8 Places to Visit on Your NSW Road Trip
Planning a road trip in New South Wales? With its mix of stunning natural landscapes, vibrant cities, and rich history, our state has an abundance of incredible places to explore.
Here are 8 must-visit destinations for an unforgettable road trip.
Byron Bay is a haven for surfers, beachgoers, and bohemian spirits. Learn to surf at the epic breaks of Wategos, The Pass, and Main Beach, or simply watch the pros catch waves. The Cape Byron lighthouse commands astonishing views over white-sand beaches fringed by rainforest. After lazy beach days, unwind with sunset drinks at a beachfront bar in town.
Meander along Jonson Street and browse the boutiques showcasing local designers, crafts, and hippie-chic fashion. Each April, Byron comes alive for Bluesfest, where crowds revel in top-notch blues, roots, and rock performances. With its laid back vibe and vibrant culture, Byron Bay epitomises the quintessential Australian beach town fantasy. Linger longer to really soak it up.
Overlooked by many travellers, Port Macquarie is a coastal jewel with endless attractions. Unwind on the golden sands of Town Beach, watch the sunrise from historic Tacking Point Lighthouse, or spot koalas in their natural habitat along riverside walking tracks. At the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, visit orphaned koalas being rehabilitated for return to the wild.
For a dose of rainforest serenity, explore Sea Acres Rainforest Centre and its elevated boardwalks through eucalypt and palm forests. From May to November, keep an eye out for humpback and southern right whales breaching offshore during their annual migration. With fab beaches, wildlife, and nature in close proximity, Port Macquarie has experiences to satisfy every traveller.
Coffs Harbour is far more than just the Big Banana. Beyond this cheeky landmark lies a bounty of natural wonders. Hit the waves at Sawtell, Boambee and Park Beach, then stretch your legs on cliff top trails in Bongil Bongil and Moonee Beach Nature Reserves. Inland, ancient Antarctic beech trees tower over the rainforest wilderness of Dorrigo National Park.
Back in town, soak up the festive ambience along the marina at Coffs Harbour Jetty Foreshores, where buskers and restaurants with alfresco dining create a carnival atmosphere. From surf beaches to mountain forests, Coffs Harbour encapsulates the diversity of the NSW coast in one memorable destination.
With its pristine aquatic playground of coves and islands, Port Stephens lures water lovers seeking adventure. Snorkel over shipwrecks and kelp forests, glimpsing Port Jackson sharks and clown fish. Paddle kayaks through the photogenic mangrove labyrinths to spot jumping fish and stingrays.
Take a cruise to swim with bottlenose dolphins or witness humpbacks breaching offshore. On land, relax on sweeping golden beaches like Birubi, One Mile, and Shoal Bay. As the sun sets, toast picture-perfect days in waterfront restaurants at Nelson Bay. With so much to experience on and off the water, Port Stephens promises an unforgettable aquatic escape ideal for every level of adventure seeker.
No NSW road trip is complete without meandering through the verdant vineyards of Hunter Valley, Australia’s oldest wine region. With over 150 cellar doors, you could spend weeks sipping acclaimed Semillon and Shiraz while soaking up the valley’s beauty. Base yourself at Pokolbin or Lovedale, then wander between neighbouring wineries like the renowned Tyrrell’s and Drayton’s.
For the full experience, take a wine tour or hop-on bus pass, and let someone else navigate while you indulge. After a day of tastings, dine in fine restaurants showcasing local produce, like the award-winning Muse Kitchen. The Hunter Valley pleases the palate at every turn, creating memories (and maybe a slight headache) to last long after you’ve left this wine lover’s paradise
Blending cosmopolitan culture with coastal vibes, Newcastle captures the essence of an Australian beach city. Use it as a base for experiencing renowned surf beaches, from Bar Beach to Merewether, or watching pros brave the challenging breaks at The Cowrie Hole. The grand 19th century architecture along Newcastle Beach evokes a glamorous past, while coastal cliff pools and baths begging to be photographed.
Don’t miss the excellent art galleries and museums housed in historic buildings. As your energy returns, head out on the town to sample Newcastle’s burgeoning restaurant scene or
catch live music in an intimate venue. With its creative spirit, seaside setting, and laid back attitude, Newcastle epitomises the best of an Australian coastal hub.
With waters in enchanting shades of turquoise lapping onto some of the world’s whitest beaches, Jervis Bay’s natural beauty is spellbinding. Must-see beaches include the iconic Honeymoon Bay, the family-friendly Greenfield Beach, and Hyams Beach with its ultra-fine white sand. Snorkel or kayak in the clear waters, getting up close with curious fish and stingrays.
Try stand-up paddleboarding for an awesome full-body workout with scenery to distract you. At dusk, watch little penguins waddle ashore after a day’s fishing. With such a diversity of ways to enjoy the pristine beaches and abundant marine life, it’s no wonder Jervis Bay continues to enchant all who visit. Don’t forget your camera – Jervis Bay is one of the most photogenic destinations on the NSW coast.
A meandering drive along the NSW South Coast is a quintessential Aussie road trip allowing you to immerse in pristine beaches, crystalline lakes, sleepy coastal towns and stretches of wilderness. Must-see highlights include swimming at the rolling waves of Mollymook Beach, bushwalking through eucalypt forests and along sea cliffs in Murramarang National Park, and posing for Instagram shots of the photogenic Batemans Bay Bridge.
Furthrofessional and use malleable bags and efficient use of space to fill your car with everything you need for a great trip.
- Insurance: You don’t want to be caught unawares when it comes to insurance on your road trip. Consider offerings like ROLLiN’ comprehensive Honda insurance to give you peace of mind on your journey.
Whether you’ve got a weekend or a month to explore, a NSW road trip serves up amazing diversity. Use these top 10 destinations as a starting point, go off the beaten track to hidden gems, soak up that laid back Aussie beach lifestyle, indulge in delicious food and wine, and er south, discover historic Milton and its heritage buildings, boutique stores, and cafes. Or go wine tasting in the vines at Coolangatta Estate. With endless options for outdoor adventures, fascinating historic towns, and compelling scenery around each corner, the South Coast promises an unforgettable and uniquely Australian coastal journey.
NSW road trip tips
- Plan ahead: Pick out your route and accommodation early to ensure stress-free travel.
- Pack accordingly: Unleash your inner Tetris pdiscover vibrant culture, awe-inspiring landscapes and rich history on your unforgettable journey. Just remember to stop and look around once in a while – this beautiful state deserves your attention.