Beyond Sydney

Although there's a lot to see and do in Sydney, it's worth setting some time aside to explore the wider New South Wales region.

There are hundreds of pristine beaches along the coastline; the famous Blue Mountains are just a hop, skip and jump away; and award-winning vineyards, historic towns and the great Australian outback are just waiting to be discovered.

Choose a bus, bicycle, Segway or even horse and carriage tour to explore delicious local wines, cheeses, chocolate and other gourmet treats.

Gourmet from Binnorie Dairy Hunter Valley, Australia.

Satisfy your inner gourmet in the Hunter Valley

Take the train or hire a car to visit the Hunter Valley. It's only two hours north of Sydney and home to the oldest vineyards in Australia. There's heaps to do here - festivals, farmers markets, hot-air ballooning, golf - however we recommend easing into the region with a wine and food tasting tour. Choose a bus, bicycle, Segway or even horse and carriage tour to explore the delicious local wines, cheeses, chocolate and other gourmet treats.

 
Fingal Island in Port Stephens, Australia.

Then head over to coastal Port Stephens. It's a perfect spot to relax with gorgeous beaches and alfresco waterside dining. The sheltered bays are great for families and you may even see bottlenose dolphins and migrating whales. Sit outside for lunch and watch the waves roll in at Merewether Beach, Newcastle's famous surfing location. And while you're in town, pick up some organic goodies at the Hunter Street Markets, they're on every Wednesday to Saturday.

 

Discover the breath-taking natural beauty of the South Coast

South of Sydney lies the beautiful South Coast, a 600km stretch of spectacular beaches. Shellharbour, a two-hour drive from the city, makes a great base for exploring the area. It offers pretty beaches, a good selection of cafes and restaurants, and plenty to keep you busy. Nearby is Bass Point, an outstanding dive destination with six shipwrecks and clear water teeming with marine life.

If you'd rather stay on dry land you can ride a Segway along Killalea Beach, go see the Kiama blowhole (the largest in the world), then stand under a waterfall in the Minnamurra Rainforest. If you're travelling with kids, they'll love the Jamberoo Action Park - a huge water theme park. Continue heading south along the coast and you'll reach Pebbly Beach, in Murramarang National Park. Here you can pat friendly kangaroos that hang out at the beach.

Get back to nature in the Blue Mountains

The magnificent Blue Mountains are less than two hours west of Sydney. The area is known for stunning views, forest walks and plenty of fun things to do. Echo Point Lookout is a must-do photo stop with sweeping long range views that include the iconic Three Sisters. If you're game, walk down the 800-plus steps of the Giant Stairway to see the Katoomba Falls. Then amble along to Scenic World before taking the world's steepest incline passenger railway back up through the rainforest. A ride on the cable car with a glass floor will get your heart pumping as you experience true birds-eye views from 270 metres above the forest.

If solid ground is more your thing, take a spooky evening ghost tour by torchlight in the vast Jenolan Caves near Oberon, or get food with a view in one of the many great cafes at picturesque Wentworth Falls. Runners and walkers might like to plan their visit around popular annual events, such as the Six Foot Track marathon in March, a 45km run through the Blue Mountains.

 

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