New South Wales
While the capital Sydney is the major attraction in the New South Wales state, there are many other areas of interest such as the Blue Mountains, or the area of Illawarra south of the city, or the area north of the city such as Port Stewart and Palm Beach.
The foothills of the Blue Mountains are only 50 km from Sydney and are very accessible for a day trip or a few days.
The Blue Mountains are the incredibly scenic range which separates Sydney from the plains and the outback to the West. It is part of a string of ranges which rise in the South with the Australian Alps near Melbourne and continue all the way up to the Great Dividing Range. The Blue Mountains great advantage aside from their incredible beauty is their proximity to the bustling metropolis of Sydney. By car, you can reach the mountains within an hour from downtown Sydney. Although, the most popular tourist resort of Katoomba is closer to 90 minutes.
For those without their own transport, there are specific double decker Mountain trains, which will take a bit longer but offers some incredible views along the way. If you want zero hassle, there are coaches which collect door to door from the hotels in the city.
Wentworth Falls: One of the most beautiful towns nestled high up in the Blue Mountains it was the destination for the first railway station connecting the towns to the city. This town while it has developed still maintains its quaint attraction. Within a quick walk of the town centre is the Wentworth Falls Lake, where locals and tourists alike picnic and BBQ (important to refrain from feeding the ducks here, signs are everywhere notifying you of it).
The town is also a gateway to the Blue Mountains National Park. Entering from here will bring you to incredible vantage points for the Wentworth Falls, Breakfast Point Lookout and Princes Walk Lookout.
Jenolan Cave interior
The Jenolan Caves are a good distance further away from the city, around 2 and a half hours out by car. While the caves are technically not part of the Blue Mountain National Park, they are easily accessible from it and thus are usually included in peopleís Blue Mountain trips.
With 10 caves open to the public, it is one of the regionís most popular tour destinations. Be sure to check when the school holidays are on, as the caves can get booked out quickly.
Deep inside these cavernous limestone caves, beautiful stalactites and stalagmites reflect off the blue hued pools.
While above on the surface outside of the caves, there are numerous bush tracks free to the public.
Jenolan Cliff Cave
The Jenolan Cave system is extensive, at points vsitors can look out from the cave over surrounding countryside.
The Grand Arch is located right next to the Jenolan Caves. It is the extension of the cave road which allows visitors to drive directly from Mount Victoria.
If youíre coming from this direction, this will be the first indication of what is to come. However, this is a manmade cavern, extended in 1896 to reduce the length of the road and ease travel to and from the region.
Three Sisters, Katoomba
The Three Sisters is the premium view of the blue mountains and so widely used for advertising the region that it has almost become the logo for it.
The colour of these three peaks changes throughout the day and is spectacularly floodlight until 11pm each day. The site of an aboriginal legend, each of the three peaks is a sister who according to Aboriginal legend was turned to stone. They were members of the Katoomba tribe who fell in love and married with members of another tribe, an act banned under tribal law. In order to protect them they were turned to stone. Or so legend states.
Whatever your belief, the breath-taking view is a must-see for any trip to the Blue Mountains. Echo point is the where the carpark and lookout point is. It can get busy but offers a stunning vista over the mountains and direct view of the Three Sisters.
Echo point is the where the carpark and lookout point is. It can get busy but offers a stunning vista over the mountains and direct view of the Three Sisters.
Kiama Scenic Drive
A classic seaside town in the Illawarra region, it offers great beaches and scenic coastal walks. The town is famous for itís blowhole, located at the conveniently named Blowhole Point.
Below the waves surge into the underground cave and are compressed and pushed upwards, resulting in high spray of water rushing from the hole.
The strength of it is dependent on winds, waves and tides but when itís going strong expect a large crowd.
The local beach is also beautiful and itís well worth taking a stroll along down to towards the lighthouse.
Stingrays and Pelicans
Illawarra is the large coastal region in the South of NSW. Driving South from Sydney, the road offers you a great view overlooking the town of Wollongong and beyond.
The entire region is known for its stunning beaches and more relaxed environs than those near Sydney.
Bear in mind that the region is known for its upmarket accommodation, due to its beauty and proximity to the city.
Between the Blue Mountains and Sydney is Featherdale Wildlife Park, a zoo of sorts but with the emphasis on interaction and native animals. It is one of the best spots in Sydney to see and feed Kangaroo in an environment which doesn't feel cluttered.
There's BBQ and picnic areas for those sunny days and it's perfect for the entire family. It's also priced a good bit cheaper than Taronga Zoo, but admittedly doesn't have the same range of animals or equal in size. Adults at $28 and Children are $15.50.
Woolongong Lookout Point
Woolongong is a seaside town just south of Sydney, itís recently been advertising itself as an adventure destination.
Wollongong can be reached within 90 minutes from central Sydney by car. The drive itself is beautiful, travelling through the Royal National Park. Within the town, the harbour, Flagstaff Hill and the Blue Mile Boardwalk will easily fill up a day. The beaches are also well patrolled and beautiful, although more secluded ones exist further down the coast. Skydiving and hang gliding are both possible here, and at slightly cheaper rates than north nearer the city.
Along sea cliff bridge
The Sea Cliff Bridge just outside the town is well worth a visit, offering a coastal drive only comparable to the Great Ocean Road.
Shell Harbour, offers a much quieter, more quaint alternative to Wollongong, without having to travel far from Sydney.
Itís a real seaside holiday town, with glorious beaches and busy cafes. For those looking to relax and unwind, this is the perfect place to do it.
Accommodation varies in price and there is something suitable for all.
The sea side town of Palm Beach is about 40 km north of Sydney. The beaches have become famous due to area being a setting for "Home and Away"
Home of the famous Summer Bay (Š la Home and Way), Palm Beach is located in an incredibly beautiful bay, which the TV show doesnít do it justice.
Located 40 km to the North of Sydney, Palm Beach can be approached from the North, through the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. This brings you to a headland which offers an incredible vista of the bay before you.
Of course, the main tourist attraction here is the Home and Away Tours, which show you around most of the shooting locations and offers anecdotes of the shows 27 years of filming.
However, the area itself is another display of the beauty that Australia and NSW has to offer.
Port Stephens lies about 160 km North East of Sydney in the Hunter Region of New South Wales.
Boat Trip - Port Stephens
Further to the North lies Port Stephens, a town aiming for the couple market rather than families orientated holidays. This being Australia, Port Stephens is of course located on beautiful beaches with sparkling white sand.
Dolphins Port Stephhens
Try you luck at whal spotting and you may be double lucky to see some dolphins in the smaller bays.
Tourists come to Port Stephens in droves for dolphin and whale watching. This town has become synonymous with the two activities and for good reason.
The chances of successfully seeing the majestic mammals are very high in the right season and there are many tour operators vying for your custom, so you can shop around for the best fit trip for yourself.
For the more adventurous, the great sand dunes offer something a bit different and exhilarating, sandboarding and dune buggies. Undoubtedly an attractive combination.
The Entrance is along the NSW Central Coast where the Pacific Ocean meets Tuggerah Lake.
Byron Bay is located on the North East tip of New South Wales and is just 100 km south of Brisbane.
Cape Byron Lighthouse
Cape Byron Walkway