I recently returned with the #humanbrochure ACT tourism campaign. Being the nations capital means that Canberra is full to the brim with great museums and art galleries. There is enough mental stimulation in those great halls to keep you busy for several days.
Canberra is also home to one of the countries least known wine regions. The Canberra wine region is great for Pinot Noir, and most vineyards are only a few minutes drive outside the city, making them extremely accessible for those with limited time, or who just want to nip out and try some local wine in between museums.
Kosciuszko National Park
Mt Kusciuzsko is Australia’s highest mainland mountain. It is located within Kosciuszko national park and is one place in Australia where you are almost guaranteed to get winter snow. We unfortunately didn’t have the time to stop in and hike to the summit, so poor Daniel still has never seen snow before. I bet you didn’t think you would be able to go cross country skiing or snowshoeing during your Australian vacation did you?
In the summer months you can go rock climbing, mountain biking, or hiking in the region.
After all those museums, hikes, and afternoons sipping wine you will probably be just simply played out. I know I was. Bryon Bay is one of the last stops in New South Wales before you cross the border into Queensland. It makes the perfect place to stop for a day or two ( or month or two as some travellers will confess) and recharge the batteries before starting all of your Queensland adventures.
Byron Bay is known for its great surf and laid back to almost horizontal attitude. This is the place where you can buy clothing made out of hemp fibre, while sipping your all organic health food smoothie before heading back out on the surf. This is the type of place where the majority of hostels boast the option to sleep in a tipi, and it isn’t uncommon to get a whiff of marijuana as you walk the streets.
Conclusion – Where do I most want to go back?
I’m not really a surfing type of girl. I’m more of the hit my head on the board and then drown type of girl, so although Bryon was a nice peaceful place to stop for a few days, it’s not on my hit list of places to go back to. At heart I am a wine lover and culture fanatic. I have loved museums since I was a little girl, and there are still quite a few in Canberra that I still have yet to visit. Also, our afternoon in the Hunter Valley was cut sadly short on our East Coast NSW road trip, meaning that I didn’t get to visit even ONE of the three micro breweries. So for me – the Hunter Valley and Canberra top my “lets go back!” list.
Have you been to NSW or the ACT? What was your highlight? Never been? Where do you most want to go? Let me know in the comments!
One of the easiest ways to get around NSW and the ACT if you don’t have your own wheels is to use a Greyhound Australia mini traveller pass. These hop on hop off passes save you money, while allowing you to visit as many destinations as you want along your chosen route. This post was made possible by Greyhound Australia, but all opinions remain our own.