Pack your bags and start your engines – we’ve lined up 15 of the best natural wonders to visit on a NSW road trip.

 

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Countries on which these adventures take place who have occupied and cared for these lands and waters for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

 

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About The Natural Wonders of NSW

There’s a certain feeling of awe that comes from realising the power of nature. More so, when you seek it out to experience it for yourself.

Of all the places you could road trip to this weekend, why not choose something Mother Nature has created?

Seek out a star-filled night that takes your breath away. Walk to waterfalls that make you want to breath a little deeper.

Feel alive watching the sunrise break through the horizon. Or feel small inside an ancient cave chamber.

Whichever of NSW’s Natural Wonders you chose, remember: we love our wild and precious places so as always, explore safely, leave no trace, and tread lightly.

Witness Nature Putting on a Show

1. Stargazing at NSW’s Dark Sky Park

Location: Warrumbungle National Park – Gamilaraay Country
Distance of walk: Trails vary from 1km return to 17km return
Difficulty: Grades 3 and 4
Cost: Park entry fees are $8 per vehicle per day

Warrumbungle National Park in central-west NSW is not only Australia’s first Dark Sky Park, but also the first in the southern hemisphere.

 

The 15 Best Natural Wonders To Visit On A NSW Road Trip, Leah Furey

The night sky filled with bright stars over the dark sky park in the Warrumbungles.

 

What’s a Dark Sky Park you ask? It’s a space (public or private) that has exceptional starry nights and a nocturnal environment and is protected specifically for these qualities. For us, it means the ultimate place for stargazing!

With walking trails and campgrounds dotted around this rugged volcanic landscape, you can hike in and spend a night like no other under the stars. With zero light pollution in Warrumbungle National Park, you’ll experience a star show that’s truly out of this world.

2. Jervis Bay Bioluminescence

Location: Jervis Bay – Dharawal Country
Distance of walk: Just a short walk to the waters edge
Difficulty: Easy

There aren’t many places in the world you can witness the magic of ocean bioluminescence. Part of its mystery is that it’s not always there. Mother Nature chooses the moments that we can witness this beauty, so don’t hesitate when it’s on offer – especially in our own backyard.

In recent years – with the right weather conditions and the presence of microscopic bioluminescent algae in the water – there have been some great displays in the waters around Jervis Bay.

You can witness the glow when the algae are disturbed by a wave or splash in the water. Look out for reports of bioluminescence in the area to find out when it’s happening.

 

Plantation Point, Vincentia in Jervis Bay

3. Glow Worm Tunnel

Location: Wollemi National Park, Lithgow – Wiradjuri & Dharug Country
Distance of walk: 2km return
Difficulty: Easy

Please note! The Glow Worm Tunnel track is currently closed. For more info check out the NPWS website.

If you’ve ever wanted to step straight into a Disney movie, this one’s for you. However, there’s no animation or special effects – it’s pure nature providing the show. To see the performance, head to Wollemi National Park and take an easy 1km walk through lush tree ferns and tall forest to the entrance of the Glow Worm Tunnel.

Remember to pack a torch for the walk into this 400m-long ex-railway tunnel. Venture in as far as you dare, then, when you’re ready, switch off the torch, stay quiet, and wait. The glow of the worms clinging to the walls around you is a magical experience that’ll have even the oldest of ‘kids’ excited.

4. Jacarandas in Bloom

Location: Suburbs around Sydney – Eora & Ku-Ring-Gai Country
Distance of walk: Various
Difficulty: Easy

Here’s one for the ‘grammers! Sydney’s purple hues give a whole new backdrop to a walk in the city – or of course, your latest Instagram pic – every October and November. The flowering Jacaranda trees can be found throughout the city and are sure to put some extra spring in your step.

Tour through the Royal Botanic Gardens and Circular Quay, or head north of the bridge to Wendy Whitley’s Garden for iconic harbour views in the background. You can also revel in the colour of Jacarandas in bloom in the suburbs of Paddington, Kirribilli, and Camden.

 

Jacarandas along the Parramatta River, Gladesville with views towards Sydney Harbour Bridge

5. Sunrise at Govetts Leap

Location: Blue Mountains – Dharug Country
Distance of walk: Just a few steps to the lookout / 1.8km descent
Difficulty: Easy / Grade 4

Of all the places to watch a sunrise in NSW, we rate Govetts Leap. Sunrise at the Govetts Leap Lookout lights up an incredible view of the mountains, waterfall, sheer cliffs, and winding valley below.

Nothing lets you know you’re alive like a chilly morning wake up, a hot cup of tea cradled in your hands and witnessing the brilliant crack of sunlight breaking through the horizon. Once you’ve had your magic moment at the lookout, adventure down into the valley on the Govetts Leap descent trail.

 

The 15 Best Natural Wonders To Visit On A NSW Road Trip, Leah Furey

Sun setting over the Grose Valley in the Blue Mountains National Park

Explore Ancient Landscapes 

6. Jenolan Caves

Location: Blue Mountains – Gundungarra Country
Distance of walk: Approx 0.5 – 1km, with lots of stairs
Difficulty: Tours range from beginner to advanced
Cost: Tour prices start from $28 for kids and $42 for adults.

Head to the foot of the Blue Mountains to venture into, not only Australia’s largest caves, but the oldest cave system in the world. Stop and think about that for a second.

According to scientists the Jenolan Cave system has been existing and changing for 340 million years. Try standing inside the limestone chambers and NOT being blown away by that number.

You’ll need to join a guided tour to explore the caves – but it’s well worth it. The stalagmites of information you’ll learn about these ancient caves will have you truly marvelling at your surroundings.

7. Kiama Blowhole

Location: Kiama Coast Walk – Dharawal Country
Distance of walk: 20km
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

The Kiama coastline is a full playbook of nature’s handiwork. Carved by ancient volcanic lava flows, its dramatic coastline sets the stage for exploring. Road trip south of Sydney, then get out and enjoy it on foot – on the Kiama Coast Walk.

 

The Blowhole and lighthouse in Kiama, South Coast

 

The 20km trail is broken into three sections of approximately 5-8km each. The most famous location is the Kiama Blowhole. With the right conditions (a big south-easterly swell) it’s a spectacle that will leave you impressed – and perhaps even a little wet, depending on your viewpoint!

8. Walls of China

Location: Mungo National Park – Paakantji, Ngyiampaa and Mutthi Mutthi Countries
Distance of walk: 2.5km
Difficulty: Intermediate
Cost: Prices for guided tours are $50 per adult and $35 for concession/children

A walk along the Walls of China in Mungo National Park is a chance to revel in the 40,000+ years of continuous Aboriginal history at Lake Mungo. The dramatic desert and rock formations are enough to make you feel a world away from everyday life.

By taking a tour with a national parks Aboriginal ranger, you can step out onto the magical landscape and experience the rich history of the Ngyiampaa, Mutthi Mutthi, and Southern Paakantyi Aboriginal people.

 

A scenic sand formation (lunette) in the UNESCO World Heritage-Listed Mungo National Park.

9. Weird and Wonderful Rock Formations

Locations: Royal National Park / Bouddi National Park / South Coast – Dharawal, Ku-Ring-Gai & Yuin Countries
Distance of walks: Trails vary from 1.5km to 7.4km return
Difficulty: Beginner to intermediate

For a state that has a lot of spectacular natural wonders, included amongst them are a hell of a lot of strangely-shaped rocks. It’s like someone started playing a game of ‘What does that rock look like?’ and everyone joined in. The good news is, you can play the game too on your next road trip!

Check out Wedding Cake Rock and Eagle Rock along the 26km Coast Track in Sydney’s Royal National Park – a great stop on a road trip along the Grand Pacific Drive. Venture to Bouddi National Park to see the Liesegang Rings. Or cruise down to the NSW South Coast to see Horse Head, Cathedral, and Camel Rocks.

10. Caves Beach

Location: Lake Macquarie – Awabakal Country
Distance of walk: 300m
Difficulty: Intermediate

From awesome coastal campsites to epic surf spots, NSW is certainly not short on beautiful beaches! But for Explorers of all ages, we rate Caves Beach at Lake Macquarie.

Navigating the intricate network of caves, archways, and crevices at the southern end of the beach will make you feel like a child exploring an ancient world. It’s also a great place for photography, particular as the sun sets. Remember to check the tides before you go – the caves can only be explored at low tide.

Adventure Awaits at These Natural Wonders

11. Fitzroy Falls

Location: Morton National Park – Gundungarra Country
Distance of walk: 150m return / longer walk options
Difficulty: Beginner and wheelchair friendly / Intermediate

The peaceful surrounds of the Morton National Park will make you want to slow down and breathe it all in.

To get the best view of Fitzroy Falls, follow the elevated boardwalk from the Fitzroy Falls Visitor Centre and keep an eye out for local birdlife as you go. The lookout is the perfect place to marvel at the falls and admire the panoramic views of the Yarrunga River and Valley. 10km worth of trails surrounding the falls give you plenty of longer and more challenging hike options – with some incredible viewpoints along the way to stop and soak it all in.

 

Fitzroy Falls, Morton National Park, DNSW

Fitzroy Falls in Morton National Park

12. Three Sisters

Location: Blue Mountains National Park, Katoomba – Dharug Country
Distance of walk: Trails vary from 0.8km to 5.3km
Difficulty: Beginner to intermediate

The Blue Mountains is an excellent road trip from Sydney and no visit to this UNESCO World Heritage site is complete without at least a glimpse of the Three Sisters. The good news is, there are many ways to do it.

Head to Echo Point for postcard views with the famous blue hues over the valley. Take the short Three Sisters Walk for a closer look. Or for a more challenging adventure, start out at Echo Point and take the walking track to Scenic World via Giant Stairway, or the Dardanelles Pass loop walking track. Both will give you a great new perspective of the Three Sisters.

13. Capertee Valley

Location: Capertee National Park, Lithgow – Wiradjuri Country
Distance of walk: Choose your own distance
Difficulty: Beginner to intermediate

At an impressive 30km wide, Capertee Valley is the second largest canyon in the world next to the Grand Canyon. To get out and explore it you can walk, hike or drive the fire trails within Capertee National Park. Plus there are a couple of central campgrounds to pitch your tent and stay for the night.

Unleash your inner twitcher with some birdwatching, and keep an eye out for a host of other native wildlife that won’t mind you sharing their valley home. From the campgrounds, the Valley Lookout is a 5km hike that’ll deliver unforgettable views of our very own ‘grand canyon’.

 

The 15 Best Natural Wonders To Visit On A NSW Road Trip, Leah Furey

Pantoneys Crown tableland, Capertee Valley

14. Sawn Rocks

Location: Mount Kaputar National Park – Gamilaraay Country
Distance of walk: 750m return
Difficulty: Beginner and wheelchair-friendly

This soaring wall of organ pipe rocks is a mighty sight in country NSW. The basalt pipes of Sawn Rocks are like a striking artwork amongst an ancient volcanic landscape.

Located in the northern section of Mount Kaputar National Park, the unusual phenomenon is the result of the slow and even cooling of molten rock, which leaves the organ-like rock face towering out of the creek bed below. Gazing up, it’s hard not to be impressed by what Mother Nature can create.

To get there, pack the car for a road trip to Narrabri, then head 36km out of town where there’s an easy walk to the Sawn Rocks lookout.

 

Sawn Rocks in Kaputar National Park near Narrabri | @amy.eloise

15. Stockton Sand Dunes

Location: Port Stephens – Worimi Country
Distance of walk: 30 metres up, for a super-slide back down
Difficulty: Various – choose your own adventure

From beautiful landscapes to beautiful sandscapes! The striking Stockton Sand Dunes will make you feel like a small child in an enormous sand pit.

Located in the Worimi Conservation Lands, these are the largest moving coastal dunes in the Southern Hemisphere. There are dunes as high as 30 metres and slopes up to 60 degrees, making it an excellent place for sand-boarding! 

 

Stockton Sand Dunes in the Worimi Conservation Lands

 

You can also take dune tours on a quad bike, horse or camel! Beach fishing and 4WDing (with a permit) are great ways to explore the Stockton Dunes and fill your cup with good times – and probably some sand too.

 

Stockton Sand Dunes in the Worimi Conservation Lands, Port Stephens

NSW Natural Wonders FAQs

How far is the three sisters from Sydney?

The three sisters are around 1.5 hours from the CBD

What time of year do Jacarandas bloom?

They bloom between October and December

What is the best time of year to see the dark sky?

Autumn, Winter and Spring are the best times of year to see the dark sky in NSW as there is little cloud cover.

Do you have to pay to go to Jenolan Caves?

Yes you do. Visit the website to see ticket and tour prices.

The best natural attractions in NSW?

It’s hard to fit all the natural wonders in NSW into just one list, so we picked our top 15. What do you think? Did your favourite natural wonder make the list? Hit us up with your favourite NSW natural attractions in the comments, and share with your mates to start planning your next NSW road trip.

Photos thanks to Destination NSW