From national parks and historic towns, to food and wine trails, whale watching, super snowfields and outback adventures, NSW has a lot to offer
Vivid Sydney, with its kaleidoscope of colours, vivid music acts and engaging vivid ideas programme attracted 2.33 million visitors last year, and travellers can make the most of their festival visit this year by spending some extra time exploring NSW in winter. From national parks and historic towns, to food and wine trails, whale watching, super snowfields and outback adventures, there is something for everyone in NSW.
NSW minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said Vivid Sydney was an opportunity to showcase not only Sydney, but the entire State.
“Last year, nearly 38,000 visitors to Vivid Sydney chose to extend their stay in NSW and travel beyond the fringes of Sydney, staying more than 94,000 nights and injecting over $16 million into the State’s regional economy,” Marshall said.“For those who come for Vivid Sydney, we encourage them to make the most of their trip by staying on for a memorable holiday in Australia’s most geographically diverse State. Exciting experiences await beyond the city limits and winter is the ideal time to experience many of them.”
There’s something to suit every taste and sense of adventure in NSW, from whale watching on a coastal trip, to exploring the grand canyons of the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains. Winter is the perfect season to hit the road to the Outback, reach new heights in the snowy mountains, explore ancient Gondwana Rainforests, or follow food trails through agricultural heartlands and wine growing regions.
Some of the many destinations and activities on offer in NSW include:
Blue Mountains – Just 90 minutes from Sydney by car, the Blue Mountains are a treasure trove of world heritage trails and natural attractions in winter. Bushwalks, mountain-bike trails, historic villages and botanical wonders await. Visit The Three Sisters at Echo Point in Katoomba and take in views over deep valleys created over millions of years. Venture further and discover nearby wonders, including the Jenolan Caves, a labyrinth of stalactite-lined limestone caves.
Snowy Mountains – For mountains you can ski on, head to the Snowy Mountains, one of Australia’s most picturesque destinations with alpine vistas, lakes and forests and a collection of small towns. NSW’s snow resorts – Perisher, Thredbo and Charlotte Pass – are all located within Kosciuszko National Park, with skiing, snowboarding and snows sports on offer to suit all levels of experience.
NSW Food and Wine Trails – Central NSW is an agricultural region and home to three designated wine regions around Orange, Mudgee and Cowra. Enjoy a different taste of country life in the vibrant city of Bathurst, Australia’s oldest inland European settlement. Adventurous foodies can follow food and wine trails, with delicious experiences in bountiful agricultural regions including wine tasting at cellar doors. Browse local fresh produce at farmers markets and farm gates or tuck into meals in heritage pubs.
Country New South Wales – Discover the heritage and tastes of Country NSW, from world heritage wilderness, national parks and outdoor adventures, to wine regions and historic towns that shaped Australia. Ride a paddle-steamer on the Murray River, meet exotic animals at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, visit the famous CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope, or explore 430 million-year-old caves.
Outback NSW – Winter is prime time for a holiday even further inland in Outback NSW, with cool nights, warm, sunny days and wide-open spaces offering breathtaking panoramas, historic colonial towns, rich indigenous culture and world-heritage national parks. Discover wonders from Aboriginal rock art to historic paddleboat towns or camp under the stars.
South of Sydney – Discover fine regional dining and local wineries, the old-world charm of historic villages, golf courses, parks and gardens and national parks in the Southern Highlands. Head to the South Coast for more food and wine, savour freshly shucked oysters on Australia’s Oyster Coast, stroll along beaches with some of the whitest sand in the world and see kangaroos in the wild. For a taste of adventure, try water sports, cycling and bushwalking and tours to see dolphins, whales, fur seals and little penguins.
North of Sydney – Just north of Sydney, explore the playground of the Central Coast. Beautiful beaches and waterways, national parks and hinterland make it a haven for outdoor adventures, from hiking and horse riding to mountain biking. The area is home to wonderful wildlife, with a Pelican Feeding held on The Entrance waterfront each day. The Hunter Valley is renowned for its fine wines, local produce and quality dining, and offers an array of activities, from early-morning hot-air balloon flights to championship golf courses. Newcastle is a thriving coastal city that combines a rich cultural and natural heritage with beaches and Port Stephens is an aquatic wonderland, offering bay and ocean beaches, playful dolphins, and whale watching tours throughout Winter. Discover uncrowded beaches, rivers and lakes, world heritage rainforest and dramatic volcanic hinterland on the North Coast. The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia are a world heritage jewel, home to the most extensive areas of subtropical rainforest in the world.
Lord Howe Island – Leave the mainland to explore the world’s most southerly coral reefs, giant rock pools and exotic migratory birds as you hike, snorkel, dive, cycle or just chill out at scenic Lord Howe Island. Only 400 visitors are allowed on the island at any one time to experience the unique natural attractions of this UNESCO World Heritage paradise – less than a two-hour flight from Sydney.