Sunrise at Curracurrong Falls and Eagle Rock in the Royal National Park, Sydney

Credit: Destination NSW

New South Wales boasts an array of must-see hidden gems to explore, from the dense magical rainforests of the countryside to legendary surf along the awe-inspiring coast.

New South Wales (NSW) has several extraordinary, picturesque destinations ideal for your next getaway. From the shores of Iluka Beach on the South Coast to the Living Desert and Sculptures in Outback NSW, there’s no shortage of beautiful hidden places to visit. Adventurous travellers can venture to spots on the edges of the outback, beach seekers have no shortage of pristine bays to discover, while families will find an array of activities for everyone to enjoy at picnic areas and national parks scattered across the state.

We’ve narrowed our selection of the most stunning places in NSW, providing 15 must-see destinations that will impress all travellers. Here are the best locations to visit to immerse yourself in the beauty and wonder of NSW. 

1. Wollomombi Falls, New England North West

Wollomombi Falls

Credit: Brendan from stock.adobe.com

Wollomombi Falls, Australia's second-highest falls, offers stunning views and natural walking paths to explore. This off-the-beaten-path destination is one of the most beautiful hidden places in NSW, complete with birdwatching, camping, and a place to picnic after hiking. Wollomombi Falls is located five kilometres south of Wollomombi within Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, where visitors can venture down Chandler Walk or head to Eagle View lookout to indulge in the natural beauty of this rugged wilderness. It’s a short walk with some steep and difficult inclines, so come prepared - and don’t forget to bring a water bottle and some binoculars to catch a glimpse of the local birds along the way. Explore for an afternoon or spend the weekend at the campground surrounded by the flora and fauna of NSW.

Address: Wollomombi Falls Rd, Hillgrove NSW – Google Maps

Closest airport: Ballina Byron Gateway Airport

Distance from Ballina Airport: Three and a half hours

Opening hours: 7am to 7pm

Cost of entry: Free

Recommended visit duration: Half-day or weekend 

 

Top things to do at Wollomombi Falls

  • Hike the Wollomombi or Chandler Walking Tracks
  • Have a barbeque at Wollomombi campground
  • Go birdwatching near Wollomombi Falls lookout

 

2. Bermagui Blue Pool, South Coast

Aerial drone view of Blue Pool in Bermagui during sunrise sunset with blue sky and reflection. New South Wales, Australia

Credit: Mathias from stock.adobe.com.

Bermagui Blue Pool is a secret spot and true swimmer's paradise. As one of NSW's 100 ocean-fed rock pools, the 50-metre-long seawater swimming hole is just as popular to see as it is to take a dip.

Widely considered one of the prettiest spots along the NSW coast, the Bermagui Blue Pool is ideal to visit during the warmer months. The area also boasts opportunities to see whales during the winter and spring months from June to November. Those who want to get their feet wet can swim, snorkel, and wade in the water. There is plenty of marine life to view, from sea anemones to sea stars to sea snails, providing fun for the whole family. A quick walk takes you to the Bermagui War Memorial and Dickinson Point to explore more of the local neighbourhood. This idyllic oceanfront spot is definitely a hidden gem along the NSW coast.

Address: Pacific Drive, Bermagui NSW – Google Maps

Closest airport: Canberra International Airport

Distance from Canberra Airport: Three and a half hours

Opening hours: Open 24/7

Cost of entry: Free

Recommended visit duration: Two hours at the pool and at least a full day to explore Bermagui

 

Top things to do at Bermagui Blue Pool

  • Snorkel and swim in the ocean-fed rock pool
  • Have a picnic at Dickinson Point
  • View the Bermagui War Memorial

 

3. Jenolan Caves, Blue Mountains

The scenic River Cave system at Jenolan Caves in the Blue Mountains

Credit: Destination NSW

Jenolan Caves, tucked in the Blue Mountains National Park, provides access to beautiful underground rivers, crystal formations, and caves. Known as the world’s oldest cave system, Jenolan Caves is a must-see for those visiting NSW. There are guided tours on the weekends for show caves, including the Temple of Baal, Lucas, and Plughole. Private tours are also available, and there’s even an exclusive Plughole experience where visitors can get dirty and abseil into the heart of the mountain. Exploring the caves requires average fitness, and those interested in abseiling should have strong endurance and stamina and should be familiar with basic abseiling terminology and techniques. Arrive to the park at least 45 minutes before opening to catch the shuttle bus to the caves. Alternatively, make this stop a whole weekend trip for the unique experience of a night tour and to spend the night at Jenolan Caves House to view the early morning wildlife. For the full experience, enjoy high tea at Chisholm’s Restaurant later.

Address: 4655 Jenolan Caves Rd, Jenolan NSW– Google Maps

Closest airport: Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport

Distance from Sydney Airport: Three hours

Opening hours: 

Sunday – Thursday: 9:30am to 4:30pm

Friday and Saturday: 9:30am to 10:30pm

Cost of entry: From $33 for children and $46 for adults 

Recommended visit duration: Full day to a weekend

 

Top things to do at Jenolan Caves

  • Get dirty and explore the depths of Plughole
  • Indulge in high tea at Chisholm’s Restaurant
  • Take a private tour of one of the show caves

 

4. Mungo National Park, Outback New South Wales

Moon rising over the Walls of China in World Heritage Mungo National Park.

Credit: Destination NSW

Outdoor enthusiasts can’t miss a visit Mungo National Park, a World Heritage site and true hidden gem in NSW. Mungo National Park, located in outback NSW, is rich in Aboriginal history and home to the famous Mungo Lady and Mungo Man. As the earliest human remains found in Australia, the Mungo Man is covered in red ochre, but the Mungo Lady was cremated over 40,000 years ago.  The stunning landscape of the ancient dry lake basins and sand formations at Mungo National Park are yours to discover. Visitors can walk, picnic, and camp in the area near Lake Mungo, among many other excursions. The national park offers cycling and driving tours, namely along the Mungo Track, a 70-kilometre road through the park. Visit the Mungo Woolshed and Zanci Pastoralist Loop to learn about the farming history or spend an afternoon at the Mungo Visitor Centre. Be sure to come with a full tank of petrol and plenty of food and water. With no phone or WiFi service, you can immerse yourself in this rugged destination without distraction.

Address: Garnpang Rd, Mungo NSW – Google Maps

Closest airport: Adelaide Airport

Distance from Adelaide Airport: Six hours

Opening hours: Sunday – Thursday, 8:30am to 4:30pm

Cost of entry: $8 per vehicle

Recommended visit duration: Full day or weekend

 

Top things to do at Mungo National Park

  • Take a guided tour of Mungo Lunette (Walls of China) with an Aboriginal guide
  • Cycle the Zanci Pastoralist Loop
  • See a bird’s eye view of Mungo National Park from Red Top lookout and boardwalk. 

 

5. Resolute Beach, Sydney

Resolute Beach at Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park. Views towards Barrenjoey Headland

Credit: Andrew Gregory for Destination NSW

Beach lovers will want to schedule time to visit Resolute Beach, a secluded 60-metre-long retreat located in Ku-Ring-Gai National Park. The beach can only be reached on foot or by boat. For those driving to the destination, the best place to start the walk to the water is West Head Lookout car park, which is only a little over one kilometre to get to the sandy beach. After that, you take the loop walk from Resolute Picnic Area to get to the beach. Alternatively, you can also travel by ferry from Palm Beach to Great Mackerel Beach, then access the walking track at the beach’s north end for a short walk to Resolute Beach. With minimal swells, it is not great for surfing but offers a peaceful escape for a lovely day by the water. After spending time swimming and relaxing on the sand, head up to the Resolute Picnic Area for a barbeque and access to facilities, or continue along the track to explore the flora and fauna.

Address: W Head Rd, Ku-ring-gai Chase NSW – Google Maps

Closest airport: Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport

Distance from Sydney Airport: 45 minutes

Opening hours: 6am to 8:30pm

Cost of entry: $12 per vehicle per day

Recommended visit duration: Half to full day

 

Top things to do at Resolute Beach

  • Hike the Resolute Beach Loop Walk and discover the ancient Aboriginal engravings
  • Go for a dip in the clear blue waters of Resolute Beach
  • Have a picnic at Resolute Picnic Area

 

6. Warrumbungle Dark Sky Park, Central West and Orana

The night sky filled with bright stars over the dark sky park in the Warrumbungles

Credit: Destination NSW

Warrumbungle Dark Sky Park, Australia’s first park of its kind, was designated in 2016 and continues to draw visitors from everywhere. Perfect for stargazers, amateur astronomers, and campers, this national park offers captivating skies and walking tracks to explore. Warrumbungle Dark Sky Park is 23,312 hectares in size, providing access to two observatories, 20 telescopes to observe the Southern Hemisphere sky and three different walking paths, including Fans Horizon walking track, Bluff Mountain walking track, or Grand High Tops lookout. Every night, there’s a 90-minute stargazing session – a truly magical experience that only adds to why this is one of the many beautiful hidden places in NSW.

Address: John Renshaw Pkwy, Coonabarabran NSW – Google Maps

Closest airport: Newcastle Airport

Distance from Newcastle Airport: Five hours

Opening hours: 9am to 4pm (Visitor Centre)

Cost of entry: $8 per vehicle per day

Recommended visit duration: Overnight trip

 

Top things to do at Warrumbungle Dark Sky Park

  • Explore the Fans Horizon walking path
  • Camp underneath the stars
  • Join a stargazing session at night

 

7. Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden, Sydney

Woman enjoying the serenity in Wendy Whiteley's Secret Garden in Lavender Bay

Credit: Destination NSW

Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden is in the heart of Sydney’s Lower North Shore in Lavender Bay, offering a unique retreat amongst the city’s urban landscape. Boasting incredible views of Sydney Harbour, including the harbour bridge, this is a great spot to visit if you’re exploring the city. Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Gardens blend stunning plants and trees with artefacts and art. While traversing the steep inclines and steps, visitors will find sculptures by artists like Australia’s Joel Elenberg and items like old-time children’s tricycles and birdbaths. Whether you read a book or walk on through before heading into central Sydney, this is a must-stop hidden gem. After arriving at a car park near Kirribilli Club,  the main entrance is next to the Moreton Bay fig tree on the approach to the Whiteley’s former family home. There’s no signage or directions at the entry to this sanctuary to truly keep it a secret, so be sure to use Google Maps to find the gardens. 

Address: Lavender St, Lavender Bay NSW – Google Maps

Closest airport: Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport

Distance from Sydney Airport: 20 minutes

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

Cost of entry: Free

Recommended visit duration: Up to three hours

 

Top things to do at Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden

  • Enjoy a picnic underneath the shade of a tree
  • Explore the gardens and walk the trails
  • Read a book at one of the many tables within

 

8. Seal Rocks, North Coast

Aerial overlooking the scenic waters off Number One Beach, Seal Rocks

Credit: Destination NSW

Seal Rocks, a small village on New South Wales’ North Coast less than two hours from Newcastle, is a hidden gem due to its surf, ocean views, and gorgeous coastline. With stunning crystal-clear waters, this truly is one of the most beautiful hidden places in NSW. The Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse is a stunning site to take in the expanse of the landscape and waterfront. There’s also a sea cavern to explore and several beaches to go swimming, surfing and snorkelling, including Treachery Beach, Number One Beach, Lighthouse Beach, and Boat Beach. The Treachery Headland Walking Track is the perfect spot for the more adventurous travellers to explore the coastal rainforest and work up a sweat. Alternatively, plan a trip to Seal Rocks Nature Reserve, a small coastal island that boasts sandy shorelines and captivating tropical views for a day well spent. 

Address: Seal Rocks NSW – Google Maps

Closest airport: Newcastle Airport

Distance from Newcastle Airport: One and a half hours

Opening hours: 24/7

Cost of entry: Free

Recommended visit duration: Full day or weekend

 

Top things to do at Seal Rocks

  • Visit the Seal Rocks Nature Preserve
  • Take in the views of unspoilt beaches from Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse
  • Walk the Treachery Headland Walking Track

 

9. Kangaroo Valley, Illawarra and Southern Highlands

Hampden Bridge, Kangaroo Valley

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Kangaroo Valley is a small town located 23 kilometres north of Nowra that is rich in stunning scenery, wildlife, history, and fantastic food. This beautiful valley is famous for its sprawling farmlands, dense forests, and powerful waterfalls. Kangaroo Valley is also home to the Hampden Bridge, Australia’s last wooden suspension bridge, complete with castle-like sandstone towers. Visitors can also browse the Pioneer Village Museum to get a sense of the region’s historic roots. Beyond its beauty, Kangaroo Valley is popular for outdoor enthusiasts to explore the magnificent Shoalhaven waterways via kayaks and canoes. There’s also horseback riding available and several campgrounds to stay at during your visit. Kangaroo Valley is also home to Morton National Park, where visitors can view Fitzroy Falls. Don’t forget to try some pie at Kangaroo Valley Pie Shop, a true favourite amongst tourists! Foodies will also want to schedule a chef-led cooking class to enjoy the local produce or book a wine and cheese tasting at Yarrawa Estate. 

Address: Kangaroo Valley, NSW – Google Maps

Closest airport: Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport

Distance from Sydney Airport: Two hours

Opening hours: 24/7

Cost of entry: Free

Recommended visit duration: Weekend or long weekend

 

Top things to do at Kangaroo Valley

  • Visit the Pioneer Village Museum
  • See the stunning 80-metre waterfall at Fitzroy Falls
  • Take a trip to Yarrawa Estate to taste award-winning local wines

 

10. Wattamolla picnic area, Sydney

People enjoying swimming at Wattamolla, Royal National Park Sydney

Credit: Destination NSW

Wattamolla picnic area at Royal National Park, just 35 kilometres south of Sydney, is one of the many beautiful hidden places in NSW that visitors travel to for swimming, fishing, and bushwalking. After stopping for a short snack or lunch, the calm waters of the tranquil lagoon nearby are ideal for snorkelling, and swimming for the whole family. Those looking for an adrenaline rush can swim under the cascading Wattamolla Falls. Avid fishers also have spots along the water’s edge where they can catch the local fish and enjoy the stunning natural beauty. There are several walking tracks, including the famous Wattamolla to Eagle Rock and Curracurrong Falls, but those looking for a less strenuous activity can wander the area to explore Wattamolla Falls and the beach. Be sure to arrive early to beat the crowds (and the heat) and select your spot for a picnic underneath the cabbage tree palms.

Address: Coast Track, Royal Nat'l Park NSW – Google Maps

Closest airport: Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport

Distance from Sydney Airport: 50 minutes

Opening hours: 7am to 8:30pm

Cost of entry: $12 per vehicle per day

Recommended visit duration: Half to full day

 

Top things to do at Wattamolla picnic area

  • Go for a swim at Wattamolla Beach and lagoon
  • Enjoy a picnic underneath the cabbage tree palms at Wattamolla picnic area
  • Watch the cascades of the Wattamolla Falls

 

11. Murrays Beach, South Coast

Friends enjoy a walk along Murrays Beach at Jervis Bay, NSW

Credit: Alexandra Adoncello for Destination NSW

Murrays Beach, located along the South Coast in Jervis Bay, is a scenic must-stop that is known for its clear blue waters and soft pristine sand. Murrays Beach is conveniently located off the Murrays Beach Carpark. The protected bay within Booderee National Park offers stunning views of Bowen Island and offers calm waters that are perfect for a day spent snorkelling and swimming. While the nearby Hyams Beach is famous for its white sand and clear water, Murrays Beach offers the same stunning scenery but provides a quieter alternative to the more crowded tourist attraction. There is plenty to explore near Murrays Beach, too, with self-guided walks around the area with incredible views of the coast and Booderee’s native flora and fauna.  Murrays Beach is also near other secluded beaches like Greenpatch Beach and Iluka Beach, and Chinamans Beach further north. For those who want to get in some exercise, rent a bike for the day to ride through Jervis Bay Village and Hyam’s Beach town centre and grab some lunch at a local café.

Address: Murrays Beach, NSW – Google Maps

Closest airport: Canberra Airport

Distance from Ballina Airport: Three hours

Opening hours: 24/7

Cost of entry: Free

Recommended visit duration: Weekend or up to a week

 

Top things to do at Murrays Beach

 

12. Dorrigo National Park, Northern Tablelands

Aerial view of the viewing platform looking on to Dangar Falls in Dorrigo National Park

Credit: Alexandra Adoncello for Destination NSW

Dorrigo National Park, located just an hour from Coffs Harbour, offers exceptional birdwatching, spectacular waterfalls, and walking trails to explore the World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforest. Visitors can find red-necked pademelons, Wompoo Fruit-doves, and Regent Bowerbirds, among other species protected in the region. For outdoorsy travellers and nature lovers, exploring Dorrigo National Park is best done via walking trails. Rosewood Creek Track is five-and-a-half kilometres and passes through the rainforest’s coachwood and crabapple trees, while Red Cedar Falls Track is two-and-a-half kilometres to the highest falls in the park. After a morning walk, finish your visit to one of the most beautiful hidden places in NSW with a trip to Dorrigo Rainforest Café or Canopy Café.

Address: Dorrigo NSW – Google Maps

Closest airport: Ballina Byron Gateway Airport

Distance from Ballina Airport: Three and a half hours

Opening hours: 9am to 4:30pm

Cost of entry: Free

Recommended visit duration: Full day

 

Top things to do at Dorrigo National Park

  • Walk Red Cedar Falls track to reach the falls
  • Go birdwatching to find Wompoo Fruit-Doves
  • Enjoy a meal at Dorrigo Rainforest Café 

 

13. Mayfield Garden, Central Tablelands

Flowers blooming in Spring at Mayfield Garden in Oberon

Credit: Dallas Kilponen for Destination NSW

Mayfield Garden, located 11 kilometres from the town of Oberon, is one of the most extensive, most spectacular, cool-climate gardens in the Southern Hemisphere. This 65-hectare garden is a unique horticultural experience with a hedge maze, orchards, and a beautiful hilltop chapel. Mayfield Garden also has an aviary, stumpery, and garden rooms for visitors to explore the flora and fauna of the region. Be sure to wear closed-toed shoes and bring a coat just in case rain surprises you on your visit. You can also go glamping here overnight to truly get the full experience. Mayfield’s garden restaurants are also a must-stop for delicious daily meals and snacks. No bins are in the garden, so keep your rubbish until you get to the car park receptacles.

Address: 530 Mayfield Rd, Mayfield NSW – Google Maps

Closest airport: Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport

Distance from Sydney Airport: Three hours

Opening hours: 9am to 4:30pm

Cost of entry:

Children $10

Adults $20

Family (Two adults & Three children) $55

Recommended visit duration: Full day or overnight

 

Top things to do at Mayfield Garden

  • Make your way through the hedge maze
  • Spend the night glamping Visit the aviary to see unique birds

 

14. The Living Desert and Sculptures, Outback New South Wales

Sculptures on display at The Living Desert and Sculptures attraction in Broken Hill

Credit: Dee Kramer for Destination NSW

The Living Desert and Sculptures in Broken Hill are a beautiful spectacle, offering visitors a unique experience of viewing 12 sandstone sculptures in the middle of rugged terrain. The park offers sweeping views of the extraordinary landscape and gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, making this destination one of the most beautiful hidden places in NSW. Sundown Nature Trail is free of charge, totalling nearly three kilometres and only requiring an hour to venture. You’ll find the sculptures on Sundown Hill in Living Desert Reserve, which is best accessed from the Living Desert Picnic Area. For the best views of the landscape and sculptures, take this path just before sunset. Don’t forget to dress appropriately and bring water, especially during the summer. For campers, Starview Primitive Campsite offers van parking, a tent area, free gas BBQs and picnic tables, and a fantastic night sky view!

Address: Nine Mile Rd, Broken Hill NSW – Google Maps

Closest airport: Adelaide Airport

Distance from Adelaide Airport: Six hours

Opening hours:

Summer: 6am to half hour after sunset

All other months: 8:30am to half hour after sunset

Cost of entry:

Adults $10

Family $22

Camping fees for adults: $12 per night

Camping fees for children (6 to 15 years): $5 per night

Recommended visit duration: Full day or weekend

 

Top things to do at The Living Desert and Sculptures

  • Spend a night under the stars at Starview Primitive Campsite
  • Watch the sunset on Sundown Hill to experience the beauty of the sculptures
  • Explore the flora and fauna sanctuary

 

15. Brunswick Heads, North Coast

Aerial view of Brunswick Heads, NSW

Credit: Mel Campbell from stock.adobe.com

Brunswick Heads is an idyllic, quintessential Aussie beach town just 15 minutes north of Byron Bay. Known for its quieter, less crowded setting, visitors love the area’s laidback vibe, the white sandy beaches, and stunning crystal-clear waters along the coast and riverways. Avid anglers will want to indulge in river and beach fishing in the area, while others might opt for a trip to Brunswick Nature Reserve or the World Heritage-listed Nightcap National Park to explore the flora and fauna of this region. This beachside escape has no shortage of water activities for visitors. From the legendary waves to kayaking, snorkelling, and diving expeditions, travellers have plenty of options to experience this destination. Blue Bay Whale Watching is another must-do activity, as are the array of cafes and unique accommodations available. 

Address: Brunswick Heads, NSW – Google Maps

Closest airport: Ballina Byron Gateway Airport

Distance from Ballina Airport: 30 minutes

Opening hours: 24/7

Cost of entry: Free

Recommended visit duration: Full day or weekend

 

Top things to do at Brunswick Heads

  • Book a ticket for Blue Bay Whale Watching
  • Take a dip in the ocean at the stunning Torakina Beach
  • Visit the Brunswick Nature Preserve
  • Head out onto the water on a Brunswick River Nature Kayak Tour