Nature and parks
The Royal Botanic Garden is a great place to spot birds and butterflies. There’s a free tour, daily at 10.30am, except on public holidays. Visit Taronga Zoo by ferry from Circular Quay. From the city centre, walk to Darling Harbour for the WILD LIFE zoo and SEA LIFE aquarium.
Two hours from Sydney by train is the pretty town of Bowral, which attracts garden lovers to its tulip festival. Visit the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo. Farther afield, in outback NSW, is the World Heritage-listed Mungo National Park, where many important archaeological discoveries have been made, including 40,000-year-old remains of Mungo Lady.
Natural wonders in Sydney and NSW
Wander through the Royal Botanic Garden and spot the dinosaur tree, a nickname for the Wollemi pine, whose evolutionary lineage dates back at least 90 million years. It was discovered in 1994.
Beyond Sydney, in regional NSW, are remarkable World Heritage wilderness areas waiting to be explored. The Blue Mountains are two hours by train from Sydney; join a guided tour for an introduction to the mountains’ unique flora and fauna.
The dinosaur tree was found in a deep canyon in the rugged Wollemi National Park, part of the vast Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. To see Wollemi pines in the region, visit the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah.
The Gondwana Rainforests, in northeast NSW, are also World Heritage listed. They contain many animal and plant species that are little changed over millions of years. In outback NSW is Mungo National Park, a World Heritage wilderness.
By train or bus you can get to many exciting destinations in regional NSW. Bus tours also leave from Sydney. Renting a car is a great option so you can explore NSW at your leisure. Some of the best natural attractions are near regional airports serviced by airlines from Sydney Airport.
Fragrant gardens and leafy parks in Sydney attract fruit bats, butterflies and native birds such as rainbow lorikeets, kookaburras and sulphur-crested cockatoos. On coastal trails, from May to November, watch whales on their annual migration. Walk in enchanting eucalypt forest on Sydney Harbour foreshore.
There are many attractions in Sydney and the NSW regions where you can see Australia’s native animals, such as kangaroos, koalas, platypus and echidnas. Popular destinations in Sydney are Taronga Zoo and Darling Harbour’s WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo and SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium.
Whales migrate in their thousands along the NSW coast, which stretches more than 2,000km. During whalewatching season, you'll see these majestic mammals from many headlands in Sydney and at destinations from Byron Bay in the north to Eden in the south.
Zoos and wildlife
Treetops Adventure Western Sydney
Treetop Adventure Park is a recreation activity in the tree tops, where participants slide down flying foxes, move from tree to tree on suspension bridges and enjoy many other exciting activities up to 15 metres above the forest floor.
Glenworth Valley Outdoor Adventures
Enjoy the exhilaration of horseriding in the wilderness in Glenworth Valley, only an hour’s drive north of Sydney.
Grand Pacific Drive - Sydney to Wollongong and Beyond
Experience Wollongong's spectacular coastal drive - the Grand Pacific Drive, between Sydney to Wollongong and beyond.
Explore one of the world’s finest and oldest cave systems at the Jenolan Caves, in the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains.
Enjoy horseriding and follow wild brumbies on the beautiful 2,900 hectares Snowy Wilderness resort in mountain country, in southwest NSW.
Lord Howe Island Marine Park
Lord Howe Island Marine Park is internationally significant, with the world's southernmost coral reef and the only fringing coral reef lagoon in NSW.