The opera house, the botanic gardens, the stunning natural harbour and the iconic bridge that spans it: there are plenty of things that set Sydney apart as one of the world's most famous cities for tourists. But whether you're into food and drink, culture and history or the great outdoors there's so much more to see beyond the centre of New South Wales's glorious state capital.

Immediately outside the city to the west you'll find the Blue Mountains. Named for the blue mist that rises from the eucalyptus forests at dawn, the craggy peaks are home to verdant woods and cavernous gorges, making them a mecca for photographers, nature lovers and active adventurers alike.

And as if the views alone weren't already enough, the Blue Mountains are also home to some of Australia's most treasured aboriginal landmarks, including the Three Sisters, a three-peaked rock formation over 900m high that's said to represent the three sisters who lived as members of the Katoomba tribe, and were turned to stone after a tribal dispute.

Slightly further afield, a trip out to Hunter Valley is the perfect escape for travellers who love food and drink. In the oldest and most famous wine region in New South Wales, you're sure to taste some classic tipples, from shiraz to chardonnay, and with more than 150 wineries and 15 cellar doors serving wine to choose from, you'll be absolutely spoilt for choice.

you're sure to taste some classic tipples in hunter valley, from shiraz to chardonnay

What's more, Hunter Valley is just two hours north-west of central Sydney, so it's easily accessible for both day trips and longer, more exhaustive tasting trips across the entire region. There are plenty of reasons to stay, too: it's not just wine that makes Hunter Valley worth travelling for.

The area teems with great local produce, from cheese to hand-crafted chocolate and artisanal olive oil, and these great ingredients crop up on menus in Newcastle, the beautiful seaside heart of Hunter Valley, with tons of restaurants serving delights to please your tastebuds.

Austravel are the leading Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific specialists, creating tailor-made holidays to these destinations for more than 40 years. Each of their Travel Designers spends at least a month each year exploring these countries and scoping out the best things for travellers to see and do, so you know you’ll be in the safest hands. Get inspired at austravel.com

Then, when you're done with the trendy neighbourhoods of Sydney and its amazing surroundings, you can travel across to Perth, Western Australia for something new, and there's no better way than traversing the outback on the Indian Pacific railway, which is a whole different adventure in itself.

Find out more about Austravel's itineraries here.

Getting There

When you're travelling that far, who you choose to fly with really matters. Etihad has partnered with Virgin Australia to help create multi-centre itineraries and offers a variety of services to help you get the most out of your holiday. Etihad offers three daily flights from London Heathrow and a twice-daily service from Manchester to Abu Dhabi with fast onward connections to Australia. On its state-of-the-art aircraft you'll enjoy hundreds of hours of entertainment including live news and sports channels with destination-inspired on-board dining.

For greater levels of comfort, upgrade to Business Class and enjoy spacious full flat beds, all with aisle access and a Dine Anytime menu presented by a Food & Beverage Manager to enjoy at your preferred time – a real benefit as you change time zones. Elsewhere, First Class offers a truly luxurious experience with spacious apartments on the A380 aircraft and an Inflight Chef. With flights to key Australian getaways and working in partnership with Austravel, Etihad is the perfect choice for your big adventure down under.