The New South Wales Bucket List

You haven’t truly “done” NSW unless you’ve done these 100 experiences.

#80 - Visit the Pro Hart Gallery

Where is it? Broken Hill, NSW

One of Australia's quirkiest and most colourful artists, the late Pro Hart's legacy lives on at his dedicated museum in the NSW town of Broken Hill. Famed for a range of artistic styles including painting, metalwork sculptures and various other original forms of expression, his life's work is documented over the space of 3 stories, and the museum also contains a recreation of his personal studio. Staffed by knowledgeable and enthusiastic people all too willing to go into detail about the man and his work, visitors can also watch a video detailing Pro Hart's life story and see his unique Rolls Royce collection. Not bad for a former miner from humble beginnings in Broken Hill.

#79 - Cruise the Murray River at Wentworth

Where is it? Wentworth, NSW

The mighty Murray River serves as the lifeblood that was the basis for many outback NSW towns being established in past days, with the charming town of Wentworth being a prime example. This busy river port has plied its trade for over 150 years, and its proximity to both the Murray and Darling rivers ties directly into its riverboat history. In the modern day, visitors to the region can follow in the footsteps of frontier riverboat pilots and board a paddlesteamer to travel leisurely down the Murray and witness this characteristically Aussie terrain from the water. Tree-lined riverbanks teeming with bird life and juxtaposed with the orange-red earth of the surrounding rock walls make for an authentic dose of inner Australian scenery that's steeped in history. Tours can be taken with local operator Wentworth River Cruises for the chance to see it all for yourself.

#78 - Stay at Smoky Cape Lighthouse

Where is it? South West Rocks, NSW

Looking for one of Australia's most unique accommodation options? You'd be hard-pressed to find a more distinctive place to stay in NSW than the Smoky Cape Lighthouse complex at South West Rocks - a delightfully secluded and untouched slice of coastal goodness. This beautiful heritage building is surrounded by jaw-dropping views on all sides, and expansive ocean panoramas mean you'll be able to spot innumerable whales and other marine life from the comfort of your bedroom. The endless beaches and rocky headlands, meanwhile, offer countless opportunities to explore, and the combination of spectacular sunsets and the eerily beautiful light of the lighthouse in the evening rounds out the experience.

#77 - Hunt for Black Opals at Lightning Ridge

Where is it? Lightning Ridge, NSW

One of the world's most renowned centres for the mining of these incredibly beautiful, multi-faceted stones, Lightning Ridge in northern NSW is a popular diversion spot for campers largely due to the presence of its Black Opals. With its first dedicated opal shaft constructed back in 1905, the town has a long association with the gems to the point that it even holds an annual Gem festival in tribute to the stones. Nowadays, visitors can try their hand at fossicking through overburden dumps from local mines, and while the largest of the opals will have likely already been removed, some careful rummaging can often result in some smaller - yet no less beautiful - black opals to take home as a colourful keepsake. Alternatively, the town boasts numerous stores at which you can simply purchase one to your liking.

#76 - Go Stargazing at Parkes

Where is it? Parkes, 356km west of Sydney, NSW

By virtue of some of the clearest skies in all of mainland Australia, the regional NSW town of Parkes is one of the country's top spots for witnessing the spectacular beauty of an Aussie night sky. There's a reason the CSIRO radio telescope (known as "The Dish" around which the movie of the same name was based) was placed here, which saw significant involvement in the 1969 moon landing. The town's small size and relative lack of light pollution only help to further the stargazing conditions, and both amateur astronomers and those simply using the naked eye will come away with a visual feast of the Milky Way by looking up during clear evenings.

#75 - Go kayaking at Yamba

Where is it? Yamba, NSW

This popular NSW resort town is brimming with uncrowded beaches and extensive waterways that make it a highly desirable getaway spot for those who prefer less commercialised alternatives. One of the staple ways to explore Yamba's picturesque coast is via the humble kayak, which provides the opportunity to get out on the waters of both the Clarence River and the sea itself, and the islands that dot the river make for some great exploratory opportunities. Visitors can join in with tour operators such as Yamba Kayak who provided kayak hire, guided paddling for further insight and context, and plenty of local insider scenic spots that make Yamba such a pleasant place.

#74 - See the animals at Mogo Zoo

Where is it? Mogo, near Batemans Bay, NSW

This wonderful, privately-owned zoo lies in a beautiful location on the NSW south coast and boasts a staggering number of exotic animals despite its size. The diversity of creatures on display here is amazing for a regional zoo, with gorillas, massive boa constrictors, zebras and even newly-added rhinos numbering among some of the most significant. It's a zoo that is both well maintained and peaceful, with its lush bushland setting feeling more organic than many similar attractions, and each of the animal enclosures are well-sized and taken care of. Those looking to further enhance their visit can opt for a number of up-close animal encounters to come face to face with the likes of meerkats, tigers, red pandas and more as well - ideal for special occasions.

#73 - Explore Dorrigo National Park

Where is it? 1 hour from Coffs Harbour, NSW

An exceptionally beautiful national park, perhaps Dorrigo's most notable features are its waterfalls - walks are available that allow visitors to see these cascading bodies of water from a clear vantage point above, and serve as a true visual delight if there's been recent rainfall. The tracks of the national park are well maintained, and make it a joy for visitors to witness the extensive bird life that populate the park; lyrebirds are a common sight, and the echoes of various treebirds add an additional layer of atmosphere to the already tranquil environment. In addition, be sure not to miss out on the park's Skywalk platform that takes you out over the trees and results in a breathtaking view. Throw in plenty of idyllic spots for picnics and it's easy to get lost for a day here.

#72 - Take a Beach Camel Ride at Port Stephens

Where is it? Port Stephens, NSW


There may be a wide range of options for enjoying the lovely beachfront stretches that the Port Stephens region has to offer, but one of the most unique is also one of the simplest. Visitors to the region can take part in seaside camel rides courtesy of local operator Oakfield Ranch that will expose riders to the quirky character of these interesting creatures while also soaking in excellent views of the extensive beaches to boot. Rides can be conducted in both shorter and extended flavours, with ample opportunity to dismount and take photos with your own unique, grinning camel, and skittish riders need not worry; they're extremely docile and well-behaved.

#71 - Royal Flying Doctor Service at Broken Hill

Where is it? Broken Hill, NSW

The admirable institution that spawned an entire TV series, the Royal Flying Doctor Service saw its beginnings in Broken Hill all the way back in the 1930's with the aim of providing emergency services and medical care to isolated Australian communities. The Broken Hill branch is home to an informative and well curated visitor's centre that provides detailed explanation of the workings of the service and its support services, and guests can take a guided tour for further insight. The planes themselves are impressive, and the presentation that covers how the service works is detailed and occasionally moving, and will provide a whole new level of appreciation for the dedication and efforts that many of its (volunteer) workers provide. A true Aussie icon that deserves continued support.

nswmapNew South Wales is a state that’s far more than simply home to Australia’s most famous city, Sydney – it’s a large and varied state that offers stark contrasts between its coastal, central and inner regions, with a diversity of both landscapes and people that makes for some impressive variety in travel opportunities.

From its often wild and beautiful coastline dotted with some of the country’s best beaches to its inner reaches that transition from lush greenery draped in national parkland and eventually give way to the harshness of the Australian outback, New South Wales’ diversity is remarkable. It’s this variety that make for such an extensive range of experiences, and due to popular demand and frequent requests by our customers – and as the result of years of both feedback and extensive polling – we’ve put together this list of the “Top 100 NSW Experiences to do before you die”.

There is so much to see and do in the whole of New South Wales but we managed to cut the seemingly never ending list down to 100. We’ve covered the gamut of experience types here – from free, to paid, to natural, to man-made – and from both urban centres through to more hidden regional treasures.

So go through the top picks to see what experiences you have already ticked off your list and what New South Wales sights, activities and attractions are next!

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