Family Travel: Top 5 NSW Road Trips within 4 Hours of Sydney
A road trip is the perfect way to explore everything that New South Wales has to offer. And there’s no need to travel for hours on end.
There are plenty of great destinations that are less than four hours away from Sydney. Forster is a popular spot for swimming, fishing and surfing, and it’s also home to whale-watching cruises and the iconic Stockton Beach. Lake Conjola is another great option for a day trip, with its calm waters perfect for stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking. Or if you’re looking for something a little more relaxed, Hunter Valley is famous for its wineries and restaurants, making it the perfect place to spend a day (or two) indulging in some of the state’s best food and wine.
So hop in the car and start planning your next NSW road trip – there’s plenty to see and do, and you don’t have to go far to find it.
With its stunning beaches, lush rainforests and diverse wildlife, Forster is the perfect destination for a road trip. The town is also home to a number of great restaurants, cafes and shops, making it the perfect place to stop and explore. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing holiday or an adventure-filled getaway, Forster is sure to have something for everyone.
If you’re looking for things to do in Forster, here are some ideas to get you started:
Take a dip in one of Forster’s many picturesque beaches. Whether you’re swimming, surfing or just relaxing on the sand, you’re sure to enjoy the impressive coastline.
Diamond Beach is a beautiful beach, ideal for swimming, surfing, fishing and relaxing on the sand. There are also plenty of things to do nearby, including exploring the rainforest, visiting the lighthouse and going for a walk along the sandy coastline.
Forster Main Beach
Forster Main Beach is a gorgeous place to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family. There are plenty of things to do, including swimming, sunbathing, fishing, and picnicking. The beach is also a popular spot for surfing, bodyboarding, and kayaking. Forster Main Beach is patrolled by lifeguards, so it’s a safe place to swim during the summer months. There are also several BBQ and picnic areas, as well as a playground and public toilet facilities. So whether you’re looking to cool off on a hot day or enjoy a leisurely afternoon in the sun, Forster Main Beach is the perfect spot.
Cape Hawke Lookout
Cape Hawke lookout is a gorgeous spot to take in the panoramic views of the coastline, ocean, beaches and rock formations. Visitors can also see dolphins and whales swimming offshore.
There are two walking tracks that lead to the lookout, both of which are easy to follow. The first track starts from Cape Hawke beach and follows the coastline for about 1.5 km.
The second track starts from Rockingham Beach and winds its way through the coastal dunes before reaching the lookout. Whichever track you choose, you’re guaranteed to enjoy some lush scenery along the way.
Wallis Lake is a freshwater lake that is about 9 kilometers long and 6 kilometers wide. It is a popular spot for swimming, fishing, canoeing, and boating.
There are several camping grounds and caravan parks located around the lake, making it an inviting destination for a family holiday. The lake is also home to a variety of wildlife, including pelicans, swans, and ducks.
If you’re feeling active, hire a kayak or stand-up paddleboard and explore Forster’s waterways at your own pace.
Smiths Lake is surrounded by scenic bushland and is a lovely place suitable for swimming, fishing, and boating. There are several boat ramps that make it easy to access the water.
Fishing is a popular activity at Smiths Lake, and there are plenty of spots to cast a line. The most common fish in the lake include bream and flathead.
Swimming is also permitted in most areas of the lake, but it is important to be aware of possible hazards such as submerged trees.
The lake is also popular with four-wheel drive enthusiasts, who come to enjoy the challenge of driving on the sand.
You can enter Sandbar Beach via Sandbar and Bushland Holiday Park, where you will need to pay a Council Beach Permit fee.
Hire a Boat
There’s no better way to enjoy the beautiful waters of Forster than by hiring a boat. Whether you’re looking to fish, swim, or simply relax in the sun, a boat hire can offer the perfect opportunity to do just that. And with several different companies offering boat hire services, it’s easy to find one that best suits your needs.
You can book your boat rental online or over the phone. Once you’ve arrived at the boat hire company’s premises, they’ll provide you with a safety briefing and all the equipment you need for a fun day on the water.
If you’re looking for an up-close and personal encounter with some of the world’s most intelligent and friendly creatures, then a dolphin safari with Dive Forster is the perfect activity for you.
On a dolphin safari, you’ll have the opportunity to swim and play with these amazing animals in their natural habitat. You’ll also learn about their fascinating behaviour and biology from experienced guides. And of course, you’ll take away some amazing memories and photos that will last a lifetime.
Places to Stay
2. Lake Conjola
Lake Conjola is located on NSW south coast. This hidden gem is surrounded by pristine beaches, national parks and lush rainforests. It’s the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and relax! One of the best ways to experience all that Lake Conjola has to offer is to take a road trip. This way you can explore at your own pace and make stops along the way to enjoy the scenery. The journey is just as important as the destination, so sit back, relax and enjoy the ride!
Here are some fun things to do at the lake:
Lake Conjola is a brilliant place to catch a variety of fish, including dusky flathead, tailor, whiting and surf bream.
There are several boat ramps and docks around the lake, making it easy to access the water. Bait and tackle can be purchased at the nearby marina.
The water in Lake Conjola is clean and refreshing, making it perfect for a swim on a hot day. There are several beaches around the lake including Conjola Lake Ocean Beach, Washerwoman’s Beach, Dee Beach and Buckleys Beach, as well as a swimming area at the marina.
Hire a Kayak
There’s nothing quite like being out on the water in a kayak. And at Lake Conjola, you can do just that! Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced kayaker, you can find the perfect kayak to suit your needs.
If you’re looking for a relaxing way to spend a day on the water, then hiring a kayak is a great option. You can paddle at your own pace and take in the fabulous scenery. And if you get tired, there are plenty of places to stop and take a break.
There are several hiking trails around Lake Conjola, ranging from easy walks to more challenging hikes.
Some of the most popular hiking tracks are
Burrawang Track to Buckley’s Point – approx. 2.4km
Narrawallee Creek Nature Reserve – approx. 10km
Lake Conjola and Buckley’s Beach via Mangrove Track – approx. 14km
Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just getting started, Lake Conjola is an exceptional place to get your fix of nature.
Guided tours can be booked with Kotahi Tourism, who offer a number of walks, each lasting approximately 90 minutes.
Learn to Surf
Pam Burridge is a professional surfer who has been surfing since she was a child. She started her own surf school, Pam Burridge Surf School, in order to share her love of surfing with others.
Pam offers private and group lessons for all levels of surfers, from beginners to those looking to improve their skills.
Beginner lessons focus on the basic techniques of surfing, such as paddling, duck diving, and popping up, as well as wave safety and surfing etiquette.
She also offers stand-up paddleboarding lessons and rentals.
Accommodation near Lake Conjola
3. Hunter Valley
Road trips are a great way to see new places and scenery, and they can be especially rewarding when they lead to somewhere as beautiful as the Hunter Valley.
The Hunter Valley is home to some of Australia’s best wineries, as well as impressive countryside and wildlife. It’s the perfect place for a relaxing getaway or an exciting adventure, and there’s something to suit everyone’s taste.
Whether you’re looking to sample some of the region’s finest wines or explore its rugged landscapes, a road trip to the Hunter Valley is sure to offer an unforgettable experience.
From world-class wineries to stunning scenery, there are plenty of reasons to add the Hunter Valley to your travel itinerary. Here are some fun things to do in the Hunter Valley:
Visit a Winery
Hunter Valley is one of Australia’s most popular wine regions, and it’s easy to see why. The picturesque landscape is home to dozens of world-class wineries, each offering its own unique tasting experience.
Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or a casual sipper, there’s sure to be a winery that suits your taste. And with so many to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. To help you plan your visit, here are some of the most popular wineries in Hunter Valley:
Tyrell’s is one of the oldest and most respected wineries in Hunter Valley. With more than 150 years of experience, they know a thing or two about making delicious wine. Their cellar door is open 7 days a week for tastings and sales, and they offer a range of tour options for groups.
McGuigan is another iconic Hunter Valley winery with a long history dating back over 100 years. Today, they produce some of the region’s most acclaimed wines. The McGuigan cellar door is open daily from 10am to 5pm.
Tempus Two was established in 1997 and has made a name for itself with its award-winning wines. The contemporary cellar door is open 7 days a week for tastings and sales, and they offer regular tours and events throughout the year.
Hot Air Ballooning
Hot air ballooning is an unforgettable experience and the Hunter Valley is the perfect place to do it. The stunning scenery and tranquillity of the area make it the ideal location to take in all that nature has to offer. It is a safe and exciting activity that the whole family can enjoy, although children must be at least 7 years of age.
Hot air ballooning gives you an opportunity to see Hunter Valley from a different perspective. You can float above it all and take in the breathtaking views. At the end of your flight, many companies offer a delicious champagne breakfast.
Aqua Golf at Hunter Valley is a unique and exciting way to enjoy golf. It is a great activity for families and couples. The course is situated near the Hunter Valley Gardens and is surrounded by stunning scenery.
It’s a fun experience as you get to hit floating golf balls into the lake. If your ball lands in a floating net, you can win some brilliant prizes including vouchers to restaurants and cellar doors as well as helicopter and hot air balloon rides.
Hunter Valley Gardens
Hunter Valley Gardens is a floral wonderland located in the heart of the Hunter Valley. With over 14 hectares of gardens to explore, it’s the perfect place to while away a spring day.
The gardens are divided into different themed areas, each with its own distinct character.
The Rose Garden is filled with over 35,000 rose bushes featuring 150 different varieties of roses.
The Oriental Garden features tranquil ponds and manicured bushes.
For children, Storybook Garden is a must visit, with over 15 storybook characters
In addition to the gardens, Hunter Valley Gardens also offers a range of shops and cafes, making it the perfect place to relax and enjoy some time out.
Places to Stay
Canberra is home to many different attractions, including the National Museum of Australia, the National Gallery of Australia, and the Australian War Memorial. There is also plenty of shopping to be done, and the food scene is fantastic.
Canberra is a wonderful place to visit all year round, but spring and autumn are particularly stunning thanks to the blooming flowers and changing leaves. If you’re planning a road trip, be sure to add Canberra to your list. You won’t be disappointed!
Here are some of our favourite things to do:
National Museum of Australia
This fascinating museum tells the story of the country, from its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage to its colonial history and more recent past. With interactive exhibits and a range of historic artefacts, it’s an ideal place to learn about Australia’s unique culture and history.
Canberra is home to the country’s Parliament, and visitors can take guided tours of the building to see where some of Australia’s most important decisions are made. It’s a rare way to get an insight into how democracy works in Australia.
Australian War Memorial
The Australian War Memorial is a must-see for anyone visiting Canberra. Located in the heart of the city, it is one of the most significant memorials in Australia. The memorial pays tribute to the men and women who have served in Australia’s armed forces, and it also serves as a museum and research centre.
The museum portion of the memorial contains exhibits on Australian military history, ranging from the early days of European settlement to the present day. The research centre is a world-renowned hub for scholarship on military history, and it houses an extensive collection of documents and artefacts. Whether you are interested in history or not, the Australian War Memorial is definitely worth a visit.
Questacon is a well known science and technology museum which features dozens of interactive exhibits designed to educate and entertain visitors of all ages. Questacon is also home to the National Science and Technology Centre, which provides educational programs and resources for students and teachers.
Despite its name, Questacon is much more than just a quest for knowledge. The museum is also a place to have fun and learn about the world around us. Visitors can take part in hands-on activities, watch live demonstrations, and even meet some of the museum’s resident scientists.
Australian National Botanic Gardens
The Australian National Botanic Gardens are a must-see for any nature lover. Situated on the edge of Lake Burley Griffin, the gardens offer brilliant views of the surrounding landscape. The gardens are home to a diverse range of plant life, including native Australian species and exotic plants from all over the world.
You can explore the gardens at your own pace, or take part in one of the many guided tours that are offered. The gardens also host a range of events throughout the year, making them a lovely venue for a day out with family or friends. Whether you’re interested in flora or fauna, the Australian National Botanic Gardens is sure to delight.
Places to Stay
5. Batemans Bay
Batemans Bay is a coastal town that is known for its marvellous beaches and nature reserves. There are plenty of things to do in Batemans Bay, so whether you’re looking for a relaxing break or an action-packed holiday, you’ll find something to suit your needs. There are plenty of activities to enjoy such as swimming, fishing, kayaking, and bushwalking. You will also find many restaurants and cafes to relax in after a day spent exploring the area.
If you’re looking for a unique and memorable road trip destination, Batemans Bay is definitely worth checking out!
Batemans Bay Beaches
The area is renowned for its coastline, and there are plenty of beaches to choose from.
Denhams Beach is one of the most popular beaches at Batemans Bay. It’s a perfect place for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing. The beach is also a popular spot for fishing. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a dolphin or two. Denhams Beach is an unreal place to spend a day in the sun with family and friends.
Lilli Pilli Beach
Lilli Pilli Beach is a secluded beach, ideal for swimming, sunbathing, kayaking and fishing, with clear waters and lovely views. You can also explore the nearby rock pools and bushland. There is a BBQ and swing set on the grassy reserve as well as toilets near the carpark, making it a suitable place to spend a day with family or friends.
If you’re looking for a unique wildlife sighting, head to Pebbly Beach, where you’ll find kangaroos grazing on the grassy headlands. The best time to see them is early morning or late afternoon, when they come out to feed. You can get really close to the kangaroos, but it’s important to remember that they are wild animals and should not be fed. And if you’re lucky, you might spot a joey peeking out of its mother’s pouch!
Mogo Wildlife Park
Mogo Wildlife Park is a home to over 200 animals from all around the world. As you walk through the park, you’ll encounter lions and tigers, gorillas, giraffes and many other incredible creatures. And with experienced guides on hand to share their knowledge, you’ll come away with a greater appreciation for the natural world.
The park offers many personal encounter experiences including:
- Feeding a tiger or a lion
- Playing with meerkats
- Sitting with squirrel monkeys
- Playing with African servals
Whether you’re enjoying a personal Encounter Experience with a favourite animal or simply taking in the sights and sounds of the park, a visit to Mogo Wildlife Park is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Gardens
Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Gardens is a beautiful spot to visit if you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. The gardens feature a variety of different plant life, as well as a waterfall.
There’s also a cafe on site, so you can grab a bite to eat while you admire the view. If you’re visiting with kids, there’s a playground located near the cafe. And if you’re feeling energetic, there are plenty of walking trails to explore.
Batemans Bay Cycleway
The Cycleway is a good place to take a leisurely ride or a strenuous workout. The scenery is fantastic, and there are plenty of places to stop and rest along the way. The path is well-marked and well-maintained, making it easy to navigate.
There are also a number of amenities along the route, including water fountains and restrooms. Best of all, the cycleway is free to use! Whether you’re a local looking for a new place to explore or a visitor looking for a unique way to see the area, Batemans Bay Cycleway is sure to please.
If you don’t have your own bike, you can hire one from Batemans Bay Cycles
Places to Stay
Going on a road trip with your family is an excellent way to see many wonderful places in NSW and to create many happy memories. So plan your trip today and enjoy the beauty of NSW with your loved ones.
Before you set on your trip, you may find the following articles helpful
Ivana Katz is a Sydney based website designer and travel blogger. Having her own business has given her the freedom to explore the world. She believes travel is the best teacher and her passion for adventure, writing and photography has taken her and her son to some amazing places, including Hawaii, Canada, Fiji, Greece and Czech Republic. Ivana’s favourite thing about travelling is learning, discovering hidden gems and creating memories. She loves nothing more than inspiring other women to chase their dreams and explore the world with their families and friends.