For me, the joy of self-discovery is an important aspect of life. And during my recent visit to New South Wales, I found the opportunity to spend some time alone with my thoughts. Stepping away from my daily routine gave me time to introspect and most importantly, I got the confidence I needed to embark on an adventure, all by myself. Needless to say, I came back with memories of a lifetime.
When visiting New South Wales, one of Australia's south-eastern states, tourists tend to spend most of their time in Sydney. However, I decided to take the off-beat route. While I did spend two beautiful days in Sydney, I decided to spend some time exploring the picturesque north coast. I’m happy to report, it was the best decision I made on that trip.
If you’re already in Sydney, you can simply book yourself a flight to Gold Coast. I picked the Virgin Atlantic flight, which was super comfortable and the duration of the flight was only an hour and a half. A quick tip: If you’re flying into Gold Coast, pick the window seat to get a bird’s eye view of the city’s stunning coastline. In case you decide to drive down from Sydney, the distance is 800km and it would take you approximately 9 hours to reach the Gold Coast.
The moment I walked out of the Gold Coast airport, I was taken aback by its beauty. If you have an international driving license, I’d recommend renting a car from the airport and enjoying the views at your convenience. You can try the Hertz car rental service, the vehicles provided by them are always clean and well-maintained.
Once you start your road trip from the Gold Coast airport, you’ll experience the vibrant green valleys and the sight of horses and cows grazing the fields. I had the pleasure to travel with Rini, a Destination NSW employee, who became my friend and introduced me to the country's diverse culture.
Soak In Some Artistic Delight: Our first stop was the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre, a beautiful space which can be best described as an artist’s paradise. The gallery has also replicated Australia painter Margaret Olley’s house, which gives you a detailed view of her life. Each piece of art is aesthetically placed in the gallery - its visual storytelling at its best. This was followed by the art gallery tour and a scrumptious lunch at The Tweed Cafe, which overlooks the breathtaking Tweed Valley. I thoroughly enjoyed my order of eggplant lasagna, chips along with a chilled glass of Ginger Beer. (In Australia, I developed a taste for Ginger Beer and made sure I ordered it with every single meal.
Cycle Around Cabarita Beach: From the art gallery, we headed straight to Cabarita Beach where we stayed at the luxurious Halcyon House. The adorable boutique hotel offers beautifully designed rooms that come with state of the art facilities. We took cycles from the hotel to explore in and around Cabarita. Amidst all the work in Delhi, I forgot how much I love cycling! We rode uphill to enjoy the sunset - the breathtaking view was unlike anything I’ve seen before.
Dine At A Quaint Cafe: Another highlight of my trip was when we decided to ditch the popular restaurants and dined at a quaint cafe called ‘Pipit’, a contemporary-style Australian eatery by Chef Ben Devlin. The set menu at the restaurant was inspired by the coastal lifestyle, and their wood-fired cooking technique was a delight to the taste buds.
Sail With Humpback Whales at Byron Bay: Without a doubt, the highlight of my trip was when we drove to Byron Bay to spot the migrating Humpback Whales swimming their way from the coastline into the ocean. Watching these beautiful mammals was one of the best memories I took back home from this incredible trip.
Truly, one of a kind, New South Wales is one destination that should be on the bucket list of every traveller. In the few days that I spent there, I discovered that the destination is an immersive experience - it captivated me and gave me memories that will stay with me for years to come...
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