The iconic NSW locations that will make you feel small
From the Three Sisters to the Kiama Blowhole, nature’s big-ticket attractions in NSW are guaranteed to bring a sense of awe back into your life.
Nothing puts the world into perspective like standing in front of something enormous. Gaze in wonder at towering cliffs, at sky-high jets of water or at mountainous sand dunes and you realise just how extraordinary the world, and nature, can be.
Explore and be amazed by these seven NSW natural landmarks that will make you feel tiny in comparison.
Where: Blue Mountains
These three gigantic pillars of rock near Echo Point in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney are truly amazing. They stand sentinel on a rugged finger of land, imposing and beautiful. However, the other attraction here is the backdrop, the seemingly endless expanse of mountains, eucalypt forests and clifftops that blend into the horizon far off in the distance. It’s easy to see why this location has inspired myth and legend since the Gundungurra and Darug people first inhabited the area.
Where: South Coast
The largest blowhole in the world. That’s an impressive record, and one that’s impossible to truly appreciate until you visit the Kiama Blowhole (located in the coastal town of Kiama, a 2hr drive south of Sydney) and see it for yourself. When the swell is running from the south-east, water is forced through a 2.5m opening in the rock, resulting in a tower of spray some 30m high. This is the awesome power of nature at its mighty best.
Walls of China
Where: Mungo National Park
Need a dose of awesome in your life? Then consider making the trek to Mungo National Park in the state’s far west (about 875km from Sydney) to see the other-worldly Walls of China. The “walls” are towering sandstone and clay dunes riven with channels and ripples carved over thousands of years by the wind. They’re an incredible, almost alien sight in an already amazing place, and they’ll make you feel so wonderfully tiny in comparison.
Sailing Sydney Harbour
Here’s another record-holder: Sydney Harbour, the largest natural harbour in the world. And it truly is a gorgeous and breathtaking expanse, 55 sq km of water surrounded by beaches, national parks and some of the world’s most desirable real estate. The best way to appreciate its grandeur is by boat. Take a catered cruise, ride on a majestic tall ship, jump in a jetboat, or hire a yacht and a skipper.
Where: Central Tablelands
The vastness of the Jenolan Caves system, just west of the Blue Mountains, is difficult to overstate. There are 40km of underground warrens here, the limestone caves formed over millennia. To visit the caves is to be amazed by what lies beneath: huge open areas where stalactites drip from the ceiling and limestone formations, carved by ancient rivers, abound. This isn’t a church, but most visitors are still stunned into silence by the grandeur.
Stockton Bight Sand Dunes
Where: Central Coast
Picture a block of apartments, 10 storeys tall. Now consider this: the sand dunes at Stockton Bight, on the Worimi Conservation Lands near Port Stephens on the state’s Central Coast, are about the same height. Standing in front of these huge mountains of sand is enough to make anyone feel tiny. The dunes are also an adventure lover's playground, with opportunities for 4WD trips, as well as cultural journeys with local Indigenous owners.
The Australian bush has so many amazing colours in its palette: but have you ever seen a huge field of bright yellow that stretches to the horizon? You can experience these seemingly endless golden swathes on the Hilltops Canola Trail in the state’s west, about a 4hr drive west of Sydney. In spring, the usually verdant hills explode into a buttery blanket of yellow as the canola fields flower. Bloomin’ magnificent.