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NSW Road Trips: Beautiful Drives Just Outside of Sydney

When you need a breather from city life, these drives outside of Sydney come complete with incredible views.

While there’s no denying our harbour city is a visual feast for the senses, sometimes you just need to escape the city, even for just a few hours. If you’re keen to swap gridlock traffic for the big open road, take your pick of our favourite NSW road trips.

Kangaroo Valley, nsw
Kangaroo Valley, nsw
Kangaroo Valley

Fill your lungs with fresh country air on the Sydney to Kangaroo Valley drive. Kangaroo Valley is located two hours south of the CBD and boasts lush scenery, secluded valleys and village stop-offs. You can choose to combine the coast and the country on the M1 route through Stanwell Tops and Bulli, or immerse yourself in Southern Highlands’ charms along the M31, enjoying Mittagong, Bowral and Fitzroy Falls along the way.

Hunter Valley Gardens (Photo credit: Sitchu)
Hunter Valley Gardens (Photo credit: Sitchu)
Hunter Valley

If you’re going to be spending the weekend in glorious wine country, you may as well take the scenic route to get there. This much-loved NSW roast trip is also known as Tourist Drive 33. The scenic drive from Sydney to the Hunter Valley takes you through the heart of Australia’s oldest wine region. The Calga exit on the M1 and explore the World-Heritage-Listed Great North Road through picturesque rural townships including Peats Ridge, Wollombi, Cessnock and Branxton.

Terrigal to Newcastle

Another drive that makes the most of the legendary Pacific Coast, the Terrigal to Newcastle drive is five hours of scenic coastlines, national parks and idyllic coastal towns.  Beginning in Terrigal, take the Central Coast Highway to get the best views as you roam through Wamberal, Forresters Beach, The Entrance and Lake Macquarie. Wyrrabalong National Park and Wallarah National Park add a touch of rainforest scenery to your itinerary. It's easy to see why this a popular NSW road trip, especially for Sydneysiders.

Cottage Point

If you’re keen to escape the hustle and bustle for just a few hours, head north to one of Sydney’s smallest and relatively untouched suburbs. Located just 35 kilometres north of the CBD, Cottage Point is a serene suburb on the waterfront of the striking Ku-ring-gai National Park. Take the Forestway/Terrey Hills route to enjoy the winding scenery of Cottage Point Road, and don’t forget to stop in at the Cottage Point Kiosk for a bite to eat.

blue mountains, nsw
blue mountains, nsw
Greater Blue Mountains Drive

A must on any road-trip bucket list, the Greater Blue Mountains Drive is the best way to experience the unparalleled natural beauty of the World-Heritage-Listed Area. The 1200-kilometre drive transports you into the thick of Blue Mountains attractions, with 18 pitstops including historical Katoomba, the iconic Three Sisters, Jenolan Caves, Wentworth Falls and the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mt Tomah.  Be sure to stop in Bilpin during apple picking season.  

National Parks NSW
National Parks NSW
Royal National Park

The second-oldest national park in the world and Sydney’s premier driving route provides the perfect itinerary for sub-tropical scenery, secluded beaches and a chance to explore the great outdoors. Just south of Sydney, this is one of best road trips in NSW. The 50-kilometre stretch begins just outside Loftus in the city’s south and concludes near Stanwell Tops. Sir Bertram Stevens Drive and Bundeena Drive offer the best sightseeing opportunities including Wedding Cake Rock and Wattamolla Beach.  

Grand Pacific Drive

The legendary Grand Pacific Drive is the perfect introduction to Sydney’s scenic side. Traversing 48 national parks and 12 state forests, Grand Pacific Drive delivers a rewarding snapshot of the breathtaking Pacific Coast. The 104-kilometre stretch begins at the Royal National Park south of the CBD and continues through numerous coastal townships including Wollongong, Kiama and Shoalhaven. Make like a tourist and get snappy happy at the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge.

Barnetts Road Reserve (Photo credit: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service)
Barnetts Road Reserve (Photo credit: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service)
Berowra Valley Circuit

Your next itinerary for a quaint Sunday drive is the Berowra Valley Circuit. A lesser know NSW road trip, but ... scenery, scenery and more scenery greets you on the moderate drive that takes in the magnificence of the Berowra Valley National Park and Berowra Creek. Beginning in Asquith, take Galston Road through Galston Gorge and right up to Arcadia and Berowra Waters for a pleasant 30-minute meander. Don’t miss a picture opportunity at the historical and Tunks Creek timber bridge at Galston Gorge.   

These are our picks for NSW road trips which are just outside of Sydney, making them an easy day-trip or weekend getaway. But, keep on driving further afield because there are so many national parks, stunning coastlines and regional centres to discover throughout the state.  For more inspo, check out the six ultimate coastal destinations near Sydney.