Sydney is one of the most vibrant and exciting cities on earth. Its sparkling harbour, dazzling beaches, beach culture and sunny Mediterranean-style climate are matched by an array of world-class museums and art galleries, a 24-hour nightlife, relaxed lifestyle and rich architectural heritage.
Less than a two hour drive from Sydney lies the World-Heritage-listed Blue Mountains, perfect for walking, camping and canyoning on a short break. South from Sydney, starting at the Grand Pacific Drive, enjoy the beaches and small towns of the South Coast.
Heading north, on the Legendary Pacific Coast, discover stunning beaches, national parks and the world-famous Byron Bay. Off the north coast, explore one of the state’s most spectacular World Heritage-listed sites, Lord Howe Island, a pristine patch of paradise with secluded beaches and palm forests.
Surrounded by hundreds of kilometres of shoreline, national parks and historic sites, the sparkling waters of Sydney Harbour are synonymous with the NSW capital city. Alive with the movement of ferries, yachts and kayaks.
Experience the beauty of the harbour on an iconic Sydney ferry. Passing by some of the harbour’s famed landmarks, including the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, a ferry ride offers plenty of scenic vantage points. Follow the Manly, Watsons Bay or Taronga Zoo ferry routes to enjoy panoramic harbour views.
During Vivid Sydney admire some of the city’s popular waterside icons illuminated at night. On New Year’s Eve enjoy a mesmerising fireworks display over the harbour.
- Swim at harbour beaches such as Neilsen Park or Balmoral
- Enjoy a relaxing lunch or dinner cruising Sydney Harbour with Captain Cook Cruises, Sydney Showboats or Magistic Cruises
- Sail with Eastsail or cruise with Sensational Sydney for exceptional experiences
- Walk the trails around Sydney’s coastline including Royal Botanic Gardens to Mrs Macquaries Chair; Manly to Spit Bridge; Bondi to Bronte coastal walk
Sydney’s famous harbour provides a dramatic backdrop for the city’s icons, the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Sydney Harbour is a natural playground for Sydneysiders and visitors who enjoy sailing and cruising, swimming at harbour beaches, walking the foreshore and picnicking on the many islands. Sydney Harbour is constantly alive with the movement of ferries, yachts and kayaks.
Some of Sydney's best beaches are within 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) of the city centre. Explore the popular beaches of Bondi and Manly or go further afield to Sydney’s Northern Beaches including Freshwater and Palm Beach. At popular beachside destinations, find great waterside dining, cafés and bars, plus great shopping and a vibrant nightlife.
- Set sail and explore Sydney Harbour by boat
- Learn to surf at the famous Bondi Beach
- Enjoy a stand-up paddle boarding tour at Watsons Bay
- Discover some of Sydney’s secret beaches in secluded harbour coves
Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island is a World Heritage-listed paradise, located 660km (410 miles) off the north coast of NSW. A holiday here is relaxing and unhurried, where getting around by bike or on foot is the way to go and there are plenty of activities to take part in. The island is an idyllic location for fishing enthusiasts as well as snorkellers and scuba divers. Cast off at Blinky Beach for Australian salmon or snorkel straight off the sand at Neds Beach. Lord Howe Island's famous twin peaks, breathtaking views and natural forest make it ideal for walkers and hikers to discover the island on foot. Lord Howe is also one of Australia’s premier birdwatching destinations.
- Stay at one of the island’s premium boutique lodges with stunning ocean and mountain views. Capella Lodge and Arajilla Retreat provide a stylish and sophisticated escape.
- Observe the turtles from a glass-bottomed boat with Islander Cruises
- Discover deep sea fishing. Ball’s Pyramid is so beset by fish that it has earned the nickname ‘fisherman’s castle’.
- Snorkel or dive in the azure waters of Lord Howe Island and discover 90 types of corals and over 500 fish in the world’s southernmost coral reef
- Enjoy spectacular panoramic views across the island from the summit of Mount Gower
The South Coast is a spectacular coastline with breathtaking scenery. The crystal-clear waters, quiet beaches and stunning national parks make it an ideal place to escape. Stretching over 600km (372 miles), from the Royal National Park just south of Sydney all the way to the Sapphire Coast in the state’s south, there's plenty on offer.
- Follow the scenic Grand Pacific Drive from the Royal National Park
- Head out on a dolphin-watching tour in Jervis Bay and spot whales from May to November
- Get get up close to kangaroos in the wild at Pebbly Beach in Murramarang National Park
- Take a whale-watching tour from Merimbula and spot humpback whales, penguins, Australian fur seals, sea birds and more
- See kangaroos at South Durras and throughout Murramarang National Park including Pebbly Beach
- View fur seals in the wild at Montague Island, just off the coast of Narooma
- Try oysters from the Sapphire Coast, an exquisite blend of creaminess, sweetness and saltiness, available from Bermagui, Tathra and onto Pambula
- Take a whale-watching tour from Eden and hear the whales singing through the onboard hydrophone
Visit the scenic North Coast and discover a hinterland of lush river valleys and a coastline of sparkling beaches. Byron Bay is a melting pot of surf culture, alternative philosophies, food, wine and indulgence. The laid-back towns of Brunswick Heads plus the arts-loving villages of Bangalow and Mullumbimby, combine the casual vibe of coastal retreats with a touch of style.
- Learn to surf at Byron’s renowned beaches with Mojo Surf or Lets Go Surfing
- Be one of the first to see the sunrise at Australia’s most easterly point on the Cape Byron Lighthouse Walk
- The Cape Bay Marine Park is home to wild bottlenose dolphins, humpback whales and sea turtles. For an opportunity to see the marine life, jump on a kayaking tour with Go Sea Kayak Byron Bay or Cape Byron Kayaks.
Legendary Pacific Coast
Heading north from Sydney along the Legendary Pacific Coast Drive, this scenic route takes in some of the most striking landscapes in Australia. Stretching 950 kilometres (590 miles) along an almost continuous line of surf beaches, national parks, plus the hinterland of rolling green hills and friendly villages make this a great drive. Discover golden sand dunes, majestic waterfalls, lush river valleys and incredible local produce.
- Go quad-biking or sand-boarding on epic sand dunes in Port Stephens
- Visit the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie
- Scuba dive at the Solitary Islands Marine Park, off the coast of Coffs Harbour.
- Enjoy an eco-cruise or kayak tour on the beautiful Brunswick River, home to resident ospreys, sea eagles and rainforest birds.
- Sydney Opera House
- Sydney Harbour Bridge
- Manly, Watsons Bay, Taronga Zoo
- Vivid Sydney
- Captain Cook Cruises, Sydney Showboats and Magistics Cruises
- Eastsail and Sensational Sydney
- Royal Botanic Gardens
Lord Howe Island
- White Sands Walk, Greenfield Beach to Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay
- Dolphin Watch Cruises and Jervis Bay Wild, Jervis Bay
- Paperbark Camp, Jervis Bay
- Murramarang National Park, including Pebbly Beach
- Montague Island, off the coast of Narooma
- Byron Bay
- Cape Byron Kayaks and Go Sea Kayak
- Cape Byron Lighthouse
- Lets Go Surfing Byron Bay
- The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa and Elements of Byron Resort & Spa
Legendary Pacific Coast