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Exploring New South Wales by road

When you fly into Sydney, it may be tempting to stay in the Harbour City—there are so many sights to take in!

But New South Wales has some real gems further afield, so jump in a car and explore this incredible state by road.

Drives to discover a state of many contrasts

When you start clocking up the k’s on a NSW road trip, you’ll begin to appreciate just how remarkable the state is.

Along the coastline—which includes some epic sections of road that take you out over the Pacific Ocean—there are so many beautiful beaches that you’ll soon lose count of them all. When you stumble across a pristine beach that holds no footprints, it’s hard to imagine you’re in Australia’s most populous state! From the sleepy fishing villages down south to the hip and happening surfing towns further north, there’s something for everyone along the east coast.

A short drive inland from Sydney will take you to the Blue Mountains. You could find a place to stay in Katoomba, and spend a week doing day trips to explore waterfalls, canyons, beautiful bushland, rainforests, rock formations and more. If you’re a twitcher, take your binoculars—the birdlife is phenomenal.

Way out west in NSW, you’ll find one of the greatest outback drives in the country. Called the Darling River Run, it’s a mix of sealed and gravel roads—so make sure you’ve got the right vehicle and are prepared for some off-road adventuring. It’s well worth the effort, as the route takes in some remarkable indigenous history, wildlife, camping spots and sunsets.

Get more inspiration for a NSW road trip here.

Checklist for driving in NSW

You’ve studied the maps. You’ve read the tourist brochures. You’ve booked your accommodation. Now, you’re ready to hit the road!

Before you buckle up, read this checklist of tips for driving holidays in NSW. You’ve probably got it covered but there might be one last thing to take care of:

  • Carry a current road map and plan your trip carefully. Don’t forget to allow for stops every two hours to give the driver a break, particularly if you are covering big distances in one day.
  • Check your car before setting off. Make sure your vehicle is ready for the trip ahead—check tyres, water, oil and fuel. If you can, get your car serviced before you go.
  • Carry all the right gear. Spare tyres. Extra water. A compressor if you plan on 4WD-ing and letting air out of your tyres.
  • Carry a satellite phone or Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) if you’re planning to spend a while off the beaten track. While most parts of NSW have mobile phone coverage, there will be some areas where your phone won’t work.
  • Check the road conditions. If you’re heading into the outback or you’re travelling soon after heavy rains or bushfires, roads can be closed. Ask ahead—local townsfolk are generally happy to help.    
  • Make sure your car insurance is up-to-date. Before you set off on a NSW road trip, check your car insurance policy. If you’re towing a caravan, you’ll want to make sure it’s insured too.

And remember, one of the best ways to prepare for a big adventure is to talk to people who have done it before you. They’ll have some great tips, and are sure to get you excited about the road ahead!