New South Wales
Everyone knows NSW for Sydney - Australia’s largest and most dynamic city, most often the go-to symbol for Australia overseas, and arguably the city with the most alluring attractions. But, this state offers so much more than its gorgeous harbour city.

Before we get to that though, a brief trip through the highlights of Sydney. The harbour, its iconic bridge and the even more iconic Opera House hover round the original heart of Sydney at The Rocks, the historical, cultural and restaurant centre of Sydney. Spread out from there, and the beaches at Bondi & Manly offer some of the finest city-beaches in the world, while in Taronga Zoo, an amazing array of wildlife vies with drop-dead harbour views for your attention. And, there’s much more more beyond that to explore.

Moving out of Sydney, the glorious Blue Mountains to the west create a significant physical barrier between the coast and inland NSW, and in a similar way that they stopped the early explorers, many visitors stay confined to the coastal fringes. And, what a coast, an incredible array of beaches and coastal towns that line the eastern seaboard from Victoria all the way to Queensland.

In the South, the summer playgrounds of Merimbula & Tathra attract visitors from Sydney & Melbourne alike, and between there and Sydney there are many more towns and beaches to explore, especially the areas around Jervis Bay, showcasing some of the whitest sand beaches in the world. North from Sydney, Palm Beach is Sydney’s ‘local’ escape, and then you hit the towns of the Central Coast, and then much further north again to Coffs Harbour. But, arguably the pinnacle of them all (or certainly one of the most popular) is Byron Bay, an escape renowned as much for its laid back lifestyle and range of foodie options as it is for its stunning beaches.

Once you cross the mountains it all changes, giving way to pastoral farming communities and then to the outback landscapes and mining towns of the West. Out past the western plains zoo in Dubbo and the riverina region around Wagga Wagga, iconic Australian outback features are the norm. The cliches abound in back o’ Bourke, Lake Mungo is the home of the oldest human remains found in the country, while at Broken Hill, the brilliant harshness of the outback contrasts with the astounding size of the mining operations there.

New South Wales offers the best of surfing, walking and adventuring, with a withering collection of cuisine options to fuel all your travels. Easy to explore, it rewards those who seek to get off the beaten track, go beyond the incredible coastal landscapes and the amazing collection of holiday highlights that line the Pacific Ocean.

Image by Geoff Stringer