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New South Wales: Where You Can Surf, Ski or Sightsee

Visiting Sydney

A major international destination, Sydney is home to world-famous sights, attractions and beaches.

Hop on a cruise departing from Circular Quay and pass underneath Harbour Bridge. Catch the ferry to Manly for some of the best views of the city. Dine at a restaurant lining Circular Quay East before touring of the opera house, or, if you have more time, catching a performance.

Take a few hours to stroll through Sydney’s sizeable Botanic Gardens or do some shopping at the prestigious Queen Victoria Building. Go bar hopping in the grungy but trendy Kings Cross or spend a lazy day at Bondi Beach. There is something going on in Sydney at all hours of the day or night.

The Blue Mountains

A popular escape for Sydneysiders, the Blue Mountains are only a two-hour drive from the NSW capital. Spend your getaway hiking, taking in sweeping canyon views or learning about local Aboriginal history and culture.

Grab your camera and head to Echo Point Lookout to snap some shots of three towering sandstone formations, each about 1 km high, referred to as the Three Sisters. Informational panels explain the significance of the rock formations according to Aboriginal folklore.

Hit the Blue Mountains’ endless trails for your daily dose of exercise. Try a section of the 45 km Six Foot Track or enjoy a more leisurely, self-guided stroll through the historic town of Katoomba by following the Heritage Walk.

After days of being active, unwind in Katoomba, where you can browse the main street’s boutiques and galleries to purchase artisanal creations and artwork by local artists.

The South Coast

Travellers visit New South Wales’ South Coast, first and foremost, for the region’s famed natural beauty. Organise day trips to the region’s national parks. Delve into Aboriginal history at Booderee National Park or hike up to Cape St George Lighthouse.

Follow the paths through the Minnamurra Rainforest, part of Budderroo National Park, and look for native species, such as lyrebirds or swamp wallabies. Stop for a picnic at the Carrington Falls.

Alternately, discover the coastline as you undertake the Kiama Coast Walk. The trail winds along the shore near the town of Kiama, leading past blowholes, secluded beaches, rugged headlands and leafy reserves.

Of course, the South Coast harbours stunning surf and swimming beaches, including the white sandy stretch that is Hyams Beach, on the shores of Jervis Bay, and Thirroul, known for its optimal surfing conditions.

The North Coast

The North Coast is another hub for lovers of the great outdoors. This section of the coastline is lined by rainforests, affording picturesque landscapes of lush reserves on one side and beaches on the other.

Hike along the paths at Yuraygir or the world heritage-listed Dorrigo National Park. Bring your camera or binoculars to observe the birds who call these forests home. Yuraygir National Park hugs the shore in some areas, so visitors can enjoy ocean views, too.

In addition, the North Coast is a popular surfing destination, with breaks for pro surfers and calmer waters for beginners. If you’re confident on your board, hit up Lennox Head. If you’d like to learn the sport, join a surf school, notably on the sands of Ballina, Coffs Harbour or Newcastle.

The Snowy Mountains

If you prefer a ski break to a beach escape, plan a Snowy Mountains getaway. These mountains make up the most elevated range in Australia and offer ski resorts for every taste and interest.

Thredbo, the place to go for long runs, is reminiscent of a typical town in the Swiss Alps. Families with young children might prefer Selwyn Snowfields, boasting runs for skiers of all skill levels. There are a number of other activities for kids, such as tobogganing and tubing. Meanwhile, children as young as three can learn to ski at the Snow School.

If you are feeling particularly confident or adventurous, head to Charlotte Pass, the country’s most elevated, coldest and oldest ski resort, which visitors can only access via snowmobile in the winter.

Getting around New South Wales

Public transport and well-maintained highways make it very easy to get around New South Wales. In addition, a number of regional airports allow for short connecting flights from Sydney. If you are traveling along the coast by car, don’t forget to look out the window to take in some of New South Wales’ most stunning oceanfront scenery.