7 Scenic Road Trips From Sydney For The Ultimate Nature Getaway


Syahirah Mazlan •  Oct 07, 2022

A road trip is the perfect getaway! ? It gives you the chance to take in the stunning scenery, visit hidden gems, travel according to your own schedule and make memories that’ll last a lifetime. ? If you’re looking for a memorable trip, you can’t go wrong with Sydney! Coast along on these 7 scenic road trip routes from Sydney for the ultimate nature getaway!

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1. Grand Pacific Drive and beyond

Credits: Destination NSW

Less than half an hour from Sydney is the Grand Pacific Drive, a 140km scenic coastal drive beginning at Royal National Park. This natural beauty is the second oldest natural park in the world, and it’s perfect for sightseeing with several walking trails to choose from! ?

Hop off the car and stretch your legs as you walk along the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge, a picturesque coastal road. The 665-metre-long bridge extends into the ocean and is absolutely breathtaking. You can feel the ocean breeze from every angle!

Drive a little further and reward yourself with an incredible coastal view with the Wattamolla to Eagle Rock lookout route. This route is truly a hidden gem where you can see Curracurrong Falls, a spectacular waterfall that cascades down into the ocean - it’s definitely worth the drive.

Continuing down this path will also take you through coastal cities and townships of Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama and the Shoalhaven.

Another picturesque spot on this route is the DARKES At Glenbernie Orchard, nestled within the beautiful mountain range. This family-run orchard is a popular spot to pick fruits. ?You have to visit the Apple Shack that’s opened daily for fresh fruit, seasonal produce, spreads and apple cider (non-alcoholic ciders are available). You’ll find juicy peaches, plums and nectarines from November to early January, while apples are in season from late January to late April.

Credits: Destination NSW 

Further down the route is the scenic coastal town of Kiama, which offers a perfect mix of activities for an amazing adventure. Visit the Kiama Farmers Market open from 2PM to 5PM every Wednesday for fresh produce from local suppliers, then head to the viewing platforms atKiama Blowhole, the world’s largest blowhole that can spurt water up to 30 meters into the sky! The Kiama Coastal Walk is another hot spot in town, and it's made up of rock formations that give the coast its iconic rugged look.    

If you’re a thrill-seeker, you’ll love Wollongong Skydive, one of the best places to do skydiving in Australia. Be prepared for a freefall over North Wollongong Beach, followed by a relaxing parachute descent as you slowly glide down while taking in the phenomenal views! ?

Credits: @akelltayiib on Instagram 

Halal food nearby: Samara’s Restaurant and Al Aseel 

  • Samara’s Restaurant 

A homemade meal is always a great idea. Feast on delectable Lebanese cuisine at Samara’s Restaurant, a multi-award-winning family-owned restaurant! Start your meal with the mezza platter (an entree that comes with Lebanese puffs, cheese puffs and kibie mikliyeh, fried wheat balls stuffed with lamb and herbs) and savour dips like labne yoghurt (traditional Lebanese yoghurt). As for mains try the Beruit Chicken, shish kebabs and lamb shawarma. ?

Halal status: All meats and ingredients are sourced from halal suppliers.

Opening hours: Open daily; 11AM - 8PM

Address: Corner of Market & Corrimal St Wollongong, NSW  2500

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  • Al Aseel 

If you’ve brought your family along, you’re in for a treat! Ideal for family feasts, Al Aseel serves delicious Lebanese cuisine including kibbeh nayeh (raw minced beef with house spices), shish tawook (marinated chicken breast),and mjadara (slow-cooked rice). If there are little ones, you can order meals in kids-size too!

Halal status: All meats and ingredients are sourced from halal suppliers, but do note that alcohol is served on the premises. We recommend that you dine at your own discretion.

Opening hours: Mon–Wed & Sun; 11AM-9:30PM | Thu; 11AM-10PM | Fri-Sat; 11AM-10:30PM

Address: 1-3/118 Princes Hwy, Fairy Meadow, Wollongong NSW 2519

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#HHWT tip: Extend your journey along the Grand Pacific Drive by joining a Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruise at Jervis Bay. And while it’s a natural phenomenon, lucky travellers might even get to experience the exciting glow of the sea (bioluminescence) that will make your hands glitter (also at Jervis Bay), relax at Blenheim Beach, or enjoy fresh seafood atJim Wild's Oysters (Fun fact: Jim Wild is the former world champion for shucking oysters). 

If you’re planning to spend a night, consider glamping under the stars amongst eucalyptus and paperbark trees at Paperbark Camp. ?  The campsite can help source for halal meats for you in case you’re planning a BBQ steak night out! And to ensure the camp will provide halal ingredients for you, you must make sure you make this request in your booking. For example: SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS: HALAL MENU 

2. Southern Highlands 

Credits: Destination NSW 

Famous for its quaint country towns, green pastures and rolling hills, Southern Highlands is only a 90-minute drive from Sydney. ? The best times to visit are during Spring for tulip season and Autumn - from March to May - for the glorious autumn colours and red maple leaves. n Regardless of the time of year you visit, you’ll find things to do all year round! Known for its old-world charm, country mansions and garden estates, be sure to visit the picturesque heritage villages of Bowral and Berrima. 

#HHWT Tip: Occasionally, the village will organise markets on the weekends. However, do note that the venues and times differ so its best to check ahead of time to avoid disappointment! ?

Credits: Destination NSW. Kramer Photography; www.kramer.photography

On this route, you’ll see Fitzroy Falls, one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Australia! ? It plunges into the untouched valley 81 metres below into Morton National Park. ? In addition to the breathtaking view of the falls, you canenjoy winding forest trails and birdwatching for rare and native birds so don’t forget to bring your binoculars. 

Credits: Destination NSW 

Between the months of September and October, the town of Bowral transforms into a rainbow of floral gardens where travellers and locals can visit the annual Tulip Time Festival. The curated tulips display will have you whipping out your phones for that IG-worthy moment! ? Admire the view of the spring blooms, cherry and magnolia trees amongst the daily entertainment and local stalls. 

After that, if you’re up for an adventurous day out, visit Tallowa Dam in Morton National Park where you can see a natural dam, or even head out for a kayak on Lake Yarrunga. The calm waters are great for beginners and families so you don’t have to worry about the currents. End the day with a picnic together and make full use of their barbecue facilities. ?

Halal food nearby: Veggie Nook 

Only a short drive away from Southern Highlands, you can find Veggie Nook which offer flavourful vegan and vegetarian meals. ? If you have an adventurous palate, why not try their jackfruit burger, or perhaps their smoky BBQ mushroom tacos? Try the popular potato rösti (grated potato cake) and vegan desserts for the full experience! Do note that not all dishes are available all year round, so it's best to check their social media account before you go.

Opening hours: Thurs & Sun: 10AM - 4PM; Fri – Sat: 10AM – 8PM

Address: 6 Bundaroo Street, Bowral New South Wales 2576

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3. Palm Beach 

You must add Palm Beach to your bucket list! It’s just a one-hour drive north from Sydney CBD, located on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. ? With beautiful sunrise and sunset views, it’s a popular destination for Sydneysiders and tourists alike. This Instagram-worthy spot also links Barrenjoey Lighthouse to Little Head sandstone rocks. 

Credits: Destination NSW

Begin exploring this coastal haven with the Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk which is a short bush walk but you’ll be rewarded with an incredible panoramic view of Palm Beach. ? This area is absolutely breathtaking from the coast, all the way out to the lighthouse. 

With the warmer weather, remember to wear good walking/hiking shoes and bring along water when visiting areas that require you to walk out in the open! And if you want to get the best view, opt for the Smugglers Track which is a short and moderate-level hike with an impressive view at the end! Alternatively, you could rent kayaks, paddleboards or tinnies (aluminium boats) at Barrenjoey Boating Service and explore the waters in an exciting way. ?

You might feel sad to part with the coastal view but now it’s time to visit Ku-ring-gai National Park. This is the second oldest park in Australia with bush walks, waterfalls, creek crossings, beautiful natural scenery and wildlife. We recommend one of the easier tracks - America Bay Track. It’s about 2km long and it’s also a lovely spot for a picnic!

Halal food nearby:

  • Ocean Master Newport Beach 

Get your fish and chips fix here, where only wild-caught sustainable fishes are served. The must-try dishes include their fresh calamari, prawn cutlets and sea scallops. 

Opening hours: Open daily; 11AM - 7PM

Address: 385 Barrenjoey Rd, Newport NSW 2106

Website | Facebook

4. The Blue Mountains 

Another scenic road trip near Sydney is a drive to the Blue Mountains! The Blue Mountains is home to charming mountain towns like Katoomba, Leura and Blackheath; iconic tourist attractions with impressive scenery. Just 90-minutes via car out of Sydney will get you to Katoomba, the first stop on this trip. 

Credits: Destination NSW

The best view of the iconic Three Sisters rock formations are from the Echo Point Lookout in Katoomba. Afterwards, visit Scenic World for 4 exciting attractions including the Scenic Skyway, a cable that lets you take in the view of the Blue Mountains from high above sea level! ?

You can take the cable car (which is the largest aerial cable car in the Southern Hemisphere!) from Eagle Lookout to the Scenic Walkway in Jameson Valley or Skyway East Station to see Three Sisters from the Echo Point Lookout. Or you can opt for different viewpoints with Scenic Cableway, Scenic Skyway or Scenic Railway, the steepest passenger railway in the world. Some of the other scenic lookouts include - Olympian Rock (which has a great view across the Jamison Valley!), Elysian Rock, Pulpit Rock and Honeymoon Bridge. 

Another great way to explore the surroundings is via the Blue Mountains Explorer Bus, a sightseeing tour with live commentary. It’s a hop-on, hop-off bus that allows you to explore each destination on your own time. Getting excited already? Add the Three Sisters, Leura Village and Katoomba Falls to your must-see stops! ?

Everglades House & Gardensin Leura is one of the must-visit destinations on this road trip! 

Walk to the Terrace View to see the edge of Jamison Valley, admire pink weeping cherry blossoms in full bloom in Spring, and enjoy the scenic drive surrounded by nature! 

Credits: Destination NSW

If you like exploring, you have to visit the largest cave in Australia and oldest in the world, the Jenolan Caves. Lucas Cave is one of the more popular caves, showcasing the famous Broken Column, Cathedral and Underground River, part of the river formed in the cave. 

If you’re thinking of spending the night in the Blue Mountains, we recommend staying at Fairmont Resort & Spa Blue Mountains. In addition to the stunning views you’ll get all day, this hotel also offers accommodation for families; their spacious Family Suite comes with two interconnecting bedrooms, one for the parents and one for the kids. 

Halal food nearby: We recommend Cedar Kebab Cafe Katoomba, a Lebanese cafe just a 10-minute drive from the resort. Choose from their kebabs (chicken or beef) or falafel bowls; the best part is you'll enjoy generous portions.  

Opening hours: Mon - Thur: 11AM - 7PM | Fri: 11AM - 8PM | Sat-Sun; Closed

Address: 129b Katoomba Street, Katoomba NSW 2780  

Website | Facebook

Credits: Destination NSW 

#HHWT tip: The stars shine brighter in this region so why not join a Blue Mountains Stargazing tour led by an astrophysicist? Cosy up with a cup of hot chocolate, blankets, binoculars and all the necessities needed for a perfect night gazing at constellations, planets, satellites and more! Spend the night under the stars in a luxurious glamping tent with Bubbletent, overlooking the Capertee Valley ?

5. Central Coast

Credits: Destination NSW

The Central Coast is just an hour’s drive north from Sydney and it offers many beach towns and outdoor and nature activities. From hanging out in the treetops to a memorable experience horse riding in the hinterland, there are plenty of activities suited for all ages. 

Get everyone pumped up and ready for a fun adventure at TreeTop Adventure Park and TreeTop Networld!  Put your mental and physical abilities to the test with elevated obstacles or have fun bouncing around with giant inflatable balls amidst the trees.

Credits: Destination NSW

If you’ve always wanted to experience the farm life, this is your opportunity, head over to Iris Lodge Alpacas and be prepared to meet over 60 alpacas and llamas! ? You can even have breakfast with the alpacas (as well as feed and pet them too!) and meet the rest of the farm family - wiltipoll sheep, horses and cows.

Credits: Destination NSW

Drop by Glenworth Valley for an exciting outdoor retreat! Choose from an array of activities including horse riding, quad biking and stand by during the The Running Of The Horses experience, the best way to see majestic horses gallop past you. 

Nearing the end of the road trip, stop by the small town of Long Jetty and spend the evening walking along its namesake, NSW’s longest jetty, the 351m Long Jetty on Tuggerah Lake. At sunset, this Instagram-worthy spot will make you feel like you’re walking on top of water! 

Halal food nearby: Shahi Mahal and Woy Woy Fishermen's Wharf

  • Shahi Mahal

Order authentic Indian cuisine like the tandoori grilled platter, biryani, or choose from the chef’s special, which includes lamb chop masala, zenobia (cottage cheese and potato balls cooked in curry sauce), or karuvepillai fish curry. 

Halal status: Halal meats and ingredients used

Opening hours: Open daily; 4PM - 10PM 

Address: 261 The Entrance Road, The Entrance 2261

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  • Woy Woy Fishermen's Wharf

This iconic wharf restaurant serves the freshest seafood from prawns to mud crabs. We recommend getting their takeaway fish and chips. Halal status: Seafood options available. Alcohol is served, so do dine with discretion

Opening hours: Opens daily; 12PM - 3PM. Fish and chips are available for takeaways from Sun - Thurs: 11AM - 5PM, Fri - Sat: 11AM - 7PM

Address: The Boulevarde, Woy Woy NSW 2256 

Website | Instagram

6. Hunter Valley

The Hunter Valley has world-famous wineries and is Australia’s oldest wine-growing region. ? However, you’ll also find many non-wine related experiences for Muslim travelers just two hours via car out of Sydney. 

Credits: Destination NSW 

Enjoy a fun day out with your family at Hunter Valley Gardens! Explore their 10 unique and award-winning gardens such as the Rose Garden, Storybook Garden, and Sunken Garden. ? There are many seasonal events throughout the year including Snow Time in the Garden (June to July) and Christmas Lights Spectacular (November to January). 

Credits: Destination NSW

Get ready for an exciting balloon ride on the Balloon Aloft that’ll take you over Hunter Valley. There’s just something magical about being up in the air surrounded by loved ones! ? Each flight comes with delicious gourmet breakfast and a digital photo package to commemorate this event.

Get up close and personal with alpacas at Starline Alpacas. This working alpaca farm is a great way to meet these furry animals and feed them! You can also pop by their shop to browse through their alpaca products and get some souvenirs. 

7. Port Stephens 

Home to the largest coastal sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere and a bay that is more than twice the size of Sydney Harbour, Port Stephens isn’t just a natural wonderland, it also happens to be the dolphin capital of NSW! ? Just a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Sydney, you must add this to your road trip itinerary!

Credits: Destination NSW 

Adventurous souls can testify that the Stockton Sand Dunesand Worimi Conservation Lands have much to offer for rugged outdoor activities.This spectacular landscape stretches 32 kilometres to Newcastle, it’s practically one gigantic sandpit nestled alongside the spectacular coastline. Discover this extraordinary natural beauty by quad biking, a 4WD tour, sandboarding, or riding a camel.

Credit: Port Stephens

Dolphin or whale watching cruises are also not to be missed in Port Stephens. Did you know that over 140 bottlenose dolphins call Port Stephens home? You can see bottlenose dolphins all year round or join whale-watching cruises between May and November. ?You can even book a dolphin and whale tour to see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat! Moonshadow-TQC Cruises is one of the cruise operators and they serve halal food on board too. ?

Credits: Destination NSW 

Finally, don’t miss Tomaree Head Summit Walk; you’ll be rewarded with some of the most spectacular views over the entire region. It’s a short walk to the summit and you’ll be greeted with panoramic views of Yacaaba Head, Cabbage Tree and Fingal Island.  ?

#HHWT tip: Combine your Central Coast and Port Stephens trips; the Central Coast makes the perfect stopover en route to Port Stephens. 

Halal food nearby:

  • The Only Place Indian Restaurant

This acclaimed restaurant serves dishes from all regions of India with varying spice levels. Choose from butter chicken, goat curry, pulusu (Fresh prawn cooked in spicy tamarind sauce) and garlic takada (marinated prawn or fish). 

Halal status: Halal meats and ingredients used

Opening hours: Open daily; 11:30AM-2:3PM, 5:30PM-10PM

Address: 10/17-19 Stockton St, Nelson Bay NSW 2315

Website | Facebook

With these scenic drives, you’ll be able to explore the open roads, immerse yourself with nature, enjoy great halal dining options, including fresh seafood and much more! ? If you love long drives, why not invite a couple of your travelling buddies or your family to get in on these road trips near Sydney with you? All these fun sights and activities are sure to get everyone excited to hit the road!