The New South Wales Bucket List

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

#90 - Wollombi Ngurra Bu Aboriginal Camp

Where is it? Hunter Valley, NSW

While wine might be the first thing to spring to mind when one envisions the Hunter Valley, the region is also ripe with a significant amount of indigenous Aboriginal history. Those looking to take a deeper dive into this ancient culture can do so at the Wollombi Ngurra Bu, a non-profit that aims to educate and keep alive the Aboriginal culture and provide both tours and full-blown immersion camps that disconnect guests from the modern world and keep things as authentic as possible. Throughout the duration of these multi-day camps, visitors will take part in a number of traditional ceremonies, visit significant cultural sites, try their hand at traditional art and dance and more all amongst the lovely surrounds of the Hunter region's Yengo National Park.

#89 - Admire the beach and history at Tathra

Where is it? Tathra, NSW

One of New South Wales' true hidden seaside gems, this little coastal town is not only peaceful but also home to one of the state's safest and most beautiful beaches. Situated on the Sapphire Coast and bordered by national parks with a coastline dotted with a series of rocky coves, Tathra is a nature-lover's delight that's totally devoid of crowds. As a result outdoor and aquatic activities are the main focus here, and Tathra Beach is a wonderful spot for swimming that's both incredibly clean and highly family-friendly. Fishermen, windsurfers, kayakers and others who enjoy the water will also find quality experiences on offer here as well. The locals might object, but this beach and its surrounds shouldn't remain a secret for long.

Where is it? Tathra, NSW

One of New South Wales' true hidden seaside gems, this little coastal town is not only peaceful but also home to one of the state's safest and most beautiful beaches. Situated on the Sapphire Coast and bordered by national parks with a coastline dotted with a series of rocky coves, Tathra is a nature-lover's delight that's totally devoid of crowds. As a result outdoor and aquatic activities are the main focus here, and Tathra Beach is a wonderful spot for swimming that's both incredibly clean and highly family-friendly. Fishermen, windsurfers, kayakers and others who enjoy the water will also find quality experiences on offer here as well. The locals might object, but this beach and its surrounds shouldn't remain a secret for long.

Where is it? Sydney Harbour, NSW

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There's a reason the Madame Tussauds brand has become synonymous with wax museums the world over - renowned for its incredibly lifelike figures that blur the line between simulation and reality, it's the closest many of us will come to associating with the famous. Sydney's branch of the attraction opened in 2012 and features a solid mix of easily recognisable Aussie celebrities and famous figures, as well as international characters from both the past and present. From Gandhi and Queen Elizabeth to Captain Cook and Hugh Jackman, the resemblance of the figures to their real-life counterparts is often striking, and visitors are free to touch, get up close, and pose with their favourite famous entity to try and fool their friends on social media.

#87 - Indulge at Short Sheep Micro Winery

Where is it? Mudgee, NSW

Part winery, part vineyard, part mini-farm and part cottage-style accommodation, this attraction benefits from warm and friendly hosts as well as mixing in experiences to appeal to both adults and kids alike. While wine is obviously the main focus - the winery specialises in a number of handcrafted premium wines such as Shiraz and Pinot Gris that come in very limited quantities and are exceptional in both quality and flavour - visitors can also rent a quaint and atmospheric cottage room that serves as a great getaway in regional NSW. In addition, those bringing kids along for the winery will find the resident dog, cats, chickens - and of course, the namesake sheep - a cute and pleasant distraction.

#86 - Skydive above Picton

Where is it? Picton, NSW

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An essential item on any bucket list, those in the Sydney region looking to embrace that most ultimate of adrenaline rushes - a skydive from several thousand feet - will have to travel a little outside the city limits in order to do so. The nearest drop zone to the city lies near Picton, a small and tranquil country town characterised by its Victorian architecture and that takes just under an hour to reach from Sydney and is done with Sydney Skydivers. Once there, however, you'll find a drop zone that offers gorgeous views over both the panorama of the Blue Mountains, the Sydney skyline in the distance and extending out to the coast that serve as a wonderful backdrop for the free-fall to come. It's one of the more scenic spots to skydive in Australia - assuming you can keep your eyes open.

#85 - Visit the Daydream Mine at Silverton

Where is it? Silverton, NSW

Venture down into the depths of the earth at this vintage mine on the outskirts of regional NSW town Silverton, and you'll get a (sometimes claustrophobic) dose of the working conditions miners faced when swinging pick and shovel in the late 1800's. The sheer remoteness and the harshness of the landscape in which the mine is located sets the scene before you don your hard hats, switch on your battery lights and descend into the shaft where the atmosphere soon hits. The role that mining played - and still plays - in Australia's development is explained and demonstrated in detail on tours into the mine, and it's a humbling experience to realise that even children were forced to plumb the earth for minerals in days past. Cap it all off with some tea and scones that should help cheer you up.

#84 - Learn to Surf at Byron Bay

Where is it? Byron Bay, NSW

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There are few sports that are as ingrained into the Australian culture as surfing, and there are also few better easily accessible beaches in NSW than Byron Bay; combine the two, and you've got a perfect recipe for adding an essential bucket list skill to your repertoire. Byron Bay owes a large amount of its history and development as a direct result of its origins as a surfing hotspot, with people having been drawn to the area for years to enjoy its quality breaks and put its surfing reputation to the test. First-timers can thus take advantage of the number of surf schools that call Byron home, and assist you both in reading the surf and standing up. Who knows: it may just give you the bug for surfing and end up turning it into a life-long passion.

#83 - Get an Aussie Farm experience at Tobruk Sheep Station

Where is it? Maroota, Hawkesbury Valley, NSW

A lot of attractions throughout Australia aim to give visitors an "authentic" Aussie experience based on country Australia but fall short either in terms of quality or authenticity. This isn't the case at NSW's Tobruk Sheep Station, however - yes, it offers the chance to enjoy all those stereotypically Aussie elements such as boomerang throwing, fresh hot damper, whip cracking, billy tea and various other images of Oz, however both the genuine attitudes of the staff and the true-to-life and rustic nature of the station and its main farmhouse aren't the slightest bit fake. Whether you're visiting for the day or staying overnight, kids and adults alike will enjoy feeding the farm animals, witnessing live outback shows, and, of course, seeing sheep being shorn in true expert fashion.

#82 - Enjoy seafood on the “Oyster Coast"

Where is it? South Coast, NSW

Are you a seafood fan? If so, you'll be in your element with a trip down the southern NSW coastline as it's a part of the state so renowned for its oyster production - there are some eight estuary-based farms for the delectable shellfish dotted throughout - that it's been given the unofficial name of the "Oyster Coast". Stretching over a distance of roughly 300km starting from Shoalhaven roughly 2.5 hour's drive to the south of Sydney to Wonboyn close to the border of Victoria, the coastal strip is home to multiple facilities that produce several varieties of oyster each with their own different flavour, size and texture. Both learning about and dining upon oysters take centre stage for visitors here, and when combined with high quality wine make for one of Australia's most up-and-coming culinary destinations that can be done in an extended road trip.

#81 - Visit the Killer Whale Museum in Eden

Where is it? Eden, NSW

Australia has come a long way in its stance and understanding of the effects of whaling over the course of 150+ years, and nowhere is this fact more readily apparent then the Killer Whale Museum at NSW south coast town Eden. Whales have played a large role in this regional part of NSW throughout its history since the establishment of Eden's first whaling station back in 1828, and as a result the museum is home to literally thousands of artefacts related to whale and maritime-related factoids. It's an extremely well-curated exhibition highlighted by the signature remains of killer whale "Old Tom" and the interesting story of how he and his pod helped whalers herd their baleen whale cousins to be captured. The incredible amount of history contained here is complemented wonderfully by its location perched atop a viewpoint that provides a wonderful outlook over the waters of surrounding Twofold Bay.

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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