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12 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in New South Wales (NSW)

Best Places to Visit in New South Wales (NSW)

New South Wales (NSW) is one of Australia’s oldest and most diverse states. Sydney shines as the state capital, with famous attractions such as the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbor Bridge, as well as great restaurants, galleries and museums. Go beyond this beautiful port city and you’ll discover a state full of surprises, home to six World Heritage sites in Australia.

Topographically, NSW reflects the diverse landscape of the entire country. The Great Dividing Range cuts through the province’s center and carves the east coast, surrounded by dazzling beaches, inland desert beauty stretches to the west.

NSW is easy to explore and you’ll find plenty to do. Climb or ski the rugged peaks of the Snowy Mountains, hunt for opal in inland red clay towns, hike through World Heritage-listed rainforests, dive into the coral reefs of Lord Howe Island and travel back in time at the World Heritage Sites of Norfolk Island.

Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in New South Wales (NSW) and make your trip enjoyable.

12 Best Places to Visit in New South Wales (NSW)

Here are the top 12 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in New South Wales (NSW):

1. Sydney

Sydney, the capital of New South Wales, is one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Against the backdrop of the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge, the sparkling blue harbor is the city’s chief pearl. Take a ferry or harbor cruise to truly appreciate these Sydney’s top attractions and the city’s stunning waterfront location.

Besides world-class restaurants, festivals, galleries and museums, you’ll find plenty to do in Sydney. Wander the cobbled streets of historic The Rocks, wander through the Royal Botanic Gardens or climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge. You can also explore the shops, restaurants and attractions of Darling Harbour, one of the best family-friendly attractions in NSW.

Sydney is famous for its beautiful beaches. Soak up the sun at the famous Bondi Beach, and learn to surf at Manly or paddle in the calm waters of Balmoral.

You will also find many attractions around Sydney. Stretching northwest from the city, the picturesque Hawkesbury River and the surrounding national parks are perfect for day trips, with great opportunities for nature walks, bird watching and boating.

2. Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains are one of the most scenic places in New South Wales. For over a hundred years this area has been a favorite vacation spot for nature lovers.

About 65 kilometers west of the city, mountains rise steeply from the coastal plain, combining magnificent canyons, waterfalls, rock formations and sacred Aboriginal sites with world-class tourism facilities. Named after the blue haze produced by the many eucalyptus trees, the area is one of the state’s magnificent World Heritage Sites.

Popular activities in the Blue Mountains include hiking, rock climbing, downhill climbing, mountain biking, and photographing spectacular landscapes. Save time by visiting all the top attractions. Highlights include Wentworth Falls, the towering sandstone rock formations known as the Three Sisters, and the Blue Mountains Botanical Gardens Mount Thomas.

You can see sparkling stalactites and stalagmites in the Jenolan Caves, the world’s oldest known open cave system. The Blue Mountains also have some of the best hiking trails in Australia.

Wondering the best way to see some of the best natural attractions for a limited time? Sign up for adventures offered by Scenic World. These include aerial tramways, funiculars, elevated walkways and one of the steepest railways in the world. Better still, book a combination of these adventures to see the park from a different perspective.

Blue Mountains National Park is one of the best places to visit by car near Sydney, but you can also take a train or go on a guided day trip.

3. Lord Howe Island

Listed as a World Heritage Site, Lord Howe Island is a haven for peace and nature lovers. Surrounded by the world’s southernmost coral reef, this magnificent island is approximately 660 km off the NSW north coast and can accommodate just 400 guests at a time.

Lord Howe includes a number of small islands that are part of an ancient volcano. Magnificent cliffs line the rugged coast, and other highlights of the island include white sandy beaches, native forests of pandanus and Kentia palms, and stunning views from the 875-meter-high Mount Gower.

Almost two-thirds of Lord Howe is protected, and the island is home to a variety of flora and fauna. Bird watching is excellent with over 130 permanent and migratory species. Offshore, Lord Howe Island Marine Park protects coral reefs and offers excellent diving and snorkeling.

Other popular activities on Lord Howe Island include fishing, surfing, canoeing and hiking along the many walking paths. Bicycles are the best way to explore the island – they are also the main means of transport on the island.

Do you want to escape from the stress of daily life? you are lucky. You won’t find any cell phone reception here that adds to the peaceful vibe.

Lord Howe Island is less than a two-hour flight from Sydney or Brisbane, and while it’s not technically a tropical island, it’s still one of the most beautiful islands in the South Pacific.

4. Byron Bay

Byron Bay on the north coast is a hotspot for surfers and new-age nature lovers. There is a wide golden beach facing the sea and a walk along Cape Byron Road to the easternmost point of the Australian mainland and its famous lighthouse. Dolphins and whales play in the water, and water sports abound.

Inland, you can explore the World Heritage-listed Warrumbin National Park (formerly Mount Warrumbin National Park), with its peaceful rainforests and waterfalls. Byron is also known for its colorful markets, health and yoga retreats, spa resorts, and luxury boutique hotels.

Recently, spotting celebrities has become a favorite pastime. Chris Hemsworth is a well-known resident and many other Hollywood stars have spent time here between movie sets.

To immerse yourself in the spirit of Old Byron Bay, head inland for about an hour to the small town of Nimbin, home of hippies, counterculture and alternative lifestyles.

5. Beaches on the South Coast

If you love beaches, idyllic scenery and quaint little towns, you’ll love NSW’s south coast. Stretching from Sydney’s southern tip to the Victorian border, the area boasts some of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the state against the dark peaks of the Great Dividing Range. Rugged green hills, lakes, bays and forests surround the coast, and the climate is mild throughout the year.

A series of small resorts along the coast. Many of their beaches offer excellent water sports opportunities, including swimming, fishing, snorkeling and surfing. Kiama is home to the world’s largest blowhole, and Jervis Bay is known for its shiny silty soft sand. Nearby, dazzling Hyams Beach, which claims to have the whitest sand in the world, is one of Australia’s best beaches. Batemans Bay is also home to the stunning beach and the Batemans Bay snorkeling trail.

If you’re looking for some of NSW’s most beautiful hideaways, you’ll find them on South Beach. Merimbula and its sister village Pambula, on the Sapphire Coast, are hidden gems with beautiful beaches, crystal clear lakes, and great water sports opportunities.

One of the southernmost places on the coast is the ancient fishing village of Eden, which was once a thriving whaling station. To the north and south of town is Ben Boyd National Park, with stunning views of the red sandstone cliffs from the old lighthouse, Boyd Tower.

6. Hunter Valley

About two hours’ drive north of Sydney is the picturesque Hunter Valley, one of Australia’s most famous viticulture regions. It’s also a popular weekend getaway in Sydney – especially for gourmets who come here for delicious fresh farm produce, cooking schools, and gourmet restaurants with chef-tasting menus.

Highlights of the Hunter Valley area include the beautiful Hunter Valley Gardens, several excellent art galleries, and largely unspoiled bushlands.

In the World Heritage-listed Barrington Tops National Park, you can hike through ancient rainforests and admire impressive waterfalls and diverse wildlife.
Also in the area, Wollemie National Park is one of the largest national parks in NSW. It is home to the famous Wollemi pines and offers spectacular hiking, rock climbing and canoeing.

Newcastle is one of the largest cities in the region and a great place to visit if you want to enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city after a country break. With museums, galleries, great cafes and restaurants and live entertainment, it is one of the largest cities in New South Wales after Sydney. While you’re here, save time walking along the Bathers Way beach walk. It is one of Newcastle’s most popular tourist destinations.

7. Port Stephens

About an hour’s drive north of Newcastle, Port Stephens is a large, beautiful blue bay surrounded by two volcanic headlands. A natural forest surrounds most of the 26 white sand beaches here, and whales and dolphins are often spotted in the bay.

Although there are many people here in the summer, you can still find a quiet beach. It is also one of Australia’s top fishing destinations, especially for big game fishing. Other popular water sports include swimming, surfing, canoeing and boating.

Walk above Tomaree Head for panoramic views of the Port Stephens coastline. Another popular activity is quad biking or tobogganing on the largest sand dunes in the southern hemisphere.

Major resorts are Nelson Bay and Shoal Bay, but you can also stay at Soldiers Point, Fingal Bay, and Lemon Tree Pass. Nearby Myall Lakes State Park contains one of the largest lake systems in the state and is another great destination for fishing, swimming, and kayaking.

8. Snow Mountain

Part of the Great Dividing Range, the Snowy Mountains are home to the continent’s highest peaks, including Mount Kosciusko, Australia’s highest peak at 2,228 meters.

One of the main attractions of Snow Mountain in Kosciusko National Park. This UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is a popular recreational area all year round. Snowy winters attract skiers, and in summer, easily accessible mountain ranges such as snow gum forests and glacial lakes attract hikers, mountaineers, anglers, horse riders, mountain bikers and water sports enthusiasts.

Thinking about where to stay in Snow Mountain? Known for its excellent trout fishing, Jindabyne is an ideal base for mountain adventures.

The Snowy Mountains are also home to some of the best ski resorts in Australia. Perisher Blue Ski Resort includes the famous Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Guthega and Blue Cow Mountain. The village of Thredbo, at the foot of the Crackenback Mountain Range, has a chairlift throughout the year. Located near the peak of Kosciusko, Charlotte Pass is an ideal starting point for ski trips to the highest peak of the Australian Alps.

9. Kangaroo Valley

Kangaroo Valley is full of greenery and is the perfect Australian country town. Surrounded by lush cliffs and rugged pastures, the hotel is located in the scenic Shoalhaven District, about two hours southwest of Sydney.

Perhaps the town’s most distinctive landmark is the handsome, historic Hampden Bridge over the Kangaroo River, Australia’s only remaining wooden suspension bridge. Crossing the single lane between tall sandstone pillars sets the tone for a relaxed tour here, encouraging visitors to slow down and smile at passing drivers.

You’ll find plenty to do in the picturesque Kangaroo Valley. Horseback riding, hiking, golfing, canoeing along rivers and streams, and enjoying local history at the Pioneer Village Museum are popular activities.

Nature is also a highlight. Don’t miss the impressive Fitzroy Falls in Moreton National Park, while in the valley, look out for marsupials and wallabies of the same name, especially at Talova Dam, where you can kayak and fish. The beautiful Bendeela camping and picnic area are one of the best places to see wombats in the wild.

Kangaroo Valley has also earned a reputation as a foodie destination, with an abundance of fresh produce, lovely tearooms, and farmer’s markets. Try taking a cooking class and don’t miss the freshly baked pies at Barrengarry Old Store Kangaroo Valley Pie.

10. Outback NSW

Outback NSW is home to sacred Aboriginal sites, harsh deserts and unforgettable beauty. Mungo National Park in the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Site holds records of Aboriginal life between 40,000 and 60,000 years ago.

In Warrumbungle National Park, in the transition zone between the arid regions of the west and the rainy east, the magnificent rock faces and domes are the result of volcanic activity. Snow gums surround the surrounding hills, and valleys with deep spring water canyons. You can explore the park on a network of amazing hiking trails and see colorful wildflowers in the spring.

Besides exploring the rugged national parks, the country town is also one of the most unique places in NSW and there are many unusual things to do. You can hunt for opal in the mining towns of White Cliffs and Lightning Ridge, visit the living desert sculptures at Broken Mountain, and cycle at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo.

11. Armidale

Armidale, an elegant university town in NSW’s northern highlands, is an all-season city. At just under 1,000 meters above sea level, it is the highest town in the state, with relatively mild summers, spring blooms, red leaves in the fall, and even light snowfall in winter.

Highlights of a visit here include heritage tours of the town’s beautiful old buildings, funded by the area’s rich agricultural wealth, as well as visits to magnificent galleries, gardens, and museums. st. Mary and Joseph’s Catholic Church is a famous landmark, and the University of New England brings a youthful energy to this splendid town.

There are pristine wilderness areas surrounding the city, attractions for families and nature lovers, and plenty of outdoor adventures. Trout fishing, mountain biking, canyoning, hiking and bird watching are just some of the popular activities.

If you’re going to Armidale, don’t miss Falls Road. This 185km scenic drive connects the coastal town of Coffs Harbor with Armidale and includes almost everything from river-carved valleys and World Heritage-listed rainforest to picturesque waterfalls. All of the corners show beautiful scenery. Ebor Falls is a highlight.

The road also passes through five national parks, including Dorrigo National Park; Wollomombi Gorge and Falls, which has one of the highest waterfalls in Australia; and New England and Oxley Wild Rivers National Park.

12. Canberra

Canberra, the capital of Australia, is rich in cultural treasures located approximately 280 km southwest of Sydney. Technically, it’s not located in NSW, but in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), a 2400-square-mile autonomous federal territory, but it’s completely surrounded by NSW, making it a relaxing weekend getaway.

In addition to the city’s world-class museums and monuments, it’s also known for its fun family-friendly festivals—especially the Floriade festival, which is usually held from September to October and celebrates the city’s many spring flowers.

Canberra is well planned. Its streets are large-scale, many lined with colorful gardens and thousands of trees that come in bright fall colors. A central feature is the sparkling Lake Burley Griffin, a long artificial lake surrounded by parks, picnic areas, hiking trails, and Canberra’s top attractions.

Canberra’s principal buildings within the Parliamentary Triangle include the National Gallery of Australia, with its three-story exhibits and a sculpture garden; the National Library of Australia; the Old Parliament House, now a museum depicting the story of Australian democracy; and the New Parliament Building.

Don’t miss the impressive Australian War Memorial and be sure to save time to visit the impressive collection of native plants at Australia’s National Botanic Gardens.


Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in New South Wales. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in New South Wales, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.

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