1. Ride the world’s steepest incline railway at Scenic World (scenicworld.com.au) before hiking in the Blue Mountains with Auswalk (auswalk.com.au). Trek through lush rainforest, listening out for lyrebirds (which can impersonate anything from chainsaws to car alarms) and then scale or descend the Giant Stairway next to the famous Three Sisters.
2. Slip and slide at The Big Banana (bigbanana.com), Coffs Harbor, where a day pass gets you two rides on the 600-m Wild Banana toboggan ride, entry to the ice- skating rink and a free banana split. Alternatively, swim with dolphins (minimum age six) at the nearby Dolphin Marine Magic (dolphinmarinemagic.com.au). For thrills and spills south of Sydney, splash out on Jamberoo Action Park (jamberoo.net) near Kiama which has water slides, race tracks and toboggan runs.
3. Dare to stroll the Skywalk at Dorrigo National Park (nationalparks.nsw.gov.au) where you’ll feel like an eagle soaring above the rainforest.
4. Spot dolphins on a boat trip, zooming through a network of coastal waterways with Port Macquarie’s Cruise Adventures (cruiseadventures.com.au).
5. Experience the past at Timbertown (timbertown.com. au) near Wauchope where steam trains and horse-drawn carriages take you back to the pioneer days.
6. See humpback whales (June-November) from the whale-watching platform at Iluka (ilukansw.com.au), reached by walking the World Heritage Rainforest Walk. Alternatively, take a boat trip with one of the many operators along the New South Wales coast, such as Whale Watching Byron Bay (whalewatchingbyronbay.com.au).
7. Learn to surf with the Byron Bay Surf School (byronbaysurfschool.com). A one-day course teaches you basic surf awareness, paddling, catching waves and, all importantly, how to stand up and ride them.
8. Check out the capital, Canberra, where a ‘3 in Fun’ ticket provides entry to the miniature village of Cockington Green (cockingtongreen.com.au). The Australian Institute of Sport (ausport.gov.au/tours) and Questacon – The National Science & Technology Centre (questacon.edu.au).
9. Strike out south of Sydney to Jervis Bay where activities range from sea kayaking with the Jervis Bay Kayak Co (jervisbaykayaks.com) to learning about Aboriginal traditions with Barry’s Bush Tucker Tours.
10. Wander west of Sydney, crossing the Great Dividing Range to Dubbo where the Western Plains Zoo (zoo.nsw.gov.au) operates Roar and Snore (minimum age five) – an exciting opportunity to spend the night at this free-roaming wildlife park.