New South Wales isn’t necessarily known as an outback destination – or for its outback towns. But it should be, says Nigel Herbert – and sooner, rather than later. Here is his photographic odyssey. I have just come back from a 2500-kilometre road trip around the NSW outback. Some of it on actual roads. Of course, it was beautiful. Of course, it was spectacular. And parts of it were booming. But parts were busting – or just plain busted. Which got me thinking. These country towns of ours really have been defined by their boom-bust cycles. In the 1880s, Wilcannia...
You don't have to hike far out of town in NSW or Canberra these days to find a rural weekend experience that feels a thousand miles away. By Megan Arkinstall Sleep in a heritage cottage: Belconnen, Canberra These two quaint 1860s pioneer cottages are set on a fifth-generation family sheep and cattle farm only eight kilometres from the centre of the nation’s capital – one of the last farms in the area. Rosebud cottage, which had been lived in almost continually for 150 years, and Bell’s cottage were refurbished in 2008 and 2011 respectively – reclaimed timber floors, new plumbing...
Score: 8.17 Legendary, indeed: many a New South Welshman will remember packing the family car as a kid for the road up to Coffs, or Byron, or the Gold Coast, and though there have been several (welcome) upgrades made since then, the joy of heading north along the coast hasn’t changed a bit. Take some wonderful detours through smaller beachside towns like Terrigal, Seal Rocks and Crescent Head; stop a while at Bellingen; pull in at Yamba or visit cutesy food town Bangalow. More info: Legendary Pacific Coast Locals’ secret: Just outside Coffs Harbour is local secret Santa Fe, an eclectic...
Score: 8.11 There goes ACT’s monopoly on this area, the beaches and towns from Bermagui to Eden along the coast. A great confluence of ocean currents brings fish flapping in here, so you can get them by hook or from the fish ‘n’ chip shop cook. Lakes and lagoons will have you up on your paddle boards, or dreamily kayaking, and lazing around afterwards in your little rented cottage. “I should be the PR girl for this region,” reflects Catriona Rowntree. “I adore it. I found it late in life, but would be happy to take my family for holidays...
Score: 7.91 Why are we broadcasting this? From Wollongong down through South Durras, Batemans Bay, Huskisson and whiter-than-white Hyams Beach, this stretch of coast is still sleepy, despite the occasional mall, the sands are silky, the seals and pelicans are cheeky, and you can still find a spot, not hemmed in, on whichever beach you choose. Like its southern sister the Sapphire Coast (see #63), the Shoalhaven is wonderfully relaxed – about everything, that is, except food (the produce scene here is really something). Ah, we’re feeling generous, sharing sandcastles and our fishing bucket, but not our bingo table at...
Score: 7.81 “You are a stranger only once,” says the Visit NSW website about the beachside town of Seal Rocks on NSW’s Mid-North Coast. And how true that is. In fact, many of the small towns on this lovely stretch of coast – Forster, South West Rocks, Port Macquarie, Blueys Beach, Myalls Lake – have the same friendly, relaxed, laid-back holiday vibe. It’s the stuff nostalgic family beach holidays are made of – swimming, barbecues, bushwalking, fishing, surfing and devouring salty fish n’ chips as the sun goes down. More info: Visit NSW Plan your Great Australian Holiday with our...
Hailing from Orange County, California, Andrew Smith went on a mission to Parkes for Australian Traveller to see if he could make heads or tails (or sideburns) of the town’s annual Elvis Festival. Andrew is ‘Chief Funster’ for Destination NSW, a six-month role he won as part of the NSW ‘Best Job in the World’. We Americans pride ourselves on being a wacky yet adventurous bunch of people. Thousands and thousands of us converge at conventions such as Comic Con, Star Wars Celebration and Blizzcon - events known for their uniqueness and enthusiastic and devoted fan bases. It’s pretty easy...
Probably one of the most iconic of its kind in the world, the ocean pool at Bondi Icebergs draws stalwarts who swim day in, day out, all year round (the name gives you an indication of the water temp during the cooler months). But there are many other ocean pools, mostly dotted along the NSW coast, to discover – perfect for those who want to churn out some laps without battling the tides, yet still emerge with that unmistakeable zing you can only get from salt water. There’s something beautifully relaxed about them, too – none of the cross-lane elbow...
The seemingly endless, undulating sand dunes of the Stockton Bight (stretching 32 kilometres between Birubi Beach and Stockton) are the largest in Australia. Besides throwing yourself down these enormous, ever-shifting golden mountains on a sandboard, attempting to conquer them in a 4WD (you need a beach vehicle permit) or quad bike, or enlisting a trusty steed like a camel or horse to do the hard work for you, there’s more to these dunes than immediately meets the eye. The area is part of the Worimi Conservation Lands, which include not only the sand dunes but vast swathes of forest and...
AT Reader Mark Jekabsons wants to wow you with his secret spots on the NSW Mid North Coast, but then he hopes that you will completely forget where they are. We all know a spot, that has a special place in our hearts, where life is still pretty simple and unaffected by development. The sort of place we want to tell everyone about, while not wanting anyone to find out lest the place change. For me, that place is the Camden Haven on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales. The Camden Haven is focussed around the town of Laurieton...
Recent sightings of Southern Right whales off Australia’s east coast have given hope that the threatened species may be returning to old haunts. Once pushed to the brink of extinction, the whales have been spotted off Sydney beaches Curl Curl (in the north) and Cronulla (in the south). “While the Humpback whale population is recovering strongly with more than two thousand now counted passing Sydney each year, sightings of Southern Right whales close to shore is significant as their numbers are still very low. Maybe less than 100 currently visit NSW each year,” said Geoff Ross, Coordinator of Marine Fauna...
Fresh country air, sprawling hillsides, bloody good wine and 14 of your closest friends. Here, unique country houses perfect for group getaways. By Alissa Jenkins and Megan Arkinstall Trelawney Farm, Mudgee, NSW Where: Four kilometres outside the quaint township of Mudgee. What we like: Set on 25 acres, this 150-year-old farmhouse in the heart of the Mudgee wine trail is perfectly located for a weekend of relaxation (or perhaps raging…). Either way, you’re doing it in style – the exterior is the ideal of country homesteads, with a fresh white bricked façade, colonial architraves, and a wraparound porch for views...
Shoalhaven in NSW is one of four up-and-coming foodie hotspots to tantalise your tastebuds... The Shoalhaven region has long been the summer holiday playground for nearby city dwellers, who have been coming to bask on the pristine beaches of Jervis Bay and beyond for generations. With its proximity to Sydney and Canberra (a-two-and-a-half-hour drive from both), balmy climate, lush valleys and 160 kilometres of some of the purest, whitest coastline in New South Wales, it’s surprising how long the Shoalhaven has been flying under the radar, until recently. Now there’s another reason that this little jewel of a region is...
Zoe Naylor makes an unexpected discovery in outback NSW... Here’s a question: where can you go for an impromptu road trip out of Sydney, that you’ve probably never heard of and can accomplish in a weekend? Welcome to Gulargambone! Located just 576 kilometres from Sydney (or 75 minutes north of Dubbo), this quaint country town is situated on the banks of the Castlereagh River, in Coonamble Shire. Gulargambone was first inhabited by the Indigenous Weilwan people and is an Aboriginal word meaning plenty galah birds. Since the advent of European settlement in the 1800s, their way of life has sadly...
The Old Grafton Road (aka the Old Glen Innes Road if you come from Grafton) wasn’t always a back road; before the Gwydir Highway opened in 1962 it was the only way to get from the mountains to the sea, and it took days – a week if you were travelling by horse. Today it will take about four hours, if you don’t stop for a riverside picnic along the way. From the Glen Innes end the trip begins in rainforest atop the aptly named Big Hill and winds down to the valley floor in a steep series of switchback...
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- The ‘ghost towns’ of outback NSW
- East coast country cottage chic
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #53 road trip the Legendary Pacific Coast, Sydney to Brisbane
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #63 take a beach break, Sapphire Coast, NSW
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #86 a beach break on The Shoalhaven Coast, NSW
- Ultimate Escapes: WA’s Great South West Edge – wine, white sand & wilderness
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #19 escape to the Rowley Shoals, WA
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #23 a beachy road trip in WA’s South West
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #42 stay at Berkeley River Lodge, WA
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #59 trek with an elder, WA
- Ultimate Escapes: Queensland’s Wet Tropics
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #11 stay at Lizard Island, Qld
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #54 holiday in Queensland’s triple threat
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #78 walk Thorsborne Trail, Hinchinbrook Island
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #85 swim with Manta Rays, Lady Elliot Island, Qld
- Thalia Haven – the greatest ocean-view bathtub in sight?
- Ultimate Escapes: Tasmania
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #2 road trip Tasmania’s east coast
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #5 book into Saffire Freycinet, Tas
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #13 (a tie) walk the Freycinet Experience, Tas
- Ultimate Escapes: Timeless North, NT
- Get lost in style in the Northern Territory
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #18 see the wet season in the Top End
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #27 make the Red Centre pilgrimage
- 100 Greatest Holidays of Australia: #56 (tie) follow Larapinta Trail (World Expeditions), NT