Having completed 3 years in Australia, with Sydney as my base, I can confidently say this land is significantly different from all the other countries in terms of its varied Flora and Fauna, geographical landscapes. This place offers amazing wildlife, beautiful coastline, picturesque national parks, and most of all adventures. Another factor which differentiates this continent/country from the world is its location which is south and down under in the globe. When there is today for rest of the world, Australia already starts with tomorrow, when world is suffering from heat waves we have pleasant cold winters and when people are celebrating Christmas with all snow decorations in chill winters we celebrate a Christmas Summer. Specially Sydney's weather is all time best neither too cold nor too hot its kind of a weather that uplifts your mood and make all travel worthwhile.
Definitely there are more than one reason for this Wonderland to be in your travel bucket list post Covid lockdown. Here I am sharing my personally acquired extensive travel experience around this country.
Below are some of the best places and things to do, to plan your holiday in NSW Australia and other significantly popular destinations in Australia. You can easily tailor your plan according to:
1. The locations,
2. Category of Holiday (Family, adventure, food)
3. Personal preference to fit within your holiday duration and budget.
#10 places in New South Wales, you should consider for your Australian Holiday
Since I am settled in Sydney I have majorly explore all the areas around New South Wales and so I am recommending my list of places which I wont hesitate visiting multiple times.
Getting there: Sydney has an amazing network of trains and recently metro are also added to the mode of transport along with several local buses, and trams that run across the city. You can buy an OPAL card and travel in any mode of commute by Sydney transports.
Recommendation: Min Duration - 2N/3D, suggested 3N/4D
When one thinks about Australia, Sydney with its Oprah house and Harbor bridge comes first in mind. Definitely its the most Vibrant city of Australia and one of the most visited city too. Once you plan to visit Sydney, please keep few days in hand to enjoy the most of Sydney and around.
I have already a shared an article about how to explore this city like a local to plan your Sydney trip CLICK HERE.
#2 Kiama, NSW
Getting there: Its 120 km, 2 hrs drive from Sydney. Also accessible by Sydney trains.
Recommendation: Day trip, or plan along with Jervis bay, NSW.
This is one of my favorite go to place in NSW, it offers so much and the best part is just a short drive away from Sydney, you can make a stop at Stanwell Tops, and visit Helensburgh temple for the spectacular architecture and delicious food is served in the canteen. You can also explore Nan-tein temple for detailed itinerary, refer to Jervis bay trip, below.
This place has hills, cliffs, seashore, natural swimming pool, rocks and best of all, its famous for Kiama Blow hole - checkout the gallery here.
#3 Jervis Bay
Getting there: around 190 km from Sydney a 3-4 hours drive with amazing stops, you can also cover Kiama on the way to Jervis bay.
Recommendation: Weekend Getaway, ideal for family, beach lovers and bag packers.
Jervis Bay, not only has 2 of the world's whitest beaches, but also amazing flora and fauna, if you are hoping to see Kangaroos in their natural habitat and get close to them this is the place. It has amazing sites and lookouts and plenty of adventurous activities to enjoy.
I personally recommend Whale Watching or Dolphin watching cruises its a delight for the visitors cruising deep in to the sea, chasing dolphins and see them enjoy in their natural habitat. The beaches must see in the order are, Hyams Beach, Murray's beach, Caves beach, Culburra Beach and there will be certainly more places you can cover, to plan a detailed trip CLICK HERE.
#4 Port Stephens & Nelson Bay
Getting there: Around 180 km and 2 hours drive from Sydney.
Recommendation: Plan for a weekend and book a Dolphin watching cruise.
Port stephens is one of the places in amazing Central coast area of New South Wales, It has famous surfing beaches, and an amazing coastline stretching across Tasman Sea.
It is also one of the most popular destinations and weekend getaway to explore around Sydney. On the way you can make a stop at Entrance, NSW to view Pelicans in their natural habitat (explore the gallery above for pictures). To know more around how to plan this trip CLICK HERE.
#5 Snowy Mountains
Getting there: Approx 624.7 km and a long drive of 7 hrs 19 mins from Sydney.
Recommendation: Plan for at least 3-4 days to include to and fro travel time, take a stop at Canberra. Buy Passes for the snow resorts in advance if you want to completely enjoy the snow, skiing lessons are also available. Do keep a pair of winter gloves and boots to be able to enjoy in snow otherwise you can hire in a local store.
Well I am more of a mountain person than a beach fella, so anytime or everytime, mountains win me over, Snowy is truly special because its worth the visit in every season one of the most visited destinations during winters for Skii sports and for the lovers of snow games.
Every time I have been there I am greeted by snowfall. During my first visit i got so excited I made a movie... anyway what is recommended is always book it in advance as it gets quite populated and expensive. If you are driving from Sydney I would advise a break at Canberra which is around 3.5 hours and then continue next morning to Snowy around 3 hour journey that way you will save energy and won't get bored due to long journey. It is recommended to get tyre chains as snow can get slippery for the car, however if you have a 4WD its fine. To enjoy more photos of Snowy Checkout here.
#6 Hunter Valley
Getting there: Around 245 km and a 3 hrs drive from Sydney.
Recommendation: Weekend Getaway, suggested 2N/3D
Well earlier this place was not in my list but after my recent visits I am happily proved wrong there is much more to this place then just Wines.
I would positively say if you are into Luxury and Leisure this is the place for you, also its a very popular Destination for wedding so you can get yourself a shoot in any of the wineries, or explore the place in a comfortable Carriage ride without the hassle of driving while wine tasting. I have written a quite comprehensive blog to explore this place CLICK HERE to know more.
#7 Blue Mountains
Getting there: 66.3 km, 1 hour drive. Also accessible via Sydney Trains and daily tours are available with various operators.
Recommendation: Day trip, if you don't have much time but still want to enjoy the country feel, this is the place for you, do buy passes for scenic world this way you will be able to explore the max.
Well I have been to this place so many times, I have actually stopped counting now. Its a very easy drive and you can chose the place or spot or may be just plan a quick hike to enjoy the views, there are many things you can do in Blue mountains and specially Scenic world offers an amazing range of view points and activities which families can enjoy.
There are many bus tours from Sydney taking you to Blue mountains if you don't wish to drive, to know more about planning a visit to Blue Mountains CLICK HERE.
#8 Port Macquarie
Getting there: 386 Km and 4-5 hour drive from Sydney
Recommendation: Plan for a long weekend or if you are road tripping to Gold Coast you can add it as day stop in the way.
Port Macquarie is a town at the mouth of the Hastings River in New South Wales, Australia. It’s known for its beaches, wildlife and penal colony past. . A coastal walk from the town centre to the 19th-century Tacking Point Lighthouse offers views over waters home to whales and dolphins. Billabong Zoo is known for its koala breeding centre, to know more about the place CLICK HERE
#9 Palm Beach
Getting there: 46 Km, 1 hour drive from Sydney. Buses also available by Sydney Transport.
Recommendation: Day trip, dress for a hike keep a change of clothes.
If you enjoy a walk or short hike along the coastal views, this is the most approachable place for a bush walk and hike to Barren joy Lighthouse and get a dip in the sea later, there is a spectacular site of two beaches divided by a landscape.
Amazing for surfing and you can also enjoy a visit to The Boathouse which is famous restaurant on the beach and golf course around the area. This place is very picturesque, checkout the gallery here.
#10 Royal National Park and Bouddi National Park
Getting there: 96.9 km, 1 hour 30 mins drive from Sydey
Recommendation: Day trip, or weekend, there are amazing stays around this place.
Well Sydney has many National Parks around it and these two are my favorite. It is just a short drive you can arrange for a visit to Stanwell Tops to have an amazing view of Royal National Parks.
you can drive/walk thru Sea Link road which is one amazing walk or if you are an adventurous soul you can do a 7 kms trek of Figure 8 pools another great landmark within Royal national park, to know more about it CLICK HERE.
Bouddi is another one of my favorite it offers amazing landscape with rock structures and patterns carved by sea waves, which are a sight to please your eyes the walk around this is breathtaking. Also the beach is secluded and gives a feeling of being in oasis.
Other significant places to cover
If you plan to Visit major regions of Australia and not inclined towards just one region, than plan your itinerary to explore below most popular destinations of Australia to complete your Australian tour.
Getting there: Flights, Drive, Coach
Capital of Victoria and listed in top 10 most livable cities of the world several times, this is yet another city to explore during your Australian Holidays if you have days in hand.
This place is heaven for food, some of the prominent chefs have their restaurants in Melbourne. If you are a foodie, you can plan your itinerary to explore the food HERE. You can book your accommodation in CBD, St Kilda or surrounding suburbs. The King's cross station has a great shower and cloak room facility if you don't book in advance.
There are beautiful gardens, city hangouts and you can easily commute through a varied range of public transport available to explore the city.
The Great Ocean Road, VIC
Getting there: around 3-5 hours based on destinations you want to cover and time in hand.
Recommendation: 2N/3D, plan in advance to secure a stay
The Great Ocean Road is an Australian National Heritage listed 243-kilometre stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford.
If you are planning to visit Melbourne, it will be a shame to not plan your trip to this place. The whole drive in itself is a glorious journey, amazing spots and try to leave early in the morning to ditch the crowd, otherwise you won't even get a photo clicked without a crowd looking like you ended up in a festival. There is lot to say and know about this trip and there fore I have a complete blogpost dedicated for this - CLICK HERE to know more.
The Majestic Great Barrier Reef & Fraser Island, QLD
Getting There: There are many modes of transport, you can book a tour from Brisbane or fly directly to Cairns. The trip will depend on your budget and duration.
Recommendation: Plan using as per your days and budget, there are many packages available.
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure on Earth. ... Stretching for 1,429 miles over an area of approximately 133,000 square miles , the Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world.
Well since our childhood, we have read about Great barrier Reef in our geography and also its one of the world's largest living organism. Since the day I came here I was fascinated to visit Great Barrier reef and I planned this trip within my first year of stay. Most of the people within Australia haven't visited Great Barrier Reef because its quite expensive to visit. However I visited it in the peak season of December Holiday and within my budget. I am going to write all about it soon but for now just to help you with planning you can buy a Voucher from Viator.com, they have amazing tours for great Barrier reef, we also covered Fraser Island, which is famous fir its 75 miles, coastline and amazing bio-diversity. We did a 7 day trip and did a Roadtrip from Sydney to Brisbane from where our tour was planned. CLICK HERE to plan your trip as per your budget and duration.
The Gold Coast, QLD
Getting there: 940 kms, you can either board a flight or do a roadtrip with a stop at any of the great location mid-way. There are many flight options available too in reasonable price if you book in advance.
Recommendation: 3N/4D, book theme parks in advance.
Since I haven't visited this place yet, the pictures are from internet.
The Gold Coast offers much more than shopping, surf, and skyline (though we have miles of those). Though one can plan it as a weekend Getaway, but there is so much to do and explore if you enjoy a true Holiday, there are theme parks, Sky Climb, Hot air ballooning, seashore for surfing, national parks and much more. I haven't still visited the place but due to my usual need to research a lot have actually planned my trip already several times in my mind. For a quick reference to plan your trip you can CLICK HERE.
Getting there: Since Tasmania is an Island you can only fly or cruise. This can be quite expensive so plan well in advance
Recommendation: In order to cover Tasmania properly visiting both south and north of the region it will take more than a week because of internal travel times, however if you chose a particular side you can do it 3-5 days.
I was planning to visit this place in April 2020 but because of COVID had to cancel all my travel plans, however already did enough research and came up with an itinerary for our trip that I will share in a separate blog post. These pictures are taken from internet for reference.
Tasmania is an island state of Australia. . The state encompasses the main island of Tasmania, the 26th-largest island in the world, and the surrounding 334 islands. It is a very popular holiday destination for Australians too and has some of the most spectacular, trails, beaches, wildlife and Australian geography. You can plan for a self-drive trip there.
Getting there: Can only be reached via flight to Ayers Rock from where its a 20 mins drive.
Recommendation: The closest town is Alice Springs and that's too 450 km away.
Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is a massive sandstone monolith in the heart of the Northern Territory’s arid "Red Centre". Uluru is sacred to indigenous Australians and is thought to have started forming around 550 million years ago. It’s within Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, which also includes the 36 red-rock domes of the Kata Tjuta formation.
Many people plan for this far place, I have still not added it in my list and don't plan to go so far, or may be it hasn't appealed me much, but for archaeologist and keen scholars of Geography this is an interesting place to explore. There is only one resort near this place therefore a package and booking is necessary otherwise you will be deserted in the desert.
Kakadu National Park, NT
Getting There: There is no commercial flight to this place so you can either take flight to Alice Springs or Darwin from there, choose whether you hire a vehicle or jump on a tour to get to the park.
Recommendation: 3-7 Days based on your preference.
Kakadu National Park in the Top End or the Northern Territory, is a World Heritage Site and one of the planet's great wilderness areas. Covering more than 19,840 square Kms, Kakadu is the largest national park in Australia and the second largest in the world. Within its borders lie monsoon rainforests, mangrove swamps, rivers, gorges, ancient rock paintings, wetlands, and waterfalls, as well as an astounding diversity of wildlife. Again this is another place I haven't visited yet and might plan later, however this is certainly in my list so from my research to plan your trip there are several itineraries that can be followed CLICK HERE to know more.
If you like a road trip, self-drive from Darwin on the Stuart Highway then the Arnhem Highway. For those without personal transport you can hire a 2WD vehicle, 4WD or motor home in Darwin. The journey takes about three hours and there are NT sights to explore along the way.
The trail from Alice Springs to Kakadu is often known as the Red Centre Way. It’s an iconic roadtrip up the centre of Australia – and one you’ll never forget! Take a tour or self-drive at your own pace.
I hope the above information will help you plan an amazing holiday in Australia :).