Australasia

8 of the Best Road Trips From Sydney

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New South Wales is dotted with a veritable smorgasbord of coastal destinations, hinterland experiences and country towns to choose from when you feel like getting out and about. Those in NSW’s capital have a seemingly endless list of road trips from Sydney to choose from, and these scenic drives can take you anywhere within your home state – no matter if you want a day excursion, a long weekend getaway, or even a Christmas or Easter holiday road trip

Head out one of these 8 beautiful road trips in NSW for your next escape. Snacks and playlist are optional, but highly recommended.

For a Day Trip

The Blue Mountains

Blue Mountains. Credit: John Cooke | CC BY-SA 2.0

The Blue Mountains, located just 90 minutes’ drive from Sydney, is the ultimate destination for travellers and day-trippers alike. An iconic Australian tourist attraction found in the region is the Three Sisters, an incredible geological formation that has stood tall in the heart of the Blue Mountains National Park for more than 50 million years. Don’t forget to pack your hiking shoes so you can enjoy breathtaking scenery and incredible panoramas on one of the many bushwalking trails that wind their way through the area. Some of the other natural attractions to see in the Blue Mountains include Wentworth Falls, Leura Cascades and Govetts Leap Lookout. For those wanting to sit back and relax, there are also plenty of cafes and cosy pubs scattered throughout the villages of the Blue Mountains, including Katoomba, Leura and Blackheath.

Distance: 1 hour 30 minutes’ drive from Sydney

Palm Beach

Palm Beach. Credit: Herry Lawford | CC BY 2.0

Palm Beach is one of the most famous beaches in Sydney, sitting at the very tip of the peninsula that forms the Northern Beaches. Sydney’s Northern Beaches offer the perfect excuse for a road trip, whether you want to spend a day exploring or enjoy some time to relax on a weekend away. Many make the mistake however, of heading straight to Palm Beach without bothering to explore the 20 other stunning beaches along this stretch of coastline. So to make the most of your Northern Beaches road trip, start at the iconic Manly Beach before heading to Bilgola Beach, the hidden gem of the Northern Beaches. Make as many stops as you like on the way up to Palm Beach, but when you do arrive, the Barrenjoey Lighthouse walk is a must-do. This is a relatively short walk and the reward is the superb panoramic view across the stunning beaches in Northern Sydney.

Distance: 1 hour 30 minutes’ drive from Sydney

For a Long Weekend

Kangaroo Valley

Kangaroo Valley. Credit: emmett anderson | CC BY-NC 2.0

Kangaroo Valley is only two hours’ drive south of Sydney, making it the perfect nature escape for a night or two away. Kangaroo Valley has so much to offer, and is a great destination for most holidaymakers. It is fringed by verdant greenery and sparkling rivers, and there are opportunities for bush walks through lush rainforests or summiting hills for breathtaking mountain and valley views. The township itself boasts a charming tearoom, an old-school pub and a number of boutique shops, eateries and wineries; perfect for exploring on a lazy afternoon. On your weekend away, look out for the Kangaroo Valley Farmers Market, held on the second Sunday of each month. You’ll find stalls selling fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, jams, local honey, olive oil and more.

Distance: 2 hours’ drive from Sydney

Hunter Valley

Hunter Valley. Credit: Martin Snicer | CC BY-ND 2.0

A leisurely two-hour drive north of Sydney, the Hunter Valley is an ideal destination for lovers of the gourmet things in life. The Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest wine-producing region, and is a treasure trove of world-renowned wineries, sprawling vineyards and an abundance of cellar doors. To complement the Hunter Valley’s fine wines, you can also enjoy a selection of local produce from across the area, including cheese, olives and other gourmet goods. Hot air ballooning and horseback riding tours are just some of the many activities offered in the Hunter Valley – something to take note of if you’ve got plans to whisk your partner off on a scenic road trip or a romantic weekend getaway.

Distance: 2 hours’ drive from Sydney

Port Stephens

Port Stephens. Credit: Bernard Spragg | CC0 1.0

Escape for a day or two and get your fill of sandy shores, pristine waters and ocean breezes in Port Stephens. Less than three hours’ drive north of Sydney, Port Stephens is one of the NSW North Coast’s most popular holiday destinations for a weekend getaway. On your road trip from Sydney to Port Stephens, there are plenty of places to stop along the way, from Gosford and Newcastle. Port Stephens is famous for its golden beaches and scenic waterways, ideal for the adventure or water lover. You can spend the day swimming, surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkelling or diving. Another favourite activity among visitors is dolphin-spotting at various points along the coastline. Port Stephens is considered the dolphin-watching capital of Australia and its waters are home to more than 150 bottlenose dolphins.

Distance: 2 hours 30 minutes’ drive from Sydney

Bowral

Bowral. Credit: Erick Opena | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A road trip to Bowral is an easy two-and-a-half-hour drive southwest of Sydney. It is the largest town in the Southern Highlands and is a favoured escape for many Sydney locals. There’s something to suit most travellers in Bowral, from weekend markets and great local restaurants, to elegant boutiques and impeccably maintained gardens and estates. On the way to Bowral, or during your stay, check out some of the other picturesque towns of the Southern Highlands, such as Berrima, Mittagong and Robertson. Driving past green rolling hills and forest reserves makes a road trip to one of these small towns just as relaxing as a coastal retreat.

Distance: 2 hours 30 minutes’’ drive from Sydney

For an Even Longer Escape

Orange

Cook Park, Orange. Credit: Danny Butler Photography | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

When it comes to road trips from Sydney for foodies, set your sights on a drive out west to Orange. This charming heritage town is picture-perfect with its abundant green and fire-hued maple trees, plus the wider area is snaked with scenic winding roads and undulating pasture. Orange is known for its top quality wines and fresh produce, and there are plenty of cellar doors, farm gates and eateries where you can sample this award-winning fare for yourself. There are also plenty of chances to stop for bushwalks and hikes. Make a stop at the Jenolan Caves, near Oberon, on the way to Orange to see one of the world’s oldest limestone cave formations up close.

Distance: 3 hours 30 minutes’ drive from Sydney

Mollymook

Mollymook. Credit: eGuide Travel | CC BY 2.0

Following the Grand Pacific Drive, cruise a few hours south of Sydney for a coastal getaway in Mollymook. This is an unbeatable road trip filled with charming waterfront towns, scenic coastal stretches, golden sands and brilliant blue waters. Starting from the Royal National Park, travel through spectacular rainforests and greenery before reaching the Sea Cliff Bridge, a 450-metre-long example of architectural brilliance that hugs the South Coast’s edge. Some of the quaint towns you’ll pass on your drive, all of which are very well worth exploring, include Kiama, Gerringong and Nowra. In Mollymook, enjoy excellent surfing spots, sweeping beaches and beautifully clear waters.

Distance: 3 hours 30 minutes’ drive from Sydney

Hero image: The Sea Cliff Bridge. Credit: Bernard Spragg | CC0 1.0

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