With so much to experience in a state as big as New South Wales, you're not going to see all the major attractions in one hit, so you must prioritize. If you have just a few days to spare, you should certainly head out to the Blue Mountains, part of the Great Dividing Range that separates the lush eastern coastal strip from the more arid interior. Although these mountains are more like hills, they are spectacular, with tall eucalyptus trees, deep river valleys, waterfalls, and craggy cliffs. Or spend a day in the vineyards of the lower Hunter (the Hunter Valley). If you have a few more days, I recommend heading to Barrington Tops National Park, north of the Hunter, for the rainforest and native animals, or down to the pristine beaches of Jervis Bay for gorgeous scenery and great bushwalks.
For longer trips, you can head north toward the Queensland border on the 964km (598-mile) route to Brisbane. You'll pass pretty seaside towns, deserted beaches, and tropical hinterland. Another option is to travel along the south coast 1,032km (640 miles) to Melbourne. Along the way are some of the country's most spectacular beaches, quaint hamlets, opportunities to spot dolphins and whales, and extensive national parks. If you want to experience the Outback, then head west across the Blue Mountains. You are sure to see plenty of kangaroos, emus, reptiles, and giant wedge-tailed eagles. The main Outback destination is the extraordinary opal-mining town of Lightning Ridge, where you can meet some of the most eccentric "fair-dinkum" (authentic or genuine) Aussies you'll come across anywhere.
updates from our travel team
Sydney: style city
Brunsdon model in cat's eye glasses by Renate Ruge
To celebrate this year’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, we go backstage with top Australian designer Jayson Brunsdon to get his pick of spring summer 2012/2013 trends, the meaning of ‘Sydney style’ and his tips on the best places to shop in town.
Fabulous fashion labels Zimmermann, Lisa Ho, Ellery, Kirrily Johnston, Bec and Bridge and Romance Was Born paraded at... Read More
Best of Bondi
As new bars and eateries pop up, Bondi continues to hold its own in the cool stakes. Here are some of the best reasons to visit Sydney’s iconic beach. By Renate Ruge
Sydney’s beautiful people jog along the cliff walk from Bondi to Tamarama, enjoying gorgeous ocean views all year round. The surf crashes in as the Bondi Rescue surf lifesavers keep an eye on things and the natural pool at the north end provides sanctuary for swimmers from the big... Read More
Sydney day trip: lunch at Watson’s Bay
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Dunbar House at Watson's Bay by Renate Ruge
Fly across the harbour on the fast ferry with the wind in your hair on a trip to one of Sydney’s prettiest spots – Watson’s Bay. By Renate Ruge
Allow yourself a good half to a whole day for a trip here. Watson’s Bay is found on the southern head of the entrance to Sydney Harbour. To the east is the Tasman Sea and to the west is the Harbour with a glorious view of the city of Sydney in the distance. Yachts... Read More