The attractions around Regional NSW
Beyond the borders of Sydney, regional New South Wales abounds in things to see and do. The state covers a large terrain of more than 800,000 square kilometres, encompassing sunny beaches, lush rainforests, snowy alpine regions and part of the arid outback. Major regional cities and small country towns are steeped in local history and offer outstanding cultural attractions.
The Central Coast has some of NSW's most pristine beaches including Avoca and Terrigal, which sport lively café strips, restaurants, pubs and shops. Gosford is the region's major centre and is home to the Australian Reptile Park, a hands-on zoo. Spectacular nature reserves surround the Central Coast, including Brisbane Water National Park, which is resplendent with Aboriginal art, waterfalls and bushwalking trails.
For more information visit Central Coast Tourism.
Central West and Orana
The Central West and Orana produce some of the state's finest food and wine. The region's towns are rich in natural attractions – Lightning Ridge, a small opal mining town, is home to hot springs and natural artesian baths. Visitors to the area will also discover the otherworldly Abercrombie and Jenolan Caves. The city of Bathurst is famous as the home of Australian motor racing, Dubbo houses Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Mudgee boasts picturesque vineyards and Orange hosts a number of food and wine festivals.
The Far West is the gateway to the great Australian outback. It is a region of vast contrasts, with semi-arid landscapes, lush wetlands and heritage sites such as Mungo National Park. The historic mining town of Broken Hill is the area's major regional centre and an unlikely artistic hub. It is home to 30,000-year-old Aboriginal rock art at Mutawintji National Park and offers numerous galleries and museums.
The Hunter region is a two-hour drive from Sydney and encompasses a spectacular coastline and picturesque countryside. The Hunter Valley is the state's most famous wine growing region and a major tourist destination. Located on the coast, Newcastle is the region's major city, which sports a thriving beach culture, dining scene and shopping district. Smaller coastal towns such as Port Stephens are rich with natural attractions from meandering river systems to the expansive forests of Myall Lakes National Park.
The Illawarra region is just a 90-minute drive south of Sydney via the breathtaking Grand Pacific Drive. The region is home to NSW's major coastal city of Wollongong, which sports a thriving beach culture, dining districts, shopping hubs and an emerging arts scene. Smaller seaside towns include Batemans Bay, Gerringong and Kiama, which is famous for its dramatic blowholes in the coastal rock. The Minnamurra Rainforest Centre in Buderoo National Park and the Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk flaunt the full beauty of the region's forests, as do Fitzroy Falls' vertiginous waterfalls.
The majestic Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers lend their name to this unspoilt region of NSW. The lakes and rivers are havens for water sports and activities, while more land-bound attractions can be found in the region's many National Parks. You can spot koala colonies in Murrumbidgee Valley Nature Reserve or join friendly locals and picnic in the parklands of Mungabareena Reserve and Oddies Creek Park. Albury is the major regional centre situated on the banks of the Murray River.
New England–North West
The New England–North West region is rich and diverse – it encompasses farming countryside, spectacular national parks and rugged bushland. You can visit many natural wonders including the largest granite monolith in the southern hemisphere at Bald Rock National Park, waterfalls and gorges in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park and natural artesian springs and hot mineral baths in Moree. Major regional centres include Armidale and Tamworth, the heart of Australia's famous country music scene.
The North Coast abounds in attractions and is one of NSW's leading tourist destinations. The famous beach town of Byron Bay near the Queensland border is home to bustling cafes and restaurants specialising in organic food, and a thriving arts scene. Other seaside towns such as Coffs Harbour are scattered further south along the coast. The region is rich with nature reserves, including Dorrigo National Park, which is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area.
For more information see Visit NSW North Coast.
South East and Tablelands
Kosciusko National Park is home to Australia's largest snowfields and is found in the South East and Tablelands region. In winter the area is a skier and snowboarder's paradise, while in summer it transforms into a thriving nature reserve. Further north, the rolling hills and national parks of the Southern Highlands abound in historic and cultural attractions – the charming towns of Berrima, Bowral and Mittagong offer exceptional restaurants, shops, wineries and heritage convict sites.