Canberra road trip itineraries

You’ll have the car packed up in no time with these Canberra road trip must-sees.

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Forget those last-minute dashes to the airport or misplaced passports with a range of road trip options out of our country's capital. From quick weekend getaways to the Sapphire coast, to making the most of the school holidays with a week-long adventure to Coffs Harbour, look no further for your next escape.

Canberra to Batemans Bay and the Sapphire Coast

This road trip is what coastal dreams are made of. Starting off in the ACT, you'll make your way east to Batemans Bay. On the way, you'll pass through a selection of national parks including Bimberamala, which makes for the perfect mid-drive stopover. Once in Batemans Bay, you can enjoy water activities and lazy beach days.

On your way down to the Sapphire Coast from Batemans Bay, you'll be met with endless seaside views of Horseshoe Bay, Bermagui and Tathra. The drive will also take you through Mimosa Rocks National Park.

batemans


Canberra to Yass

This road trip is perfect for those last-minute weekends. Yass is filled with pieces of Australian outback history, art and antique stores and hearty food options.

The best part is you get to stop by the renowned wine region for a glass of bubbly and a bite to eat in Murrumbateman. With a total of about two hours of driving on the round trip, Yass makes sure you can get to the good stuff faster.

canberra

  • Distance: 131 km / 2 hours round trip.
  • Route: Canberra to Yass via Murrumbateman.
  • Highlights: Murrumbateman wine region, Hume and Hovell Track and the Mundoonan Nature Reserve.
  • Best time to drive: March to May (autumn) as the cooler weather brings in fresh wine harvests.
  • Things to do: Yass Railway Museum, Cooma Cottage, Bowning Antique Centre, Johnny Gilbert's Grave and Banjo Paterson Park.
  • Stay at: Colonial Lodge Motor Inn, Yass Central B&B or Swaggers Motor Inn.
  • Eat at: Olleyville or Four Winds Vineyard at Murrumbateman and YazzBar, Yass Country Kitchen or Thyme to Taste in Yass.

Canberra to Snowy Mountains

Feel a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city with a trip to the snow. A perfect family favourite, there are endless activities that will keep both the adults and children happy. The first couple of days, your trip will take you in and around Thredbo, with an itinerary filled with skiing, snowboarding, walking trails and seeing the area from new heights.

On your way back it's worth a stopover in Crackenback, before finally making the trip home back to Canberra.

canberra snowy mountains

  • Distance: 424 km / 5 hours round trip.
  • Route: Canberra to the Snowy Mountains via Monaro Highway and Alpine Way.
  • Highlights: Jindabyne Lake, Kosciuszko National Park, Charlotte Pass Boardwalk Lookout and Scammells Lookout.
  • Best time to drive: Between June and October as this is the New South Wales snow season.
  • Things to do: Take a segway tour, Kosciuszko chair lift, horse riding and walking trails.
  • Stay at: Rydges Thredbo Alpine Hotel, Alpenhorn Lodge or Bernti's Mountain Inn in Thredbo.
  • Eat at: Cascades Restaurant, Zack's Grill, Kareela or Eagle's Nest Restaurant in Thredbo.

Canberra to Bowral

Discover the New South Wales southern highlands with a short trip up to Bowral. Known for its antique, small village feel, it provides the perfect country escape without being too far of a drive. Being in the heart of the south wine country, be sure to stop by Moss Vale on the way up. The Bowral city centre will treat you to a breath of fresh air, and an abundance of cafes and shops to explore.

On your way back down to Canberra, be one with nature again with a stopover in Fitzroy Falls. Here you'll have a selection of lookouts, waterfalls and walking trails to choose from before making the drive back home.

canberra bowral

  • Distance: 390 km / 4 hours round trip.
  • Route: Canberra to Bowral via Federal Hwy and Hume Hwy.
  • Highlights: Bowral city centre, Moss Vale wineries, Fitzroy Falls National Park, Moreton National Park and Twin Falls lookout.
  • Best time to drive: Autumn and spring are the best seasons to head to the southern highlands as you'll be met with those beautiful autumnal oranges or post-winter blooms.
  • Things to do: Private wine tasting with lunch, Guided wine, beer and cider tour, Corbett Gardens, Retford Park National Trust and Hopewood House.
  • Stay at: Peppers Craigieburn, Berida Hotel, Oxley Motel or Imperial Motel Bowral.
  • Eat at: ludo Bowral, Horden's, Harvey's Bar, Bowral Brasserie, Grand Bistro Bowral or BD's Woodfired Pizza and Pasta.

Canberra to Hay

Get a taste for everything the outback has to offer with a long weekend trip to Hay. We recommended seeing the region more thoroughly if you're heading out that way with overnight stops in Griffith and Wagga Wagga.

Your first day will be spent exploring the city centre of Griffith which hosts the landmark Hermit's Cave. From there you'll check out Hay's outback history museums, followed by the art scene in Wagga Wagga.

canberra hay

  • Distance: 1,011km / 11.5 hours round trip.
  • Route: Canberra to Hay via the B94, A20 and M31.
  • Highlights: Griffith, Hay, wineries, gardens, art galleries and Wagga Wagga.
  • Best time to drive: Mid spring (October) is your best option as the temperature will be warm but not overly hot while exploring the towns.
  • Things to do: Hermit's Cave, Calabria Family Wines, Griffith War Memorial Museum, Shear Outback, Dunera Museum, Sandy Point Reserve, National Art Glass Gallery, Victory Memorial Gardens, Wagga Beach.
  • Stay at: Quest Griffith, Commercial Hotel Hay and the International Hotel Wagga Wagga.
  • Eat at: Limone Dining in Griffith, Riverina Hotel or Robertson's Hot Bread Kitchen in Hay and The Roundabout Restaurant or BAY85 in Wagga Wagga.

Canberra to Braidwood

Just an hour outside of Canberra sits the historical gem of Braidwood. A passage to a time gone by, spend your weekend immersed in a slice of Australian history. Make the most of the sunny (or cloudy) weather by taking a walking trail through the Monga National Park before exploring everything the city centre has to offer.

We recommend checking out the local farming produce for a true taste of Braidwood – options run from ciders and nuts to cheese and baked goods.

braidwood

  • Distance: 172 km / 2 hours 15 minutes round trip.
  • Route: Canberra to Braidwood via the Kings Hwy.
  • Highlights: Braidwood city centre, Monga National Park and historical buildings.
  • Best time to drive: Autumn brings out the plumwood tree flowering whereas spring sees the local waratah bloom into its bright red in the Monga National Park.
  • Things to do: Braidwood Historical Society Museum, St. Bede's Roman Catholic Church, St. Andrew's Anglican Church, Bushranger memorabilia, Sassafras Nuts.
  • Stay at: Wallace Lodge
  • Eat at: GaranVale Woolshed Italian Restaurant & Function Centre, Casanova's Food and Drink, and The Serrated Tussock Cafe in Braidwood.

Canberra to Murrumbateman

Get ready for a weekend of wine and dining in one of New South Wales' favourite wine regions. With a plethora of vineyards to choose from and local events, there's always something going on in Murrumbateman.

We recommend going when there's an event on. The region hosts a local produce market twice a month, every month alongside other activities. Not only do they allow you to bring a piece of Murrembateman back home, but it gives you something to do in between those all-important red and white tastings.

Murrumbateman

  • Distance: 98km / 1 hour 20 minutes round loop.
  • Route: Canberra to Murrumbateman via Barton Hwy/A25.
  • Highlights: Murrumbateman wine country.
  • Best time to drive: Dependant on local events. Wineries are open all year round, but to get the most out of your money, line up your trip with local activities that are on.
  • Things to do: Murrumbateman village market, Clonakilla, Helm Wines, Murrumbateman Winery, Four Winds Vineyard, Dionysus Winery, Barton Estate Wines.
  • Stay at: Abode Murrumbateman, Murrumbateman Country Inn or the Historic Merryville Homestead.
  • Eat at: Olleyville, Four Winds Vineyard, The Village Cafe at Murrumbateman and the Wins Creek Meadery.

Canberra to Melbourne road trip

Looking to head down south? Then the perfect itinerary is right here. Cross into Victoria featuring stops in Albury, Wangaratta, Melbourne's CBD, the Great Ocean Road, Yarra Valley and regional areas of the state.

Keep in mind that Melbourne's weather is known for its unpredictability, so be sure to pack a light jacket and umbrella (just in case).

canberra melbourne


Canberra to Sydney

Have some fun in the sun as you make your way up the coast to Sydney. Your itinerary features stops in Bowral and Wollongong before reaching the New South Wales capital.

Explore the streets of the CBD, Manly, Bondi Beach, The Rocks, Circular Quay and so much more with day tours, and iconic ferry rides.

We recommend packing a bathing suit or two, this road trip makes the most of the beach.

canberra sydney

  • Distance: 663km / 8 hours.
  • Route: Canberra to Sydney via Bowral and Wollongong on the Federal Highway and the M1.
  • Highlights: Bowral city centre, Wollongong beach, Circular Quay, The Rocks, Bondi Beach and Manly.
  • Best time to drive: November to February as the weather will be warmest for coastal activities.
  • Things to do: Corbett Gardens, Skydive over Wollongong Beach, full-day Sydney Tour, Private Surfing Lesson and Taronga Zoo.
  • Stay at: Gibraltar Hotel in Bowral and the Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney CBD.
  • Eat at: Bowral Brasserie, Harbourfront Seafood Restaurant in Wollongong, Restaurant Hubert and Mr Wong in Sydney and Totti's in Bondi.

Canberra to Coffs Harbour driving

Having to drive eight hours is never a fun idea, so we've broken up your Canberra to Coffs Harbour road trip into a fun-filled, week-long holiday. Kicking things off up in Sydney, enjoy a day out on the harbour as you put your feet up for an evening.

The trip continues with a stopover in Nelson Bay before finally making your way to Coffs Harbour. Indulge in all things coastal, from whale watching tours to basking on the sandy shores. Your way back down to Canberra will see you stop over in Pokolbin for some of New South Wales' finest wines before making your way home again.

canberra coffs


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