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10 Best Places to Visit in NSW | New South Wales, Australia

Looking for the best places to visit in NSW? From the cityscapes of Sydney to the beaches of Byron Bay – here are 10 stops to check out

When it comes to the best places to visit in NSW you’re pretty spoilt for choice – New South Wales has some incredible destination to check out.

Whether it’s the cityscapes of Sydney to the stunning beaches of Byron Bay, a NSW road trip will no doubt be packed with adventure.

So to help you narrow it down, here are 10 of my favourites to squeeze into your Aussie travel plans!

10 Best Places to Visit in NSW | New South Wales, Australia

1. Sydney

Having the perfect Sydney itinerary will maximise your time in the city and it’s certainly top of most peoples list of best places to visit in NSW.

Sydney will be sure to wow you with a ton of free things to do and amazing tour options on offer. Plan wisely before visiting the Capital city of New South Wales, to enjoy the complete experience of its vibrancy and diversity.

Sydney is best known for the Sydney Opera house. With great attractions like the Darling Harbour, Royal Botanic Gardens and Taronga Zoo, Sydney has so much to offer. The adventurous can try surfing at Bondi beach or join this 7-day tour between Sydney and Byron Bay.  

Top Accommodation in Sydney



2. Blue Mountains

Distance from Sydney: 1 hour

With rugged mountainous beauty, scenic forests, waterfalls and villages, Blue Mountains is a must-see stop on any New South Wales Tour. When you reach this destination, you’ll be stepping into a land drenched in spiritual significance. 

The Blue Mountains are as majestic as it sounds, which you can discover through hiking trails and exciting bush walks or bike rides. The avid adventurer can explore the Hartley historic site, visit the Blue Pool walking track and check out Lake Wallace. Or try The Coast Warriors tour which visits 3 sisters, Echo Point and Wenworth Falls. 

Top Accommodation in Blue Mountains



3. Port Stephens

Distance from Sydney: 2 hours, 34 minutes

Just a quick hop away from Sydney, Port Stephens is best known for its beaches, popularised by the bottle-nosed dolphins that call these oceans home. This quaint area of NSW is one of the hottest locations for all of your favourite ocean activities. 

Explorations through water, sand and land. Choose one of the 26 golden beaches, board down the sand dunes or try some stand-up paddleboarding. This tour of Port Stephens offers a scenic hike, sandboarding, Australian BBQ lunch and an optional dolphin tour. 

Top Accommodation in Port Stephens 



4. Hunter Valley

Distance from Sydney: 3 hours, 13 minutes

If you’re looking for wining and dining, this is the place to be. The Hunter Valley region is best known for producing varieties like Semillon to Shiraz. Dating back to the 1800s, there’s a ton to learn about their viticultural history as well. 

A wine tour in Hunter Valley is an exceptional way to try everything the Hunter distillery has to offer. You can try hot air ballooning with a premium flight company, go-karting or catch up on culture with a Morpeth heritage walk. 

Top Accommodation in Hunter Valley 



5. Port Macquarie

Distance from Sydney: 4 hours, 11 minutes

If you’re looking for seaside magnificence, this coastal town brings together beautiful scenery and vast wildlife and lush hinterlands. With the best climate around, you’re able to enjoy yourself at any time of the year doing everything you love. 

Experience Port Macquarie by horseback, whizz through the Jolly Nose Mountain Bike Park or visit the Cedar Gold Creek. Head out into the ocean with Port sailing or stare at the stars at the Port Macquarie Astronomical Observatory. 

Top Accommodation in Port Macquarie



6. Coffs Harbour

Distance from Sydney: 5 hours, 38 minutes

Ever heard of the Big Banana monument? Well, you’ll find that at Coffs Harbour. Coffs is a reasonably safe and affordable addition to your NSW itinerary. With abundant wildlife and gorgeous coral reefs, there’s hardly much else as picturesque. 

While you’re here, you’ll want to spend some time exploring the best attractions. The Big Banana Fun Park is a definite must. Thereafter, you can hit Dorrigo National Park and get some candid moments at the Forest Sky Pier. 

Top Accommodation in Coffs Harbour



7. Snowy Mountains

Distance from Sydney: 5 hours, 26 minutes

The Snowies mountain range is the tallest range within mainland Australia. Here you can trek the Australian Alps during winter in June, July and August. Be sure not to miss out on the great historical and cultural experiences that await. A perfect location for skiers. 

The best activity in the Snowy Mountains is, by far, hiking. There are so many walking trails that you may be able to walk the circumference of the earth during your stay. Prepare your backpack, mountain bike and wildflower textbook to explore some of the best bucket list hiking trails. 

Top Accommodation in Snowy Mountains



8. Yamba

Distance from Sydney: 7 hours – 9 hours

The town of Yamba was initially discovered in 1799 but only became an official town in 1854. Locals pride themselves on the quintessential uniqueness displayed in this town. This fishing town is perfect to sit back and unwind surrounded by a strong sense of community.  

Beaches, surfing and farmer’s markets. Practice hanging ten with this 7-day surf camp, visit the best beaches like Convent beach, Pippi or Main beach, or catch an Instagram photoshoot at Turners Breakwall. End your day treating yourself at Karrakin restaurant.

Top Accommodation in Yamba



9. Byron Bay

Distance from Sydney: 8 hours – 10 hours

One of the best places to visit in Australia is Byron Bay and it sits right at the top of my personal list of best places to visit in NSW.

Best known for its barefoot surfer vibes, it’s an epic spot to score some umping waves during your Aussie roatrip and during June and November, you have to head down to the Captain Cook Lookout to spot the humpback whales. 

A sense of adventure on a budget is one way to describe Byron Bay. Activities like whale-watching, scuba diving and snorkelling to hot air balloons, skydiving and hang gliding, Byron bay has it all. If you’d like to cleanse your soul, book some time with Awaken Meditation Retreats. 

Top Accommodation in Byron Bay



10. Lord Howe Island

Distance from Sydney: 2 hours by plane

This one is a bit of a curveball, but well worth it!

Off the coast of Port Macquarie in New South Wales is the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Island of Lord Howe. A volcanic remnant in the Tasman Sea, this Island is well worth the 2-hour flight. With most of the population in the north, you can expect hills blanketed with forests in the south. 

Lord Howe Island is spectacular for nature lovers. There are 14 species of seaboard to discover with a dedicated marine park to make this a top fishing destination. Explore the waters snorkelling or diving and you’ll definitely have to try kayaking or windsurfing. 

Top Accommodation in Lord Howe Island

  • Best budget option: Blue Lagoon Lodge (US$ 275/ AUD 367/ £319)
  • Best luxury accommodation: Beachcomber Lodge (US$ 600/ AUD 801/ £435)
  • Best apartment option: Ebbtide Apartments 


Which stops are top of your best places places to visit in NSW?

Any others you’d recommend?




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