Get the Finder app 🥳

Connect your accounts & save

Best places to visit in New South Wales

Uncover the must-visit destinations of NSW for everything from day trips and weekend getaways to lengthy holidays.

Posted

Fact checked
Lord Howe Island lagoon

Islands, top winery destinations, magnificent beaches and quiet glamping spots – this list of the best places to visit in NSW won't disappoint, no matter what kind of traveller you are.

This guide to NSW will help you plan that small trip you've been waiting to take, or the road trip you've been meaning to do up the coast for ages.

Where to go in NSW

Byron Bay Lighthouse New South Wales Australia

Byron Bay

A much-loved holiday destination perched on NSW's north-east coast, Byron Bay has been drawing local and foreign visitors in for yonks. Though it's not the architecture, incredible nature or culture that bring people here – it's the vibe. Super laid-back, Byron Bay has made itself a place for hippies and backpackers to carve the waves, discover diving, whale watch and tuck into a raw diet or cleanse.

  • Best for: Surfing, relaxation, beaches.
  • How to get there: Direct flights are available from Sydney, Gold Coast and Brisbane to Ballina Byron Airport. Buses stop in Byron Bay from a number of other destinations along the east coast.
  • Top 5 things to see and do: Be the first to watch the sunrise at the Byron Bay Lighthouse, kayak with dolphins, take a surfing lesson, take a day trip to Nimbin and explore the local markets.
  • How long do I need? 2-3 days.

Book your flight Book your accommodation

Rear View Of Woman Looking At Sydney Harbor Bridge Over River Against Sky

Sydney

This cultural capital is home to some of Australia's most iconic sites such as the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Then, let's not forget the beaches and the amazing food scene.

Book your flight Book your accommodation

Southern Highlands

A winning combination of national parks, wineries, quaint towns and cosy accommodation, the Southern Highlands has plenty to do to fill a weekend or two. More than a dozen towns and villages dot the region, including Bowral, Mittagong and Mossvale.

  • Best for: Small towns, wineries and national parks
  • How to get there: It's a 1-hour drive from Wollongong or a 1.5-hour drive from Sydney to Bowral, the largest town in the Southern Highlands. You can also get there by train from Sydney's Central Station.
  • Top 5 things to see and do: Taste the local wines and dine on award-winning cuisine, hike in the region's national parks to see waterfalls, check out the surrounding views with a tree-top walk, stroll around the region's charming towns, check out the Bradman Museum if you're a cricket fan.
  • How long do I need? 2-3 days.

Book your accommodation


Blue Mountains RedBalloon

The Blue Mountains

Towering over you, the UNESCO World Heritage Listed area is are a hiker's paradise with trails leading you between the small towns that dot the region. Though it's most popular for a day trip from Sydney, consider staying at least a night in the area, perhaps in Katoomba so you have time to see more than just the Three Sisters rock formation.

  • Best for: Nature, active travellers.
  • How to get there: Day trips from Sydney to the Blue Mountains are very common but if you're travelling on your own then driving will take 1.5 hours. Trains depart from Central railway station to Katoomba and vary in duration from 1.5 to 2.5 hours.
  • Top 5 things to see and do: Visit the iconic Three Sisters, ride the Scenic Skyway, hike to Wentworth Falls, take a sunset tour and roam through the villages.
  • How long do I need? 1-3 days.

Book your flight Book your accommodation


Picture not described

Hunter Valley

The Hunter Valley is one of the country's main wine regions, producing shiraz and semillon at its best. At 250km from Sydney, it has all the makings of a weekend trip. Wine is not the only topic in the Hunter though. Country roads make for scenic drives, foodies can rejoice with the amount of gourmet fare available and hot air balloons rise above the region regularly.

  • Best for: Wine, foodies, nature.
  • How to get there: Hunter Valley is a 3.5-hour drive from Sydney. Direct buses from Sydney are available. Alternatively, you can take the train to Maitland or Morisset and connect onto a bus or take the train to Singleton station and catch a 20-minute taxi. Lastly, tours are a popular way to reach Hunter Valley from Sydney.
  • Top 4 things to see and do: Take a wine tasting tour, see the sights from above in a hot air balloon, try gourmet food, do a beer crawl.
  • How long do I need? 1-3 days.

Book your flight Book your accommodation

Port Stephens

Home to more than 100 resident dolphins and offering 20 beaches, Port Stephens is made for coastal breaks. There are a handful of towns - including Nelson Bay and Shoal Bay - lining the port; that's larger than Sydney Harbour.

  • Best for: Beach breaks, holiday towns, aqua life
  • How to get there: It's a 1-hour drive from Newcastle or a 2.5-hour drive from Sydney to Nelson Bay. You can also fly to Newcastle Airport, which is 30 minutes from Nelson Bay.
  • Top 5 things to see and do: Climb to the top of Tomaree Head for scenic views of the area, explore the Stockton Sand Dunes, take a dolphin watching cruise and meet the locals residents, kayak through calm waters.
  • How long do I need? 2-3 days.

Book your accommodation


SKIING THREDBO NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA

Snowy Mountains

Despite the name, this region can be enjoyed year round. During winter, ski the slopes of the tallest mountain in mainland Australia, Mt Kosciuszko. During summer, put your best foot forward on one of the many hiking trails.

  • Best for: Adventure, outdoor lovers, skiing, relaxation.
  • How to get there: The Snowy Mountains are a 5.5-hour drive from Sydney. Flights are also available to Snowy Mountains Airport on REX airlines from Sydney. This takes an hour. Another option is to fly into Canberra and drive for 1.5-2.5 hours in a rental.
  • Top 5 things to see and do: Spend a day or more on the slopes, go horseback riding through the mountains, unwind at a spa and see the Boggy Creek Show.
  • How long do I need? 1-4 days.

Book your flight Book your accommodation


Hyams Beach, Australia

Jervis Bay

Boasting what is said to be the whitest sand in the world, Jervis Bay has made a name for itself as the place for holidaymakers to venture to in the summer. Picture aqua clear waters, fine white sand, dolphins jumping in the distance and small yet charming villages. With some of the safest beaches in the country, ample opportunities for diving and top beaches, a trip to Jervis Bay is in order.

  • Best for: Beaches, water activities, nature.
  • How to get there: Sydney and Canberra are both a 3-hour drive away. It's also possible to get to Jervis Bay from Sydney on a day tour.
  • Top 5 things to see and do: Go whale/dolphin watching, do the White Sands Walk, try diving, relax on Hyams Beach and spot wildlife on a cruise.
  • How long do I need? 2 days.

Book your flight Book your accommodation


Coffs Harbour, Australia

Coffs Harbour

This touristic coastal town brings in visitors with its famous Big Banana, beautiful beaches, easy access to hinterland villages and the nature that surrounds the area. A marine park, whales, coral reefs and Mutton Island Nature Reserve are the highlights of Coffs Harbour, making it an excellent stopping point along the NSW coast.

  • Best for: Nature, wildlife, beaches.
  • How to get there: Coffs Harbour is a 6.5-hour drive from Sydney. Countrylink services trains between Sydney and Coffs Harbour which takes 8-9 hours.
  • Top 5 things to see/do: Visit Muttonbird Island, take a picture with the Big Banana, explore the beaches, visit Dorrigo National Park and walk the Forest Sky Pier.
  • How long do I need? 1-3 days.

Book your flight Book your accommodation


People Walking On Steps By Sea Against Clear Sky

Newcastle

This coastal city may only be a fraction of the size of Sydney but still packs a punch. It's the second oldest city in Australia and although hard times may have passed through it, Newcastle is still a place to visit. Put it on your list for its laid-back vibe, excellent surf spots, great food scene and modern neighbourhoods filled with boutique shopping and cool bars.

  • Best for: Beaches, scenery, foodies.
  • How to get there: Newcastle is a 2-hour drive from Sydney. Bus companies regularly stop in Newcastle. Trains can be taken from Sydney to Hamilton or Broadmeadow station where you can connect to a shuttle bus. Newcastle also has an airport in Williamtown, 25 minutes out of the city.
  • Top 5 things to see and do: Walk the Bathers Way, try skydiving, take a scenic cruise, check out the beaches and go whale watching.
  • How long do I need? 2-3 days.

Book your flight Book your accommodation


Lord Howe Island lagoon

Lord Howe Island

Only allowing 400 visitors at a time, Lord Howe Island is a tropical treasure in the Tasman Sea, some 600km off the coast of Port Macquarie. This island has a unique ecology as it was formed by volcanic activity and is now a UNESCO World Heritage listed site. Crystal clear waters, hiking, subtropical forests and the natives of the island, masked boobies, are what draw visitors to this little slice of paradise.

  • Best for: Active travellers, nature.
  • How to get there: The only way onto the island is by flight. These depart from Sydney and Brisbane year-round with QantasLink and take approx. 2 hours.
  • Top 5 things to see and do: Dive the coral reefs, hike up Mount Gower, see what's underwater at Lord Howe Island Marine Park, kayak, surf or paddle board the waters and see the island from above on a scenic flight.
  • How long do I need? 5-7 days.

Book your flight Book your accommodation


Vines in autumn Leaves, Mudgee

Mudgee

This small town is known for its colonial buildings and the 30-some wineries that surround it. The town is both charming and elegant with buildings that tell stories from history. Looking for somewhere much quieter than the Hunter Valley? Mudgee is it.

  • Best for: Wine and foodies.
  • How to get there: Mudgee is a 3.5-hour drive from Sydney and a 5-hour drive from Canberra. By air, you can fly from Sydney on FlyPelican in under an hour. Trains depart from Sydney to Lithgow station where you can catch a bus to Mudgee.
  • Top 5 things to see and do: Winery hop, try the local beers, check out the farmers market for fine foods, explore Wollemi National Park and take a hot air balloon ride.
  • How long do I need? 2 days.

Book your flight Book your accommodation


Best beaches in NSW

Beachy keen? Then get set to bask on the sands of these iconic and loved beaches:

  • Bondi Beach, Sydney: Undeniably the most famous beach in NSW, Bondi has room to spare and a buzzing promenade.
  • Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay: As mentioned above, Hyams Beach is regarded as having the whitest sand in the world. Check it out for yourself if you don't believe us.
  • Palm Beach, NSW: This blissful northern beaches favourite is a short drive from Sydney. Its claim to fame is being the setting for Home & Away's Summer Bay. Outside of the chance to spot the stars, this beach has golden sands and is surrounded by water on three sides.
  • The Wreck, Byron Bay: Surfers don't make a pilgrimage to Byron Bay for the fun of it. This is a haven for wave breakers, and The Wreck is one of the best known beaches to catch a big one.
  • Wategos Beach, Byron Bay: For the sunbaker within, Wategos Beach is the place to roll out your beach towel in Byron Bay. The beach is protected from large waves, making it a fan favourite for snorkelling, swimming and relaxing.
  • Ned's Beach, Lord Howe Island: Being one of the most untouched islands Down Under, you can't really go wrong wherever you go on Lord Howe Island. However, Ned's Beach stands out for its diverse range of coral and its aquamarine coloured waters.
  • Diggers Beach, Coffs Harbour: Quiet and beautiful, Diggers is tops for families seeking gentle waters to splash about in.
  • Caves Beach, Newcastle: One for the explorers, Caves Beach consists of a network of sea caves ready and raring for your exploration.
  • Merewether Beach, Newcastle: But if you really did want to get onto those waves in Newcastle, Merewether Beach is the place to do it. It hosts international surfing competition Surfest annually so you can bet the surf is on point.

Latest New South Wales travel deals

Kayak Kayak

Australia-wide flights from $96 return

Available on select dates from July - August 2020 to Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Townsville, Perth, Gold Coast and more. Sample fare is Melbourne-Sydney with Jetstar.

Last verified

Deal ends

Klook Klook

Up to 16% off Blue Mountains Scenic World pass

Available on select dates until 28 March 2021. Includes hop-on hop-off explorer Bus Pass plus kids go free. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Klook Klook

Up to 42% off Sydney whale watching cruise by Captain Cook

Available on select dates until 28 October 2020. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Klook Klook

Up to 11% off Sydney Big Bus hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour

Available until 9 December 2020 plus kids go free. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Adrenaline Adrenaline

Up to $30 off skydiving experience

Available on select 2020 dates in Sunshine Coast, Airlie Beach, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Sydney, Byron Bay, Brisbane and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Adrenaline Adrenaline

Sydney tandem skydiving from $199

Available until December 2021 for a 7,000 ft tandem skydive. Package includes free transfers from Sydney CBD. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Swiss BelHotel Swiss BelHotel

Up to 20% off Sydney stays

Available on select dates in 2020 when you book 45 days in advance at The York by Swiss-Belhotel. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Agoda Agoda

Extra 5% off Sydney hotels

Available on select dates until December 2020. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Adrenaline Adrenaline

Sydney weekend tandem skydive from $299

Available from June - December 2020. Includes a 14,000 ft tandem skydive, transfers from Sydney CBD and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Get Your Guide Get Your Guide

Sydney tandem skydive from $294

Available on select dates from June 2020 - March 2021. Includes a 15,000 ft. tandem skydive, transfers from central Sydney and North Wollongong and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Budget Air Budget Air

Australia flights from $160 return

Available on select dates from September 2020 - January 2021 to Brisbane, Perth and Sydney. Sample fare is Adelaide-Sydney with Jetstar. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

RedBalloon RedBalloon

Sydney tandem skydive from $279

Available on weekdays until December 2020. Package includes a dive certificate. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Adrenaline Adrenaline

Sydney tandem skydive from $279

Available on weekdays from June - December 2020. Includes a 14,000 ft tandem skydive, transfers from Sydney CBD and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

RedBalloon RedBalloon

Sydney weekend tandem skydive from $299

Available until December 2020. Package includes a dive certificate. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Australia-wide flights from $65 + one free date change

Available on select flights until 31 October 2020 with Jetstar. Destinations include Sunshine Coast, Whitsundays, Perth, Cairns, Hobart and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Ballina Byron.

Last verified

Deal ends

Contiki Contiki

Up to 15% off Australia tours

Available on select 2020 and 2021 dates to Byron Bay, Uluru, Perth, Whitsundays, Melbourne, Adelaide and more. Plus lock in your tour for $99 when you book by 1 September 2020. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Groupon Groupon

Up to 30% off sitewide

Available on select dates and activities including tours, hotels, cruises, getaways, spas and more. Destinations include Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Qantas sale: Australia-wide flights from $109 each way

Available on flights from 1 August - 31 October 2020 to Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, Launceston, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Canberra and more. Sample fare is Cairns-Townsville.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Domestic flights from $99 each way with Virgin Australia

Available on select flights from August 2020 - May 2021 to Sydney, Brisbane, Hobart, Perth, Darwin, Melbourne and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Gold Coast.

Last verified

Deal ends

isango! isango!

Up to 10% off Captain Cook: Sydney Harbour hop-on hop-off cruise

Available on select dates until December 2020. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

isango! isango!

Up to 10% off Big Bus Sydney hop-on hop-off bus tour

Available from August 2020 - March 2021. Includes free guidebook with maps and discounts, pre-recorded commentary and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Australia-wide flights from $124 return

Available on select flights from July - December 2020 to Sydney, Brisbane, Hobart, Perth, Gold Coast, Melbourne and more. Sample fare is Brisbane-Newcastle with Jetstar.

Last verified

Deal ends

I Want That Flight I Want That Flight

Domestic flights from $105 return

Available on flights from July - December 2020 to Hobart, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and more. Sample fare is Gold Coast-Sydney with Jetstar.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skydive Australia Skydive Australia

Australia skydive from $199 + free $20 merchandise voucher

Available on jumps from 7,500 ft. to 15,000 ft. Destinations include Sydney, Hunter Valley, Cairns, Melbourne, Perth and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Skydive Australia Skydive Australia

Up to $30 off Australia tandem skydive

Available on all dates when you use the code. Destinations include Sydney, Hunter Valley, Cairns, Melbourne, Perth and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Trip.com Trip.com

Up to 7% off Sydney Harbour Bridge climb

Available from September 2020 onward. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Trip.com Trip.com

Up to 38% off Featherdale Wildlife Park ticket

Available from July - December 2020. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Trip.com Trip.com

Illawarra Fly Tree Top walk from $25

Available from September - December 2020. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Trip.com Trip.com

Up to 10% off Blue Mountains Scenic World Discovery pass

Available on select dates from September - December 2020. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Trip.com Trip.com

Up to $20 off things to do in Sydney

Available on select travel dates in 2020 and 2021 on activities like dinner cruise, tours, zoos and animal interactions, attraction passes and more.

Last verified

RedBalloon RedBalloon

Up to $30 off Australia getaways

Available on select travel dates to Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Blue Mountains, Cairns, Canberra and more.

Last verified

RedBalloon RedBalloon

Driving experiences from $30

Available on select dates on activities like rally driving, go karting, quad biking, and more. Destinations include Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns, Perth, Melbourne and more.

Last verified

Klook Klook

Up to 42% off Sydney whale watching cruise by Captain Cook

Available on select dates until October 2020. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Klook Klook

Up to 35% off Camden Valley Sunrise balloon flight

Available on select dates until November 2020. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Klook Klook

Illawarra Fly Zipline tour from $67.50

Available on select dates until January 2021. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Klook Klook

Up to 20% off Featherdale Wildlife Park entry ticket

Available on select dates until November 2020. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Klook Klook

Up to 20% off WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo entry ticket

Available on select dates until December 2020. Plus get free unlimited digital photos. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Klook Klook

Up to 20% off SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium ticket

Available on select dates until December 2020. Plus get free unlimited digital photos. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Klook Klook

Up to 39% off Sydney attractions pass

Available on select dates until December 2020. Attractions include Madame Tussauds, Sydney Tower Eye, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Lastminute.com.au Lastminute.com.au

Up to 52% off Australia hotels

Available on select stay dates from July - August 2020 in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Lastminute.com.au Lastminute.com.au

Up to 50% off weekend stays

Available on select stay dates from 1-31 July 2020. Destinations include Gold Coast, Newcastle, Cairns, Noosa and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Contiki Contiki

Up to 15% off Australia tours

Available on select 2020 and 2021 dates to Byron Bay, Uluru, Perth, Whitsundays, Melbourne, Adelaide and more. Plus lock in your tour for $99 when you book by 1 September 2020. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Australia-wide flights from $124 return

Available on select flights from July - December 2020 to Sydney, Brisbane, Hobart, Perth, Gold Coast, Melbourne and more. Sample fare is Brisbane-Newcastle with Jetstar.

Last verified

Deal ends

Hotels.com Hotels.com

Up to 60% off Australia-wide stays

Available on select stay dates in 2020 and 2021. Destinations include Sydney, Canberra, Bondi Beach, Newcastle, Harrington and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Adrenaline Adrenaline

Up to $30 off skydiving experience

Available on select 2020 dates in Sunshine Coast, Airlie Beach, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Sydney, Byron Bay, Brisbane and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Experience Oz Experience Oz

Up to $90 off skydiving across Australia

Valid for use on select dates. Destinations include Sydney, Melbourne and surrounds, Byron Bay, the Gold Coast and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

RedBalloon RedBalloon

Up to $40 off flying experiences

Available on select travel dates in Hunter Valley, Sydney, Byron Bay, Coffs Harbour, Newcastle and more. Activities include Hot air balloon flight, skydiving, helicopter flights and more.

Last verified

TourRadar TourRadar

Up to 30% off Australia and New Zealand tours

Available on select dates until December 2022. Destinations include Adelaide, Darwin, Byron Bay, Fiji, Auckland and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Luxury Escapes Luxury Escapes

Up to 20% off Byron Bay getaway with flights

Available for travel until 31 August 2021. Package include return airfare, accommodation at Sanctuary in the Pocket and a bottle of wine. Valid for 2 persons. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Contiki Contiki

Up to 20% off 2021 and 2022 Australia tours

Available on select trips in 2021 and 2022 to Sydney, Byron Bay, Noosa, Darwin, Uluru, Cairns and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

STA Travel STA Travel

14-day Australia tour from $3,739

Available for travel from 17 September - 31 December 2020.Destinations include Sydney, Cairns, Byron Bay, Brisbane and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

STA Travel STA Travel

Up to 20% off Australia's East Coast tour

Available for travel from April 2021 - April 2022. Destination includes Cairns, Whitsundays, Noosa Everglades, Byron Bay and Magnetic Island. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

STA Travel STA Travel

Up to 20% off Australia tours

Available for travel on select dates in 2021 and 2022. Destinations include Sydney, Cairns, Byron Bay, Brisbane, Uluru and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Stayz Stayz

Byron Bay stays from $40 per night

Valid for travel on select dates from July 2020 onward. Sample fare is a hostel near Byron Bay Centre. Destinations include Tallow Beach, Hinterland and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Contiki Contiki

Up to 15% off Australia tours

Available on select trips departing from 1 October - 31 Decemeber 2020 to Sydney, Byron Bay, Whitsundays, Darwin, Uluru, Cairns and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Booking.com Booking.com

Byron Bay stays from $68/night

Available on select 2020 dates. Sample accommodation is at Arts Factory Lodge. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Expedia.com.au Expedia.com.au

Byron Bay stays from $61/night

Available on select stay dates in 2020. Sample rate is for a stay at Nomads Byron Bay Hostel.

Last verified

Related Posts

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Ask a question
Go to site