If there is one thing that travelling teaches you, it is that everyone does it differently. For some, the perfect holiday involves immersing oneself in the energy of a city. For others, it means steering off the beaten path in search of secluded nature trails and unusual lodging.
Here are four ways to experience the best of Sydney and New South Wales, the Australian state with something for everyone.
For culture vultures and urbanites: See the city in a new light
Prove your mettle by joining a guided climb up the world-famous Sydney Harbour Bridge in the heart of the capital city of New South Wales. Reaching more than 130m above sea level at its highest point, the world’s tallest steel arch bridge offers unforgettable views of the city.
From 24 May to 15 June, watch Sydney’s public spaces transform into an outdoor gallery of light installations for Vivid Sydney — the annual festival of light, music and ideas. View an array of more than 50 light sculptures along a 3km Light Walk, attend live music performances, and participate in creative workshops and talks.
A dinner cruise offered by Aussie specialist Chan Brothers Travel provides one a unique vantage point to take in the metropolis’ dazzling light displays.
And what’s a visit down under if it doesn’t involve a wine-themed weekend? Unleash your inner wine connoisseur in Australia’s oldest wine region, the Hunter Valley.
Easily accessible from Sydney by a two-hour car ride, bus tour or three-hour train ride, the region boasts award-winning wineries and restaurants where you can sample vintage wines and sign up for winemaking tutorials.
For the free spirit: Explore the open road
Wild at heart or a gypsy soul? Free-spirited travellers will be thrilled with the list of self-drive itineraries from Chan Brothers Travel, which takes you through scenic locales just beyond Sydney at your own pace and comfort level.
If you are a road trip lover, embark on the 8D Glamping Up Sydney and Surrounds Self-Drive Holiday to explore the best of the region’s diverse landscapes.
The first stop recommended on the itinerary is Mowbray Park FarmStay, where you can be an aspiring farmer for a day. While here, take the opportunity to hand-feed animals, ride horses, savour farm-fresh fare and stay in one of Mowbray’s charming lodges.
When you are ready to leave, make for the lush forests of Kangaroo Valley or head directly to one of Australia’s most beautiful seaside destinations: Jervis Bay. With a self drive, you have the flexibility of evolving your itinerary as you go along.
If you decide to stop at Kangaroo Valley, go off the beaten track and traverse wildlife-rich rainforests. Later, canoe down the calm waters of the Kangaroo River or enjoy a private yoga session in the comfort of your accommodation in the valley.
For those who prefer sand and surf, Jervis Bay has plenty to offer. Swim alongside marine life in Jervis Bay Marine Park, join a dolphin-watching tour or explore secluded beaches and bays along the coastline. Home to some of the world’s most pristine beaches, Jervis Bay is a welcome pit-stop for those in search of fresh air and ocean views.
Cap off your trip with a once-in-a-lifetime glamping experience at The Woods Farm, where you can indulge in modern-day luxuries like a barbecue area and large tents furnished with stylish bedding, just minutes from Jervis Bay’s beaches.
For the outdoor adventurers: Immerse yourself in nature
Run one of the world’s most scenic marathon courses during the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival on 15 September. Upon completing the race, you can turn to the sea for your next adventure: experience the thrill of surfing at one of the city’s famous beaches such as Bondi or Manly.
For adventures beyond the city, drive one and a half hours west of Sydney to the Blue Mountains National Park. Make your way to the Echo Point Lookout to view the Three Sisters, a spectacular trio of sandstone pillars that seems to shift in shape when sunlight hits them from different angles throughout the day.
Other lookout points worth exploring include the Govetts Leap lookout and Olympian Rock for panoramic views of tall waterfalls, lush forests and rocky escarpments.
Daredevils can continue two and a half hours up north to Port Stephens to conquer awe-inspiring coastal sand dunes as high as 40m on sand boards or embark on a four-wheel drive adventure along Stockton Beach, New South Wales’ longest beach.
Thereafter, make for the coastal town of Kiama to see the Kiama Blowhole: a sea-cliff cavern that shoots large plumes of seawater skywards when wave and wind conditions are right.
For the family-oriented: Fill your days with fauna and fun
Get up close with the Aussie big five — the koala, kangaroo, wombat, platypus and crocodile — at WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo in the heart of the city.
Featuring walk-through habitats and daily keeper talks, the wildlife park has activities for all ages. Have your photo taken with koalas, walk among kangaroos and come eye to eye with a saltwater crocodile…if you dare.
To experience more wildlife adventures, drive three hours south of Sydney to board a dolphin-watching cruise in Jervis Bay. If you are lucky, you may also catch sight of whales during the migration season from late May to November.
With a diverse range of experiences and landscapes, Sydney and its surrounds offer a travel adventure like no other. Plan your epic New South Wales adventure with Chan Brothers Travel today.