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New South Wales (NSW) is an incredibly diverse state, and no matter what time of year you visit, there is always somewhere to explore. The region is easy to navigate around for those wanting to road trip through; otherwise, flights or train travel alternatives are available.

There's no question why so many travellers flock to NSW each year to get a taste of what the region has to offer. Of course, Sydney is the favourite amongst travellers, with its beach-meets-city lifestyle and dynamic atmosphere. However, beyond city life and into the countryside, you'll find stunning sites like the Blue Mountains, Snowy Mountains and the Hunter Valley. For a sea change, discover Australia's highest peak, Mount Kosciuszko and in the winter months make the most of the snow season, and as the weather heats up, explore the stunning coastline from Byron Bay down to Jervis Bay; with world-class surf and crystal clear waters. A trip to the Hunter Valley is a must-do for wine and gourmet food lovers, taking you on a culinary adventure through rolling hills with a backdrop of Broken Back Range.

 

Finally, if you're short on time, consider basing yourself in Sydney and hire a car so you can a few take day trips to surrounding areas like the Blue Mountains. Otherwise, if slow travel is what you're aiming for, start in Byron Bay and make your way south along the coastline, venturing inland to explore the region.

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Blue Mountains

Spend time taking in the scenery and breathtaking landscape of The Blue Mountains as you indulge in nothing but the sound of the rainforest. Just a short 90-minute drive from Sydney and you’ll be welcomed by some of Australia’s most dramatic views over the valley. The Blue Mountains yields an array of incredible lookouts, gorged out over millions of years. 

Be enchanted by the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area with over 140 kilometres of walking tracks. Take your pick between Wentworth Falls, Echo Point or Govetts Leap, with a choice of bushwalks ranging from leisurely strolls to longer walks leading you into the depths of the valley. For the adventure seekers, opt for the mountain bike trails for something a little more extreme. 

If you’re in search of one of the most photo-worthy views, walk up to Echo Point leading you to iconic The Three Sisters. Rising one kilometre above sea level, on the trail, find yourself surrounded by native eucalypt forest, birds and the fresh mountain air. Awaiting you is the hazy blue Jamison Valley and sandstone turrets bundled together in the distance. A short 0.8km return trip means that all fitness levels can do it, with access-friendly pathways. As the sun goes down watch the pastel colours fill the sky over the wilderness stretching out to the horizon. 

Govetts Leap is one of the most famous lookouts in Australia with an incredible 180m-waterfall drop. The walk to the lookout is simple and provides an access-friendly pathway too. Pack your binoculars and look out for native Australian birds flying across, like the yellow-tailed black cockatoo. On arrival stop and breathe in the fresh air casting off the waterfall, nature at its finest. 

The Blue Mountains has a variety of campsites for you to connect with your surroundings. Or if you prefer a cabin instead of camping, opt for a luxury wildlife retreat looking out over the incredible Jamison Valley. Catering to a range of travel styles, find a variety of conservation-based resorts or five-star hotels on offer like Lilianfels Blue Mountains Resort and Spa or One&Only Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa.

At the foothills of the Blue Mountains, you'll find towns like Leura, filled with tree-lined streets and Katoomba, filled with art deco style buildings; each with a choice of places to eat and drink. For the ultimate fine dining experience visit Wintergarden At The Hydro Majestic for high tea, for lunch with a view, Darley’s in Katoomba, or for something a little more casual (think casual cocktails and American fare), Palette Diner.

You'll also have the opportunity to learn about the Aboriginal culture and listen to the Dreamtime stories by Aboriginal guides and after, discover the Jenolan Caves, a highlight for many. The Jenolan Caves are part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, made up of limestone gorges carved by underground rivers. 

Whether it's a romantic escape or adventure getaway trip, The Blue Mountains will suit your travel style with its vast landscape and small villages waiting to be discovered.

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Byron Bay

Set on the most easterly point of Australia, Byron Bay is renowned for its pristine beaches, incredible surf and unique community spirit. Between the countless sunny days and balmy weather, it’s no wonder why this laid-back beachside town is loved by so many.

Byron Bay bids some of the most incredible surf spots for ‘grommets’, pros and all else in between. Iconic break The Pass lures travellers from all over the world, yet perfection brings popularity, so expect to make some new friends amongst the waves. Before you get your surf in for the day, be the first in Australia to watch the sunrise and discover Cape Byron walking track starting from The Pass leading you all the way up to the iconic lighthouse. This 3.7km loop winds through native rainforest made up of shady palms, grassland and stunning views of the ocean. You may even catch a glimpse of Byron Bay’s vibrant sea life with dolphins and turtles playing in the water along the coastline below. In the winter months (from May to November) look out for pods of whales making their way along the east coast during their annual migration too.

Spend your days rotating between the crystal clear water, shady pandanus trees and scenic rocks of Wategos or Main Beach with year-round patrolled swimming areas. Otherwise, venture south a few minutes out of town and you’ll find Tallow’s Beach, a white sandy, expansive beach, made up of 8km stretch of ocean or head north to Belongil Beach, 2.5km of beach leading up to Belongil Creek.

Jonson Street known as the main street is a great starting point to find your bearings in Byron Bay. Creativity is truly flowing in town with a choice of local brands and an abundance of creative professionals now calling Byron Bay their home. Fuel your caffeine addiction or love of fine dining and uncover a variety of boutiques, cafes, restaurants and buzzing nightlife with everything situated along or just off the main street. As the sun goes down enjoy a sunset picnic at Apex Park, and watch the sky fill with shades of pastel hues over the water. As night falls, listen for the echoes of street buskers playing their guitars and singing as passers-by flock together to listen in unity.

The region itself provides an incredible number of gushing waterfalls and hinterland villages. For a day trip, take a scenic road trip surrounded by rolling hills and natural wonders leading you to an array of diverse towns each with its own distinctive charm; choose from Bangalow, Brunswick Heads, Mullumbimby or Nimbin just to name a few.

Byron Bay gathers an eclectic mix of travellers and locals all year round, with weekly events, fresh food markets (like the Byron Farmer’s Markets) and live music (check out The Northern and The Beach Hotel) to keep the town buzzing. With its diverse range of awe-inspiring natural beauty just waiting for you to uncover, why not see for yourself what it has to offer?

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Central Coast

The Central Coast of New South Wales (NSW) brings a variety of beautiful elements in Australia all into one place. You’ll be sure to find your nature fix along this coastline with stunning beaches, lush national park and crystal clear waterways.

Just north of Sydney, there is an adventure for every type of traveller, between water sports, mountain biking, wildlife sanctuaries, white sandy beaches and nature reserves. Set yourself up around the Gosford and Wyong area and spend your days discovering the coastline, making the most of the array of beaches on offer. The region offers a variety of adventure tours like horse riding, skydiving, scuba diving, kayaking and surf schools. No matter what your preference is, you’ll find an activity to suit.

Explore the most scenic walks in the area with The Coast walking track and Bouddi Coast walk. The Coast walking track is about 6 km return and starts from Bateau Bay Beach picnic area. Trailing the cliff tops and running through a narrow strip of forest, enjoy coastal views along the way. Depending on the season look out for whales in winter or wildflowers in spring, with native birds all year round too. Otherwise, for something a little longer, the Bouddi Coast walk is an 8 km walk from Putty Beach to MacMasters Beach. The trail is an easy walk, which means you can focus on taking in the beautiful vista and lush rainforest. Pack a picnic and stop at one of the many picnic spots for a scenic lunch. 

Otherwise, if travelling by car is your preferred mode of transport take a road trip along the coastline. Begin at Terrigal, one of the most well-known holiday spots in the Central Coast. With beautiful beachfront dining and a cosmopolitan feel, Terrigal boasts views across the ocean and is perfect for those wanting to make the most of the activities on the water.

Next up is Copacabana and Macmasters Beach, set along the Bouddi coastline. Enjoy the coastal walk with ocean lookouts all along. While you may be a confident swimmer, take extra precaution as this beach brings strong currents so opt to swim between the flags or in the beautiful ocean pool. 

Further south you’ll start to make your way to Ettalong Beach, with golden sand and long stretches of coastline, wander over to Ettalong Lookout for an incredible panoramic view. Half an hour inland of Ettalong, head to Somersby, to get up close and personal (okay not too close) with saltwater crocodiles and tortoise for the total Aussie experience at the Australian Reptile Park.

The surf culture is prominent all along the East Coast and it’s hard to pick a favourite beach due to the coastline’s array of waves, from world-class reef breaks and points. While there are many favourites, locals have tipped us that you can always count on Avoca Beach, Forresters and Shelly Beach. 

The Central Coast is a great place to base yourself to make the most of Australia’s outdoors and peaceful nature.

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Albury

Visiting the twin cities of Albury Wodonga will have you embracing some of Australia’s finest nature, landscapes, and agricultural delights. With plenty to do surrounding the outdoors, dining and art, Albury Wodonga makes it a great place to stop along the highway or spend a weekend ranging from relaxing to adventurous activities.

The twin cities sit alongside the Murray River, giving the area a charming, picturesque landscape, rich in art, food, and adventure. Partake in the culture of the region by spending time at a show, exhibition, or attend the Albury Wodonga Farmers Market held every Saturday to learn about the rich local produce that has influenced the region’s culinary experience. You can also visit the Murray Art Museum Albury, otherwise known as MAMA, to see some of the finest art collections in the region, including indigenous art. Take a guided tour of the museum free of charge every Monday morning.

For those seeking adventure, Albury Wodonga has a variety of activities ranging from swimming to cycling that will have you spending your days immersed in nature. Head to the Murray River for a canoe tour, fishing, or swimming. Riverboat tours can also be booked for a way to see the landscape from the water. If you want to stay on land, the Wagirra Trail will take you by bike along the Wonga Wetlands and the Albury Botanical Gardens.

While the twin cities are small, you’ll find plenty of activities to do should you make the destination a quick stop over on your road trip, or the main destination for you to escape the city life. With outdoor activities, rich indigenous culture and art, and an agricultural landscape that has brought about a robust culinary scene you’ll be bustling about at the pace of your choosing.

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Armidale

Heading to Armidale is like taking a trip back through history to colonial architecture, art galleries and museums rich in heritage, and pastoral lands that peak into valleys ideal for cultivating some of Australia’s richest wine. With an abundance of outdoor activities in hiking, waterfalls, and fishing beyond the town’s limits you’re bound to explore a unique part of the region. 

Located in Northern New South Wales, the region offers travellers a diverse range of seasons that give way to geographical terrain with canyons, waterfalls, mountains, and valleys. In town, take part in an active history lesson by taking a tour or self-guided heritage walk where you can admire significant historical sites, buildings, and cathedrals. Explore the focal point of the town and the University of New England for a glimpse into the hearts and minds that embody the region.

The New England Regional Art Museum holds several collections of importance to Armidale and the Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place is another spot to find art alive with indigenous history. The town also hosts a number of events, festivals, and markets surrounding the abundance of agriculture, livestock, and wineries. 

Just minutes outside the town, embark on an adventure through national parks like the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park to Gara Gorge, Apsley Falls, or Wollomombi Falls (the longest waterfall in Australia). Use your accommodation as an integrative experience with quaint B&Bs, small farm homes, cosmopolitan hotels, or spend the night intertwined in the vineyards of a local winery. 

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Avoca Beach

Relax, unwind, and enjoy the tempting water at the popular holiday destination of Avoca Beach. Located at the southern end of the central coast of New South Wales, Avoca Beach is a charming, laid-back location characterised by pristine golden sand and thrilling water sports.

The surf varies along the beach, making it ideal for surfers of all levels of ability. It also provides a delightful place to swim or catch some fish. The waters are home to a sunken naval warship, one of very few military dive sites in the state, creating a fascinating and unique experience for scuba divers.

Discover Avoca Lake, located just behind the beach. Explore the tranquil waterway via pedal boat, kayak, or stand up paddleboard. Walk up to Captain Cook Lookout to soak up the stunning natural beauty of the area and spot migrating whales.

By night, indulge in the excellent restaurants and accommodation options that line the beach.

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Ballina

If you’re dreaming of pristine beaches, rolling hinterland hills, delightful rivers, and magnificent national parks look no further than Ballina; it's the perfect spot for a holiday and a worthwhile stop on any road trip. 

The Ballina Byron Gateway Airport just 5km from Ballina’s lovely town centre makes getting here a breeze, however, if you can spare the time, road and rail offer scenic alternatives.

Surfers can ride rolling waves along 32km of stunning coastline, and swimmers can enjoy the patrolled waters of Shelley Beach. Relax and unwind on the golden sands of other popular beaches including Lighthouse Beach. Absorb the spectacular natural beauty of Ballina by canoeing down Evans River, or cycling alongside the Richmond River. For an educational and scenic walk, look no further than the Ballina Historic Waterfront Trail, lined with insightful and informative plaques.

Cast a glimpse out to sea to spot dolphins and, in the winter months, whales. Or look up to the trees to see vibrant birdlife. Learn about native wildlife at the Australian Seabird Rescue, Rehabilitation, and Coastal Education Centre, where you can get close to turtles and various birds. Other top attractions include the Macadamia Castle, offering fun for all the family with wildlife, mini golf, train rides and more, and the Naval and Maritime Museum, featuring an impressive collection of history and memorabilia.

If you time your trip to visit the monthly Ballina Market or one of the other exciting festivals, markets, and events, you won’t regret it. However, this enjoyable town has plenty to offer at any time of the year.

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Bangalow

In the rolling hills of New South Wales’ northern rivers, lies the charming town of Bangalow, 16km west of Byron Bay. It's a small town, however, that doesn't mean it's not well worth a visit. Traditional buildings are combined with modern additions, to produce a picturesque result.

Byron Street is the hub of the town, where you will discover a vibrant array of cafes, restaurants, shops, and galleries. Indulge in the excellent food scene and shop for souvenirs at quirky boutiques, or take a stroll through the lovely parks. Bangalow Parklands is large and shady, with plenty of amenities such as barbeques, picnic tables, and a playground.

The surrounding hinterland provides a scenic backdrop and an enjoyable day out. Drive through whimsical villages and stumble upon hidden gems. See the countryside where macadamia nuts, coffee, fruit, vegetables, meat, and dairy are produced, and enjoy the fresh produce. The Bangalow Market held on the fourth Sunday of every month, and the annual Sample Food Festival offer perfect opportunities to sample locally produced goods.

The Bangalow Heritage House, Museum and Tea Room offers visitors an interesting insight into the area, with local memorabilia and old photographs. From here, you can enjoy the Heritage Walk through the town, learning about the history of Bangalow’s most intriguing buildings from the plaques placed outside of them. Another popular attraction is the A&I Hall, considered the cultural centre of Bangalow. Visitors can enjoy a range of entertainment here including live music, comedy shows, and speciality markets.

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Batemans Bay

At the mouth of the Clyde River sits the quintessential coastal town of Batemans Bay, a water sports mecca for those looking to escape the countryside and immerse themselves in a holiday by the ocean. As a popular destination in summer, holidaymakers will find plenty of activities surrounding the waters of Batemans Bay from the tasty food to the beautiful beaches to discover.

A trip to Batemans Bay will most notably feature the Clyde River, otherwise famous for their oysters. Those seeking a seafood culinary experience won’t be disappointed to find fresh seafood and oysters at the Pearly Oyster Bar and Farm and the Oyster Shed. There you can dine along the waterfront, soaking up the sights and sounds of the shores of Batemans Bay. The Clyde River is also a great place to spend an afternoon on a boat or cruise that will take you through the river, mangroves, and oyster flats within the region.

For those looking to get in the water, there are a number of pristine beaches to choose from. A day spent at Surf Beach is great for families as it’s patrolled in the summer season. Otherwise,

Broulee South Beach can be good for swimming when the waters are calm. Snorkelers will find a whole world to explore underwater along the Batemans Bay Snorkelling Trail. The marine life and coastal waters are teeming with excitement in this area. If a leisure afternoon fishing is more your style, fish along the beaches, rivers, or take a local charter boat out to sea for reef fishing. There is also the Batemans Bay Marine Park, which you can easily spend one or more days swimming, diving, fishing and more within the crystalline waters.

Surrounding Batemans Bay there are several national parks, including the Clyde River National Park and the Murramarang National Park. Explore bushwalking tracks that will take you through a beautifully rich terrain. Spend time at the Birdland Animal Park getting to know some of the local wildlife including birds, eastern grey kangaroos, and wombats.

There are other towns just outside of Batemans Bay worth heading to, like Mogo just up the Clyde River. This little town has a vibrant art and cultural scene. As more of a historical experience, visitors can imagine themselves back in time thanks to much of the pioneering sites that remain within the village. There is also the Mogo Zoo and the Eurobodalla Botanic Gardens that will provide insight to the native flora within the region.

Surfing amongst golden beaches, kayaking in calm rivers, or relaxing on the shore will all have you reminiscing of summers come and gone. Batemans Bay is an ideal holiday destination with the sounds of ocean waves inviting you to explore, indulge, and rejoice in your own sense of adventure.

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Bathurst

Enjoy the cooler climates of Bathurst, located in the Central Tablelands of New South Wales this city was once the Gold Country of Australia that now exists as a historical site rich in tourism, wine, and heritage. Every year people venture to the city to take part in the renowned motor racing circuits of Mount Panorama, learn about wine cultivation in the climate, and understand the history of the gold rush and its place and effect as the first gold rush location of Australia.

Upon arriving in Bathurst, head to the Abercrombie House, a mansion that stands as a testament to the heritage of the town where you can have high tea during your tour before navigating the grounds of the estate. As the gold rush has played such an influential role in the development of Bathurst, there are several architectural sites to admire amongst the restaurants and cafes of the town. Grab a glass of wine from the doors of any winery within the region before heading to the Bathurst Regional Art Gallery for local art inspired by the region.

Bathurst is home to Mount Panorama, a world site for motor racing that is open to the public to use and watch endurance racers from all over the world. For a step through history, the National Motor Racing Museum showcases popular vehicles used throughout various races and their evolution over the years. For a relaxing holiday, indulge in wine, history, and the beautiful surroundings of Bathurst on your next trip.

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Bega

Embracing rural nature on the Sapphire Coast will lead you to the historic town of Bega. Mostly known for its dairy and cheese production, this town offers a region of culinary experience, nature, and a vibrant art scene with several galleries to visit during your stay. You’ll find Bega at the junction of the Bega and Brogo Rivers, providing a beautiful backdrop to a scenic town amongst lush countryside.

Spend your day in Bega walking around main street, a quaint historical section of the town that places you back in time. For more historical insights head to the Pioneer Museum, built in 1859 showcasing all kinds of pioneering memorabilia. From there, you can pop into several art galleries including the Bega Valley Regional Gallery and the Spiral Gallery. Both have exhibits famous to Australia and the region.

To take in more of your surroundings, spend an afternoon walking along the Bega River or head to Kisses Lagoon. Both are idyllic scenes that overlook the landscape of Bega. Just north of town you can also go to the Bega Lookout for a scenic perspective of the river and valley beyond.

A visit to Bega wouldn’t be complete without seeing the Bega Cheese Heritage Centre. Here you can learn about the development of dairy farming in the region and how Bega came to be a big name in cheese production. Of course, there are all kinds of cheeses and dairy products to taste along the way during your stay.

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Blackheath

Sitting at the summit of the Blue Mountains, Blackheath is a little village and an excellent starting point for exploring the Blue Mountains National Park. In town, you’ll find a choice of guesthouses available, perfect to set yourself up in for a few nights and explore the surrounding area.

Blackheath is well connected to Govett’s Leap and Evan’s Lookout, worth visiting for the best views across Grose Valley. Take a wander along these walking paths and through the valley, which will lead you to Edenderry and Hilary Falls. Stop by at Evans Lookout to have a picnic in the designated sheltered area. Here you’ll find some of the most incredible views, and as it's an easy walk it's well worth the reward. From Walls Cave Road, experience Aboriginal history with Walls Cave that was once occupied around 12,000 years ago. Start your Blue Mountains experience at Blackheath in this quaint little country town, which is well connected to the national park and a comfortable place to begin.

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Bourke

Bourke resides on the banks of the Darling River in Outback New South Wales. What was once a river port is now a beautiful historic town filled with country charm. Between motels, apartments and campgrounds, you’ll be able to find accommodation to suit your budget.

Begin your stay with a cruise along the Darling River, learn more about the region at Back O’Bourke Exhibition Centre, watch the sunset at Mt Oxley or study Aboriginal rock art up close at Gundabooka National Park. Bourke brings a beautiful mix of natural landscape, history and hospitality. Explore the Bourke Town Trail to see up close many historic landmarks that make the town so unique, from Cobb & Co stagecoach days to Carrier’s Arms Hotel, blacksmith workshop, Bourke Courthouse and more. Spend a few nights in Bourke to truly experience surroundings, from local tours to exhibitions available; the town provides a delightful mix of adventures to explore.

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Broke

Broke is a picturesque little country town in the Hunter Valley; making an excellent base to explore the surrounding national parks and the many incredible wine tours. It connects directly to Sydney on Tourist Drive 33 and is a little over two hours by car.

Broke is set in the Broke Fordwich Region, sharing the area with Bulga (the other main village) and Fordwich and Milbrodale as smaller communities nearby. Wildlife in the area is vast and on any given day you can expect to encounter Australian native wildlife like wombats, kangaroos and birds. In town, Yellow Rock stands above showcasing incredible views of the valley surrounding. On the first Sunday of the month experience the fresh and local produce at Broke Village Community Market. The village provides cottages, bed and breakfasts, farm stays and luxury guesthouses for you to plan a relaxing escape to and is an excellent base for exploring surrounding vineyards and cellar doors.

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Broken Hill

Broken Hill has left a significant mark in mining history, with an array of art galleries, heritage mining landmarks as well as holding the title of Australia's first heritage-listed city for you to explore. Broken Hill's dramatic desert landscape sits in the background and as you wander down Argent Street and you'll find a mix of restaurants, galleries and cafes. Take the Broken Hill Heritage Walk Tour to gain more in-depth insight around what the history of Broken Hill looks like.

With no other main city close by to Broken Hill, Sydney is 1144 kilometres east, and Adelaide resides 512 kilometres southwest. Regional flights from both cities are available; however, flights are expensive. Instead, travel by car or take the Xplorer train, which takes about 13 and a half hours from Sydney to Broken Hill. Buses run weekly from Adelaide, which are 7 hours in total.

Some of the highlights in town worth visiting include the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery, home to a collection of local artists like Pro Hart and Eric Minchin. The Albert Kersten Mining and Mineral Museum provides detailed insight around geology and mineral exploration.

Drive 20 minutes out of town, and you'll find the Living Deserts Sculptures, made up of 12 sandstone sculptures trailing through the Living Desert Reserve. The sculptures were created in 1993 by a mix of international artists.

Continue through the many national parks and travel south of Broken Hill out to the Menindee Lakes, one of nine lakes adjoining the Darling River. A visit to the lakes makes a wonderful day trip to explore the beautiful birdlife, water sports or fishing. You can also book accommodation at the shearer’s quarters or stay along the park's river and lakeside areas, available to camp. The lakes are located in the Menindee town and are a great overnight stop while visiting Broken Hill.

Accommodation in Broken Hill is made up of motels, guesthouses and private cottages, with many motels considered to be high priced for what's on offer. Dining options include some restaurants and cafes as well as a supermarket for you to cook at home; however, options can be limited.

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Brunswick Heads

A short drive from the hustle and bustle of Byron Bay lies the idyllic town of Brunswick Heads. This small fishing village has the atmosphere and charm of a traditional seaside town, with quiet, relaxed vibes.

Brunswick Heads is best known for its fantastic natural attractions: two gorgeous beaches and a beautiful river. The best way to spend a day here is in the water. Main Beach is perfect for surfing, swimming, and fishing, whilst the river is best explored by kayak, boat, or paddle board. Snorkelling and diving tours are available, and you can even spot whales out at sea.

The town centre offers several shopping options including quirky boutiques and a gallery selling local crafts. Held on the first Saturday of every month, the markets are a wonderful place to shop for all kinds of locally made and imported goods.

When hunger strikes, choose from a vibrant array of eclectic cafes, fine restaurants, and delicious pub food.

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Cessnock

Discover the lush country and rugged wilderness of Cessnock; the Hunter Valley regions largest town. Many tours depart directly out of town along with several great family attractions on offer. Due to the choice of accommodation options and activities, Cessnock works well for a variety of budgets with guesthouses, cottages, hostels and hotels available.

Walk through town and encounter historical building lining the pathway and grand pubs, take a wander down the laneways to explore the colourful, community art covering the walls too. Wander through the mix of cafes and cuisines as well as gift shops, fashion boutiques and an art gallery. Cessnock is considered a foodies delight, with award-winning restaurants, locally sourced produce and country pubs to choose from. 

Making a great base to explore the many wineries nearby, Cessnock is 6 kilometres from the nearest vineyard. Between 150 different wineries, explore one of the many wine tours or take a drive through the countryside to experience the incredible rolling hills and opulent countryside.

For a relaxing day in Astills picnic town stop at the area, just 10 minutes away, here you’ll be able to relax under the gum trees or explore mountain biking tracks at Deadmans mountain bike loop. For Australian wildlife up close, the Hunter Valley Zoo is a beautiful way to encounter koalas, kangaroos and also more exotic animals like meerkats face to face.

Cessnock is a laid back, casual town connecting you to the incredible wineries and attractions surrounding the Hunter Valley region.

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Charlotte Pass

Set in the beautiful Kosciuszko National Park, Charlotte Pass sits at 1,837 metres elevation and is a trekking location, resort location and village in the Snowy Mountains. The town is the closest one to Mount Kosciuszko and considered the highest snow resort in Australia. From Charlotte Pass you’ll have access to incredible skiing, snowboarding and downhill runs, and you can also continue to Australia’s highest peak, Mount Kosciuszko. Stay at the impressive Kosciuszko Chalet Hotel with views of the mountain from your hotel room.

From June to early October, the area becomes covered in snow making the resort only accessible by over-snow transport from the Skitube railway terminal. No matter what level skier you are, the area provides a mix of terrains from beginners through to highly experienced runs, with lessons available too. To enjoy skiing the slopes under the stars, take a night skiing experience on Wednesday and Saturdays, or opt for a sunrise ski on the Mount Stilwell experience.

What’s unique about Charlotte Pass is that the resort has no cars and often little crowds due to it being completely snowbound, with views surrounding of Mount Kosciuszko. Conquer Australia’s highest peak by trekking Mount Kosciuszko, with a choice of guided tours otherwise go at your own pace. As the weather begins to heat up, Charlotte Pass is a starting point for those taking the Mount Kosciuszko Summit walk and Main Range walk. The Mount Kosciuszko Summit walk is 9 kilometres each way, otherwise, for something a bit longer, the Main Range walk is a loop passing glacial lakes and is 22 kilometres in total. On the walk take in views across the Victorian Alps and experience the crisp mountain air. Be sure to check weather conditions and prepare accordingly for your hike if you choose to do it alone.

Charlotte Pass is a scenic, and cozy little village perfect to immerse yourself in the snow at Kosciuszko National Park. Due to being the highest town in the Snowy Mountains, it means that it will most likely have the most snow and best chance for a covered ski run while you’re visiting.

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Cobar

Sitting between crossroads, you’ll find Cobar, rich in culture and heritage and filled with incredible natural attractions. Spend your days exploring the mine in town or walk past dramatic colonial buildings, study Aboriginal rock art and more. Set in rugged Outback NSW, pass through the lush wetlands or learn about the sheep-shearing heritage of Nyngan. Cobar was once known as the ‘Copper City’ when its mining industry boomed after the 1800s. Nowadays it makes a great place to learn about the open cut mines and the history around this. Many historic buildings still stand tall, for further insight and a glimpse of them take the Cobar Heritage Walk. Other attractions include the Fort Bourke Hill Lookout, which showcases incredible views across the town or stop by Mount Grenfell Historic Site filled with Ngiyampaa Aboriginal rock art and Dreaming stories painted across rock shelters. A drive to Cobar makes a lovely day trip, or stay for a night or two to learn more about the rich history of the town.

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Coffs Harbour

Home to beautiful beaches, lush rainforest, and the iconic big banana, Coffs Harbour lies at the heart of the Coffs Coast, a sensational slice of paradise nestled between Sydney and Brisbane. This vibrant destination combines laid-back seaside vibes with the exciting activities, restaurants, and shopping that you would expect in a thriving city.

Several idyllic beaches make up the stunning coastline that lines Coffs Harbour. Relax and unwind on the golden sand, and enjoy a barbeque or picnic on the Jetty Beach foreshore. This is also the location of the Harbourside Market, held every Sunday, featuring live music and a vast array of unique products. Snorkelling and fishing are popular activities at Jetty Beach, due to the range of marine life.

Solitary Islands Marine Park extends north from Coffs Harbour along 75KM of coastline and offers diverse habitats housing many species of marine life. Get closer to the corals and fish by snorkelling, diving or sailing. Dolphins and whales can also be spotted here.

Alternatively take to the skies at Treetop Adventure Park, where you can fly through the forest on zip lines and suspension bridges.

Learn more about local wildlife at Dolphin Marine Magic, where you can meet sea lions, sharks, penguins, dolphins and more. Solitary islands Aquarium also offers the chance to get close and personal to marine life, whilst Coffs Harbour Butterfly House allows you to walk amongst butterflies.

Indulge in some native culture with the Gumgali Walking Track, where you can hear and learn about Dreamtime stories.

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Cooma

Cooma is based in southern New South Wales and is an excellent base if you plan on experiencing the Snowy Mountains. It is the largest town in the Snowy Mountains alpine region and is set four hours from Sydney and about 80 minutes from Canberra. Cooma has a variety of accommodation options to suit all budgets and is also home to the Snowy Mountains Hydro Discovery Centre.

In winter months take advantage of skiing and snowboarding with snowfields between 70 to 95 minutes drive away, but be sure to pack your warm clothes, as Cooma can get bitterly cold due to the wind from the Snowy Mountains across the flat, Monaro Plains.

Choose from a range of adventure tours in the area to get to know the stunning landscape surrounding the town like bushwalking, horse riding, white-water rafting and mountain biking. As the temperature begins to rise, enjoy a picnic in the Centennial Park and indulge in views at Nanny Goat Hill Lookout. The Correctional Services Gaul Museum is another fascinating place to spend your day at or experience the Lambie Town Walk. The walk is five kilometres around town which showcases 24 buildings, and places of historical interest, it is an easy way to experience some of the most iconic parts of Cooma. The lakes surrounding are great for fishing, and you can opt to take a fishing tour with one of the local guides.

Cooma brings a wealth of history and adventure activities for you to explore while visiting the Snowy Mountains.

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Country NSW

Fall in love with Country New South Wales (NSW), filled with historic towns, wine regions and wilderness, iconic to Australia. This region is home to a mix of rural communities with some of Australia’s oldest towns. The area has a significant indigenous history and some of Australia’s earliest winemaking ventures along with agriculture, livestock and mining. 

Choose a base to start in between Wagga Wagga, Albury, Tamworth or Dubbo, each within close distance of each other. Each town offers a choice of activities like horse riding, hot air ballooning and art galleries, and be sure to take some time to visit the Moree Plains Gallery, filled with incredible Aboriginal collections. The region hosts a number of festivals well-known across Australia like the Tamworth Country Music Festival, a unique experience and worth visiting when it is on, the rodeo and the Bathurst 1000. 

Starting with the Murray River, ride a paddle-steamer or why not explore one of the many museums like the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum or Temora Aviation Museum. 

Get in touch with nature and discover the diverse selection of landscapes waiting for you to explore. You’ll find Australia’s first dark sky park in Coonabarabran which is the perfect place to learn a little about astronomy, star gaze or camp under a sky full of twinkling stars. Otherwise, in Parkes, you can learn more about the CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope, which received live, televised images of the Apollo 11 moon landing. It is continually updated which keeps it at the forefront of astronomical discovery and is still heavily used by astronomers across Australia and around the world. 

The outdoors of Country NSW brings a mix of adventures and adrenaline-boosting activities like canyoning, mountain biking and skydiving along with natural attractions like the World Heritage Gondwana Rainforests. The Gondwana Rainforests are made up of primitive plants and animals that have been a core part of the Earth’s evolution. It is considered to be the most extensive area of subtropical rainforest in the world. Here you'll find a range of bushwalking tracks just waiting for you to discover, otherwise navigate through the park on one of the many driving routes. For those who prefer more time to adventure and take it all in, spend a night or two at one of the accommodation options in the national park too.

If wine is on your radar, then make the most of tastings at cellar doors and delectable dining options like Zin House, Tonic and Lilli Redini. With over 21 different cellar doors in the region, picture your days surrounded by green rolling hills and introductions to acclaimed winemakers. Local produce is in abundance, along with postcard-perfect scenery all around you. A visit to this countryside is what some would consider a wine lovers dream. 

Country NSW has all the elements for the perfect holiday; wine, history, adventure and stunning natural landscape. Make the most of Australia's rich history and diverse countryside and take some time out to visit Country NSW.

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Cowra

Located in the Lachlan Valley, Cowra is a rural town complete with wine vineyards, rich agriculture, art galleries, and fine restaurants for the soul. Perhaps one of its most noteworthy features is due to its influence of Japanese culture and the relation to World War II. During this part of history, thousands of Japanese prisoners of war were held within this area and staged a mass escape in 1944. This strong influence has led to museums, POW camp sites, the World Peace Bell, and the beautiful Japanese Gardens that are essential to Cowra’s roots.

Several festivals take place here every year, including a large food and wine festival as well as the Cherry Blossom Festival. Visitors come here to indulge in the rich abundance of the wines cultivated in this cooler region of Australia, as well as a strong culinary influence of the production of foods within the region. The Cherry Blossom Festival, also known as Sakura Matsuri, takes place every September when cherry blossoms bloom and overtake Cowra in their beautiful aroma within the Japanese Gardens of Cowra.

Spend the afternoon here on a self-guided walk through various heritage sites of Cowra, exploring their buildings and places initially formed from times back during the gold rush. Take yourself back in time by visiting the Lachlan Valley Railway and the old steamers and stations. The Cowra Regional Art Gallery and Australia’s World Peace Bell are both destinations to further immerse yourself into the culture of reconciliation held deep within Cowra.

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Crackenback

Crackenback is located in Thredbo Valley and provides a mix of restaurants, cafes and accommodation options. Close to ski resorts in both Thredbo and Perishers, which are connected by the Skitube Alpine Railway. Set six hours from Sydney and just outside of the Kosciuszko National Park, the Alpine Way connects Jindabyne and Crackenback and is an excellent track to drive down making it easy to access by car.

 

Lake Crackenback Resort is a beautiful place to spend your time for a more indulgent experience with a spa, yoga and health and fitness centre. The crisp air of Crackenback leaves you surrounded by snow gums, fresh streams and bush tracks, making you feel like you’ve entered a quiet sanctuary. Spend a night or two at Lake Crackenback to disconnect and recharge during your stay in the Snowy Mountains.

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Dubbo

Head to the Great Western Plains of NSW to discover Dubbo, a small town that oozes countryside appeal. More than just a small town, Dubbo offers visitors to learn more about the history that took place, it’s beautifully ornate architectural buildings, its aboriginal culture and roots and of course, the nature that lays minutes outside the town.

As agriculture and wool are major industries in Dubbo, you’ll often find the town in celebration of these with events in the theatre or convention centre. To better understand the history of Dubbo, stop at the Western Plains Cultural Centre, which includes the Dubbo Regional Gallery where you will learn about the Tubbagah People of the Wiradjuri Nation, an aboriginal tribe that has kept much of its traditions alive. You can even spot murals representing their artwork under the LH Ford Bridge as part of the Tracker Riley Cycleway.

The Western Plains Zoo is just outside of Dubbo, and is a popular attraction for visitors all over the world thanks to the unique design of the zoo. Rather than confined small, spaces, the zoo was created with the idea that the larger animals would be able to roam. You’ll see that the zoo is comprised of large, open spaces with an open trench that serves as a barrier, rather than fencing. You can see animals both native and exotic at this zoo. Ending your visit to Dubbo it will leave you embracing the plains in a way you never thought you would before.

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Evans Head

If you’re dreaming of a peaceful seaside holiday town surrounded by natural beauty, then look no further than Evans Head. This charming fishing village is divided by the idyllic Evans River, bordered by magnificent national parks, and lined with pristine beaches.

Spend a delightful day at the estuary where you can enjoy boating, canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding in beautiful surroundings. The river is also popular amongst anglers, so see if you can catch something delicious for dinner.

To the south of Evans Head, you will find Broadwater National Park, and to the south, there is Bundjalung National Park. Broadwater offers a fantastic location for an array of activities including bird watching and hiking. Short walking trails lead to the beach, where you can enjoy a picnic whilst spotting whales out at sea. Bundjalung is home to Jerusalem Creek, a popular waterway for paddle boarders. Embark on the Gummigurrah loop walk to spot koalas in the trees.

Evans Head Beach is a stunning place to relax, with waves that are ideal for less experienced surfers, as it is protected from south-east swells. Another popular Beach is Airforce Beach, which provides decent waves, four-wheel driving access, and a leash-free dog area. Anglers also love to fish here.

 Tributes to military history can be found around the town at Evans Head Living Museum and Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Aviation Museum, which houses an impressive collection of military aircrafts.

Unwind after the day’s adventures with fresh, local seafood, and choose from a range of accommodation options for various budgets.

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Faulconbridge

Faulconbridge is a great pit stop for those travelling from Sydney into the depths of the Blue Mountains. It sits in between the slopes of the Blue Mountains and is half an hour from Katoomba. The village is filled with lush gardens and parks and is a chance to experience tours departing from Faulconbridge. Set in the Blue Mountains and residing 450 metres above sea level, it plays host to several attractions such as the Sir Henry Parkes Grave and the Norman Lindsay Gallery. With many guesthouses and accommodation options available as well as dining and restaurants to keep you entertained, it has everything you need for a comfortable stay. The neighbouring town of Springwood also provides shopping and cultural attractions, which means you can move between the two towns quickly depending on what you’re looking for. Spend a night or two in Faulconbridge on your journey in to the Blue Mountains and explore what this town has to offer.

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Forster

306KM north of Sydney in the spectacular Great Lakes region, lies the beautiful coastal town of Forster. Sitting by Cape Hawk Harbour at the entrance to Wallis Lake, Forster oozes lazy holiday vibes that invite you to relax and unwind. 

Forster is home to several beaches, and each one is a little slice of paradise. Take a swim at Main Beach which is patrolled during peak season, and offers ocean baths, showers, a kiosk, and picnic facilities. To the east, you will discover Pebbly Beach, which is particularly popular for snorkelling and surfing. The stunning Seven Mile Beach is also a tempting surfing spot, as well as being a fantastic place to fish. The beaches are all linked by the sensational Bicentennial walk, which begins by the ocean baths on the Main beach and runs all the way along the idyllic coastline to the delightful One Mile Beach. Here you will discover sand dunes and a picnic-barbeque area. You will also find the John Ward Rainforest Walk here – an enchanting boardwalk lined with rare sub-tropical flora and fauna species, shaded by lush greenery.

Why not spend the afternoon on a dolphin and whale watching cruise to get better acquainted with the local wildlife? Alternatively, sailboarding and scuba diving are much-loved pastimes here. If you love to fish you will be spoilt for choice with lake, rock, river and beach fishing available, as well as charters.

After a morning on the water, venture into Booti Booti National Park for bushwalking and bird spotting.

Forster is also known for being the home of the famous Forster Triathlon Festival, an annual event hosted by Elite Energy. The exciting festival features several running, swimming and cycling races for over 1,000 athletes. What better way to experience this beautiful part of the country than on foot, bicycle and water all in one day?!

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Glen Innes

Head to the valleys of Glen Innes to find a place rich in history, Celtic culture, and wilderness unlike any other. Located on the Northern Tablelands of NSW, the region offers valleys and gorges optimal for hiking, gem fossicking and indulging in locally produced wines at any number of wineries in the area.

Upon arriving in Glen Innes, head to the downtown region and embark on a walking tour or a guided tour of the heritage buildings that line the charming town. For a deeper dive into the culture and history of Glen Innes head to the Land of the Beardies History Museum. You’ll soon discover the rich Celtic heritage within the area, as the town is home to the annual Celtic Festival taking place in May. In honour of Celtic roots, visitors should visit the Australian Standing Stones, which are a monument erected for the purpose of cultural gatherings.

Just beyond the picturesque town lies the Gondwana Rainforests, an Australia World Heritage Area that is as mystifying and beautiful in areas such as the Washpool National Park. It is there that hikers can explore as there are several walking tracks that will take you through the forest. The region is also rich in gems, and fossicking can be a fun activity to become immersed in the beauty of the area. Much of the pioneering history can be found in activities, shops, and art within the area. Nothing short of charming, Glen Innes will leave you tickled in history and beauty.

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Gosford

Discover the heart of the NSW central coast. Located on the serene Brisbane Water and lined with scenic bushland, Gosford has so much to offer visitors. Indulge in the local culture, enjoy an array of water sports, and embark on bushwalks through spectacular reserves. This is the perfect base to explore the charming central coast from.

The Brisbane Water offers a tranquil destination for many activities, including boating, kayaking, fishing, and swimming. Walk, skateboard or cycle along the Gosford Waterfront Walk, a 2.4KM walk along the foreshore boasting panoramic views of the magnificent waterway. The surrounding Brisbane Water National Park offers delightful walks and cycle tracks, as well as breathtaking lookouts and ancient Aboriginal engraving sites.

Two of Gosford’s most tempting attractions are Katandra Reserve and Rumbalara Reserve, two outstanding areas of bushland. A range of long and short walking tracks meander through the reserves, leading you through stunning forest flora towards sensational lookouts and picnic areas, where you can enjoy lunch in stunning surroundings.

Soak up some culture at Gosford Regional Gallery and Edogawa Commemorative Garden. Find your zen in the beautiful, peaceful Japanese garden, home to vibrant koi carp, pretty lotuses and water lilies, an oriental tea room, and exquisite Japanese maple and cherry trees. Within the gallery, discover fascinating national and international exhibitions showcasing a variety of different styles from both established and emerging artists.

By night you will be spoilt for choice with a delicious and diverse range of cafes and restaurants, and accommodation options to suit various budgets.

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Goulburn

More than just a stop on the railway, Goulburn is a town surrounded by history with its agricultural roots and historical buildings. It is also home to several festivals taking place throughout Australia. Goulburn is a place where the arts meet the outdoors, offering a taste of inclusivity and culture in its activities. A short two-hour drive from Sydney makes it a quick getaway from the city and into the rural nature of life.

You won’t be able to miss the Big Merino, a large statue representative of the wool industry that is, in essence, an industry of the city itself. From there, take yourself on a tour through the town's historic buildings, through old homes and architecture in the Riversdale Homestead, various cathedrals, and end it all with a beer at the Goulburn Brewery.

To understand a bit more of the history, stop at the Goulburn Visitor Information Centre, located at the old railway station dating back from the 1860s. They can direct you to walking tracks, the Goulburn Regional Art Gallery, where to eat and places to stay to make the most of your time.

Just beyond the town, catch a view from the top at the Rocky Hill War Memorial and Museum. Goulburn is also home to several festivals including the Australian Blues Music Festival and the Steampunk Victoriana Fair, should you catch either one during your stay. Whichever way you choose to experience it, you’ll be amongst the art, history, and countryside beauty central Goulburn.