If you've made it all the way to the great land down under, chances are you’re planning on visiting many of the popular spots listed in your guidebook.

But although there's so much to do and see here (Australia really is a lot bigger than people think!), there's so much even in the state of New South Wales alone. Here’s a quick guide of some of the best spots NSW has to offer.

Sydney

Bondi Beach, Sydney

Sydney, Sydney, Sydney. Where to begin? At 5 million residents, Sydney is the largest city in Australia, so you definitely won’t run out of things to do! Firstly, get yourself down to Circular Quay, it's guaranteed to blow you away with views of the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the city skyline.

From Circular Quay walk to the Royal Botanical Gardens. This is the perfect place to have a rest so grab a bite from the cafe, or, even better, pack a picnic lunch and immerse yourself in the beauty! This garden is 30 hectares and is home to some 80,000 tree and plant species.

A convenient stop from the Botanical Gardens is the Art Gallery of New South Wales. It's one of the largest in Australia and features a permanent collection along with temporary exhibitions. Even if you’re not an art buff, the grandeur of the gallery’s exterior architecture is impressive and enough to draw you in.

And finally, Bondi. What’s a visit to Sydney without visiting the iconic Bondi Beach? Take a dip in the crystal blue waters (just don’t forget to pack the sunscreen, the sun is harsh down here!), then make your way up to the countless cafes and eateries on Campbell Parade and its cross streets. If you visit on the weekend, you’ll find the Bondi Farmers Market specialising in produce and gourmet eats on Saturday, and the Bondi Markets with shops, eats, and drinks on Sunday.

The Blue Mountains

Three Sisters, Blue Mountains

This World Heritage Site is located only two hour's drive from Sydney and is well worth visiting. I recommend the short stroll out to see Three Sisters and riding the world’s steepest incline railway at Scenic World.

If you’re not scared of the dark, head over to the Jenolan Caves. The caves are the most ancient open caves in the world, and with the lights, the limestone cave will shine! There are several tours around the caves that range from a breezy walk to one that requires climbing confined spaces in safety gear!

The Glow Worm Caves are also worth a stop, located in an old, disused, rail tunnel. As you turn off your headlights you'll be surrounded by deep darkness, but give your eyes a minute to adjust and you’ll notice the glow of the worms start to appear.

Byron Bay

Byron Bay

Byron Bay is about a nine-hour drive from Sydney, so if you’re not fond of a road trip, your best bet is to fly straight into Byron.

Byron is THE escape from the city; here you’ll find most people spending their days in the surf, walking around barefooted and with sand in their hair. It's Byron's stress-free, carefree vibe that makes it the prime location for events like meditation retreats, yoga training and multi-day festivals like Bluesfest and Splendour in the Grass.

The main reason people travel up to Byron is the beaches. There are plenty of incredible surf spots up on the north coast, and because it’s not crowded like Bondi, Byron's great for learning to surf. There's also whale watching boat tours, dolphin kayak tours, stand up paddle boarding, to name a few.

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Hunter Valley

Hunter Valley Vineyards - Source: Flickr

If you fancy yourself a bit of a wine connoisseur, the Hunter Valley is the place for you. This is Australia’s oldest and most well-known wine region, and it’s only a two-hour drive from Sydney. With its gourmet food and unlimited wine options, it's an ideal spot for some R&R.

The drive into the Hunter Valley during sunset is stunning as you’ll see the grapevines with a warm, sunset backdrop. Continue in relaxing style and unwind at the local golf course, pamper yourself at one of the spas or simply hire a bicycle and ride around to the vineyards.

For a more cultural visit, head to Wollombi Village where you can take a tour to significant Aboriginal sites and learn more about the culture of Australia’s Indigenous first people. Additionally, there are tours that follow the convict trail, and explore the history surrounding it.

Jervis Bay

Hyams Beach - Source: Flickr

Jervis Bay is such a little gem, it’s even said that it’s got the whitest sand and clearest water in the world.

If you’re a lover of hiking, be sure to do the White Sands Walk which takes you on a journey through the area’s beauty. Some notable beaches are Murrays Beach, Hyams Beach and Chinamans Beach which all feel like an escape into absolute paradise. Snorkelling, diving and stand up paddle boarding are just a few amazing ways to spend your time in these stunning waters.


Have you been to Australia or the state of NSW?
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Image source: pixabay.com & flickr.com