When travelling to Sydney, it’s easy to get caught up in the commotion of the city, sticking by the iconic sites like the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Opera House, and famous sands of Bondi. However, there is so much more to Sydney beyond the bustling city. So if you get the chance, hire a car for the day (or for a few days) and see what else New South Wales has to offer beyond the city!
Royal National Park: Located only a two hour drive from Sydney lays the beautiful and ever-green Royal National Park. The Royal National Park is home to wide array of things to do and see. Obviously, being a national park it’s the adventurers dream come true with roads winding through the park, taking you deep into the heart of the national park and the natural environment. Don’t be surprised if you find kangaroos, wallabies, and wombats wondering around the area, just be sure to not approach them as they can be extremely territorial.
Some top picks for places to visit in the Royal National Park include Wattamolla Beach which features a lagoon and jump rocks for the adrenaline junkies, and Jervis Bay for the crystal clear waters and fine, white sands.
Byron Bay: If you’re looking to experience the quintessential Australian beach and surf lifestyle, look no further than Byron Bay. Byron Bay is a mecca for surfers, and those looking to get away from the big city lights. It’s the chilled out and relaxed atmosphere that makes Byron a popular choice for a wide array of festivals and events including yoga and meditation retreats to popular music festivals like Splendour in the Grass and Bluesfest.
In Byron you’ll find that everyone seems to be on their own time, not in a hurry to anywhere. People are fresh from the surf, with sand in their hair and barefooted. The drive from Sydney is around 9 hours if you’re driving straight. However, no doubt you’ll want to stop by the beaches along the way, as the drive follows the coast.
Snowy Mountains: If you’re a snow bunny or adventurer, the Snowy Mountains is the road trip for you. Located a six hour drive taking you through country New South Wales, it’s a relaxed drive with beautiful scenes along the way. Break up the drive with quick stops for a quick lunch and rest break any of the quaint small towns along the way. Additionally, Canberra will be along the way if you’d rather stay the night.
Once at the Snowy Mountains you’ll be able to find activities for all skill levels including skiing, tobogganing, and snowboarding for those that love the snow. When visiting in spring, summer or autumn, the snow melts away from the ski track they reveal mountain biking trails. For those that like a more relaxed hobby, there are plenty of fishing spots with trout being a specialty within the region.
Mudgee: Experience the Australian outback with a visit to Mudgee, experience unreal Australian hospitality and taste the best and freshest in Aussie produce. You may have heard of the Hunter Valley is known for its wine, but locals will know that you’ll get a more authentic experience from the Mudgee Region. Expect few tourists, and more locals that have spent their lives in Mudgee.
Visiting Mudgee is like taking a trip back to a simpler time, the heritage colonial buildings on the wide tree-lined streets, and small town atmosphere make for an enjoyable time. With over 40 wineries to visit, and various breweries and distilleries there’s something for everyone. For those that don’t fancy a drink, there are a number of restaurants and cafes that truly champion great Australian local product and flavours
Blue Mountains: Only an hour and a half away from Sydney, the Blue Mountains makes for the perfect day trip away from the city. Get in touch with your natural surroundings and feel like an Indiana Jones-esque explorer with the Blue Mountains. In this region you’ll be able to explore the natural environment, and get up close and personal with Australia’s fauna and flora.
A personal favourite is the Wentworth Falls walk where you’ll be able to trek down the side of the cliff side of the mountain, and look up towards the falls. See the water droplets twinkle and shine as the sunlight hits them. Scenic World is always popular with the kids, where you’ll be able to ride the world’s steepest railway car, take to the skies in the cable car, and walk through the forest with the hikes and paths.
Kay Campbell is a luxury travel consultant for Luxury Adventures. Talk to us about planning your next visit to New Zealand, Australia or the South Pacific Islands.