Eyes wide open: Where to stay in New South Wales

Whether you want to stay in style-conscious Sydney or in the heart of the bush, this Australian state has it all. We take a look at a few of the accommodation options, plus, Trailfinders expert Alex Maidment shares her tips on exploring the surroundings

By Trailfinders and Destination New South Wales
Published 17 May 2019, 12:07 BST
Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, Blue Mountains

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, Blue Mountains

Photograph by Trailfinders

For the real bush
Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, Blue Mountains

Nestled in the middle of a 7,000-acre wildlife conservancy, this luxury lodge is only two-and-a-half hours’ drive from Sydney — but it couldn't feel more remote. Private villas resemble traditional homesteads, built from wood and natural stone, and offer breathtaking views over the surrounding valley and soaring cliffs. The food is exceptional, and an expert sommelier will recommend wine pairings based on each dish. For those looking for some all-out indulgence, there’s also an onsite spa.
Rooms: Doubles from £1184pp for two nights on an all-inclusive basis

Now let’s ask the Trailfinders expert, Alex Maidment:
Make the most of the hotel’s mountain biking, horse-riding trails, guided nature walks and stargazing opportunities, which are all offered daily. There are hundreds of kangaroos, wallaroos and wombats around the resort, as well as many native birds, so you’re bound to see loads of wildlife. The hotel even offers a ‘kangaroo guarantee’.

Lord Howe Island

Photograph by Trailfinders

For a desert island feel
Capella Lodge, Lord Howe Island

Far-reaching views of mountain peaks, turquoise lagoons, lush rainforest and white beaches await guests at this intimate boutique lodge, two hours’ flight from Sydney. Set on beautiful Lord Howe Island, within the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island Group, Capella’s nine stylish rooms have a sophisticated beach house feel, reflecting the pristine natural environment. With world-class cuisine — think fresh, regional produce and an abundance of seafood — and exceptional service, Capella offers an amazing stay with experiences to match.
Rooms: Prices from £498pppn on a half board basis

Ask the expert:
This island is beautifully bitesize: it’s about 6 miles long and 1.24 miles wide, so it’s accessible to everyone. Its marine park also lays claim to the world’s southernmost coral reef, and myriad fish flit around the shallows at Ned’s Beach. Keen twitchers should keep binoculars on them at all times, as some rare and endangered birds have been spotted here, including the Lord Howe Island woodhen. There are also two volcanic summits to climb, plenty of waves to surf and, of course, sun to soak up.

Pretty Beach House, Pretty Beach

Photograph by Trailfinders

For cultural celebrations
Pretty Beach House, Pretty Beach

Perched on an escarpment above a picturesque beach within the Bouddi Peninsula, this intimate guesthouse with just four private pavilions delivers all-inclusive hospitality. Celebrating Aboriginal heritage is an integral part of staying at Pretty Beach House, and guests are even invited to take part in a traditional smoking ceremony. The LI’TYA treatments offered at the spa are also inspired by Aboriginal healing techniques.Rooms: Rooms: Prices from £603pppn on an all-inclusive basis

Ask the expert:
Join a guided bushwalk to visit one of the 100 Aboriginal sites in the surrounding area. They’re fascinating, and the guides are amazingly knowledgeable. Alternatively, spend your days meandering along the tracks in the national park and finding secluded beaches for a dip, or make the most of the hotel's skippered 40-foot yacht and set off on a day trip or two.

Spicers Vineyards Estate, Hunter Valley
Photograph by Trailfinders

For fine food and even finer wine
Spicers Vineyards Estate, Hunter Valley

Wine tasting is a given at this romantic vineyard retreat, complete with an atmospheric cellar with a 350-strong wine bottle list. Close to three beautiful national parks, and just a two-hour drive from Sydney, all 12 traditional-style guest rooms have a wood-burning fireplace and private terrace or balcony overlooking sweeping vineyards. Indulge in Restaurant Botanica’s creative degustation menu with paired wines; stand-out dishes include braised short rib with barbecued young vegetables, oyster cream and malted beer jus.
Rooms: Prices from £138pppn on a bed and breakfast basis

Ask the expert:
Take to the skies for a wholly different perspective of the Hunter Valley. It’s only from the air you’ll fully appreciate the beauty of the landscape in this part of Australia; it really is silencing. It’s easy to organise, and companies like Balloon Aloft have baskets that can carry up to 10 people.

Park Hyatt, Sydney

Photograph by Trailfinders

For a city-centre bolthole
Park Hyatt, Sydney

With showstopping views of Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Opera House, this hotel commands an enviable location in the heart of Sydney’s The Rocks neighbourhood. Harbourside restaurant The Dining Room focuses on Australian-sourced, sustainable ingredients, with signature dishes including Sydney rock oysters and hand-cut Darling River kangaroo tartare. The rooftop pool offers a view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, while some of the suites look towards the Sydney Opera House itself.
Rooms: Prices from £325 pppn on a bed and breakfast basis

Ask the expert:
Scaling the Sydney Harbour Bridge really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There’s no other view quite like it, plus guides will also explain its history and construction as you climb, which makes the whole thing even more interesting.

To book your ideal trip to New South Wales, get in touch with a Trailfinders expert like Alex, here.

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