New South Wales is teeming with sites worthy of a visit from any tourist. Considered the most populous state in Australia with a population of 6.7 million, NSW offers a multitude of experiences from its natural wonders, sandy beaches, rainforests and historical sites.
Because it encompasses a large area (809,444 square kilometres to be exact), travelling around the state may take a week or more. So to make your holiday planning easier, we’ve come up with a 10-day self-drive itinerary so all you camper van hippies cover all that NSW has to offer. Of course, your travels kick off from the beautiful Harbour City- Sydney.
Day 1- Immersing in Sydney Part 1
You can start the first leg of your self-drive holiday by taking a short tour at the Museum of Contemporary of Art in Sydney, where you can view their collection for free. The museum also overlooks Circular Quay where you can admire the city’s majestic harbour. Afterwards, learn more about Australia’s history and Aboriginal heritage by visiting the Rocks Discovery Museum which is just a short walk away from Circular Quay.
BY Nicki Mannix
Spend the afternoon relaxing at the Royal National Park. Just be careful not to get lost in its littoral rainforest that has over 100 kilometres of walking tracks. The Royal National Park is also famous for the coastal views from its Wattamolla picnic area, making it ideal for camping and picnics. Park your motorhome for an affordable $29 a night on top of the $11 entry fee to the park.
Day 2- Immersing in Sydney Part 2
On your second day, explore the Bondi to Coogee Cliffside Walk. This six-kilometre walk may require four hours to complete, but is worth all the effort. The views of the harbour and the city will surely make you forget about your tired legs and aching feet! While you’re in the area, drop by Grotto Point Light House and take snapshots of the harbour; you know you want to.
After an adventure-filled day, relax at the Waterfront Cafe on Fort Denison which has a great view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. You can get to this fortress-like island through a ferry service from Circular Quay. Most of the shops offer cocktails and snacks perfect for your next Instagram upload.
By now, you have a firmer grasp on how life in Sydney flows. There are really a lot of other places you can go to, but since this article can’t cover them all,here’s a quick roundup of our highly recommended spots: St. Mary’s Cathedral, the largest cathedral in Australia; the Sydney Aquarium which is home to a variety of marine animals and the Sydney Tower with its breathtaking views of the city.
You can also use this day preparing for your drive deeper into NSW. If you want to carry with you a piece of Sydney, shop for souvenirs at the Peruse Paddington markets. Don’t also forget to stack up on food if your supply is running low.
Day 3- Blue Mountains
Just two hours drive from Sydney is a rugged region with steep cliffs, waterfalls, eucalyptus forests and villages, collectively known as the Blue Mountains. The village of Katoomba is considered as the largest town in this region, known for its chic retail outlets and diverse restaurants. It also has its own sporting facilities and golf courses. Not far away from the town is the famous Three Sisters rock formation which are made of sandstone.
A 10-minute drive east from Katoomba is Wentworth Falls which has several picnic areas surrounded by trees and other vegetation. The place is particularly more attractive during Autumn when the trees are dyed in shades of red and gold. Depending on your itinerary, you can cover much of this region without missing its natural beauty.
Day 4- North Coast
From Blue Mountains travel about 200 kilometres north towards your next destination. The North Coast is famous for its brimming coastline highlighted by Queensland’s pride- the Gold Coast. One of the great urban areas to stop by is New Castle which is the second largest in NSW and is just 162 kilometres northeast of Sydney. It is known as one of the most vibrant cities in Australia with several beautiful surrounding beaches that boosts its tourism.
You can also divert from the Freeway and drop by Stockton Beach for its majestic sand dunes. If you want to explore this area further, the best way is by riding a camel, a sand buggy or a 4WD adventurer. However, do plan ahead as permits are necessary in renting an off-road vehicle. You may also include visiting the fishing towns of Hawks Nest and Nambucca Heads while you’re in the area.
Day 5- Heart of the Country Part 1
After indulging in lush coastlines and riverbanks, it’s time to head to the wilderness. Drive for about five to six hours towards The Heart of the Country region. This place is rich in national parks that preserves the natural wonders known only to Australia. Mount Kaputar, which is elevated by 1,200 metres from surrounding plains, is one of the best place to start your journey of this vast wilderness. The mountain’s rocky exterior offers breathtaking views including the Sawn Rocks, a rock formation with very distinct lateral patterns.
If you want to catch a glimpse of Australia’s fauna and flora, head to the Warrumbungle National Park which is just about a two-hour drive from Mount Kaputar. The magnificent Breadknife, an ancient volcano, is a must-see. You can even camp at three locations- Camp Blackman, Pincham and Wanbelong.
Day 6- Heart of the Country Part 2
For your second day in the Heart of the Country, drive for more than three hours toward Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. Spend time in Wollomombi Falls, the second highest in Australia, at 220 metres. You can also check out nearby falls such as Chandler Falls and Apsley Falls.
Travel a bit for three hours northward to Bald Rock National Park which features the water-streaked dome, Bald Rock which is 750 metres long, 500 metres wide and 200 metres high and is Australia’s largest granite rock. Vehicle entry fee in this park is $7 per day.
Day 7- Outback Part 1
After playing around the Heart of the Country, it’s a long drive towards the Outback. Be prepared to travel for almost half a day towards Bourke, which is considered as the gateway to the “real” outback. Here you can resupply and discover artworks in the Back O’ Burke Gallery. It also has an exhibition centre with interactive displays and a gift shop.
If you still have time in the afternoon, you can travel for two hours toward the mining town of Cobar via the Kidman Way. There are plenty of hotels and place to stay in this town for the night.
Day 8- Outback Part 2
Cobar has mining areas that were discovered as early as 1870’s. You can visit the Great Cobar Heritage Centre and learn about the their mining history. The town is also known for their parkland where you can enjoy water sports.
If you have had your fill for the day, you can opt to go to the Snowy Mountains early. You can stop mid way to Canberra, which is more than seven hours away. Being the capital of Australia, Canberra has much to offer from historical sites to an active night life. It is also just less than two hours drive from your first stop in the Snowy Mountains region- the town of Cooma.
Day 9-Snowy Mountains
The Kosciuszko National Park takes up a third of this region. The town of Cooma is a good starting point for your adventure as it is only an hour drive to this park. Here you can see the Mount Kosciuszko which is the highest peak in Australia standing at 2,228 metres.
Tourists can fully appreciate the beauty of this region during the winter season when you can have fun on its snow-capped mountains. The nearby town of Jindabyne is known for its ski resorts and unspoilt rivers and lakes. Another great place to visit is Tumut which hosts the Festival of Falling Leaf to celebrate the coming of Autumn.
Day 10- South Coast
For the last day of your 10-day tour, it’s time to explore the South Coast. If you have been here, you know that this region is known for its beautiful coastal and fishing resorts. Just travelling Princes Highway traverses much of the attractions available. Visit the town of Narooma where you can spend time swimming and fishing.
You can also drop by the town of Merimbula which also has a beautiful coastline and marina. During the holiday season, you can go whale watching. Finally, if you are looking for a great shopping experience, you can drop by Wollongong, the third largest city in NSW. There are a lot of chic boutiques in this area plus the city itself is a marvelous place to explore. From here, Sydney is only an hour drive away, so returning your motorhome rental should be a breeze.
We only listed some of the most popular places you can visit in New South Wales, and there is still so much more to see. So check out Hippie Camper’s website www.hippiecamper.com to get the best deals on your campervan rental right now!