While it might not be the biggest state, the variation of terrain makes it a dream for anyone looking to get away for a weekend or more. Beautiful beaches, once-active volcanoes, rainforest national parks, and even snow, New South Wales has something for everyone right in your backyard.
Area Sales Manager Wayne Magennis' pick – Coffs Harbour
Located about six hours north of Sydney, Coffs Harbour is our NSW Area Sales Manager Wayne’s pick for a local getaway. A lush getaway in the costal hinterland there’s a range of 4x4 opportunities for any level of driver – from beginner to expert including some of the hardest tracks in the country. A bit of fun at any time of year, heavy rains can sit on the tracks, making them slippery though it’s perfect if you’re looking for some warmth.
If you’re looking for a challenging track, Commando is the way to go. A very steep track in some places, having a winch and another 4x4 present is a must. As far as camping goes there are a range of camping spots around Coffs Harbour for any budget or taste including caravan parks, unpowered bush campsites and free 4WD only camping.
If beaches are more your style, Coffs Harbour is the way to go
For Beginner 4x4ers – Mt Kaputar National Park
In an area rich with geological history and the remnants of a once-active volcano, Mt Kaputar National Park is packed with great 4WDing and camping. In the mid-western part of the state, Mt Kaputar is 7 hours out of Sydney. One of the most popular ways to get into the national park is a track from Barraba to the top of Mt Kaputar. With only 8 4WDs allowed on this trail per week, it’s not a hard track but will require a high clearance vehicle as it can get quite rocky. There are a few rules and regulations that will need to be adhered to along the track.
Two campsites are available in the national park – Dawsons Spring and Bark Hut. While caravans are not permitted in the park due to the narrowness of the tracks, camper trailers are okay. Both campsites have barbecues, picnic tables, and bathroom facilities.
If camping isn’t your style, the park has several self-contained cabins, these can sleep up to six people and have heating for winter and cooling for summer.
For more information on the Mt Kaputar National Park and Narrabri Region visit the Explore Narrabri Region website.
It's views like this that make exploring your own backyard so worth it
For Seasoned 4x4ers – Oxley Wild River National Park
As a World Heritage listed area, stepping into Oxley Wild Rivers National Park is like visiting another world. Located near Armidale, northwest of Sydney, the national park is a hidden gem with stunning waterfalls, valleys, and gorges. Though it can be explored by 2WD and AWDs, to get the most out of it you will need a high clearance 4WD.
There are many fire tracks throughout the park that require a vehicle with high clearance and low range to get up and down as they can be very steep. If you do have the proper rig though, Youdales Campground and Youdales Hut await. Though you do need to book ahead and arrange a time to collect a permit and key for the locked gate, it is totally worth it.
As it’s a remote campsite, you can often count on having the place all to yourself. There are firepit and toilet facilities available meaning you don’t have to give up all the creature comforts. The site is unpowered though, so you will need to take this into account, REDARC’s all-in-one power kits are a great way to make sure your drinks are cold all trip. The Nearby Youdales Hut and Stockyards give you a glimpse into the early settler life in the National Park.
To book the Youdales campground and for more information on the area visit the NSW National Parks website.
Driving through rainforest is like stepping back in time
For a road trip – Kosciuszko Alpine Way
If you’re looking to head south of Sydney, the mountains are the way to go. Especially if you time your trip right, you might just be treated to a bit of snow. With picturesque valleys, hiking trails, fishing, and skiing or mountain biking depending on the season the Alpine Way is as exciting as it is beautiful.
Starting in Jindabyne you can follow blacktop all the way through the southern region of Kosciuszko National Park and the Snowy Mountains. All of which can be done in a 2WD though depending on the time of year and conditions, chains for your tyres may be necessary. If you’re driving during winter it pays to rug up as the mountain air can be as fresh as it is cold.
For more information on routes and National Park entry visit NSW National Parks website.
Shaun Whale’s pick – Watagans & Cut Rock Road
“This is a great track that, as the name suggests, takes you through a massive cut out in a rock up a series of steps. A really challenging little track that also is a lot of fun to negotiate through some very technical driving. If you are in a large vehicle, like a Cruiser or Patrol, the gap between the rock that you have to drive through is very tight. I suggest you get a mate to spot you through that very technical bit as to make sure you don’t add to the collection of paint that has scraped the rocks.
The hardest part of this track is the start, where there is a series of rock steps that are exactly a Landcruiser width wide and in a position where your front and rear wheels are trying to climb at the same time. Without a front locker, I packed a few rocks under my wheels, but had to resort to the winch to get me over one of those steps. Cut Rock Road will be in your GPS and you can’t miss the start of the track once you see the massive rock with a 4WD width gap that you need to drive through.”
To see more of Shaun Whale’s 4x4 adventures and some of his driving tips and tricks follow along at 4WD 24/7.
Make sure to air down your tyres when doing any sand driving
We hope we’ve given you a bit of inspiration for your next getaway and all the fun that can be had in your home state. If you’re looking to go a bit further see our previous editions of A Guide to Travelling Local for Victoria and South Australia. Where are you heading off to next?