New South Wales Holiday Planning Guide
New South Wales boasts stunning snow-capped mountains, sandy beaches, and prosperous cities, including its capital, Sydney. Interior forests and highlands contrast with the coastal plains and oceanside landscape. Foodies on holiday in New South Wales can revel in the country's economic heartland, where vineyards flourish and farmer's markets bring an abundance of local produce to the table. Base yourself in Sydney, a glamorous spot from which to explore, and then head to the beaches to swim and surf.
Places to Visit in New South Wales
Cities in New South WalesSydney
: Home to iconic landmarks and a scenic harbour, Australia's most populous city is a fixture on almost every New South Wales itinerary.Newcastle
: Boasting a late-19th century fort and a mixture of Victorian-era and modern buildings, this coastal city has plenty of beaches plus a vibrant arts and culture scene.Wollongong
: The region's third-most populous city is just a stone's throw from Sydney, where a seaside location backed by Mt. Kiera give it a sense of separation from the rest of New South Wales.Katoomba
: The hub of perhaps the state's greatest national treasure, Katoomba serves as gateway to the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains. Byron Bay
: Australia's easternmost point, laid-back Byron Bay ranks among the country's liveliest holiday destinations, with one of the top things to do in New South Wales: surfing.
Popular New South Wales Tourist AttractionsSydney Harbour Bridge
: An iconic landmark, the tallest bridge of its kind in the world connects Sydney's north shore with the city center. Scenic World Blue Mountains
: A perfect place for sightseeing in New South Wales, this kid-friendly tourism hot spot treats you to spectacular views over the Blue Mountains, the world's steepest passenger rail, and absolute tranquility as you stroll along the boardwalk through lush forest.Taronga Western Plains Zoo
: With everything from African lions to endemic species, this zoo is among the top family attractions in New South Wales.Bondi to Coogee Beach Coastal Walk
: Hugging Sydney's coastline, this 6 km (3.7 mi) long medium-grade trail takes you past some of the city's most famous beaches, including Bronte, Tamarama, Maroubra, and, of course, Bondi and Coogee.The Three Sisters
: Located within the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains, these three rocky towers stand at roughly 900 m (2,952 ft) above sea level and serve as the foreground to expansive views over a vast carpet of forest. Cape Byron Lighthouse
: Australia's most powerful lighthouse, with white lights that can stretch 27 nautical miles, this concrete beacon stands on the easternmost point of the mainland. The Rocks
: An essential part of any South Wales tour, this upscale neighborhood was once home to petty criminals and sailors; today it houses some of Sydney's historic tourist attractions.Hunter Valley Gardens
: Located in the heart of New South Wales' wine country, this perfect gateway lies tucked among many surrounding vineyards. Jenolan Caves
: Dating back over 340 million years, the Jenolan Caves represent the oldest cave system on earth, with ancient limestone formations spread across ten caves. Royal Botanic Gardens
: Located in the heart of Sydney, these 30 hectares (74 acres) of land encompass vibrantly colored plants and exotic endemic wildlife.
Planning a New South Wales Vacation with Kids
Places to Visit in New South Wales with Kids
A New South Wales holiday offers an abundance of family-friendly destinations. Head to the seaside town of Port Macquarie
for some beach time, plus a local wildlife park and other activities. Jervis Bay
, another family favorite, boasts the world's whitest sand, snorkeling, and RV parks with plenty to keep kids entertained.
The World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains
cater to visitors of all ages, with child-friendly activities to keep kids curious, including glow worm tunnels, enchanting waterfalls, and the world's steepest passenger rail.
Add a day trip to Jamberoo
for the giant theme park, with over 40 hectares (99 acres) of water-themed fun.
Things to Do in New South Wales with Kids
With no shortage of attractions, adding kid-friendly activities to your New South Wales itinerary is easy. Kids will appreciate the wealth of wildlife at Sydney's Taronga Zoo
, which houses over 4,000 animals made up of 340 different species. Afterwards, delve into the marine life of Australia's waters at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium
, where you can see over 650 species of aquatic life, including 3 m (10 ft) long sharks.
Set aside time to relax and play on some of New South Wales' favorite beaches. Preferred by locals for its calm waters and snorkeling opportunities, kid-friendly Clovelly
lies sandwiched between some of the region's most popular coastal spots while not experiencing as much of a crowd.
For rides and good old-fashioned theme park entertainment, head to Luna Park Sydney
--one of the top family attractions in New South Wales, it sits beneath the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Tips for a Family Vacation in New South Wales
New South Wales tourism features plenty of attractions well equipped to deal with families, making your vacation enjoyable and hassle-free. Most destinations and sights have quite some distance between them, so consider renting a car to go at your own pace. Don't worry about packing lots of food when hopping between tourist attractions: the state's highways have plenty of roadside fast food restaurants catering to kids and adults. Do bring plenty of sunscreen during summer holiday in New South Wales (December through February). Even cloudy days pose a threat of sunburn, so slather on protection at regular intervals.
Dining and Shopping on Holiday in New South Wales
Cuisine of New South Wales
The cuisine of New South Wales incorporates a broad spectrum of influences, including African, Indian, Greek, Vietnamese, and Japanese. Foodies on a tour of New South Wales will have plenty to write home about, from Sydney's rock oysters to guava and passion fruit. Try the regional staple, meat pie, in Robertson
at the Robertson Pie Shop, and don't miss Orange
for its abundant wineries and farmer's markets. Whatever's on your plate, see if you can match it with a local beer or Hunter Valley wine (think Shiraz or Semillon).
Seafood aficionados should book a table at Doyles on the Wharf in Watson's Bay
--a long-standing family-owned restaurant known for its Sydney Harbour views, extensive wine list, and seafood.
Shopping in New South Wales
New South Wales' towns and cities are home to numerous souvenir shops selling boomerangs, didgeridoos, cork-screw caps, and other typical Australian products. You can find some of the state's most frequented shops of this kind in Circular Quay
For an Aussie market experience, head to The Rocks
. Not only is this one of the heritage tourist attractions in New South Wales, but you can also find all manner of souvenirs, including Aboriginal artwork.
If you love luxury goods, head to Pitt Street Mall
, a pedestrian shopping zone known as Sydney's fashion center.
Know Before You Go on a Trip to New South Wales
Interesting Facts About New South Wales
* New South Wales is Australia's most populous and oldest state.
* The state capital, Sydney hosted the 2000 Olympic games.
* Port Jackson, part of Sydney City, is where Europeans first settled in Australia.
Holidays & Festivals in New South Wales
One of the country's most important holidays, Australia Day celebrates Captain Arthur Phillip raising the British flag in Sydney Cove, when he took formal possession of the land of New South Wales in 1788. The whole country passionately celebrates this event on January 26, and residents of New South Wales traditionally flock to nearby beaches such as Bondi Beach
to enjoy barbecue, drinks, and the hot Aussie summer.
Commemorating fallen Australian and New Zealand soldiers who gave their lives during World War II, ANZAC Day also has great significance. Every year on April 25, Australians remember the nation's heroes, and Sydney hosts one of its key events, the ANZAC Parade.
On the lighter end of things, you can add Byron Bay
to your New South Wales itinerary for some of Australia's top music festivals. The seaside city is home to musical manifestations such as Splendour in the Grass (last weekend in July), Bluesfest (over the long Easter weekend), and Falls Music and Arts Festival (around New Year's).
Useful New South Wales Travel Tips
Climate of New South Wales
When planning your trip to New South Wales, keep in mind that its climate falls under three major categories, as the Great Dividing Range--a mountain range stretching across much of Australia's east coast--splits the region's climate conditions.
An arid to semi-arid climate can be found west of the mountainous area, while you can expect to experience cool oceanic and humid subtropical climates east of the range. The mountainous region itself is the only place you can commonly expect to experience snowfall in New South Wales.
November through to March are the state’s warmest months, with December to February being the official summer months. During this time you can expect to experience temperatures ranging from 25 C (77 F) up to 40 C (104 F). While this period represents the peak of tourism in New South Wales, consider coming either in November or after mid-January to avoid the high-priced accommodations.
Transportation in New South Wales
The inner city transport systems of New South Wales are well established and operate smoothly, with buses and trains servicing local destinations. Some cities, such as Sydney and Newcastle, also feature ferries. In Sydney, look for Sunday day passes that let you combine use of all three transport types. You can catch a taxi on nearly any street corner in the region's major cities, but note they can be quite costly.
Your best bet when traveling between cities is to rent a car, given the long distances between them. While you can reach some major tourist hubs via public transport (a two-hour train ride from Sydney gets you to the Blue Mountains), getting everywhere this way can be rather time-consuming. Alternatively, explore the many tour operators that can accommodate you during your vacation in New South Wales.