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6 winter road trips through NSW

Thredbo, Snowy MountainsCREDIT: Alexandra Adoncello

Scenic road trip along Alpine Way, Thredbo in the Snowy Mountains.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

6 winter road
trips through NSW

Thredbo, Snowy Mountains CREDIT: Alexandra Adoncello

Scenic road trip along Alpine Way, Thredbo in the Snowy Mountains.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Hashtags #lovensw #newsouthwales

A New South Wales road trip offers a great sense of freedom, natural beauty and charming towns to explore at every turn. And what better time to hit the road than winter, with rugged landscapes, cosy cabins and perhaps snow-capped peaks in the distance? 

Greater Blue Mountains Drive  

The trip to Katoomba, in the heart of the Blue Mountains, takes about 90 minutes from Sydney, making the Greater Blue Mountains Drive an easy mini break for two. You’ll drive past towns such as SpringwoodFaulconbridgeWentworth Falls and Leura along the way. Katoomba has plenty of dining and accommodation options perfect for a cosy mountain getaway— use it as a base to explore Leura, BlackheathMount Victoria and the Megalong Valley.  

More than 30 minutes north lies Lithgow, and a diverting journey back to Sydney takes you through Windsor along Bells Line of Road, where you can stop at the orchards around Bilpin and have lunch at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah

Grand Pacific Drive 

The Grand Pacific Drive is one of Australia's most breathtaking routes, winding its way through the coastal suburbs of Wollongong to ShellharbourKiama and the Shoalhaven region. The drive heads south from The Royal National Park, only 50 minutes from Sydney. You’ll drive along the Sea Cliff Bridge, which hugs the coast on your way to Austinmer

Just south of Kiama is the little seaside town of Gerroa, at the northern end of Seven Mile Beach. Stretch your legs with a walk along this pristine beach. Then it’s off to Jervis Bay, a popular seaside escape just over an hour further south from Kiama.  

On the way back to Sydney, take a scenic detour by following one of the hinterland drives to the South Coast towns of BerryKangaroo Valley or MiltonCupitt’s, near Milton overlooking Burrill Lake and Budawang Range, is a stunning stop for lunch. 

The Long Paddock 

The Long Paddock follows the historic Cobb Highway, an integral stock route from the Murray River through the Riverina region of southwest NSW to the outback. Winter’s a great time to make this journey, as the crisp nights are made for cosying up after a day’s drive. Start in Echuca Moama — pop by the Port of Echuca Discovery Centre — before making the hour-long journey from Moama to Deniliquin

Heading north on the Cobb Highway, cross the Billabong Creek at Wanganella. Stop for refreshments at the Royal Mail Hotel, the last remaining coaching inn on the stock route, in Booroorban. Then continue to the towns of Hay and Booligal; stop for lunch at the Duke of Edinburgh in Booligal for a taste of unpolished outback charm. 133km north of Booligal you’ll find the town of Ivanhoe — don’t miss the mural The Pioneers, a work by Wayne Strickland, and have dinner at the Ivanhoe Hotel Motel

Blue Mountains Drive, Katoomba CREDIT: Destination NSW

Tourist road signs near Katoomba in the Blue Mountains.

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Blue Mountains Drive, Katoomba CREDIT: Destination NSW

Tourist road signs near Katoomba in the Blue Mountains.

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Townscape, Narrandera CREDIT: Narrandera Tourism

Aerial overlooking the town of Narrandera in the Riverina region.

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Townscape, Narrandera CREDIT: Narrandera Tourism

Aerial overlooking the town of Narrandera in the Riverina region.

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The Riverina to the Snowy Valleys Way 

For an exhilarating winter drive for nature lovers, start in the food-bowl town of Griffith, six hours southwest from Sydney. Between Griffith and Narrandera, visit Lillypilly Estate Winery and Toorak Winery in Leeton and check out Gogeldrie Weir or Yanco Weir on the Murrumbidgee River. 

The journey from Narrandera to Junee takes you 100km east — grab cheese from Coolamon Cheese Co. for a picnic in Kindra State Forest. Don’t miss Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory in Junee for a sweet treat. Then drive another half an hour south to Wagga Wagga, for a cocktail at Birdhouse Bar & Kitchen before dinner at Magpies Nest.

From Wagga Wagga, Sturt Highway takes you to the Snowy Mountains, where you can explore charming towns such as Adelong and Tumut. Further south is Tumbarumba, where Australia’s highest peaks form a magnificent backdrop to an emerging wine region. Explore this breathtaking area further on the Kosciuszko Alpine Way, ending your trip in a snowy winter wonderland. Note: make sure to check for weather conditions and road closure information on the NSW National Parks and Wildlife website.  

The Legendary Pacific Coast Drive 

The Legendary Pacific Coast Drive will give you your beach fix during winter. Drive north on the M1 Motorway to the Central Coast, just 90 minutes from Sydney. The charming villages of Ettalong Beach and Avoca and the larger centre of Terrigal are great spots to relax.  

Make a detour at Newcastle, NSW’s second largest city, to dine at a funky café or hit one of the many beaches, then stop in at the holiday town of Port Stephens for more sun and sand. Continue on to South West Rocks and visit the Smoky Cape Lighthouse for whale watching (May to November) and spectacular ocean views.  

The promise of adventure draws families to Coffs Harbour, around an hour away from South West Rocks. Kids will love the toboggan ride at the Big Banana Fun Park before heading to the seaside Jetty Strip for a bite to eat. The scenic 240km drive from Coffs Harbour takes you to Byron Bay – stay in town for a chilled beach break, or explore the tiny towns in Byron’s lush hinterland. 

Central to Outback NSW 

The cooler temperatures of the winter months offer the perfect time to visit Central and Outback NSW. Start your road trip in Dubbo, a five-hour drive west of Sydney. Here at Taronga Western Plains Zoo you can hop on the Pride Lands Patrol to see lions up close. From Dubbo, head west on the Mitchell Highway to Nyngan to check out the Nyngan Museum and the Macquarie Marshes Nature Reserve wetlands. From Nyngan, you’ll head next to Cobar, a town rich in mining history, 132km inland on the Barrier Highway. Further along the Barrier Highway, you’ll find Wilcannia. Here you can visit the town's Pioneer Museum, housed in the Athenaeum Library building from 1883, and view the abundant wildlife making the Darling River home at the holiday stay Warrawong On The Darling.

Then it’s on to Broken Hill, Australia’s first heritage-listed city. Here in this town made wealthy by mining you’ll find period buildings, great dining and galleries in the outback. The clear sky just outside Broken Hill is ideal for stargazing — book a Spectacular Sky Encounter with Outback Astronomy.  

Little Bay, South West Rocks CREDIT: Destination NSW

Scenic coastal views from Little Bay Picnic Area, South West Rocks

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Little Bay, South West Rocks CREDIT: Destination NSW

Scenic coastal views from Little Bay Picnic Area, South West Rocks

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Scenic Drive, Broken Hill CREDIT: Destination NSW

Car driving through the outback near Broken Hill.

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Scenic Drive, Broken Hill CREDIT: Destination NSW

Car driving through the outback near Broken Hill.

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