It’s very likely that visitors to Australia would have experienced the charms of New South Wales. And yet, the place manages to surprise time and again.
Home to the pulsating city of Sydney – where beach culture, superb weather and a spectacular harbour backdrop beckon – the state is blessed with a climate that makes it ripe for exploring all year round. But the metropolis is just the tip of the iceberg of what New South Wales has to offer.
To the west lie the Blue Mountains, which you can explore on a day trip, over a relaxing weekend or longer.
Head north and you’ll find spectacular secluded beaches, national parks and the most-loved beach town in Australia: The world-famous Byron Bay.
Go south for a tour along the jaw-dropping Grand Pacific Drive, before enjoying the unspoilt beaches and small towns of the South Coast.
Let’s start with Sydney. Everyone enjoys a stylish arrival but, in this city, you can take that concept to greater heights by flying to lunch via seaplane. Strap into your seat at Rose Bay and you’ll be flown past spectacular beaches, the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
It’s one thing to see the Harbour Bridge from above, but quite another to sail underneath it with your favourite drink in hand. Cruising Sydney Harbour is a much-loved local pastime and you’ll understand why once you’re on deck, as the afternoon sun warms your face and the salty breeze kisses your skin.
For a carefree vibe, check out the city’s many sun-drenched beaches. The white sands and surf are obvious reasons to visit the famous beachside suburb of Bondi; its thriving shopping district is another. Pop-up markets are all up for discovery on the relaxed beachfront streets.
What’s better than visiting an Aussie beach? Waking up just footsteps away from one! Byron Bay has an enormous variety of holiday houses for rent. Make sure you get up early at least one morning and say hello to the many local birds called kookaburras. These terrestrial tree kingfishers are always up at sunrise.
Byron Bay is actually home to more than one bay – and definitely more than one beach! Jump into a hot-air balloon and, as you take to the skies, you can spot up to two dozen – from patrolled Main Beach and celebrity hotspot Wategos, to family-friendly Little Wategos, Clarkes and the secret paradise of Whites.
While there’s plenty to do on the NSW mainland, one in particular is on the bucket list of many Australians: Lord Howe Island. On this pristine patch of paradise are many places for relaxation. Try Neds Beach, famous for its fish feeding. Alternatively, splash in the refreshing waves dubbed “champagne surf” at Blinky Beach, or head to the more secluded Little Island.
Before you head home, make a stop at Albury. In this wonderfully diverse regional hub, you can holiday on a houseboat. And the drive there from Sydney is filled with its own delights.