With road trips around Australia all the rage right now, check out these stunning natural wonders to weave into your New South Wales road trip adventures.
Road trip: Central NSW
In Mount Kaputar National Park, 50 kilometres east of Narrabri, you will find the aptly named Sawn Rocks. The towering rocks jolt out of the ground in hexagonal columns and are a result of volcanic activity by Nandewar Volcano. Sawn Rocks are often referred to as ‘organ piping’ by locals – thanks to their appearance like a wall of giant organ pipes.
You’ll reach Sawn Rocks on a gentle 1.5 kilometre loop walk and can cool off in the swimming holes amongst collapsed sections of rock. The National Park is also home to Australian wildlife including birds, wallabies and quolls. Native plant life changes with the seasons and altitudes of the park, with wildflowers like golden wattle in September and white tea tree in the warmer months.
Mount Kaputar can be rolled into a central road trip in NSW as you head North West from Newcastle. Stop along the way at Lake Keepit for overnight camping where families will love the Reflections Holiday Park’s waterpark, skatepark and BMX track.
Road trip: Sydney to Mudgee
Once you escape the hustle of Sydney, take your first break at Echo Point lookout in the Blue Mountains for views of The Three Sisters. Take the easy walking track from the lookout – it’s less than one kilometre and gives different views of the giant rock formations.
Whilst this is one of the best known natural wonders in NSW, few people know the Aboriginal dreamtime legend behind the formation. Legend has it, each rock represents a sister from the Katoomba tribe. All three sisters fell in love with three brothers from the Nepean tribe yet tribal conflicts forbid them to marry. To protect them from any harm, the witchdoctor from the sister’s tribe turned them into stone. Unfortunately, the witch doctor himself was killed leaving nobody able to return the women to their former selves.
After connecting with our Indigenous culture at the Three Sisters, continue the journey through the Blue Mountains towards Mudgee stopping a second time at Capertee Valley – the second largest canyon in the world. Enjoy the simple things in life and a true blue Aussie country experience at Cudgegon River.
Wedding Cake Rock
Road trip: South Coast
If you’re up for more of a walking challenge, head to Sydney’s Royal National Park and take the coastal track to Wedding Cake Rock. This white rock formation perches above the ocean like a fragile slice of cake about to crumble. It’s white colour is caused by water passing through the rock and this also makes the sandstone dangerously soft and easy to crack (hence the fencing and warning signs around Wedding Cake Rock when you reach it).
The walk will get your legs burning but the coastal views are worth it. Take in spring wildflowers, swamp wallabies and birdlife.
Kick off a South Coast road trip by jumping straight into this walk (allow two hours) then continue south for an easy two hour drive to Shellharbour for lunch before setting up camp at Reflections Killalea Reserve. From your camp base, get hold of a board and shred Killalea’s National Surfing Reserve.
Dark Sky Park
Road trip: Inland adventure
Go where social distancing comes naturally, the Orana region of NSW, 550 kilometres North West of Sydney. The remoteness of this region, along with its high altitude and low humidity, makes it the perfect place for stargazing, amateur astronomy and camping under starry skies. In fact, this is where you will find Australia’s only Dark Sky Park. What is a Dark Sky Park you ask? They are specifically protected areas for scientific, natural, educational, cultural heritage and public enjoyment.
Visit Warrumbungle Observatory to spot stars and planets through up to five different telescopes.
Feature image: Three Sisters, Blue Mountains © Destination NSW
This article is a digital exclusive. For more Vacations & Travel ideas subscribe to our e-newsletter here.