Morton National Park, Southern Highlands, New South Wales
Take the scenic five-hour drive from Sydney to the Victorian border. Your journey will be filled with natural attractions, outstanding landmarks and the odd folly or two.
Drive from Sydney to the New South Wales border at Albury, one of Australia’s most underrated gems. The thriving city on the Murray River is a hidden jewel of heritage architecture, a lively arts scene and a perfect place for those who enjoy nature. Albury’s position is unique in Australia, with a twin city, Victoria’s Wodonga on the other bank. Here are six great pit stops along the way.
Visit lush rainforest and dizzying waterfalls
Take a side trip to Fitzroy Falls, where a wall of water plunges over the edge of the sandstone escarpment 80 metres (260 feet) to the valley floor below. Follow the boardwalk through the rainforest to a lookout with jaw-dropping views of the falls – it’s especially beautiful in spring when the wildflowers are in bloom.
Visit Red Cow Farm, home to one of the finest gardens in Australia.
Milton Park Country House Estate, Bowral, Southern Highlands, New South Wales
Explore quaint villages
The collection of cute-as-a-button villages in the Southern Highlands, a two-hour drive south of Sydney, are in perfect position for you to take a break for a coffee and a snack. Browse the galleries, boutiques and antiques in Mittagong, picnic beside Lake Alexandra, find a rare book amongst the huge collection at Berkelouw Book Barn on Bendooley Estate in Berrima. Once a hayshed, it’s surrounded by exquisite cool-climate gardens, vineyards and a cellar door.
Enjoy some fresh air in Bowral’s magnificent gardens, or step out on the Wingecarribee River walking track near Moss Vale.
Cafe dining in the historic village of Berrima, Southern Highlands, New South Wales
Take in a most remarkable landmark
You see some strange things on country roads – like the beached submarine HMAS Otway at the town of Holbrook. Given that Holbrook is at least 400 kilometres (250 miles) from the sea, you’d be forgiven for asking what it was doing here. The answer goes back 100 years to World War I when the town sought a fitting memorial for Australia’s submariners, but the full story is fascinating. You can learn about it in the submarine museum next to the HMAS Otway, a perfect spot for families.
And while in town, visit Holbrook’s famous bakery. The meat pies and sausage rolls are a must and worth the wait in the line. Baking on the same premises since 1899, everything is super fresh.
Bask by a beautiful lake
Built in the 1920s near Albury, man-made Lake Hume with its massive dam
wall was a modern marvel at the time, now overshadowed by the engineering feats of the Snowy Mountains Scheme a few hours away. But, Lake Hume is still a great place to fish and paddle, water-ski and sail, or just chill out on the shore with a book and a glass of local wine. Lake Hume Resort is practically on the water’s edge.
Don’t miss the High Country Rail Trail, a disused historic easement now given over to recreation. A jog, hike, walk or horse ride along it affords incredible views of the lake.
Rowers at Noreuil Park, Albury, New South Wales
Get into water sports and country fun
There are myriad ways to relax with a water view in Albury. It's a hive of family and outdoor fun. Find beautiful parks along the river, for picnics, swimming and fishing. Camp, caravan, farm-stay or make the most of cute B&Bs and heritage hotels and even holiday on a houseboat.
Hire a canoe, take a cruise, explore the 15 kilometre (9 mile) Murray River walking and cycle trail that meanders through a string of riverside parks – a highlight is Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk – check out the historic waterworks in Mungabareena Reserve, or just sit back and watch the world float past at The River Deck Café.
Find attractions on the road to Albury