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Top 6 Sydney's Scenic Drives: The Coastal Route

Home > Sydney > Day Trips | Escape the City | Fun Things To Do | Outdoor | Places of Interest
by Gypsy Rose (subscribe)
I love travelling, discovering hidden gems & food. Experience the journey on Instragram! @gypsy_compass. Owner of www.justplattersbyrose.com.au do check it out for grazing platters and more :)
Published June 9th 2020
Guide to the most scenic coastal drives across NSW & beyond
Sydney is home to one of the most beautiful coastlines, making the list ideal for that perfect coastal scenic drive from Sydney.

The list below features top Sydney's scenic coastal drives that are all drivable in less than five hours, making it the perfect weekend escape or an epic day trip (starting early, of course).

1. The Grand Pacific Drive to Jervis Bay

Jervis Bay is famous for its stretches of white sand beaches and dolphin watching. This three-hour road trip south of Sydney passes the largest Buddhist Temple in the Southern Hemisphere- Nan Tien Temple, seaside city of Wollongong, Kiama Blowholes and Lighthouse. Making The Grand Pacific Drive one coastal drive not to miss!

The famous Sea Cliff Bridge which is part of The Grand Pacific Drive


Where to Eat:

World Famous Fish n Chips in Huskisson. The long wait is worth it with their steak chips and large flounder fillets. Also, the quaint town of Berry, the Bookshop & Cafe will undoubtedly stimulate the taste buds as well as intellect, while Hungry Ducks (awarded a hat), is worth checking out too.

Places to Stay:

Wollongong: Accommodation includes holiday parks, camping, hotels & motels, apartments, house stays, lodges, and cabins.

Click here for the website.

Enjoying Wollongong's beaches


Kiama: Accommodation includes homestead cottages, house stays, cabins, holiday parks, camping, hotels, motels & resorts, B&B stays, Farm stays and more.

Click here for the website.

Feasting on fresh prawns & seafood at Kiama


Jervis Bay: Accommodation includes house stays, self-contained, B&B stays, camping, holiday parks, hotels & motels, adults-only stays, and more.

Click here for the website.

Enjoying the white sands & crystal clear waters in Jervis Bay


2. Royal National Park to the Southern Highlands

This coastal drive Bypass Route 1 hugs the Royal National Park's coastal roads meandering through lush rainforest, cliff-side lookouts, and rock pools.

The drive takes around three hours and passes northern suburbs including Wollongong, Stanwell Park, cutting inland towards Moss Vale, leading through parts of picturesque Upper Kangaroo Valley, home to one of the world's genuine natural basins and Macquarie Pass National Park.

Attractions include award-winning wineries, both coastal and hinterland lookouts and views, beaches and valleys.

Admiring the coastal views at Otford Lookout, Royal National Park


Where to Eat:

Feast on award-winning food with breathtaking views at the Tumbling Waters Retreat or experience exclusive 270-degree ocean views that stretches from Kiama in the South to Southern Sydney in the North at Sublime Point Cafe. If seafood is more your thing, the award-winning Harbourfront Seafood Restaurant in Wollongong will undoubtedly satisfy.

Places to Stay:

Stanwell Park, Bulli & Wollongong Accommodation: Luxury boutique hotels, hotels & motels, camping, B&B stays, holiday parks, apartments, house stays, cabins and more.

Coastal views at Bulli Lookout


Southern Highlands Accommodation:Hotel, Motel & Pub stays, B&B stays, farm stays, self-contained and house stays, resort, and camping.

Click here for website.

Discovering hidden gems at Southern Highlands


3. Sydney to Narooma

This epic coastal drive passes through some of the best coastal areas on the East Coast of Australia. From Sydney take The Grand Pacific Drive and continue south to Ulladulla, towards the Victorian border.

The drive south is filled with a continuous line of beaches on your left and stunning national parkland on your right.

There are plenty of things to do and explore on the drive, including fishing, water-based activities, exploring heritage towns, museums, animal parks, and wineries. Do not forget to book a tour to Montague Island once you arrive in Narooma!

Montague Island is home to both the adorable Little Penguin and fur seal colonies.

Awe-inspiring natural 'Australia-shaped' rock formation at Bar Rock Lookout, Narooma


Places to Eat:

For seafood with a view Harbourfront Seafood Restaurant in Wollongong offers the best two experiences. The Penny Whistler in Kiama offers both harbour views and a relaxed atmosphere. They also offer artisan coffee and fantastic gourmet food.

Get your grill fix at Stonegrill Huskisson (near Jervis Bay). There is a gourmet selection of prime-aged steaks, fresh seafood, wagyu, dinosaur T-Bone, and much more that you can cook to your own taste on a heated stone at your table.

Ulladulla is home to Rick Stein Bannisters. The restaurant not just offers breathtaking sweeping coastal views, it also provides a relaxed restaurant vibe and fresh seasonal produce to create a memorable dining experience.

Places to Stay:

Wollongong: Accommodation includes holiday parks, camping, hotels & motels, apartments, house stays, lodges, and cabins.

Click here for the website.

Exploring Wollongong's Lighthouses


Kiama: Accommodation includes homestead cottages, house stays, cabins, holiday parks, camping, hotels, motels & resorts, B&B stays, Farm stays and more.

Click here for website.

Enjoying the tranquility at Kiama's marina


Jervis Bay: Accommodation includes house stays, self-contained, B&B stays, camping, holiday parks, hotels & motels, adults-only stays, and more.

Click here for the website.

Exploring Jervis Bay's beaches


Ulladulla: Motels, B&B stays, self-contained & house stays, holiday parks, and camping.

Click here for website.

Whale watching at Warden Head Reserve, Ulladulla


Narooma: Hotels & Motels, apartments, self-contained & house stays, Lighthouse Keeper's Cottage, boutique stays, camping & holiday parks, and more.

Click here for the website.



4. Sydney to the Central Coast

Sydney to the Central Coast is not just a popular day trip or short weekend getaway drive. It is both inland and seaside, making it the best of two worlds experience to drive.

This coastal drive offers endless experiences and activities including tiny secluded beaches, an abundance of awe-inspiring views & lookouts, cafes & shops, boutique stores, nature experiences galore, including National Park experiences, birdwatching & whale watching (during migration season) opportunities, as well as wildlife spotting, adventure & water-based activities, and much more.

Enjoying the almost secluded Tuggerah Beach


There are also a marina, seaside, beach, and coastal rainforest walks, as well as boardwalks & cycleways to enjoy. There are also spectacular National Park coastal walks that are a must-do!

Pelican Feeding time at The Entrance


Places to Eat:

The Dam Hotel in Wyong is not just the oldest pub in the area; it is still operated by its original owners and offers delicious food and friendly family-friendly atmosphere. The Ocean Restaurant is seaside dining that is regarded and awarded as one of the Central Coasts best and New South Wales' most excellent seafood restaurants.

Maccoa in Terrigal offers a seasonal changing menu that showcases produce from local suppliers, allowing you to taste local and fresh produce. Brown Sugar in Warners Bay offers modern, seasonal Australian cuisine with a contemporary atmosphere and scenic water views.

Places to Stay:

Top places to stay include Terrigal, The Entrance, Swansea, Lake Macquarie region and inland accommodation stays.

Accommodation stays include hotels & motels, self-contained & house stays, camping, holiday parks, eco-cabins, retreats, adults-only, resorts, Norah Head Lighthouse, luxury stays, and more.

Click here for the website.



5. The Legendary Pacific Coast Drive to Brisbane

This epic coastal drive is certainly worth it! The Legendary Pacific Coast drive is one road trip to add to the bucket list. The iconic East Coast road trip from Sydney to Brisbane is one of Australia's top road trips and stretches around 1,000km along the Pacific Coast corridor.

Breathtaking views from Lighthouse Beach, North Coast of New South Wales


The scenery is stunning, and as you drive beyond Newcastle, you will wind along the Pacific Highway, which dips inland before detouring towards the coastal road at Bulahdelah.

The Drive travels through State and National Parks, nature reserves, before arriving at tranquil clear waters.

Along the way discover world-class wineries, sparkling beaches, ancient rainforest walks, wildlife, birdwatching & whale watching (during migration season) opportunities, and much more; making the Legendary Pacific Coast Drive one to be savoured.

Sunset at the famous Byron Bay Lighthouse


Places to Eat:

The Fisherman's Wharf in Woy Woy offers prime local seafood (it has been supplying the Coast with sustainable catch for over 40 years) as well as exquisite waterfront views. In Terrigal, Mumbo Jumbo's is a new bar hot spot not to miss. This rooftop bar and restaurant is located on the Esplanade and offers enviable views of Terrigal Beach.

Scratchleys on the Wharf (Newcastle) is home to a seafood eatery, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering spectacular water views. The Whalebone Wharf Seafood Restaurant in Port Macquarie is home to outstanding cuisine and expansive water views.

The Surf Club Restaurant & Bar in Coffs Harbour offers a broad menu of brekkie, burgers and seafood, with spectacular water views. The award-winning Fig Tree Restaurant in Byron Bay offers views to die for and delicious food. It also provides luxury accommodation.

Places to Stay:

Central Coast: Hotels & motels, B&B stays, self-contained & house stays, holiday parks, camping, resorts, retreats, eco-cabins, Norah Head Lighthouse, luxury stays, and more.

Click here for the website.

Newcastle: Hotels & motels, resorts, self-contained and house stays, camping, holiday parks, beach houses, apartments, luxury & boutique stays, and more.

Click here for the website.

Myall Lakes National Park: Heritage-listed accommodation including Cutlers Cottage, Seal Rocks Lighthouse Cottages, and NRMA Myall Shores Holiday Park and camping.

Click here for the website.

4wd Sand driving at Myall Lakes National Park


Port Macquarie: Hotels & motels, B&B stays, self-contained & house stays, holiday parks & camping, cottages, farm stays, resorts, backpackers & hostels, apartments, retreats & lodges, and more.

Click here for the website.

Coffs Harbour: Apartments, backpackers & hostels, hotels & motels, resorts, retreats & lodges, pet-friendly stays, holiday houses, cottages, farm stays, camping & holiday parks, B&B stays, and more.

Click here for the website.

Byron Bay: Holiday rentals, holiday houses, hotels & motels, resorts, backpackers & hostels, villas & apartments, camping & holiday parks, retreats, and more.

Click here for the website.

Breathtaking sunset views at Bryon Bay


Brisbane: Hotels & motels, resorts, apartments, retreats, villas, holiday parks & camping, backpackers & hostels, lodges, pet-friendly, adult-only, and more.

Click here for the website.

Brisbane's City sunset


6. The Northern Beaches Crawl Drive

This coastal route along the Northern Beaches is a local's secret. It steers past Manly, Freshwater, Dee Why, and Whale Beach in less than two hours.

On one side you have endless beach views, and on the other side, you will have lagoon and lake views.

There are many attractions on this coastal drive including National Parks, fantastic walking tracks, lookouts & views, beautiful gardens, the striking Baha' i Temple, the famous Palm Beach and its surrounds, and much more.



Places to Eat:

For an incredible dining experience with breathtaking views, The Boathouse Balmoral, Jonah's, Dunes Palm Beach and The Newport will offer that experience.

Places to Stay:

Manly & Surrounds: Hotels & motels, backpacker, serviced stays, house stays & self-contained, apartments, guest houses, and more.

Click here for the website.

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Why? Explore these coastal drives
When: All year round
Website: See Above
Where: Sydney & New South Wales
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Sure is! Thank you, diand :)
by Gypsy Rose (score: 2|764) 898 days ago
We have travelled up and down the East Coast for many years and it sure is hard to beat! Great article, thank you
by diand (score: 1|19) 898 days ago
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