Lifestyle and recreation

Regional NSW – Lifestyle and Recreation

Regional New South Wales sports an eclectic range of recreational activities. Enthusiasts of the great outdoors relish the countless natural offerings of sun-drenched beaches, lush rainforests, arid outback areas and snowy mountains. The state's lively country towns and major regional cities offer an outstanding variety of cultural activities.

Central Coast

On the Central Coast you can camp at The Entrance beach, scuba dive, surf and swim in crystal clear waters or hike in forests such as Bouddi National Park and the UNESCO world heritage–listed Dharug National Park. The region is home to relaxing beach towns like Avoca and Terrigal. Here you can enjoy a top-notch dining scene, support local sports clubs or join a team, unwind at lively pubs and shop at boutique stores.

For more information visit Central Coast Tourism.

Central West and Orana

The Central West and Orana are an explorer's delight. In Lightning Ridge you can try your luck fossicking for opals or soak in the town's natural hot springs. The Warrumbungle National Park offers exceptional bushwalking, camping, bird watching and stargazing. At Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo you can cycle past enclosures and see wild animals in their habitats. If you prefer subterranean adventures, the magnificent Abercrombie and Jenolan Caves offer exciting possibilities.

For more information visit Central NSW Tourism or Inland NSW Tourism.

Far West

In the Far West you can experience authentic Aboriginal art and culture. Mutawintji National Park in the historic mining town of Broken Hill is home to 30,000-year-old Indigenous rock carvings and the town boasts numerous galleries and museums. If you prefer an adventure, pack a swag and venture into the arid outback to sleep under the stars or camp at the striking desert sites in Sturt National Park.

For more information see Visit NSW Outback NSW or Inland NSW Tourism.

Hunter

In the Hunter Valley you can stay among the vineyards, sample fine wine at welcoming cellar doors and enjoy world-class food at award-winning restaurants. The Hunter region is also home to Newcastle, a major coastal city. Here you can swim in rock-cut ocean pools and surf at golden beaches, take advantage of the city's cycleways or hike in the nearby bushland. Smaller coastal towns such as Port Stephens offer dolphin watching, sailing and fishing.

For more information visit Hunter Valley Wine & Tourism or Visit Newcastle.

Illawarra

Recreational activities in the Illawarra are plentiful and underpinned by the region's stunning natural scenery. In Wollongong, the major regional city, you can surf and swim at golden beaches, kayak in spectacular waterways or tour the city via its web of cycling paths. If you are a keen camper you can pitch your tent on the golden sands of Coledale Beach or venture further inland to unspoilt rainforests. Hang gliders and para-gliders flock to nearby Stanwell Park, while more earthbound visitors enjoy hiking to the plunging waterfalls of Fitzroy Falls in Morton National Park.

For more information see Visit Wollongong or Visit NSW South Coast.

Murray–Murrumbidgee

Recreational activities in the Murray–Murrumbidgee region embrace the area's natural scenery. You can take to the expansive waterways of the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers to fish and kayak, or you may hike and camp in the pristine bush of Murrumbidgee Valley Nature Reserve or the National Parks of Lake Mungo and Yanga. Keen golfers will relish the region's championship courses, while cyclists will enjoy Albury's Wagirra Trail, which meanders beside the Murray River.

For more information visit Murray Regional Tourism Board or Visit NSW Murrumbidgee.

New England–North West

The New England–North West region has a proud mining heritage and is renowned for its sapphires. Here you can set up camp and fossick for one of these rare gems at Billabong Blue Sapphire Fossicking Park or Cranky Road Nature Reserve. Fishing enthusiasts won't be disappointed by the fruitful waterways, and bushwalkers can hike and camp in numerous national parks. Farming is woven into the fabric of the land and farm stays are popular throughout the region, giving visitors the chance to experience a working farm.

For more information visit New England High Country or Destination Tamworth.

North Coast

The North Coast offers the perfect destination to swim and surf in sub-tropical waters, scuba dive at the stunning Solitary Islands Marine Park and see whales and dolphins migrating up and down the coast. The region is rich in nature reserves, including the Bongil Bongil National Park, which is home to koala colonies, and the Nymboi-Binderay National Park where you can brave wild rapids in rafting tours. You can also hike, camp and mountain bike through the lush forests or seek out creature comforts in the shops and restaurants of beach towns such as Byron Bay and Coffs Harbour.

For more information see Visit NSW North Coast.

South East and Tablelands

If you relish outdoor recreational activities you will be spoilt for choice in the South East and Tablelands region. Kosciusko National Park, Australia's largest ski fields, offers the country's best skiing and snowboarding in winter and the chance to climb Australia's highest peak all year round. The crisp alpine air also lures golfers, cyclists, horse riders and hikers into the stunning natural parks from spring to autumn. Located further north, the Southern Highlands are home to some of the state's best mountain biking trails and races, such as the annual Highland Fling, as well as excellent cafes, restaurants, shopping strips and wineries.For more information visit Tourism Snowy Mountains or Southern Highlands