Autumn: Water temperatures? Luke warm. Skies? Deep blue. Bugs? None. Now that Summer is well and truly done, let’s see what Autumn has in store for us with our 7 Essential Autumn Adventures Near Sydney.

Summer may have been and gone faster than an Australian PMship, but fear not; there’s a hell of lot to enjoy about Autumns in NSW. Think about how much quieter the campsites will be, those cool, crisp mornings that seem to cleanse your soul… check out our top suggestions for things to get swirling around in your Autumn bucket list:

#1 Surf Camping Trip

There’s something about surfing without a wetsuit that makes the whole experience a truckload more tropical. Let’s face it, most of us would deem ourselves ‘fair weather surfers’ at best, leaving the freezing cold barrel waves to big-kahuna’d nutters on a death wish. Now is the perfect time to learn to surf thanks to a water temperature that’s harder to remove yourself from than the bathtub after a bender. Head to Byron or the Royal NP.

Photo credit @digbyayton

#2 Walk the Gardens of Stone

This place is as magical as it sounds. Rock pagodas, deep canyons, towering sandstone cliffs…you wouldn’t be the first to think you accidentally fell through a wardrobe and plunged into Narnia.

130km west of Sydney, this area is a rewarding but challenging place to hike due largely to the fact that aside from the fire trails, footpaths seem to fade in and out from visibility. Donkey Mountain is a highlight to explore with its maze of slots, pillars and mini-canyons.

#3 White Water Rafting

For those of you who watched Kevin Bacon hurtle through Colorado’s rapids in “The River Wild” and thought to yourself, ‘I’d like a piece of that’, then we’ve got news for you: you can!

Fortunately you don’t have to travel very far for the experience and get stuck on a boat with Kevin. Used heavily during the 2000 Olympics, Penrith’s Whitewater Stadium offers would-be frothers the opportunity to tackle the white stuff in epic guided or self-guided trips. Prices start from $94pp for a 90min experience.

Alternatively, why not head out to the Clarence River Canoe and Kayak Trail to experience the real deal.

 Clarence River Canoe & Kayak Trail. Photo courtesy of @myclarencevalley

#4 Chasing Stars at Kanangra Walls

It’s time to swap city lights for stars on this epic road trip to the outer frontiers of the Blue Mountains: Kanangra Boyd National Park. Arguably the best view of mountains in all of Australia, this is the perfect microadventure for those looking to camp amongst nature and if conditions are right, experience star gazing like you’ve never before.

At 200km from Sydney it’s worth breaking this journey up with a visit to Jenolan Caves on the way. Oh, and maybe now’s the time to figure out how to use a slow shutter speed on your camera! Inside tip: Lyrids is a meteor shower passing overhead on the 22nd April between midnight and 5am…

Check out these pieces on the Kanangra Boyd NP.

Photo credit @twistdee

#5 Horse Trekking in the Kangaroo Valley

Whether you’re a fan of Western movies, closet horse whisperer or just fancy yourself in a pair of jodhpurs, riding a trusty steed through the NSW mountain ranges is an experience that’s very hard to beat. A multi-day trek is the proper way to do it; you’ll explore diverse and rugged terrain like explorers of the past, camping out under the stars to share stories and apply the trusted chafage cream.

Kangaroo Valley Horses will customise an amazing adventure for your group of up to 12 people, so grab a few mates and saddle up.

#6 Scuba Diving

Seeing as we’re on the theme of water, why don’t you get a little deeper this Autumn. A local spot called ‘The Walls/Apartments’’ on Sydney’s North Shore is a premium and accessible location that Dive Centre Manly can guide you through. Reefs, caves and passages – this is an experience that you won’t be forgetting in a hurry. Filled with an array of marine life (expect to see Sting Rays, Grey Nurse Sharks, Eels, Gropers and shoals of school fish) this is a sure fire way to steal conversation when you get to the pub later.

Read about Joel’s experience of diving with seals.

Photo credit @jessie_cripps

#7 Fossicking in New England

Autumn brings with it many changes, but none are more dramatic than the psychedelic shift in colour as leaves make their annual transformation. Why not head north for a weekend to drive along Fossickers Way to experience this spell binding touring route? Starting in Nundle, you’ll pass through fertile valleys, forest cloaked hills and quaint villages of yesteryear. What’s more, while you’re there you’d be a fool to not to dabble in the world of fossicking – you may even bag yourself a souvenir in the form of a rare gemstone of better still a nugget of gold. Either way, it’s far more fun than buying a lottery ticket.