NSW is full of epic road trips to discover…
You are spoilt for choice when it comes to road trips in NSW; from the Grand Pacific Drive, Rainforest Way, Kosciuszko Alpine Way, Darling River Run and Greater Blue Mountains to the Riverina to Snowy Valleys Way, Waterfall Way, Mighty Murray River Drive and Central to Outback NSW – the list goes on! Here, find 19 more road trips to plan in the state this year.
1. Coast and Country High Life
This slow loop southwest from Sydney offers enticing reasons to slow down, from food and cool-climate vineyards to outdoor adventure in national parks. It also includes the historic towns of Bowral, Bungendore and Braidwood, and a delightfully blue sweep of coast back from Batemans Bay.
Don’t miss An exploration of the Minnamurra River at Kiama with Escape Kayak Tours – the mangrove ecosystem and crystal-clear waters are wonderful.
2. High Country to Cruising Coast
Start in Cooma in the Snowy Mountains foothills, and slide down towards the Sapphire Coast on a scenic journey that takes in regional art and culture, titillates the tastebuds in Bega dairy country, and finishes in Bungendore in the Southern Tablelands.
Don’t miss The slow-food trail between the lovely villages of Cobargo and Tilba, where you’ll discover fresh oysters, orchards, farm doors, ale, wine and cheese.
3. Food Lover’s Loop
Head from Sydney to the Hunter Valley the roundabout way, via the cellar doors, farm gates and restaurants of the Hawkesbury, Blue Mountains, Mudgee and Upper Hunter regions. From cider to goat’s cheese and great wine, you’ll be in gourmet heaven.
Don’t miss Get your motor running and explore vineyards and villages with Mudgee Trikes, a joyride with a difference from cellar door to cellar door.
4. Legendary Pacific Coast
Drive the coast north between Sydney and Tweed Heads for 820 kilometres of sumptuous scenery, blue bays, golden beaches and lush hinterland. You’ll enjoy all the classic getaways, from Port Stephens to Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour to Byron Bay.
Don’t miss The Koala Hospital at Port Macquarie, the region with the east coast’s largest koala population, to see how well the ill and injured koalas are cared for.
5. Sydney to Melbourne Coastal Drive
Go the coastal route and the first half of this road trip will take you into one of Australia’s most dazzling regions where green, cow-chewed countryside clashes with vivid blue lagoons and magnificent seascapes.
Don’t miss Cupitt’s Estate outside Ulladulla, where the winery is supplemented by a microbrewery, fromagerie and restaurant for a full gourmet experience among the vines, with views to Pigeon House Mountain.
6. Stargazing and Storytelling
Travel to the far reaches of the universe on a trip from Parkes to Bourke through historic Central and Outback NSW, where contemplation of the night skies is highlighted through Dreamtime stories, campfire yarns and cutting-edge telescopes.
Don’t miss The Warrumbungles, Australia’s first Dark Sky Park near Coonabarabran. Look up at the cosmos at the Siding Spring Observatory, which houses the largest optical telescopes in Australia.
7. A Tour Of Caves And Fossils
You’ll find an extraordinary geological tale told by caves and fossil collections between Sydney and Wellington in the Central West, but enjoy all the delights of vineyards, country gardens, pioneer villages and great regional restaurants, too.
Don’t miss Sydney’s recently refurbished Australian Museum, which tells the story of our continent’s flora and fauna and has wonderful collections of minerals and fossils, including dinosaurs.
8. Kamilaroi Contrasts
This epic 930-kilometre meander through Kamilaroi country starts at Willow Tree and ends in Bourke. Discover the heart of rural NSW and its pioneer culture and history in destinations such as Gunnedah, Narrabri and opal-mining Lightning Ridge.
Don’t miss The pools and weirs of the 40,000-year-old Brewarrina Aboriginal Fish Trap, which are among the oldest human structures on Earth, and best visited with an Indigenous guide.
9. Heritage Highlights
This modest tour from Picton to the spectacular Sea Cliff Bridge nonetheless crams in highlands, national parks, coast, the Georgian architecture of Berrima and the foodie pleasures of Bowral and the scenic Kangaroo Valley.
Don’t miss Wild Food Adventures in Kangaroo Valley for a personalised, upmarket foodie day outmatched with cycling or other adventures. Champagne and kayaking, anyone?
10. Cool Coast to Intrepid Inland
A drive down the coast from Newcastle explores the highlights of wonderful Lake Macquarie and the Central Coast before looping back north through the Hunter Valley wine region and finishing in Maitland.
Don’t miss A lunch of southern French food at Bistro Molines in the Hunter Valley, which has bagged a Chef’s Hat from the SMH Good Food Guide every year for a decade.
11. Heritage Towns, Contemporary Tastes
A meander from Yass Valley to Jugiong takes in the rolling countryside northwest of Canberra, which features vineyards, gold-rush towns, antiques and arts, plus enough country flavours to whet the appetite of any gourmet.
Don’t miss Creator’s Nest in Yass, which is just the place to find regional handicrafts by local artists. You might even want to join a workshop and unleash your own creativity.
12. The North Coast Hinterland Adventure
The inland route from the Barrington Coast north to Port Macquarie supplies a laidback wander – and occasional active hike or cycle – through tranquil country towns, World Heritage-listed forest, waterfall-draped landscapes and gorgeous farmland.
Don’t miss The worn-down, volcanic landscapes of Coorabakh National Park, draped in several types of forest and abundant waterfalls. Its shady fern-decorated valleys, river gorges and sandstone cliffs are glorious.
13. Coast to Country
Get a dose of coastal and country life on a five-day journey between Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour, which takes in surf-pounded national parks, bohemian hinterland retreat Bellingen, and the rugged volcanic landscapes near to the Great Dividing Range.
Don’t miss A Wajaana Yaam Adventure Tour by paddleboard – with snorkelling and swimming – to learn about the culture and bush tucker of coastal Gumbaynggirr people at Coffs Harbour.
14. The Classic Australian Drive
The long road from Wentworth to Gundagai takes you east across Outback NSW into the Riverina, from flat, red plains to rolling wheat fields, and from ancient Aboriginal times in Mungo National Park to settler towns that defined early Australia.
Don’t miss A stay at Flash Jack’s in Gundagai. The former convent provides historical ambience but has stylish boutique accommodation supplying contemporary country comfort.
15. The Kidman Way And Beyond
This magnificent route cuts 830 kilometres north from Albury to Bourke, straight through the heart of NSW and all its associations with bushrangers, settlers, farmers and modern-day miners. Think Australia in a nutshell.
Don’t miss Murray Art Museum Albury, one of the country’s most modern and exciting regional galleries, with ever-changing displays of contemporary art, and regular art classes and workshops.
16. The Long Paddock
A little further west, this parallel route traces a historic network of stock routes from Echuca-Moama on the Murray River to Wilcannia deep in Outback NSW. You’ll discover kangaroo and sheep country and a hearty dose of history.
Don’t miss A journey through Aussie settler, drover and transport culture in Deniliquin, showcased at the Historical Society Museum, Peppin Heritage Centre and The Depot Deniliquin, which houses a historic vehicle and memorabilia collection.
17. NSW Food And Wine Trail
The Central West features quintessential Aussie country scenery and colonial-era settlements, and has quite the gourmet reputation. Relax on a roundabout route from Lithgow to Mudgee via Orange, Canowindra, Cowra, Parkes and Dubbo to enjoy the highlights.
Don’t miss Ochre Arch Farm near Cowra to learn about sustainable farming on a working cattle and sheep property – and to enjoy a scrumptious farmhouse afternoon tea.
You might not have heard of Barraba or Nundle, the start and finish of this route through gorgeous New England, but you’ll be happy to discover these lovely historic country towns – plus Armidale, Tamworth and several others, too.
Don’t miss Inverell Pioneer Village, an open-air museum that brings together colonial-era buildings including cottages, a schoolhouse and an 1874 pub for a fascinating glimpse into the past.
19. Tablelands Food and Wine Trail
The Southern Tablelands of NSW includes Yass Valley, Hilltops, the Goulburn region, Upper Lachlan and the Queanbeyan region, all of which have country charm and lovely rolling scenery and, to make it even better, you’ll also find farm gates, cellar doors and a burgeoning regional food scene.
Don’t miss An overnight in Taralga, where the accommodation on offer includes the Taralga Hotel, a popular country pub, and historic hotel (and fine-dining venue) the Argyle Inn, both built in the 1870s.