It’s natural to think first of iconic locations like Sydney and Byron Bay when considering things to see in New South Wales. After all, these are popular locations for a reason, and they’re areas that Australian locals and tourists, in general, will likely want to experience at least once in their lifetimes. But, if you’ve seen these destinations already or simply don’t think they’ve got what you’re after from your trip, then it’s important to remember that NSW has a lot more to offer than just the obvious.
In fact, once you take a step back from these tourist-heavy locations and consider the full extent of your options here, you’ll see that it’s possible to more than fill your trip without even getting close to such crowded areas. Instead, NSW quite literally offers something for everyone, and to prove it, we’re going to look at just a few worthwhile activities here that single-handedly show just how much more there is to see here than Sydney.
disclosure: this is a partnered post
Road Trips To Remember
Whether it’s your first time visiting or you simply want to get a vibe for as much of NSW as you can cover, scrapping solo destinations like Sydney for one of this location’s iconic road trip routes provides an entirely different, and hopefully more exciting, way to explore. Road trip routes most worth your attention during the planning stages of your journey include:
- Grand Pacific Drive: With a duration of 2 days and a driving distance of 205km, the Grand Pacific Drive departs from Sydney to take you through iconic NSW locations including Royal National Park, Wollongong, and Shoalhaven.
- The Great Artesian Drive: The Great Artesian basin’s 1.7 million square kilometres makes it the largest and deepest freshwater basin in the world. Again departing from Sydney, this 5+ day, 1090km road trip includes stops such as Pilliga, Moree, and Lightning Ridge.
- Darling River Run: Spanning an impressive 1075km, the Darling River Run road trip departs from Walgett and paves a classic route through NSW’s dusty outback, including Bourke, Wilcannia, and beyond.
Nights In Natural Splendor
While Sydney’s cityscape might be the gem of NSW for many, this part of Australia is also characteristically surrounded by some astounding natural sights, including national parks like the Blue Mountains and Warrumbungle. This makes camping a definite draw card for adventurous tourists.
Whether you go all out with natural, off-the-beaten-track spots like Euroka and Yadboro Flat campgrounds, or prefer to head to popular, comfortable options like McLean Beach caravan park Deniliquin, you’ll certainly set yourself up for a trip to remember by packing your camping gear. If you’re feeling brave, you could even head to free camping spots on the south or north coasts, and truly enjoy a little of that NSW natural splendor.
Wonderful Wine Regions
With fourteen distinct NSW wine regions including Mudgee, Southern Highlands, and Canberra District, a trip to NSW is also almost always improved by a wine-based excursion or two along the way. From famed NSW wine festivals like the Hunter Valley Food and Wine Festival to more chilled vibes in winery restaurants like Muse Kitchen, you can choose any tipple of your choice while dabbling in these extensive opportunities.
Equally, more keen wine connoisseurs might prefer to get stuck in with specific winery experiences, including helicopter rides to tastings at Swinging Bridge Wines in Orange, right through to private tastings at Briar Ridge. Wine tasting even takes on a family vibe with a trip to Heifer Station Wines, where kids can enjoy a petting farm that includes alpacas and highland cattle while mum and dad can taste the delicious produce.
A Taste Of Aboriginal Life
While Sydney’s rife art scene and bustling vibes are a sure step into modern Australia, it’s worth remembering that NSW is also home to the country’s largest population of aboriginal Australians, and signing up for one of the location’s ‘aboriginal-guided tours’ has the potential to change your worldview in a way we all hope for from any decent trip.
Giving you a first-hand glance into the culture, language, and laws of aboriginal lifestyles, you’ll be able to experience everything from traditional smoking ceremonies to seeing rock art first-hand in locations like the Blue Mountains. Aboriginal art is also on display in locations like Wollongong Art Gallery, while attending an aboriginal music festival like Boomerang Festival is guaranteed to introduce you to sounds that you didn’t know you were missing.
‘Juncture: First Nations Art’ at New England Regional Art Museum, Armidale NSW, spotlights the Aboriginal art in NERAM’s collections. Until 30 January 2022: https://t.co/RIGrg6DRNz pic.twitter.com/Ivm0DWkcVg
— Art Collector (@ArtCollectMag) December 30, 2021
A Whole Host Of Activities
If nothing we’ve discussed so far appeals, then remember that NSW is also high on the list for offering an amazing range of activities that have every need and interest covered, no matter how long your trip. Some out-of-Sydney day trips that you may well want to add to your itinerary most notably include:
- Taronga Western Plains Zoo
- Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre
- Three Sisters Formation
- Jenolan Caves
- Mayfield Cool Climate Garden
- Balls Pyramid
- The Big Banana Fun Park
- And much more!
Head Off The Beaten Track
Unsurprisingly for an area that spans 801,150km squared, this list only just touches on your options of things to see in New South Wales, and all without so much as a second glance at Sydney. Of course, as mentioned above, there’s nothing wrong with hitting NSW’s most popular and populated city, but getting creative with your planning is guaranteed to lead to a more enthralling trip all around.
As such, even if you spend a portion of your stay in Sydney, don’t be afraid to embrace these lesser-known but equally impressive NSW experiences. From road trips to wine tasting and even a walk through the history of aboriginal life, you’ll certainly enjoy some brand new life experiences by doing things differently. Simply book up, strap in, and sit back for the NSW trip of a lifetime.