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Our Top 15 Things to Do in Sydney & New South Wales

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By Sarah Hemsley

Last updated: 2nd May 2024

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In the southeast of Australia is the popular state of New South Wales. Think of the Sydney Opera House, Bondi Beach, the Blue Mountains and so much more. This incredible destination has endless adventures to offer, so you’ll never be short of things to do. From soaking up the sunshine, and meeting like-minded travellers to living and working in the heart of Sydney, one of our 8 Sydney & New South Wales adventure tours is the perfect way to experience it all.

Still need convincing? Here are the top 15 things to do in New South Wales for the trip of your dreams.

1. Explore the world-famous city of Sydney

Travellers having picnic near the Sydney Opera House

There’s nowhere better to start your adventure Down Under. On our Sydney & New South Wales tours, you’ll start in buzzing Sydney and spend a few weeks, months or even a year getting to know the very best of this iconic city. From the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge to its many trendy bars, restaurants, museums, art galleries and more, you won’t get bored here! You could even live and Work in Sydney whilst making lifelong memories with a group of new mates.

2. Swim at iconic Bondi Beach 

Bondi Icebergs at Bondi Beach, New South Wales

Only 30 minutes from central Sydney, Bondi Beach is a must-visit destination whilst in New South Wales. It attracts backpackers from all over the world and it’s easy to see why. With its perfect surf waves, iconic picturesque pool and famous Bondi Icebergs Club serving up fresh fish and drinks throughout the day, Bondi Beach is a total gem you should add to your things to do list.

3. Walk the coastal trail from Bondi to Coogee

Travellers at viewpoint at Bondi Beach

Love the sun, sea and sand? Don’t miss this iconic 6km (4 mile) walk from Bondi Beach to Coogee on our 8-day Sydney, Bondi & Blue Mountains tour. It’s the most beautiful coastal walk in the world! Spend a day soaking up the vitamin sea as you follow the winding wooden path and admire gorgeous views of Bondi Icebergs, Bronte Beach and Coogee along the way.

4. Learn to surf like a local at iconic beaches

Two travellers with surf board on Seven Mile Beach

Eat, sleep, surf, repeat, is how life goes Down Under so, what are you waiting for? Pull on a wetsuit, grab a board and learn to surf at some of the best surf spots in Sydney & New South Wales. From Manly Beach, Bondi Beach, Byron Bay and Seven Mile Beach, there are plenty of iconic beaches for you to catch some waves. Take eight 2-hour surf lessons on our 5-day Aussie Surf Camp and you'll be riding the waves like a pro. Plus, enjoy legendary camp life and sizzling Aussie barbies... yum!

5. Visit trendy Byron Bay

Group of travellers at Byron Bay

Now you’ve had some practice on the board, it’s time to head up the East Coast to Byron Bay — one of the best surf beaches in New South Wales. Famous for epic waves, the iconic lighthouse at Cape Byron, and its mellow vibes, this is the place where you’ll find like-minded surfers scoring waves by day and hitting karaoke bars by night. Take it from us, the karaoke scene here is unmatched. Be ready to sing your heart out!

6. Adventure to the beautiful Blue Mountains

Traveller at view point at the Blue Mountains

Just 1-hour from Sydney, the Blue Mountains is one of the best places to visit in New South Wales. The eucalyptus trees in the National Park emit a blue hue, giving the mountains its name. Whether you love nature, wildlife or thrill-seeking activities, the mountains are waiting for you. Take a look at our Blue Mountains Escape group trip. With return travel from Sydney, you can experience the best of this breathtaking natural wonder on a day trip.

7. Spot majestic dolphins in Port Stephens

Travellers on dolphin cruise at Port Stephens

Port Stephens is named the ‘Dolphin Capital’ for a reason. It’s the best place in New South Wales to hop on a boat and cruise the waters whilst these playful creatures put on a show. Watch in awe as pods of dolphins dive in and out of the water around you - they’re seriously cute! Stay a couple of nights in a beach camp at Port Stephens on Absolute Oz Jobs. Who knows, you might land yourself a job at Port Stephens and spot dolphins on the daily.

8. Chill on white sands at Jervis Bay

Group of travellers on beach in Australia

Known for its gorgeous white sand (we’re talking seriously pure white), Jervis Bay is the best place to chill out with your mates. Bring a volleyball, kayak or swim in the cystal clear waters or do whatever floats your boat. Spend a day cruising Jervis Bay on Sydney & Jervis Bay Adventure.

9. Visit the foodie heaven the Hunter Valley

Travellers wine tasting at Hunter Valley

Calling all wine lovers... Don't miss a visit to the oldest wine region Down Under - the Hunter Valley. It's the birthplace of Australia's award-winning wines and has amazing local produce and delicious food to try. Enjoy a glass (or two, or three) in the sunshine with lush vineyard views. Or if you’re the more adventurous type, opt to go on a sunset horse ride through the vineyards. To visit the Hunter Valley, organise a day trip from Sydney or rent a campervan with our Campervan Hire Australia, and add this destination to your Australia road trip route!

10. Try sandboarding on Stockton Bight Sand Dunes

Two travellers sandboarding at Worimi Conservation Lands

This is Stockton Bight Sand Dunes 👆The best place in New South Wales to get your adrenaline pumping! On your welcome week of Absolute Oz Jobs, hop in a 4WD and carve up the dunes before trying out sandboarding. Enjoy surfing? Then, you’ll love it. It's literally surfing on the sand.

11. Have an authentic Aussie barbecue

You haven't been to Australia if you've not tucked into a sizzling Aussie barbie. Grab your group and head to a rooftop barbecue in Sydney for this quintessential activity. Eat a sausage fresh from the grill (or vegan/veg alternative) and soak up the city skyline with your new mates on one of our group tours.

12. Do a bar crawl in Sydney

Bar tender pouring cocktail

No doubt, a rooftop barbie will lead to a fun-filled night of bar hopping. On a group tour, you’ll get to know Sydney’s nightlife scene very quickly. Located near Wake Up! Sydney Hostel - visit the legendary Scubar which offers cheap happy hour drinks and an epic DJ to set the vibes. Kick off your night here or join an organised bar crawl where a friendly guide will lead the way to all the best spots to mingle with like-minded travellers.

13. Experience the lights of Vivid Sydney

Sydney Harbour Bridge lit up at Vivid Sydney

When it comes to festivals, Vivid Sydney knows how to do it right! Over 23 days from late May to mid June each year, the entire city (and the skies above) glow with neon lights, lasers and drone shows to celebrate all things light, music, ideas and food. If you thought the Sydney Opera House was impressive by day, wait till you see it illuminated with all kinds of funky artwork, graphics, and lasers. You won’t want to miss it! Mark the 24th of May to the 15th of June 2024 in your calendar now.

14. Visit the street art and beach scene in Newcastle

Travellers walking past Merewether Baths in Newcastle

Pack your bags, jump in a campervan and head to Newcastle for the ultimate getaway whilst in New South Wales. With everything from stunning beaches to street art and cafes, it’s a much-loved destination for backpackers. You’ll want to pack your beach towel, flip-flops and suncream for this one.

15. Go on an Aussie Working Holiday

Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, New South Wales

Does your Aussie bucket list keep growing and growing? Extend your travels by living and working in Sydney & New South Wales for up to 12 Months! Plus, as of July 1st 2024, you will no longer need to complete regional work for your 2nd and 3rd year visa, leaving you more time to explore the beauty of Australia. On Absolute Oz Jobs, you’ll enjoy a fun-filled week exploring Sydney and Port Stephens before getting the ultimate job support to help you set up your new life Down Under.

Now you know all the best things to do in New South Wales, start crossing these off your bucket list on a Sydney & New South Wales group tour. Choose from 8 group tours all including a friendly tour guide who will show you the hidden gems of Sydney & New South Wales. Spaces go quickly so book today.

Image credits: Destination New South Wales

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