The Grand Pacific Drive is a scenic coastal route down the south coast of NSW. This Grand Pacific Drive itinerary covers the must-stop spots along this gorgeous drive.
The Grand Pacific Drive spans from Royal National Park (just south of Sydney) to Shoalhaven. It’s often overlooked, but it’s a must-do Australia road trip route. You can do this Grand Pacific Drive itinerary in a day, but I’d recommend a weekend for a more relaxed trip. The drive is breathtaking and is a perfect getaway from Sydney.
The south coast of NSW is connected by a crisscross of train routes, but it’s best to rent a car for this one. This coast is such good road trip material. The best spots are reached by car, and you’ll want the freedom to hop in and out at your heart’s content. But it is possible to do the journey by train if renting a car is not in your budget or comfort zone.
This Grand Pacific Drive itinerary has everything you want in an Aussie road trip: National Parks, coastal viewpoints, relaxed seaside towns, and gorgeous beaches.
Grand Pacific Drive itinerary – quick peek
Here’s where to stop on the Grand Pacific Drive itinerary:
Royal National Park
Royal National Park is just south of Sydney’s main metropolitan area. The park covers 151 sq kms, and it could (and should) be a day trip all on its own. It is full of bushwalks, family-friendly watering holes, and an Instagram-famous set of rock-pools. It’s on the tourist bucket-list for these unique (and dangerous) Figure 8 Pools.
If you’re trying to do the Grand Pacific Drive in one day, it’s best to skip Royal National Park. You’re better off looping back here for a half or full day later on. It’s reasonably easy to get Royal National Park by transit from Sydney. It’s better to use your car rental time exploring more of the coast.
If you choose to stop at Royal National Park for a half or full day hike, there are plenty of options. The main hike is the 26 km long Coast Track. This doozy of a trail is a 2-day hike, but many visitors do short sections instead. There are options for every skill level.
Bald Hill Lookout
Bald Hill Lookout is a popular viewpoint and hang gliding spot in Stanwell Park. And boy, is it crazy windy up there. You can join in on the fun, and go for a tandem hang glide. There are a couple of providers nearby if you want to go for a fly.
This viewpoint is stunning and looks over a little piece of Aussie history. Just below is the beach where Australian aeronautical pioneer, Lawrence Hargrave, successfully flew on November 12, 1894, using a box-kite prototype.
Bald Hill Lookout also looks over the famous Sea Cliff Bridge, the next stop on the Grand Pacific Drive road trip.
The Sea Cliff Bridge
The Sea Cliff Bridge is a 665m long bridge that runs along dramatic cliff faces, skirting the Pacific Ocean. Bridges aren’t my speciality, but this one is pretty cool. The bridge is one of only seven off-shore parallel-to-coast bridges in the world.
I love a good view, and this one is stunning. The drive is lovely, but the walk is even better. There are spots to park on the south side of the bridge. You absolutely must jump out and take a walk on the pedestrian footpath that runs along the bridge.
The turquoise waters are so clear, that you can see right to the bottom, even from the bridge. With a open view of the ocean, you might even see migrating whales during the winter.
Wollongong is the third largest city in NSW. But with a population of around 300,000 (in comparison to Sydney’s millions) it’s a great spot to experience quieter city life in Australia. Just like the rest of the NSW coast, Wollongong has gorgeous beaches and parks.
One of its popular attractions is Nan Tien Temple. Nan Tien is the largest Buddhist temple in the southern hemisphere.
If you’re doing the grand Pacific Drive as a two day trip, I recommend spending the night in Wollongong, or nearby Kiama.
Kiama is a peaceful seaside town known for its little harbour and charming lighthouse. It’s worth a pit stop to visit its restaurants, cafes, and little boutique shops. The Kiama Blowhole, Cathedral Rocks, and Coast Walk are a few notable spots in Kiama
The Kiama Blowhole is one of the world’s largest natural water spouts. It’s a hole in a mass of volcanic rock that shoots water meters into the air.
The quaint lighthouse is right beside the blowhole and adds to the charm. The Pilot’s Cottage Museum is also nearby, which teaches a little piece of Kiama’s maritime history.
Kiama Coast Walk
A 22km walk that takes you along coastal tracks, past headlands, beaches, and rivers. It’s another just-plain-gorgeous Aussie coastal track to add to the list.
The perfect last stop to your road trip. The Shoalhaven area includes Jervis Bay, a well-known Sydneysider’s weekend escape. It’s one of the deepest bays in Australia, and forms a protected marine park. The water is so peaceful and calm. Swimming, snorkelling, paddle boarding, and kayaking are all popular activities here.
If a tour is in the budget, dolphin and whale watching tours are must in Jervis Bay. The bay has 100 resident bottlenose dolphins.
White Sands Walk
The White Sands Walk winds through some fo the top spots in Jervis Bay. It’s a 90-minute return walk, starting a Greenfield beach, past Chinamans beach, and arriving at famous Hyams Beach.
Hyams Beach has some of the whitest sand in the world. It’s so soft and luscious. Weird way to describe sand, but it really is how it feels!
This beach looks like paradise. It’s a long stretch of pure white sand bordering turquoise water, looking out onto a bay framed by distant cliffs. I’ve heard it can get a little busy in the summer. We visited on a winter day around sunset, and it was almost completely empty.
Hyams Beach runs right by Booderee National Park, a small but gorgeous national park that has camping sites, walking tracks, and next-level beaches. It’s a great place to spot Australian wildlife and go birdwatching.
This Grand Pacific Drive itinerary covers all the major stops along this stunning coast.
You’ll be spoiled with quiet beaches, peaceful seaside towns, and the best views along the way.
Looking for some solo female travel tips for Australia? Read my guide to flying solo in Australia here.