Our Top 5 Campervan Holiday Spots near Sydney. Hire a Campervan today and hit the road!
Need some inspiration for your roadtrip? Here’s our Top 5 campervan destinations in New South Wales, from the Outback to the tropical North Coast – there’s truly something for everyone here. And remember if it’s cheap campervan hire you’re looking for in Sydney, be sure to talk to us – we’ll get you the BEST rental deal this side of Texas!
#1. The Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains, a leisurely hour-and-a-half drive from Sydney, were the vacation place for locals before the advent of inexpensive overseas air fares. Fifty years ago the Blue Mountains were lauded for their healthy mountain air.
These days their vistas have been rediscovered by day trippers from Sydney who continue to be attracted to this especially beautiful region. Make the trip in a day or stick around and enjoy the hills as a base from which to explore the surrounding countryside. From a distance the mountains really appear blue, caused by the haze of eucalyptus vapour, from the gum trees, which absorbs the red component of sunlight.
Information on touring around the Blue Mountains can be obtained from the Blue Mountains Tourist Authority on the Great Western Highway, Clenbrook, or drop by their booth at Echo Point two kilometers (one mile) from Katoomba, which has a good collection of books about the area and walking guides for sale.
What to See and Do in the Blue Mountains?
Man’s encroachment on the sandstone ramparts is confined to the procession of small towns and villages straddling the Great Western Highway linking the mountains and Sydney. The mountains, despite their name, are really a 1,000-m (3,280-ft) sandstone plateau. Millions of years of erosion have created a scenic wilderness of valleys, ravines and cliffs.
Most of the area is a conservation region; numerous walking tracks run parallel to the edge of the escarpment and lookouts are clearly signposted. They provide breathtaking panoramas of the harsh but spectacular land; walking tracks within the national park lead to more than 40 waterfalls.
There are several pretty villages along the Great Western Highway approach to the Blue Mountains: Leura, Blackheath and the village of Springwood are worth visiting. The main town in the Blue Mountains is Katoomba, perched near cliffs which rise from the Jamieson Valley. What is claimed to be the world’s steepest railway plunges 250m (820 ft) down the cliff wall on a 400-m (1,300-ft) track and a cable car sways out over the valley to give a truly heart-stopping ride.
At Katoomba is the Three Sisters rock formation with the best views from Echo Point or Queen Elizabeth Lookout. Rising out of the Jamieson Valley, these three sheer rock columns are steeped in Aboriginal folklore. Three maidens, Meenhi, WimJah and Gunedu were menaced by a witch doctor. Their father saw their plight from the valley below and – to protect his daughters – turned them to stone using a magic stick; however, in his excitement the father dropped his stick and the witch doctor turned him into a lyrebird. The sound of the lyrebird is believed by Aborigines to be the girls’ father looking for his magic stick so that he can bring hi daughters back to flesh and blood.
About an hour and half west of Katoomba are the limestone caverns of the Jenolan Caves which are open daily; the best way to see these natural cathedrals in lime is to join a guided tour, which leaves every 30 minutes from the Jenolan Caves Reserve Trust.
How to Get to the Blue Mountains?
The drive along the M4 Highway takes one and a half hours, from Sydney to Katoomba. Of course, the best way to get there is to hire a campervan or motorhome, but we might be a little bias! Other options if you don’t want to rent a campervan in Sydney, a train is about two hours from Sydney. Trains to the Blue Mountains leave from Central Station in Sydney, stopping at Springwood, Leura, Katoomba, Mt. Victoria and Lithgow. The local bus lines connect with some of the train services, running frequent services on weekday and Saturday morning.
#2. The NSW South Coast
The coastal road south of Sydney passes through the industrial cities of Wollongong and Port Kembla and then onto rich pastoral country dotted with dairy herds. The road occasionally turns towards the coast to pretty fishing villages and small holiday resort towns.
What to See on the NSW South Coast?
Kiama, a charming seaside town 17 km (73 miles) south of Sydney, is famous for its blowhole that can spurt water as high as 60 m (200 ft) into the air when the sea is rough and the wind is blowing from the southeast. The Terrace, a row of historic timber cottages built in 1886, has been restored as a home for art galleries, craft shops and restaurants. The walks along the cliffs to Cathedral Rocks and Kaleula Head are recommended. Maps of walking trails are available from the visitor center.
Inland from Kiama are the small towns of Berrima and Bowral, both of which merit a detour from the coastal route.
Berrima has changed very little since it was settled, in fact virtually no buildings have been erected there since 1890. One establishment that still functions as it did when started in 1834 is the sandstone Surveyor General lnn, although the food is more upmarket and these days Guinness is on tap. There are numerous restaurants, tea rooms, antique shops and galleries in town; to appreciate it best, go for a stroll.
Bowral has retained its buildings from the late nineteenth century, many of which can be seen on Wingecarribee and Bendooley streets. The town and surrounding area have traditionally been used as a resort by affluent Sydneysiders, as a consequence of which many fine restaurants and places to stay can be found in and around town. Bowral is frothing with tributes to its favorite son, Donald Bradman – the greatest batsman Australian cricket has ever produced. A museum in St. Jude Street dedicated to this cricketing immortal has an impressive collection of memorabilia which includes an oak bat from the mid-eighteenth century, and mementos from the current test team.
Back on the coast, Nowra is the agricultural and business center of the Shoalhaven River district. The high escarpment and plateau immediately inland are bounded by high sandstone cliffs which can be seen to the west of the road into the village, from which there is access to the high tableland 28 km (17 miles) away, preserved a the Morton National Park. This features the spectacular Fitzroy Falls and is a haven for a large number of indigenous animals and wild birds.
Batemans Bay is spread along the Clyde River estuary and is a popular seaside resort where rumor has it that you can simply pick up oysters on the shore, but it’s probably easier to buy a couple of dozen – or a crayfish – for which the area is famous, and picnic with a bottle of Chablis on the foreshore. On the coast north of Batemans Bay is Murramarang National Park, renowned for its broad beaches and towering headlands.
Central Tilba, 79 km (50 miles) south of Batemans Bay, is surrounded by rugged coastal mountains. Frozen in time, this village of 25 wooden buildings was built between 1889 and 1906 during a short-lived gold rush and has remained unaltered to this day.
How to Get to the NSW South Coast?
Hire a Campervan or Motorhome in Sydney from one of our partner rental agencies like Jucy or Spaceships and head south. You’re first destination on the way should be beautiful Scarborough, about an hour south of the Sydney CBD.
#3. The Snowy Mountains
While most parts of Australia are hot and dry, the alpine regions are much visited by skiers and other winter sports enthusiasts who flock to the higher peaks along the Great Dividing Range, from Victoria to southern New South Wales.
The best skiing areas are the Snowy Mountains, 200km south of Canberra along the Monaro Highway. In snowy months of winter the high peak of Mt. Kosciusko glitters in brilliance or disappears in a shroud of mist. There are beautiful passes through the mountains and many top ski resorts. In summer the high country is a favourite haunt of trout fishermen. In spring it is flower hunting time.
What to See and Do in the Snowy Mountains?
The slopes of Thredbo, Perisher, Blue Valley, Selwyn, Smiggins Holes, Charlotte Pass and a few other resorts on the mountains are packed from June to September with skiers. There is also cross-country skiing throughout the whole area, the major ski fields being in the Kosciusko National Park, covering 690,000 hectares (1,700,000 acres), making it the largest national park in New South Wales.
Glacial lakes, limestone caves, windswept moors and the headwaters of the Murmmbidgee River all contribute to the park’s scenic beauty. In summer the mountain’s slopes are a tapestry of yellow, white and purple wildflowers, delighting nature lovers and photographers, making this alpine region as popular in summer as it is during the winter skiing season. The moment the snow recedes hikers take to its tracks, climbers head for its sheer rock walks and anglers cast their lines into clear alpine streams and lakes for trout.
Dominating the Snowy Mountains is Mt. Kosciusko, 2,228 m (7,307 ft) above sea level. Although modest by world standards, this is Australia’s highest peak. Take a chair lift, which operates year-round, from Thredbo or walk up to the peak, an leisurely eight kilometre (five-mile) hike through alpine meadows. A more challenging 20-km (12-mile) walk begins at the information office at Sawpit Creek making its way up Perisher Valley. It’s great fun to explore the mountains on horseback in the high country where wild horses roam and wildflowers cover the meadows.
Australia’s most ambitious engineering undertaking, the Snowy Mountain Scheme, involved the construction of 16 large dams and 160 km (100 miles) of tunnels rerouting water formerly running to waste into the Pacific Ocean, to irrigate land west of the Great Dividing Range. On its way west the drop of some 1,000 m (3,000 ft) is utilised to drive the hydroelectric turbines feeding southeastern Australia’s power grid. At Tarbingo on the New Dam Road, take a narrated tour of the Tumut N23 Power Station to gain an idea of the magnitude of the engineering involved.
How to Get to the Snowy Mountains?
The Snowy Mountains are about 5hrs drive by campervan or motorhome from Sydney. Campervan access is by way of the Snowy Mountains Highway, the Alpine Way and Kosciusko Road. During winter it is advisable to carry tire chains. There are Ski-tube trains to Perisher, Smiggins Holes and Blue Cow Mountain which leave Bullock’s Flat in Jindabyne every twenty minutes in winter and on the hour in summer. Savings can be made by purchasing a return Ski tube pass and chair-lift ticket package.
#4. Outback NSW
The north and west of New South Wales are flat, arid and sparsely populated; this is part of the Outback.
About 25 km (16 miles) from Broken Hill is the “ghost town” of Silverton which was deserted when silver mines in the area were exhausted. The population now stands at around 100 and it is not unusual to see a camel walking down the main street. Check out the Silverton Hotel, which features contemporary art from the West Darling Ranges.
A three-hour drive from Broken Hill is White Cliffs, a town built underground to avoid the searing heat of the Outback. This area is Australia’s oldest opal field where visitors have been known to pick up valuable opals by fossicking around the old diggings. Find a local guide who will show you the best places to fossick for blue-green opals, tell tall tales and true about local history and arrange visits to underground homes in White Cliffs. While in White Cliffs improve your golf game on the local course which has no green fees because it has no greens, having the distinction of containing not one blade of grass. The sandtraps, however, are something else! Indeed, the whole place is…something else.
How to Get to Broken Hill?
Broken Hill is approximately 1,100kms drive from Sydney. It’s one hell of a trek but totally worth it, if you want to experience a bit of outback Australia. Most Campervan and Motorhome hire companies will permit use of their campers in these outback regions, as long as you stay on sealed roads. If you’re planning to explore the unsealed tracks in the region, like around Mungo National Park (pictured), then it’s best to hire a 4WD Camper in Sydney or Melbourne. Campervan Village & Britz provide 4WD Rental vehicles in Sydney and Melbourne.
#5. The NSW North Coast
Travelling north along the New South Wales coast the countryside becomes interestingly lush and subtropical as it runs the 900 km (560 miles) from Sydney to the Queensland border.
Broad cultivated valleys – with names such as Big River Country and Summerland-mark a succession of wide sluggish rivers which flow to the east.
Farming and timber bring prosperity to the towns in the valleys while small fishing villages cluster around the river mouths. During the summer months these villages see an influx of thousands of vacationers from the south who come to the excellent beaches or to try their hands at angling along the coast or in the rivers. Finding accommodation during the summer and school holidays may not be easy but during the rest of the year hotel and motel rooms are plentiful and prices are competitive.
There are also pristine section of coast preserved a national parks. Yuraygir and Bundjalung National Parks stretch 80 km (50 miles) along the shore north of Coffs Harbour and feature secluded beaches, untouched coastline and wetlands full of water birds; there is good surfing at Angourie Beach. The area can be explored from one of the many tracks that meander along the coast.
What to See on The NSW North Coast?
To the north of Sydney is Port Macquarie, a major holiday town which can be a little on the pricey side but has all kinds of attractions and activities sure to appeal to the whole family.
The town started as a penal settlement in 1821 and several examples of colonial architecture have survived: at the corner of William and Hay streets stands St. Thomas Church, built by convicts between 1824 and 1828 and open to the public weekdays.
Another 150 km (95 miles) to the north is the self-proclaimed Banana Coast. To prove it is the monstrous Big Banana north of Coffs Harbour, the capital of the Banana Coast. Coffs Harbour itself is surrounded with banana groves with bunches of fruit covered with plastic bags to shorten the ripening process from two years to 18 months.
Just 10 km (six miles) north of Coffs Harbour is Woolgoolga, where a little piece of India has been transplanted. Sikhs have established themselves here and turbaned men and women in saris are part of local colour now, with their white-domed temple at the top of the hill. (You may visit it by arrangement.)
An area only recently discovered by tourists is Byron Bay which has the advantage of the climate and facilities of many of the larger resorts to the north and south, but without the crowds. Its coastline has been called the Rainbow Country because hippies flocked into the area in the 1970’s; a decade later they were followed by disciples of the New Age. From their farms and communes in the hinterland they come into Byron Bay to shop, do business and meet friends. The result is a relaxed and laid-back place which also caters to visitors who have no inclination to chant or meditate, but seek an attractive beach to lie on and a cocktail to lead the way into Nirvana.
How to Get to Byron Bay and the NSW North Coast?
The Pacific Highway runs along the NSW north coast all the way from Sydney up to Brisbane, and is a very good road for long distance driving. If you’re in Sydney or Brisbane, you’d be crazy not to hire a campervan or motorhome to explore the NSW North Coast!