The best road trips out of Sydney
Australia is truly an amazing place, and we’re incredibly lucky to have so many amazing places to visit so close to home. Join us as we dive into some of our favourite road trip destinations outside of Sydney, highlighting the best NSW has to offer.
Before you set off, don't forget to check out our ultimate summer road trip guide!
The Blue Mountains
1 hour 30 mins from Sydney
A must for anyone new to Sydney, the Blue Mountains are a truly special (and accessible) place to visit. A UNESCO world heritage site, the Blue Mountains’ eucalyptus-covered valleys offer an escape from busy city living. Visit Echo Point to view the famous Three Sisters rock formation before stopping in to explore the charming small towns of Katoomba and Leura. For the outdoorsy types, a bushwalk is a must. Choose from hundreds of trails and enjoy panoramic views of the dramatic landscape from one of the many lookout points scattered throughout the area.
If you’re feeling peckish, a detour past the Megalong Valley Tea Rooms for a scone is never a bad idea. Alternatively, enjoy a meal at Leura Gourmet whilst you soak up the scenery through their floor to ceiling windows - don’t forget to peruse the deli section on your way out!
3 hours 45 mins from Sydney
An underrated gem, Orange ticks all the boxes that a small town should. With its wide streets and stunning scenery, Orange is the cottagecore destination you’ve been searching for (just make sure to rug up if you’re visiting in the winter months). If you enjoy a glass of vino every now and then, we highly recommend visiting some of Orange’s renowned wineries. Most notably, Printhie Wines and Heifer Station, the latter of which has animals you can pet whilst you sample the products - need we say more?
If wine isn’t your thing, don’t be alarmed, Orange is also home to some incredible coffee. The cafe Crema on Lords will even give you a free piccolo to sip whilst you wait for your actual coffee order to be prepared, you don’t get that kind of treatment in Sydney. Additional must visit places in Orange include Spilt Milk Bar, an Australian gelato company that sources local ingredients, and Racine Bakery, whose pastries will truly blow you away.
The Hunter Valley
2 hours from Sydney
Whether you’re a wine enthusiast or just seeking a relaxed countryside getaway, the Hunter Valley is the place for you. Known as one of Australia's premier wine regions, the Hunter Valley boasts numerous vineyards and cellar doors. Key stops include iconic wineries like McGuigan Wines and Brokenwood Wines, where you can savour a variety of renowned vintages. Beyond the vineyards, explore the charming towns of Pokolbin and Lovedale, each offering a mix of artisanal shops, local eateries, and picturesque landscapes. Indulge in wine tasting sessions, enjoy farm-to-table cuisine, and take in the scenic views of rolling hills. With its proximity to Sydney, the Hunter Valley provides a convenient and accessible escape for a day or weekend excursion, offering a perfect blend of wine appreciation and rural tranquillity - what’s not to love.
3 hours from Sydney
Despite what you may have heard, Canberra makes for a great weekend getaway. Only three hours drive from Sydney (with plenty of iconic Macca’s stops available on the way), visiting Australia’s capital city should be on everybody’s bucket list. Consider going to see the bonzai's at the National Arboretum, or getting your steps in by walking up Mount Ainslie and checking out the view. If the weather’s bad, stop in at the Australian War Memorial and read up on our country’s history, or pop into the National Gallery of Australia to view some incredible art.
Canberra is also home to a number of great cafes, bars and restaurants, many of which can be found on the ever trendy Lonsdale Street. Enjoy a coffee at the minimalist RYE cafe, or treat yourself to a cocktail and live jazz at Hippo Co - a venue sure to impress. Of course, when it comes to food, Akiba is one of Canberra’s most celebrated establishments, with a delicious Asian fusion menu that’ll leave you craving more. Hot tip, no trip to Akiba is complete without taking one of their famous ‘money’ shots. Don't ask us what’s in them, but we can confirm they’re delicious.
5 hours from Sydney
Nestled in the Snowy Mountains, Jindabyne is a hotspot for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts alike. A gateway to a snowy wonderland during the winter months, Jindabyne attracts crowds of people looking to hit the slopes at Thredbo or Perisher (approximately half an hour's drive away). When it’s not snowing, Jindabyne offers amazing hiking, mountain biking and water activities. Take a dip in Lake Jindabyne or enjoy a picnic on the shoreline and soak up the picturesque landscape, you won’t regret it.
The town itself boasts a friendly atmosphere, dotted with cosy cafes and shops, making it an ideal base for exploring the natural beauty of the surrounding areas. Whether you're seeking snow or merely a tranquil lakeside retreat, a road trip to Jindabyne provides a convenient and diverse escape from Sydney's urban hustle.
3 hours 45 mins from Sydney
Maybe you’ve heard of Forster, maybe you haven’t. Either way, it’s a great location for your next low-key summer holiday. Known for its pristine beaches, waterways, and relaxed atmosphere, Forster is the perfect place for sun-soaked relaxation or water activities like kayaking and boating. Situated next to Wallis Lake and One Mile Beach, Forster is also a great place to go camping, with nearby Booti Booti National Park offering scenic coastal walks and pumping surf breaks.
Why not take your 4WD onto one of the car friendly beaches in the area? Both McBrides Beach and Lighthouse Beach are 4WD accessible (with a NSW national parks permit) and are great places to go snorkelling or fishing.
Been a while since you’ve gone off-road? Brush up on the essentials with our helpful guide here.
8 hours from Sydney
Byron Bay is well known for being a laid-back coastal town with a vibrant surf culture, bohemian vibes and stunning natural beauty. But is it worth the hype? Mostly yes, with a few key considerations. As quaint seaside towns go this one is pretty upmarket, so make sure you’re willing to splash out at more places than just the beach. It’s also quite busy due to its immense popularity, so make sure to book your accommodation in advance to avoid being disappointed.
Once you’ve come to terms with these factors, you’re ready to enjoy a sun-soaked holiday in northern NSW. Explore world-famous surf breaks, pristine beaches, and the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse. Immerse yourself in the relaxed atmosphere, and enjoy the town’s eclectic mix of boutiques, art galleries, and beachfront cafes.
So, fuel up, hit the road, and let the exploration of these incredible destinations become a series of unforgettable chapters in your travel diary.