There’s nothing like a road trip to create travel memories – and Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) has got some of the best options. Once you’re done exploring Sydney and taking short day trips, aim for something bigger.
Start your road trip from Sydney and be enthralled by the outer regions of the Greater Blue Mountains for amazing mountain views or head to the Outback from Central NSW to indulge in a little history and adventure.
You can also cruise along the Pacific Coast for a littoral drive that takes you along the clear and white beaches of the Central Coast where you can surf, sail and maybe catch the annual whale migration. Or explore the giant sand dunes on four wheel drives. Road-trippers from seven to 70 will enjoy the variety on these epic road trips.
GREATER BLUE MOUNTAINS
The Blue Mountains was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000 in recognition of the area’s significant natural plant and animal life. Your road trip will take you through winding roads that’s 355km westward across seven key stops surrounding the mountains.
Depending on how much time you’d like to take exploring the region, this road trip may take up to four days and why not? The Blue Mountains and its surrounds are a beautiful place to recharge after a long day’s drive and of exploring.
Must-see stop #1: Katoomba & the Three Sisters
The key towns you’ll pass are: Leura, Katoomba, Megalong Valley, Blackheath, Lithgow and Jenolan Caves. You can build your own road trip with this guide.
Take a 30-minute ride after Leura and head 25km towards Katoomba where you’ll see the famed Three Sisters. The natural sandstone peaks created from millions of years ago has its own cultural history. According to Aboriginal lore, three sisters fell in love with three brothers from the neighbouring tribe, which was forbidden by tribal law at the time. This led to a war and a witch doctor decided to help the three sisters, turning them into stone during the battle to protect them. However, he died before he was able to transform them back and the sisters supposedly remain as large rock formations to this day.
There are a few ways to enjoy the panoramic views. You can take a walk from Echo Point at Katoomba to see the Three Sisters, nearly 1km above sea level. Experience the eucalyptus forest, bird watch for crimson rosellas and the superb lyrebird, and breathe in the fresh mountain air.
Alternatively, get on Scenic World and take the Scenic Railway, the world’s steepest single-track funicular at a 52-degree incline in the open terrain. It goes through a cliff tunnel before emerging in the Jamison Valley. Then hop on the world’s largest aerial cable car in the Southern Hemisphere, the Scenic World Skyway. You glide 270m above the ancient ravines as it takes you across 720m for the best views of the Katoomba Falls, Three Sisters, and the Jamison Valley. If you’re averse to heights, be warned: The floors are glass panelled, offering a view of the rainforest canopy.
For more information about the Three Sisters walk, go here.
Must-see stop #2: Jenolan Caves
The Jenolan Caves are one of the most ancient open caves in the world with the most limestone formations. It is generally considered to be one of the great natural wonders of Australia. The caves are a maze of stalactites caverns and passageways with underground rivers.
Guided tours are essential to understanding these caves – and most importantly to navigating an extensive system of 300 caves. Don’t worry though, only 10 have been shortlisted for guided tours and each cave takes between one to two hours. As they are open only from Wednesdays to Sundays and it’s a two-hour drive, be sure to book and plan ahead for your accommodations after.
For information and ways to plan your way there, go here.
Must-do activity #1: Visit Bilpin Cider Co
Yes, it’s a cider company but it’s so much more. Situated in the small town of Bilpin, the Bilpin Cider Co is set on 10 acres of land overlooking the Blue Mountains. It’s a cider company that has its own apple orchard and is home to friendly sheep and cool alpacas. What’s more, the stunning grounds also has an all-season garden so you’ll see azaleas in spring, roses and hydrangeas in summer, and daffodils, irises and tulips in winter.
The grounds are open for picnics on weekends and you can order hampers to make a day of it. And yes, kids can enjoy the non-alcoholic ciders available. Check it out here.