Worldwide icon-chevron-right South Pacific icon-chevron-right Australia icon-chevron-right Sydney icon-chevron-right Ten top family road trips near Sydney
MG HS in the countryside1/4
Photograph: Stefanie Thoms. Styling: Claire Sandford
MG HS side shot boot2/4
Photograph: Stefanie Thoms. Styling: Claire Sandford
MG HS interior3/4
Photograph: Stefanie Thoms. Styling: Claire Sandford
MG HS interior4/4
Photograph: Stefanie Thoms. Styling: Claire Sandford

Ten top family road trips near Sydney

Give the kids an adventure three hours or less from your doorstep

By Time Out in association with MG

Sydneysiders are spoilt for choice, with great activities for kids, child-friendly pools, superb parks and fun walks, all within the city limits. But should you fancy an escape further afield, family adventures in the great outdoors are just a car ride away. Just don’t forget to download some podcasts and pack healthy snacks, changes of clothes for emergencies, and a towel (you never know when you’ll need one). 

Find our ten top family road trip itineraries below. To bring you this list, we’ve partnered with a great family car: the all new MG HS AWD, with refined design, advanced safety features and outstanding comfort. Find out more below.


In association with

Delightful daytrips

Barren Joey Light House at Palm Beach
Photograph: Erick Opena

Palm Beach

If your little ones are water babies, it’s likely surfing is a weekend staple. Once they’ve got the hang of tamer waves, the breakers of the Northern Beaches are perfect for intermediate surfers. Make a day of it by taking a leisurely drive to the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, where you can park up and enjoy one of the child-friendly bush walks, such as the easy stroll of the America Bay track or the Gibberagong walking track near Bobbin Head (where there are cafés and an excellent playground). Our favourite family-friendly seafront is Palm Beach, at the northernmost end of the hourglass peninsula, where you can also visit the historic Barrenjoey Lighthouse

Wattamolla Falls
Photograph: Scott Brown/Flickr


The Royal National Park is only an hour from the CBD and will give the kids some fresh air, walking and swimming opportunities, and a lovely picnic experience. Wattamolla Beach has a gorgeous lagoon with calm waters for snorkelling and swimming. View bird life along the beach tracks and take in the Curracurrong Falls. Natural wonders the Wedding Cake Rock and the Figure 8 Pools are well worth a look (but keep the kids well back, they’re for looking at only) and there is also the calming Forest Path – the 4.4km loop takes around an hour to cover and the largely flat terrain makes it easily manageable by the less mobile and kids alike.

Hawkins Lookout, Wisemans Ferry
Photograph: Stefanie Thoms

Wisemans Ferry

The gateway to the Hawkesbury is Wisemans Ferry, a historic little town 90 minutes from the city that has a marvellous big park on the riverbank across from the spectacular escarpment of the Dharug National Park. On the way there stop at Dural Putt Putt to sink some balls on mini-golf course, and get some quality pies or sourdough for lunch at the famous Glenorie Bakery. Just before the winding Old Northern Road descends into the town pause at Hawkins Lookout for a tremendous view of the river bend. Then head down to Wisemans Ferry Park, where kids can run wild while you enjoy a barbecue or a range of watersports. Take one of the actual 24-hour car ferries that give the town its name across to historic walking tracks up Devines Hill and along the convict-built Old Great North Road. Wisemans Ferry is also the place to hire a houseboat... but that’s a whole other adventure.

Science Space Wollongong Planetarium
Photograph: Supplied/Science Space


Thrill the kids with a drive along the impressive Sea Cliff Bridge at Stanwell Park on your way to lunch at the Scarborough Hotel – the beer garden here overlooks the ocean and if you’re lucky you might even spot migrating whales from the comfort of your outdoor seating. Then head to the charming seaside village of Thirroul for swim or a walk on the beach, or power on into Wollongong to visit a fabulous kids’ attraction – Science Space. Science Space has more than 90 hands-on exhibits such as wind tunnels, miniature hurricanes, heat-sensitive cameras and magnets, as well as the best planetarium in NSW, and will keep curious kids occupied for hours. Before heading home, burn off excess energy at Stuart Park Playground, which has a 8.6m ‘Sky Tower’ with three giant tube slides, two flying foxes and more.

Overnight adventures

The iconic hill of Mount Panorama
Photograph: Supplied


If you take the Bells Line of Road route to this inland city you can pass through the cute apple orchards of Bilpin and even pick your own fruit or score some delicious apple pie. The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden is along this route as well with its stunning winding pathways and program of kids events. From Lithgow, head west on the A32 to reach Australia’s racing capital. Take the kids for a spin around the Mount Panorama racing circuit (don’t worry, the speed limit is 60km/h), and if they truly love things that go drop in on the National Motor Racing Museum, or the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum for Australia’s most complete T-rex skeleton and much more.

Kiama coast
Photograph: Destination NSW


Beach holidays are an Australian speciality, and you’ll find plenty of salty spray on the South Coast. There is, however, a whole lot more to discover besides sand along this stretch of NSW. After cruising the Princes Highway through Dharawal National Park, a short drive inland from Lake Illawarra will bring you to the fun-filled waters of the Jamberoo Action Park. You can also explore the lush canopies near the Minnamurra River at Illawarra Treetop Adventures. Head on to Berry, and you can treat the kids to handcrafted lollies at the Treat Factory, which also runs children’s chocolate making classes during the school hols. 

Bouddi National Park, Central Coast
Photograph: The Legendary Pacific Coast/Destination NSW

Bouddi National Park

If you want to turn a day trip into a weekender, you can’t go wrong with a spot of camping. Head north of Sydney and enjoy the scenic route through Ku-ring-gai Chase and Brisbane Water National Parks (check out the nearby Somersby Falls if you can), before swinging back through Gosford and on to Bouddi. At Putty Beach campgrounds you can access well-maintained shower and toilet facilities, communal barbecues, drinking water and picnic areas. You’ll also be a stone’s throw from the beach, where the waters are clear, calm and perfect for youngsters. 

View of Canberra from Mount Ainslie lookout - ANZAC Parade, Parliament House and modern architecture with mountains in background. ACT, Australia
Photograph: Shutterstock


The nation’s capital is three hours drive away, but you can stop on the way at the Big Merino in Goulburn and take the kids up inside the 15m tall sheep itself, which contains a display on the 200-year-history of the wool industry in Australia. In Canberra, the National Arboretum has a brilliant playground including giant gumnut pods and wide open spaces to explore. The only official Harry Potter store in NSW or the ACT, Quizzic Alley has everything a little witch or wizard could want. Questacon, the national science and technology centre, is full of interactive exhibits, and the National Dinosaur Museum has one of the largest permanent displays of dinosaurs and prehistoric life in Australia. 

Jenolan Caves interior
Photograph: Destination NSW

Jenolan Caves

A trip through the gum trees of Sydney’s mountainous neighbour can be more than just a scenic drive. Head up the A32 and you can stop off at the high-ropes of Trees Adventure Groves River Park in Yarramundi, before heading on to see the natural wonders of Wentworth Falls and the Three Sisters in Katoomba. Motor on another hour around the Megalong Valley, and you’ll find epic stalactites in the Jenolan Caves, the world’s oldest underground caverns. There you can explore on a self-guided tour, one of the more physical adventure tours, or if you and the kids are brave enough, the blood-curdling ghost tour. 

The Currmbene Creek at Huskisson, Jervis Bay
Photograph: Destination NSW

Jervis Bay

Three hours south of the city is a true slice of paradise that Sydneysiders of every age adore. With over 90km of natural beaches, there’s more shoreline on offer than you can shake a snorkel at. But if we had to choose, Moona Moona Creek (don’t forget to jump off the bridge), Huskisson or Collingwood would be our top picks. Make the most of your wheels and explore all the natural wonders of this blissfully unspoilt region, in particular, Booderee National Park. And be sure to keep a weather eye on the ocean: this area is famed for its whale and dolphin watching. 

A red SUV
A red SUV
Photograph: Stefanie Thoms

Discover the MG HS AWD

The MG HS is an SUV of refined style, uncompromising safety features and dynamic performance. The spacious leather interior has room for all your family’s bits and pieces, heated seats on select models for extra winter comfort, and the boot opens and closes automatically. The Panoramic Stargazer Sunroof on the Essence model, one of the largest SUV sunroofs available, will keep the kids transfixed at the view overhead.

Everyone can keep ventilated thanks to rear air vents for passengers, and everyone can keep connected thanks to Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and colour satellite navigation. There are even front and rear USB ports offer four charging points, so ‘Are we there yet?’ never becomes an issue. And parents, relax: the ISOFIX system is built into the car for simpler installation of children's safety seats. 

A powerful 2.0L turbo engine and all wheel drive allow you to take on unsealed roads with ease. A full suite of advanced safety features, known as the MG Pilot Safety Suite, keeps your family safe: it includes Intelligent Speed Limit Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, 360 Degree Camera, Active Emergency Braking, Lane Assist System, Door Opening Warning and Blind Spot Detection. All this starts at just $37,990 drive away including a seven-year, unlimited kilometre warranty. Find out more about the MG HS AWD



    You may also like