Best Winter Drives in NSW

By Brad East

For many, the best winter drives in New South Wales are all about one thing: enjoying scenic drives where nature leaves jaws dropped. 

You might think that road trips are something meant only for the summer. Yet, some landscapes come alive when the temperatures plummet. 

Whether it is stunning snowscapes or cascading waterfalls, there’s plenty to enjoy when engaging on a wintry wander. So what are some of the best winter drives in NSW? 

The best winter drives in NSW 

Greater Blue Mountains Drive 

The Blue Mountains always provide a spectacular backdrop no matter what time of year you visit. However, there’s something about seeing the spectacular canyons and eucalypt forests covered with a dusting of snow.

Wind your way through steep climbs that provide stunning vistas every few hundred metres. However, you will find plenty of energy surging in the region’s main towns. Head to Katoomba where the town’s restaurants and bars are still delivering hearty meals without the excess summer crowds. Alongside that, towns such as Bilpin and Windsor come to live with local producers offering their best products for passers-by to gorge on. A perfect way to spend a long weekend away from the city streets. 

The Long Paddock 

Whilst inland New South Wales may not seem like an obvious choice for a road-trip, this underlooked drive focuses in on the historic past of Australia. That’s where the Long Paddock Drive takes you on a fascinating journey stretching from Moama to Wilcannia. The best place to start is in Moama which straddles the mighty Murray River. Experience how the old steam ports turned the Murray into a thriving highway and take a ride on a steam paddleboat to see how things worked in yesteryear. 

Heading north, towns such as Deniliquin provide the chance to enjoy quiet town life and savour stunning riverside gardens. Continue heading north and towns such as Booroorban, Hay and Bolligal provide lively pubs that were once pivotal stops for travelling tradesmen selling livestock. The final stop of Wilcannia gives fascinating insights into the livestock trade and towns that thrived and survived from then until now. A fascinating journey full of character.

Taste the Riverina Tour 

Few areas in Australia have such a diverse agricultural output as what the Riverina does. Although farms dominate the area, heading into this part of NSW in winter provides the perfect opportunity to see the gourmet highlights of the region. The best place to start is in the region’s capital – Wagga Wagga. Not only does the city itself have a fine selection of restaurants but a great showcase of local produce. The best highlight of this is the city’s two-week long W Festival. Savour local producers showing all their best offerings whilst enjoying stunning light shows and free ice skating. 

As you head towards the region’s other main town – Griffith – there’s plenty of artisan boutiques to explore. From olive farms to chocolate factories – there is something for everyone in the family to enjoy. Upon arriving in Griffith, explore of how the Riverina became Australia’s farming mecca. Or try exploring several unique features in the town from hidden vineyards to thriving pasta factories. This is a tour for those with taste buds. 

The Pacific Coast 

Should you want to escape the winter blues, a trip along the North NSW Pacific Coast would provide the perfect escape. The first port of call would be just past Newcastle within the community of Port Stephens. This time of year is perfect for spotting dolphins frolicking in the blue waters. Head further north and see stunning seascapes at both Myall Lake National Park and Sugarloaf Point.

Slowly working your way up the coast brings you to thriving towns such as Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour. These towns provide excellent bases for exploring natural highlights such as Sea Acres National Park or Solitary Islands. Keen observers can also view the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour as part of their travels in the region. The end of the trip sees the road reach Byron Bay and the stunning ocean views that dominate the area. A perfect chance to enjoy the sea, sand and surf even when the temperatures are falling. 

An Outback Adventure 

Without scorching temperatures or the pulsating sun, winter provides the perfect place to get out and explore Outback NSW. Start your bushland adventure in Dubbo – one of Australia’s biggest inland towns. Whilst in Dubbo, visit the Western Plains Zoo – a safari offshoot of Sydney’s famous Taronga Zoo featuring Africa’s famous residents. Heading west, you will come across famous towns such as Nyngan showing how towns lived in rural remote areas. 

As you hit the western parts of the state, you will discover the state’s thriving mining industry – the heartbeat of towns throughout the Far West. Visit Cobar and learn all about mining in Australia. Then discover Broken Hill – a town that is still a thriving community based upon its mining deposits. A true throwback to how towns lived and worked in yesteryear. 

The Kosciuszko Alpine Way 

Few drives are as dramatic and picturesque in winter as the Kosciuszko Way. Starting just outside Canberra, this drive winds its way through the highest peaks in the country. After leaving the Act, head south-east to the famous town of Jindabyne. Walk or cycle along the town’s eponymous lake or take a catch of some excellent local amenities set against a stunning winter backdrop. From here, get behind the wheel and take the Alpine Way as it winds around Mount Kosciuszko – Australia’s highest peak. Just check road conditions before heading out on this part of the journey. 

As the road winds through the Great Dividing Range, experience some of the country’s best winter sports resorts. Places like Thredbo, Falls Creek & Perisher all come to life giving you the chance to try skiing, snowboarding or sledging with the kids. As you wind your way through the back of the mountains, fall the headwaters of the Murray and the Victorian border before ending in Albury – a great place to refresh and stock after a trip through the High Country. 


All these drives showcase just why winter is just as good of a time to embark on a road trip as the warmer months are. From stunning landscapes to gourmet delights, every town is brimming with character all year round. So why hesitate to hit the road and see what you might discover on some of the best winter drives in New South Wales. 

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