Sydney & Surrounds

You’ll find many memorable experiences. The sublime coast is perfect for beach holidays and whale watching. Savour wines in the Hunter Valley and other wine regions. Explore nation-making heritage in country towns, and enjoy the amazing Blue Mountains and the spectacular Snowy Mountains.

SYDNEY CITY

Discover Australia’s most beautiful city, from the iconic Sydney Opera House to the sparkling blue harbour, exhilarating entertainment, delicious restaurants and historic heritage. In the heart of this vibrant city, you can even visit king penguins in an aquarium and meet cuddly koalas in a zoo.

The city is teeming with attractions and tours. Begin your journey at Circular Quay with the Sydney Opera House, next to the Royal Botanic Garden, a tranquil oasis for picnics and unforgettable views of the World Heritage-listed building and Sydney Harbour, a great waterway for sailing and cruising.

Stroll to the western side of the quay for The Rocks, the oldest part of Sydney, where cobbled laneways of the convict colony remain. You’ll find plenty of things to do and see in The Rocks with markets, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, walking tours and Australia’s oldest pubs.

In Darling Harbour meet penguins and sharks at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium and get up close to koalas and a giant saltwater crocodile at WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo. Amble across to Pyrmont for blockbuster shows at Sydney Lyric in The Star and the freshest seafood at Sydney Fish Market.

You can take the light rail to bustling Chinatown for an impressive variety of Asian cuisine and Paddy’s Markets. Reserve tickets for musicals at the Capitol Theatre. North along George Street is the Queen Victoria Building, a palatial shopping arcade near Town Hall Station in the city centre.

Sydney dazzles day and night. For spectacular views, experience Skywalk at Sydney Tower Eye, near Pitt Street Mall. Check out the exciting events calendar, explore wonderful galleries and museums, and dine on a heritage timber wharf in Woolloomooloo or sip teapot cocktails in lively Kings Cross.

Source: VisitNSW

BLUE MOUNTAINS

Just 90 minutes from Sydney by car, two hours by train, the Blue Mountains has some of the country’s most dazzling natural attractions. With dramatic views over the deep valley troughs gouged out over millions of years, the lookouts at Wentworth Falls, Govetts Leap and Echo Point are among the most popular while the views from Sublime Point, Narrow Neck and Cahills Lookout are no less spectacular.

Experience wonders at Scenic World, where the glass-topped carriages of the Scenic Railway take you on a heart-stopping ride into the depths of the Jamison Valley. Or jump aboard the Scenic Skyline and journey high over the canyon for superb views of the Three Sisters and beyond.

The Blue Mountains’ many bush walks include easy strolls around lookouts to longer walks such as the Grand Canyon Track, which unspools from the clifftops into the depths of the valleys. The Six Foot Track is a more challenging three-day walk along the old coach road between Katoomba and Jenolan Caves. Local adventure operators offer guided tours.

Near Lithgow, the Glow Worm Tunnel is a disused railway tunnel where larvae of the fungus gnat cover the walls and ceiling with a bioluminescent glow, like stars blossoming in the night sky. Jenolan Caves is a world-class wonderland, a labyrinth of stalactite-lined limestone caves sculpted by underground rivers.

In the late 1800s many Blue Mountains villagers established English-style cool climate gardens of rhododendron, azalea and deciduous trees. The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, an annex of Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden, is an open book of botanical wonders.

The Blue Mountains delivers outstanding accommodation, from cottages and cabins to luxury resorts. Among the finest, Lilianfels Resort & Spa is a smart, glamorous boutique hotel built around a century-old stone mansion near spectacular Echo Point. Spread out on a valley floor, Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley brings a generous serving of style and sophistication to a classic Australian bush setting.

There are many fabulous events, from a long weekend of folk, roots and blues Blue Mountains Music Festival to the delicious Summer Harvest Festival.

Source: VisitNSW

HUNTER VALLEY

Home to Australia’s oldest wine region, the Hunter begins two hours’ drive north of Sydney and is easily reached by car, bus, train or air. You can also board a riverboat in Newcastle on the NSW North Coast and travel along the beautiful Hunter River to delightful historic towns in wine country.

The Hunter region encompasses charming towns and villages, rolling vineyards and olive groves, and splendid national parks of the Hunter Valley, the Upper Hunter and Barrington Tops. You’ll taste some of the world’s best wines at cellar doors, including the acclaimed Hunter Valley Semillon.

Tours to the wineries are a great way to experience the Hunter Valley, where grapes were first planted in the 1820s. The Upper Hunter is the horse capital of Australia and will entice you with its rural beauty, boutique wineries, handmade cheeses, horse festivals and horseracing carnivals.

Fine food and wine are a delicious combination in the Hunter. Fertile soils grow a rich variety of produce in addition to grapes. At restaurants, talented chefs create exquisite dishes using fresh local produce. You’ll also find seasonal produce and other delights at markets and gourmet providers.

Accommodation options suit various budgets, from luxury retreats and golf and spa resorts to motels, youth hostels and camping. Check out the exciting events calendar for food and wine festivals, agricultural shows, horseracing, and jazz, opera and rock concerts among the vineyards.

World Heritage wilderness is a spectacular drawcard, too. Enjoy bushwalking in Yengo National Park, where you can take the Finchley cultural walk. Barrington Tops National Park is part of the World Heritage Gondwana Rainforests. Join Barrington Outdoor Adventures and explore the park in a kayak or canoe.

Source: VisitNSW

JERVIS BAY

A natural wonderland, Jervis Bay on the NSW South Coast is a perfect seaside escape. From the crystal-blue waters and resident dolphins to splendid beaches and fun water sports, this coastal paradise in the Shoalhaven region will delight you with many memorable experiences.

Explore two national parks bordering the Jervis Bay Marine Park, a haven for bottlenose dolphins, fur seals, little penguins, sea dragons and migrating whales. Discover spectacular views from Point Perpendicular Lighthouse on the northern tip and from Cape St George Lighthouse on the southern side.

Relax on white sandy beaches rimmed around the pristine waters. There are charming seaside towns and villages. Callala Bay is on the northern shore, Huskisson, Vincentia and Hyams Beach on the western shore and Jervis Bay Village is the southern gateway to Booderee National Park.

You’ll find plenty of amazing things to do and see in Jervis Bay, which is less than three hours’ drive from Sydney and Canberra. Dolphin and whale-watching cruises depart from Huskisson. Stroll on some of the whitest sands in the world on the White Sands Walk, which begins in Vincentia.

Explore the underwater world with Dive Jervis Bay and Crest Diving. Join kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, sailing and fishing tours. You can spot kangaroos on walking trails in Jervis Bay National Park on the northern and western shores and in Booderee, where Aboriginal rangers lead tours in the Booderee Botanic Gardens.

In the southern area of Jervis Bay, accommodation options include seaside cottages and beachside campgrounds at Greenpatch, Bristol Point and Cave Beach. Murrays Beach is another southern jewel, perfect for relaxing, swimming and snorkeling. There is a boat ramp at Murrays Beach.

Source: VisitNSW

PORT STEPHENS

With 26 golden beaches, a vast blue bay and many beautiful inlets, Port Stephens is an idyllic beach getaway. Freshly caught seafood, local winery and alfresco waterside dining are all available at cafes and restaurants in Nelson Bay and Tea Gardens.

Port Stephens is home to a prominent dining scene characterized by its diversity and use of locally sourced ingredients. From hand-shucked oysters to fresh avocados, figs and macadamia nuts, the Port Stephens region is abundant with beautiful produce. Sample quality wines and craft beers at a local brewery or winery.

With its winning combination of sandy beaches, national parklands and rugged coastlines, Port Stephens is the perfect place to get in touch with nature. The region is home to around 150 bottlenose dolphins, and there are plenty of tours departing from Nelson Bay which offer dolphin watching opportunities and kayak trips.

Whale watching is also popular during the annual migration season between June and November. See these majestic animals on a whale watching cruise, or from a headland in Tomaree National Park.

Outdoor adventurers can also be enjoyed year-round with water sports such as diving, snorkeling, swimming, surfing, sailing and ferry rides. Other outdoor activities include quad-biking and sandboarding at Stockton Sand Dunes, as well as horse riding through the region’s parklands and along its scenic shorelines.

Source: VisitNSW

SNOWY MOUNTAINS

Discover an adventure wonderland in the magnificent NSW Snowy Mountains, from a summit walk to Australia’s highest peak and fly fishing in pristine mountain waters in warmer months, to skiing and snowboarding in colder months. You’ll enjoy delicious experiences too, such as wine tasting.

After the snow melts, a network of mountain biking and bushwalking tracks is revealed. Horseriding is popular too in the high country, portrayed in Banjo Paterson’s 1890 poem The Man from Snowy River as where ‘the hills are twice as steep’ and the ‘air is clear as crystal’, and this holds true today.

The best time for exploring the alpine walking tracks is December through March. Two paths wind to the top of Mount Kosciuszko, starting at Thredbo or Charlotte Pass. You can also explore a UNESCO-protected Biosphere Reserve and stroll through pretty wildflowers and majestic snow gum forests.

Kosciuszko National Park is home to the snow resorts of Thredbo, Perisher, Charlotte Pass and Mount Selwyn. Inside Yarrangobilly Caves are beautiful limestone structures. There are many more wonderful natural attractions, including the Tuross Falls and a special platypus reserve in Bombala.

You can fish all year in some well-stocked waterways such as Lake Jindabyne and Lake Eucumbene, both part of the Snowy Mountains Scheme, Australia’s greatest engineering project that creates hydro-electricity. You’ll learn about the scheme at the Snowy Mountains Hydro Discovery Centre.

From Tumbarumba in the west to Tumut in the north to Jindabyne and Cooma in the east, you’ll find beautiful scenery, intriguing heritage and marvellous events. You’ll relish the Boggy Creek Show and thrilling rodeo, and country fairs and fun festivals, such as Tumbafest and the Batlow CiderFest.

The Snowy Mountains Trout Festival in spring is open to all recreational anglers. You can admire the 10-metre high Big Trout, one of Australia’s iconic ‘big things’, in Adaminaby. There are exhilarating outdoor adventure tours as well, including whitewater rafting and kayaking on the Snowy River.

Source: VisitNSW

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