New South Wales and the ACT
The most populated state in Australia with a coast line of nearly 2000km and many summer holiday towns. However besides visiting Sydney with its famous Opera House, The Sydney Harbour Bridge and the nearby Blue Mountains it has a lot more to offer.
Numerous National Parks and the Blue Mountains are the most favourite with its rock escarpments and deep valleys. Parks such as Wollemi are all a day trip away from Sydney, hence busy parks. The gorges around the Colo river are beautiful. The largest Park is Kosciuszko National Park which borders Victoria and the Alpine National Park. Further west is Mungo National Park. Other nice National Parks are Barrington Tops National Park, Yengo National Park, Myall Lakes National Park, Bundjalung National Park, Broadwater National Park and the border ranges National Park near the Queensland Border.
THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY (ACT)
The Territory is home to the Snowy Mountains (Kosciusko National Park) and Mount Kosciusko, Australia’s highest mountain and some spectacular high country scenery. In winter this part is covered in snow and sking is the main form of activity while in summer, off roading, fishing, mountain biking, and horse riding are the main activities. Great camp spots along the Snowy River. Word of warning for our international overlanders. The outback, Australian deserts and to some degree our beaches are very different to the terrain you are used to in Europe, Africa or South America. If you are travelling remote ensure one person in the vehicle has first aid knowledge, make sure you have proper communication equipment. Min Satellite phone, UHF radio, and if possible HF radio (available for rental) let people know where you are going and call in to advise them you have arrived. Travel well within your capabilities and when crossing rivers in the North be aware of Crocodiles, same applies to those who like fishing, Freshwater Crocodiles are not as dangerous however they bite and do a lot of damage. The beaches of Australia have some very soft sand in particular when you have to drive above the high water mark. driving the beaches on a outgoing tide is what I recommend when turning on a beach always turn towards the water to avoid driving uphill and turning in soft sand. Tyre pressure very important in our landcruiser i have been down to 10 psi. My suggestion is start at 25 psi and go down in 5 psi lots as required and keep the speed down. Be aware of deep rutted tracks, bull dust, mud, soft sand on beaches and inland tracks, deep water crossings all combined in one day of driving can be a challenge and can break parts in your vehicle not to mention being stranded mid stream with a flooded engine. Be warned do not become one of those people who know it all Australia’s outback is unforgiving.
NEW SOUTH WALES & THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY (NSW & ACT)
NSW is Australia’s most populated state with a coast line of nearly 2000km and many summer holiday towns. However besides visiting Sydney with its famous Opera House, The Sydney Harbour Bridge and the nearby Blue Mountains it has a lot more to offer for the overlander or soft 4WD-er and caters for the hardcore 4WD enthusiast. There are many National Parks and the Blue Mountains is the most favourite with its rock escarpments and deep valleys. Parks such as Wollemi are only a day trip away from Sydney, hence busy. The gorges around the Colo river are beautiful. The largest Park is Kosciuszko National Park which borders Victoria and the Alpine National Park home to the Snowy Mountains (Kosciusko National Park) and Mount Kosciusko, Australia’s highest mountain and some spectacular high-country scenery. In winter this part is covered in snow and skiing is the main form of activity while in summer, off roading, fishing, mountain biking, and horse riding are the main activities. You will find great camp spots further west is Mungo National Park. Other nice National Parks are Barrington Tops National Park, Yengo National Park, Myall Lakes National Park, Bundjalung National Park, Broadwater National Park and the Border Ranges National Park near the Queensland Border.
THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY (ACT)
The Territory is home to the Snowy Mountains (Kosciusko National Park) and Mount Kosciusko, Australia’s highest mountain and some spectacular high country scenery. In winter this part is covered in snow and snow-play is the main form of activity while in summer, off roading, fishing, mountain biking, and horse riding are the main activities. Great camp spots along the Snowy River
In and around Sydney
Sydney the Capital city of New South Wales (NOT AUSTRALIA!!!) is in the South East part of Australia. It is the country’s largest city and it has 3 major highlights which belong to the must do attractions. Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, The Sydney Opera House and the Rocks area, the site of the first British settlement in 1788. Around Sydney another must visit destination are the Blue Mountains around 80KM west of the city. The rugged range and its Three Sisters view point from Echo Point are very popular. North of Sydney is the Central Coast area with its great National Parks, water ways and golden beaches. The area around Sydney has many Off-Road destination from soft Off Road to hard Off road. Most popular are the Watagans from Ourimba via Yarramalong to Wyong (central Coast), south of Sydney from Kiama via Robertson to Nowra and from Nowra via the Danjera Dam to Ulladulla. North east of Sydney from Wiseman and the Dharug National Park to Bilpin, Mt Victoria to Oberon and Jenolan Caves to Bathurst and the scenic village of Hill End and Kandos to Jerry Plains.
Mungo National Park
I am told that Mungo National Park is one of the oldest places outside Africa to have been occupied by human beings! The Park is located around 950 Km West of Sydney, however visiting this park would be easier while in or driving to North West Victoria, Eastern Victoria or Broken Hill. The main feature is Lake Mungo a large ancient dry lake. This park is now UNESCO World Heritage listed and it includes 17 dry lakes. Roads in the park are perfect for soft off roading (gravel) and suited in dry weather to 2WD. In the park Australia’s oldest human remains have been found (Male and Female). Must do places to visit are the visitors centre, Mungo Woolshed and the Walls of China. The park has a well signposted 70KM loop.
Sturt National park This is one of the largest and most remote National Parks in NSW. The closest city is Broken Hill 328KM south, and smaller settlements Tibooburra 60KM, Innamincka (South Australia) 300KM, Windorah (Queensland) 600KM and Cameroon Corner (Border Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales 130KM and a 6hour drive). The area is arid with the rolling red sand dunes of the Strzelecki Desert (South Australia) and the 400million year old granite outcrops around Tibooburra. If you like to taste outback life this would be the closest to either Sydney or Adelaide. Part of the Dingo Fence, built in 1880 and the world’s longest fence of 5600 km, runs East to South West through Sturt National Park to keep the dingoes away from the sheep. The park has a dedicated tourist trail named the Loop Road (100KM). Visit the old outdoor Pastoral Museum, the Mt Wood Homestead (built in 1886 and at one stage this was a 500000-acre sheep station) and Horton Park Ruins. The weather in this area can be extremely hot and if it rains it can become boggy. Enjoy a campfire and a few nights under an amazing starry night.
Yuragir National park & Bundjalung NP
Yuragir located just 130KM north of Coffs Harbour is NSW longest stretch of undeveloped coastline. Bundjalung is 40KM north of Yamba. Both parks have great camp spots, great cliffs, rocky headlands, small lakes and fresh water lagoons and little villages in the area. A great area to relax after an outback trip.
100km West of Grafton, 80KM East of Glen Innes lies Washpool National park, a place of clear waters, rainforest and deep gorges. It also is home to the giant red cedar trees and coachwood trees. Another park in the area is the Gibraltar Range National Park. Both parks are also easily accessible for those driving from Tamworth to Brisbane or vice versa.
Kosciuszko National park
This Park also known as the Snowies, is the location of Australia’s highest mountain Mt Kosciuszko which reaches a height of 2228 meters. Also, the next 4 highest peaks on Australia’s mainland are within this area. Like in Victoria, NSW also has some major ski resorts all within the National Park: Thredbo, Charlotte Pass, Perisher Valley, Guthega, Mount Blue Cow and Smiggins Holes. Perisher Valley is the southern hemisphere largest ski resort with 47 ski runs across 1300 hectares. Perisher Valley is also reachable via the ski tube which departs from Bullocks Flat on the Alpine Way along the main road to Thredbo. This area is best known for the Snowy Mountains Scheme. This project employed over 100000 people from 30 different countries. This is when Australia became an ethnic melting pot. For more info click http://www.migrationheritage.nsw.gov.au/exhibition/newaustralia/building-the-snowy/index.html.
Other interesting places to visit are Cabramurra (Australia’s highest town), Adaminaby, Jindabyne, Mount Selwyn, (small ski resort) Yarrangobilly Caves, Walace Craigie Lookout. Once you leave Thredbo you can follow old stock routes to Tom Grogging and cross into Victoria’s High-Country following tracks across the Davies plain and the Alpine Wilderness area.
Other great journeys in Outback NSW
Leaving Sturt National Park towards the coast a must stop is White Cliffs. Contra to what many people believe, Coober Pedy the opal city in South Australia, is not the only town where people live underground. 12 hours west of Sydney White Cliffs is an isolated opal town where like in Coober Pedy people also live underground. (not everyone). A 70 km road trip from Bourke to Gundabooka National Park brings you to the Mulgowan Art Site and Toorale National Park and the Toorale Homestead.
If you are driving back to Broken Hill don’t forget to visit the Mutawintji National Park, watch the sun set over deep red Bynguano Ranges and enjoy the Outback sky. Drive back to Broken Hill and from here you either turn West towards Adelaide, East towards Sydney and the Coast or South towards Mungo National Park via lake Menindee and Kinchega National Park. Further south do not forget the Murray-Riverina areas. NSW has a lot to offer and the Iconic Murray river is the place for a trip on a paddle steamer. If you travel East towards the coast you may visit Dubbo and the Western Plains Zoo, the Parkes Radio Telescope in Parkes, The Tamworth Country and Music Festival, the Bathurst 1000 or a enjoy a great day watching an Australian Rodeo.
Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
Canberra is the capital city of Australia, located in the Australian Capital Territory. Canberra is Australia’s largest inland city, 350KM South West of Sydney and 650 North East of Melbourne. Canberra is home to the country’s High Court, Parliament House, Australia’s war memorial and the Royal Military College. Nearby are the Brindabella ranges and to the East is the ocean just 150KM away. If time is an issue and you are unable to visit the high country, you may want to visit the Brindabella National Park. It has spectacular ridgeline views and soft plus challenging 4wd trails. You may even be able to see Canberra in the distance when the weather is clear. The highest peak is the Bimberi peak at just over 1900 meters. While exploring the Brindabella Valley on the edge of the Snowy Mountains you are crossing in and out of NSW and the ACT while the Namadgi National Park is located completely within the ACT.