Whale watching in Merimbula.
Photo courtesy of Destination New South Wales

Southern New South Wales

There's so much more the New South Wales than Sydney. So why not head South and explore what lies beneath the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. You'll uncover beach towns, rural towns and a whole lot of country hospitality. 

Enjoy the South Coast of New South Wales

The Illawarra and Shoalhaven areas are coastal towns where you can discover the magic of living by the beach. The Illawarra is an hour and a half from Sydney and the Shoalhaven is two hours from Sydney. Why not hire a car and travel around at your own pace. If time is an issue, book an organised tour of the South Coast.

Enjoy the South Coast beaches. Photo: Destination NSW

Enjoy Tulip time in Bowral.
Photo:Destination NSW

Explore the villages in the Southern Highlands. Photo:Destination NSW

Hampden Bridge in the Shoalhaven. 
Photo:Destination NSW

Australia's Parliament House in Canberra. Photo: Destination NSW.


Where to stay

There is an endless selection of hotels, guest houses and local bed and breakfasts for you to choose from. Click here to see locations, rates and availability.



South Coast suggested itinerary

  1. From Sydney, follow the signs to Wollongong where there is a wonderful mix of green hills, rainforests, coastal cliffs and the brilliant blue oceans.

  2. Visit the Royal National Park which is the state’s oldest national park, or enjoy some swimming, surfing or fishing at the local beaches.

  3. Head to Stanwell Tops for some hang-gliding, skydiving or some whale watching between May and August as these amazing creatures playfully migrate north to warmer waters. If you’ve never been whale watching, put this on your bucket list.

  4. Further south is Kiama where you can walk out to the lighthouse or explore the seaside village’s cafes and craft stores.

  5. Detour inland to the historical and pretty townships of Robertson and Jamberoo. Each March, Jamberoo hosts a folk festival with concerts, poets’ bush dances and ‘yarn-spinning’ (ie outlandish storytelling.)

  6. Don't miss Kangaroo Valley which is a National Trust listed village and has rainforests, mountains and lush valleys.

Enjoy rural New South Wales

Take a trip from Sydney to Canberra and e​​xplore the many rural towns along the way. It's about four hours drive from Sydney to Canberra. If you're pushed for time book an organised tour, otherwise hire a car and travel at your own pace. A highlight of this trip is the Southern Highlands, so aim to spend a couple of days in area.​ 

Rural New South Wales suggested itinerary

  1. From Sydney, follow the signs to Goulburn and Canberra. Tolls are charged to use the motorways so check with your car hire company on the best way of paying your tolls.
  2. Your first stop is the scenic Southern Highlands which is about two hours from Sydney. Stay overnight so you can explore the country towns of Berry, Bowral, Moss Vale and Bundanoon. Take a walk in the Morton National Park with its spectacular waterfalls, sandstone cliffs and valleys. 
  3. Adrenalin junkies should visit Goulburn for some rock climbing at Wonbeyan Caves, or bushwalking and abseiling at Bungonia State Recreation Park.
  4. The next stops are Gunning for historic streetscapes, followed by Yass where you can explore the many wineries, galleries, walking trails. After that, head to Young which is the cherry capital of Australia.

  5. The next stop is Canberra which has a range of national attractions and museums including:​

  • The National Gallery of Australia that has more than 100,000 works of art and exhibitions.​
  • The Australian War Memorial that commemorates Australia’s involvement in wars over the years.
  • The National Zoo and Aquarium
  • ​A tour of Australia’s Parliament House.
  • Australian Institute of Sport, or
  • Packing a picnic and heading to one of the parks for a walk or a bike ride.

6. If you want to keep touring, visit Australia’s alpine region – Mount Kusioszko. In the winter, this is one of Australia’s ski playgrounds, and in summer, it’s a great place for hiking.