Five Epic Road Trips in New South Wales

There's a road trip for everyone in this stunning Australian state

by Adam & Megan

The Australian state of New South Wales is so diverse in landscape, wildlife and culture, making a road trip the very best way to explore ‘The First State.’ Venture beyond landmarks like the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Bondi Beach and you’ll certainly be rewarded with a a wealth of options to explore.

From a classic drive along the coast, a food and wine trail through the countryside, or an epic waterfall adventure, there’s a road trip for everyone in NSW.

The majestic Belmore Falls in Morton National Park in the Southern Highlands.

1 Day – Waterfall Way 

With five sparkling waterfalls to explore along the way, this one day road trip highlights the natural beauty of the mid-north coast of New South Wales.

Starting on the coastal town of Coff’s Bay where an energising hike around Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve will start you off on the right foot for a busy day of exploring.

After passing through Bongil Bongil National Park, you will venture deep into the heart of the World Heritage-listed forest in Dorrigo National Park. One of the most diverse rainforest strips in the world, take the Crystal Showers Falls walk for a stead stroll over suspension bridges and cascading waterfalls.

A gateway to countless National Parks, your next stop, Ebor, is home to magnificent volcanic landscape with steep cliffs and plunging valleys, not to mention the iconic Ebor Falls.

Passing through a field of wildflowers you will reach your penultimate stop, Wollomobbi, a tiny village set high on the edge of yet another National park. Catch a view of the dramatic rocky outcrops and fast-flowing rivers at the town’s look-out platform before you venture on to your final stop. Locally known as Cathedral City, Armidale’s tree lined streets are home to grand heritage buildings and churches.

Treat yourself to a refreshing beverage from renowned local microbrewery, Welder’s Dog for the perfect end to a day of chasing waterfalls.

Scenic views across Tumblong Hills vineyard, Tumblong near Gundagai.

2 Days – South Pacific Drive

One of Australia’s most iconic and accessible road-trips, the Grand Pacific Drive is an epic coastal journey starting in Sydney stretching all the way down to the confines of Jervis Bay.

The road will take you along a dramatic coastline of sparkling blue waters and pearly white sand beaches, over the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge and through the beautiful National Parks.

Stop off at laid-back towns in Wollongong and Shellharbour for some scrumptious seafood, stretch your legs on a coastal cliff walk in Kiama or visit Symbio Wildlife Park in Helensburgh for a cuddle with a Koala.

A manageable distance of 140 kilometres, this is the perfect road trip for families or people wanting a quick two-day coastal escape from the city.

Couple star gazing beneath the Milky Way at Outback Astronomy, Broken Hill.

4 Days – Stargazing and Storytelling 

Get away from the city light and step into Central and Outback NSW for a 4-day road trip of stargazing, storytelling and adventure.

Widely-known for its broadcast of the Apollo II moon landing in 1969, your first stop, Parkes, is a must-visit destination for astronomy lovers. Next stop is Dubbo, a town where the Milky Way comes to life across the Macquarie Valley.

Rest your head at the Zoofari Lodge and wake up surrounded by animals before venturing on to Gilgandra where you visit a working emu farm.

Head to The Warrumbungles National Park, Australia’s first and only international Dark Sky Park, one of a small pool of protected nocturnal environments, famous for its crystal clear starry nights.

Heading west towards the outback and the towns of Walgett, a paddle-steamer port in the 1800s and Lightning Ridge, the home of the rare black opal.

End your trip with a relaxing stay in Bourke, a town rich in colonial heritage and historical landmarks. Unwind with a river cruise aboard the majestic Paffle Bessel Jandra, a modern-day replica of an 1894 paddle-steamer up to Australia’s oldest moveable span bridge.

Wine Knot Tours offers an intimate wine tour in the Mollymook, Wollongong and surrounding areas. Aerial of the Grand Pacific Drive, Wollongong.

5 Days – Legendary Pacific Coast 

As you meander up the Pacific Highway, explore sea caves, meet local wildlife, sandboard giant dunes and kayak through aquamarine waters.

Departing Sydney, take the scenic route to Lake Macquarie, an aquatic playground centred around the largest saltwater lake in the southern hemisphere. Weave through the Central Coast beachside towns of Ettalong Beach, Terrigal and The Entrance. Make an early start for Newcastle, a thriving beachside town, with cool cafes and bars, a lively arts and music scene and golden beaches. Home to 26 beaches and giant sand dunes, Port Stephens is the ultimate beachside escape.

Break up the one-hour drive from Newcastle with a visit to Oakvale Wildlife Park, and get up close to koalas, kangaroos and alligators. Back in the car, head to South West Rocks, a small coastal town known for its picturesque Norfolk pines, idyllic beaches and historic gaol. It’s a slight detour off the Pacific Highway but well worth it.

Today’s destination is Coffs Harbour. The heart of the Coffs Coast region, this coastal city is surrounded by sparkling coastline, enchanting hinterland and the third largest marine park in NSW. This morning, you’re heading for the bohemian beach paradise of Byron Bay.

Break up the almost three-hour journey with a pitstop in Bundjalung National Park. The park’s tranquil river scenery, secluded beaches and freshwater lagoons make for great canoeing, mountain biking, fishing and beach walking.

Scenic rainforest views along the Crystal Shower Falls walk in Dorrigo National Park.

6 Days – The Classic Australian Drive

This epic road trip from the NSW Outback through the Riverina encapsulates the rich history, folklore and spirit of true blue Australia, with plenty of contemporary surprises along the way.

The journey begins at the meeting point of Australia’s two mightiest rivers, the Murray and the Darling, where lies the quaint town of Wentworth. Take a short drive from the town to the Perry Sandhills, where the whole family can enjoy sliding down the beautiful red sand dunes that feature as a backdrop in countless Australian films and TV shows.

Next head to Mungo National Park, one of Australia’s most celebrated World Heritage areas, where you will find wind-sculpted sand dunes and rugged cliffs.

Your penultimate stop, Wagga Wagga is home to the ancient culture of Wiradjuri which is woven into the fabric of this humble city. Book a tour with Mark Saddler from Bundyi Culture Tours to learn more about the city’s incredible history and heritage.

The final stop on this epic journey is Gundagai, a charming historic town that sits on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River.

Embark on a relaxing 2 kilometre architectural heritage walk before heading to Hillview Farmstay, a cattle farm featuring five self-contained cottages and glamping safari tents; or live your Instagram fantasy at Kimo Estate’s incredible Eco Huts, architecturally-designed off-grid structures with outdoor hot tubs, perched on remote hilltops with uninterrupted 360-degree views.

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