Best Road Trips Starting in Sydney

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As you know, life in Sydney is fast paced and busy. This results in many of us not sparing enough time to get out and explore our wonderful surroundings.

There is nothing more fulfilling that taking your car out on the open road and taking some time off. A fun road trip with good friends or family can do wonders for your wellbeing.

Luckily, we live in a fantastic part of the world with literally hundreds of road trip options available. All three inland directions – North, South, and West, have amazing road trip adventures waiting to be enjoyed.

So, without further ado, here are our favourite road trips starting in Sydney.

The Day Trip – Blue Mountains and The Three Sisters

The Blue Mountains and The Three Sisters are the perfect day trip or short weekend getaway.

Located just two hours west of Sydney CBD, you are sure to leave the stresses of the city behind.

The Blue Mountains has it all – dramatic cliffs, beautiful vistas, and waterfalls to name but a few.

One of the most famous photo stops is at the Three Sisters (Meehni, Wimlah and Gunnedoo), just near Katoomba. This series of unusual rock formations inspired many aboriginal tales.

For some extra excitement, why not take a ride on the cableway to get the ultimate view?

While driving through the Blue Mountains, you never quite know what you will find around the next corner. If you see a sign for a car park, pull in and explore a little. 

After a few steps through the forest, you are often met with dramatic landscapes that make you feel like you have stepped into a new world.

The best part is you are only a couple of hours from home.

The Long Weekend – The Hunter Valley

What springs to mind when you think of the Hunter Valley?

Good wine, vineyards, and local produce?

Of course, these are what the valley is most famous for, but there is so much more to explore too.

View of Hunter Valley in Australia

Particularly accessible from Sydney’s Northern suburbs, just join the M1 and head North. After a couple of hours as you get near Newcastle, keep heading North for another 45 mins – 1hour.  

If you are feeling fit and energetic, take some time to Hike the Trails at Barrington Tops National Park. Luscious green forests and mountains line the view as far as the eye can see.

For a gentler affair, take a wander through the Hunter Valley Gardens. These 60 acres of perfectly nurtured gardens are perfect for a lazy afternoon walk.

In the evening, make sure you get a chance to taste the world-famous Hunter Valley Wine with a top-class meal. 

If you manage to wake up early enough in the morning, take a hot air balloon across the beautiful vineyards. But remember, this is a popular activity. You may need to book several months in advance!

Whatever you choose to do, take it slowly and do not rush. There will be plenty more opportunities to head this way again in the future.

School Holiday Trip – Grand Pacific Drive

For this trip, we will be heading South.

Regarded as one of the most iconic stretches of road in the world, the Grand Pacific Drive, is a rite of passage.

Where else can you experience dramatic coastal view, cliff edges, rainforests, and super-cool roads in one day?

While it is easy to drive down to the Grand Pacific Drive and back on a day trip, you will savour the occasion much more if you take some time and stop along the way.

After leaving Sydney and starting to head South, you will soon experience the beauty of the Royal National Park. Forest walks and mountain biking are great activities for this stretch of the journey.

Next up, we start to hug the coast a little closer. Watch out for Bald Hill, the Sea Cliffs, and Austinmer Beach on this stretch of the route.

A little further on, you will reach the world-famous Wollongong. This is the perfect place to stop for some good food, a thirst-quenching beer, and some local activities. 

From a pleasant round of golf to sky diving, Wollongong has it all.

Next up is the Southern stretch. Keep following the coast, and you will come across Bass Point Marine Reserve, the Kiama Blow Hole, and the Crooked River Winery. 

At this point, you have two choices. If you are short for time, it is probably best to start heading home.

Alternatively, if you have a few more days or longer available, why not continue down to Melbourne? 

This will give you the chance to explore another one of Australia’s iconic stretches of road – the Great Ocean Road. But with a good 11 hours of driving between Grand Pacific Drive and the Great Ocean Road, you will need time up your sleeve for this extended trip.

The Retirement Project – The Big Lap

At 15,000km, The Big Lap is a once in a lifetime experience.

As the name suggests, this mega trip takes you around the coast of Australia and takes in all the major cities.

While technically, it can be done in only 14 days, most people spread it out across six months or a year. 

This trip, and if you lots of time at your disposal, gives you the opportunity to visit every nook and cranny of our great country.

Of course, being a loop, you have a choice of two directions – Clockwise or anti-clockwise?

The answer to this question usually depends on the time of year – if it is summer when you set off, head South. If, however, it is Winter, then head North.

Whichever way you choose you are set to take in all the major cities – Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, and Canberra.

While the big cities have so much to see, make sure you plan time to savour the small places off the beaten track. Remember you can always hop on a plane to Brisbane, Perth, or Melbourne. But the areas in between are unlikely to cross paths with you again.

While savouring the journey, make sure to tune in to all the little local radio stations too. The characters and personalities you encounter will sit in your memories forever.

Final Thoughts

beautiful winding road

Now is the perfect time to start planning your next road trip. Of course, with current border restrictions due to COVID-19 you need to be mindful for the longer trips. But for day trips and short stays the choice is yours.

Start to think about the places you wish to see, and the people you want to meet.

Buy a good old-fashioned printed road map and start to plot your routes.

Before you embark, it is also essential to give your car a good once-over. Now is the perfect time to get those tyres replaced, auto glass cleaned, or fix that crack in your windscreen. You will then be ready to hit the road.

Safe travels!

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