Similar to Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, NSW now has a picturesque driving route of its own, called Grand Pacific Drive and it is something to be seen. Despite being a response to a falling rock problem in the northern part of the coastal city of Wollongong, the NSW government have turned a bridge into a tourist destination that will impress anyone, however well-travelled.
It is only an hour south of Sydney, making it a perfect day trip this time of year, before the cold weather really sets in. The highlight of the Grand Pacific Drive, which takes you from the Royal National Park, along the escarpment overlooking a number of fantastic beaches, is the 665 metre long Sea Cliff Bridge which goes high out over the ocean. Stop somewhere before or after the bridge and walk across it, to really take everything in, because in a car it is just over too quickly.
The route takes you through some great coastal villages such as Stanwell Park and Coledale, so stop off at one of them, have a swim and then grab something to eat. A must stop is the Headlands Hotel at Austinmer, towards the end of Grand Pacific Drive. Grab a beer and sit out the back of the pub at the picnic tables. There are views all around of the escarpment, way over the ocean and further down the coast towards Wollongong. Don’t worry if you get caught up in it (the view or the drinking) because you can stop over at Headlands or one of the caravan parks nearby.
Remember too, if the weather hasn’t been laid on for you or something goes wrong, you can just jump on the freeway and you’re back in Sydney town in an hour.
Check out the website for further info: http://www.grandpacificdrive.com.au