New South Wales is one of Australia’s – if not the world’s – most jaw-droppingly stunning places. Beautiful beaches and cool coasts, magnificent mountains and vibrant vineyards only tell part of the story. NSW is a place you don’t just visit, it’s a place you feel…
Here’s our guide to the most picturesque places in New South Wales.
Australia’s most easterly point offers some of the most stunning scenery on the whole of the coast. If you’re ‘outdoorsy’, Byron Bay is the place for you – you can watch the whales, sharks, rays and turtles and kayak with the dolphins, you can walk for miles across gorgeous beaches, lush rainforests and windswept cliffs and you can even take a night vision bushwalk by Minyon Falls to meet NSW’s nocturnal residents.
Byron Bay is a real cultural melting pot of Bohemia-meets-hedonism, surf dudes and alternative philosophy as well as excellent hotels, food and some of the best wine in the world and is a ‘must see’ on any trip to New South Wales.
A million hectares of some of the most awe-inspiring country you’ll ever see, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and so many activities for everyone to enjoy, the Blue Mountains is one of Australia’s true treasures.
You’ll find picturesque eucalyptus forests, sandstone cliffs, canyons, waterfalls and bush. You’ll find adventure sports, jaw-dropping hikes and walks, incredible arts, history and culture and lots of quaint villages, amazing dining experiences and hotels with views to die for. On any trip to New South Wales, the Blue Mountains should be near the top of your ‘must see’ list.
Do you fancy a crisp semillon, a fine shiraz or a fruity chardonnay? Well you’re in luck because the Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest and most famous wine-producing region with over 150 in operation. Just three hours’ drive north of Sydney, Hunter is a gourmet’s paradise with some of the country’s best artisan food producers but there’s so much more to do than eat and drink!
Barrington Tops National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring picturesque woodland, subtropical rainforest, waterfalls and some of the best hikes and views in the region. You can get an adrenaline rush with amazing outdoor adventure sports or you can relax at a spa retreat, visit the Hunter Valley Gardens, towns that will give you a true Aussie welcome and even take a trek out to Scone, the second-largest horse-breeding town in the world.
Part of the Australian Alps, the Snowy Mountains is an ‘exhilarating alpine wilderness’ where the views are amongst the best in all of Australia. Home to Mount Kosciuszko, the nation’s highest peak, you can explore rivers, glacial lakes and mountains as well as a staggering 16 national parks full of stunning wildlife and birds, some unique to this region, and even tour the Yarrangobilly Caves with an aboriginal guide.
Great restaurants, bars and shops are fund in Jindabyne and you can ski, snowboard, fish, hike, mountain bike, horse ride and camp all over the Snowy Mountains all the while taking in some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in the southern hemisphere.
It may be only a kilometre long but Bondi Beach, 7km from Sydney’s city centre, is one of the world’s most iconic and picturesque beaches. There’s something for everyone here and the carefree lifestyle including awesome surf, great beachfront eating and drinking on Campbell Parade, year-round swimming, humpback whale watching on the northern headland and a host of markets, events and festivals.
Just a short bus ride from town, the beautiful golden sands of Bondi Beach is a place where you can relax, soak up the Aussie sun, watch the world go by and try not to think about work when you get home!
Sydney Harbour National Park
© Sydney Harbour National Park
Sydney Harbour National Park
Sydney Harbour conjures up mental images of the iconic Sydney Opera House and the Sydney harbour Bridge but beyond these world-renowned structures, Sydney Harbour National Park offers some of the most exquisite vistas in the whole state.
The park protects the land around the harbour including North Head, Manly to the Spit, Middle Head, Bradleys Head, the Harbour Islands, Nielsen Park and South Head and you can swim, hike, picnic and camp as well as discover incredible wildlife, rock art, convict-built buildings, old forts and barracks and walk heritage trails including all or part of the 100km Great Coastal Walk.
Mungo National Park
Mungo National Park
Around 900km west of Sydney, Mungo National Park is a 1,100 square mile UNESCO World Heritage Site offering visitors to this remote and starkly beautiful landscape a ‘window into the dawn of human life on earth.’ The park is made up of dried lake beds, sand dunes and ancient archaeological treasures including the skeleton of Mungo Man, the oldest found in Australia.
Immerse yourself in 40,000 years of aboriginal history and culture on self-drive or organised tours in the outback. Learn about the bush, sleep under the stars and catch one of the best sunsets and moonscapes in the world. This crinkled landscape is like being on the set of Star Wars and is one of New South Wales’ best-kept secrets.
Lord Howe Island
Their website simply says ‘just paradise’ and it’s hard to argue. Lord Howe Island is 660km off the north coast in the Tasman Sea and as well as being one of the most picturesque places in the southern hemisphere, it’s also Australia’s premier bird watching destination.
Only 400 tourists are allowed at any one time and it’s a mecca for water sports enthusiasts, bird watchers and anyone who wants stunning scenery, utter tranquility and one of the world’s finest one-day hikes to the top of Mount Gower. Throw in fine dining, hotels with breath-taking views and some of the best photos you’ll ever take and Lord Howe Island will be the trip of a lifetime.