Flights to New South Wales: Australia's first state

Back to nature

Holiday adventures in New South Wales start on the windswept Pacific Coast. A golden rope of beaches tumbles south from lush northern rainforests to Sydney, the region's sparkling coastal jewel. Discover its wild side on cliff-top walks in Sydney Harbour National Park, where pristine strands of bushy sheoak and fiery Banksia lead to sandstone promontories lashed by crashing Pacific surf. Inland, a eucalypt-scented haze drifts over the soaring canyons of the Blue Mountains.

Adrenaline rush

The Snowy Mountains provide a year-round playground for thrill (and chill) seekers. Saddle up in summer for a canter along high country wildflower trails. Wrap up warm to brave Perisher's cross-country ski trails in winter, dodging gnarly snow gum trees as you swish through the snow. Pacific wave novices become masters at Byron Bay surf schools and mountain bikers whizz over Hunter Valley's rolling hills. Or wobble, depending on the number of vineyards visited along the route.

Eat and drink

Gorge on seared Wagyu beef and Vietnamese rice-paper rolls then discover where Sydney chefs source their seasonal ingredients. The Mudgee food and wine trail coils through the Central Ranges to boutique cellar doors serving punchy merlots and zippy chardonnays. Follow the southern Poacher's Way to sample regional NSW specialties like melt-in-your-mouth smoked rack of lamb and - for fearless foodies - kangaroo prosciutto.

Get cultured

Soak up Sydney's café culture after flights to New South Wales, then go native on daytrips to outlying towns, each with a different tale to tell. Hear sheep-shearers' yarns in the timber woolsheds of the Murray Downs and chase tumbleweeds under disused verandas in the gold-rush ghost town of Sofala. Paintings of weathered outback pubs and their patrons line the walls of Broken Hill's historic red-brick art emporium.

Fast facts

Where? New South Wales' south-easterly location goes some way to explaining the eclectic climate, from the temperate Pacific coast to the alpine Snowy Mountains.

Population: More than half of New South Wales' seven million souls live in Sydney. Tiny Tibooburra, 1,200km from Sydney had just 161 residents at last count.

Key dates: Australia's entire east coast was named New South Wales by Captain James Cook in 1770. The Queensland and Victoria borders were established in the 1850s.

Did you know? Between 1840 and 1841 New Zealand was, albeit briefly, a mere dependency of New South Wales. In 1841 it became an independent Crown Colony.