World heritage and history

Join a backstage tour at Sydney Opera House and reserve tickets for a performance. Learn more about convict life at Hyde Park Barracks Museum, Old Government House at Parramatta, and Cockatoo Island. The Old Great North Road - World Heritage Walk follows a road built by convicts near the Hawkesbury River.

Visit World Heritage-listed wilderness in the Blue Mountains, where Scenic World Blue Mountains’ railway plunges into ancient eucalypt forest. In outback NSW, Tri State Safaris will take you to Mungo National Park. Travel to the North Coast and visit one of the national parks in the Gondwana Rainforests.

Fort Denison, Sydney Harbour National Park
The Sydney Opera House, Sydney

Discover spectacular World Heritage beauty

NSW has six sites on the World Heritage List, including four wilderness areas. The Sydney Opera House, an architectural masterpiece, and convict heritage sites such as Hyde Park Barracks and Cockatoo Island, both in Sydney, are also on the UNESCO list. Old Government House is in Sydney’s west.

Tours are available to these cultural and natural wonders and you’ll need to fly to one of them – beautiful Lord Howe Island. A range of accommodation options, from resorts and hotels to youth and backpacker hostels, are available near the listed sites in Sydney and the NSW regions.

The Gondwana Rainforests begin on the North Coast and extend across the border into southeast Queensland. The most ancient of the world’s conifers are found within this subtropical rainforest, along with lyrebirds, a native bird with the ability to imitate almost any sound.

In the Blue Mountains, Wollemi pines have survived past climatic changes. You can see Wollemi pines at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah, less than two hours’ drive from Sydney. A third of Australia’s bird species are found in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, which spans 1.03 million hectares.

The Willandra Lakes Region in outback NSW contains the world’s oldest human ritual cremation site at Mungo National Park and well-preserved fossils of giant marsupials found there contributed to the area’s World Heritage listing.

Flights from Sydney take less than two hours to Lord Howe Island, which has luxury accommodation and more casual places to stay. According to the World Heritage committee, Lord Howe is “a remarkable sample of isolated oceanic islands, born of volcanic activity more than 2,000 metres under the sea”.