Sydney is one of the most visited and beautiful cities in the world and it has lots to offer from a travel perspective however, if you have been to the city before and covered all the immediate touristic attractions you may find yourself wanting more.
How about an easy and fabulous road trip?
In this article we’ll “drive” you through our experience as we discovered 6 must-see locations only a few hours south of Sydney.
FIRST THINGS FIRST: GET SOME WHEELS
If it’s a road trip that you are after, then you will need a car!
All major car rentals are present in Sydney, but if you are due to get an early flight on your way out of Australia as we were, the best thing is to hire the car from the airport terminal rather than in town. This way you can return the car without fuss as they have more flexible hours and most of all you will not occur a fee for dropping the car at a different location.
Tip: Australia like all Commonwealth countries drive on the left and not only that, but all your controls for indicators and lights will be on the opposite side than what you may be used to if you drive normally on the left. So just bear that in mind. as it may take sometime to get used to.
1. BROCKWELL PARK
Take the A1 which then becomes the M1 and is commonly called the Princess Highway and head south in direction of Wollongong. You’ll drive through stunning national parks and about an hour from Sydney you’ll reach the exit for Stanwell Park.
This picturesque coastal village is entered after a number of tortuous turns to descend from the mountains. Here you can stop for a walk at the Stanwell Park Beach Reserve or at Baird Park.
Stanwell Park is famous for paragliding, hang gliding and rock climbing. So, if you are after some adrenaline fueled open air activities, this is one of the best spots in the whole of Australia.
TIP: All smartphones nowadays come with Google Maps. Use it to find your way around!
It’s great and saves you spending extra money for a sat nav, just make sure your mobile is unlocked and you buy a local SIM to get your internet going.
2. GRAND PACIFIC DRIVE
Before reaching the next town, there are some other impressive views to be taken in via the Grand Pacific Drive, one of the most spectacular routes in Australia.
One of these is the Sea Cliff Bridge which is simply breathtaking. The 665 meters bridge will definitely be a highlight of your drive. The views are so dazzling that if you want to stop to enjoy them you can do just that!
There is a viewing platform where you can stretch your legs and admire the coast as well as looking out for whales heading North or South during the migrating season.
If you thought Stanwell Park was charming, wait until you see Kiama. As the locals will tell you “once you arrive, you may never want to leave”!
Kiama takes its name from the Aboriginal word Kiarama which means: “place where the sea make a noise”.
There are a number of things to be seen in this town, but the star attractions are 2 in particular: the Lighthouse and the Blow Hole.
They are both located on the same spot, which is on a rocky promontory that stretches out to the sea. This all area is of great interest for geologists because Kiama was the site of two volcanic flows, called the Gerrigong Volcanics which came out by the nearby Saddleback Mountain, now a collapsed vent.
The Blowhole is part of an erosion process on the more recent rock. And even if you aren’t a geologist, trust us you will find this amazing whether you are 7 or 70 years old!
TIP: Park your car by the Lighthouse and take a walk around the area. There is a 7 kilometre southern extension to the coastal path that has been opened so you can walk along the cliffs to Gerringong. If you enjoy surfing there are several competition hosted in the area every year.
The great thing that excited us about this part of the country is how much the landscape changes only by going inland only a few Kilometers. In fact, leaving the blue shores of Kiama and heading West, the scenery changes almost immediately. As soon as the suburban area ends the green hilly pastures open. We headed to Jamberoo, a tiny village nestled in the hills just a mere 15 minutes drive from Kiama.
After the gorgeous and fun ride ( expect to go up and down hills as if you were in a roller coaster), you will reach Jamberoo. This cute village made famous by cedar-cutters and dairy farmers has maintained its original charm. The hottest seats in town are at the historic Jamberoo Pub.
Established in 1857, the pub is still to this day a main point of gathering for anyone wishing to enjoy a drink (they have 10 draft beers as well as a great list of wines and hot beverages) some gastronomic delicacies, and if you wish to stay in the area for the night they also have affordable accommodation.
5. JARVIS BAY
Let’s head South a little more towards one of the best coastal points in Australia: Jarvis Bay.
The bay is known to have the whitest sandy beaches and it’s exactly these as well as turquoise waters that make this area one of the most beautiful not only in Australia but in the world.
If you come all the way to Australia, Jarvis Bay must be on your must-visit list.
The bay is also heaving with wild life. Expect to see many kangaroos hopping around in the fields adjacent to the road you’re travelling on, or colorful parrots and various other kinds of birds, or dolphins and whales in the water as well a great variety of fish and underwater life.
There are two national parks: the Booderee National Park and Jarvis Bay National Park.
By visiting Booderee National Park you also get the chance to see the ruins of Cape St. George Lighthouse. Resting on the top of rocky cliffs, the old lighthouse is a perfect view point to enjoy the stunning coast line as well as looking out for whales that pass by in high numbers during the migration season (June to July and September to November).
Hayams Beach. This beach is nestled in the middle of Jarvis bay. The sand here is known to be the finest and softest as well as the whitest one in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records.”>
Huskisson is one of the most popular holiday destination in the bay. Set around the Jarvis Bay Marine Park, this is the ideal playground for water sports fans and anyone wishing to enjoy a typical Australian seaside holiday whether it’s as a family or with friends.
There are several bakeries in town offering a vast array of treats such as pies, cakes and pastries.
You are literally spoiled for choice!!
6. FITZROY FALLS (Merton National Park)
It’s easy to bask away in sunny Jarvis bay with all that there is to enjoy and do, but we had more to see before leaving Australia, so after a visit to Huskisson we headed to the mountains.
About an hour away from Jarvis Bay, after driving through Nowra, and Kangaroo Valley and a number of mountainous turns that will get any racing driver’s heart pumping, you’ll reach the Fitzroy Falls Reservoir and straight after that you’ll arrive at the award winning Fitzroy Visitor Center.
Here, you can park your car ($3 AUD per vehicle per day), explore the center to find out more about the area and then walk to the observation decks to admire the falls.
The trails are easy to walk and filled with information about flora and fauna living in Merton National Park.
First, you can grasp a plunging view of the 80m Fitzroy Falls descent and then continue the walk to see the Twin Falls. Both are spectacular!!
We hope you liked our chosen Six Awesome Places to see South of Sydney and remember that all of these beautiful locations are a no more than 1 to 3 hours drive from the city of Sydney, making them perfect destinations for a day trip or a long weekend.