While Sydney is an absolutely gorgeous city, New South Wales is great state to visit. As is the case with most countries, you always end up visiting major cities but forget that there are so many places close by that are worth a day trip or even longer. I visited Australia in the dead of winter. Not the most popular time to visit because people want to spend their summers lazing at the beach but I found it to be one of the prettiest times of the year to visit.
Along with enjoying Sydney I went out and spent a few days in the country, probably an hour or two away from Sydney depending where you’re driving and was so taken up with how pretty the country is and how incredibly friendly the people are. At the end of the day, it’s always the people in smaller towns that take the time to have a little chat and it’s these brief encounters than make your stay even more memorable. All my time here got me thinking and I decided to put together a few fun things you should try to experience if you manage to visit New South Wales. On this particular trip I went South of Sydney I still have to explore the north! Here’s my take on why you need to make New South Wales part of your Australian travel plans.
Visit Sydney of course! – It goes without saying that the jewel in New South Wale’s crown is Sydney. The iconic Harbour bridge and Sydney Opera House, amazing fine dine establishments, sun kissed beaches and funky local markets. There is plenty to do, see, shop and eat in the capital city.
Take a trip to Wollongong and visit an apple orchard – Wollongong is a lovely little town just outside of Sydney. While there is plenty to do there and enjoy, it is their little apple farm that I most enjoyed. The Glenbernie Orchard or The Apple Shack as it’s called is a beautiful place to visit to learn more about the fruit and it’s many variants. They have a wonderful shop where you can buy the fruit and their many apple based jams, jellys, drinks, etc. They also make delicious apple ciders and one can spend an entire day tasting and shopping. The orchard is gorgeous and while it’s a popular wedding spot, it’s the baking classes that caught my eye. If you like baking these are perfect for you. Of course the first dessert on the list is how to make a delicious apple pie. Go spend the day at the farm or the baking class or just pop in for a bit and do some shopping, either way do not miss it.
Visit the Symbio Wildlife Park – watch out for cranky frankly – There is nothing as exciting as getting up close and personal with an animal. While I’m not a fan of zoos I much prefer to see an animal in the wild, I must admit being able to feed them or in some cases hold them is quite a thrill. In New South Wales, it is illegal to hold a Koala but you can pet him as much as you like and that is exactly what I did! This park is lovely because it’s a little interactive which means not only did I get cozy with the Koala I was able to feed some very indifferent baby kangaroos as well ( watch the video below ). Hop in for a visit, you’ll love it!
Motor cycle ride down the coast – This is by far one of the coolest things i have ever done and you absolutely positively must do it. A Harley ride but it’s almost like a carriage ( I’m not sure what the correct term is ) and you’re cruising down the coast with the wind in your face.. it’s the best feeling in the world. Not to mention some great rock music blaring while you ride. You get a leather jacket and helmet so you look the part and it’s so much fun. I waved to every biker on a Harley that passed by with such enthusiasm I’m sure they thought I was mad.
Visit the town of Berry – Famous for its donut van, lovely shops and restaurant – Berry is a small quaint town about two hours away from Sydney and a perfect change from the fast paced city life. Berry has gorgeous scenery, friendly people, lovely shops and some interesting restaurants. The most popular spot in Berry is the donut van that’s been around since 1955 serving great coffee and a delicious warm moist cinnamon flavoured donut. A must visit when you’re in Berry.
Go to Kiama and get lost in a local farmers market – What I enjoy the most when I travel is discovering smaller towns. Kiama is a wonderful place to visit specially on Wednesday when they have their local farmer’s market by the river. You can expect to see a lot of beautiful fresh produce as well as people whipping up hot snacks. The ideal place to spend an afternoon among the locals.
Snuggle up at Bendooley book barn and indulge in some local wine – There is a wonderful barn on an estate called Bendooleys and the entire barn is converted into a book store. For book lovers it’s the perfect nook and also has a warm fire place, tables wher eyou can order a snack or even indulge in some of their local wines made in their vineyards.
Stay at Peppers Craigieburn – This is a gorgeous old colonial bunglow that has been renovated and converted into a hotel. It reminds me of an old British officers home ( which it probably was ) with it’s attic like rooms and creaking wooden stairway. The view is gorgeous and if you’re going to be in New South Wales, this is a must visit at least for a night.
Jim Wild’s Oyster Farm – I spoke about Jim’s lovely oysters in my post about what to eat when in NSW ( link is here ) Jim and his family are amazing local people to meet and his produce – both oysters and even shrimp in season time are top notch quality. More than just eating them, its the perfect farm to visit and understand how they operate and how you get this highly covetted sea queen.
Disclaimer – This post was made possible thanks to Destination New South Wales and Singapore Airlines