Things to do

Top 10 things to do in New South Wales.

There is no limit to the fun, adventures and unique experiences you can have while living and studying in Sydney and New South Wales (NSW). From free or affordable activities, to something a bit more expensive but totally unforgettable, here are our top 10 picks for things to do in NSW.

Go hiking 

A man and a woman hiking
With nearly a quarter of the state covered by national parks and nature reserves, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to hiking in NSW.

Perhaps you’ll hike through the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains, where eucalyptus oil droplets collide with water vapour to make the mountains appear blue. Or, a coastal trek might be for you, exploring the rugged coastline as you enjoy the sunshine and views.

From hour-long strolls to multi-day hikes, there are awesome options for all experience and fitness levels.

Visit the Hunter Valley 

Hunter Valley

There are 12 distinct wine regions in NSW, one of the most famous being the beautiful Hunter Valley.

Activities you can enjoy range from jumping aboard a hot air balloon and enjoying the sunrise, attending a chocolate-making class and exploring the Hunter Valley Gardens, to indulging in a specially-cursed picnic hamper, heading to a cheese tasting, or visiting a cellar door to get to know a family-run winery a little better. There’s something for everyone!

Learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures

Aboriginal performance
NSW is home to the largest population of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in the country. This offers a special opportunity to learn about historical and modern-day Aboriginal culture and customs. From traditional ceremonies and rock art tours, to galleries, art exhibitions and festivals, there are so many options available across the entire state!

Go surfing

Australian man surfing with big waves
What is a trip to Australia without getting on a surfboard? The NSW coast boasts more than 2000km of beaches, including 11 surfing reserves. So, while you’re here, make sure you give surfing a go.

Depending on your budget and experience, you could rent a surfboard at one of the more popular beaches, like Bondi and Byron Bay. However, many visitors to NSW prefer to book a surfing lesson or even a multi-day surfing holiday!

Visit the Snowy Mountains

Snowy mountain
Snow may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Australia, but the Snowy Mountains are not to be missed! This region is one of the best places to visit in NSW. It’s about a 5.5-hour drive from Sydney and home to Australia’s highest mountain peak, Mount Kosciuszko.

In the Snowy Mountains, you can go skiing, snowboarding and enjoy lots of fun during winter. Or, head out on one of the region’s stunning bushwalks or BMX tracks throughout the warmer months.

Set your sights on Sydney 

Sydney harbour
The question isn’t what to do in Sydney, but rather how many Sydney attractions can you fit into your time in the capital city?

Highlights include the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk, strolling around the historic Rocks region, and indulging at the Sydney Fish Market.

Since Sydney is known as the Harbour City, those with a bigger budget might consider the ultimate Sydney bucket list item: climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge! Alternatively, you may prefer to jump on the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly for an unrivalled view of the harbour from the comfort of your seat.

Go to the beach

View of Coogee beach from the top
Did you know that if you went to a different NSW beach each day, it would take you nearly 2.5 years to visit every single one? Yep, the state is home to just under 900 beaches!

Spend your days swimming, stand up paddle boarding, snorkeling, reading in the sun, or simply enjoying having your toes in the sand and the sun on your face!

Plan a road trip

Men and women on a 4 wheel car
It’s hard to comprehend just how big Australia is until you’ve travelled around it – and a road trip in NSW is a great way to do exactly that.

Wondering where to travel in NSW? There are so many different parts of the state to experience, from ocean to outback to national parks and forests. Plus, driving means you can travel at your own pace, stopping wherever interests you and getting to know NSW a little more intimately. 

Important note – If you are driving in NSW, please make sure you understand the requirements of driving in NSW as a visitor.

Get your adrenaline pumping!

Woman snorkelling under the sea
While NSW is perfect for relaxing by the beach and long walks in nature, it’s also a great spot for adrenaline junkies! The state’s diverse terrain offers unique opportunities to experience adventure and explore the land at the same time.

Think abseiling, canyoning and caving, 4WD adventures, kayaking, horse-riding, mountain biking, scuba diving and snorkeling – and much more.

Go whale watching

Tail of a whale in the sea

The NSW coast is renamed the “Humpback Highway'' from May to November each year, when over 30,000 whales make their annual migration. You’re most likely to spot humpback and southern right whales, but also look out for rarer species like orcas and blue whales.

Stroll along cliff tops and lookouts to see this amazing sight, or book a spot on a whale-watching cruise to get up close and personal.

The Welcome Dinner Project - connecting newly arrived people with established Australians

Welcome Dinner Project

The Welcome Dinner Project is enabling newly arrived people - including international students - and established Australians to meet over dinner conversation in the comfort of their own home. This project is accessible to everyone! There is no cost involved and support can be provided for transport, child minding and translation when necessary. All you have to do is register your interest to either host a Welcome Dinner in your home or simply participate in a Welcome Dinner in your area and a facilitator will be in touch to take you through the next steps! Register today!

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Visit NSW has up-to-date information on the events and experiences across NSW