Travel to Sydney With This 10D9N New South Wales Itinerary

City, Coasts, Mountains & Glamping: Renew Yourself With This 10D9N Itinerary in Sydney & Beyond

There’s a whole lot more waiting to be discovered!

Tired of the same walls and journeys around the few square kilometres from your home over the last two years? Luckily, has designed the ultimate itinerary to Sydney and beyond — and tested the journey you need to take to renew your love of travel. 

travel to sydney port stephens

Tomaree Head Summit at Port Stephens | Image credit: Destination NSW

There’s a whole host of activities in store for you: from taking in the coastline on the drive from Sydney up to the small seaside town of Port Stephens, before capping it off with a trip to the mountains to see canyons and waterfalls. Dolphins and beach picnics await you at the white sands of Jervis Bay, too! Wouldn’t you say that this is the perfect way to reconnect with your travel buddies?

travel to sydney bondi beach

Bondi Beach, Sydney | Image credit: Adam Krowitz

Last but not least comes the ultimate stop in New South Wales (NSW): Sydney. Aside from embarking on city side hikes and cruises to see the city icons up close, go beyond the city and book a stay at the iconic and picture-perfect landmark of Bondi Beach; only then would your trip to NSW mark its satisfying end. 

Day 1: Acquaint yourself with the best of NSW’s coastal wonders

Upon touching down at Sydney International Airport, you can do one of two things: pick up your rental car at the airport, or collect one at an off-site rental centre located a short public transport ride away. While the latter is a longer process, it’s definitely the more cost-worthy option, especially if you’re planning to rent the car for a week or more.  

Once you’ve buckled up, key in the first destination into the GPS: Port Stephens. For two hours and 45 minutes, watch as the best of NSW’s coastal attractions whizz by along the 229-kilometre stretch. First up will be the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge just 15 minutes into your journey. 

travel to sydney hunter valley

Hunter Valley | Image credit: Destination NSW

Driving through the scenic Central Coast and Lake Macquarie will let you make pit stops to fuel up with some of the region’s freshest bites: Hawkesbury River Oyster Shed and picnics at Caves Beach. Along the way, make a stop at The Entrance for that adorable photo op of interacting with pelicans; you might even get the chance to feed them! 

Once you’ve reached Port Stephens, settle down for the evening at the apartment-style resort of Mantra Nelson Bay. Wander into the town of Nelson Bay to soak up the local atmosphere and grab a bite for dinner, or stay slightly further out of town at the fabulously appointed accommodation of Oaks Port Stephens Pacific Blue Resort

Day 2: Discover the seaside town of Port Stephens

Has coming face to face with adorable dolphins always been on your bucket list? Then, you’re in luck — Port Stephens is known as Australia’s dolphin capital! Hop on a dolphin discovery cruise and relax on the deck as you discover shoals of these wonderful mammals. 

After lunch at one of the bayfront cafes at Birubi Beach or a beachfront picnic with supermarket supplies, get a rush of adrenaline in the afternoon by riding a 4WD (four-wheel drive) across sand dunes. Then, tick sandboarding off your bucket list by feeling the rush down the Southern Hemisphere’s largest coastal moving sand dunes! Suitable for ages four and above, this adventure is perfect for the whole family. 

Stockton Sand Dunes, Port Stephens | Image credit: Hugh Stewart; Destination NSW

To extend your desert adventure, how about hopping on a camel ride along the sand dunes, too? It truly doesn’t get any more unique than this! 

Day 3: Enjoy animal encounters and stunning vistas in Port Stephens

Want to continue interacting with more animals? If yes, then head to Irukandji Shark & Ray Encounters, where you’ll get close encounters with sharks and rays! Take it one step further by donning a wetsuit to get up close and personal with the animals, or stay dry from the ankles up in shallow waters. Either way, you’re in for an educational morning of learning about the animals and the importance of the ecosystems of the sea life in a natural environment — all from safe, calm waters. 

Tomaree Head Summit Walk, Port Stephens | Image credit: Destination NSW

Work up a sweat by exploring the local area, then take a leisurely hike up to Tomaree Head Summit. If you prefer to take it easier, you can drive up to Gan Gan Lookout; regardless of which route you choose, you’ll find nothing short of a spectacular panorama of the bay in front of you. 

Unwind for the day at Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary, a glamping experience set against the natural habitat of the resident koalas. Alternatively, head to one of the holiday park accommodation options in One Mile Beach and its surrounds. Set in eight hectares of bushland, this suburb offers great affordable options for families or travel groups to stay in unique but comfortable lodges. 

Spend the last few moments of daybreak witnessing these koalas in their natural habitat, exploring the park, taking a dip in the pool, or walking towards the beach. The choice is yours! 

Day 4: Fuel up for another road trip to Blue Mountains National Park

Before you leave Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary, drop by the on-site koala hospital to witness (furry) patients in their natural habitat. This visit is available every Mon to Thu, 10am to 12pm, and is included for guests of the Koala Sanctuary lodges. 

Since a three-hour drive further south awaits you for the rest of the afternoon, fuel up with an early lunch at a neighbourhood cafe before leaving Port Stephens. Lying 278 kilometres away is the famed expanse of Blue Mountains National Park

travel to sydney blue mountains

Everglades Historic House and Gardens, Leura | Image credit: Destination NSW

Once you’ve arrived, it’s a no-brainer to situate yourself right in the heart of this natural beauty. Choose from one of the many accommodation options in Leura, Katoomba and Wentworth Falls — all of which are towns in close proximity. 

After settling in, head to one of Australia’s most frequented stores — its supermarkets; in a town like Leura, Woolworths is the go-to. Enjoy dinner with a meal put together from your supermarket purchases, or head to a local cafe. Then, walk 1.5 kilometres out of town to Elysian Rock Lookout for a breathtaking view of the sunset. 

Day 5: Fill your day with coastal views and quaint towns

Start the day right with a well-nourished breakfast with one of three options. First, whip up an Aussie-style breakfast of avocado on sourdough with supplies picked up from the evening. Second, have some grub at a local cafe like Bakehouse on Wentworth. Third, enjoy a sitdown breakfast that doubles up as a fantastic vantage point of Echo Point and The Three Sisters by booking a table at The Lookout Echo Point

Three Sisters, Blue Mountains | Image credit: Destination NSW

From the lattermost, hike along the Prince Henry Cliff Walk trail to Cliff View Lookout. Just a few steps away lies Scenic World, a tourist attraction offering guests two unique experiences: the Scenic Skyway (cable car) or the Scenic Railway. Both of these rides provide unparalleled views of the mountains and are must-tries for anyone in the area (although, we’d recommend the former as it’s a glass-bottomed car!). 

Scenic World, Katoomba | Image credit: Destination NSW

From 8 to 30 Apr, Scenic World is offering a unique experience to dance the night away aboard one of their cable cars. With over 50,000 lights installed across the site, marvel as The Three Sisters and Katoomba Falls light up. 

Once you’ve reached the base station, you may continue hiking the valley. If you’ve realised that the blissful mountainous landscape (and its abundant hiking trails) is something you’d like to continue exploring, then opt for an additional night staying here. 

Moreover, activities include dancing on the Disco Skyway and silent nightclub with music programmed by Hermitude, hopping on a carnival ride, exploring the Katoomba Night-Lit Walk, walking through the kids light maze, and filling your photo album with Insta-worthy light installations. Best of all, you’ll get to satiate your tummies at the Bite Up The Night food pop-up! 

After the mountain retreat, it’s time to spend the rest of the day driving south towards Jervis Bay. The suggested 250-kilometre route takes 3.5 hours in total, with planned stops at the picturesque town of Bowral, the village of Fitzroy Falls (named after an 81-metre waterfall that you’ll also pass by) and the spectacular Cambewarra Mountain Lookout

Pro tip: If you leave Leura by 12pm, you could be at the Cambewarra Mountain Lookout by 3pm. At this time, you’ll find the best milkshakes at The Lookout Cambewarra Mountain, a local cafe that usually closes at 4pm. But, not to fret if you miss it — you’ll still get a spectacular view of clear skies as you make your way down to your final destination of Jervis Bay. 

travel to sydney jervis bay

Huskisson, Jervis Bay | Image credit: Dee Kramer

The small bayside town of Huskisson in Jervis Bay offers you a choice of accommodation options; we recommend checking out The Huskisson, a beachfront accommodation just 150 metres from Shark Net Beach, Modern Townhouse on the Creek, a three-bedroom holiday home, and Holiday Park, a hotel perfect for families.  

Day 6: Relax and watch magnificent sea creatures swimming about in Jervis Bay

Having spent most of your days in NSW hiking or driving, it’s time to unwind. The best part? Huskisson is one of the most ideal places for that!

Image credit: Whale Watching and Dolphin Cruises, Jervis Bay

Wake up bright and early to catch a morning cruise, which will ferry you out to see the resident pods of dolphins that live in the bay. If you’re lucky, you might even witness the adorable creature swimming playfully near the boat!

Fun fact: Whale watching is another popular activity in Huskisson. The prime time for this is from mid-May to mid-Nov, when guests hop on a cruise to see these spectacular creatures and admire the towering sea cliffs protecting the bay. Furthermore, during the southbound migration from Sep to Oct, many of the whales you’ll spot in Jervis Bay are mothers and their calves relaxing in the sheltered waters. How fascinating!

travel to sydney jervis bay

Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay | Image credit: Jordan Robins

Spend the rest of the day at the white sands and shimmering waters of Hyams Beach, Chinamans Beach, or Captains Beach. Did you know that these shores boast some of the whitest sands in the world? 

Come nightfall, you can either head back to your accommodation in Huskisson or check out one of the many chalet-style or small rental home accommodation options within walking distance from the main high street. Alternatively, head further down the bay to Vincentia, where you’ll find even more holiday homes. 

Plantation Point, Vicentia in Jervis Bay | Image credit: Destination NSW

Jervis Bay is also one of the few places in Australia where you might be able to catch a glimpse of the rare and natural phenomenon of bioluminescence. While it was last spotted in Jul 2020, you might indeed be one of the lucky few to spot this again! Simply head to your nearest local beach after dark, or follow #bio2021 or #bioluminescence on social media to keep your eyes peeled. 

Day 7: Experience what it’s like to live as a local

Blenheim Beach, Jervis Bay | Image credit: Destination NSW

Your stay in Jervis Bay continues to the next day, letting you experience more of what it’s like to live in a local town. So, to make the most of Huskisson and its surroundings, we suggest taking it easy (as locals do) by enjoying a picnic and a swim at the beach. Be sure to wear your sunscreen and swim with caution as there are no lifeguards on duty at many of the beaches here. 

Once you’ve had your beach fill, there are plenty of small shops and boutiques to explore like The Collective Beat, Beyond The Beach, and Whit Earth. Then, dine at one of the street-side eateries in the evening! 

Huskisson Hotel, Jervis Bay | Image credit: Dee Kramer

Fun fact: Many eateries allow you to bring-your-own drinks; locals’ go-to would be to take away from the Husky Drive-in Bottle Shop. We recommend purchasing a fabulous bottle of Australian wine and bringing it to Stonegrill Huskisson, where you can cook your own steak on a hot stone! If it’s a cool evening, dine outside on the sidewalk with the fire burner, and people watch until the restaurant closes. 

Finally, get a good night’s sleep back in Huskisson before your adventure around NSW continues the next day. 

Day 8: Continue exploring NSW on two wheels

Your NSW adventure continues the next day towards one of the most iconic beaches in the country — Bondi Beach.

Over the length of this 196-kilometre route down Grand Pacific Drive, be sure to make these pit stops to see the best of the region (thus, although the drive would take just over three hours door to door, we suggest setting aside an entire day for the drive so that you’ve got ample time to savour each stop): 

Silos Estate, Berry | Image credit: Touchdown Helicopters

First, while driving down Princes Highway, make a stop at the vineyards of Berry. It doesn’t matter which vineyard it is — just ask the owners for their recommendation on which cellar door bottle you should pick up for the evening’s post-drive relaxation. 

Also read: Top 8 Wineries in New South Wales: Hunter Valley, Sydney and Beyond

Kiama Blowhole | Image credit: Destination NSW

Your second stop will be just over 20 kilometres away in Kiama, where you’ll find the Kiama Blowhole — the world’s largest blowhole! Grab a bite at one of the picturesque waterfront restaurants before continuing your journey.

Image credit: Skydive Sydney-Wollongong

Once you’ve driven off, follow the brown directional signs and head down M1 towards Wollongong. After the half an hour drive down the scenic coast, ready yourselves for an adventure of a lifetime! Adrenaline junkies will particularly enjoy this one; Wollongong is home to some of the best skydiving sessions with epic views of the coast from above! Book your slot in advance and keep a lookout for those blue skies. 

Sea Cliff Bridge | Image credit: Destination NSW

Before rejoining the highway again, you’ll meander through coastal towns like Thirroul and Coledale. Just minutes away, find yourself at the spectacular vantage point of Sea Cliff Bridge. We suggest pulling over at Stanwell Tops Lookout for a stunning vista of Grand Pacific Drive, the hills, and the South Pacific Ocean. 

The last stop before Bondi will be Symbio Wildlife Park. If you’ve got any wildlife fans among your travel buddies, plan a stop here to meet some of Australia’s famous residents (you can even feed the kangaroos!). 

Curracurrong Falls, Royal National Park | Image credit: Destination NSW

The rest of the journey towards Bondi will be as scenic as it gets in NSW — a drive through the Royal National Park. Schedule an hour or so here and feel at one with nature at the waterfalls, hiking trails, and secluded beaches. 

When in Bondi, you might be spoilt for choice with the accommodation options available here. Our recommendation is Bondi Beach House, located just three minutes away from the tourist attraction. 

Pro tip: Before arriving in Bondi, ensure that you’ve already prearranged your parking with your accommodation. Anyway, you can rely on public transport to get around once you’re here! To do this, pick up an Opal card, which will allow you to take trains, buses, and ferries with ease. 

Besides, with an Adult Opal card, you can travel as much as you want on all public transport services within the Opal network, and never have to pay more than AU$16.30 a day, AU$50 a week, or AU$8.15 on Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays. 

Day 9: Feel the sunshine at Bondi with beachfront walks, cafes, and ferry rides

With Bondi on your doorstep, it’s time to grab breakfast and head to the beach! Work off the calories with a surfing lesson from a resident coach at Bondi Beach. Your lesson will consist of beach safety briefings and surfing basics, like how to stand on your surfboard sans the waves. If time permits, you might even get the chance to bring your board out to the water; bonus points if you’re able to ride a wave on your first try! 

For the more experienced, feel free to hire a surfboard and ask a friendly-looking surfing group if you can join them! 

Bronte Baths | Image credit: Destination NSW

After your morning at the beach, take a hike along the stunning Bondi to Coogee Walk. While the full walk is 5.9 kilometres and takes approximately 2.5 hours, you could choose to do a shortened version instead by stopping at Bronte. Here, a dip in the picturesque Bronte Baths — a tidal saltwater rock pool next to the ocean — is a must-do. While it’s a safe dip without the waves, be careful when waves from the adjacent ocean crash into the pool. 

Image credit: Destination NSW

A perfect place for lunch is with the scrumptious food and remarkable views at Icebergs Bondi. This bistro even has its own oceanside swimming pool! If you’re going on the weekend, remember to book a table in advance. 

Hornby Lighthouse at Watsons Bay | Image credit: Andrew Gregory; Destination NSW

With a little more energy in your system, take the 20-minute bus ride on service 380 to Watsons Bay. Once here, you can do one of two things: take a swim in the Watsons Bay Baths, where you’ll get views of the Sydney skyline in the distance, or take a short hike to Hornby Lighthouse. The latter will make for that picture-perfect backdrop, especially if you spot resident penguins frolicking in the waters or whales swimming past the headland during whale-watching season (from May to Nov)! 

For an early dinner, grab a takeaway fish and chips from Doyles on the Wharf Take Away and sit by the wharf. After that, hop on a ferry from Watsons Bay to Circular Quay. The 30-minute ferry ride should whisk you past the majestic landmarks of Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. 

And of course, nothing says an evening by Sydney’s world-class bay than a supper by the waterfront bars and restaurants. If you thought Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge looked stunning in the day, just imagine what it’d look like illuminated by city lights in the background. 

Travelling to Sydney between 27 May and 18 Jun 2022 will bring you a bonus evening show of Vivid Sydney. The annual festival, which celebrates its 12th year in 2022, “fuses art, innovation and technology in collaboration with some of the most boundary-pushing artists, thinkers and musicians of our time. Vivid Sydney tells a story of the harbour city beyond the icons, about urban legends, secret spaces and visions for the future.”

travel to sydney

Vivid Sydney | Image credit: Destination NSW

See the icons of Sydney set the city aglow, thanks to Vivid Syndey’s longest light walk yet — from Sydney Opera House to Central Station. Light up your nights with innovative art installations, music, and numerous activities that bring out the best of Sydney’s creative scene. 

Day 10: Instagrammable cafes and local markets in Sydney

As with any destination you intend to explore fully, it’s pertinent that your flight home is booked for the evening or night. This way, you’ll have more than a few hours left before sundown to uncover even more of the city! 

Your image gallery may be full at this point, but there’s one essential spot to capture for your Insta feed: The Grounds of Alexandria. Aside from serving some of the most delicious food in the city, this beautiful cafe boasts one of the most unique locations, too. 

Positioned in an industrial estate en route to the airport, The Grounds of Alexandria has something in store for anyone planning a visit here soon: a secret garden, available until 25 Apr 2022, and a chance to meet a goat called “Selena Goatmez”! 

Also, from 9.30am to 3.30pm every weekend, you can even browse through the stalls of fresh bakes and indie goods located just outside. 

On the other hand, if indulging in harbour views is on your to-do list right before your flight home, head to Archie’s Cafe Co. Think brunch classics with a modern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern twist, all of which are available from 6.30am on the weekdays and 8am on the weekends. 

travel to sydney fish market

Sydney Fish Market | Image credit: James Horan; Destination NSW

Spectacular food in Sydney also wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Sydney Fish Market. Open from 7am to 4pm daily, the market is home to some of the freshest seafood, and is situated right next to Darling Harbour. So, why not walk around the area and its attractions after? 

If you’ve got little ones in tow, you can take them to Tumbalong Park Playground, a great spot for climbing and water play. For the grownups, pick up an aromatic brew by choosing from the array of cafes nearby. 

Your final stop in Sydney will be one of the two: SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, located a short walk away, or Birkenhead Point Brand Outlet for some last-minute shopping. You will have to board the Sydney Shopper Hopper to get to the latter. 

With this 10D9N itinerary to uncover all that NSW has to offer, we hope you’re ready to book a ticket for that exciting holiday. 

Brought to you by 

About Author


TripZilla inspires travel with guides, tips and stories by our community of travellers in and around Southeast Asia.