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The Grand Pacific Drive: Sydney’s Seaside Ride

This blog post was updated on May 12, 2020.

Tourists arriving on flights to Australia are often drawn to the really big attractions, like the Great Barrier Reef and the Great Ocean Road. But these attractions aren’t exactly close to Sydney.

Each would require a long day (or three) of driving to just get to, and that fact is bad news for those holiday-goers traveling on limited time.

For travelers down under that really want to see some of Australia’s famous natural scenery, but can’t quite make it to Cairns or down to Melbourne, I highly suggest taking a ride along the Grand Pacific Drive. Yes, you can do it on a Harley trike, but the best option would be to rent a car and drive south of Sydney for the day.

The Grand Pacific Drive lies about an hour south of Sydney.  It is a drive boasting many views with vast expanses of gorgeous scenery, winding roads along the ocean, and peeks at some of New South Wales’ best beaches.  An ideal starting point would be in Sutherland, just at the beginning of the Royal National Park, stretching on for kilometers down to Nowra.

Driving through the Royal National Park is an experience all its own, whether you stop off at the different hot spots or just pass on through, enjoying the sights.  You’ll see Aussie bush and scrub turn into thick, green jungle that encases the road.  Better than that, the beaches at Wattamolla are worth an entire day on their own!

Tip:  If you don’t plan on stopping off in the park, you get to pass through free of charge.

Just past the Royal National Park is probably one of the highlights of the drive between Coalcliff and Clifton:  the Sea Cliff Bridge.  Stretching high and out across the sea for more than 600 meters, this bridge can be driven on, walked on, or cycled across.  It’s the same type of awe-inspiring experience that one encounter on the Great Ocean Road or when driving north of Cairns.

The entire drive is about 140 kilometers, but the length of your trip depends on the stops you make along the way. This drive can easily be a day trip from Sydney, but it is recommended to take it slow and have a stopover at a small town along the way to get the full view of the region’s beauty.

It’s not hard to find your way along the Grand Pacific Drive.  Just look for the signage posted starting near the Royal National Park entrance in Sutherland, or in the Shire as many know it.  With brilliant Aussie weather backing up the adventure, the ride will be one to write home about, I’m sure.


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