Thinking about a day trip from Sydney? Passing through New South Wales on your road trip along the East Coast of Australia? With these tips and ideas you have everything you need to know about New South Wales and its quaint country towns and gorgeous beaches.
New South Wales is Australia’s heart and soul. There is Sydney, of course, at its economic, touristic and cultural centre, but there is so much more than the Big Smoke. If you dare to venture further and leave the big city behind, you will be surprised by the variety of experiences and landscapes that New South Wales has to offer.
From the deserts of the outback to the lush coastal regions, from skiing and hiking in the mountains to boating on the lakes, New South Wales spoils the visitor with a variety of options for the whole family.
What to eat
Some parts of NSW are culinary destinations in their own right, such as the Hunter Valley, Byron Bay or the Southern Highlands. Once you leave these centres behind, however it is recommendable to stick to crowd pleasers such as steak, chicken schnitzel or fish and chips. Wines in the wine producing regions don’t need to hide on the global stage, and there are craft beer breweries popping up in the smaller cities such as Newcastle and along the South Coast.
Great Souvenirs to Take Home
New South Wales is not exactly a shopper’s paradise but every region comes up with their very own local products and craft that can make great gifts or souvenirs. In the Hunter Valley, buying wine is a must, but there are also delicious cheeses, chocolates, and even spirits that will be a temptation to your wallet. Local art galleries all around the country foster a strong customer-artist relationship and can open your eyes to contemporary Australian culture. If visiting fossicking areas, don’t leave without taking home some precious stones or a small gold nugget.
Ah! Where to start? New South Wales has it all – surfing beaches as well as family-friendly swimming beaches. The choice is endless, and the scenery stunning. It is impossible to pick a favourite here, rest assured that you will be blown away by pristine coastal regions, many of them protected in National Parks, that cater for all kinds of purposes. Camping right by the ocean is not unheard of, and you may want to throw in a kangaroo or two for the quintessential Australian nature experience.
What to Pack When Visiting New South Wales
What you need to pack depends on the season and the place that you want to visit. New South Wales offers a range of climate zones, from arid outback deserts to lush coastal rainforest. In summer, temperatures can easily peak at 35 degrees in the west of the country while in winter it may drop below zero. Don’t forget to pack an umbrella and sun protection, mosquito spray, and your swimmers.
When to go
I advise to avoid the NSW coast during the Australian summer holidays, as this is the time when the locals will hit the road, so traffic jams and high accommodation rates (to the point that whole towns will be booked out) are to be expected. The outback and some inland country regions in summer can also be badly affected by flies which can be a real nuisance. The shoulder seasons are perfect to explore this beautiful country, while the Snowy Mountains are of course perfect in winter.
Good to Know About New South Wales
Do not underestimate distances in New South Wales, and if you do have the time to spare follow the signs to scenic (tourist) routes for some wonderful scenic views. The further you can get away from Sydney the more of a contrast to big city life you will experience. Make sure you fuel up regularly when you get into more remote areas, and be prepared to loose mobile reception as you head out west.
What I like most about Country NSW
I think New South Wales is underestimated when it comes to day trip and holiday experiences. There is plenty to see here and a lot of things to try that you wouldn’t normally be doing in your free time. Visiting a small country town museum is usually a very fulfilling experience, as they tend to provide some exciting insights into the life of early settlers, very often from family heirloom that has been donated to the museum locally.
What I Don’t Like About Country NSW
Distances are an issue, and the fact that most areas can only be reached by car can be a real downer, in particular if you are stuck in traffic on the Pacific Highway. Also, look out for radar controls, a popular way for local councils to boost their budget! It would be great to find more luxury options along the coast for more exclusive weekend getaways, but at this stage the region is not developed enough. On the upside, for camping and outdoor enthusiasts New South Wales surely has a lot to offer.
Must-do’s When you are Travelling Around New South Wales
If you only have an afternoon, visit the Blue Mountains and experience the blue hue of the gumtree forests. If you have a weekend, sneak away for a cheeky couple escape to the Hunter Valley, and if you are looking for a family getaway drive to the Southern Highlands and then turn towards Kiama while passing through Kangaroo Valley before returning to Sydney. Personally, the outback is not getting enough attention, so this quirky and strange place is definitely something that should be featured more.
The Best New South Wales Accommodation
Finding suitable accommodation in New South Wales isn’t easy. Click here to book accommodation in New South Wales on Booking.com (Booking.com is a leading online accommodation provider which I fully trust and which I have used in the past myself. By clicking on this link you will see a small commission come my way which will help this blog. Thank you!).