NSW destinations that suit your travel persona
No matter how you prefer to spend your time, there’s a holiday to please every personality in New South Wales.
Not everyone likes the same kind of holiday. Some of us want to dive into the deep blue yonder, others just want to order a second dessert. Some are partial to a three-day literary festival, others just want to read an airport bestseller in the sun.
No matter what your travel personality, NSW has something to make you feel at home.
If you’re a wellness warrior...
Need to slow down? All across the state there are retreats, spas and sanctuaries to help you rest and rejuvenate. Start slow at the octagon-shaped, UV-filtered Blu Room in Orange, or sign up for a weekend (or week-long) break at Billabong Retreat on the outskirts of Sydney.
Those wanting to stretch their soul can stay a little longer on a week-long yoga and meditation camp with Awaken Meditation Retreat in Byron Bay, or, if you lean more towards spa than spartan, Gaia Retreat and Spa in the Ballina hinterland offers an intensive luxury experience, while Elysia Wellness Retreat in the Hunter Valley can help you slow down.
If you’re an adrenaline junkie...
More tempted to put your foot down than slow down when you’re away? There are plenty of ways to get your blood pumping across the state. Jump on a quad bike and roar across the Worimi Conservation Lands. Home to the Stockton Bight sand dunes, the area is an ever-shifting sandy obstacle course of 30m-high dunes and 60-degree drops.
If you prefer a little horse power, gallop across the alpine meadows on a horseback tour through the Snowy Mountains wilderness. When the snow melts, ride the ski trails downhill on the Cannonball mountain bike trail in Thredbo.
And, if you really want to test your boundaries, take a combined abseiling and canyoning tour through the gullies and canyons around the Blue Mountains with Blue Mountains Adventure Company.
If you’re an art-lover...
Sydney is spoiled for world-class museums and galleries, but if you’re in need of a little inspiration, you can visit the homes and studios of some of the state’s most influential artists to gain an understanding of their creative processes.
Within walking distance of the city, Brett Whiteley Studio sits unmarked in a small back lane in Surry Hills, and was home to one of Australia’s most celebrated modern artists. In Murwillumbah the Far North Coast, the Tweed Regional Art Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre has faithfully re-created the renowned artist’s eclectic home studio in Sydney’s Paddington, complete with furniture, sculptures and artwork.
In the Blue Mountains, you can visit the Norman Lindsay Gallery, while in Sydney’s north, you can make a pilgrimage to Nutcote, the home and museum of children’s author May Gibbs.
If you’re a water baby...
With 2,100km of coastline, New South Wales has a little something for everyone who loves the life aquatic. Surf spots such as Angourie, near Yamba, and Wategos Beach and The Pass in Byron Bay are legendary throughout the surfing world with long consistent rides and the occasional dolphin dropping in.
Get up close with Dolphin Swim Australia, which runs tours off the coast of Port Stephens on the mid-North Coast. The tours are non-intrusive: humans hang onto a rope strung across a catamaran, and once the boat picks up speed, the ever-curious dolphins bow-surf alongside us mere mortals. Sound a little too hectic? Down south at Montague Island, you can adopt a slower pace and snorkel with seals from the local fur seal colony.
Fancy a more sedate submersion? There are more than 100 ocean pools carved into the cliff ledges and rock reefs along the coast, from the Bogey Hole at Bronte Beach in Sydney to the Blue Pool at Bermagui.
If you’re a gourmand...
NSW is a feast for foodies: there’s the cool-climate wine-growing regions around Mudgee and Orange, Australia’s first wine region in the historic Hunter Valley, the oysters of the Sapphire Coast and the rich produce grown from the volcanic soil of The Tweed.
However, complementing the award-winning coastal fisheries and farmers markets is some of the country’s best global food tastes – if you know where to look. Local not-for-profit Taste Tours offers migrant-led tours of some of the best-hidden foodie haunts in the suburbs of Sydney, from rice-paper rolls made in family-run Vietnamese restaurants in Cabramatta to a Persian breakfast in Merrylands and the best dumplings in Chinatown.
If you’re a grand adventurer...
There are road trips, and then there are road trips to the heart of the country. If you feel at home behind the wheel, there are plenty of places across New South Wales to make tracks, from cruising the Pacific Coast to the Darling River Run (which journeys from Walgett to Mildura), while the Mighty Murray River Drive travels along the Murray River from Albury to Wentworth.
Want to get a feel for the history of the land? Take a look at The Long Paddock trail, which runs from the border town of Echuca Moama on the Murray River to the Outback NSW town of Wilcannia.
The route follows historic stock routes and the old Cobb Highway past salt plains and abandoned Cobb & Co staging stations – on a network of occasionally unsealed roads as it winds north – passing through country towns that offer the type of welcome you won’t find anywhere but in the outback.