Sydney Road Trips: 3 Must-See Places

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Sydney offers a lot more than urban fare. Road trip from Australia’s largest city and discover natural wonders and chilled-out beach towns, all within a day’s drive.

In This Australia Travel Article You Will Discover:

  • Mythological Mountains
  • Idyllic Beaches
  • Expansive Parks

Yes, there’s the Opera House. The Harbour Bridge. Bondi Beach. But there’s so much more to Sydney than what’s in its urban expanse.

When you fly into SYD, grab a Sydney Airport car hire to explore some of New South Wales’s most wondrous sights — the indulgences of the Big City will wait for your return.

Royal National Park

Located only about a 40-minute drive south of Sydney International Airport, via Highway 1, Royal National Park is the world’s second-oldest National Park and a 16,000-hectare expanse of pristine rainforest and scenic cliffs overlooking sandy islets dotting the vast South Pacific. Both day-trippers and multi-day explorers will find their fill of fun here. The two-day Royal Coastal walk is popular with backpackers; more than 100 km of multi-use trails carve through the park. There’s the all-access Bungoona Lookout & Path or the Couranga Walking Track, which is a day-hike that feels like a wilderness trek. If you’re stopping for a quick stay, Audley is a nice place for a picnic and offers rowboat rentals to paddle into the Hacking River. Overnight campers should check out North Era Campground, with its stunning overlooks of the coastal scenery.

Wollongong

The Grand Pacific Drive leads south past Royal National Park for 140 km, carving past rainforest scenery and seaside towns and over the famous 665-metre Sea Cliff Bridge. This spectacular road-trip is worth the time spent in of itself, but it also leads to Wollongong — a classic Aussie surf town and the perfect spot to kick back and chill out. Shopping, pubs, hiking trails, cycling paths — yes, Wollongong offers all of this. But everybody goes for the beach-bum life. There are 17 fully patrolled surf beaches in the Wollongong area. If you’re learning to ride waves, check out North Wollongong Beach or Wollongong City Beach. If you can rip with the best of them, try the breaks at Stanwell Park or Scarborough Beach, both to the north of town. Accommodation ranges from hostels to five-stars. Pick your pleasure and relax.

Three Sisters (Blue Mountains)

From downtown Sydney, drive the Great Western Highway inland for about 115 km to uncover one of Australia’s most impressive natural wonders — the Three Sisters. Stabbing over 900 metres skyward, Aboriginal legends claim these rock formations were once three sisters, who were turned to stone by a witch doctor. Geologists say they were sculpted by natural erosion. Regardless of which you believe, there’s no doubt these sandstone formations are impressive. Hikes and walks are popular in the area — and sunset is a must-see, when the Sister’s colours are brought out in their full vibrancy. The sisters are also floodlit into the late evening, for dramatic effect. The local area has activities that range from spa days to horseback riding, and accommodation is equally varied — budget to budget-blowing.

Photo courtesy Dee Kramer Photography

About the author: David Webb is a Vancouver, BC-based travel writer, photographer and magazine editor.

1 comment… add one

  • Rocky Travel Blog May 30, 2014

    I have been to Royal National Park and Wollongong by train and bus and, the coastal scenery is spectacular. Next time I’d like to drive there. Nice post.

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