Loop your way from Sydney and back on some of the best road trips from Sydney that ticks all the travel boxes. Mountains? Check. Oceans? Check. Wine tours? Why, of course!
Sydney -> Port Stephens -> Newcastle
The coastal trip for those who like to keep off the beaten track and close to home, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Anna Bay and ol’ Newy. These two coastal havens are perfect for all things sun sand and surf, with chill locals and unique locations to lay your head when the day is done.
Port Stephens YHA is nestled in the national parks of Anna Bay, a short walk from the stunning One Mile Beach. Find your peace and calm in the bungalows surrounded by lush forests, and hikes to views that’ll take your breath away (literally and figuratively.) If you’re visiting during the cooler months, get cosy by the fire pit for a singalong and create your own s’mores with roasted marshmallows – the gooier the better!
Kick it up a notch at the former-cabaret-club-turned-hostel at Newcastle Beach YHA. A favourite with families thanks to its ‘canoe’ swimming pool, you can keep it chill on-site or grab a surfboard for $2 and get some serious action. If surfing’s not your style, head into town for local bands with great sounds, classic pub feeds all within close distance from the hostel.
The coastal walks in Newcastle are absolutely unmissable, from the wheelchair accessible Newcastle Memorial Walk, along the cliffsides of Newcastle with views into the Hunter Valley, to the heritage hikes showing the colonial history of the city. Once a home to coalminers and convicts, Newy is now a cultural centre for craft beers and indie bands. Whether you're at the industrial Styx brewery or the Foghorn Brewhouse right on the Newy foreshore, there's no better way to spend a lazy afternoon up the coast.
Sydney -> Katoomba -> Pokolbin
Mountains, wine, can it get any better? Get right out of the city as fast as you can for a taste of the finer things, starting at Blue Mountains – Katoomba YHA. This heritage hostel is on the main road of town but is remains the quiet mountain escape you’ve dreamed of.
Delight your tastebuds with locally brewed beer at the Mountain Culture Beer Co. or wake up at the crack of dawn and head to Frankly, My Dear, slinging fresh coffee and pastries with locally sourced and ethical ingredients, your brekkie supports a slew of Aussies! Of course, no trip to the mountains is complete without a quick hike, you can check out our fave spots around the mountains here.
Take the long way home through Pokolbin, right in the heart of the Hunter Valley’s wine region, and right by the Hunter Valley YHA, with its own little vineyard on site! You could take a wine tour in a day, but we reckon this area’s worth lingering a little longer. Hire a bike to cycle through the vineyards where the magic begins or wander down to the local breweries and wineries to get your fix of locally made wines, ciders and beers at those brilliant cellar door prices.
You can’t say you’ve been to wine country without a wine tour, so make sure to let the team at Hunter Valley YHA know you’re keen to book one in, and they’ll make sure you get the best deal (and a way home) so you can wet your whistle without a worry in the world.
Sydney -> Port Macquarie -> Bellingen -> Byron Bay
Chase that endless summer feeling all the way up the east coast on what we humbly call the best road trip in NSW. The classic drive to Byron is a rite-of-passage for Sydneysiders and while the tourist numbers are down, there’s no better time to explore the bay in all its bohemian glory.
Of course, you’ve gotta make some stop overs on the way, and you can’t pass up the opportunity to stop in at Port Macquarie YHA. Visit Australia’s only Koala Hospital, where your generous donations have helped our marsupial friends recover and be released into the wild. With a hostel more like a coastal resort, soak up some sunshine, explore the sub-tropical rainforests nearby, and even see some whales between June-September as they migrate up the coast!
A short drive away is Bellingen, what Byron used to be before it got busy! Nestled by the Bellingen river, the Belfry Guesthouse, better known as Bellingen YHA, is a bohemian’s paradise. Expect delicious curries, yoga classes, and stunning views – all with private rooms. This luxurious guesthouse is run by some of the sweetest staff you’ll meet, ready to help make your Bello visit one to remember forever.
Finally, you've made it to Byron Bay! The famed home of Chris Hemsworth, the land of kombucha, hemp linen, Instagram influencers and the ultimate NSW road trip location. Once you’ve dropped your gear at the newly renovated Byron Bay YHA, make sure to walk the main street and pick up some locally made Byron goodies.
If you’re looking to try some new vegan food, taste test a turmeric latte or find the perfect crystal to align your moods, Byron is the place for you. From surf camps to skydiving, hikes and one of the first spots to catch the sunrise on the east coast, this epic road trip is perfect all year round!
Don’t have time to take a few extra days off and explore? Here’s some short weekend loops you can do overnight!
Sydney -> Canberra
There's a bunch more to the nation's capital than the year six school trip so many of us experienced, pack up the car and head down for a weekender of culture, museums and more! Where to stay: Canberra City YHA
Sydney -> Collaroy
Less than an hour from the CBD, you'll feel miles away at Sydney Beachouse - Collaroy YHA. A few minutes walk from the beachfront, you'll be able to have a holiday without wandering too far from home. Close by is the Long Reef National Park, where you can climb to the summit for perfect whale-watching views.
Sydney -> Sydney Harbour
The ultimate staycation, why not treat yourself to waking up with harbourfront views and a rooftop terrace to soak in the sun rising over the Sydney Opera House? Sydney Harbour YHAis the place to be for a weekend in the city, close to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Circular Quay, the Harbour Bridge, and all those spots we as sydneysiders keep meaning to visit but don't do nearly enough. No more excuses, when you're waking up in the heart of the action!
Safe Stay at YHA
Following COVID-19 guidelines on hygiene and distancing for a safe stay.