What better way to start the new year than road tripping in a fancy Jeep with two amazing people after spending a firework-filled night down at Sydney Harbour? We packed up all of our camping equipment (more like glamping, we had an actual barbeque and a ton of fairy lights) and hit the road, heading south from Sydney to Bateman’s Bay with some lovely stops along the way.
If you want to make the most of this trip then I would recommend buying an NSW National Park pass. You’ll pay from $4-12 for a day pass for one park (full list here) or $65 for a full year’s membership which is worth it when there are so many to visit. You’ll have to pay an extra $29 ($17 in low season) a day to enter Kosciuszko National Park, but that’s well worth it too.
From the city, we entered Royal National Park and visited the cute little coastal town of Bundeena before stopping at Garie Beach to nap on the sand and watch the surfers. The highlight of the drive to Wollongong was cruising along the Coast Road that curves around the cliffs, leaving the ground behind in places as it floats above the sea.
One of the most beautiful spots along the coast road is Jervis Bay. We had lunch at Callala Beach which was pretty enough, but nothing beats Hyam’s Beach, a gorgeous stretch of white sand that was picture perfect even on a cloudy day, but I wouldn’t have complained about a little sun. If you want to visit the impossibly stunning Murray Beach you’ll have to pay extra to enter Booderee National Park, even if you already have the full NSW National Park pass.
It was a scenic drive following the coast road to get to the popular Meroo Campsite, one of the many free ones in this part of NSW, although you might struggle to find a space. The tent sites are surrounded by tall trees that light up at sunset and you’re only a 2-minute walk to a quiet little beach, the perfect place to watch the sunrise.
After an early start for an unfortunately grey sunrise, we hit the road again, stopping at the aptly named Pretty Beach where we said hello to a few kangaroos and watched the waves crash onto the shore. Just a short drive further down is Pebbly Beach, a good spot to have lunch before making your way inland, back to the highway, to Bateman’s Bay.
Now’s a good time to fill up the car and grab some groceries before heading to Kosciuszko National Park. The drive inland is lovely and a nice place to stop is the small town of Bodalla where you will find a cheese shop and a lavender shop, both worth a little browse to stretch your legs. We also saw boxing kangaroos! You wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of a kangaroo kick.
A few things to remember:
- Buy your park pass before you leave.
- Wear sunscreen. Lots of it.
- Use WikiCamps Australia to find free campsites.
- Start a cash kitty to pay for things like gas and groceries.
Highlights of the trip:
- Garie Beach for the surf
- Hyams Beach for the sand
- Meroo Campsite for the trees
- Pretty Beach for the kangaroos
View the full album here!