Our Aussie road trip takes to the highways again, crossing into New South Wales, Australia’s south-eastern state and one of the most popular of the lot amongst British travellers.
Enjoy the unmistakable view of Sydney Harbour Bridge from the Opera House forecourt | Image by Pierre Toussaint
Sydney’s wide variety of attractions may steal the headlines, but — as you’re about to find out — there are stacks more to New South Wales than you might know. Buckle up, and join us for the ride, through New South Wales’ most amazing destinations.
Grab a New South Wales Six Pack!
New South Wales took its name from James Cook’s reckoning that it looked like — wait for it, this is quite astounding — south Wales. Think about that, as you wind down the window and allow the warm summer air to carry your favourite sound tracks down the highway.
1. Start out in Sydney
It seems only right that the road trip kicks off in the state’s boastful capital, Sydney. Scale the dizzying heights of Sydney Harbour Bridge, learn to surf at Manly or Bondi Beach, dive with sharks at Manly Oceanworld, and check out Sydney’s growing small bar scene. Sydney hosts some incredible events, including the famous New Years Eve celebrations, and look out for the new Australian Open of Surfing held on Manly Beach.
2. Go beyond, to the Blue Mountains
Suspended in the eucalypti mist, far beyond Sydney’s skyline, are the dramatic Blue Mountains, and its myriad bushwalking trails. A mecca for outdoor lovers, this is the ideal place to rock climb, abseil, hike, and ride horses, as well as spot indigenous wildlife.
Horseriding at Centennial Glen Stables, Blackheath, Blue Mountains NSW | Image by Hamilton Lund: Destination NSW
For something a little different, considering taking a guided tour of the ancient, jewel-laden, Jenolan Caves.
3. Hang out in the Hunter Valley
The Hunter Valley is famous for its wineries and boutique breweries, and makes the perfect spot to pull over from the road trip and ease yourself onto a cycle saddle. Expect to try plenty of great wines, but if you’re pushed for time, hit the Semillon and Shiraz, two of the region’s stand-out varieties.
4. Nestle into Newcastle
Don’t be fooled by the name; this isn’t one of the UK’s coolest cities, this is one of Australia’s most unsung destinations. The harbour city is surrounded by surf beaches, and hosts the annual Surfest event, the largest festival of surfing in the Southern Hemisphere, held annually in March on Merewether Beach.
Surfers at Merewether Beach, Newcastle, NSW | Image credit: The Legendary Pacific Coast
5. Pop into Port Stephens
One hour north-east of Newcastle, you’ll find the friendly enclaves of Port Stephens. This sheltered bay welcomes visitors to swim with the local common dolphins, or go quad biking along the huge sand dunes of the nearby 30km Stockton Beach.
6. Bring it all down, in Byron Bay!
As we started this journey with the classic city of Sydney, we should wind it down in the organic hangouts of Byron Bay.
Wind down with a kayak with dolphins and whales, hit the surf for a lashing of laid back lifestyle and be the first in Australia to see the sunrise from Cape Byron Lighthouse. Beyond the tie-die, take a hike through the World Heritage listed rainforests of the Byron Bay National Parks.