By now, you may have heard about the NSW Dine and Discover Vouchers being offered by the government to help get us back out and spending. Today, we share some tips on fun ways to use these vouchers and support the small businesses heavily impacted over the last year.
- So what exactly are Dine and Discover vouchers offering?
- Things you need to know about the Dine and Discover Vouchers
- 20 Great “Discover Voucher” Experiences in Sydney
So what exactly are Dine and Discover vouchers offering?
As part of an effort to get the NSW economy pumping again, the NSW Government has issued a voucher system to help us get out and about again. Under the scheme, every NSW resident over 18 years of age will be eligible to receive 4 x $25 vouchers to use at eligible businesses.
The vouchers are divided into two categories, you will get:
2 x $25 Dine vouchers for eating at restaurants, cafes, bars, wineries, pubs and clubs from Monday to Thursday, excluding public holidays (please note vouchers can’t be used to buy alcohol).
2 x $25 Discover NSW vouchers to be used for entertainment and recreation, including live music, sports and arts venues, any day of the week, excluding public holidays.
Things you need to know about the Dine and Discover Vouchers
Like all good things, there are terms and conditions, so let’s go over the main ones.
Eligibility – who can apply for the vouchers?
- You need to are registered here.
- If registered with Service NSW, you will get a reminder email to apply for your vouchers.
- To apply, along with a MyServiceNSW Account, you need two proof of identity documents – best bets either your Australian driver’s licence, Medicare card, Australian passport.
- Check if vouchers are available for your address – all local government areas in NSW should be by the end of March.
How to use your vouchers – the small print
The easiest way to use the vouchers is via the Service NSW App*. Once you have applied and your vouchers approved, they should appear in the app within an hour.
When you choose to use a voucher, the business will scan the voucher at the time of payment. If you don’t spend the full amount, they give anything left to the business. You do not get “change”.
*You can use paper vouchers you print out if you do not want to use your phone.
Rules for both Dining and Discover voucher use
There are several conditions around using your vouchers.
- Use the voucher before 30 June.
- Use the full value in one visit – you can not carry over any remaining value of the vouchers balance.
- You can not combine vouchers, i.e. you can not add your 2 x $25 voucher for a $50 bill for one person; however, two people can combine their $25 vouchers towards one bill.
Specific rules for Dining vouchers
- We can now use vouchers for dining 7 days a week – it was previously Mon-Thurs. (excluding public holidays).
- Customers can combine their vouchers towards the same bill. However, each customer can only redeem one voucher at your business per day.
- Dining vouchers are only for eat-in meals – not takeaway.
- Vouchers cannot be used for alcoholic drinks, tobacco or gambling.
How can you find which businesses to accept your vouchers
Service NSW has a business finder search tool on their website, but honestly, it’s a bit lacking. You search by postcode or suburb, and there is no way of filtering, so while it works OK for dining, it’s very much hit and miss for the Discover Vouchers.
Often, tour or activity-based businesses have registered or operational addresses far from the suburb that the activity happens.
It’s early days of the rollout, and hopefully, the search tool will improve but to combat the current limitations and help you find some great “Discover” options – businesses that offer interesting products and could really do with some support, we have put together a list cause we love a list!
Please note: Some businesses are doubling the voucher’s value, and others have ways you can combine your vouchers for an extended experience, so check the best option directly with the operator as these may change.
20 Great “Discover Voucher” Experiences in Sydney
While you can use your Discover Vouchers at cinemas and well-known attractions, it’s the tour operators like the ones below that have really missed their international guests could undoubtedly do with some support. Add some feel good to your experience by spending your voucher where it can really help!
Sydney Based Tours and Activities
Why not play tourist at home and support the companies that usually entertain our international guests? These businesses make thousands of people happy every year, and now it’s your turn to find out why and feel good for knowing you’re helping when they need it most!
Captain Cook Cruises – Harbour Cruises are not just for tourists! As locals, we really enjoy being out on the Harbour, and Captain Cook really looks after their guests.
Captain Cook is doubling the value of your Discover voucher to $50 on a host of premium dining and adventure cruises.
- Sunset Dinner from $49, normally $99
- Top Deck Lunch from $59, normally $109
- 6-course Gold Dinners with the option of a paired wine from $139, normally $189
- Whale Watching from $49, normally $99
- Rocket Sightseeing only with the standard $25 voucher value, but at only $4, it’s hard not to mention!
The Harbour Bar & Restaurant – Sydney’s new floating bar ticks the box with live acoustic music, bespoke cocktails, comfy lounges and 360-degree waterfront views. Sittings are for a minimum of 90 minutes which the option to stay on.
Why not try out their new Harbour Bar or Harbour Restaurant on your next date night?
Oz Jetboating – Use your $25 voucher to book a 30 Minute Shark Attack Thrill Ride. Thrills, smiles and laughs all around on this exciting harbour jaunt. It’s a whole new perspective on the icons with fun commentary and plenty of excitement.
To redeem the voucher call, 02 9808 3700 during business hours and the reservation team assist with a booking.
Sydney Harbour Tallships – Great family outing, you can even take a turn at the wheel or climb the mast! A sunset cruise on a tall ship is a memorable way to spend a couple of hours on the water.
The Afternoon Discovery tour is priced at $54 so once you take off your $25 voucher you will only spend $29 for 90-minute tour of Sydney Harbour. You can also add a climb the mast experience or a drinks package.
My Sydney Boat – Get some friends together (and combine your vouchers) for a sunset Champagne Cruisin Experience with My Sydney Boat. The vessel is a state-of-the-art 12-metre cruiser with 500 horsepower twin outboards and can seat ten guests.
See the best of the harbour over a 90-minute tour that celeb guests like Tom Hanks and Anthony Robbins have enjoyed. Sip French Champagne and delight in the magic golden hour views. Various pick points around the harbour.
Troll Tours – Jump on the back of a Harley or ride in style on a three-seater trike while you explore one of Troll Tours popular routes
- The Three Bridge
- Eastern Panoramas
- City Viewer
To book one of these or design your own day out (charges are by the hour), contact Troll Tours on 9568 3082, and they will apply your voucher to your booking.
Sydney Secret Bar Tour – How long since you had a night out in the city? You will discover four small bars on these fun bar tours and learn about the city’s bar culture. Along the way, guides throw in some interesting history and more than a few laughs.
Explore either Darlinghurst or Surry Hills. We had a blast on the Darlinghurst tour and hope to book the Surry Hills one soon. Justin also runs a Newtown food and street art tour if that’s more your thing. Use your voucher to take $25 off any of their tours.
Taste Cultural Food Tours is a social enterprise that provides training and opportunity to migrants and youth and is possibly the best way to “travel” overseas in 2021.
The tours mix delicious bites with engaging stories of food, history, and culture. Perfect for foodies like us missing overseas food-based trips!
We recently joined a tour of Hurstville and found some great new places to dine and enjoyed learning more about the traditions and superstitions of Chinese New Year.
These suburban experiences allow you to enjoy some cuisines you love when you travel; Vietnamese in Cabramatta, Indian in Harris Park, or tours that combine a mix of cuisines found in multicultural hotspots like Liverpool, Bankstown and Merrylands.
Taste also offers Barangaroo tours for those who want to get the lowdown on the best alternative places to eat in this new precinct.
The Sydney Connection – Join Maree on one of her famous Dining Walks, where you will experience Sydney’s small bar culture and eat at three different inner-city Sydney restaurants in one night. Along the way, Maree will share her knowledge of these fabulous city locations or answer questions you have about Sydney.
Choose from Potts Point, Darlinghurst or Surry Hills. Learn more about the city and go home with a full belly; it sounds like the perfect night to us!
Outdoor activities in Sydney
There is lots to do on the Northern Beaches, and plenty of tourism businesses have joined the scheme.
Manly Kayak Centre – Hire a kayak or paddleboard and explore the north of the Harbour or paddle around to Store Beach for a swim.
Manly Surf n Slide – Manly Surf n Slide is just a short walk from the ferry wharf and is a great family day out. There are three giant slides, and with heated water, it’s fun even when the weather cools down.
There is an onsite cafe for breakfast, lunch or just a coffee. And remember, there is no age limit on having fun!
Eco Treasures – offer paddleboard, kayak and snorkel hire and tours at both The Basin in Ku-ring-gai National Park and Manly. You can exchange one Discover voucher for 1-hours hire.
Day tours from Sydney
Sip n Savour – Premium wine tasting tour in the Southern Highlands is probably where one of my vouchers will go! The operator, Local Travel Planner, will match your $25, meaning you get $50 off the usual tour price. Just $145 per person for a full-day tour includes lunch, tastings at three award-winning boutique wineries, and a choice of a bottle of wine up to the value of $50. Departs from Sydney.
Hunter Valley Day Tour from Sydney – AEA Tours offer a small group tour to the Hunter from Sydney several times a week. This is an exceptional experience for anyone who has not visited the region for a while to see how much it has changed in recent years.
Go beyond the big-name stops and explore some of the Hunters small producers. You will visit 3 wineries with tastings and enjoy a grazing board for lunch. Make a stop at the sensational Binnorie Dairy, where I guarantee you will want to buy almost everything you taste and visit the Hunter’s only locally operated distillery.
Regional NSW Tours and Activities
The next group of suggestions depart from areas surrounding Greater Sydney
While our regional areas have been busier lately than the city centres, some operators are still struggling with a lack of international visitors; these visitors consistently rate them highly, so isn’t it about time we locals found out what all the five-star ratings are about?
Let’s start by heading west.
Blue Mountains Explorer Bus – The drivers on the big red bus, a well-known feature of the Blue Mountains, have missed having guests on board, but they have used the time to overhaul their route and add some great new tours and experiences.
Kids ride free on all Blue Mountains Explorer bus tours making this is an affordable day out for the family.
Blue Mountains Picnics – grab your special person and head to the Blue Mountains for a romantic picnic. This local company has discovered all the best spots and will make sure you can create special memories.
It’s a perfect way to propose too (just sayin)!
Blue Mountains Stargazing – Join Astrophysicist Dimitri, PhD and his partner Caroline for a fun and interactive 90-minute astronomy tour. These Leura locals will share their love and knowledge of the stars, skies, and Blue Mountains. The tour begins with a Jamison Valley sunset. It includes telescope viewing of the moon, planets, stars and deep space objects, naked-eye astronomy, constellation storytelling and hot chocolate, all with the sounds of Wentworth Falls in the background.
Find out more or book directly on their website.
Elixir Journeys – These tours on the NSW Central Coast just north of Sydney include bush walks, sailing and kayaking trips and some great foodie options.
Guaranteed to make you fall in love with this beautiful part of the coast, one of their short walks, either the Nature Therapy or the Sunset Stroll in Bouddi National Park, are affordable ways to put your Discover voucher to good use. For a special treat, selected tours include lunch at Bells in Killcare!
Country Food Trails in Orange – There is plenty of variety on offer at Country Food Trails. With everything from walking and heritage tours of Orange and Millthorpe to tours focusing on particular specialties like ale, wine and even saffron!
Nicole offers down-to-earth food and wine tours of Orange, helping you discover one of NSW’s best regions.
AEA Luxury Day Tour of Mudgee – Well known for their high-quality multi-day tours of NSW, AAE also offer a range of fabulous day tours. One for wine lovers is their day tour of Mudgee that includes two winery visits, a superb lunch at Guneemooroo Estate and a tasting at Mudgee Honey Haven.
AEA tours offer a little bit of luxury and really fantastic service. If you are staying in Mudgee, add this tour to your list of things to do.
Time to head south
Wine Knot Tours – Shoalhaven based, the team at Wine Knot have a range of food and beverage tours designed to show off the region’s best products.
If you have a holiday planned to Mollymook/Ulladulla or Jervis Bay, really consider adding one of their great days out to your visit.
I love a pun, so their aptly named “Let The Tour BEER-GIN” immediately appealed. This Distillery/ Brewery Tour between Mollymook and Jervis Bay is a fabulous day out and includes plenty to eat and drink, including lunch at Harvest Bar in Milton.
Wine Knot will match your $25 voucher, meaning you will receive $50 off on any tour booked from Monday – Thursday. The guides are passionate about the region and love what they do, ensuring you have a top day out.
South Bound Escapes – Operating out of Narooma on the far south coast, South Bound Escapes have a great range of affordable tours and activities on offer that are perfect for your next holiday. Discover this beautiful part of the coast and the popular Tilba Valley.
Use your voucher to hire an e-bike, book a pop up picnic or join one of their local produce tours that will have you sampling the best food of the region including oysters, cheese, gin, and wine!
A few suggestions for using your vouchers here:
- 2.5 Hour E-Bike Hire – 2 vouchers per person
- Big Niles Brewery Beer Tasting Paddle with Grazing Box Picnic for Two – 1 Voucher + $12 per person
- Winery Tour to Tilba Valley Winery including return transport and lunch – 2 vouchers + $30 per person
- 3 Hours e-bike hire with a picnic – 2 vouchers +$45 per person
- Pop Up Picnic for 6 people including grazing box – 2 vouchers per person
Discover the Narooma to Dalmeny Coastal Trail on an e-bike & enjoy a delicious local produce picnic.
North Coast NSW
If you are making your way north, then check out these offerings
Tasting Plate Tours – These gourmet food tours showcase the Northern Rivers of NSW, helping you to discover the best farms, restaurants and growers. Their tailored tours operate small groups of 8 or fewer and offer to pick up from Byron, Tweed Valley and even the Gold Coast.
A stand out for us is the Back Roads of Byron tour, which explores the Hinterland’s small communities. It operates daily, and the itinerary changes based on which markets and restaurant are open.
Alternatively tour two of the regions most popular Distilleries, Husk and Cape Byron Distillery with a trip to Stone and Wood. Gin, Rum, Beer and Cider oh and some fab local food, a day you won’t easily forget.
Try to use your voucher direct with the tour operator rather than a 3rd party like Klook or Viator to make sure all the money goes directly to support these small businesses.
Between last year’s bushfires and covid-19, our zoos, wildlife parks, amusement parks, water parks, and cultural institutions could all use the extra money and patronage this stimulus package offers. Whether it’s a day in Sydney’s CBD or Byron Bay, or the Bega Valley, this boost offers NSW venues the chance to get back on their feet!
If you are a tourism operator in NSW and would like to be considered for this list, please get in touch.
Find more great things to do in Sydney
- 33 Lookouts in the Blue Mountains
- An ABC of Gardens in Sydney
- The Best Day Trips from Sydney
- 21 of the Best Picnic Spots in Sydney