From the chilled-out beaches of the Pacific Coast to the desert regions of the Outback, a road trip from Sydney gives you the chance to explore the varied landscapes of Australia’s New South Wales at your own pace. Follow Culture Trip’s guide to find the most intriguing sites along the way.
Explore the nation’s capital on a road trip to Canberra
A Sydney-to-Canberra road trip takes just 3.5 hours, and travelling by car means that you can call in to see sites such as the Australian Botanic Garden at Mount Annan and the Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame in pretty Bowral. Fitzroy Falls in Morton National Park is a great place to stretch your legs on a picturesque walk and learn about the indigenous history of the area. Drop by a cellar door or enjoy lunch in historic Gundaroo before experiencing the natural limestone wonder of London Bridge Arch on Googong Foreshores. Once in Canberra, take your pick of world-class museums and galleries – including the National Museum of Australia and the National Gallery of Australia – and check out Parliament House or walk around pretty Lake Burley Griffin.
The Legendary Pacific Coast takes at least four days to complete. Stop by a waterfront spot called the Entrance for daily pelican feeding before heading to Australia’s second-oldest city, Newcastle, to check out the local arts scene or hit the waves at Merewether Beach. Port Stephens is perfect for whale or dolphin spotting, and don’t forget to make a photo stop at the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour before visiting the Dolphin Marine Conservation Reserve to swim with dolphins. Walk above the rainforest canopy at the Skywalk in Dorrigo National Park, and chill in one of Byron Bay’s cafes before doing the spectacular Cape Byron Walking Track to Australia’s most easterly point; keep a lookout for migrating humpback whales. End your trip by indulging in fresh seafood in laid-back Kingscliff and paying a visit to the World Heritage Rainforest Centre in Murwillumbah.
The Greater Blue Mountains drive takes you through some of the most dramatic scenery in New South Wales. Visit Katoomba for its famous views of the Three Sisters rock formation. Head on to historic Lithgow before taking in the view from Hassans Walls Lookout, the highest lookout in the Blue Mountains. Explore the world’s second-largest canyon in the Capertee Valley and do some birdwatching at Capertee National Park. Explore the Glow Worm Tunnel walking track and Pagoda Lookout walking track in Wollemi National Park, New South Wales’s largest wilderness area. Take your pick from cellar doors, breweries, distilleries and world-class restaurants before taking the Heritage Walking Tour around the historical buildings of Mudgee, and finally, call in at the vineyards of Rylstone, Kandos, Hill End and Gulgong.
The Grand Pacific drive starts at Australia’s oldest national park (Royal National Park), home to some of Australia’s most picturesque beaches at Wattamolla, Garie and Burning Palms. Stop at Bald Hill Lookout for incredible views of the coastline before crossing the famous Sea Cliff Bridge. Take your pick of surf beaches or experience the tranquillity of the largest Buddhist temple in the southern hemisphere, Nan Tien Temple, in Wollongong. Head to the seaside town of Kiama for the famous blowhole and make a side trip to the roaring waterfalls of the Minnamurra Rainforest. The glittering waters and renowned white sands of Jervis Bay provide the perfect ending to this road trip. Take the time to explore the walking trails and look out for kangaroos, wallabies and migrating humpback whales.
Sydney to Broken Hill is a 1,143km (710mi) road trip across New South Wales. Stop in Orange, a town famed for its fresh food and boutique wineries, before continuing to Dubbo’s Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Learn about Cobar’s long history as a mining town, before taking a side trip to the Mount Grenfell Historic Site to see the ancient dreaming artworks of the Ngiyampaa people. Experience Wilcannia’s indigenous art scene at local galleries before detouring to White Cliffs, home of Australia’s oldest commercial opal field, where you can spend a night in an underground motel. Visit the Living Desert and Sculptures at sunset to experience the vastness of the desert landscape and take an indigenous guided tour of the rich Aboriginal cultural site at Mutawintji National Park.