Winter Road Trips from Sydney

Cool days, cosy nights, less crowds, better prices…

These are just a few of the benefits of doing a road trip from Sydney during winter, not to mention all the wonderful destinations to explore across New South Wales.  

Whether you have a desire to explore scenic coastal towns, wish to experience the Australian Outback, or just appreciate fine wine and first-rate dining, there is an ideal NSW road trip itinerary for you.

To enjoy the freedom of traveling at your pace on a self-drive adventure, a campervan hire from Sydney provides the perfect combination of transport, accommodation and amenities, all in one. 

If you’re looking for some winter travel inspiration, here are some suggestions to help plan your epic road trip.

Central Tablelands

The Central Tablelands are located west of Sydney and provide a great road trip option for winter travellers. Some of the towns within the region, in order of distance from Sydney, are Lithgow, Bathurst and Orange. The variety of stops and activities en route, allow for getaways that range from a couple of days to several weeks.

Lithgow is a gateway to the Blue Mountains and has several National Parks nearby, making it a wonderful place to layer up and explore the great outdoors. For a phenomenal view of the Blue Mountains, visit the Hassans Walls Lookout, a short 10-minute drive out of town.

Spend a couple of days in Bathurst and visit the indoor attractions, like the historical Abercrombie House, a Scottish home (read: castle) built here in the 1800’s. High Tea bookings are available for those who are visiting on a Sunday, but otherwise it’s open to visitors every Wednesday to Sunday (closed Monday-Tuesday). This heritage treasure allows you to experience the history of the magnificent house and its surrounding gardens.

Another great attraction here is the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum, which exhibits an impressive collection of ancient relics, including a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton and fossilized dinosaur eggs. 

For the motor enthusiast, you might want to stop by the National Motor Racing Museum, home to a fantastic display of ex racing cars, motorbikes, go karts and more.

 260kms inland from Sydney, has you reaching the beautiful town of Orange. Its first-class vineyards and excellent local produce are what make Orange renowned for its heavenly food and wine. You will love touring the local wineries, many of which are cellar door establishments and include on-site restaurants; where you can enjoy an epicurean meal to accompany their exceptional wine. 

The Winter Fire Festival is held here annually, where activities include bonfires, gourmet food and lots of wine. The date changes each year, so you may wish to plan your travel dates around this yearly celebration.

Sapphire Coast

Winter temperatures on the Sapphire Coast are milder than you’d expect, generally ranging between 7°C to 17°C. As a bonus, winter is also the driest of seasons in the region, providing clear sunny days for outdoor fun.

Bermagui is located 380kms south of Sydney and takes around five and a half hours driving time. The natural splendours of the coastline are amongst Bermagui’s top attractions, plus, the lack of swimmers at this time of year allows you uninterrupted enjoyment of the scenery and serenity at the Blue Pool. This natural rock pool, located at the bottom of a rugged cliff, is a spectacular sight regardless of the season. Seals and dolphins can often be seen swimming off the shoreline here too, so keep a look out when you visit.

The town of Bega sits just inland off the Sapphire Coast, surrounded by lush rainforest and green pastures. With a good mixture of indoor and outdoor activities, it’s a great addition to your road trip from Sydney. At the Bega Pioneer Museum, you’ll be fascinated by the large collection of pioneer memorabilia. The exhibits include old-world farm machinery, clothes and textiles, military artefacts and more. 

Tathra is another exquisitely scenic coastal town, just a short drive further south. The Historic Wharf not only provides a great insight into the town’s history, but is also enveloped in stunning beachscapes by the surrounding Tathra Beach, making the view here breath-taking.

Kianinny Bay is another gorgeous location, and is regularly visited by huge stingrays, that can be seen swimming in the shallows.

Winter is smack bang in the middle of whale watching season, and Eden is one of the best places in Australia to spot them. Twofold Bay is renowned for Humpback Whale sightings, as these massive mammals come here each year to nurse their young. 

The Outback

You don’t need to leave New South Wales to have an Aussie Outback experience, but you will need a bit more time up your sleeve than the previous itineraries. Sydney to Broken Hill is approximately 1100kms, but there are a few great stops along the way, which will make it closer to 1300kms on the way there.

First stop, Dubbo. This historic town, 5-hours west of Sydney, has some great drawcards for visitors. The heritage listed Old Dubbo Gaol is open for tours, or to self-explore their exhibition of prison memorabilia. The displays provide historical insight into the prison operation, which began from the mid nineteenth century and lasted for almost 120 years.

The renowned Western Plains Zoo is also located in Dubbo. Now under ownership by Taronga Conservation Society Australia, the Zoo is admirably focused on conservation and provides continual improvements to its existing habitats, which house both native and exotic animals.

It’s worth stopping in at the small, fascinating town of Cobar as you drive further inland. Having been a mining town for more than one hundred years, many of the attractions here will provide understanding into the areas mining heritage. Fort Bourke Hill Lookout is a short detour from the main road and provides a captivating view of an open cut mine, where you will be sure to snap some great photos. At Mount Grenfell Historic Site, observe an amazing outdoor art gallery, filled with Indigenous hand stencils, human figures and depictions of the natural environment. This ancient Aboriginal rock art is reachable via a short, easy grade walking track, and the road to enter is now fully sealed, making access easy with a 2WD campervan.

As you continue further into the outback, a detour is required to visit the unique settlement in White Cliffs. This town is well-known for its opal mining history, but also for the underground dwellings built into the surrounding hills by residents. These dugout homes are used to escape the searing heat that occurs in summer, and make for a one-of-a-kind tour experience for curious travellers.

Broken Hill is the furthest stop on the itinerary, and places you well and truly in the heart of the Australian outback. With a history dating back to the late 1800’s, Broken Hill is the Country’s oldest mining town, and offers a variety of historical attractions to keep you busy whilst here. 

This country-town has double the amount of art galleries as it does pubs, and has a long history of inspiring the creative individual. You will find insight into the life of local artist Pro Hart at the dedicated Pro Hart Gallery, many of his paintings are on display across its three-floor exhibit.

The Outback Heritage Experience reveals history of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. The museum has interactive displays to explore, a 44-seat theatre and an on-site souvenir shop, where all proceeds are donated towards purchase of necessary RFDS equipment. 

To gain an understanding of the town, its buildings and its history, take the Broken Hill Heritage Walk Tour, which runs from 10am to 12pm from the Visitor Centre every weekday (outside the summer months).

Other Tips

One of the best things about campervan road-trips, is that you don’t have to pre-arrange all your stops and accommodation. For assistance locating paid and free campgrounds while on your journey, download the free smartphone app “Discovery Roadtrip”. It’s a great way to find all the local stays in one place.

Whatever your vacation plans are this winter, we hope this gave you some destination inspiration, to help you have an amazing adventure from Sydney.

Author: Leila Gear, Discovery Campervans