A guide to NSW's great outdoors, from Sydney to Byron Bay to beyond.

Explore The Outdoors: Our guide to the great outdoors of NSW

When it comes to natural beauties, New South Wales is a real winner.

She has grand national parks, pristine beaches, the prettiest of picnic spots, underwater attractions, and so much more. Yep, the great outdoors in NSW provides endless opportunities for fun and adventure, no matter what you’re into.

From summer through to winter, from Sydney to Byron Bay, take you pick of the many outdoor experiences and natural attractions to discover throughout this state. If you’re ready for a breath of fresh air – or something to do that’s a little less boring, and a little more exciting – keep scrolling because we’ve put together eight of the best ways to make the most of NSW’s outdoor adventures.

The best things to do outdoors in Sydney, Byron Bay and beyond:

1. Hike through a national park

There are over 225 incredible national parks in New South Wales, so you’re never going to be stuck for choice! For an easy day-trip from Sydney, opt for the Royal National Park, Blue Mountains or Ku-Ring-Gai Chase. Each offer up a variety of hiking tracks covering differing grades, superb views, and can easily be reached via public transport from Wake Up! Sydney Central. Otherwise, we’ve rounded up the details on 6 of our favourite national parks across the state.

2. Picnic in a most Picturesque Setting

Pack a hamper, your bestie(s), and set up in one of the state’s stunning picnic spots.

For picnicking with views of Sydney Harbour, top choices include Cremorne Reserve, Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden, and Milk Beach.

For beachside picnics, opt for Bateau Bay Picnic Area in the Central Coast, Collins Flat Beach in Manly, Chinamans Beach in Mosman, or Wattamolla Beach in the Royal National Park.

Looking for the best picnic spots around Byron Bay? Head out for a sunrise (or sunset!) picnic at Belongil Beach (conveniently located across the road from Wake Up! Byron Bay), or hop in the car and head north to Brunswick Heads for a laid-back picnic setup by the river.

3. Marvel at some of the state’s greatest waterfalls

There’s something about magnificent waterfalls, that exudes all sorts of ‘adventure’ vibes. Your NSW Waterfalls Bucket List could go on forever, but 5 of our must do’s are:

  1. Killen Falls, an easy day trip from Byron Bay.
  2. Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains, which you’ll find along the Wentworth Falls walking track.
  3. Ellenbourough Falls, which is a perfect adventure on your Sydney to Byron Bay road trip.
  4. Gerringong Falls, an hour south from Wollongong.
  5. Curracurrong Falls in the Royal National Park, a perfect day trip from Sydney!

4. Dive into the ocean with snorkelling

If snorkelling with sea turtles has you wanting to grab your flippers faster than you can say Nemo, then you’ll want to join a Snorkel Tour with Wild Byron. As well as turtles, you’ll spot wobbegong sharks, graceful rays and plenty of colourful fish. It’s just one of the many cool outdoor experiences in Byron that you can have.

Closer to Sydney, you can discover the relatively unknown underwater world of Manly on a snorkeling tour with EcoTreasures. In small groups of just 8 people, you’ll experience Australia’s coastal culture with a local marine expert, search for endangered species, and snorkel around with over 200 fish species. Ready to dive in? Take advantage of our value-packed City, Sun & Snorkel Package.

5. Paddle it out on a kayak

NSW is filled with waterways and lush scenery, so what better way to make the most of the postcard-perfect state, then viewing it from a kayak. Some of our favourite spots for a kayak include:

  • Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park (and a tour with EcoTreasures will mean the admin is done for you);
  • Sydney Harbour (yes, you can actually cruise along the harbour! Sydney By Kayak organise tours from sunrise to sunset);
  • Clareville, in the Northern Beaches is a great day trip from Sydney, where you can hire out paddleboards to cruise along the calm waters.
  • Jervis Bay (home to some of Australia’s whitest sand, and pristine water) has many kayak tours and hire companies – a particularly great option if you’re doing a Melbourne to Sydney coastal road trip!

6. Take to the sand dunes

An easy day-trip from Sydney, you can find yourself atop the largest moving coastal dunes in the Southern Hemisphere. The Stockton Sand Dunes in Port Stephens’ Worimi Conservation Lands are an incredible sandscape, and one to add to your must-see list. As well as their Indigenous significance, the dunes are an adventure playground with options of sandboarding, quad biking, 4WDing and horseriding options. Our travel-enthusiasts Marikki and Elise, have also given their 3 hot tips for what to do in Port Stephens.

7. Get walking with a view

Upping your daily step count is that much easier when in NSW. Why? The countless coastal walks and scenic hikes, of course!

Some of our must-do hikes, include:

  • Cape Byron Walking Track in Byron Bay, which takes you to the most Eastern point of mainland Australia!
    Lucky for guests of Wake Up! Byron Bay, we have complimentary shuttles to the lighthouse at sunrise – part of our free guest activity schedule.
  • Resolute Beach Walking Track at Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park
  • Tomaree Head Summitt Walk in Port Stephens
  • The Bondi to Coogee and Spit to Manly walks in Sydney
  • Bouddi Coastal Walk, on the Central Coast
  • The Grand High Tops Walk, in Warrumbungle National Park (considered the astronomy capital of Australia!)

After all that exploring, looking for comfortable and affordable accommodation, to rest up? Explore the Wake Up! Hostels’ award-winning range of properties across Sydney, Bondi Beach and Byron Bay.

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