You name it – whether it’s ski fields, surf beaches or sub-tropical rainforest – and you’ll find it in New South Wales. Byron Bay on the North coast is famous for its surf and lies where the sweep of rainforest meets mountains forged from ancient volcanoes. The South coast offers more of Australia’s classic beach culture with 30 national and marine parks plus a rich Aboriginal history. Pods of dolphins and whales often cruise past secluded beaches.

Inland are the Snowy Mountains with Australia’s tallest peak, Mt Kosciuszko and some impressive ski fields. In summer, the Snowies are perfect for more adventure-based activities like hiking, cycling, kayaking, caving and horse riding. Wine lovers have more than 120 cellar doors to open in the Hunter Valley, with its smart restaurants and boutique hotels. Tour the wineries in a horse-drawn cart or bicycle if you don’t fancy driving.

You can walk on air some 270m above the floor of the Kedumba River in a glass-floored aerial gondola in the Blue Mountains, with their blue-hazed cliffs and canyons. Views are awesome and it’s an easy trip there from Sydney.

Wollongong, New South Wales’s third largest city, makes a great weekend escape for busy Sydneysiders. There are some excellent surfing beaches nearby (you can do the state’s only beach skydive here), good sailing on Lake Illawarra and an amazing walk across the yawning Sea Cliff Bridge, arching above the ocean. 

Take a side trip to Canberra, home to Australia’s top museums, memorials and national treasures. Not that Canberra is all serious: there are plenty of hands-on, interactive experiences too. See how an earthquake feels at Questacon, test your skills at virtual rowing at the Australian Institute of Sport, take a balloon ride over the hills or hop on a boat tour around Lake Burley Griffin.


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