A selection of the state's most dramatic terrain
New South Wales is home to more than 800 national parks and reserves, ranging in landscape beauty from lush green rainforest to rugged mountainous bush terrain and dusty deserts. For one of Australia’s smaller states, these national parks take up an impressively large amount of space, so in order to get the most out of these precious and unspoilt pieces of land, take time out and explore a range of New South Wales’ National Parks, engaging and exploring in a diverse selection of Australia’s environment.
Where are some national parks in New South Wales?
To name a few, the Blue Mountains
National Park offers an area of world famous scenery, wildlife and heritage walking tracks. Home of the iconic Three Sisters
, this park is located in Blackheath, 45 minutes from the Sydney city and includes camping and picnic areas. Closely situated is Royal National Park
in Sydney. Australia’s oldest national park, this natural piece of heaven is located in Audrey and spans a massive 15,080 hectares abloom with open woodlands, rainforest and estuarine systems.
Dorrigo National Park
in the state’s north is largely comprised of a spectacular rainforest, complete with skywalk where you can wander over the top of the canopy. This National Park has a number of walking tracks that take you underneath the waterfalls and through glades where you can explore the unique environment and take a walk with the wildlife.
Mungo National Park
is home to the world’s oldest known ceremonial burial site, a World Heritage area situated in south western New South Wales. A significant cultural site for Aboriginals, the Mungo National Park is most famous for the archeological remains discovered there, namely that of the Mungo Man and Mungo Lady.
Hot days, loud tunes and a feeling of freedom
Any excuse is a good excuse for Australians to break free from the daily routine of working to indulge in a day full of sunglasses, singlets and festival celebrations. Music festivals have blossomed in Australia over recent years, with an assortment of genres making an appearance in the festival limelight. From folk and blues to electronic and dance, Australia has a music festival to cater for all tastes, with festival after festival taking up the spring and summertime of many young Australians.
What are some of Australia's biggest music festivals?
Parklife kick starts the festival season in September, showcasing a variety of alternative, indie and up & coming artists. It is one of the longest running and most popular festivals in Australia, starting out in 2000 as a small party in a park. October is the month for jazz, with the Manly Jazz Festival and the Hunter Valley’s Jazz in the Vines busting out the saxophones and double basses, producing some infectious beats. Stereosonic and Good Vibrations have December’s dancing tunes down pat, featuring a range of electronic, dance and rap while the New Year’s festivities continue at the Woodford Folk Festival, where tie dye is plentiful and bare feet run wild.
If these festivals don’t suit your taste, don your cowboy boots and head to Tamworth in January to the Country Music Festival for some toe tapping tunes and long, sunny days. Country music festivals are highly outweighed in Australia, but this festival is something else, making a big splash in regional NSW year after year. Whatever your music preference, a festival is a contemporary Australian event that must be experienced and regardless of your destination, you will be sure to find one close by.
Taking the nation by sea
Surrounded by water, Australia seems to be the perfect location for a cruise, whether it’s a casual boat ride down the spectacular Murray River, lazing on a deck in between island hopping on the Whitsundays or taking a longer luxury trip from Port Douglas to Port Arthur. Australia has a variety of short and long term cruises available for travellers who wish to experience quality hospitality and a scenic ocean view while catching some Australian sunshine. Many visitors choose to cruise the east coast between Sydney and Darwin, however any coastline in Australia is a spectacular site to experience on sea.
Cruises in and around Australia
The average length for an Australian cruise to run is from 10-15 nights, depending on your destination. Due to having only a few major ports in Australia, many cruises also extend to New Zealand or areas in the South Pacific. If you wish to experience Australia by boat but not stray too far from the mainland, there are a number of local cruises available nationwide, including those on rivers and interior waterways. With a rich history and wondrous natural and historical views, an Australian cruise is sure to be a memorable activity taken abroad.
Stop a while to chat with these scaly Australian icons
A snappy creature native to the tropics of Australia, the crocodile is a national icon, and next to the likes of koalas and platypuses, stand as a main attraction for visitors to Australia. A popular activity for those who wish to see the crocodile in its wild, Australia offers a range of crocodile tours. Australia has two species of crocodile; the freshwater and the saltwater, each of which are found in the hot tropics of the northern region of Australia, mainly that of Northern Queensland and the Northern Territory. With an average of about 100 crocodiles in the tour areas, you are guaranteed to see a croc lazing about or looking and leaping for its lunch.
Australia's crocodile hotspots
Darwin is Australia’s top croc destination and if you’re feeling daring, is where you have the chance to swim with the saltwater reptilians if you so choose. Allowing you to get up close and personal with crocodiles and their hatchings, a swim with the crocs may be as amazing as it is terrifying.
Cairns is also another popular crocodile destination, offering a variety of crocodile adventures where you can see the crocodiles and local Australian wildlife in their natural habitat. Further south, Australia Zoo, home of the former Australian icon and crocodile hunter Steve Irwin, offers an up close crocodile tour, where you can see crocs feeding and rising from the waters edge.
To find the best spots in Australia to smile at a crocodile, see; http://www.agfg.com.au/Blog/post/2007/07/06/Crocodiles-in-the-Northern-Territory.aspx
Serene waters combined with a mind blowing display of marine life and colour
When it comes to diving or snorkelling in Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is the first spot in mind. But with the wonder of the great reef aside, Australia’s coastlines are the home of some of the most picturesque vast and varied snorkelling hotspots. Due to its location, Australia’s marine life is a fascinating display of colours, shapes and sizes and their home is a definite sight to see.
Where are some diving & snorkelling spots in Australia?
Just as scenic as the Great Barrier Reef, the coastline of Western Australia is abundant in marine life, with refreshing aqua blue water and soft white sand beaches. Destinations such as Rottnest Island and Turquoise Bay allow you to wade into the waters, put on your snorkel and explore the underwater kingdom. Monkey Mia is the ticket if you’re looking to dive and snorkel with the dolphins and if you’re game, take a trip to Ningaloo Reef to swim with the whale shark.
South Australia also offers a chance to get up and close with marine life, where you can snorkel with giant cuttlefish, cage dive with great white sharks near Port Lincoln and somersault with the curious sea lions at Baird Bay.
For more of what the Australian coastline has to offer in the way of snorkelling and diving, see;
Find a hidden gem
Whether you want a gem or some gold, New South Wales is the destination to find it. Scattered around the state, there are many fossicking locations in New South Wales where you can try your luck at picking a stone or panning for some gold. Fossicking locations around the state are mainly situated in the New England
area, where a variety of gemstones are commonly found. A cheap, easy activity, fossicking does not require a licence, with considerable and shiny rewards
Where can I go fossicking in New South Wales?
One of the richest gem routes in Australia is that of the Fossickers Way. Situated in northern New South Wales, Fossickers Way runs from Nundle off the New England Highway through to Glen Innes
, passing through the city of Tamworth
as well as a number of rural towns along the way. Throughout your trip, be sure to pan for gold in Nundle, shovel for a stone in the Sapphire City of Inverell and fossick for a gem in Glen Innes. Warialda on the New South Wales northwest slopes is also rich in fossicking opportunity for gold, gems, opalised wood and many other semi precious gems and minerals. The Celtic Country of Glen Innes has the world’s richest mineral diversity belt and is internationally renowned for royal blue sapphires.
, White Cliffs and Wilcanna in Outback New South Wales are home to an abundance of opals and working opal fields, where you can try your luck at finding a treasure.
To fossick for opals right around Australia, click here
Try your luck at a great Australian summer activity
Don your straw hats, gum-boots and a grab a
bucket full of bait – crayfishing is a favourite summertime activity for many
Australians who wish to venture away from the likes of fish or flake to catch
something a little different. Australia
is home to three of the largest species of crayfish in the world and has become
an increasingly popular dish in Australian restaurants. Crayfishing – or
‘yabbying’ as its also known – is most commonly undertaken in the warmer
months, before they burrow to the bottom of lakes, streams or other bodies of
Where is best to go cray fishing in Australia?
Australia has no specific area in which crayfish prefer to live, although
crayfishing is a particularly popular activity undertaken in Western Australia. Additionally, the
riverside beaches of the Murray
are also a popular destination for crayfishing. These crustaceans can be caught
either by hook, line and sinker or with hoop nets which lie flat on the river
bottom. Bait is usually that of fresh meat. Crayfish meat is said by some to be
the finest crustacean for eating, with the meat having a sweet taste, not
needing additional sauces. If you wish to marvel at your catch however, yabbies
also make spectacular aquarium specimens, particularly that of the Murray cray. With strong
claws, you have to make sure a heavy lid is on tight to prevent escapees making
a scuttle for it. Furthermore, be wary that those pinchers can cut through
plastic with ease and are quite capable of removing the top of your finger, so
when they are caught, handle with care.
An adrenaline pumping adventure
Jam packed with attractions, the Gold Coast seems to have a never ending supply of entertainment, one of the reasons for its tourist popularity. Taking out the title for being the theme park capital of the southern hemisphere, the Gold Coast features some of the biggest and best worlds of adventure, attracting thousands of local and international visitors to the Queensland coast each year. All Gold Coast theme parks are open 365 days a year, where you’ll be guaranteed to get your adrenaline fix. MovieWorld, SeaWorld, Wet ‘N’ Wild, DreamWorld and Australia’s newest water park, White Water World are the separate theme parks that make up the Gold Coast’s world of adventure, and are all located in the central area of Helensvale.
What are the Gold Coast theme parks?
As the only Australian movie related theme park, MovieWorld brings Hollywood to the Gold Coast with a bang. Here, you will meet your favourite stars, experience heart stopping thrill rides such as Lethal Weapon and Wild West Falls as well as watch in wonder at the exciting new million dollar Hollywood stunt show.
SeaWorld makes a splash with its amazing marine life wonders, not only entertaining but educating visitors on the importance of Australian aquatic life and playing an active environmental role. Wet’ N’ Wild is the perfect summer’s day destination where you can laze in the wave pool or dare to jump aboard the looping waterslides.
The thrill ride hub, DreamWorld is the home of rides mild and wild to get your adrenaline pumping, with White Water World dedicated to sun, surf and sea. Each park needs at least a day to be thoroughly enjoyed, with 'superpasses' allowing you to experience the best of it all.
For more Gold Coast activities, see;
Early mornings, wild waves and a free spirit – such is the life of an Australian surfie
With all the beaches in Australia, it would be a crime to let the waves go to waste. Australia’s surfing beaches are world class, with swells coming in from the Pacific, Indian and Southern Oceans. If you are close to a coastline, then you are guaranteed to be presented with a collection of different surf schools, each offering a selection of start up surfing packages to ride the wave of experience.
Where are some of Australia’s best surfing beaches?
With over 2,000 kilometers of coastline, New South Wales has a significantly surf-able array of beaches. Sydney beaches such as Bondi, Manly and Narabeen are all famously renowned for their surfing breaks, although learning to surf may be problematic due to both congestion and localism. Beginners are welcomed at the pristine beaches of Queensland’s Noosa Heads, where former world surfing champion Merrick Davis will run lessons, guiding you through the skills and styles needed. If you’re further down, Victoria’s Great Ocean Road is home to the famous Bells Beach, with ideal beginner’s waves at Lorne, Anglesea and Fairhaven.
Well-known for its legendary breaks, Western Australia is also a great destination for a summer surfing holiday. Margaret River is the most popular destination for surfing and indisputably known as the surfing capital of Western Australia. The seaside towns of Mandurah and Rockingham are beginner’s beach havens, with consistent rolling surf perfect for your first time on board. Whatever state you find yourself in, there is guaranteed to be a swell to tackle and even if you don’t manage to jump on board, a sunbake and a day of swimming on an Aussie beach is a day well spent.
For the best beaches in Australia to catch a wave, see;
Islands within an island? Australia's full of little surprises
Within its boarders, Australia has 8222 islands and although you can’t hop around all of them, you can still do a sufficient amount of exploring by engaging in an Australian island hop. Each Australian state and territory has a range of surrounding islands just waiting to be explored, and with most of them close to the mainland, it’s all too easy to jump aboard and see what treasures these Australian islands have to offer. Aside from the well known and must see beauty of island hopping around the glorious Whitsundays, Australia has a variety of islands for tourist to get a glimpse of untouched splendour.
Where are Australia's Islands situated?
Islands surrounding New South Wales such as Green Island and Lord Howe Island are well renowned among tourists who wish to see a uniquely Australian sight and experience the wonders of the ocean by scuba diving. Similarly, Lady Elliot Island, Lizard Island and Heron Island are spectacular hotspots for showcasing Australia’s coastal luxury and natural beauty. If you’re over the other side of the country, Rottnest Island and the aptly named Penguin Island are perfect getaways near Western Australia to see the Australian wildlife at its best.
An activity best undertaken with some prior planning, an Australian island hop can be difficult, in that there are simply so many destinations to choose from. If venturing too far from the mainland is not on your priority list, make sure you take advantage and visit some of the closer Australian islands. Sydney Harbour features an array of easily accessible islands, including Shark Island, Goat Island and the historic Snapper Island.