NSW is a state that demands the attention of road trippers everywhere. This southeast slice of Australia is dotted with outback towns, hinterland retreats, eucalypt-forested ranges, and cosy little seaside towns begging to be explored.
The state has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in the great outdoors, go skiing in the snowy mountains, or wander around heritage buildings, you’re sure to have a trip to remember. And what better way than by renting a travel van! Travel with all the conveniences of home, including an apartment-style kitchen, toilet and bed. All of this while experiencing the very best that New South Wales has to offer. To help you choose the perfect itinerary for your upcoming Australia road trip, we’ve put together this guide on the best road trips in NSW. Discover all New South Wales has to offer with this list of the most epic road trips in this corner of the country.
New South Wales is brimming with national parks, golden sandy beaches and delicious cool climate wines. This diverse landscape, paired with the range of free camping and low-cost powered camping site options, makes it the perfect cost-effective campervan road trip destination.
After sorting through a seemingly endless number of self-drive itineraries, we have narrowed down this list to the top ten road trips through NSW, Australia. With so many varied landscapes and activities, there is bound to be a road trip (or maybe even a few) to satiate your travel tastes.
Highlights: Royal National Park, Sea Cliff Blowhole, Booderee National Park
After picking up your campervan at the Sydney Mighty branch, begin your journey south to the start of the Grand Pacific Drive in the Royal National Park. This coastal road trip hugs the coast, passing through popular NSW towns and cities, including Wollongong, Kiama, and the Shellharbour region. Our favourite things to do along this part of the east coast include:
Once you have reached your final destination in Shellharbour, you can choose to carry on south to return the camper at the Melbourne Mighty branch via the Sapphire Coast, or turn around and make your way back to Sydney.
Highlights: Sydney Harbour Bridge, Byron Bay, Movie World, Big Banana Fun Park
Sydney to Brisbane is easily one of the most popular east coast Australia road trip itineraries. There are plenty of things to do in Sydney, Brisbane and the towns in between. Hugging the coast north, this route features some of our favourite NSW activities, including:
You could easily spend a few weeks exploring Sydney to Brisbane, but at a minimum, we recommend seven days to experience it all.
Highlights: Lake Macquarie, Port Stephens, Dorrigo National Park.
The Pacific Coast trail begins just north of Sydney and winds its way through some of NSW’s best coastlines, national parks and scenic hinterlands. From sandboarding giant dunes to meeting the sea life, this Australian road trip itinerary packs a punch. Some of our top things to do on the Pacific Coast trail include:
Top tip: Tweed Heads is only a short drive to the Brisbane Mighty branch, so you can save yourself some driving time and fly home after dropping off the keys in Brisbane.
Image source: Destination NSW
Highlights: Dorrigo National Park, Crystal Shower Falls
Waterfall Way begins in Coffs Harbour, traverses inland through the scenic forests of the Great Dividing Range, and ends in Armidale. Seize the opportunity to enjoy a slower pace of life and reconnect to nature with some of the best Australian attractions and wildlife encounters on the Waterfall Way:
This is a bucket list road trip for nature lovers.
Highlights: Bryon Bay, Nightcap National Park, Lismore
Navigate your way through the World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia on this Rainforest Way itinerary. Come up close with more than 200 rare or threatened species and ecosystems on this inland route. Our favourite attractions and experiences on the Rainforest Way include:
Top tip: These areas are under threat, so it is especially important to be aware of your impact when visiting these delicate ecosystems. It is advised that you travel in a self-contained vehicle so that you can carry out (and safely dispose of) all your wastewater and rubbish. Luckily, this is another perk of travelling in a campervan!
Distance: 600 km
Highlights: Gunnedah, Narrabri, Brewarrina Aboriginal Fish Trap
Discover the beauty of Kamilaroi country on a campervan road trip from Willow Tree to Bourke. This itinerary is an eclectic mix of agricultural townships, rugged mountain ranges and Aboriginal culture:
This outback NSW itinerary is the perfect opportunity to integrate a few nights of free camping in the NSW bushlands. The thl Roadtrip app is the perfect companion for helping find local campsites and free camps throughout Australia.
Distance: 617 km
Highlights: Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay
After picking up your camper at the Sydney Mighty branch, leave the city lights behind as you make your way to Newcastle. This buzzing coastal city embodies the very best of Sydney’s cafe culture, with the laid back attitude of a coastal town. Driving north from Newcastle, there are plenty of top Australian attractions worth a visit:
Top tip: Byron Bay can be quite busy, so it is also worthwhile looking into caravan park accommodation in Brunswick Heads. This is just 15 minutes north of the hustle of Byron Bay.
Image source: Destination NSW
Highlights: Rutherglen wine region, Tocumwal, Deni, Murray River
Experience life down by the river on this road trip from Albury to Deniliquin. Winding along the Murray River and into the highlands, this itinerary is the perfect foodie getaway and wine lover retreat. Some of the best things to do include:
Continue chasing the foodie trail up towards the Hunter Valley or down south in the Yarra Valley. The options are endless!
Highlights: Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo Observatory, Warrumbungles
Starting inland of Sydney, in the town of Parkes, this route winds its way through classic outback NSW. As you make your way north towards Lightning Ridge, be sure to tick off a few of these top attractions and experiences:
Top tip: To get the best shot, make sure you pack your DSLR camera for this trip!
Highlights: Bourke, Kinchega National Park, Mungo National Park
Starting in Walgett, inland of Coffs Harbour - this route trails through the deep outback of New South Wales. Some of the must-see Australian attractions on this road trip include:
There you have it, our top 10 best road trips in New South Wales. NSW is the perfect hub to explore Australia’s famous east coast beaches, wineries, and bushlands. And what better way than by renting a travel van!