The legendary city of Sydney is a must-see. The Sydney Opera House, whose distinctive architecture is reminiscent of the sails of ships in the famous Sydney Harbour, has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (Internet: www.sydneyoperahouse.com ). Also worth seeing is the impressive steel structure of the Harbor Bridge. The Sydney Tower’s visitor platform (website: sydneytower.com.au ) offers a fantastic view of the city. See other countries in Oceania on thereligionfaqs.
Eucalyptus forests stretch as far as the eye can see in the UNESCO-listed Blue Mountains National Park (website: www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/blue-mountains-national-park ). Impressive panoramic views await visitors – for example from the Eco Point of the famous ‘Three Sisters’, whose name can be traced back to a Dreamtime legend of the Aborigines. Take a ride on the Scenic Skyway to explore the landscape from the gondola (website: www.scenicworld.com.au ).
In the highest mountain range on the Australian mainland, there is snow around 140 days a year (Internet: www.snowymountains.com.au ). Skiing, snowboarding and other winter sports can be practiced here from June to October. Popular ski resorts include Thredbo, Falls Creek and Mount Hotham. During the summer months, wonderful hiking trails in the Kosciuszko National Park invite you to go hiking. The Snowies are also popular with mountain bikers.
New South Wales is a true surfer’s paradise. Some of the world’s most famous surfing beaches can be found here, including Sydney’s Bondi and Manly Beaches, as well as the beaches of Bronte, Coogee, Collaroy, Palm, Port Macquarie and Byron Bay. Legendary surfer Scott Dillon has memorialized himself with his Legends Surf Museum near Coffs Harbour.
The Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest wine-growing region and is particularly well-known for its excellent Sémillon (Internet: www.winecountry.com.au ). Over 140 wineries, including well-known names such as Wyndham Estate, Rosemount and McGuigans, as well as numerous restaurants invite you to a culinary excursion.
Grand Pacific Drive
The scenic Grand Pacific Drive runs from Sydney along the coast via Wollongong to Nowra (Internet: www.grandpacificdrive.com.au ). The journey leads over the huge Sea Cliff Bridge, through pretty, small towns and through the Australian rainforest.
Watch whales and dolphins
Bustling dolphins and giant humpback whales make their annual voyage off the coast of New South Wales. Cape Byron is the best place to see wildlife from June to August, and Hervey Bay from mid-July to late October.
Aboriginal heritage tour
The beautiful Sydney Botanic Gardens (website: www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au ) are best explored with an Aboriginal guide to learn about the history of the area and its importance to the original Cadigal tribe. The guided tours take place every Friday (reservation required).
If you want to experience the original wilderness of Australia, you should visit the mining settlement of Broken Hill on the edge of the outback (website: www.visitbrokenhill.com.au ). Here you can still find unspoilt landscapes and Aboriginal culture. In recent years, more and more writers, artists and sculptors have been drawn to the area. Nearby is the ghost town of Silverton as well as several national parks such as Kinchega National Park and Motwingee National Park which offers a classic outback experience.
climbing and hiking
The Warrumbungle National Park with its bizarre basalt rock formations attracts rock climbers and mountain hikers alike. The ‘Grand High Tops’ walk through the remains of ancient volcanoes is one of the most spectacular in Australia. If you have a good eye, you can also find some minerals and fossils here. Also very popular with hikers is the 4.4 km long Mount Warning Trail in Wollumbin National Park.
Lord Howe Island
Just a two-hour flight from Sydney is Lord Howe Island, which along with its uninhabited neighbors has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In order not to disturb the sensitive ecosystem, only 400 visitors are allowed to visit the island every day. The coral reefs around the island are great for snorkelling, the beaches and adjacent forests are lovely for walking and there are fantastic views from Mount Gower (website: www.lordhoweisland.info ).
Willandra Lake Region
The 370,000 ha of semi-arid landscape surrounding the Willandra Lakes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and known for being one of the oldest cremation sites in the world. Archaeological finds of skeletal remains and stone tools indicate that Homo sapiens inhabited this region as early as 40,000 years ago. There is also a system of now-dry Pleistocene lakes that formed during the last 2 million years. Bizarrely shaped orange and white dunes known as the Walls of China have formed on the edge of Lake Mungo.
The seaside resort of Port Macquarie offers ideal conditions for all kinds of water sports. In addition to windsurfing, fishing, surfing and kayaking, there is also the opportunity to ride camels. The city is also known for its large koala population, and there is even a hospital for injured koalas.
The drive along the scenically impressive south coast leads through original towns such as Eden, Thathra and Kiama, which have been spared from the massive development along the coast, as well as through numerous national parks that protect the lush bushland.
The state of New South Wales offers numerous national parks and nature reserves (Internet: www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au ). Established in 1879, the Royal National Park, located about 30 km south of Sydney, is the oldest national park in Australia and the second oldest in the world. The park is home to all sorts of Aboriginal historical sites, and Audley is a good base from which to explore.
Myall Lakes National Park
Myall Lakes National Park, near Port Stephens, is the state’s largest lake district and home to numerous species of waterfowl. There are a number of things to do, including a rainforest hike at Mungo Brush, lakeside campsites and houseboat accommodation.
Fitzroy, Belmore and Carrington Falls
The impressive Fitzroy and Belmore Falls to the north of Morton National Park are the main attractions of the park. At Fitzroy Fall, water tumbles a good 80m down from a sandstone plateau into the valley, while Belmore Falls cascades down three 77m to 130m high falls into Barrengarry Creek. The best view of Belmore Falls is from Hindmarsh Lookout. No less spectacular, Carrington Falls in Budderoo National Park can be viewed from wheelchair-accessible viewing platforms.
Mutawinji Historical Site
An important collection of Aboriginal rock carvings can be seen at the Mutawintji Historical Site. The area is part of Mutawintji National Park, home to the last population of the colorful yellow-footed rock kangaroo in the state.