&noscript=1" /> 14 Hidden Gems in New South Wales for an Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventure
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Top 13 Offbeat Hidden Gems to Visit in New South Wales

18/05/2024
11 mins read
Silverton
Source: Destination NSW

Want to get away from the city noise and find some of New South Wales’ secret spots? From the cozy streets of Tilba Tilba to the striking scenery of Silverton, we’ve found 14 unique towns ready to offer adventures for all kinds of visitors. Whether you love history, nature, or just want a quiet getaway, these lovely towns provide special experiences away from the usual tourist spots. So, pack your bags and let’s check out the roads less traveled in NSW!

Our editorial picks of the best offbeat hidden towns to visit in New South Wales are:

  • For a step back in time with heritage charm and artisan culture: Tilba Tilba
  • For a taste of the gold rush era and rustic artistic inspiration: Sofala
  • For a serene countryside experience with rich bushranger history: Uralla
  • For a unique outback film history and dramatic desert landscapes: Silverton

Tilba Tilba

Tilba Tilba is a time capsule of pastoral beauty, a village that seems to have dodged the relentless march of time. With its heritage-listed streetscape and the backdrop of Gulaga Mountain, this tiny town invites you to wander through its history-soaked avenues. The entire village is classified by the National Trust, and it’s easy to see why as you stroll past the weatherboard homes and old-fashioned shops that line the streets.

The town is a hub for local artisans, with galleries and workshops showcasing everything from handcrafted jewelry to traditional woodwork. The nearby Gulaga National Park offers a spiritual journey, with walking tracks leading to the summit of the sacred mountain, providing panoramic views of the lush countryside.

  • How far from CBD: Approximately 5 hours drive from Sydney CBD
  • Best time to visit: Spring and Autumn for mild weather and local festivals
  • Known for: National Trust-classified village, artisan shops, and Gulaga Mountain
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/hSRgK6NkvZkwhnaH9

Sofala

Sofala, known as Australia’s oldest surviving gold rush town, holds a lot of colonial history in the Bathurst region’s hills. This town used to be filled with people hoping to find gold, but now it’s a peaceful place to visit and learn about the past. The streets of Sofala have old buildings that tell stories from the time of the gold rush, making it interesting for visitors to walk around and learn.

Even though it might seem quiet, Sofala is full of creative energy, attracting artists and photographers with its old-world charm. The Turon River flows through the town, creating a beautiful spot for having a picnic or trying to find gold, reminding people of Sofala’s history with gold.

  • How far from CBD: Approximately 3.5 hours drive from Sydney CBD
  • Best time to visit: Year-round, with cooler months ideal for exploring the outdoors
  • Known for: Gold rush history, heritage buildings, and inspiring landscapes
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/4jR8HzAT5YwK6szV6

Uralla

Uralla is a unique town full of history, making it a great spot for those interested in Australia’s bushranger history and cultural background. Located in the New England region, Uralla combines history, art, and nature beautifully. By taking the heritage walk through Uralla, visitors can see over 50 historical buildings, each with its own unique story. One of the main attractions is the McCrossin’s Mill Museum, which highlights local history and the story of the notorious bushranger Captain Thunderbolt.

Apart from its historical charm, Uralla is known for its local artisans and food producers. The town’s breweries and cafes offer food and drinks made from local ingredients, which is ideal for those who love to try new foods. The beautiful scenery of the area, including the national parks nearby, provides plenty of chances for bushwalking and enjoying the peaceful Australian bush.

  • How far from CBD: Approximately 5.5 hours drive from Sydney CBD
  • Best time to visit: Autumn to experience the vibrant Seasons of New England festival
  • Known for: Rich bushranger history, artisan community, and beautiful natural surroundings
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/wVdbFwYyNXwtnQKdA

Mungo National Park

Mungo National Park, a place of profound Aboriginal and geological significance, offers an otherworldly landscape that feels more like a scene from Mars than rural New South Wales. The park is part of the Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage Area and is famous for the discovery of Mungo Lady and Mungo Man, some of the oldest human remains found outside of Africa. The Walls of China, a series of dramatic lunette dunes, are the park’s most iconic feature.

Visitors to Mungo National Park can explore the area through guided tours led by Aboriginal rangers, offering insights into the rich history and cultural significance of the land. The vast, stark landscapes provide not only a unique backdrop for photography but also a poignant reminder of Australia’s ancient past.

  • How far from CBD: Approximately 10 hours drive from Sydney CBD
  • Best time to visit: Autumn and Spring for cooler temperatures and comfortable exploration
  • Known for: Ancient human history, dramatic landscapes, and Aboriginal heritage
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/VAhnYwsuPCWGkHyDA

Kangaroo Valley

Kangaroo Valley is a true countryside gem, offering a blend of natural splendor and quaint village life. The town is embraced by the Illawarra Escarpment, providing a dramatic backdrop to the lush valley. Visitors can marvel at the historic Hampden Bridge, enjoy the local cafes, or explore the Pioneer Museum Village for a glimpse into the area’s settler history. Outdoor enthusiasts have plenty to choose from, with waterfalls, lookouts, and bushwalks aplenty.

The Kangaroo Valley is also a haven for wildlife, with opportunities to spot kangaroos, wombats, and a variety of bird species. Whether you’re kayaking on the Kangaroo River or savoring local produce at the farmers market, this valley is a slice of paradise for those seeking a slower pace and natural beauty.

  • How far from CBD: Approximately 2 hours drive from Sydney CBD
  • Best time to visit: Autumn for the Folk Festival and vibrant foliage
  • Known for: Historic bridge, wildlife, and outdoor activities
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/sPE1bAayWQYGXJs89

Silverton

Silverton might be a tiny town, but it’s full of outback appeal and a creative spirit. Known for its connection to the Australian film industry, especially as a filming location for ‘Mad Max 2’, visitors can check out the Mad Max Museum or take a look around the town’s art galleries and studios. The area around the town is dry and striking, offering a different view compared to the green valleys and seaside towns mentioned elsewhere.

For anyone wanting to see what the Australian outback is really like, Silverton is the right spot. It has vast open areas, old buildings, and welcoming people, making it a place that shows the adventurous spirit and rich culture of Australia.

  • How far from CBD: Approximately 13 hours drive from Sydney CBD
  • Best time to visit: Winter to avoid the extreme heat of summer
  • Known for: Film history, art galleries, and dramatic desert landscapes
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/NMwtNPjH9e8amBpg6

Berry

Berry, a lovely country town, mixes old-world charm with modern elegance, located in the Shoalhaven region of New South Wales. It’s perfect for those who love boutique shopping and fine dining. Berry’s streets are filled with beautifully maintained 19th-century buildings that are home to antique stores, art galleries, and coffee shops. More than just a quiet town, Berry is alive with activities and hosts many events, including the well-known Berry Markets every month. At these markets, both locals and visitors come together to sell and purchase local food and handmade items.

For those who love the outdoors, Berry is an excellent starting point to explore beautiful places like Seven Mile Beach and the green hills of the Shoalhaven area. Whether you’re visiting local wineries or having a relaxed meal at one of the town’s top-rated restaurants, Berry provides a beautiful and calm break from the busy city life.

  • How far from CBD: Approximately 2 hours drive from Sydney CBD
  • Best time to visit: Year-round, with the monthly markets and numerous festivals throughout the year
  • Known for: Boutique shopping, gourmet dining, and vibrant community events
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/sitC9B7wtKqsnbmu7

Huskisson

Huskisson, located along the shores of the beautiful Jervis Bay, is a coastal town with a deep history related to the sea. It stands as the central point of the Jervis Bay area, famous for its incredibly white sand beaches, clear blue-green waters, and lots of marine animals. The main street of Huskisson is always lively, filled with coffee shops, stores, and art galleries that show off the town’s relaxed beach atmosphere. At the Huskisson Maritime Museum, you can learn about the town’s history of building ships, and today, Huskisson serves as a starting point for nature tours and water activities, including trips to see dolphins and whales.

The area’s natural scenery is breathtaking, offering chances to go snorkeling, sailing, and kayaking in the waters of the protected marine park. For those who love walking, the White Sands Walk and the close-by Booderee National Park provide beautiful paths through the bush and along the beach. With its mix of stunning natural settings, history, and current-day fun activities, Huskisson is a perfect place for anyone wanting to experience the best of what the NSW South Coast has to offer.

  • How far from CBD: Approximately 3 hours drive from Sydney CBD
  • Best time to visit: Summer for beach activities, winter for whale watching
  • Known for: White sand beaches, marine life, and maritime heritage
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/BZZf981P6dYBEeh96

Nundle

Nundle is a cozy country town that really makes you feel like you’re part of a community, with its old-fashioned charm. It sits at the base of the Great Dividing Range, and here, history feels alive. You can explore antique shops full of interesting finds or visit the working wool mill that has been important to the town for more than 100 years.

When you visit Nundle, you can learn about the town’s history of gold mining at the Mount Misery Gold Mine Museum or enjoy the beautiful Peel River, a perfect place for fishing and having picnics. Every year, the Nundle Go for Gold Chinese Easter Festival is a big event that celebrates the town’s significant Chinese gold mining heritage.

  • How far from CBD: Approximately 4.5 hours drive from Sydney CBD
  • Best time to visit: Autumn for the Go for Gold Festival and pleasant weather
  • Known for: Gold mining heritage, Nundle Woollen Mill, and country charm
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/qJ59wfS5UwbRm36QA

Bellingen

Bellingen, also known as ‘Bello’ by the people who live there, is a town known for its creative energy and beautiful surroundings. It’s situated in a green valley next to the Bellinger River, with foggy mountains all around. Bellingen is a place full of culture, with a lively mix of music, arts, and festivals, including the well-known Bellingen Music Festival. The town’s streets have a variety of cafes, art galleries, and small shops, each showing off what the local way of life is like.

For those who love nature, the national parks around Bellingen are a dream come true, with waterfalls and trails for walking. The Bellinger River is great for kayaking, and the close-by Dorrigo National Park has beautiful rainforest paths to explore. Bellingen is more than a town; it’s a community that values living in an eco-friendly way and enjoying a relaxed lifestyle.

  • How far from CBD: Approximately 5.5 hours drive from Sydney CBD
  • Best time to visit: Spring for the Bellingen Music Festival and mild weather
  • Known for: Vibrant arts scene, community festivals, and stunning natural surrounds
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/cqXPBeRxrk1XTaXQA

Wollombi

Wollombi, in the Hunter Valley, is a quaint village that feels like a step back in time with its preserved colonial architecture and the tranquil ambiance of a bygone era. This small town is a gateway to exploring the less commercial side of the Hunter Valley, with family-run vineyards and boutique wineries offering a more intimate tasting experience. The town itself is dotted with historic buildings, local art galleries, and cafes that exude old-world charm.

For those looking to immerse themselves in local culture and history, the Wollombi Markets are a must-visit, offering everything from homemade goods to local produce. The scenic drives around Wollombi provide stunning views of the valley, making it a perfect spot for photographers and nature lovers.

  • How far from CBD: About 2 hours drive from Sydney CBD
  • Best time to visit: Spring and Autumn for wine tasting and local festivals
  • Known for: Historic village, boutique vineyards, and cultural festivals
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/HYi75XpvbzjsmdzF7

Jugiong

Jugiong is a small, lively town that attracts many people driving on the Hume Highway. It’s a place where history and modern life blend together, offering a peaceful spot by the river. The town is great for those who love food, with the Long Track Pantry offering homemade snacks and the Sir George, an old pub, serving fancy meals. Jugiong is also known for its local art, with places like the Jugiong Wine Cellar and The Yard Studio showing off the work and products of local artists.

For those wanting to take a walk, the Murrumbidgee River is a beautiful place for a slow walk or a picnic. Even though Jugiong is small, it’s full of personality and appeal, making it a perfect place to visit for anyone looking for a bit of country elegance.

  • How far from CBD: Approximately 3.5 hours drive from Sydney CBD
  • Best time to visit: Year-round, with seasonal markets and festivals adding to the town’s charm
  • Known for: Gourmet food, historic pub, local art, and riverside scenery
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/mM9TtFfrY8mNpjYg7

Glen Davis

Glen Davis, located in the Capertee Valley, is often overshadowed by its more famous neighbor, the Blue Mountains, but offers an equally mesmerizing experience with significantly fewer crowds. This hidden gem is part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and is ideal for those who love the outdoors. The ruins of the Glen Davis Shale Oil Works, set against the stunning backdrop of sandstone cliffs, provide a fascinating glimpse into the industrial history of the area.

The town serves as a perfect base for exploring the Capertee Valley, which is a birdwatcher’s paradise and home to a diverse range of wildlife. The surrounding landscape offers numerous hiking trails that boast some of the most breathtaking views in New South Wales.

  • How far from CBD: Approximately 3 hours drive from Sydney CBD
  • Best time to visit: Spring and Autumn for pleasant weather and optimal wildlife viewing
  • Known for: Stunning landscapes, wildlife, and historical ruins
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/7Fw7pHXEpdMnNveY6

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time to visit these offbeat towns in New South Wales?

The best time to visit most of these offbeat towns is during the spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) months. These seasons offer mild weather, making it comfortable to explore the outdoor attractions and participate in local festivals.

How far are these towns from Sydney?

  • Tilba Tilba: Approximately 5 hours drive from Sydney CBD.
  • Sofala: Approximately 3.5 hours drive from Sydney CBD.
  • Milton: Approximately 3 hours drive from Sydney CBD.
  • Uralla: Approximately 5.5 hours drive from Sydney CBD.
  • Silverton: Approximately 13 hours drive from Sydney CBD.

Are there unique activities or attractions in these towns?

Yes, each town offers unique attractions:

  • Tilba Tilba is known for its heritage buildings and proximity to Gulaga National Park.
  • Sofala offers a glimpse into Australia’s gold rush history with its preserved old town and nearby gold panning opportunities.
  • Milton is close to beautiful beaches and offers a mix of cultural experiences and natural beauty.
  • Uralla has rich bushranger history and is great for those interested in Australian folklore.
  • Silverton is famous for its outback scenery and film history, including the Mad Max Museum.

Can these locations be reached by public transport?

Most of these towns are best accessed by car as public transport options may be limited. Renting a car is recommended to fully explore these areas and enjoy the scenic drives.

Lachlan Taylor

Lachlan aka Lockie is a contributing writer at Humble Trail, known for his down-to-earth style and passion for the great outdoors. Born and raised in the small town of Deloriane, Tasmania, Lockie developed a deep love for nature and adventure from a young age.

His articles are a blend of his personal adventures and insightful explorations, often focused on sustainable travel, wilderness treks, and the serene beauty of untouched landscapes.

Always with his own reusable coffee cup in hand, Lockie loves a good caffeine fix as much as everyone else on the Humbletrail team.

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