If you are looking to travel around Australia, make sure to visit New South Wales. This state is made up of a lot of diverse landscapes and has so much to offer for all kinds of travelers. If you’re looking for a list of some of the best NSW road trip destinations, then you have come to the right place! There are many different ways you can explore this state. Go a journey discovering hidden gems, adventure with some kangaroos in the outback, to sandy beaches and long walks on the coast.
The top 5 of NSW road trip destinations outside of Sydney are in this blog post! These are perfect for anyone who is looking to see New South Wales beyond Sydney. This list has 5 must see places (there are so many more) that I would recommend visiting while in NSW. Let’s get started!!
Top 5 Road Trip Destinations Outside of Sydney:
1. Blue Mountains
This mountain range is a great destination for nature lovers. We will cover four of the most popular towns of Blue Mountains in this post:
- Wentworth Falls – A beautiful waterfall with several walking tracks, this is one of the best road trip destinations in New South Wales. The main parking areas here are, Wentworth Falls Parking– for viewing the falls, Conservation Hut – for waterfalls along the Valley of Waters track. One of the best places to take pictures is at ‘The Princes Rock Lookout‘. It’s an easy 1.8km return walk that takes you to the top of the falls and offers a full view of the fall into the valley below. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting after heavy rain, visit this beautiful wilderness soundscape.
- Leura – Leura is the prettiest village in the mountains. If scenic lookouts are your thing, then you’ll enjoy visiting the many viewpoints near Leura. If it’s good food and service that make for a great visit – Henson Park on Church Street will not disappoint. The main lookout points here are Sublime Point, Gordon Falls Lookout, and Elysian Rock.
- Katoomba – The most famous town here is home to the Three Sisters and Scenic World. If street art is your thing, make a detour via Beverley Place access just behind the main street of Katoomba – this laneway is full of murals.
- Blackheath – I prefer photographing this area at sunrise but the colors are absolutely lovely in the late afternoon too. The best lookouts here are Govetts Leap (and the waterfall), Pulpit Rock (500m walk), and Anvil Rock Lookout.
2. Visit Port Stephens
This coastal town, which is about an hour north-east of one of Newcastle, is a haven for those who love beaches and surfing. It also makes for a great getaway for families. Located just outside of Sydney, this destination is perfect for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of urban life. The must-dos here are:
- Hike up to the Tomaree Head Lookout to be rewarded with a breathtaking view.
- Explore the massive sand dunes and see the camels that this region is famous for. If you would like a less strenuous way to reach the top of the dunes, Sand Dune Adventures operates quad bike tours. Have fun sandboarding if are not looking to ride a quad bike.
- Port Stephens Surf School offers surf lessons for beginners to intermediates and for those who are just looking give ‘one time’ go at the sport. This place is home to many of the top surfing competitions around Australia so you can also catch some live-action if that’s what you’re looking for!
- Fly Point is a wonderful place for snorkeling in the Halifax Park Aquatic Reserve, halfway between Little Beach and Nelson Bay. There are also some very beautiful lookout points like Gan Gan lookout.
- Go on Dolphin Cruises and Swims. Port Stephens is a port town; it’s not surprising that most visitors expect aquatic adventures to be the main attraction. The truth? These waters are truly beautiful and heaven to spot beautiful marine life in central NSW.
3. The Hunter or Mudgee regions and vineyards
Hunter valley, NSW
Scenic wine regions in NSW that you’ll love! There are many things to do in and around Mudgee which includes going wine tasting at wineries and shopping in the excellent boutiques. Go exploring the Wollemi National Park, which is listed as UNESCO World Heritage. You can go on wine tours, heritage and wilderness tours, and even take a romantic hot-air balloon experience with Balloon Aloft. Both these regions are famous for wine and food, which mean a lot of wonderful cafes to explore.
Witness the Milky Way at Mudgee. The night sky here is a bonus for star-lovers. To see the Milky Way galaxy through a telescope, visit the Mudgee Observatory just a short drive from the center of town.
4. Explore Byron Bay
This coastal town is famous for its beautiful beaches and laid-back vibes. In addition to being the hometown of actor Chris Hemsworth, Byron Bay is one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations. This is a great place to spot dolphins, whales, and turtles! A paradise for surfers and even for hikers with beautiful golden beaches and waterfall hikes in the rainforests.
Hike along the Cape Byron Track which leads to the famous lighthouse in the most easterly point in Australia. In the hinterland, explore World Heritage-listed Wollumbin National Park (formerly Mount Warning National Park) and its beautiful waterfalls. Byron Bay is renowned for its markets, coffee, health and wellness retreats, spa resorts, and high-end hotels.
Also, while in Bryon Bay you must visit the markets, local breweries and vegan cafes and go surfing or kayaking to explore the ocean. Don’t miss going on a whale-watching cruise here.
An hour away from Byron is a tiny colorful hippie town of Nimbin which is well known for alternative lifestyles.
5. Explore the south coast
One of my favorite places on earth! A stretch of coastline with golden beaches, turquoise waters, and tropical forests covering the southern half of New South Wales. This stretch is from Sydney to Victoria. The Grand Pacific Drive is one of the best drives you will ever embark on! Travel via sea cliff bridge and go on to explore Royal National Park, and Kiama – Home to the world’s largest blowhole. Some of the best places to explore here are:
- Jervis Bay with its radiant powder-soft sands.
- Considered the world’s whitest sand, Hyams Beach is one of Australia’s best beaches.
- On the south coast of NSW, we also have popular destinations such as Bateman’s Bay, Merimbula, and Pambula. These places have beautiful beaches, gorgeous hiking trails, rich history, and fantastic opportunities for water sports.
- Explore Narooma, Visit the Montague Island for a memorable wildlife adventure! Experience the unique local heritage, sample Narooma’s local produce, and go along the hiking trails to discover the beauty of the national parks. While you are here you must go see the seals at Australia Rock, one among many Instagram-able places on the south coast!
- One of the most southern places along the coastline is the old fishing village of Eden, which was once a whaling station. It’s a great family vacation destination. Rent a cabin on the beach here to wake up to a turquoise ocean view.
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