Best Driving Destinations Australia – NSW

2023-11-21
Best Driving Destinations Australia – NSW banner

New South Wales in Australia has a massive array of wonderful driving experiences. Motopool has worked hard to find the top five driving destinations in New South Wales.

New South Wales is home to some of the best driving destinations in Australia, with many providing breathtaking scenery and unlimited adventures. From driving through mountainous ranges, rainforests, and lush valleys to cruising the never-ending coastline while enjoying ample national parks, wineries, and delectable culinary delights. Strap in, fuel up and take an epic adventure to what New South Wales has to offer.

The Blue Mountains – The Great Blue Mountains Drive

Located between Sydney and the many suburbs of the Blue Mountains, this accessible one-hour drive west of Sydney will take you to the foothills of this tourist favourite area, famous for its 340-million-year-old limestone formations. With central Blue Mountains towns of Katoomba and Leura a further 30 minutes away, it’s a cruisy drive well worth the effort.

The 1,200km stretch of sealed road will take you through some truly magnificent sights, from sandstone plateaus and national parks to famous lookout points, caves, heritage spots and the renowned Three Sisters rock formation.

Best Time To Visit

The weather in the Blue Mountains can change rapidly, so it’s always important to check the weather updates regularly for this region. However, it is widely noted that the best time to visit this wonderful area is during late spring in October and November. During this time of year, you’ll experience wonderfully warm and dry conditions perfect for bushwalking, exploring and taking in the wildflowers.

In saying this, many also love to explore the region during the Autumn months to take advantage of the colourful falling leaves.

How To Get There

Around an hour's drive from Sydney, the best way to get to the Blue Mountains is from the city and following signs to Paramatta and taking the M4 Motorway starting at Strathfield, traveling through Glenbrook/Lapstone and into the foothills of the Blue Mountains.

If you are looking for a more scenic route and to bypass the highways, head towards Richmond through Mount Tomah and Bell and then across to Mount Victoria. This route will take you through the Blue Mountains National Park. If you travel from the outer west regions of Sydney, follow the signs to Lithgow and through to Hartley to enter the Blue Mountains by the Victoria Pass.

What To Do

Immersed yourself in some of the best scenery in Australia. The Blue Mountains has ample things to see and do to please all passengers. Head to Wollemi, Yengo, Gardens of Stone, Blue Mountains, Abercrombie River and Goulburn River National Parks to enjoy some of the best views in Australia and head off on ample walking trails.

If you are looking for a more adventurous aspect to your road trip, book up a 4WD expedition or head off on some abseiling, canyoning or cycling. There are also guided walks and horse riding, or you can easily spend the day visiting arts and crafts galleries or spectacular gardens. If you can't take your pets, you can always book them in for a furry retreat at a cat or dog boarding facility. 

Jump aboard the world’s steepest railway towards ancient forests or enjoy the view from the glass-floored cable car. Katoomba is a ‘must-stop’ destination to visit the famous Three Sisters Walk from the Echo Point Lookout. Don’t forget to pop into the Blue Mountains Heritage Centre for all your maps and tips on what to do and see along this incredible road trip.

Plan Your Trip

With so much to do and see, it’s a good idea to have a clear plan of exactly what you want to experience with this journey.

  • https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/driving-routes/greater-blue-mountains-drive
  • https://www.australia.com/en-nz/places/sydney-and-surrounds/guide-to-the-blue-mountains.html
  • https://int.sydney.com/destinations/blue-mountains

Pacific Coast Drive – Sydney to Tweed Heads

Voted one of the world's best coastal drives, the drive from Sydney to Tweed Heads – just south of Brisbane, is undoubtedly one for the memory books! The 1000km drive will weave you through world-famous wineries and breathtaking beaches while witnessing incredible wildlife.

Take your time and make it a whole week's adventure, or cruise up in a few days. However, most road trip experts advise giving yourself 7-10 days to enjoy the experience without feeling rushed. The entire drive takes around 10 hours; however, with so much to see and do, it’s worth giving yourself a reasonable amount of time to enjoy this spectacular spot in the world.

Best Time To Visit

Depending on what you want to do, there are varying times of the year to visit this renowned area. For those who want to beach hop up the coast, the best times of year are between September and April, while if you want to catch a glimpse of the whales migrating, May and November are the best months to head off on this epic adventure.

Summertime between December and February can bring ample crowds and scorching temperatures. Many Australians will testify that the months of Autumn from March to May are a perfect time to visit this region and explore the many things on offer; plus, you’ll experience warm and dry weather conditions alongside tepid water. To plan the best time, ensure you create a documented itinerary.

How To Get There

Head to Newcastle from Sydney, taking the M1 out of Hornsby and follow the signs to Newcastle. Then, choose your route up the coast depending on what you want to experience and the towns you want to explore. Many travellers prefer the popular routes and destinations of:

  • Newcastle to Port Stephens
  • Port Stephens to Port Macquarie
  • Port Macquarie to South West Rocks
  • South West Rocks to Coffs Harbour
  • Coffs Harbour to Byron Bay

For a detailed map of this incredible drive, take a look on this itenerary.

What To Do

Visit some of Australia's most beautiful and iconic areas and soak up the incredible views while experiencing delicious food, wine, and adventures. Visit Newcastle and enjoy sunset cruises, scenic harbour views, and the famous Memorial Walk. Don’t forget to venture towards the Hunter Valley to enjoy this world-renowned wine region.

Swim with the dolphins at Port Stephens, or head to the Rainforest Centre or Tacking Point Lighthouse in Port Macquarie. South West Rocks Arakooon National Park and Horseshoe Bay Beach are top favourites. Or get the heart pumping with some high rope climbing at The Big Banana Fun Park or skydiving in Coffs Harbour before cruising to the famous beaches and freshwater lagoons of Byron Bay and ending your journey in the beautiful Tweed Heads to soak up some Aboriginal culture at the Minjungbal Aboriginal Cultural Center or enjoy the uncrowded beaches and surf spots.

Plan Your Trip

With so much to see and do, planning is vital for this road trip to ensure you get the most out of this region.

  • https://www.australia.com/en-nz/trips-and-itineraries/sydney-and-surrounds/drive-the-legendary-pacific-coast-touring-route.html
  • https://www.visitnsw.com/things-to-do/drives-and-road-trips/legendary-pacific-coast#journeymapfeature:cea77301-f92f-11ea-96fe-067ec0c7e8f4
  • https://australiatravelquestions.com/practicalities/sydney-to-tweed-heads-road-trip/

The Snowy Mountains

The Snowy Mountains drive has quickly embedded itself as one to remember. The great thing about this road trip is that it can provide ample views and activities all year round, depending on what you want to experience.

From heading off on a skiing adventure or taking a breathtaking walk or bike ride on one of their beautiful trails, it is certainly a destination worth adding to your dream driving trips. Driving from Sydney, you’ll enjoy a six-hour scenic drive or two hour drive if heading from Canberra. If you are venturing during the snowy season, all 2WD vehicles should carry chains on this journey.

Best Time To Visit

The best times to visit will vary depending on what you want to do when visiting The Snowy Mountains and Kosciuszko National Park. If you want to enjoy the abundant skiing, the best times are between June and October, with the best snow for snow sports being July and August. However, if an adventurous mountain bike ride or hike is on the agenda, many advise heading during springtime to enjoy the beautiful wildflowers in bloom between September and November.

And don’t forget the summertime! Many also beat the crowds and head to this attractive destination during the summer months to enjoy ample fishing. One of the best-kept secrets in Ozzie is that The Snowy Mountains is home to some of the best trout fishing in the country. If you want to soak up the heat and swim in crystal clear waters, the best time to explore this region is between December and February.

How To Get There

From Sydney, head to Wollongong on the M31 and take the exit for M23 towards Canberra. Follow the signs to Tuggeranong towards the A23 and the B23 to Cooma. From here, you can choose your path to discover the region heading east on the B72 towards Tumut or following the road north towards Jindabyne.

Both ski regions of Thredbo and Perisher can be reached by car. However, if Charlotte Pass is your destination, it can only be accessed by the over-snow transport from Perisher. Again, it is essential to carry snow chains for your car if you are travelling in the Kosciuszko National Park from June to October.

What To Do

Depending on the time of year you want to visit The Snowy Mountains, there is much to see and do. In the snowy months, head off for a spot of skiing or snowboarding at Thredbo or Perisher, or if mountain biking is more to your taste, consider a spring date of adrenalin at the Mount Kosciusko Summit Trails that offers some incredible views of Australia’s highest Mountain.

Mountain bikes are permitted between Charlotte and Rawson Pass during the warmer months. Hitch up your bike to the available handy bike stands and walk the remaining 1.4km to the Summit. Many biking trails around the region can suit beginners through to extreme experiences ranging from full-day adventures to a cruisey downward trail.

During the springtime, you will enjoy the endless beauty of blooming wildflowers that carpet the region. Summertime is the perfect time of year to enjoy the incredible views and trout fishing at one of the two major lakes of Jindabyne and Eucumbene.

Fancy your hand at fly-fishing? Then Thredbo River or Bullocks Hut is a great place to start. There are even beginner lessons for those needing more gear and fishing experience.

The majestic walking trails are also a big hit in this region. Enjoy the highest peaks with the Guthega to Charlotte Pass walking trail and the Charlotte Pass to Perisher walk.

If you are visiting in the summer, consider a canoeing or kayaking adventure in the crystal-clear waters of Lake Jindabyne or even try your hand at windsurfing or wakeboarding. There is ample climbing, caving, and even abseiling, with options for beginners and pros at Jindabyne Rock.

If you prefer to get up and personal, consider a guided tour through Jillabenan Cave to enjoy the jaw-dropping cave displays. There are also a few beautiful vineyards to explore in this area and many places to grab a delicious bite while enjoying the breathtaking views.

Plan Your Trip

With so much to see and do, depending on your tastes and the months you intend to visit this region, it is vital to make a detailed itinerary to ensure you get the most out of this spectacular trip.

  • https://blog.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/summer-in-the-snowy-mountains-yep-its-a-thing/
  • https://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/snowy-mountains/mountain-biking
  • https://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/snowy-mountains/getting-to-snowy-mountains

The Hunter Valley

The Hunter Valley is one of the best road trips for the vino lovers. Well-known as Australia’s leading and oldest wine region, The Hunter Valley offers an incredible insight into the world of wine and gourmet delicacies.

With over 150 cellar doors and world-class restaurants, this trip is undoubtedly one for the foodies and wine connoisseurs. Depending on the time of year you visit this hot spot, you can enjoy ample food and wine alongside day spas or even a spot of music with Music Between the Vines.

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit The Hunter Valley is between March and May in the Autumn months. During this time, you will have excellent weather with little rain and enjoy the vineyard harvest period when The Hunter Valley is humming with activity and life.

How To Get There

The easiest way to get to this incredible part of New South Wales is heading from Sydney towards The Hunter Valley via the M1. Head north out of the city towards the Cessnock/Hunter Valley Vineyards exit to Cessnock.

The drive will take around two hours; however, if you want to enjoy the stunning scenic drive, exit the M1 at Calga and take the Tourist Drive 33 just past Gosford and weave through the historic regions of Wollombi and Pokolbin. This will add 30 minutes to the drive, but it is worth the extra time.

What To Do

There are plenty of things to do in The Hunter Valley, with wine tasting topping the list at a massive array of cellar doors and vineyards. The region is also not short of an excellent place to eat; with an enormous array of stunning fine dining options with views to match.

Sample local produce while sipping some of the best wines in Australia. Many familiar with the region also suggest booking a hot air balloon adventure to watch the sunrise from the sky alongside a gourmet breakfast option.

Stretch your legs and walk through the renowned Hunter Valley Gardens, which offer immaculate gardens alongside inflatables, slides, and rides. The area also hosts some fantastic outdoor vineyard concerts; if you enjoy a jazz festival or rock concert in this region, check out what’s on offer during your stay.

Plan Your Trip

Like all adventures, planning your trip ensures you enjoy every aspect of the region. https://www.australia.com/en-nz/places/sydney-and-surrounds/guide-to-the-hunter-valley.html

  • https://www.winecountry.com.au/
  • https://www.australiantraveller.com/nsw/hunter/hunter-valley/

The South Coast – Sydney to Jervis Bay

Are you looking for a quick adventure in the New South Wales region? The Sydney to Jervis Bay could be that trip. Only a short 2 hour and 50min hop will see you driving some of the most spectacular roads with the views to match.

However, if you want to soak in this region, many also take their time and extend the trip to ensure they get the best out of this area. Enjoy specular surf spots and the white sands and aqua-blue waters of Jervis Bay, or stop off to immerse yourself in cascading waterfalls and the beauty of ample marine life famous to the region.

Best Time To Visit

To enjoy the best weather, experts suggest heading to this region between October and April when the chance of rainfall is minimal, and you can enjoy the warmer days to explore the white sandy beaches.

However, if you want a spot of whale watching, the months between April to July and August to November are the best time to catch a glimpse of these magnificent mammals.

How To Get There

Approximately 2 hours and 50 minutes out of Sydney, there are a few ways you can get to Jervis Bay travelling from Sydney. The fastest route is heading south from Sydney via the M1 motorway and Princes Highway.

However, if you are looking for a more scenic drive with plenty to explore, take the Grand Pacific Drive that will take you through the Royal National Park, Sea Cliff Bridget, Wollongong, Shell Harbour, Kiama and Shoalhaven. This trip will take around four hours to complete. The Grand Pacific Drive starts just south of Sydney and ends in Nowra.

What To Do

Jervis Bay offers many adventures. However, the road trip from Sydney to Jervis Bay is also dotted with some beautiful experiences, from National Parks, lookout spots and beaches - the perfect excuse to stop, stretch your legs and enjoy everything on offer.

Consider stopping in at the charming village of Berry and soak in the region's history. At the same time, discover antiques and collectables or go for a wonderful stroll with the Berry Heritage Walk to discover what this quaint town offers.

In Jervis Bay, you can enjoy many activities, including dolphin or whale watching, scuba diving, snorkelling, or swimming. Stroll the pristine sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters famous for this area and head towards the Cape St George Lighthouse to view this area in all of its beauty – this is also the top spot to view the migrating whales. Point Perpendicular Lighthouse also offers breathtaking views that will have your captured memories Instagram-ready!

If you want to head off for water sports such as paddleboarding, boating, fishing, kayaking or canoeing, Hyams Beach is undoubtedly your go-to spot. Booderee National Park will also provide world-class clifftop walking trails and stunning natural beauty and wildlife.

Visit the Jervis Bay Marine Park and walk one of the prettiest trails with the White Sands Walk from Greenfield Beach to Hyams Beach. The region is also well known for its incredible foods and regional wines on offer to tempt the foodie passengers.

Plan Your Trip

Depending on how you want to get to this incredible region and what you want to explore, Motopool suggests ensuring you have a solid plan in place.

  • https://roadtrips.com.au/location/sydney-to-jervis-bay-road-trip/
  • https://int.sydney.com/destinations/south-coast/jervis-bay

 

 

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