If you live in New South Wales, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to the variety of scenic attractions on offer. Without crossing the state’s borders, you can experience subtropical forests, mountain highlands, pastoral valleys and endless tracts of shimmering coastline.
Here are some of the best road trips that New South Wales has to offer.
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The Grand Pacific Drive
This one isn’t exactly a well-kept secret, but if you’re short on time and want to experience a diversity of scenery and experiences, it’s a great short road trip or can be taken at a leisurely pace over a period of a couple of days.
The Grand Pacific Drive starts off from the Royal National Park, just south of the Sydney CBD. From there it heads south, bisecting the Royal National Park and Heathcote National Park. The route then meanders along the coastline, offering breath-taking vistas of the Pacific ocean, an opportunity to cross the Sea Cliff Bridge and a chance to explore the small towns along the route.
Jervis Bay, with its pristine white beaches, is one of the most popular stop-off points on the Grand Pacific Drive. A number of water sports are available for the adventurous, but it’s also a great place to take a long beach walk, and during winter you’re likely to spot a whale or two. Further south you’ll find Bateman’s bay, a charming seaside town which provides access to unspoiled landscapes and beaches that are ideal for swimming and picnics.
The Greater Blue Mountains Drive
Located just south west of Sydney, the Blue Mountains can be explored using a network of roads spanning a distance of 1200 kilometres.
Whether you want to explore the Blue Mountains over a period of weeks, or just drive one of the more popular routes over a couple of days is up to you. The area features a total of 18 Discovery Trails designed to showcase the rich diversity of landscape and terrain that the Blue Mountains have to offer, with optional stop-offs in placid rural towns, roadside eateries and wineries.
The main route, the Blue Mountain Drive, is ideal for a day trip, with this 36-kilometre route snaking upwards through the mountains and providing some stunning views from its lookout points. For a longer trip, the Golbourn River Loop covers a distance of 171 kilometres, meandering through the Golbourn River Valley with its unspoiled bush and rugged sandstone cliffs.
The Darling River Run
If you have time on your hands and want to experience the open expanses of the Australian outback, the Darling River Run is the road trip you’re looking for.
Covering a total distance of 2740 kilometres along the course of the Darling River, this route takes you on a journey through Australian history and indigenous culture, stopping off at iconic outback outposts as it leads you from Walgett all the way to the confluence of the Darling River with the Murray River at Wentworth.
Whether you do this route in full or in part this will be an unforgettable experience. Historic sites and friendly outback towns line the route, with some of the smaller towns home to populations of just several dozen people. Outback wildlife thrives along the Darling River Run, and you’ll catch sight of kangaroos and emus, as well as a variety of water birds.
The New England Highway
The New England Highway offers something a little different – an opportunity to explore the pastoral northern reaches of New South Wales.
The route is simple enough, you can take the New England Highway off the Pacific Highway at Newcastle. The highway then winds its way through the eastern interior of New South Wales passing through several rural towns en-route to the border with Queensland.
One of the main attractions on the New England Highway is the Hunter Valley wine region, with the riverside town of Singleton a particularly popular destination for its winery tours and wine tastings.
As you travel north through serene pastoral landscapes, each of the towns you pass will reveal a charm and character of its own. Explore the old town of Maitland with its fine heritage buildings, visit Muswellbrook to sample its local produce, and make your way to Tamworth, the capital of Australia’s country music scene.
The Kosciuszko Alpine Way
If you want to get away from the bustle of city life on a short road trip, look no further than the Kosciuszko Alpine Way in the Snowy Mountains.
This 100 km route is located on the western border of New South Wales and Victoria, entering the Kosciuszko National Park near Jindabyne in the east. The route continues west until it touches on the Victorian border, then veers north, taking travellers past the western slopes of Mount Kosciuszko before crossing into Victoria in the northwest of the park.
The Kosciuszko Alpine Way will take you up steep, forested mountain passes which open onto spectacular Snowy Mountain highland terrain with streams and serene alpine lakes. The views are spectacular irrespective of when you choose to take this trip. In winter and spring, the higher peaks are covered in snow, while in summer you’ll find the giant builder fields carpeted by wildflowers.
The Rainforest Way
The area encompasses 14 World Heritage National Parks – and a great deal of rainforest. However, long stretches of Gondwana Rainforest isn’t all that this area has to offer. The Rainforest Way winds past ancient volcanos, waterfalls, lush valleys, plantations and white sand beaches. And there are plenty of bohemian small towns to explore along the way.
A great road trip option for residents of New South Wales is to link the southern stretches of the Rainforest Way with a trip along the northern section of the Grand Pacific Drive. This stitches together an unforgettable road trip experiences which showcase some of the most stunning scenery New South Wales has to offer.
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