New South Wales, the first colony, is home to a third of our population. A third of Australia’s mining and manufacturing is carried out here. 1000 kilometres of coastline is nestled between the Great Dividing Range and the Pacific Ocean. Summers are generally warm and humid, winters cool and dry. The North west of the state experiences extreme summer heat and the Alps receive regular snow falls. The highest peak is Mt Kosciusko at 2228 metres.
Sydney is our largest and best known city with a fabulous harbour that is home to the Opera House and its soaring white sails, the great arch of the Harbour Bridge and nearby The Rocks and Botanic Garden. The city is easy to get around and is well catered for as far as public transport goes. In fact a layover at Sydney Airport can easily be filled in with a quick train trip into Circular Quay.
In 1787 eleven ships carrying 1487 people (759 convicts) sailed from England to establish a penal colony. They arrived at Sydney Cove on Jan 26 1788 where Captain Arthur Phillip selected an area known today as Circular Quay.
In all, 72,326 males and 12083 females were sent “down under”, the poor souls forced to establish a lifestyle, build shelter and find food. As they fought for survival so did the locals, some 40,000 aboriginals called New South Wales home at that time. Convict transportation ceased in 1850 but 1851 many immigrants arrived, including thousands of Chinese, to search for gold north of Bathurst.
Centrepoint Tower with its bird’s eye view of the city, Art Gallery of NSW, National Maritime Museum, Homebush Bay, Ferry rides to Watson’s Bay, Manly or Luna Park, The Parramatta Cat, Opera House and the Sydney Fish Market
Sydney Festival (January)
Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras (February)
Australian Fashion Week (May)
Sydney Film Festival (June), City to Surf (July)
Cricket Test (first week of January)
Sydney: Big city life does not appeal to many native species however Rainbow Lorikeets have made it their business to make as much racket as possible each evening when they come to roost in the Norfolk Pines that line the beach.
Each evening a large colony of flying foxes leave the Ku-ring-gai Flying Fox Reserve to source food from flowering trees.
The Royal National Park south of Sydney is home to Sulphur-crested cockatoos, heath wrens, satin bowerbirds, lyrebirds, top-knot pigeons, diamond pythons, eastern water dragons and lace monitors.
At dawn and dusk it is possible to see eastern grey kangaroos in the Blue Mountains National Park to the west of Sydney.
In the adjoining Wollemi National Park the Glow Worm Tunnel is accessible after a one kilometre walk.
North Coast NSW: Humpback Whales travel north in June and July, returning south in September and October. Cape Byron near Byron Bay is a good vantage point, as is Muttonbird Island off Coffs Harbour which is also home to short tailed shearwaters (muttonbirds) between August and April – dawn and dusk is the best viewing time.
Brush Turkeys, Lyrebirds and Bowerbirds thrive at Dorrigo National Park.
Central Coast NSW: Port Stephens plays host to Bottlenose Dolphins, Muttonbirds, Sea Eagles, Turtles, and Koalas.
South Coast NSW: Off the coast of Narooma Australian Fur Seals sun themselves on the rocks of Montague Island, while fairy penguins return from fishing at dusk. Humpback Whales can also be seen from here.
A Tour to Remember:
The Blue Mountains: Glenbrook to Mount Tomah (188km) 2-3 days will allow enough time to view the unexpected…. . that something special that makes your trip unique.
Start at the Visitor Info Centre at Glenbrook.
Red Hands Cave – some of the best preserved examples of Aboriginal hand stencils and prints.
Lennox Bridge – oldest bridge on the Australian mainland, built by convicts in 1833 from local sandstone.
Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum – The artist lived and worked here. The studio remains much as he left it.
Wentworth Falls Picnic Area – sweeping views across the Blue Mountains
Valley of the Waters Picnic Area – more photo opportunities of panoramic views.
Everglades Gardens – a splendid example of 1930s garden design, testimony to its creator Paul Sorensen.
Three Sisters – the famous rock formation is a scenic highlight and busy stopping point.
Katoomba Scenic Railway – Built in the 1880s to haul coal up the cliff, the colliery was closed in 1945 and the steepest incline railway in the world became a popular tourist attraction. The Scenic Skyway cable car departs from this point also.
The Edge Maxvision Cinema – fast moving images are projected onto a huge 18 x 24 metre screen.
Evans Lookout – enjoy the superb views or put on sturdy footwear and take the 5 kilometre Grand Canyon Walk through tunnels and under rocky overhangs.
Govetts Leap Lookout – a wheelchair friendly 1.8 kilometre track leads to two of the Blue Mountains greatest sights, Grose Valley and Bridal Veil Waterfall.
Mount Victoria & District Museum – 19th Century Refreshment Rooms now house a treasure trove of historic artifacts.
Zig Zag Railway – built between 1866 and 1869, the restored track enables visitors to ride its steam train.
Mount Wilson – English style private gardens established in the 19th Century.
Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens – 28 hectares, 1000 metres above sea level. On a clear day you can see the Hunter Valley.