New South Wales

Australian Flag

New South Wales (NSW) is a state on the east coast of Australia. Bordering Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south and South Australia to the west. It has endless unspoilt beaches, breathtaking natural treasures and one of the world’s most famous and vibrant cities. Sydney is the capital of NSW and home to the iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Inland there are the gorgeous Blue Mountains, lush rainforests and outback towns. 

History & Culture

Prior to the arrival of Captain James Cook in 1770, New South wales was inhabited by Indigenous Australians for at least 40,000 years. The First Fleet, comprising 11 ships and around 1,350 people, was dispatched to the unknown continent – the only information about New South Wales was that from Cook’s voyage of 1770. From these records it was decided the first settlement would be at Botany Bay.

However, on arrival at Botany Bay on 18 January 1788, Captain Phillip decided the site was not suitable and resolved to look for another. He decided upon Port Jackson, the site of modern day Sydney, and the people of the First Fleet established Australia’s first settlement on 26 January 1788.

Beck Dunn Photography

Natural Wonders

Australia is a country full of incredible natural wonders and New South Wales has got its fair shares. These are some of New South Wales best wonders for some awe-inspiring adventures!

Jenolan Caves

  • These Jenolan limestone caves are Blue Mountains gems not to toss aside. These historical treasures are home to some of the first fossil discoveries and unique calcite formations.
  • See geological forms hanging from icicles, surfaces that seemed to have been carved by meticulous craftsman
  • By the Jenolan Caves is the Blue Lake, a manmade lake rightfully named for its extremely eye-softening blue shade. The lake is home to platypi, making it a great place to spot a few along the walk

The Three Sisters

  • Located in the famous Blue Mountains, these sandstone sisters may well be the most beautiful siblings to stand
  • Head to Echo Point where there are plenty of photo opportunities

Mungo National Park

  • Walls of China - Dunes that need to be seen to be believed. You aren’t allowed on the dunes without a guide so a tour will be needed
  • See the Milky Way at it's finest - Mungo National Park's lack of light polution offers stunning views at night

Kiama Blowhole

  • This natural water fountain was made after many years of the water pounding and essentially drilling the rocks to create a blowhole. Take a raincoat - you might get wet
Kiama Blowhole
David Robertson - Flickr

Outdoor Activities

If the instinct for outdoor travel runs in your blood, New South Wales is your natural habitat. It has a diversity of terrains, beautiful waterways and weather that will give you plenty of choice when it comes to outdoor activities.

For snow lovers, there's no better place than the Snowy Mountains. Skiers and snowboarders can hit the slopes for some downhill thrills in Kosciuszko National Park. Non-skiing adventure-seekers will enjoy hiking or snowshoeing

If water sports are more your thing, there are plenty of places to go. Surfers, grab your surfboards and head to Byron Bay, Shellharbour, or Newcastle's Merewether Beach. The oceans, lakes, rivers and estuaries around NSW offer exciting fishing, boating and kayaking challenges. Want more? Experience the rush of whitewater rafting in Jindabyne and Penrith, or go parasailing in Port Stephens.

For adventure in NSW, the sky's the limit! Book a hot-air-balloon or helicopter ride over the stunning vineyards of the Hunter Valley, climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, go skydiving in Wollongong, or try hang-gliding in Stanwell Park


Sydney Bridge Climb
Sydney Bridge Climb

Must Do Experiences

Sydney is a great base for exploring New South Wales. Discover unspoiled beaches up and down the east coast or take a road trip to see Australia's oldest wine region and beautiful wilderness. See it over a few days or a few weeks...

  • See Sydney's star attractions and hidden gems - Home to many of Australia's must-see attractions, such as the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Bondi Beach
  • Chill out in Byron Bay - Mainland Australia's easternmost town, world renowned for its beautiful beaches, lush rainforest and laid-back lifestyle
  • Get into nature in the Blue Mountains - Offers excellent hiking, spectacular scenery and quaint towns and villages, making it a popular getaway from the big smoke
  • Eat and drink trough the Hunter Valley - Conveniently located just two hours drive north of Sydney, you'll find more than 120 wineries, gourmet restaurants and luxury retreats
  • Take a dip with some of the whitest sand in the world - Three hours south of Sydney you'll find Jervis Bay. Its clear, turquoise waters are high on many holdaymakers' hit list
Jervis Bay

Points of Interest

UTC +10 AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time) NSW observes AEDT (Australian Eastern Daylight Time) from 1st Sunday in October until the 1st Sunday in April

An eVisitor (subclass 651) is a visa for eligible passport holders ​outside Australia who want to visit Australia for tourism or business purposes. There may be a cost involved.

Important Info

Best Time to Visit

New South Wales’ climate is mild with regular rainfall; however, the weather varies throughout the state. While the Byron Bay region enjoys a sub-tropical climate, the regional areas of New South Wales have much lower temperatures. Temperatures in the Blue Mountains can drop below zero in winter. Sydney has great beaches to take advantage of in the warmer months, and plenty of activities during the cooler months.
Activity Time
See Sydney light up Vivid Sydney from end of May to mid June
Watch V8s zoom around Mount Panorama Bathurst 1000 during the first weekend of October
Dance all day & night at a Byron music festival Falls Festival (December) & Splendour in the Grass (July)
Stop and smell the roses (and other flowers) Floriade in Canberra during September & October

Getting Around

Central Station in Sydney is the main terminal for city rail, intra and interstate trains. Sydney buses provide an excellent sightseeing service called The Explorer. Canberra has a very functional public transport system based on frequent bus services to and from all major destinations and most suburbs.


New South Wales is one of Australia’s best dining destinations, where you’ll find a cultural melting pot of international and local cuisines. Try tasty humble meals in historic convict-built pubs in Sydney or indulge in beachside restaurants that produce modern Australian cuisine.


Love to shop? Then Sydney is fabulous, with all its international labels, innovative designers, master artisans and beautiful arcades. In the vibrant city centre, the 19th century grandeur of the Queen Victoria Building defines shopping elegance with three levels devoted to fashion, jewellery and gifts.

A stroll away is the Strand Arcade, another gorgeous colonial arcade where you’ll find hatters, shoemakers, dressmakers, jewellers, cafes and restaurants. Walk though this charming arcade to the Pitt Street Mall and Westfield Sydney, a gleaming complex with more than 250 enticing stores.

What to Pack

Layered outfits are the most practical clothing for Australian conditions, as nights can get cool even in the summer months. A waterproof jacket is useful, plus swimmers, sunscreen, a hat, comfortable walking shoes and camera!

Did you know?
The Harbour Bridge is known by locals as ‘The Coat Hanger’, due to its distinct shape.

New South Wales is a state that’s far more than simply home to Australia’s most famous city, Sydney – it’s a large and varied state that offers stark contrasts between its coastal, central and inner regions, with a diversity of both landscapes and people that makes for some impressive variety in travel opportunities.

From its often wild and beautiful coastline dotted with some of the country’s best beaches to its inner reaches that transition from lush greenery draped in national parkland and eventually give way to the harshness of the Australian outback, New South Wales’ diversity is remarkable. It’s this variety that makes for an extensive range of experiences such as...

• Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb
• Blue Mountains day tour
• Jenolan Caves
• Byron Bay diving
• Wine tours in the Hunter Valley
• Sydney Harbour dining cruises
• Bondi Beach