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8 Best Scenic Drives Sydney 2024

02/11/2023
7 mins read
Sea Cliff Bridge
Source: Destination NSW

Embark on an unforgettable journey with our guide to the “Best Scenic Drives Sydney”. From the breathtaking coastal routes of the Northern Beaches Crawl to the lush landscapes of the Minnamurra Rainforest Drive, Sydney offers a myriad of scenic drives that showcase the city’s diverse natural beauty. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, these drives provide a unique way to explore Sydney and its surroundings. So, buckle up, roll down the windows, and get ready to be captivated by the stunning views on these top scenic drives in Sydney.

Best Scenic Drives Sydney at a Glance

Our list of best scenic drives in Sydney goes like this:

These scenic drives offer a variety of experiences, from exploring lush rainforests and national parks to enjoying coastal views and discovering charming villages. Each drive has its own unique attractions and activities, making them all worth considering for your list.

1. Bells Line of Road, Blue Mountains

The Bells Line of Road in the Blue Mountains is a scenic drive that will take your breath away. As you wind your way through the dense eucalypt forests of this UNESCO World Heritage site, you’ll be treated to stunning views of sassafras, coachwoods, and ferns. The air is crisp and clean, and the scenery is nothing short of spectacular.

A stop at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden is a must. Here, you can explore the beautiful gardens, take a leisurely stroll, or simply sit back and enjoy the tranquility. The garden is home to a diverse range of plants from around the world, and the views over the mountains are simply stunning.

The Bells Line of Road is more than just a drive, it’s an experience. Whether you’re a nature lover, a photography enthusiast, or just someone who enjoys a good drive, this is one journey you won’t want to miss.

  • Route: Bells Line of Road, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
  • Estimated Travel Time: Approximately 2 hours from Sydney CBD
  • Best For: Nature lovers, photography enthusiasts, and those who enjoy scenic drives
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/n4qrAjmhkVBGzScT7

2. Grand Pacific Drive

The Grand Pacific Drive is a breathtaking coastal drive that starts at the Royal National Park and takes you through lush rainforests, over the Sea Cliff Bridge, and through coastal towns. The drive ends in the coastal town of Shoalhaven, known for its beautiful beaches and outdoor activities.

As you drive along the coast, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the ocean, the cliffs, and the lush greenery. The Sea Cliff Bridge is a highlight of the drive, offering panoramic views of the ocean and the surrounding landscape.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing drive, a chance to explore the great outdoors, or simply a way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, the Grand Pacific Drive is the perfect choice.

  • Route: Otford Rd, Stanwell Tops NSW 2508, Australia
  • Estimated Travel Time: Approximately 1 hour from Sydney CBD to start of the drive
  • Best For: Coastal views, outdoor activities, and scenic drives
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/rU341o63QJn8sXJG6

3. Greater Blue Mountains Drive

The Greater Blue Mountains Drive is a popular route that offers 18 different discovery trails that pass through spectacular mountains, valleys, and national parks. The Three Sisters, one of the region’s most iconic landmarks, is an easy 2-hour drive from Sydney.

As you drive through the mountains, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the landscape. The discovery trails offer a chance to explore the region in more depth, with opportunities for hiking, bird watching, and photography.

Whether you’re a nature lover, an adventurer, or just someone who enjoys a good drive, the Greater Blue Mountains Drive is a journey you won’t want to miss.

  • Route: Greater Blue Mountains Drive, NSW, Australia
  • Estimated Travel Time: Approximately 2 hours from Sydney CBD to start of the drive
  • Best For: Nature lovers, adventurers, and those who enjoy scenic drives
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/mzDvUNPrAY7xnzYQ9

4. Kangaroo Valley Drive

The Kangaroo Valley Drive is a scenic journey that takes you through picturesque rolling farmland set against rugged cliffs, and past the roaring Kangaroo River. The drive is around a 2.5-hour drive from Sydney, making it a perfect day trip for those looking to escape the city.

As you drive through the valley, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the landscape, with its lush greenery, rugged cliffs, and sparkling river. The drive also offers a chance to explore the charming town of Kangaroo Valley, known for its historic buildings, quaint shops, and delicious local produce.

Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or just someone who enjoys a good drive, the Kangaroo Valley Drive is a journey you won’t want to miss.

  • Route: Kangaroo Valley Drive, NSW, Australia
  • Estimated Travel Time: Approximately 2.5 hours from Sydney CBD
  • Best For: Nature lovers, history buffs, and those who enjoy scenic drives
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/8ygQYspk3m4gdNSKA

5. Royal National Park to the Southern Highlands Drive

This three-hour trip takes you through rainforest, cliff-side lookouts, and rock pools. The drive cuts inland toward Moss Vale, leading through parts of the Upper Kangaroo Valley and Macquarie Pass National Park.

Southern Highlands
Source: Destination NSW

As you drive along the route, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the rainforest, the cliffs, and the surrounding landscape. The drive also offers a chance to explore the charming towns of the Southern Highlands, known for their historic buildings, quaint shops, and delicious local cuisine.

Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or just someone who enjoys a good drive, the Royal National Park to the Southern Highlands Drive is a journey you won’t want to miss.

  • Route: Royal National Park to the Southern Highlands Drive, NSW, Australia
  • Estimated Travel Time: Approximately 3 hours from Sydney CBD
  • Best For: Nature lovers, history buffs, and those who enjoy scenic drives
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/PatKUyJ229ZWPJxg8

6. Upper Hawkesbury Drive

The Upper Hawkesbury Drive offers a unique experience of Sydney’s countryside, with beautiful views of the Hawkesbury River and surrounding bushland. This drive is perfect for those looking to escape the city and immerse themselves in the tranquility of nature.

As you drive along the route, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the river, the bushland, and the surrounding landscape. The drive also offers a chance to explore the charming towns along the way, known for their historic buildings, quaint shops, and delicious local cuisine.

Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or just someone who enjoys a good drive, the Upper Hawkesbury Drive is a journey you won’t want to miss.

  • Route: Upper Hawkesbury Drive, NSW, Australia
  • Estimated Travel Time: Approximately 1.5 hours from Sydney CBD to start of the drive
  • Best For: Nature lovers, history buffs, and those who enjoy scenic drives
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/KnhCqci6BUGjHHDW7

7. Minnamurra Rainforest Drive

The Minnamurra Rainforest Drive takes you through the lush rainforest of the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre, offering walking tracks, picnic areas, and the chance to see the Minnamurra Falls. Located in the Budderoo National Park, this drive is just under two hours from Sydney and offers a unique experience of ancient rainforests, diverse flora and fauna, and breathtaking views.

As you drive through the rainforest, you’ll be surrounded by the beauty of nature, with moss-covered rocks, ancient fig trees, and a variety of bird species. The Minnamurra Rainforest Centre provides a starting point for exploring the area, with elevated walkways and paved tracks that lead you through the forest and to the stunning Minnamurra Falls.

The Minnamurra Rainforest Drive is perfect for nature lovers, families, and those looking for a peaceful escape from the city. With its serene atmosphere and diverse range of plant and wildlife species, this drive offers a truly unique and memorable experience.

  • Route: Minnamurra Rainforest Drive, NSW, Australia
  • Estimated Travel Time: Approximately 2 hours from Sydney CBD
  • Best For: Nature lovers, families, and those who enjoy scenic drives
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/zP3JEs1gMPEaJHKcA

8. Tourist Drive 33

Tourist Drive 33 is a 2-hour drive that showcases some of the most stunning countryside that NSW has to offer, ending at Wollombi Hunter Valley. The route offers a range of activities and attractions, including horse riding, roadside fruit stalls, boutique cellar doors, and country pubs.

As you drive along the route, you’ll be treated to beautiful views of the countryside, vineyards, and farmland. The drive is a great way to explore the Hunter Valley, known for its wine, food, and beautiful landscapes.

Whether you’re a food and wine lover, a nature enthusiast, or just someone who enjoys a good drive, Tourist Drive 33 is a journey you won’t want to miss.

  • Route: Wollombi Rd, Wollombi NSW 2325, Australia
  • Estimated Travel Time: Approximately 2 hours from Sydney CBD to start of the drive
  • Best For: Food and wine lovers, nature enthusiasts, and those who enjoy scenic drives
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/URUmeDG3ZtP4JAYx7

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time of year to enjoy scenic drives in Sydney?

The best time of year to enjoy scenic drives in Sydney is during the spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) months. During these seasons, the weather is generally mild and pleasant, making it ideal for exploring the outdoors. Additionally, spring and autumn offer beautiful foliage and blooming flowers, adding to the overall scenic experience.

Can I access these scenic drives using public transport?

Some of the scenic drives in Sydney can be accessed by public transport, but having a car will provide more flexibility and convenience. Many of the drives are located outside of the city and may require a combination of trains, buses, and ferries to reach. Renting a car or joining a guided tour can be a more efficient way to explore these scenic routes.

Are there any scenic drives suitable for families with young children?

Yes, many of the scenic drives in Sydney are suitable for families with young children. Drives such as the Bells Line of Road in the Blue Mountains, the Grand Pacific Drive, and the Northern Beaches Crawl offer a variety of attractions and activities that cater to families, including parks, beaches, and nature walks. Always ensure that you have appropriate car seats and safety equipment for young children when embarking on a scenic drive.

How long do these scenic drives typically take?

The duration of each scenic drive varies depending on the route and the number of stops you choose to make along the way. Some drives, like the Bradleys Head Drive, can be completed in under an hour, while others, like the Greater Blue Mountains Drive, can take several hours or even a full day to explore. It’s important to plan your trip accordingly and allow enough time to fully enjoy the scenery and attractions.

Are there any fees or permits required for these scenic drives?

Most of the scenic drives in Sydney do not require any fees or permits. However, some drives may pass through national parks or other protected areas that may require an entry fee or parking fee. It’s a good idea to research the specific drive you plan to take and check for any fees or permits that may be required before embarking on your journey.

Lachlan Taylor

Lachlan aka Lockie is a contributing writer at Humble Trail, known for his down-to-earth style and passion for the great outdoors. Born and raised in the small town of Deloriane, Tasmania, Lockie developed a deep love for nature and adventure from a young age.

His articles are a blend of his personal adventures and insightful explorations, often focused on sustainable travel, wilderness treks, and the serene beauty of untouched landscapes.

Always with his own reusable coffee cup in hand, Lockie loves a good caffeine fix as much as everyone else on the Humbletrail team.

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