Sydney is a treasure trove of famous attractions, stunning beaches and metropolitan entertainment, and the perfect city to start a motorhome adventure in Australia. In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about this iconic New South Wales capital and how to plan a route that hits all of your must-sees and must-dos. We’ll introduce a selection of fantastic road trip itineraries, and provide information on the events and festivals the city has to offer each year.
The points of interest and exciting activities in this multicultural city are almost overwhelming in number, so to help you make sense of it all, we’ve compiled a list of our top picks, with some added inspiration to get your started.
Be sure to read up on our tips for driving your motorhome around Sydney in our ‘On the Road’ section, and take note of the additional information such as where to park up for the night, where to dump waste and where to just simply take a break from driving.
Itineraries beginning or ending in Sydney
As an international hot spot boasting incredible attractions in every direction, Sydney is a prime location to begin or end many great Australian road trips. Take a look at the following itineraries, or mix them up a little and make them your own.
Sydney to Cairns: East Coast Bliss (or Cairns to Sydney)
There’s nothing quite like the east coast of Australia. From Sydney to Cairns, the 1643km road trip will take you to breathtaking beaches, incredible national parks, and the all-famous Gold Coast. Highlights of the road trip include the Australia Zoo (famous for the late Steve Irwin’s work with crocodiles), the stunning heights of Tamborine Mountain, and the otherworldly rainforest castle at Paronella Park. Along the way there are numerous sparkling beaches to soak up the sun, including Airlie Beach just south of Townsville, and Rainbow Beach on the Sunshine Coast. While we recommend taking between 14 and 28 days to explore the coast, the beauty of any road trip is that you can determine its length.
Sydney to Brisbane: A Coastal Dream (or Brisbane to Sydney)
Spend 10-21 days driving from cosmopolitan Sydney to subtropical Brisbane. The 1643km between these hot Australian cities is chock-a-block with adventures. The Blue Mountains are the perfect playground for those who love the outdoors, or head underground to the caves near Lithgow to see the colossal colony of glowworms. One of the highest waterfalls in the southern hemisphere, the 200 metre drop of cascading waters at Ellenborough Falls near Port Macquarie will take your breath away. We suggest driving the distance in 6 legs so you can truly experience all there is to see.
Sydney to Adelaide: Down Under Wonders (or Adelaide to Sydney)
Explore the south of Australia like never before by road tripping across from iconic Sydney to the beautiful city of Adelaide. You’ll cover a whopping 2047km, but the incredible landscapes and thriving cities you’ll see along the way will make it worth every kilometre. Experience the beauty of Wollongong, Capital Hill in Canberra, and the ancient natural attractions at the Naracoorte Caves, among a multitude of other hot spots. Get a real taste of Australian life as you cover this epic itinerary from major city to major city, with remote gems and jaw dropping scenery in between.
Events and festivals in Sydney
Sydney’s bustling communities know how to celebrate. With an abundance of festivals and events held every year, there’s a great chance your visit will overlap with a fantastic party to attend.
Vivid Sydney is an absolutely stunning city-wide light show which runs for a month between May and June. Famous sites such as the Sydney Opera House and Martin Place are lit up with spectacular colours, and even the Botanical Gardens don beautiful hues.
An entire month of delectable delights await you when you attend the Crave International Food Festival. Local and international foodies gather together to put on workshops, interviews, kids events, and of course, food and wine tastings.
Don’t have plans for New Year’s? Now you do. A magical fireworks display at the top of the countdown may finish the evening, but from 6pm on December 31st there is pre-show entertainment, brilliant performances and the beautiful Harbour of Light Parade.
Other festivals to check out:
Activities and attractions in Sydney
Immerse yourself in the music and arts of Sydney, wander through markets, hit the hiking trails or book a wine tour; there’s never a dull moment in world class Sydney.
You don’t have to give up sports when you go on holiday. On the contrary; Sydney has plenty of sporting activities you can get involved with or attend. Watch over 200 keelboats race around the harbour from February through to March with the Sydney Harbour Regatta, or cheer on your favourite team at a Bledisloe Cup rugby match.
Sports teams and organisations:
Music & Arts
From live performances to music concerts, the arts community in Sydney knows to how to put on a show.
Food & Wine
Wander through food markets or take a tour; Sydney is an ideal spot for foodies and wine connoisseurs alike.
As well as central city attractions, there are some fantastic outdoor activities in the surrounding area that are well worth your time. Get your feet moving and adrenaline pumping with these energetic options:
Take a wander around the harbour, enjoy beautiful gardens, or discover Australian native animals at the zoo; all the nature sights are child friendly and make for the perfect day out.
What to do in Sydney
Take the chance on your Sydney motorhome rental adventure to discover some of the amazing places around New South Wales - like the fabulous Mountain Whispers luxury holiday rentals in the Blue Mountains, a gorgeous region not far outside of the city. This family of four properties located in the towns Leura and Katoomba are all historic homes, offering self-contained accommodation for small groups of people. They are within easy driving distance of each other making them collectively perfect for large groups, but each is unique. They all offer luxurious relaxation thanks to spa bathrooms, fully kitted out kitchens, log fires and top quality linens and furnishing throughout the beautifully decorated homes. Complimentary with a Mountain Whispers booking comes port, wine and chocolates, bathrobes, flowers, WiFi and even provisions for a cooked breakfast. Added extras which are available for a cost include private chefs to cook up a special meal in the kitchen, pampering packages and more. A beautiful setting like the Blue Mountains deserves a luxurious place to stay - and these four historic homes can certainly deliver! Relax and unwind before setting off on a journey like this Sydney to Adelaide road trip.
Where: Leura and Katoomba, NSW 2780, Australia
Opening Hours: Available for booking all year round
Dolphin Watch Cruises
There’s something magical about watching dolphins play in their ocean homes, and with the up-close-and-personal tours of Dolphin Watch Cruises, you can experience the true majesty of these beautiful aquatic mammals. One of the most popular tours out of Jervis Bay, Dolphin Watch Cruises has been running for over 20 years, and provides top quality ocean experiences. Jump on a 1.5 hour dolphin tour any time of the year, or venture out for a little longer with a 3-hour whale watching expedition between the months of May and November. These cruises are perfect for the whole family, and the ideal way to experience these incredible animals in their natural habitats.
To get to Jervis Bay, head 2.5 hours south in your Sydney motorhome rental, and enjoy the views as you drive the M1 coastal road.
Where: 50 Owen Street, Huskisson New South Wales, 2540, Australia
Phone: +61 02 4441 5885
Australian Reptile Park
Award winning and popular, the Australian Reptile Park not only delivers an excellent and educational day out, but they also provide a life saving service. With such a wide variety of snakes, they are able to extract venom which is used to create the antivenom that saves lives all over Australia. When they’re not saving lives, Australian Reptile Park provides hands-on experiences and encounters with fascinating animals in a wonderful environment. Hand feed kangaroos, walk with a Galapagos tortoise, learn about how the park is helping to save the Tasmanian devil, and so much more. Check out the Behind the Scenes tours and Kids to Keepers programmes for even more fun.
Situated just over an hour’s drive north of the state capital, hop in your Sydney motorhome rental and enter a whole new reptile world.
Where: Lot 69 Pacific Highway, Somersby, New South Wales, 2250, Australia
Open: 7 days, 9:00am to 5:00pm
The Joan Performing Arts Centre
Named after the incredibly talented Dame Joan Sutherland, The Joan Performing Arts Centre in Sydney has been showcasing a fantastic range of music, arts, dance, and theatre since 1990. As well as hosting internationally acclaimed musicians, artists and performers, The Joan provides quality music education to people of all ages and stages, while the Q Theatre teaches young people all about theatrical performances. The Joan has a full calendar every year, so no matter what time you're driving by in your Sydney motorhome rental, there’s bound to be something to capture your attention. Catch one of the spectacular shows, or book out The Joan for your own function or event.
Where: 597 High Street, Penrith, New South Wales, 2750, Australia
Box office hours: Monday to Friday: 9.00am – 4.30pm
Penrith Regional Gallery
Tucked in at the foot of the stunning Blue Mountains is the Penrith Regional Gallery. With a passion for the people, place and history of Western Sydney, Penrith Regional Gallery strives to include the community in their collections and exhibitions. As well as showcasing local and international artists, the gallery provides education classes for both children and adults. From collage classes to clay tile making, landscape drawing to painting with watercolours, the gallery’s inclusion of the locals really makes the experience all that more special. While you’re viewing the latest exhibition, why not book yourself in for a class at the same time? You can find all the classes available on their website. Jump in your Sydney motorhome rental and head inland to Penrith. You’ll be there in just under one hour.
Where: 86 River Road, Emu Plains, New South Wales, 2750, Australia
Opening hours: 7 days, 9:00am – 5:00pm.
Casula Powerhouse Art Centre
It’s hard to believe that one institution can have as much going on as Casula Powerhouse Art Centre. The art centre in Sydney continues to expand to accommodate ongoing growth, further amplifying the fact that they’re doing amazing things in the arts industry. Exhibitions, events, and even educational programmes are all slotted into the Casula Powerhouse calendar, with something happening every week throughout the year. The facilities in Sydney include six galleries, a 300 seat capacity theatre, two live-in art studios, permanent public artworks stationed outside, and an incredible green space which includes an amphitheatre and 20 hectares of parks. You’ll definitely need an entire day to explore this fantastic arts centre.Drive your Sydney motorhome rental just 40 minutes west of the city’s CBD and bask in the art and culture of Casula Powerhouse Art Centre.
Where: 1 Powerhouse Road, Casula, New South Wales, 2170, Australia
Opening hours: Open 7 days, 10:00am-5:00pm
Camden Haven Museum
It’s not too often you find a museum dedicated solely to the telling of the history of the community it sits in. Camden Haven Museum is just that - a cozy museum with a passion for sharing the heritage of the local area. Run by volunteers, the museum in Laurieton isn’t open very often - just four hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday - but if you happen upon it as you drive your Sydney motorhome rental through, it’s well worth a visit. Showcasing the incredible history and heritage of Camden Haven, displays at the museum feature fishing and marine activities, timber milling, farming works, and more. With new projects constantly on the go, the Camden Haven Museum is a delight to visit.
Where: Corner of Bold and Laurie Streets, Laurieton, New South Wales 2443, Australia
Opening hours: Tuesday- Thursday 9:00am to 1:00pm
Entry fee: Adult AUD$2.00, children free
Where to eat and drink
Bar Florian in Port Macquarie takes its inspiration from the original 18th century Italian cafe, today providing customers with the finest Italian wine, cheese and delectable cuisine.Named after the original owner, Floriano Francesconi, Bar Florian has been delighting customers with its famous pizzas, charcuterie platters and superb desserts for hundreds of years. Your taste buds will sing when you sample any of the dishes on this incredible menu.
Bar Florian is the ideal stop for a delectable meal in Port Macquarie as you head up Australia’s east coast in your Sydney motorhome rental.
Where: 6-14 Clarence Street, Port Macquarie, New South Wales, 2444, Australia
Open: Monday to Saturday: 4:00pm till late
Bodalla Cheese Factory and Dairy
Boasting Australia’s first commercial cheese manufacturing business, Bodalla Cheese Factory has been delighting cheese-lovers for generations. The award winning shop, Bodalla Dairy, sells everything from vintage cheddar and tangy feta, to herb infused easy-to-spread cheeses. The Bodalla Dairy also hosts cheese making workshops, where students make creamy camembert, delicious cheddar and the ever-favourite ricotta. New products include the Bush Tucker Range of Cheeses, which you can purchase by the log and take along with you on your road trip.
Bodalla Dairy also offers accommodation, so if you wish to take a break from your Sydney motorhome rental and stay a night or two, it’s a nice place to do so, about 4 hours south of Sydney.
Where: 52 Princes Highway, Bodalla, New South Wales, 2545, Australia
Phone: +61 0244735234
Can’t decide where to go for dinner in Sydney? Head along to the GPO Grand and satisfy everyone’s cuisine needs in one stunningly beautiful building. Established in 1999, the GPO Grand is situated in the 1874 General Postal Office (GPO) in the heart of the city. It hosts some of Australia’s best restaurants, cafes, bars, and retail stores, as well as spectacular stages for vibrant cabaret shows and large spaces for functions of all kinds. Whether its Italian pizza, fresh oysters, Indian curries or just an excellent coffee you’re after, you’ll find exactly what you crave in GPO Grand.
Convenient parking is available for dinner guests, so you will be able to park your Sydney motorhome rental and head up into the magnificent 19th century building.
Where: 1 Martin Place, Sydney, New South Wales, 2000, Australia
Open: For full opening hours, please visit website
A little more Australian road trip inspiration
Check out these articles for additional information, tips and tricks for your Sydney campervan hire adventure.
• Mountain Motorhomes
Take to the Blue Mountains in a motorhome from Sydney for a mountain getaway. Get right into the heart of this stunning range by camping out in the mountains’ tourist parks.
• Discover rich Aboriginal roots
One of the oldest cultures on earth, the Aboriginal roots go deep around Sydney. Uncover the fascinating history of native Australia during your visit.
• Why Australia is a top-rated country for motorhomes
The long sandy beaches, the incredible natural landscapes, and the famous Australian outback are just some of the things that make road tripping around this land in an RV a fantastic journey. Read more.
• Short Australian Road Trips for Your Next Long Weekend
Are you a full time worker and a weekend warrior? Hit the road on your next long weekend with one of these fantastic short Australian road trips. Grab a cheap campervan rental from Motorhome Republic and explore some of the sites around Sydney, or look into short trips from Melbourne and Darwin to experience more of this incredible country one short break at a time.