Skiing, seaside and sky-high flat whites – a journey to Sydney and beyond
Home to the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge plus the Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, the state of New South Wales has a lot more to offer, if you know where to look.
Our travel specialists have put together their highlights and our team in Melbourne will happily provide you with insider knowledge and round-the-clock assistance during your stay.
Sydney is wonderful but if you venture out of the city, you can find lush landscapes you may have never imagined possible in Australia.
Around an hour and a half’s drive west will bring you to the Blue Mountains National Park, a region peppered with waterfalls, forests, idyllic villages and the famed Three Sisters rock formation. It would be easy to while away the day admiring the views but there are other activities too including glow worm tours, horse riding and abseiling.
For those with a penchant for Australian wine, a trip to Hunter Valley will provide the chance to drink in impressive scenery and the fruit of the vine. We recommend joining one of the many tours that depart from Sydney, so you can enjoy a tipple without worrying about driving back.
Lastly, snow may not be the first thing that springs to mind when thinking of a holiday Down Under, but the Kosciuszko National Park – close to the state’s border with Victoria – has an Alpine climate meaning skiing, snowboarding and other winter sports are a possibility. We recommend the resorts of Perisher and Thredbo, with snow season typically beginning in June.
For many visitors, an Australian adventure wouldn’t be complete without some time spent on one of its glorious beaches and with a coastline lapped by the South Pacific Ocean, this eastern state has plenty of options for sun- and surf-seekers.
Bondi Beach is one of the country’s most famous and a lunch at Bondi Icebergs Club means panoramic views over the coast and dishes such as fresh Shark Bay prawns or the plentiful seafood platter for two.
However, our favourite Sydney beach has to be Manly, to the north, which is reached by bus or boat. This two-and-a-half-mile pine-tree-lined beach is next to a friendly town that features plenty of shops along the Corso, restaurants and bars, a surfing school, a nature reserve and a sea life sanctuary.
If you have time to play with, a drive along the Central Coast, up to Coffs Harbour and on to Byron Bay is not to be missed. Dotted with seaside towns, hiking trails, nature reserves, waterside cafés and of course, plenty of surfing opportunities, this route has something for everyone, including whale-watching in Port Stephens.
You could easily lose yourself in Sydney for a week or two but if you’re trying to see the best of it on a short city break, start at Circular Quay, where you can see the Harbour Bridge and visit the Opera House – we highly recommend joining one of the informative tours to learn as much as possible about this imposing building.
From there you can board a ferry across the harbour to Taronga Zoo or if it’s a spot of retail therapy that you’re looking for, head over to The Rocks market beneath the gaze of the bridge. Alternatively, walk south along Pitt Street to the Queen Victoria Building and Westfield Shopping Centre, where you can also rise over the city at the Sydney Tower Eye, to enjoy a coffee hundreds of metres above ground level.
Our travel specialist Nigel Goddard advises: ‘If you want to see the best of the city skyline, I’d recommend the two-and-a-half-hour harbour cruise.’
We are partnered with flight operators including British Airways, meaning we are able to secure preferential rates on fares and they are often cheaper than on the airline’s website.
Where to stay
We are partnered with five hotels in New South Wales including Four Seasons Hotel Sydney, Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley near the Blue Mountains and The Byron at Byron Bay Resort and Spa.
You will receive a range of exclusive benefits when booking through us including complimentary breakfast, a room upgrade*, resort credit and early check-in and late check-out*.
Our lifestyle writer Erin Spurling stayed at the Four Seasons earlier this year and says: ‘The Circular Quay location is incredible, the breakfast was fantastic and waking up to a view of the Opera House was very special.’
Pictured: Sydney Harbour