It’s time to hit the open road kids! We’ve mapped out the ultimate NSW road trip itinerary. It’s MEGA, but is it doable? Heck yeah, but only for the most passionate and adventurous outdoor explorers. Is that you? Let’s find out…

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

You know the best thing about a road trip? There’s no right or wrong way to do it. All you need is a car, your mates (optional tbh), a map of sorts, and a wild and adventurous spirit.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t be smart about your road trip too. Because here’s the thing – NSW has so many froth-worthy spots to visit and sadly, we’re all adults with jobs who can’t afford to spend months-on-end careening around the state without a care in the world.

Read more: How To Prepare Your Car for a Road Trip

We’ve mapped out a complete itinerary of the state’s best stops so when you do have the time, these are the must-visit locations.

From natural thermal pools in Kosciuszko National Park to the beginning of the Outback at the Walls of China in Mungo National Park, to a night of stargazing in Jervis Bay, there are so many amazing adventures to be had right in NSW.

We’ve also included some excellent tours worth looking at while you’re on the road. A bit of local knowledge or expert gear might be what’s needed to craft an unforgettable trip.

And look, we’re realists. We know it’s not exactly a feasible road trip… unless? If you absolutely can’t get enough of the great outdoors, this is a call to arms – we dare you to try tick off all these spots.

Oh, and before you head off on your adventure, please remember to check the National Parks website for closures and other important alerts. 

Read more: Remember to leave no trace!

Stop 1: The Royal National Park

Location: Royal National Park, Sydney
Highlight: The Coast Track

Let’s kick off the adventure close to home, eh? Embark on an unforgettable multi-day journey along the stunning Coast track that stretches from Bundeena to Otford in Sydney’s Royal National Park.


Endless clifftop views on the Coast Track | @allyburnie_


This challenging 26km hike offers incredible coastal vistas and beautiful swimming spots along the way.

While it can be done in a day, we’d recommend breaking it up over 2 days. You could also cover either the Northern section (18km) or the Southern section (8km) of the walk if you only have one day.

Stop 2: Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

Location: Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
Highlight: Fliteboarding

Travelling a little further north, your next stop is the beautiful Ku-ring-gai National Park. Plenty of trails to be tackled – but did you know you can go fliteboarding?

With Fliteschool Manly, you can master the art of flying an electric hydrofoil surfboard through the park’s breathtaking waterways. No wind or waves necessary! If that’s not your jam there are plenty of lush hikes too.


As if you wouldn’t give this a crack? | Photo: Destination NSW

Stop 3: Bouddi National Park

Location: Central Coast
Highlight: Bouddi coastal walk

Next, head to the sunny Cenny Coast, one of my personal fave spots in NSW and home to one of the best hikes in the state.


Soaring views all the way to Palm Beach in Bouddi | @allyburnie_


The 8km Bouddi coastal walk stretches from Putty Beach to MacMasters Beach and is an incredibly scenic trail famous for its picturesque beaches, sweeping views, serene rainforests, and plenty of places for a picnic or swim.

Hot tip: Want to see the coast from the water? Coast XP run coastal sightseeing tours and whale watching (June – November) from their custom built boat.

Stop 4: Worimi Conservation Lands

Location: Stockton, Nelson Bay
Highlight: 4WD beach driving

Get ready to hit the sandy shores of Worimi Conservation Lands for some seriously wild beach and dune driving action. With over 19km of Stockon beachfront and a whopping 350 hectares of dune driving, this is the ultimate playground for off-road enthusiasts.


Don’t own a 4WD? Take a quadbike for a spin! | Photo: Destination NSW

Or, if you don’t have a 4WD, why not take a quad bike or other tours through Sand Dune Adventures on land adjoining the park?

Want to start 4WDing? Read this beginner’s guide

Stop 5: Port Stephens

Location: Port Stephens
Highlight: Mt Tomaree Head Summit Walk

Possibly one of the most iconic and popular places to snap a pic commemorating your journey north is from the top of the Mt Tomaree Head Summit Walk. It’s a short but steep walk that’ll take you about two hours, but the expansive views from the top are certainly bloody worth it. Pro tip: get up there for sunrise.

Stop 6: South West Rocks

Location: South West Rocks
Highlight: Smokey Cape Walking Track

South West Rocks is a must-visit on any NSW road trip and a great place to soak up heaps of chill coastal vibes before adventuring inland.

The Smoky Cape walking track in particular is a must-do and is part of the longer Little Bay to Smoky Cape walk located in the northern precinct of Hat Head National Park. The trail can be done in under two hours and will take you along ridges and down gullies behind North Smoky Beach, weaving through dense rainforests of cabbage tree palms and lush ferns.

Hit up Trial Bay Gaol Campground for a beachside zone to stay the night.

Stop 7: Dorrigo National Park

Location: 1 hour from Coffs Harbour
Highlight: Skywalk Lookout

There’s plenty going on in Dorrigo National Park, but an essential visit is the Skywalk Lookout. Perched 21m above the rainforest on the edge of the escarpment, the lookout offers striking views of the Bellinger Valley all the way to the coast, showcasing deep valleys and gorges covered in lush rainforest.


Misty mountain views from the Skywalk Lookout | Photo: Destination NSW


Keep an eye out for Regent bowerbirds, Topknot pigeons, and Grey goshawks as you saunter through the rainforest.

Read more: Don’t miss the tranquil cascade of Crystal Shower Falls!

Stop 8: Mt Kaputar National Park

Location: Near Narrabri
Highlight: Sawn Rocks

If you’re in your Ross Geller era and love cool-looking rock formations, prepare to be awed by the epic Sawn Rocks, located north of Mt Kaputar National Park. This towering wall of pentagonal basalt pipes reaches a height of 40 metres and is the impressive result of a basalt lava flow from the Nandewar Volcano over 21 million years ago.

Sawn Rocks is one of Australia’s best examples of a rock formation called ‘organ-piping’ – because they look like a wall of giant organ pipes – go figure! To reach the rocks it’s an easy 1.5km return hike.

There’s so much more to explore at Mt Kaputar, camp out at Dawsons Spring Campground for a cool night high above the plains.

Stop 9: Pilliga National Park

Location: Near Narrabri
Highlight: Pilliga Forest

Pronounced ‘pilly-gah,’ the Pilliga Forest is an unmissable destination for anyone seeking rugged beauty on a grand scale. With over half a million hectares to explore, you can drive or hike along the 2,000km of public access trails to discover the vastness of this iconic Australian landscape.

Pitch your tent at the free Sculptures in the Scrub campground in Timmallallie National Park, and take a guided Discovery tour of Sandstone Caves to learn about the Gamilaroi people’s deep connection to this ancient landscape.

Stop 10: Gundabooka National Park

Location: Bourke
Highlight: Little Mountain Walking Track

Get ready to immerse yourself in the inspiring beauty of the Australian outback with the Little Mountain walking track in Gundabooka National Park. This red-soil track runs from Dry Tank campground to Little Mountain lookout, offering breathtaking views of the Gunderbooka Range rising up from the plains.

The lookout at the end of the track offers scenic views of the range’s entire northern escarpment and is especially beautiful at sunset. We recommend visiting in spring and autumn when the wildflower displays are spectacular.

Stop 11: White Cliffs Area

Location: White Cliffs
Highlight: Paroo-Darling National Park

Venture to the enchanting White Cliffs region, a remote and breathtaking corner of NSW. This awe-inspiring area is renowned for its opal fields, subterranean dwellings, colonial history, and spectacular desert vistas. You can even stay in an underground motel! Make your way to nearby towns like Wilcannia, Tilpa, and Louth, each with its unique charm and character.

Be sure to explore the magnificent Paroo-Darling National Park, home to an abundance of birdlife and significant Aboriginal sites. Witness the natural beauty of the Paroo Overflow, the only unregulated river in the Murray-Darling Basin, and bask in the expansive landscapes.

Stop 12: Mungo National Park

Location: Mungo and Wentworth
Highlight: Walls of China

About 1000km to the west of Sydney you’ll find the other-worldly Mungo National Park. While Outback NSW is often forgotten in a NSW road trip itinerary, we’re here to tell you it should be on the top of your list – especially Mungo National Park and the Walls of China.


The moonrise over the Walls of China helps you remember you’re still on Earth | Photo: Destination NSW

Best view at sunrise or sunset, these dramatic formations shaped by wind and erosion are not to be missed. Take the time to explore the ancient lakebeds where historic relics of early Aboriginal culture have been found and marvel at the true wonder of the NSW Outback.

Stop 13: Snowy Mountains

Location: Kosciuszko National Park
Highlights: Charlotte Pass Walk, Thredbo Valley Track & Yarrangobilly Caves

The Snowy Mountains region is a unique wonderland that never fails to amaze and inspire with its stunning contrasts. With towering peaks and serene valleys, grand hikes and delicious thermal pools, this place is truly one of a kind.

If you’re up for a challenge, I’d recommend the 18.6km Mount Kosciuszko Summit Walk, or you can try the easier 9km Guthega to Charlotte Pass walk which is the first section of the new multi-day Snowies Alpine Walk.


Seamans Hut near Mt Kosciuszko | @allyburnie_


If you prefer to adventure on wheels check out the Thredbo Valley Track. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, the track offers a variety of cycling experiences to suit your level.

You can choose from guided tours, the easier first section from Thredbo to Lake Crackenback Resort, or go all out on the full 35-kilometre adventure.

With a day of adventuring complete, you have to visit the picture-perfect Yarrangobilly Caves thermal pool.

Nestled within the lush valley surrounded by tall eucalyptus trees and close to the Yarrangobilly River, this 20m thermal pool is sourced from a natural spring approximately 1km beneath the surface and remains a balmy 27°C all year round.


Yarrangobilly Pools stay warm year round | @allyburnie_

Stop 14: Merimbula

Location: Sapphire Coast
Highlight: Kayaking adventures

Merimbula is a magical coastal town located on the Sapphire Coast, which boasts breathtaking ocean beaches and quiet coastal lakes.

There are plenty of exciting adventures to be had here, especially surfing,  kayaking or SUP-ing on Merimbula Main Beach – five kilometres of pristine blue ocean.


Long waves at Merimbula Bay | Photo: Destination NSW


Have your own kayaking adventure or be guided by the awesome team at Navigate Expeditions who offer immersive, and regenerative travel experiences for the environmentally conscious traveller.

Hot tip: Halfway between Merimbula and Jervis Bay is the new Murramarang South Coast Walk, a gorgeous three day coastal hike with camping or cabins to stay in!

Stop 15: Jervis Bay

Location: South Coast
Highlights: Stargazing, Booderee National Park, Honeymoon Bay, Woebegone Freedive

From beach-side camp spots like Green Patch in Booderee National Park to the awe-inspiring Gosangs Tunnel in Honeymoon Bay, to one of the best scuba diving spots in the South Coast, there’s no limit to the adventures you can have in the Jervis Bay region.

We especially love Woebegone Freedive, a unique and adventurous underwater experience. Embark on a truly phenomenal beach and boat snorkelling expedition of Jervis Bay, catching epic seal colonies, migratory humpback whales, sea caves, and beautiful white sandy beaches.

Then, experience a new POV as you turn your head to the sky with Jervis Bay Stargazing – a new 90-minute tour led by an astrophysicist. This out-of-this-world tour offers a unique opportunity to explore the night sky using a state-of-the-art telescope and astronomy binoculars.


If you’ve never stargazed with a telescope you’re missing out! | Photo: Destination NSW


Don’t Miss Adventures in Kangaroo Valley: Valley Outdoors in Kangaroo Valley run canoeing, hiking, camping, and abseiling experiences. Or if you’re feeling peckish the Canoe and Canapes tour by Wild Food Adventures might be more your speed.

Stop 16: Wollongong

Location: Bald Hill Lookout and Shellharbour
Highlight: Hang gliding

Possibly NSW’s most popular lookout spot, Bald Hill Lookout is a must-visit on any NSW road trip itinerary. Not just a great spot to snap a pic, it’s also a hang-gliding hotspot – want to give it a go?

From Bald Hill, you can catch a glimpse of the Sea Cliff Bridge, an iconic attraction that extends along the Grand Pacific Drive (another must-do on any NSW road trip).

Or you can get out on the water with Stand Up Paddle Boarding Shellharbour. Think sunrise paddling, after dark paddling (!) or even SUP yoga or surfing – if it’s on a SUP these guys offer it.

Stop 17: Blue Mountains

Location: Blue Mountains
Highlight: Mountain Biking & Lake Lyell

You can’t leave out the Blue Mountains on a NSW road trip – but unlike most itineraries, we’re not gonna tell you to visit the Three Sisters.

We reckon your time in the Blue Mountains is better spent on a mountain biking adventure. With a range of tours spanning the length and breadth of the national park, there’s an adventure for everyone.


Mountain biking is a stellar way to see the Blue Mountains | Photo: Destination NSW


After your day of adventuring, book a spot at Lake Lyell Recreation Park. This huge campground is perfect for water skiing, fishing, kayaking, and boating, and best of all it’s dog-friendly, there’s no better spot if you love camping by the water.


Morning camp views at Lake Lyell | @allyburnie_

Reckon You Could Tackle this Road Trip?

Are you the ultimate road-tripper? Think you could complete this mega road trip and tick off every place and adventure? Go on, we dare ya. Let us know in the comments if you reckon you could! Also, let us know your must-visit spots on a NSW road trip – we’d love to hear about your fave places and add them to the map.