14 Incredible Drives from Sydney
If you’re on the lookout for the best drives from Sydney, you’re truly spoiled by choice.
Not only is Sydney a laid-back city with a welcoming ambience, unmatched beaches and parklands, and the most recognisable opera house in the world, but there are also so many magical locations to explore in and outside the city.
Below, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of places to visit in or near Sydney by road, from world-famous bays to some lesser-known spots.
But before you get your engines started, make sure you thoroughly understand Australia’s road rules and have car insurance to protect you in case something goes wrong. And if you’re a beginner ready for your first road trip, make sure you’re covered by ROLLiN’s insurance for young driver’s cars.
Now, without further ado, here are ten incredible drives to take from Australia’s most popular city.
Grand Pacific Drive
One of the most famous drives in Australia, the gorgeous Grand Pacific Drive takes you past some genuinely jaw-dropping sights.
You’ll cruise through the Royal National Park, Wollongong with its breathtaking rock pools and forests, and the stunning Kiama Blowhole blasting water 20m into the air! If you head southwards from Sydney down the NSW coast, this leisurely drive will take you through some of the best pit stops within 3 hours.
2. Jervis Bay
Jervis Bay is a tourist favourite and should be on your list of drives from Sydney. You can fill your day by taking in the gorgeous crystal clear waters, exploring the breathtaking bay, and basking in the beautiful sun.
If laying on the beach isn’t for you, you can always go on a dolphin-watching cruise and even have the experience of a lifetime swimming with friendly sea lions! No matter what you do in the day, make sure to end your day with a delicious plate of fish and chips to delight your taste buds as well as your eyes!
3. Kangaroo Valley
Peeking between the NSW south coast and Southern Highlands, the lovely Kangaroo Valley is famous for its culinary delights, the dramatic Fitzroy Falls, and the world-recognized Hampden Bridge.
The village is a 2-hour drive from Sydney via the Hume Motorway, and you can always swim, kayak, and treat yourself to some classic pub snacks before strolling along the beautiful river.
4. Hunter Valley
The Hunter Valley Wine Region, situated just a short distance north of Sydney, offers an enticing experience for wine lovers. As you navigate the beautifully landscaped countryside, the scene is dotted with vineyards and wine cellars offering tastings of the region’s acclaimed wines.
The vineyards, flourishing in the abundant Australian sunshine, provide an exquisite backdrop to this enjoyable journey. Among your must-visit stops, include award-winning wineries where you can savor a meal expertly paired with a glass of local wine.
The Hunter Valley is also notable for its splendid landscapes, lending an added visual appeal to this picturesque drive. So, sit back, and revel in the scenic beauty while exploring this famous wine region. Always remember to have your designated driver along for a safe and enjoyable journey.
5. Byron Bay
While Byron Bay is one of the longer drives from Sydney, we promise it’s certainly worth the effort! You’ll get to visit the Crystal Castle and Killen Falls, stop by settlements like Newrybar and the Gondwana Rainforests, and take a craft brewery tour there.
Be sure to visit the Crystal Castle, known for its stunning collection of crystals and peaceful gardens. You can explore the enchanting grounds, join a guided meditation session, or even take a crystal healing workshop
6. Pacific Palms
Around a 3 hours and 15 minutes drive from Sydney, Pacific Palms is a beautiful spot.
An authentic Aussie beach town in the truest sense, it’s an excellent choice for a weekend getaway. There are plenty of gorgeous beaches, including Elizabeth Beach and Boomerang Beach for a surfers’ hangout. Also, make sure to stop at the dreamy blue waters and verdant forest backdrop of Cellito Beach while you’re there.
7. Cottage Point
Cottage Point is a small, whimsical town located north of Sydney. It’s located in the heritage-listed Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Not too far from the city centre, this is one of the most scenic drives from Sydney you absolutely shouldn’t miss.
Feast your eyes on the bushland scenery on the drive. If you get hungry on the way, grab a bite to eat at the Cottage Point Inn or the charming Cottage Point Kiosk. You can also hire a boat from this venue and enjoy an unforgettable day on the water.
8. Greater Blue Mountains Drive
If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a while, the Blue Mountains drive will freshen you up like no other. Driving along this route is the best way to experience the otherworldly beauty of this region.
The 1200-kilometre road takes you through a stunning array of villages, bushwalks and lookouts. Spend the night in gorgeous townships like Leura or Wentworth Falls so you can soak up the very best of this area without being in too much of a hurry.
Blue Mountains is the perfect place to venture out further west towards Lithgow, Bathurst and Orange.
9. Bondi Beach
One of the world’s most famous stretches of sand, Sydney’s beachside suburb Bondi Beach is an absolute must-visit. It might not be the longest drive on this list, but few lead to such an alluring destination.
Just 15 minutes from the city centre via Bellevue Road, the golden sands of Bondi are complemented by its buzzing bars, lively cafes, and cerulean blue waters. Whether you want to lay back and sunbathe, chase the waves and go surfing, or sip a cocktail and bask in the sun, Bondi is the place to do it all!
A two-hour drive from Sydney via the Princes Highway, Berry is a beautiful, relaxing village for the ultimate tourist cultural experience. Visit the bustling Berry Markets, browse through the famous antique, arts and crafts stores, and feast your taste buds at the delicious local delis and cafes.
And if you want to go exploring even further, the village is surrounded by gorgeous nature walks like the Drawing Room Rocks and fun activities like whale watching at Black Head to keep you occupied all day long.
11. Garie Beach
A journey through the Royal National Park to Garie Beach promises an array of spectacular scenes. The drive takes you via the mesmerising Royal National Park, boasting a diverse range of flora and fauna. The park provides an outstanding coastal viewing experience as you traverse this route.
You can spend hours exploring the park before continuing your journey to Garie Beach. Here, you can unwind, soak up the sun, and partake in some classic Aussie beach activities. This route offers a wonderful fusion of beach and bushland, showcasing the distinct natural beauty that New South Wales is renowned for.
The pleasure of this drive is further accentuated by the delightful pit stops at local eateries offering tasty refreshments. Consider stops at Stanwell or Helensburgh to find a delicious meal you’ll love.
12. Snowy Mountains
Departing from Sydney, the route to Snowy Mountains promises a tapestry of sceneries and experiences. Traverse through the enchanting countryside adorned with charming towns that beg to be explored. Moving further, the scenery transforms into lush valleys and undulating hills, presenting eye-pleasing vistas throughout your drive.
As you inch closer to the Snowy Mountains, the topography takes on a more dramatic tone with soaring peaks and immaculate alpine lakes. Catering to those seeking outdoor adventures like hiking, skiing, or simply wishing to appreciate the mountain’s majesty, this drive is poised to enthral you. Strap in and get ready to unearth this magnificent part of Australia.
Need an overnight stop? Why not check out the nation’s capital, Canberra, home to Parliament House, the National Gallery of Australia and the National Museum of Australia. It’s a beautiful and underrated part of the country.
13. Wisemans Ferry
Your journey to the historic and charming town of Wisemans Ferry is another visual treat. En route, marvel at the splendid views of the Hawkesbury River and the stunning landscapes that encircle it. Upon reaching Wisemans Ferry, set aside some time to discover the town’s alluring heritage buildings and relish a leisurely lunch at one of the local bistros or restaurants.
Should time permit, a ferry ride across the river offers the ultimate viewpoint of the region. If you have an interest in history or simply seek a serene retreat, this tranquil drive to Wisemans Ferry makes for an ideal choice. It’s a perfect drive to take any time of year.
This drive is an extension of the drive from the Blue Mountains, bringing a wholesome close to your scenic drive escapades. As you depart from the city limits, you’ll be welcomed by quaint towns and rolling hills with distant views of impressive mountain ranges. Arriving at Newnes, you’ll be engulfed by rugged cliffs, deep valleys, and jaw-dropping landscapes.
Perfect for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers, this route offers numerous opportunities for hiking, camping, and exploring the neighbouring Wollemi National Park. Ensure you’ve packed your hiking boots and camera, and set off on this unforgettable adventure.
Sydney’s Roads Simplified
So that concludes our list of the top 10 incredible drives to take from Sydney. No matter which of these drives you pick for your trip this summer, you’re in for an absolute treat and a travel experience unlike any other.
And if you’re still looking for more activities, check out our post on a local’s pick of 15 bucket list-worthy things to do in Australia!
Before you set on your trip, you may find the following articles helpful