State of New South Wales

Sandwiched between Queensland and Victoria on Australia’s eastern seaboard, New South Wales is known for its diversity of landscape and attractions, ranging from outback to city, rugged mountains to sheltered harbours, subtropical rainforests to expansive sandy beaches. Sydney, its capital city, was the first European settlement in Australia, thus the story of the founding of the city of Sydney is in fact the story of the founding of modern Australia.

Guide to New South Wales

Top destinations

Capital City: Sydney
A significant global and domestic tourist destination, Sydney is regularly declared to be one of the most beautiful and livable cities in the world, admired for its harbour, beautiful coastline, warm and pleasant climate and cosmopolitan culture. Sydney was the birthplace of modern Australia, being established in 1788 as a British penal colony.
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  • Hunter Valley
    New South Wales’ premier wine region, The Hunter is also Australia’s oldest and one of its most well-known. Famous for food and wine, and only two hours drive from Sydney, the Hunter Valley has also made a name for producing some of the most spectacular events.
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    • Pacific Coast Beaches
      The coast of New South Wales stretches some 1,973 kms, and along most of its length can be found some of the finest beaches not only in the country, but in the world. They are a summer playground for locals and visitors, and surfers and beachcombers alike.
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      • Southern Highlands
        The agriculturally rich Southern Highlands has in recent times become a retreat for the wealthy and those who want the creature comforts of the city but still live in the country. It is also a popular day, weekend or holiday destination those seeking to escape the fast pace the city for the serenity of the country.
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        • Broken Hill
          Once the backbone and focal point of Australia’s mining industry, Broken Hill has become like a magnet, drawing film makers, artists and visitors alike to experience the vibrant yet subtle colours and magical light of the outback. Its dark red soil contrasting with clear blue skies where the wedge-tailed eagle soars, appealing to something deep in the soul.
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          • Snowy Mountains
            Though not high by world standards, the Snowy Mountains have a unique beauty all of their own that brings visitors back time and time again – for the mountain air, hiking over pristine landscapes, or fishing for trout in its crystal clear rivers and lakes, in spring, or skiing its snow covered slopes in winter.
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            • Blue Mountains
              A segment of the Great Dividing Range with an area of 141,000 hectares, The Blue Mountains begins about 64 kms west of Sydney. They contain some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in eastern Australia – tremendous sandstone precipices ringing densely wooded valleys which, viewed from a distance, are of an intense cobalt blue, hence the range’s name.
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              • Hawkesbury River
                Nestled between the cities of Sydney and Newcastle, the Hawkesbury River is navigable for over 100 kilometres with an incredibly varied 1100 kilometres of foreshore fringe. It is trult one of the most beautiful and varied waterways of Australia, if not the world.
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                • New England
                  Not just an inland alternative to the coast road between Sydney and Brisbane, the New England region is known as the Big Sky Country. Not only for its clear night skies but for the panoramic vistas of the countryside. Some of Australia’s most beautiful National Parks are in New England, offering world renowned trout fishing, hiking, camping, nature tours and kayaking. History and heritage of bygone times, and all the things that make for a great holiday – good food, quality accommodation, places of interest – are all here to enjoy and make the inland road a truly memorable journey.

Getting There

By Air:
Sydney International Airport is the only airport in NSW through which international passengers pass. It has full immigration and customs facilities. The airport also services the majority of interstate and Intra-state flights and and out of NSW. All the major regional cities and towns have airports and are serviced by flights to and from Sydney.

Sydney – Hobart: 1 hour 55 minutes
Sydney – Launceston: 1 hour 40 minutes
Sydney – Brisbane: 1 hour 25 minutes
Sydney – Sunshine Coast: 1 hour 35 minutes
Sydney – Gold Coast: 1 hour 20 minutes
Sydney – Whitsunday Islands (Proserpine): 4 hours 40 minutes via Brisbane
Sydney – Whitsunday Islands (Hamilton Island): 2 hours 30 minutes
Sydney – Norfolk Island: 4 hours 5 minutes
Sydney – Cairns: 3 hours 10 minutes
Sydney – Darwin: 6 hours (8 hours via Brisbane)
Sydney – Perth: 5 hours 5 minutes
Sydney – Adelaide: 2 hours 10 minutes
Sydney – Melbourne: 1 hour 30 minutes
Sydney – Broome: 9 hours 40 minutes via Perth
Sydney – Dubbo: 1 hour 5 minutes

By rail
Sydney is connected by rail to Adelaide and Perth via the Indian Pacific (connects in Adelaide to The Overland to Melbourne, and The Ghan to Darwin via Alice Springs). The train operates between Sydney’s Central Station and Keswick Rail Terminal in Adelaide, the journey is completed in 24 hours 40 minutes. Perth is connected to Adelaide by the Nullarbor Plain leg of the Indian Pacific’s east to west coast journey.

Daily XPT services in both directions connect Sydney to the interstate capitals of Melbourne and Brisbane. The regional NSW cities of Dubbo (via Bathurst and Orange), Broken Hill (via Bathurst, Orange and Parkes), Moree (via Newcastle and Narrabri), Armidale (via Tamworth), Griffith and Albury (via Goulburn, Junee and Cootamundra) are also serviced by daily XPT trains to and from Sydney. All trains depart Sydney from Central Station.

Central Coast (Gosford): 1 hour 25 minutes
Sydney – Blue Mountains (Katoomba): 2 hours 6 minutes
Sydney – Dubbo: 6 hours 40 minutes (via XPT)
Sydney – Broken Hill: 15 hours 45 minutes (via Indian Pacific)
Sydney – Albury: 7 hours 40 minutes (via XPT)
Sydney – Canberra: 4 hours 20 minutes (via XPT)
Sydney – Brisbane: 16 hours 5 minutes (via Tweed Heads)
Sydney – Melbourne: 11 hours 10 minutes (via XPT)
Sydney – Adelaide: 22 hours 15 minutes (via Indian Pacific)
Sydney – Perth: 2 days 20 hours 10 minutes (via Indian Pacific)

By coach (road)
Numerous operators provide coach services between Sydney and Brisbane (coastal and New England routes); Canberra; Melbourne; Adelaide (via Mildura and Canberra).Services to other cities and towns across Australia are by connections to one of those destinations. The main routes followed are: 

Sydney – Brisbane via Newcastle, Armidale, Toowoomba (17 hrs. 45 minutes)
Sydney – Brisbane via Newcastle, Forster, Byron Bay, Coffs Harbour (15 hrs. 25 minutes)
Sydney – Melbourne via Albury (12 hours)
Sydney – Adelaide via Mildura and Canberra (22 hours)
Sydney – Canberra (4 hours)

Self drive
The towns in New South Wales are linked to each other, and to towns and cities in other states by a network of well signposted, well maintained sealed highways and major roads which allow for easy travel between localities. In NSW, the speed limit on the open road is generally 110 kilometres per hour. In NSW, a driver’s licence from your home country or another Australian state will usually suffice for up to three months, as long as it has photo identification and it s for the same class of vehicle you intend to drive. If you are staying more than three months, you’ll need to get a NSW drivers licence.

Driving Distances:

Melbourne – Sydney (Hume Highway): 877km (9 hours)
Melbourne – Sydney (Pacific Highway): 1,030km (12 hours)
Brisbane – Sydney (New England Highway): 919km (10 hours)
Brisbane – Sydney (Pacific Highway): 1,010km (11 hours 30 min.)
Adelaide – Sydney via Hay: 1,464km (14 hours)
Canberra – Sydney: 287km (3 hours)

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