DESPERATION NSW – please come here, we’re great, no really we are!

Sandra Chipchase and one of the good things about NSW. Photo: John Reid, Sydney Morning Herald

You have to feel for Sandra Chipchase. Just appointed CEO of the new tourism body Destination NSW, she bustles over the border from Victoria with an enthusiastic plea to all New South Welsh residents to start talking up the delights their state has to offer. We can all be tourism ambassadors in our own little ways, she says.

Instead of a chorus of ‘Hear, hear, great idea Sandra!’ she gets howls of derision as everybody with a grievance takes the opportunity to tell the world why NSW is buggered. Our transport system is a joke, our service sucks, our people are unfriendly, Sydney is unaffordable and…get this one…there are too many tourists clogging the place up.

It was a predictable reaction. Whenever Americans trumpet that they’re ‘the greatest nation on the planet’ we’re quick to sneer, ‘What about Guantanamo Bay, Hurricane Katrina, the prime lending debacle and The Bachelorette?’

British Columbians have reacted with similar scorn to their province’s latest bumper sticker slogan ‘THE BEST PLACE ON EARTH’.

Diffidence is an attractive characteristic that we share with the Canadians. We want to be liked and praised, and deep down we think we’re pretty damn good, but we find it unseemly to go around the place skiting about how great we are.

Nevertheless, just this once I’ll try to help Sandra out, by highlighting a few unique New South Wales treasures. She can deliver my ambassador’s badge (with free travel pass, accommodation and entry permits) any time!

Sculpture by the Sea opens in November, this time with funding difficulties. It's a wonderful event in which art meets nature meets 500,000 people. Don't let it die, Sandra!

The Blue Mountains. There are other national parks in NSW I could have chosen - Barrington Tops and Moreton to start with. But where else is such a wild region right on the back doorstep of a big city?

Byron Bay. I may be too old for the former hippy town turned backpacker heaven, though we've enjoyed a few Blues and Roots festivals there in the past. The villages in the hinterland are appealing when it all gets too much. Photo:

Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo. An African safari may be more adventurous, but it is unusual to find a zoo with 300 hectares of paddocks that you can explore on a bike. Photo:

Sydney Harbour. A no-brainer, including this one. But we nearly screwed it up when the Opera House was overrunning its budget and there was pressure to abandon it.

And I don’t have images for these places, but if we’re looking for interesting country towns in New South Wales, how about Broken Hill, Tamworth (well, perhaps only during the Country Music Festival), Bathurst, Orange and Cowra?

Any suggestions for expanding my list, people?


Filed under Travel-Australia

7 responses to “DESPERATION NSW – please come here, we’re great, no really we are!

  1. NSW has lots to offer. I love Sydney! Country NSW is beautiful. You could add Mudgee to your list.

  2. South Coast for seeing kangaroos on its pristine beaches.
    Southern Highlands for local food, wineries, high tea.
    Thredbo for *ahem* snow?
    It’s not all bad here. (I’m surprised Sculpture by the Sea has funding issues, I thought that would be an easy one.)

  3. michael

    I went back to Oz, after an absence of 10 years, in June & July. I spent a couple of weeks in Sydney, & was totally bowled over. I’d forgotten what an incredibly beautiful city it is. Just to take a ferry-trip to Manly & back, or a round-trip to anywhere is bliss (I did day & night trips – quite different). I found the public transport system, & the fact that one can use a day-ticket on several different forms of transport, quite wonderful; it’s efficient, clean, & operates to some degree 24 hours. There’s a superb range of food available from many different cultures…I’m stating the obvious about all these attractions, so I won’t waffle on. Two things that shocked me were the prices, and the cold (I’d never noticed winter when I lived there.) I’ve been living in tropical, ‘3rd-world’ South-East Asia. A seafood banquet for 3 or 4 that costs about $20 or $30 in Bangkok (not in a posh tourist restaurant, of course) would cost several hundred dollars in Sydney. Well, nothing you can do about that, & I’m sure that Europeans & Americans don’t find it expensive (or cold). Anyway, I came back to Thailand full of admiration. And I signed a Get-up petition to tell the govt to pull up its socks re. asylum-seekers a few weeks later (with no fear of ‘a knock on the door’ in the early hours of the morning, & a visit from The Ministry for Certain Things…), because I’m still a Citizen. Don’t knock it! (And keep alert.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s