This is where the forest meets the sea. The Grand Pacific Drive is a 140km stretch of driving road that I would recommend for anyone wanting to experience an Australian Road Trip. The scenery begins as dense forest and evolves to sweeping ocean views and soaring escarpments. It takes under an hour and a bit to reach the start of this epic drive that hugs the South Coast of NSW.
The fortunate traveler may find this route all to themselves around the Royal National Park. This is my favorite section with many twists and turns along the forest floor. It is a well documented run with many riders, drivers and Grey Nomads (caravaneers) making the pilgrimage regardless of the day of the week. If ones finds issue with being in traffic, a wet weather day can lead to having this stretch of the drive all to yourself for a number of kilometers. However, exercise the usual caution when driving in such conditions. The National Park has patchy mobile reception at the best of times.
Even indulging in the short run to Wollongong will not disappoint. Driving through the picturesque townships that dot what is nicknamed the “Coal Coast.” Before the city itself lies the dramatic Sea Cliff Bridge. Perched above the crashing waves, this feat of engineering provides unobscured views of the ocean on side and a sheer cliff face on the other. Those with a keen eye may even be able to spot the original route of this coastal road before constant rockfalls deemed it unsafe.
North Wollongong Beach is a typical Australian beachfront. Long stretches of sand, consistent surf and a heritage listed pavilion serving as the nexus to this environment. There are many dining opportunities for breakfast, lunch and dinner all within walking distance of this landmark.
Overall, it’s a rewarding 2 and half hour drive that can acquaint you with so many sights that lie on Sydney’s doorstep.