Home THE JOURNEY Road Trip Five family road trips from Sydney

Five family road trips from Sydney

The scenic coastal drive along Sea Cliff Bridge, Clifton. Photo: Destination NSW

Discover outdoor activities, stunning beaches and lots of family fun with these five kid-friendly road trips across New South Wales.

Greater Blue Mountains Drive

Where? Sydney–Katoomba–Jenolan Caves You’ve got: 2 days

Its close proximity to Sydney, and its cable cars, caves and cafés, make the Greater Blue Mountains Drive a perfect weekend getaway for the whole family.

DAY 1: Sydney to Katoomba — 100km/1.5 hours

Climb into the mountains past pretty towns such as Wentworth Falls and Leura. At Katoomba, head to Scenic World for thrilling cable car and train rides, and use the town as a base to explore the Blue Mountains National Park.

DAY 2: Katoomba to Jenolan Caves — 75km/70 minutes

Head towards to the charming village of Blackheath, known for its cafés and galleries. Continue on to Jenolan Caves to discover chasms, stalactites and stalagmites.

Grand Pacific Drive

Where? Sydney–Royal National Park–Kiama–Shoalhaven You’ve got: 2 days

The Grand Pacific Drive is one of Australia’s most breathtaking routes, taking you south via rainforests, seaside villages and spectacular coastline.

DAY 1: Sydney to Royal National Park to Kiama — 120km/2 hours

Call in on the Royal National Park, just south of Sydney, have a swim at one of the beaches immediately south of the park, then take the spectacular Sea Cliff Bridge, which extends over the ocean as it hugs the coast. In Kiama, check out the Kiama Blowhole and the town’s beautiful beaches.

DAY 2: Kiama to Shoalhaven to Jervis Bay — 75km/1 hour

Call in on the seaside village of Gerroa for a swim or a surf. Then head south to reach Jervis Bay, boasting white sand beaches, sapphire seas and resident dolphins. On the way back to Sydney the next day, take a hinterland drive via Berry or Kangaroo Valley.

NSW Food & Wine Trail

Where? Sydney–Lithgow–Orange–Cowra–Mudgee You’ve got: 4 days

Follow the NSW Food & Wine Trail and teach your children where their food comes from, visiting farmers markets, artisan producers and paddock-to-plate eateries.

DAY 1: Sydney to Lithgow — 140km/2 hours

On the western edge of the Blue Mountains is the town of Lithgow. Visit the Secret Creek Cafe for a plant-based meal in a wildlife sanctuary. Then sample fresh cheese at Jannei Goat Dairy.

DAY 2: Lithgow to Orange — 120km/1.5 hours

Sample cool-climate wines from one of the many cellar door near Orange, buy some fruit from an orchard, and pick berries at Huntley Berry Farm. Stock up on local produce at The Agrestic Grocer, or indulge in fine dining at Lolli Redini, Racine or Tonic.

DAY 3: Orange to Cowra — 95km/75 minutes

Drive through olive groves, orchards and vineyards to Canowindra. Then continue on to historic Cowra, bursting with food and wine experiences, including tours, cellar doors and the annual Cowra Wine Show Public Tasting.

DAY 4: Cowra to Mudgee — 240km/3 hours

Visit a cellar door or two. The temperate climate in Mudgee produces wines of great depth and intensity. On the third Sunday of the month, try a Mudgee Farm Walk through local working farms. It’s a 3.5-hour drive back to Sydney through the Blue Mountains.

Legendary Pacific Coast

Where? Sydney–Port Stephens–South West Rocks–Coffs Harbour–Tweed Heads You’ve got: 4 days

Head north on the Legendary Pacific Coast to find rolling green hinterland, surf beaches and lots of family fun.

DAY 1: Sydney to Port Stephens — 215km/2.5 hours

Head north from Sydney and pass through the Central Coast with its picturesque villages such as Pearl Beach and Avoca Beach. Fly on a zip line at Treetops Newcastle, before arriving in Port Stephens, an idyllic seaside getaway.

DAY 2: Port Stephens to South West Rocks — 315km/3.5 hours

In Port Macquarie, call in on the Koala Hospital, and at pretty South West Rocks visit the Smoky Cape Lighthouse, a great vantage point for whale watching between May and November.

DAY 3: South West Rocks to Coffs Harbour — 100km/70 minutes

Coffs Harbour is packed with activities for families. The kids will love the amusement rides at the Big Banana Fun Park. Visit the Butterfly House, and learn to scuba dive, or even swim with humpback whales, through Jetty Dive.

DAY 4: Coffs Harbour to Tweed Heads — 290km/3 hours

Explore the Byron Bay area, famed for its lush hinterland, fresh produce, breathtaking beaches and creative community. Further north, you’ll find Tweed Heads, offering fishing charters, houseboats for hire, and snorkelling and diving.

Kosciuszko Alpine Way

Where? Sydney–Canberra–Cooma–Jindabyne–Kosciuszko National Park You’ve got: 4 days

Travel to the roof of Australia along the Kosciuszko Alpine Way through the Snowy Mountains. You’ll discover pristine scenery, icy lakes and plenty of adventure.

DAY 1: Sydney to Canberra — 285km/3 hours

Hit the road southwest from Sydney towards Canberra. You’ll pass through the Southern Highlands and past the famous Big Merino in Goulburn, a 15m tall statue of a ram that’s a monument to the region’s fine-wool industry.

DAY 2: Canberra to Cooma — 115km/80 minutes

Travel through farmland to the gateway of the Snowy Mountains. Historic Cooma is the largest town in the Snowies and home to the Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre. Dig for truffles in the countryside or fish for trout in lakes and rivers.

DAY 3: Cooma to Jindabyne — 60km/45 minutes

Sitting on the edge of a beautiful lake, the scenic town of Jindabyne offers outdoor adventure and gourmet delights. It’s a great base for the snowfields in colder months, and kayaking and mountain biking when it’s warmer.

DAY 4: Jindabyne to Kosciuszko National Park — 110km/2 hours

Wind through the spectacular forests and mountain ranges of Kosciuszko National Park into the heart of NSW’s High Country. Walk to Australia’s highest point, Mt Kosciuszko, go fly-fishing in icy rivers or try horse riding along alpine trails.