Take yourself off the tourist trail and head somewhere a little bit different in New South Wales. You’ll discover paradise islands, picturesque wineries, untouched beaches and ancient Aboriginal artwork. Here are our top 5 spots outside of Sydney waiting for you to explore:
The Hunter Valley is famous for wine but how many of you have heard of Mudgee? It’s a gorgeous little wine town in New South Wales, a hidden gem 3.5 hours away from Sydney. It makes for a great alternative to Hunter Valley because you can cycle between the award-winning wineries rather than taking the bus. The cycle route is flat and the views are stunning. As you spend a blissful day cycling and sipping wine, we recommend stopping at the Blue Wren for lunch – try the pan-fried Barramundi fish! Just make sure you’re not too wobbly on your wheels.
2. Lord Howe Island
Take a two hour flight from Sydney to the beautiful paradise island of Lord Howe. The island is surrounded by crystal clear waters, and home to rare coral and marine life. It boasts some of the most epic hiking trails, so head up Mt. Gower for spectacular 360 degree views of the island and surrounding ocean. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a whale!
Head north-east of the island to hand feed fish, where Neds Beach is home to hundreds of shallow-swimming fish. Wade into the waters and let the feeding frenzy commence. You can also pick up a mask and snorkel from the top of the beach. All you need is your bathing suit and something for the fish! There’s nowhere else quite like it!
3. The Outback
Step away from the bright lights of Sydney and into a barren landscape. You’ll enter into the heart of Australia. You can fly from Sydney to Broken Hill – the unofficial capital of the New South Wales Outback – in 2.5 hours. Check out the desert sculptures while you’re in Broken Hill, then head to Mutawintji National Park to admire ancient Aboriginal rock art. You’ll discover paintings and stencils over 30,000 years old. Don’t miss the Mungo National Park, home to the Mungo Man. Who is the Mungo Man I hear you cry? He’s the oldest human skeleton to be discovered in Australia – you can brag to your friends about how you met the old guy!
4. Hyams Beach
Cool off on Hyams Beach about a 3 hour drive south of Sydney. The sand is so white it has made the Guinness Book of Records! People often tend to head north of Sydney for the surf, but the beaches in the south are not to be missed. The water temperature is cooler, so it’s not the best for surfing, but for those of you who aren’t exactly a Mick Fanning* on a surf board, Hyams Beach is the one for you. The beach it’s completely untouched and crowd free, so take your pick from swimming, kayaking, whale-watching or canoeing and enjoy it all to yourself!
*Pro surfer, but of course you knew that.
5. The Snowy Mountains
Head 5 hours south of Sydney to the Snowy Mountains, affectionately known as “The Snowies”. They make for an awesome alternative to the Blue Mountains. Anyone who’s staying in Sydney will take a day trip to the Blue Mountains but you’re not just anyone.
The Snowies are not exclusively for winter trips as the name would suggest, so check them out in the summer and see that there’s more to these mountains than skiing! Explore the Yarrangobilly Caves, a wonderland of thermal pools and stalactites, spot the wild brumbies (horses) as you climb Australia’s highest peak, Mt. Kosciusko, and stop off at Eagles Nest Cafe for the best hot chocolate EVER. What was that about Blue Mountains?