An aerial panorama of the Eden lookout in New South Wales

Things to do in  New South Wales

Sydney bling to Blue Mountain zing

New South Wales is all about the beach vibes thanks to the miles of vibrant coastline along its eastern edge. Besides the beach, there are loads of things to do in New South Wales, like exploring the Blue Mountains, Royal National Park, and Snowy Mountains, and seeing the bright lights of Sydney. There is wine tasting in Hunter Valley, road trips along the coast, hiking into the bush, and, of course, all the surfing, bodyboarding, and ocean frolicking your heart desires.

Top 15 attractions in New South Wales

Sydney Harbour

With the iconic silhouette of the Sydney Opera House and the dramatic arch of Sydney Harbour Bridge etched against a backdrop of the glittering ocean and soaring skyscrapers, Sydney Harbour is Australia’s quintessential postcard image. The harbor, the natural heart of Sydney, features more than 150 miles (240 kilometers) of coastline lined with golden beaches, lush gardens, and vibrant neighborhoods.More

Sydney Opera House

A world-class performing arts venue and iconic Australian landmark, the Sydney Opera House—with its distinctive design by Danish architect Jørn Utzon—defines the Sydney Harbour district. Distinguished by soaring halls with a white ceramic–tiled exterior shaped to evoke the sails of a yacht, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-see Sydney attraction.More

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Few sights are as instantly recognizable as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the grand centerpiece of Sydney Harbour and one of Australia's most photographed landmarks. The historic structure dates to 1932 and is among the world's largest steel arch bridges. It's also an important transport hub, linking downtown with the north shore, Manly, and Sydney's northern beaches.More

Featherdale Wildlife Park

Located just outside Sydney, Featherdale Wildlife Park is home to one of the largest collections of Australian wildlife anywhere in the world. Visitors can see and learn about the park’s 1,700 native Aussie critters, including koalas, kangaroos, echidnas, saltwater crocodiles, emus, and some of the world’s most venomous snakes.More

Bondi Beach

As Australia’s most famous beach—and the star of its own reality TV show, Bondi Rescue—Bondi Beach delivers with its crescent of golden sand, crashing waves, and crowds of bronzed sunseekers. Just minutes from downtown Sydney, this is the spot to work on your tan, hit the waves, sip cocktails at a beachside bar, or hike along coastal cliffs.More

The Rocks

Located in central Sydney, the historic precinct of the Rocks is the oldest area in the city and the site of the first European settlement. Full of history and character, today the Rocks is home to fashionable boutiques, artisan markets, historic pubs, trendy restaurants, and a thriving arts and culture scene.More

Circular Quay

Perched on the edge of Sydney Harbour and backed by the sleek skyscrapers of the city’s central business district, Circular Quay is the scenic gateway to Manly Beach, Taronga Zoo, and Watson’s Bay. From this transportation hub—from which ferries depart every few minutes—you can enjoy unobstructed views of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge.More

SEA LIFE® Sydney Aquarium

The SEA LIFE® Sydney Aquarium encapsulates the diversity of Australia’s aquatic life. Wander exhibits that showcase everything from saltwater crocs and Southern Ocean penguins to turtles from the Great Barrier Reef and jellyfish. Plus, its prime Darling Harbour location lets you combine the aquarium with other family-friendly stops.More

Scenic World

Situated at the heart of Australia’s Blue Mountains UNESCO World Heritage Site, Scenic World offers the rare chance to explore the mountains from all angles. Ride overhead in a cable car, hike along the valley floor, ride a train through mountain tunnels, and discover some of the most impressive scenery in Blue Mountains National Park.More

Mrs Macquarie's Chair

Positioned on a headland in The Domain park, Mrs Macquarie’s Chair is a sandstone bench offering spectacular Sydney Harbour views. Hand-carved by convicts in 1810 as a viewpoint for the then Governor’s wife—Mrs Elizabeth Macquarie—it now features on most Sydney visitor bucket lists.More

Cape Byron Lighthouse

Perched high on the sea cliffs at the edge of Cape Byron—Australia’s easternmost point—the Cape Byron Lighthouse has been guarding the rocky shores of the Pacific since 1901. One of Byron Bay’s most memorable landmarks, the lighthouse affords panoramic views along the coast and is home to a Maritime Museum.More

Darling Harbour

One of Sydney’s top attractions, Darling Harbour boasts fine-dining restaurants, a shopping center, one of the largest IMAX cinema screens in the world, and two entertainment staples for families: SEA LIFE® Sydney and WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo. Extend your visit into the evening to view the city lights reflected on the water.More

Three Sisters

The Three Sisters is an ancient rock formation located in the Blue Mountains National Park in the town of Katoomba. The towering trio of stone has a mythical dimension in the Aboriginal Dreamtime legend about three sisters who lived in the Jamison Valley and fell in love with three brothers from a rival tribe whom they were forbidden to marry.More

Royal Botanic Garden and The Domain

Stretching along the coast of Sydney Harbour against a backdrop of the Sydney Opera House, Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden and neighboring park, The Domain, offer spectacular views and beautiful scenery. This inner-city oasis boasts exotic plants, a tropical rain forest, woodland, flowers, and rare horticultural exhibits.More


Paddington is an upmarket suburb of eastern central Sydney that’s famous for its heritage terraced houses with attractive wrought-iron balconies and fences, as well as boutiques and fine dining. The Saturday Paddington Markets stretch along the main road, Oxford Street, and are a popular place to find local arts, crafts, and fashion.More

Top activities in New South Wales

Sydney Opera House Official Guided Walking Tour
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Skyfeast Dining Experience at the Sydney Tower
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Sydney Harbour Dinner Cruise

Sydney Harbour Dinner Cruise

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All about New South Wales

When to visit

The best time to visit New South Wales for most activities is in Aussie summer, from November to February, when warm weather makes surfing, hiking, camping, cycling, wine tasting, and other outdoor exploring the most comfortable. If you’re into winter sports, then June through August is your best bet for skiing in the Snowy Mountains. There are fewer tourists in the winter, too.

Getting around

New South Wales has a well-connected train system that can get you to most places in the state. To explore the state’s scenic roads, like in Kangaroo Valley or along the coast, renting a car or van is your best option. In Sydney and other big cities, you can rent Lime bikes to weave through traffic for a local feel. Buses work well in most cities, like Sydney, which also has a popular, elaborate intercity metro network.

Traveler tips

Make it a point to visit some of the ocean rock pools in New South Wales. These beauties are crafted into the sea, making safer, calmer enclosures for toddlers, families, and hard-core swimming trainees. When the ocean becomes dramatic, the walls of the rockpools can’t keep out the swell, and you'll see brave local kids daring the waves to knock them over, too.

Local Currency
Australian Dollar (A$)
Time Zone
AEDT (UTC +10)
Country Code

People Also Ask

What is New South Wales best known for?

New South Wales is known for beaches, mountains, the bush country, wine tasting, and, of course, Sydney. You can explore miles of coastline with every kind of beach, go hiking and biking in the Blue Mountains, wine tasting in Hunter Valley, and sipping bubbles with Harbour Bridge views in Sydney.

How many days should I spend in New South Wales?

Give yourself a week in New South Wales to check out Sydney and visit the iconic sites. Hike in the Blue Mountains, taste wine in Hunter Valley, and get to one of the laid-back beach towns, like Jervis Bay, to unwind on the white sand.

Is New South Wales worth visiting?

Yes, for its range of natural beauty and the cultural icons, New South Wales is definitely worth visiting. There is something for everyone and every age, whether you like the beach, hiking, camping, or urban exploring. There are loads of things to do in New South Wales.

What are the top places to visit in New South Wales?

Top places to visit in New South Wales include Sydney for the Opera House and Harbour Bridge; Blue Mountains for hiking, viewpoints, and camping; Hunter Valley for wine; Kangaroo Valley for a scenic road trip; and the beach towns up and down the coast for relaxing.

What is the best time to visit New South Wales?

New South Wales is warmest in summer, but do expect some rain, which is what keeps it vibrantly lush and green. In summer (November–February) the backpackers come to the beaches where the surf is perfect and warm. Yet, winter is perfect for skiing in the Snowy Mountains.

What are the best beaches in New South Wales?

There are many gorgeous beaches in New South Wales. In Sydney, Bondi is popular with backpackers and surfers. Manly is a Sydney hot spot for snorkeling and swimming. To the north, visit Treachery Beach in Seal Rocks, and in the south, try Jervis Bay for white sands and whale watching.

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