5 Incredible Road Trips from Sydney

5 Incredible Road Trips from Sydney

The areas surrounding Sydney are best explored on a self-drive road trip. Pick from these incredible routes, rent a car and set off on your Aussie road trippin' adventure!

Whenever Sydney is mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind would be its iconic Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. What may surprise you, though, is that just a drive away from the city, beyond the waterfront restaurants and hipster cafés, lies a whole list of hidden gems.

There are plenty to be discovered on road trips from Sydney that will take your breath away, from mountains and beaches to vineyards and Australia’s oyster coast. Here are our top five incredible road trip picks:

1. The Greater Blue Mountains Drive (1–2 days)

The Three Sisters, Echo Point

The Blue Mountains is a World Heritage-listed area just a 1.5 hour drive west of Sydney. It is known for its dramatic cliffs, gorgeous waterfalls and eucalyptus forests. Drive along the 18 discovery trails of the Greater Blue Mountains Drive to enjoy plenty of stunning lookout stops and marked bush walking trails.

Sunrise at Sublime Point Lookout

One of the best times to enjoy the mountain range is during sunrise and sunset, when the sun casts a beautiful orange hue (among a sea of clouds, if you’re lucky enough!).

Jenolan caves | Image credit: Waypoint

Another must-visit attraction along this route is the spectacular Jenolan Caves with its underground rivers and striking stalactites.

2. Grand Pacific Drive (1–2 days)

From coastal rainforests to stunning lookouts and plenty of wildlife, the Grand Pacific Drive is a spectacular coastal route that offers a glimpse of Australia’s pacific coast to those who can only afford a day trip out.

Sea Cliff Bridge

The drive begins at Royal National Park, Australia’s oldest (and the world’s second oldest) national park home to scenic hiking trails and dramatic coastal cliffs. Then, arrive on the Sea Cliff Bridge, one of the drive’s highlights with 665m of spectacular road that hugs the coastline.

Take your road trip experience to a whole new level by going for one of Australia’s most scenic coastal skydive experience at Wollongong. If not, you can also opt for (almost) equally jaw-dropping coastal views by heading to Bald Hill Lookout, Stanwell Park.

Little Blowhole in Kiama | Image credit: Profernity

Other great stops along the Grand Pacific Drive include fruit-picking at Glenbernie Orchard, wild dolphin spotting at Jervis Bay, the world’s largest blowhole at Kiama or simply chilling out on the world’s whitest sand on Hyams Beach.

3. Sydney-Melbourne Coastal Drive (6–7 days)

Driving is a great way to travel between Australia’s two great cities, Sydney and Melbourne. Cruise along the coast for dramatic landscapes, wildlife-spotting and plenty of stops for fresh oysters!

From Sydney, you’ll actually take on the aforementioned Grand Pacific Drive and roll straight into Australia’s Oyster Coast, where you can sample freshly-shucked premium oysters from local farmers.

Montague Island

Along the way, you’ll pass by the town of Narooma, where you can sign up for a snorkel or scuba-diving trip to Montague Island for close encounters with fur seals! Don’t want to get wet? Hop on a cruise to spot wild seals sun tanning on the rocks.

Glasshouse Rocks, Narooma

After the oyster feast and wildlife encounters, take a stroll along the beach and watch the sunset over the rugged coastline featuring the Glasshouse Rocks

Sunset from Australia Rock

Head to Bar Rock Lookout to view the peculiar Australia Rock – named for its formation in the shape of the Australian map, before continuing on to Melbourne. 

4. The Hunter Valley Food and Wine Trail (1–2 days)

Did you know that the Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest wine-growing region? Wine lovers will be thrilled to know that there are over 150 wineries and cellar doors in the area, just a 2 hours’ drive north of Sydney.

Stay at one of its resorts set amongst scenic vineyards to enjoy an immersive experience. Sample a glass of Semillon or Shiraz which the region is famous for and pair it with some local cheeses and chocolates! For more action, hop on a hot air balloon and float over the rolling vineyards.

Christmas Lights Spectacular, Hunter Valley Gardens

Christmas in the Hunter gets even more magical when your favourite nursery rhyme characters light up at Christmas Lights Spectacular in the Hunter Valley Gardens from 4 Nov 2016 – 26 Jan 2017 (closed on 25 Dec 2016).

5. Legendary Pacific Coast (5-6 days)

View from Tomaree Head, Port Stephens

Uncover Australia at its best on the Legendary Pacific Coast, which stretches from Sydney to Brisbane, passing through Port Stephens, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay and Gold Coast. This 900km drive is as legendary as the name suggests, and it offers a whole smorgasbord of experiences!

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

First stop on the route is Port Stephens, the Dolphin Capital of Australia and the home of the largest coastal moving sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere. Quad bike and sand board here to your heart’s content – and when you’re done, join a dolphin-watching cruise, of course.

Koala in Koala Hospital | Image credit: Tobias Spaltenberger

At the seaside town of Port Macquarie, visit Australia’s only Koala Hospital and learn about the conservation of koalas in the wild. Enjoy a scenic coastal walk from Shelly Beach to Tacking Point Lighthouse, or pick strawberries straight from the vine at Ricardoes Tomatoes and Strawberries before heading off to Coffs Harbour. Be sure to drive to the Forest Sky Pier for awe-inspiring panoramic views from high above!

Whale watching | Photo credit: Destination NSW

Also Read: Highlights of the Legendary Pacific Coast Drive

When you arrive at the hipster beach city Byron Bay, remember to catch the sunrise at the Cape Byron Lighthouse. This is Australia’s most easterly point, and you are likely to spot a whale or two during the migration season from May to November! Treat yourself to fresh local produce at Three Blue Ducks on The Farm, before making your way to the Gold Coast.


About Author

Dina Malyana

Dina is one who is constantly dreaming of elsewhere. Her favourite days are those spent traversing across the globe with a backpack, chasing every sunset. Find her on Instagram @dinamalyana.