Sydney 4WD Hire Destinations
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Australia’s oldest city is also its largest, meaning most international visitors will likely begin or end their Australian adventure in this capital city of New South Wales. For off-road enthusiasts, Sydney makes a superb base from which to discover eastern Australia, acting like the centre of a wheel, with spokes heading north up the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, west to the 267,954-hectare Blue Mountains, south to Marvellous Melbourne and the start of the Great Ocean Road as well as the jumping off point to ruggedly beautiful Tasmania.
While the indigenous Aboriginal people have lived in and around what is now Sydney for thousands of years, it wasn’t settled by Europeans until 1788 when Captain Arthur Phillip led over a thousand settlers, mostly consisting of convicts, to Sydney Cove. That area is now known as Sydney’s Rocks district which still retains many of its colonial-era buildings amongst its more modern structures. Armed with a map from the Sydney Visitor Centre, the cobblestone laneways of the Rocks are perfect for strolling with a flat white in hand. Walking tours are popular here to get a feel of the history of the area, as are its legendary weekend and foodie markets.
Sydney is also home to some of the world’s most recognizable landmarks, none more famous than its top tourist draws, the Sydney Opera House. Taking 14 years to complete, this UNESCO World Heritage attraction is best known for its graceful white sails made up of more than a million Swedish tiles. However, much more than just a pretty building, the Opera House is one of the world’s busiest performing arts centres with over 40 shows every week, ranging from plays and musical concerts to ballets and of course, operas. If you can’t snag tickets for a show, you can still see the cathedral-like interior on an hour-long tour.
Officially opened in 1932, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is another can’t-miss attraction. Known as Australia’s “Coat Hanger” for its iconic design, the bridge hosts cars, trains, bicyclists and pedestrians. Measuring 1,149m in length, the world’s largest steel arch bridge is one of just five climbable bridges in the world. Its unique history and stellar 360-degree views combine to make it a true bucket-list experience. In addition to the original 3.5-hour climb, other options include the 2.25-hour Express Climb which takes you straight up through the bridge’s structure. For the less fit, there are plenty of places to stop and rest along the 1,000 plus steps to the top which can be undertaken day or night.
After seeing the views from the top, you’ll likely want to pair a climb up the bridge with a cruise around Sydney Harbour. Sightseeing cruises, often with meals or afternoon tea, are available from Circular Quay or Darling Harbour. Better yet, jump on a ferry through the harbour and on to Manly Beach or Taronga Zoo, taking in coastline views along the way, including clifftop mansions owned by Australian celebrities like Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett and Russell Crowe.
With a more relaxed vibe than Bondi, Manly Beach is a popular ferry destination with its lively bars and ethnic eateries, especially around Belgrave Street and Pittwater Road. The main reason to come to Manly, however, is its great city beaches with a host of water sports on offer, including surfing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, and snorkelling. Non-swimmers can take advantage of the many gorgeous coastal walks in the area, including the 10km-long hike from Manly to Spit Bridge with great views back over to Sydney Harbour.
Another must-visit ferry destination is Taronga Zoo, just 12 minutes from Circular Quay. More than a hundred years old, Taronga is a Sydney institution, home to more than 2,600 animals, both indigenous Australian like koalas and Tasmanian devils as well as more exotic species like gorillas and rhinos. Free-flight bird shows, animal encounters, and guided tours are all available here. Other animal attractions in and around Sydney include the family-owned and -operated Symbio Wildlife Park on the southern outskirts of Sydney where visitors can take koala selfies and feed kangaroos, as well as the Featherdale Wildlife Park which specialises in more than 250 native Australian species in Greater Western Sydney. Personal koala encounters are one of the park’s highlights where visitors can touch koalas around the lower body.
Nature and plant lovers will delight in Sydney’s abundant green spaces including Hyde Park in the heart of the city and the Royal Botanic Gardens. Just next to the Opera House, this green retreat is a great place to stroll while watching couples pose for wedding photos or taking in the surrounding city skyline. Check in at the Information Centre for free daily guided walks and don’t miss Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, a seat hewn from the rock ledge with superb harbour views.
Another family-friendly attraction is the vintage Luna Park. Dazzling kids and the young-at-heart since its opening in 1935, the park’s Ferris wheel, Tango train and dozens of rides are easily accessible by walking over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, taking the train or ferry from Circular Quay to Milsons Point Wharf or by Sydney 4WD Hire via Paul Street. Just look for the giant, smiling Moon face that graces the entrance.
A visit to Sydney wouldn’t be complete without a day spent soaking up the sun at Bondi Beach. Just 7 kms from the city centre, one of the world’s best-known city beaches has something for everyone, including surfing, a 1km-long stretch of sand, and the historic Bondi Baths where you can swim in the pool just next to the ocean. Remember to book ahead for a lovely beach dining experience at the Bondi Icebergs Club. Bondi also has some excellent coastal walks if you want some quiet time away from the crowds of pretty people. In particular, the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk has lookout spots where visitors can often see migrating humpback whales from May to September.
Heading west, you’ll first hit the town of Katoomba, the eastern jumping off point for the Blue Mountains. The quaint town is home to lots of cafes and restaurants as well as the Blue Mountains Music Festival every March. If camping in the Blue Mountains, there’s also a food emporium where you can stock up. Katoomba is also home to several fascinating attractions. The Waradah Australian Centre at Echo Point showcases Australia’s indigenous heritage through short films and live theatre performances. Nearby Scenic World is also worth a visit for its glass-roofed carriage rides on the world’s steepest railway with spectacular views over Jamison Valley. Exit onto the valley floor and enjoy walking along the 2.4km-long elevated boardwalk through the Jurassic-era rainforest with its own microclimate. An alternative to the train is the 545m-long cable car ride affording great views of the Three Sisters, Mt Solitary and Katoomba Falls as well as the 720m-long Scenic Skyway with see-through glass floors.
However, beyond the best-known Blue Mountain highlights is 2,500 square kilometres of beautiful scenery marked by dozens of great 4×4 drives. The 59km-long Bells Line Off-Road was originally a traditional Aboriginal path that now leads from Richmond, 51km northwest of Sydney, through the Blue Mountains, to Lithgow and the iconic Zig Zag Railway. While there are steep sections with tight bends, the entire length is sealed and winds its way through farmland and bushland with numerous attractions along the way, including fruit orchards, the Mt Tomah Botanic Gardens, and a number of rainforest walking trails.
Towards the southwest of the Blue Mountains is the Oberon Colong historic stock route which follows the crest of the Murruin Range, next to Kanangra-Boyd National Park. Follow this remote trail through silver mining country, taking in wilderness, rivers, and slopes, all the way to Yerranderie Regional Park. Keep your eyes peeled for animal sightings along the way, including kangaroos, wallabies and flocks of raucous rainbow lorikeets and majestic sulphur-crested cockatoos. Nearby are the Jenolan Caves, considered the country’s most outstanding cave system. Tour the 10 show caves highlighted by underground rivers and awesome limestone formations. For the more adventurous, strap on a head lamp and wiggle your way through narrow passageways or come on select evenings for the “Legends, Mysteries & Ghosts” tour.
If you’re heading back to Katoomba, follow the 45km-long Six-Foot Track, originally a bridle path to the Jenolan Caves named for its width, large enough to accommodate two horses passing each other. Nowadays, the track is popular with hikers, cyclists and off-roaders for its multiple river crossings and a long, steep ascent to Cronje Mountain through the Australian bush.
You’ll also find some exciting 4WD tracks to the northwest of the Blue Mountains, especially around the town of Lithgow, gateway to the Central West. Right around town, you’ll find the 1,100m-high lookout point known as Hassans Walls with views out to no less than four mountains and the Hartley Valley below. Another fun attraction nearby is the Glow Worm Tunnel, part of an abandoned railway line from the early 1900s. Take your Sydney 4WD Hire about 25km from Lithgow along a rough dirt road and walk 1km to the entrance. Bring a torch to make your way 400m into the dark, damp tunnel and then wait for your eyes to adjust to see hundreds of blue pinpricks of light from these bioluminescent larvae.
Just north of Lithgow, on the Newnes Plateau, is the Lost City. Something akin to the Bungle Bungles in the Kimberley, the Lost City looks like weathered pagodas built over eons in layers upon layers of ancient ironstone. To get there, point your Sydney 4WD Hire along the Blackfellows Hand Track near the Glow Worm Tunnel and into the Newnes State Forest. Nearby attractions include Maiyingu Marragu (Black Fellows Hands Reserve), a rock overhang decorated with Aboriginal paintings of hands and weapons.
Continue north of Sydney for more great driving tracks, including the Hunter Valley and a handful of national parks, including Yengo, Wollemi, and Watagans. From Sydney, take the 165km-long, convict-built Great North Road featuring both sealed and unsealed sections to the verdant Hunter Valley, Australia’s oldest wine region with loads of cellar doors to explore. From there, it’s easy to veer off onto 4×4 tracks. Watagans National Park has a good selection, from the level Watagan Forest Road and the boggy Greens Break Road to the more technical Daniels Point Road with deep ruts and steep climbs requiring a good spotter and skilful line selection.
Continuing west is the Wollemi National Park, NSW’s second largest conservation reserve which includes about 200,000 hectares of pristine wilderness. With canyons, cliffs, rivers and forests, there’s much to see here with your Sydney 4WD Hire including turn-of-the-century oil shale mining facilities, ancient Aboriginal sites, as well as off-road tracks through rainforests and eucalypt forest.
Best of all, there are excellent campsites and caravan parks throughout Sydney and surrounds, ranging from posh caravan parks with all the mod cons on down to basic sites with just a pit toilet and the occasional wallaby wandering through where your fully-equipped Sydney 4WD Bush Camper will feel right at home.
Sydney 4WD Hire is part of Australian 4WD Hire, a nationwide network of premium rental agencies strategically positioned in close proximity to all famous 4WD destinations and hotspots as well as major regional and capital cities throughout Australia, ensuring you’re never far from a pick-up point.
Australian 4WD Hire is renowned for our meticulously maintained vehicles and top-tier customer service. Our fleet is constantly being updated to ensure you enjoy your self-drive adventure in comfort and safety. 4WD Tourism is one of the best ways to see the broad range of amazing sights Australia has to offer, with the flexibility and freedom to discover the outdoors at your own pace. For your Sydney 4WD Hire adventure, please contact us at 1 300 360 339 or +617 5527 6191. Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at www.australian4wdhire.com.au