With the prospect of being allowed to travel for a holiday on its way to becoming a reality, we have been daydreaming of all the natural wonders New South Wales has to offer.
So, naturally, we thought we would share our dreams with all our fabulous readers. These are just a couple of the natural wonders that Australia is blessed with, and some are only a short drive from the Sydney CBD.
The Blue Mountains are famed for housing the Three Sisters, a rock formations named after the Indigenous Australian legend. The tale goes that three sisters, (Meehni, Wimlah and Gunnedoo), who lived in the Jamison Valley as members of the Katoomba tribe, fell in love with three brothers, but because of tribal laws they were not allowed to marry. A tribal war broke out, and a witch doctor turned the sisters into stone to protect them, intending to turn them back, but he was killed before he got the chance. Visiting Katoomba is always a joy, and is made even more so when visiting the stunning Three Sisters and doing the many hikes and walks available throughout the bush.
Wedding Cake Rock is a popular and very fragile rock formation located along the challenging coast track in Sydney’s Royal National Park. You can experience the beauty of this natural wonder from the safety of a fenced area, as it is dangerous to mount the rock. Getting to the rock takes about an hour (there and back) from Bundeena, so remember to wear your walking shoes and take water!
The Sawn Rocks are another natural geological wonder, found in Mount Kaputar National Park. Better yet, after walking the track provided, your next move can be to enjoy the native woodland overlooking the peaceful farmland and craggy mountains of North West New South Wales. Plus, while you’re here, Sawn Rocks is home to an idyllic picnic area with free gas barbecues and shaded tables.
Can you imagine anything more spell-binding than venturing into a cave filled with glow worms? You can experience the magic of fireflies and glow worms when you visit the Blue Mountains through both guided and self-guided tours. Thousands of spectacular glow worms have created a magical colony in a hidden canyon which is a short distance from the retreat through which you make your bookings.
Setting out from the Mungo Visitor Centre, enjoy this refreshing 10 kilometre walking trail that takes you over the ancient Mungo lakebed to the Walls. Here, you’ll find informative signs explaining the history of the age-old formations. Make sure to notice where the rain has washed away the soft sand and mud of the lunette, creating their characteristic ridges and cracks.
Australia’s first Dark Sky Park and the first in the whole Southern Hemisphere, Warrumbungle Dark Sky Park is so named because it is a space that has exceptional starry nights and a nocturnal environment. Dark Sky Parks are specifically protected for their scientific, natural, educational and cultural heritage, not to mention public enjoyment. There are specific guidelines for handling light when staying in a Dark Sky Park, so make sure to take notice of them!
Jenolan Caves are the largest, most spectacular and most famous limestone caves in Australia. In fact, the Jenolan caves are one of the most outstanding cave systems in the world. There are nine caves in total, all with pure underground rivers and astonishing limestone formations. The caves remain at 15 degrees year round, so don’t let the cold winter days scare you off – they’re the perfect temperature for exploring!
Striking and monumental, the Stockton Bight Sand Dunes in the Worimi Conservation Lands at Anna Bay in Port Stephens cover an almighty 4200 hectares. Far from what you’d least imagine, 1800 hectares of these are actually forest, in addition to 32 kilometres of the longest moving sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere. If that isn’t enough to entice you to go and see them, we don’t know what is. The dunes reach heights of over 30 metres with slopes of up to 60 degrees, so sand-boarding is a must!
Bouddi National Park is located near Gosford on New South Wales’ Central Coast. You can stay in the park and it is also a great spot for swimming and fishing, as well as being home to several great walks. The wondrous part of the park however is the Liesegang Rings. Liesegang Rings are coloured bands of cement observed in sedimentary rocks that typically cut-across bedding. These secondary sedimentary structures exhibit bands of minerals that are arranged in a regular repeating pattern and are featured on the beautiful rocks.
The jaw-dropping Belmore Falls can be found in the Southern Highlands, and can only be accessed by a single walking track, named after the sights. The walk starts at the Hindmarsh lookout carpark, with a magnificent view of Kangaroo Valley. Follow the signs around the escarpment to several lookouts, the last of which provides views of the waterfall. It is also common to see sandstone flora on the walk, which includes flowers such as honey flower, banksia, wattle and tea-tree.
Want more NSW daytrip ideas? Explore these NSW road trips specifically designed to support communities affected by this summer’s unprecedented bushfire season. Alternatively, explore some of these Weekender guides such as Orange and Nelson Bay.