While international travel may be off the cards for at least a little while longer, travellers need not dismay. COVID-19 has provided us with the perfect excuse to turn our attention to our own backyards to discover the diverse, wondrous sights and experiences on offer right here in Australia. Here are some inspiring places to visit in NSW this winter.
The Blue Mountains is one of NSW’s most iconic destinations, not only for its incredible natural wonders, but also the luxury hotels and retreats nestled amongst the wilderness. First time visitors are sure to enjoy the scenic views of the Three Sisters and Jamison Valley from Echo Point lookout (re-opening 1 June 2020), adventure seekers have a lot to entertain with hikes, abseiling, canyoning, climbing, biking and white water rafting all available (please check tour company updates for opening dates) and more relaxed travellers will enjoy the artisan shops, unique souvenir stores, wine cellars, colourful gardens and rejuvenating spas.
Whether you’re interested in wine, meats and cheeses, desserts, fine dining or delectable local produce, your tastebuds are in for a treat. The Hunter Region is home to exceptional artisans creating innovative and unique culinary experiences both in terms of the food and wine they produce and the events they host. And when you need a break to digest, there are plenty of activities to enjoy and sights to see from the vibrant Hunter Valley Gardens to local art galleries, markets, golf courses, wellness spas, national parks, and so much more.
While the beach may not be the most intuitive place to visit in winter, Byron Bay has a lot to offer at this time of year. Cape Byron is not only a beautiful place to take a walk along the beach and sea cliffs; it also leads you to Cape Byron Lighthouse and the lighthouse keeper’s cottages; quaint, white buildings that have existed since 1901. Between June and November, you also have the opportunity to spot humpback whales as they migrate to their northern breeding and birthing grounds. If you choose to go on a tour to view the whales, you may also see dolphins, turtles and a variety of native sea birds.
Byron Bay is also a fantastic place to enjoy fresh produce, shopping in local markets, yoga, wellness classes and the local breweries and distilleries.
The Snowy Mountains are a spectacular destination for those hoping to embrace the cold and spend some time skiing or snowboarding this winter. Its three snow resorts; Perisher, Thredbo and Charlotte’s Pass; are all set to open for the 2020 season in late June. While not engaging in snow-related activities, you are able to enjoy the fantastic range of restaurants, bars, cafes, spas, sports centres and shops to pass the time.
Winter 2020 presents a unique opportunity for Australians seeking to explore the city of Sydney. Not only will you no longer have to compete with international travellers, but the cancellation of events such as VIVID means the city will be considerably less crowded this season. Start your journey at The Rocks, and either head west to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art (opening June 16) and tackle the Harbour Bridge Climb (opening June 27) or head east to take a leisurely walk around the Sydney Opera House (closed – view from outside only) and the Royal Botanic Gardens. If you have time, the Art Gallery of NSW and St. Mary’s Cathedral are close by and open to visitors. On day two, start at either Wynyard or Pyrmont and make your way from King Street Wharf to Tumbalong to Pyrmont Bay, exploring Barangaroo’s dining precinct, Darling Harbour, Harbourside and the Star. Key sights in this area include SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, the Chinese Gardens of Friendship, Tumbalong Park, Harbourside Shopping Centre and Sydney Fish Market.
While the opening times listed above are accurate at the time of publishing, travel and trading regulations are constantly changing due to COVID-19 and are different depending on what state you live in. It is now more important than ever to make sure you are booking well-researched holidays in a way that ensures the safety and security of you, your family and your money.
Our expert personal travel managers are here to guide you through this uncertain time, help you book with confidence and empower you to get back to travelling as soon as possible.