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Welcome to Sydney surrounds

Sydney surrounds

To the north of Sydney is the Pacific Coastal route, which passes beautiful coastal scenery, laid back seaside communities like Byron Bay, and excellent surf, with nearly 249 miles (400km) of beaches to explore. Whale watching is popular in season and the region is also dotted with numerous national parks and nature reserves that offer activities from hiking to kayaking in the Myall Lakes. The Waterfall Way is one of the most scenic drives in the world that leaves the Pacific Coast Drive and winds up to the New England Tablelands with its colourful history and the vineyards of the famed Hunter Valley. To the south of Sydney is Australia's only alpine habitat in the Snowy Mountains where winter skiing is the main attraction. In summer the mountains become a playground for white water rafters, fishermen, kayakers and hikers.

Information & Facts


English is the official language of Australia.


The Australian Dollar (AUD) is divided into 100 cents. Banks and bureaux de change exchange most foreign currencies. Travellers cheques are also welcome everywhere, but banks take a small commission and it is better to take cheques in major currencies (e.g. US dollars or Euros) to avoid additional charges. Credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are freely available throughout the country. Banking hours are generally 9.30am to 4pm Monday to Thursday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Friday, but some banks offer extended hours and some are open on Saturday mornings.

Blue Mountains National Park is a World Heritage area and is one of the best and most popular National Park in Australia.  The views are breathtaking and there are many trekking trails and look out points to choose from.  There are three distinctive rocks and these are called The Three Sisters.  They are a rock formation, believed to be three sisters turned into stone after they fell in love with three men from a neighbouring tribe. When they were forbidden to marry the men a battle broke out, the elder turned them into the rocks to protect them. This is claimed to be an Aboriginal legend. If you are not feeling energetic you could take the cable car or the train to get around the Blue Mountains.  It is full of wildlife so keep an eye out so all types of animals from birds to lizards. It is just two hours from Sydney and definitely worth the day trip.  You can also stay at one of the many hotels the area has to offer or if you are feeling adventurous you could always camp.  You can get there by either car or train.

The historic town of Broken Hill lies in western New South Wales, in the area known as the 'Living Outback'. Here red dust roads lead off to national parks, opal fields, remote settlements and the Darling River. In Broken Hill art and mining live side by side as uncomfortable companions. Artists have come here to find their inspiration, at a spot where incredible wealth has been produced by exploitation of one of the world's greatest mineral deposits. Broken Hill is known as 'Silver City' being the site of the world's richest deposit of silver, lead and zinc. Visitors can visit a simulated mine or the real thing, donning lighted helmets to enter the subterranean world of the miners. This town is also a Mecca for artists and film-makers and has more than 20 art galleries. The famous Outback Royal Flying Doctor Service and School of the Air are also worth a visit. Visitors can tour the aircraft hangar or the radio room, which handles calls to and from remote towns and stations, covering 80 percent of Australia and treating about 160,000 patients a year.

Hunter Valley is a famous region for Australia’s wine industry.  The region has around 120 wineries. It has been developed in recent years and now offers visitors a chance to explore vineyards and partake in wine tasting tours and if you’re feeling romantic you could take a horse and carriage ride and enjoy a picnic.  There are historic towns with loads of charm and lots of accommodation and restaurants.  It is located about 2 hours North of Sydney.

Besides its vineyards and eateries, there are a myriad places of interest like Lake Macquarie, a glistening lake with magnificent beaches about 12 miles (19km) south of Newcastle; the beautiful Myall Lakes; and the attractive stretch of surfing beaches near Newcastle. Nearby is the Barrington Tops World Heritage Wilderness Site, which, at 5,203 feet (1,586m) above sea level, contains some of the highest untamed natural bushland in Australia. One of the most popular coastal destinations in the region is Port Stephens, renowned for its crystal clear water and golden beaches. The harbour of Port Stephens is home to about 80 dolphins and many cruise boats offer close up views of these animals. Port Stephens coastline is also a wonderful vantage point for whale watching in season.

Also known as 'Big Sky Country', the New England region of New South Wales is a place of spacious beauty where it is possible to enjoy the great outdoors in the cool summers and cosy hospitality of the crisp winters. The centre of New England is Australia's country-music capital, Tamworth, which has played host to the Australian Country Music Festival every January since 1973. The city's population doubles to more than 60,000 when aficionados from across the land gather for the 10-day event, which culminates in the Golden Guitar Awards. Besides the music, Tamworth's other claim to fame is that it was the first town in the southern hemisphere to be lit by electricity. This historical fact has been enshrined in the Powerhouse Museum in town. Beyond Tamworth, the Big Sky Country includes tens of thousands of hectares of national parks and provides activities for visitors like horse riding, abseiling, fishing, fossicking, canoeing and bushwalking. Each park offers distinct flora and fauna and a multitude of natural attractions.

Australia's winter playground is in the peaks of the Snowy Mountains, about 315 miles (500km) south of Sydney, where there are more than 145 miles (230km) of ski-trails, graded from beginner to championship level. Ski season lasts from June to October. The ski resorts are known for their warm hospitality, spectacular scenery, and their apres-ski entertainment. The largest resort is Perisher Blue, which is actually four resorts united to form a mecca for snow-seekers. Another, at the foot of Mount Crackenback, is the resort of Thredbo, which is a recreation of a European Alpine village and features Australia's longest ski run, known as the Funnelweb.

Looking for something a bit different?  Check out our selection of cultural & adventure holidays or if you're looking to go it alone then see our selection of solo holidays.

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