Sydney - Blue Mountains - Hunter Valley - Jervis Bay
There is so much to do in New South Wales. You could easily spend seven days in Sydney alone, but you can squeeze many of the city’s highlights into a two-day-stay, leaving time to explore the regions surrounding the city.
At a glance
After breakfast head down to Circular Quay
to see the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. Join a tour of Sydney Opera House, or simply walk around the outside.
Next, stroll across to The Rocks area, the site of European settlement. Here you will find cobbled stone streets home to heritage architecture, historic pubs, wine bars, restaurants and shops.
From The Rocks it is a short walk to Sydney Harbour Bridge. For unforgettable views, climb the bridge with BridgeClimb.
Afterwards, head back to Circular Quay for a cruise on Sydney’s harbour. There are lots of options from afternoon tea cruises to sailing on a yacht, whale watching or jet boats!
Following your cruise take a walk in the nearby Royal Botanic Gardens. You might then want to pop into the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Finish your day taking in 360 degree views from Sydney Tower, the tallest building in Sydney.
Spend the morning in Darling Harbour, Sydney’s main entertainment precinct. There are plenty of bars and restaurants and lots of major attractions.
Among these is SEA Sydney Aquarium. Highlights include the stunning Great Barrier Reef exhibit, its new dugong habitat, and an underwater walkway through an enormous tank full of sharks and rays. You can even feed the sharks from a glass bottom boat.
Next door to the Aquarium you can see Australian animals at WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, get up close to your favourite celebrity at Madame Tussauds or clamber over real ships and a submarine at the nearby Australian National Maritime Museum.
In the afternoon you could check out the animals at Taronga Zoo or make your way to one of Sydney’s many golden beaches. The most famous is Bondi Beach, but Manly Beach – reached by ferry – should be high on a must-do list too. You can learn to surf at both beaches.
Today it’s time to head to the hills. The World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains are less than two hours from Sydney. You can get there by train and join a tour, take a tour from Sydney, or self-drive.
On the way, you could stop off to see the kangaroos and other animals at Featherdale Wildlife Park.
In the Blue Mountains you can ride the world’s steepest incline railway and enjoy spectacular rainforest views from a cable car at Scenic World. There are lots of incredible bushwalks, majestic waterfalls, and the sandstone escarpments and canyons are awesome.
Stay the night if you wish to extend your trip, and immerse yourself in the amazing wilderness again the next day.
Depart Sydney and head north to the Hunter Valley wine country, Australia’s oldest wine growing region. Join a wine tasting master class; or sample a broad selection of wines at one or more of the 150 cellar doors. There are plenty of great restaurants, romantic retreats, golf courses, breweries, galleries, and producers selling handmade cheese and olive oil.
Visit the internationally-acclaimed Wyndham Estate, one of Australia's oldest vineyards, which hosts Opera in the Vineyards each year or see original wine making equipment on display at the historic 1866 Audrey Wilkinson winery.
You can roam around the beautiful countryside on hired bicycles, in a horse and carriage, or even in a hot air balloon.
From the Hunter Valley make your way to Port Stephens. The pristine waters of the harbour here are home to over 140 bottlenose dolphins. You are almost guaranteed to see them on a dolphin-watch cruise. This is also a perfect place to spot whales during their annual migration too.
Try sandboarding at the Worimi Conservation Lands, Stockton Sand Dunes the largest moving dunes in the Southern Hemisphere or explore the many waterways in the area. With 26 golden beaches, a bay twice the size of Sydney Harbour, two rivers and two lake systems there are a wide variety of water sports available including diving, kayaking, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Parasailing and surfing.
If you want to see koalas in the wild then Port Stephen’s Tilligerry Habitat State Reserve offers a good opportunity.
Return to Sydney to overnight.
Drive south from Sydney via the Royal National Park on the Grand Pacific Drive. A focal point of the trip is the dramatic 665-metre (2,181-foot) Sea Cliff Bridge.
From here, the unspoilt natural beauty of the southern coastline of New South Wales unfolds in a series of bays, harbours, beaches and small townships.
Arrive Jervis Bay and visit Aboriginal-managed Booderee National Park. The park is known for its kangaroos and other wildlife, fascinating bushwalks, sparkling water, and pristine beaches. Be sure to visit nearby Hyams Beach, which has some of the world’s whitest sand.
You can go on a dolphin spotting cruise from Huskisson, or take an adventurous dive among underwater arches, caves and rock stacks.
Camp among the kangaroos overnight, or stay in a local hotel.
You might want to keep heading south along the coastal route all the way to Melbourne or beyond - or you can slowly head back to Sydney. This time head inland, and call into the Southern Highlands. This gorgeous rural area offers quaint towns, historic pubs and hotels, orchards and wineries, antiques, Devonshire teas, and a gentrified way of existence.
Cricket fans be sure to stop in at International Cricket Hall of Fame in Bowral where you will also find the Sir Donald Bradman Museum.
If continuing along the South Coast to Melbourne allow 3-4 days as there are many sights to see along the way.