Four of the Best Road Trips from Sydney (2, 3, 5 or 7 Days) inner banner

Four of the Best Road Trips from Sydney (2, 3, 5 or 7 Days)

All roads in New South Wales lead to Sydney, but heading in the opposite direction is just as rewarding. Got up to a week to spare? We've got you covered with these cracker road trips from the capital.
Four of the best road trips from Sydney
Four of the best road trips from Sydney: Blue Mountains. Image: iStock

If you’re visiting Sydney, lucky you!

Not only do you get to spend time in one of the most beautiful cities on the planet, but you’re also perfectly situated for exploring the rest of the fair state of New South Wales. The Harbour City’s central coastal possie makes it an ideal base for road tripping to every corner of NSW. The options for a road-based adventure are endless!

Here are four of our favourite road trips from Sydney — tailored to your available timeframe. Track down the best budget campervan deals in Sydney and you’ll be ready to hit the open road!

If you have one or two days…

It’s hard to go past the Blue Mountains as a day trip or short break destination from Sydney, especially when the drive time to regional hub Katoomba is just 1.5 hours. In this part of Oz the journey can quickly become the destination, so take your time to enjoy it. Pull off the main drag before you reach Glenbrook and circle back to walk the Lapstone Zig Zag Track. The walk takes around an hour to complete and takes in various surviving landmarks from the original rail track, including the Knapsack Bridge viaduct. There are more amazing bushwalks on offer in Wentworth Falls. It’s a short walk from the Wentworth Falls Picnic Area carpark to Jamison Lookout, but the sweeping views may inspire you to keep going to some of the other vantage points in the vicinity.

Four of the best road trips from Sydney
Scenic Railway, Blue Mountains. Image: Destination NSW

Refresh with a bite to eat in the town of Leura and perhaps take a run out to the Sublime Point Lookout (which you may have all to yourself). Up in Katoomba, you’ll want to visit famous Echo Point to see the Three Sisters and perhaps head down into the Jamison Valley on board the thrilling Scenic Railway. In short, the options for spending quality time in the Blue Mountains National Park are endless!

If you have three days…

While plenty of visitors hightail it from Sydney up to the Hunter Valley and back on a day tour, it’s much more fun to take your time and explore the country’s oldest wine region at a leisurely pace. If you have three days, combine the Hunter with a visit to Newcastle, which offers a huge amount to see and do in its own right. The drive from Sydney to Newcastle will take you just on three hours. Spend your first day exploring NSW’s second city, which has undergone a seismic cultural shift in recent years. The Newcastle Art Gallery’s collection spans the entirety of Australia’s European history, and also holds some very significant Indigenous works.

Four of the best road trips from Sydney
Image: Newcastle Art Gallery

From Newcastle, it’s just on one hour’s drive to the heart of the Hunter. Research your stops using the Hunter Valley wine directory, and leave time to explore the stunning Hunter Valley Gardens — one of the largest display gardens in the country. There’s no shortage of amazing places to chow down, including Muse at Hungerford Hill Winery. You also have the option on this trip of heading north from Newcastle to Port Stephens to soak up the beauty of what’s nothing short of an aquatic wonderland. Moonshadow-TQC Cruises’ dolphin cruise is a memorable must-do.

Four of the best road trips from Sydney
Visit the Hunter Valley’s myriad wineries. Image: Ernest Hill Wines

If you have four or five days…

Four or five days is the perfect amount of time to go west from Sydney and check out the Central Ranges wine country. Tick off the aforementioned Blue Mountains on day one, and travel on to Bathurst which needs little introduction to any motoring enthusiast. It would be remiss to venture out this way and not take a quick (but not too quick!) spin around the Mount Panorama road circuit. Also check out the adjacent National Motor Racing Museum. Several of Bathurst’s boutique and family operated wineries can be visited by prior arrangement, or you can fast-track the process by dropping by the Vine & Tap wine bar in town, which stocks a variety of local drops.

Four of the best road trips from Sydney
Four of the best road trips from Sydney: Mount Panorama, Bathurst

From Bathurst, cruise south-west to Cowra (which has a strong focus on organic wine-making) or continue heading west to Orange — the epicentre of the region’s wine industry. Orange is home to 30 cellar doors and produces predominantly shiraz, cab sav, chardonnay, and sav blanc. You’ll also discover plantings of some lesser known Italian varieties like verduzzo and verdicchio. If you’re up for a slightly longer drive, consider including food and wine mecca Mudgee in your itinerary. Push the boat out on some fine eating and drinking at The Zin House at the Lowe Family Wine Co.

Four of the best road trips from Sydney
Lowe Wines, Mudgee. Image: Destination NSW

If you have six or seven days…

A week is all you’ll need to see the best of coast and country in NSW’s northeast, including the iconic towns of Tamworth and Armidale, and coastal holiday hotspot Coffs Harbour. Kickstart the journey in Newcastle and the Hunter (see above), then continue up the A15 to country music capital Tamworth (you’ll clock the Big Golden Guitar on the southern approach to town). Spend a day exploring everything this fabulous destination has to offer, including the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame. From there, continue north to historic Armidale, which is home to a swag of museums and galleries (including the New England Regional Art Museum and the engaging Armidale Bicentennial Railway Museum).

Four of the best road trips from Sydney
The Big Golden Guitar, Tamworth. Image: Destination NSW

Stop and get a taste of Celtic hospitality in Glen Innes (don’t miss seeing the Australian Standing Stones), then cruise on tranquil country roads and through ancient, forested terrain across to Grafton. If you happen to be visiting in October, life’s a purple patch as the town’s jacarandas come into bloom. An easy hour’s drive south on the coastal route will take you past the iconic Big Banana and into the heart of Coffs — renowned for arguably the best weather in the country. Not surprisingly, the beach beckons!

Four of the best road trips from Sydney
Australian Standing Stones, Glen Innes. Image: Destination NSW

On the road again, head south past Port Macquarie (stopping for lunch at Little Fish Café and Vineyard — a rambling piece of paradise that serves up French-inspired fare). Spend your final night in Taree by the Southern Hemisphere’s only double delta river. Enjoy a sunset stroll along the banks of the Manning and a relaxed dinner at the Taree Aquatic Club.

Do you have any suggestions to add to our list of the best road trips from Sydney? We would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.

Additional images: Bigstock

Adam Ford

About the writer

Adam Ford is editor of Top Oz Tours & Travel Ideas, and a travel TV presenter, writer, blogger, and photographer. He has travelled extensively through Europe, Asia, North America, Africa, and the Middle East. Adam worked as a travel consultant for a number of years with Flight Centre before taking up the opportunity to travel the world himself as host of the TV series Tour the World on Network Ten. He loves to experience everything a new destination has to offer and is equally at home in a five-star Palazzo in Pisa or a home-stay in Hanoi.



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