While the Sydney Opera House is quite famous, and rightfully so, there’s so much more to New South Wales than this iconic site. During our road trip from Sydney to Byron Bay, these hidden gems must not be missed.
Central Park. Located in the heart of Sydney, this 3,000 room apartment complex will be my future home. It is known all over Sydney as the hanging garden, as the entire complex is covered in plants and flowers. Forget window washers — there are gardeners that hang down the windows weekly to water the plants! The building is also entirely eco-friendly, using solar panels for energy and reusable water throughout the whole building. It’s refreshing to see a green building in a bustling city.
Wild Kangaroos. There’s a golf course in Port Stephens known for its hundreds of wild kangaroos. If you go after 6pm, you’re guaranteed to see these famous Australian marsupials. Don’t get too close though, they’re bigger and stronger than they look!
Koala Hospital. It was on the property of the koala hospital in Port Macquarie where we saw our first wild koala! It took me a bit of time to spot it high in a tree (typical Sarah fashion), but once I finally saw it I realized just how well hidden those adorable creatures are!
We continued onwards to the koala hospital where injured koalas are both rehabilitated and cared for. The hospital entry is free of charge, and to see the adorable, sleepy koalas up close and personal is completely unforgettable.
The Big Banana. Supposedly, this is a necessary stop for anyone visiting Australia. The significance of the big banana in Coffs Harbour? I have no idea. what I can say though is that they make a killer banana smoothie with vanilla ice cream, maple syrup, nutmeg, cinnamon, and, of course, banana! Yum!
The Butterfly House. Rather than going to Dolphin Marine Magic to swim with dolphins (Coffs Harbour’s main tourist attraction), we decided to do good by the animals and go to the Butterfly House instead. In an enclosure set to a humid, tropical climate, it’s incredible to see these beautiful butterflies flutter around. If you stay still enough, they may just land on you! Take in their unique colors and patterns as you observe them in this very special habitat.
Nambucca Heads Rocks. As a traveler heading up the eastern Australian coast, it is customary to paint a rock at Nambucca Heads. While we unfortunately didn’t have time, we so enjoyed strolling down the boardwalk and reading all of the messages painted on the rocks. Be sure to do this at sunset!
WSL Quiksilver Pro Surf Competition. While located in Coolangatta, and technically not New South Wales, it’s right on the border and deserved an honorary mention. Actually, if we wanted to be really technical, you could stand high on the hill overlooking Coolangatta, watching the surf competition, yet still be in New South Wales.
But anyway, if you happen to be in Australia during any of the pro surf competitions, it is absolutely worth the stop! Spend a bit of time admiring how seamlessly these surfers ride such beautiful waves, or just admiring the surfers themselves. Either way, the vibe down on the beach during a competition is fantastic, and I so loved being a part of it.
Many people journeying up Australia’s eastern coast through New South Wales tend to go from Sydney to Byron Bay to Gold Coast to Brisbane. If you can, make the journey a bit more in-depth to get a real feel for Australia. These quirky stops are well-worth the few extra days of travel!