Solo travel experiences in NSW
Sometimes, you can be your own best travel companion. Solo travel is on the rise – especially among women – as more adventurous singles head off to explore the world on their own terms.
Whether you’re looking to escape your everyday routine, push your boundaries or seek out a new community, solo travel can be a truly transformative experience. And though it may feel daunting to head out alone, it can give you the opportunity to pause, reflect and learn something new about yourself along the way.
In NSW, discover art trails, cooking schools, self-guided cycles, wellness retreats and more, all perfect for a party of one. Some are geared specifically towards women but most are open to everyone. Join one of the guided tours or workshops if you’d like to meet like-minded explorers or set out on an independent journey for a true solo adventure.
Free your creativity
Inspiration is all around you in NSW: inside museums and galleries, splashed across the streets or cultivated in creative communities. The Sydney Culture Trails are four new self-guided routes that take in the city’s cultural heavyweights as well as smaller local galleries and significant historical sites. On The Rocks trail, pause at the Ngangamay multimedia experience that tells stories of the world’s oldest culture just a stone’s throw from the glittering modern towers of Barangaroo. This powerful juxtaposition shows how Sydney’s connections to culture run deep. Solo travellers will appreciate the chance to spend time in quiet contemplation at the Museum of Contemporary Art or Art Gallery of NSW; inside their grand halls you’ll feel at once cocooned from the world and immersed in global conversations.
Newtown-based tour company Local Sauce has created the Yeah The Girls self-guided street art walk focused on female artists and pieces that celebrate women. It starts at Redfern station and the first piece you’ll pass is the Skippy Girls series by local artist Rose Strachen – it encourages you to create and choose joy, a fitting sentiment for a solo traveller in search of something new.
Grab a paintbrush and immerse yourself in some of NSW’s thriving arts communities. Kiama Art Workshops are run by local artists with classes in different disciplines, ranging from oil painting and watercolours to raffia baskets, silver jewellery and Japanese shibori fabrics. Spend a weekend focusing on yourself, nurturing your creativity and connecting with people in beautiful Port Macquarie at . The program includes mindfulness, yoga and multiple art projects in pottery, ceramic, macrame, watercolour and more over two days.
Connect with produce & people
Food has always been a way to connect with people and with a community. And even as a solo traveller, it’s an experience best shared. Country Food Trails introduces you to the passionate people behind Orange’s gourmet scene, going onto working farms, through charming villages and into a rich Indigenous food culture. Discover the multicultural delicacies hiding in suburban Sydney with Taste Cultural Food Tours. Join a local guide who will take you to the places you won’t find in a guidebook, from Korean bibimbap in Eastwood to Balkan pastries in Liverpool.
If you’re looking to learn new skills and understand more about a region’s food culture, cooking classes are a great option. Wagga’s Food I Am cooking school runs regular classes in a whole world of cuisines, all using the best fresh produce from the surrounding region. You’ll also be able to share a meal and a drink with your fellow chefs after class, building on the new bonds forged over a chopping board. It’s all about hands on learning at Broadwater Oysters too. Set on the shore of Pambula Lake in the heart of Australia’s Oyster Coast, the 30min Shuck School classes will teach you the basics so you can prep and eat your own Sydney Rocks straight from the water.
Be inspired by nature
It can be daunting to set off into the wilderness alone, so let an expert guide show you the way. In the Blue Mountains, run a range of tours suitable for solo travellers, from the two-hour Wilderness Walk that covers the highlights of this World Heritage wonder, to the indulgent Wine in the Wilderness 4WD experience. The elusive platypus is one of the trickiest animals to spot in the wild, but the guides from near Byron Bay know just where to look. Head out at dawn for an easy 90min walk along a creek in search of these rare monotremes.
The majesty of the Snowy Mountains or the spectacular colours of spring flowers are experiences best shared. Join a small group tour with Gang Gang Tours and you’ll travel with a group of like-minded people and have all the details taken care of, from accommodation and meals to exclusive experiences, like a private guided tour of Mayfield Garden in Oberon and the chance to chat with the owner of Red Cow Farm in Sutton Forest.
If you prefer to go it alone, explore the South Coast on two (electric) wheels with a self-guided tour from Southbound Escapes. This is an opportunity to set your own pace, linger where you want to and embrace the freedom of having to answer to no one. Set out for a few hours or a few days along stunning coastal and hinterland trails, following your own sense of curiosity to oyster farms, wineries and wilderness areas.
Go in search of adventure
There’s something inspiring about connecting with other women in the great outdoors. It's a chance to challenge yourself in a supportive environment. Surfer Brenda Miley is passionate about getting women into the ocean and onto a wave, and started the Lets Go Surfing school from the back of a kombi almost 20 years ago. Today, you can sign up for a lesson or multi-week course in Sydney or Byron Bay/Ballina and see what makes this experience so powerful. If you’d prefer to push yourself on the snow, Thredbo’s takes you off piste with an expert female guide and a group of adventurous women.
Abseil down 30m-high waterfalls, explore ancient twisting caverns and drop into tumbling rivers on an exhilarating Blue Mountains adventure with High and Wild Australian Adventures. You’ll quickly form a bond with your fellow adventurers and many of the groups like to swap stories over a drink back in Katoomba.
Cycling is one of the best ways for solo travellers to combine physical activity with spectacular sightseeing. You’ll get a new perspective on an iconic city on a Sydney Harbour Bike Tours. Pedal your e-bike around the harbour foreshore and underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge, or cycle past the waterfront mansions of Rose Bay and Double Bay.
For something more adventurous, book a hire package with Blue Mountains Bikes. You’ll get all the gear and a map of the best mountain bike trails, plus they’ll deliver the bike to you for the start of the ride. If you’re a novice, book a private beginner-friendly tour, where you’ll be taught the basics and guided through a trail with stunning outlooks, ancient eucalyptus trees and maybe even a kangaroo sighting.
Focus on your wellbeing
A solo trip is the perfect time to press the reset button. It can be hard to prioritise yourself and your wellbeing amid the chaos of the everyday, but an individual adventure gives you the chance to focus on what’s really important. Experience Australia’s highest yoga class, mountain-top meditation and icy alpine water immersion on a three-day over summer at Thredbo Resort. The retreats are geared towards single travellers and promise to nourish both body and mind. Feel empowered and inspired on a workshop in Port Macquarie, combining the transformative power of surfing and yoga. You’ll be able to ‘fill your cup’ through connection with people and with nature.
Two of Australia’s top wellness retreats sit just on the edge of the Royal National Park, south of Sydney. The Sanctuary runs dedicated women’s wellness retreats every two months, with shared accommodation that encourages close connections with other guests. If you prefer more privacy, Heart & Soul is an authentic yogic ashram with individual rooms. Both retreats run programs of yoga, meditation, spa treatments and excursions into nature.