12 days 11 nights

Sydney loop, two week road trip
exploring beaches, forests
and heritage towns

Trip Length:12 days, 11 nights
Best time to visit:Spring to late autumn
About Trip
Sydney loop
Two week road trip exploring beaches, forests and heritage towns

A journey through the heart of modern Australia, Pacific coast communities, national parks with, of course the obligatory waterfalls, temperate rainforests and heritage reminders of Australia’s past are the layered story of this journey from Sydney to NSW interior. A great two week road trip for newcomers to New South Wales and Sydney residents who have not yet investigated the quiet corners of NSS.

Bogey Hole, Newcastle @Shannon Hartigan

Day 1
Route map
From Brooklyn Wharf to Terrigal

Route map Brooklyn Wharf (Hawkesbury River) to Brisbane Water National Park, detour to Allen Strom Lookout, then onto Green Point, and finish the day at Avoca Beach Surf House, Terrigal.

Brisbane Water National Park @Reddit


@Avoca Palms Resort

Avoca Palms Resort Avoca Beach Accommodation, Central Coast, Terrigal, Avoca Palms Resort.

Camping Option

For those who wish to camp there is a local favourite,  however you must plan ahead as there are only 6 camping spots available. Little Beach campground in Bouddi National Park. NOTE, there is no power, dogs are not allowed.

Day 2
Terrigal to Kooragang Island
(then onto Newcastle)

Today is an all day excursion to Kooragang Island. Today’s journey is from Terrigal to Kooragang Island to Newcastle. You are on the coastal route, forget the Pacific Highway as you are in the slow lane, absorbing the coast and passing Cardiff, an industrial heartbeat for Australia finishing your day in Newcastle. A highlight is a day in a seldom visited reserve, Kooragang. Pack a picnic lunch, your sunscreen and pop on comfortable walking shoes. Your camera is compulsory.

Schoolmasters House in Kooragang Wetlands @The Kooragang Wetlands


@Noah’s on the beach


Noah’s On the Beach | 4 Star Hotel in Newcastle is one of the only beach front hotels and function venues in Newcastle. The hotel offers 91 accommodation rooms, an award winning restaurant and eight refurbished function rooms. The superb beachfront location is less than a five minute walk from the central business district. The views from NOAH’S are the most magnificent Newcastle has to offer.

Day 3

Newcastle and coal, the city’s industrial heart is, as the largest exporter of coal in Australia. Yet coal should not be the only definition for Newcastle. Newcastle is a destination in itself, a place where a week can quickly pass with boardwalks, ocean baths, opportunities to explore the bushwalks in the vicinity. This journey is about selecting three Newcastle highlights to offer with a promise to ourselves to return. Newcastle has a vibrant cafe scene, stunning museums and galleries however your focus in Newcastle is exploring its iconic beach culture.

The Bogey Hole @Shannon Hartigan


@The Retreat Port Stephens


The Retreat, Port Stephens. The Retreat is Pacific Coast hospitality in spades. The Retreat Port Stephens is located in a beautiful bushland setting, close to the beach at Anna Bay and only a few minutes drive from Nelson Bay. There are various choices from standard cabins to ensuite bungalows. To book or further information click here The Retreat Port Stephens – Anna Bay bookings.

Day 4
Port Stephens
What is the reason to stop in Port Stephens?

Port Stephens is Australian hospitality with the natural landscape as the big event. Deep water fishing, dolphins, whale watching, Stockton sand dunes and Tomaree Headland walks combine to give your holiday a vibe which is not ticketed events.

Port Stephens is a series of consecutive bays in a very large area, more than double Sydney Harbour. The bays are Nelson Bay where the majority of shops and services are located. There is the energy of families and visitors flocking to the beach.

Shoal Bay @Port Stephens Australia

Day 5
Port Stephens
All day

A day of leisure to immerse yourself in Port Stephens water based holiday experiences. These range from deep sea fishing guided boat cruises to swimming with dolphins and whale watching. Or you can simply chill out at one of the many beaches you cruised by yesterday and soak in the serenity of a day at the beach.

Port Stephens @BIG4 Holiday Parks

Day 6
Port Stephens to Uralla
And then Armidale

Goodbye beaches and Pacific Coast your journey is inland toward New England temperate rainforests, national parks and gold mining heritage sites. It is recommended you have an early start to your day to get to Urulla by late morning. It is approximately a four hour drive to your first stop of the day. Today you are going to wonder who is buried in a bushranger grave and try your best to find gold in the Wooldridge fossicking area in Urulla.

Armidale Bicentennial Arboretum @gus_hood


@Moore Park Inn Boutique Motel Archie’s on the Park a la carte Restaurant


Landscaped grounds, peace and quiet with an excellent standard from executive, deluxe or standard suites. The historic heritage-listed property has 20 rooms to suit a variety of guest numbers, which includes a wheelchair-accessible unit, pet-friendly rooms, a romantic Homestead Suite, and a comfortable Family Suite. To book or further information click here Moore Park Inn: Home.


Day 7
All day exploration

Autumn brings the picture postcard rural town a glorious display of deciduous leaf golds and the crackle, snap and crunch of autumn foliage as you walk the tracks. The heritage buildings provide a sense of tradition that continues to be lived in and adapted to contemporary use. The buildings are not just museum pieces but part of the living heritage of Armidale. Armidale is entrancing. Armidale’s climate is characterised by four distinct seasons with pleasant daytime temperatures from early spring (October) to mid autumn (April). Summer average temperature ranges from 20 to 31c. Winter ranges from 0 to 15c.

Elms in Autumn, Armidale

Day 8
Armidale to Oxley Wild Rivers National Park
A day exploring Oxley Wild Rivers National Park

The park is characterised by New England Plateau dropping into the gorges carved out by the Aspley and Macleay Rivers. For more detailed information check out Oxley Wild Rivers National Park | NSW National Parks. The park has a number of walks for all fitness levels, over eight camping grounds with extensive facilities. Pack a picnic lunch, snacks, water and supplies for your day exploring Oxley Wild Rivers.

@Cowra Garden

Day 9
Armidales backyard
A day to explore

You will find one of the oldest hydroelectric schemes in Australia and the tracks carved out to build and service the power station are explored. Together with the spectacular views of the Gara Gorge you will be well rewarded for your day in the rainforests of New South Wales with glimpses of wildlife and birds that frequent the area.

Gara Gorge, Oxley Wild Rivers National Park @National Park Odyssey

Day 10
Armidale to Tamworth
To Mudgee

Tamworth is a whistle stop detour to view the ‘Big Thing” as it’s Tamworth of course it is a guitar. There is a music and gift shop located next to the enormous guitar. Wikipedia describes the guitar as, “The Golden Guitar was erected in front of the famous Longyard Hotel on the Sydney Road in 1988. It was unveiled by Australia’s most popular country music artist, Slim Dusty. Its location in Tamworth is symbolic of the city’s recognition and celebration of Australian country music, and its artists.”

Dunns Swamp, Wollemi National Park, Mudgee @Rylstone Kandos


@Bandalong Cottages Mudgee


Bandalong Cottages is a travel guide favourite with its spacious grounds, the sense of intimacy and the fact it is the home of a family whose roots reach back into their convict origins. Mudgee NSW | Self Contained Cottage Accommodation on 33 acres is home for the next two nights. And the location is superb with three winemaking neighbours making driving redundant, Burnbrae, Blacklea and Thistle Hill cellar doors. Then there is the very practical, clean lines of Catherine Sykes pottery. Her studio is tucked among the 3 acre property.


Day 11
All day exploration

With over 40 cellar doors, plenty of choice what to see and do. it is likely you will return to Mudgee. Let’s get you going with local advice, guaranteed no hidden traps to get to a specific destination. Swirl + Sip is a handy directory  for up to date information regarding opening times + services, or visit our Virtual Love Hub here.  You are invited to filter your selection according to

  • Cellar door
  • Onsite restaurant
  • Pet friendly
  • Local platters
  • Kids activities
  • Virtual celebrations
  • Breweries and distilleries

@Mudgee Region

Day 12
Return to Sydney
Via Katoomba (Blue Mountains)

Your return is a scenic journey through the Blue Mountains to your destination Sydney. You have ample time to stop in Katoomba for a leisurely lunch at the iconic Mountain Heritage: Katoomba Accommodation | Blue Mountains Hotel or cafes nearby.

Katoomba Cascades is a popular hiking destination in the Blue Mountains

Travel pack information

Blue Mountains road @Cyclist

  • Green Point Foreshore Walk
  • Green Point Circuit
  • Green Point driving trail
  • Wollongong Heritage Trail map PDF
  • Kooragang Wetlands map PDF
  • Kooragang Wetland general location PDF
  • Illawarra walk
  • Urulla heritage map
  • Armidale travel guide
  • Mudgee travel guide

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