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New South Wales

Population: Over 7.2 million

Size: 800,628sq km

State Capital: Sydney

New South Wales is the oldest and most densely populated state in Australia – around one in three Australians live here. It is a large state, and varies hugely in its geography and personality, from alpine areas to deserted, desolate stretches of Outback, from alternative, laid-back beach towns like Byron Bay to its famous capital city; the glamorous, glittering metropolis of Sydney.

Sydney is so famous that the rest of New South Wales often gets ignored by tourists and even guidebooks. But it is easy to see why people are so dazzled by the city. Sydney is busy, buzzing and beautiful to look at. Old, golden sandstone buildings sit next to towering glass skyscrapers, while those traditional postcard images, the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, rarely fail to impress in real life. There are also plenty of restaurants, parks, shops, theatres, clubs and bars to explore.

Sydney boasts a thriving arts and social scene and hosts a wide range of cultural and sporting events each year. It’s also at the heart of Australia’s economy – many international companies have an office in Sydney – and is a truly multicultural place to live. It’s estimated that more than half of the city’s current residents were either born overseas or have at least one parent living outside Australia, and, as a result, the city has a very cosmopolitan, international personality.

Outside Sydney, the pace of life in New South Wales is more low-key. Residents and visitors alike enjoy its sunny, temperate climate and the relaxed, outdoor lifestyle that climate encourages. Must-see attractions in New South Wales include hundreds of pristine beaches along the coastline (the state has over a thousand kilometres of coast!) the World Heritage listed wilderness of the Blue Mountains and the famous vineyards of the Hunter Valley.