The stunning Central Coast is just a hop, skip and jump away from Sydney. Take a scenic drive from Sydney and get away for the day or weekend to the Central Coast. 

Take the main route from Sydney to Central Coast via the M1 Motorway, or opt for the more scenic route along the winding Pacific Highway. The Central Coast is filled with stunning scenic drives waiting for you to explore them.

Plan your weekend road trips from Sydney to the Central Coast now! From smooth asphalt to bumpy dirt tracks, Central Coast has got it all. Keep reading to find out all about Central Coast’s most scenic routes!


Trail to empty beach



M1 Motorway

When you think scenic drives in Sydney, the motorway is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. Don’t let the name fool you. This motorway offers stunning views of the vast bushland and tranquil waterways beneath as you cruise along with rock walls towering over you.


The M1 motorway (formerly known as F3 Freeway and Sydney-Newcastle Freeway) is a sealed major motorway with multiple lanes that stretches 127 km from Sydney to Newcastle in NSW. 


Keep an eye out for the mountain goats keeping watch over the Mt White exit. The motorway then passes through the Brisbane Water National Park and crosses Mooney Mooney Creek by way of the 1,600 feet long Mooney Mooney bridge.


You’ll know you’ve reached Gosford when you see Ploddy the dinosaur perched up on the mountain, welcoming you to the Central Coast.



Pacific Highway

The beautiful and tranquil Pacific Highway is one of the best scenic drives from Sydney and the best alternative to the M1 motorway. It’s popular among car enthusiasts who love their short drives from Sydney. 


It’s a sealed single lane road that passes through some of Australia’s fastest growing regions. It crosses several major rivers, including the Hawkesbury, Myall, Manning, Hastings, Macleay and Nambucca rivers.


From Cowan to Kariong, It’s a scenic winding route with varying speed limits. The Kariong to Central Coast route leaves a lot to be desired, but it’s again very beautiful once you leave the Central Coast and are headed towards Newcastle.


scenic drive



Woy Woy Road

Once you reach Kariong, take the stunning drive along Woy Woy road down the mountain. You can stop at one of the many vantage points along the way or discover an awesome bushwalk. 


You’ll come across the Kariong Eco Garden to your left. Utilising composting, worm-farming as well as energy and water conservation techniques, this garden creates a safe natural habitat for local flora and fauna.


As far as bushwalking is concerned, Pindar Cave is a very popular bushwalking destination on the Central Coast. The cave is a sandstone overhang that usually has water close by, making it a popular camping spot.


You can leave your car at Staples Lookout and walk southward to gain access to The Great North Walk. You’ll then spot Kariong Brook and the beautiful Kariong Falls. The spectacular Pindar cave should then only be a few kilometres to the west.


Staples Lookout Waterfall



The Scenic Road

If the name doesn’t give it away, the views definitely do. It’s by far one of the most scenic drives on the Central Coast. It combines sweeping mountain views and stunning glimpses of the ocean; the perfect family weekend road trip from Sydney!


Here you’ll find many awesome bushwalks and hidden Central Coast beaches. If you get the time, make sure you check out the popular Maitland Bay track


Located in the beautiful Bouddi National Park, this steep walk is one of the Central Coast’s most popular bushwalks. Pass through the Bullimah track junction rock landings and the Bouddi Grand Deep rainforest and straight to the beautiful Maitland Bay and its shipwreck.


Peats Ridge Road

If you’d rather venture inland on your day trips from Sydney by car, you should definitely check out Peats Ridge Road. Turn off the Pacific Highway and travel through inland past valleys, farms and rural homesteads. 


Take a left turn to reach the Australian Walkabout Wildlife Park, a real working wildlife sanctuary where visitors can immerse themselves in the animals’ world. 


Taste delicious locally grown produce by following Peats Ridge Road as it turns into George Downes Drives on your way to Kulnura. In Kulnura you can find a number of Farm stands next to the main road, selling seasonal fruit and vegetables.


Fruit & Veggie Stand



Red Hill Road 

If off-roading on a dirt path through the bush is your thing, then you’ll love the drive along Red Hill Road. This road is unsealed and accessible to 2WD during dry periods and 4WD in wet season.


While you’re here, you may as well check out Booth’s Motor Group with the best car deals on the Central Coast, just 10 minutes away!


You can also go bush bashing through Ourimbah state forest on your day trip from Sydney. Visit the TreeTop Adventure Park and walk through a network of rope bridges, flying foxes, trapezes and Tarzan jumps. Go on an all-inclusive mountain bike adventure or just enjoy a picnic with your family near the car park area.


Rural Road



Central Coast Highway

If you’re travelling from Sydney to Central Coast onwards towards Newcastle, why not take the scenic route via the Central Coast Highway? The most beautiful part of Central Coast Highway is from The Entrance to Budgewoi.


Take in the breathtaking views of Tuggerah Lake meeting the ocean at the Entrance channel. It’s the perfect place to stop and go fishing as you continue onwards north. You can even feed pelicans along the beach near the bridge in The Entrance; a coastal drive to remember!


Drive along Wilfred Barrett drive surrounded by complete nature with small trails to the beach. You’ll find ample lookouts, cafes and shops along the way.


Roll down the windows, as the salty wind kisses your skin driving through to Lakes Beach. Glance to your right and take in the ocean views. Chances are you’ll have the beach to yourself if you stop at an access point away from the patrol flags.


Take a different route next time you plan your weekend road trip from Sydney. New South Wales is filled with breathtaking nature reserves, rough hiking trails and golden beaches that are easily accessible by road or highway. 


Some of Australia’s most magnificent natural wonders are only a short drive from Sydney. Your next big adventure could be just a few miles away!

4 Back to blogs