DANNY DE HEK Entrepreneur Decision Maker Connector Podcaster EducatorThe historic ‘First State’ of New South Wales is an exciting and unforgettable holiday destination.

Visitors are spoilt with choice; from Sydney’s big city buzz to the Blue Mountains, from Coff’s Harbour’s Big Banana, to Goulburn’s Big Merino and the outback beauty of Broken Hill.

The scope is truly extraordinary, but the biggest and brightest ‘must-see’ attraction is the incomparable icon of Australia’s success – Sydney. This scintillating lodestar of the Southern Hemisphere has been in the celestial spotlight since the 2000 Olympic Games. Sydney boasts a whole host of new attractions, which make it a sophisticated, multi-cultural, shopping, sightseeing and socializing experience for travellers of the new millennium.

Once you see the instantly recognisable Opera House and Harbour Bridge, you will start to feel at home in Sydney. Then, as you absorb the city’s energy and feel the electric atmosphere, you’re into full swing. Start with a harbour cruise from Circular Quay; browse The Rocks colonial-style shops, take in the view from Centrepoint Tower, meander down majestic Macquarie Street, catch the beach culture at Bondi, tootle over to Taronga Park Zoo, or take the ferry to Darling Harbour Shopping Centre. But don’t ‘shop ‘til you drop’, as in the evenings you can dine and dance, soak up the pub atmosphere, get lucky at the casino, catch a live show – the options are infinite.

Highway touring is the ideal way to explore the hundreds of holiday spots in New South Wales. The Blue Mountains region is world-famous as a natural wonderland of virgin bush. Highlights are the picturesque town of Katoomba with its scenic railway, Skyway, Echo Point lookout, the Three Sisters rock formations and the nearby Jenolan Caves. The Central Coast is a perfect holiday destination, and includes the Hawkesbury River mouth and Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Hunter Valley should not be missed for its vineyards, colonial townships, beaches, lakes and parks. Most of the 80 wineries are open for tastings and tours, and there are superb restaurants and cafés for al fresco dining.

Central West region is dubbed ‘Explorer Country’ with gold rush towns, wineries and national parks. Here you will find Bathhurst, Australia’s oldest inland town, the Dubbo zoo and Warrumbungles National Park. North-West is a relatively remote but hospitable region including the black opal area of Lightning Ridge and Country Festival town of Tamworth. The Holiday Coast extends from the nature reserve of Myall Lakes to the bustling resort town of Coff’s Harbour, with a great range of activities, and a balmy subtropical climate. Further north is the well-known diving and whale-watching area of Byron Bay.

Whichever route you choose will lead you to exciting places, as New South Wales is a lavish smorgasbord of great holiday destinations.