Pulpit Rock Lookout, Blue Mountains National Park, NSW © Destination NSW

Amazing experiences beyond the beach

Perisher Blue, Snowy Mountains, NSW © Perisher Blue

Discover the Snowy Mountains

The Snowy Mountains on the southern tip of New South Wales is an adventure wonderland. In the warmer months (September to February) you can explore the mountains on horseback and fish in pristine mountain waters, but winter (June to October) is when you can find heart-pumping adventures for families and friends alike. Head to Perisher or Thredbo, two mountain resorts where you can play to your heart’s content in the winter snow area, trek through the powder with your snowshoe guide and hit the slopes on a snowboard. No matter which thrilling experience you choose, you’ll enjoy night entertainment and sunset skiing as well as the magnificent scenery that surrounds you, including Australia’s highest peak, Mount Kosciuszko. Whether you want to test your adventurous side or relax among the still snow, you’ll find what you’re looking for in the Snowy Mountains.

Experience Australia's snow season

Balloon Aloft, Hunter Valley, New South Wales © Balloon Aloft, Destination NSW

Float above the vineyards in a hot air balloon

Home to more than 120 wineries as well as gourmet restaurants, superior golf courses and spa retreats, the Hunter Valley wine region is the ideal romantic or relaxing escape. To see one of the most incredible views of the charming Hunter Valley, set your alarm clock early for a sunrise hot air balloon ride with Balloon Aloft. On this one hour flight, you'll ascend above the Hunter Valley vineyards to heights of more than 600 metres (2000 feet). Afterwards, a decadent champagne breakfast is served on the deck of Restaurant Cuvee at Peterson House Winery. Choose from a mouth-watering menu teamed with chocolates and Peterson House sparkling wines.

Discover the best of the Hunter Valley

Sea Cliff Bridge, Clifton, NSW © Kramer Photography

Embark on the Grand Pacific Drive

Starting in Sydney’s Royal National Park and extending to the charming holiday town of Jervis Bay, taking your time along the Grand Pacific Drive will allow you to soak in some of the South Coast’s coolest experiences. Wildlife lovers should make a stop at Symbio Wildlife Park to meet native Australian animals and hand-feed kangaroos, while the brave of heart can skydive in Wollongong. Cross the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge and head for the Scarborough Hotel to take in the sweeping views from the cliff’s edge while enjoying a delicious lunch. Don’t forget to stop for the Kiama Blowhole, which sprays seawater into the air, and Glenbernie Fruit Orchard, where you can pick your own fruit from November to April and taste crisp, refreshing apple cider year-round.

Check out the best day trips from Sydney

Blue Mountains, Sydney, NSW © Destination NSW

Explore the Blue Mountains

Made up of one million hectares (3861 square miles) of tall forests, sandstone cliffs, canyons and waterfalls, the magnificent Blue Mountains National Park is a nature lover’s dream. There are many well-known hikes available for all fitness levels, but if you’re looking for something far from the tourist spots, head to the lesser known Pulpit Rock lookout near Blackheath. You’ll get a thrill on the multi-tiered lookouts that offer almost 360˚ panorama across the dramatic mountain range. In Autumn, you’ll witness a majestic mix of orange, red and gold as the leaves change their colour. For a truly magical experience, spend a night in a mountain resort or romantic cottage and wake up early to see the Three Sisters rock formation engulfed in the beautiful morning mist.

Experience the stunning Blue Mountains

Quad biking in Port Stephens, NSW © Destination NSW

Find adventure in Port Stephens

Located a 2.5-hour drive north of Sydney, Port Stephens has the largest moving coastal sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere. The dunes reach heights of over 40 metres, creating an otherworldly landscape that is an adventure lover’s playground. Go on a quad biking adventure with Aboriginal guides who will share their history and show you a few of the extraordinary number of significant Aboriginal sites in the area. You can also try sliding down the dunes on a sandboard, as well as horseback and camel riding across the awe-inspiring landscape. Beyond the dunes, you can spot dolphins from a dolphin watching cruise or get up close with sharks and rays at Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounters. Those visiting between late May and November can see migrating whales from the coast or a whale watching tour.

Check out the top attractions in Port Stephens