Arts, culture and heritage
There are many cultural attractions well worth visiting around NSW including smaller private museums in historic towns with relics of earlier times. You'll also find beautiful galleries showcasing the work of local artists, photographers, and crafts from candles to clayworks and woodturning. Aboriginal cultural experiences include specialist tours and art galleries
NSW galleries and museums, Aboriginal art, modern art, art tours
Many local communities around NSW enjoy a well-earned reputation for colourfully celebrating their history through dynamic arts and cultural events, museums and galleries. And while Sydney may play host to some of NSW’s more well-known museums, galleries and theatres, there is no shortage of fascinating and diverse exhibitions, productions and stories to discover in the townships and villages across the state.
The best place to connect with the people and places signifigant to NSW's past and present is at one of the state's historic sites, such as the Old Dubbo Gaol, the Port of Echuca or Cowra’s Prisoner of War Camp Site.
You can also follow self-guided heritage trails through historic town centres or explore areas once inhabited by Aboriginal Australians, early European settlers and convicts. Set out along the Gold Trails to discover some of the state’s original gold mining towns, make your way along the Orange Heritage Trail to enjoy fine heritage buildings or walk in the footsteps of famed explorers along the Hume and Hovell Walking Track.
For a fascinating snapshot of Australia’s pre-historic landscape, head to the Age of Fishes Museum at Canowindra or the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum at Bathurst to discover remnants of ancient creatures and other natural treasures. For those traveling south, it is also well worth spending time exploring the Sapphire Coast’s Eden Killer Whale Museum.
As a home to diverse landscapes, NSW has become a popular destination for both local and international filmmakers. A mix of cult classics and box office hits, such as Australia, Nick Cave’s The Proposition, Dirty Deeds and Jindabyne, all feature sections filmed at destinations across the state. There is also no shortage of boutique and public galleries across NSW.
Enjoy the works of prominent Australian artists housed in permanent and travelling collections or the ceramics, jewellery, pottery and fine art pieces produced by the state’s skilled artisans. See exquisite works on show at regional galleries such as Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery, Wollongong Art Gallery and Newcastle Art Gallery.
After a day exploring some of the state’s great attractions, put your feet up and relax at one of NSW’s many spas and wellbeing retreats. Presenting a variety of treatments to soothe the body and soul, from massages to reiki healing, there are plenty of ways in which to feel truly pampered.
Encounter diverse collections in galleries such as the Orange Regional Gallery, the Bathurst Regional Art Gallery and the Goulburn Regional Art Gallery. Head to the state’s boutique galleries to find a variety of pieces handcrafted by local artisans. Stop by Laddie Timbery Aboriginal Art and Crafts and other Indigenous galleries to see Aboriginal art.
Visit museums and heritage sites scattered throughout NSW to discover the history of the state. Learn about former inmates and prison life during a tour of the Old Dubbo Gaol. See historic aircraft at the Temora Aviation Museum or wander through exhibitions of model ships and relics from Australia’s naval history at Ballina Naval and Maritime Museum.
Relax and unwind at one of NSW’s many spas and retreats. Enjoy a weekend nestled within lush subtropical hinterland at Ballina’s Gaia Retreat and Spa. Savour panoramic views of the Blue Mountains National Park from Lilianfels Resort and Spa or feel pampered with body wraps, scrubs, facials and aromatherapy during a visit to Chalet Swisse Spa Retreat.