Your bags are packed, you’ve got your playlists ready, and you have three glorious days ahead of you to head off on an adventure down the open road…
As Aussies, there are few things we love more than fun long weekend trips, and there’s no better way to celebrate the Queen’s Birthday weekend than with the classic road trip. If you’re looking for long weekend trip ideas, we’ve rounded up our list of the best road trips to take this June.
Greater Blue Mountains Drive
While the Blue Mountains is less than two hours drive from Sydney, it feels like it’s a world away – making it one of the best Queens Birthday long weekend road trips. Most people like to drive to the Blue Mountains and walk the trails, but this long weekend is the perfect time to discover one of the epic drives in the area.
With over 18 discovery trails to drive along in the Greater Blue Mountains Drive, this World Heritage-listed spot never fails to disappoint. Visit waterfalls, catch incredible views from one of the many lookouts, and stop by for a bushwalk to get the blood pumping – and if you’re looking for breathtaking scenery, make your way to Sublime Point at sunrise or sunset for beautiful orange hues cast over the national park (and a sea of clouds, if you’re lucky!).
If you’re heading into the Blue Mountains with the family over the long weekend, it’s best to hire an SUV or 4WD so you have enough room to store all your overnight gear – especially if you’re planning to camp. Just remember to book in advance for campsites, as spots fill up quickly over the long weekend!
Hit up the slopes in the Snowy Mountains
The Queen’s Birthday long weekend also marks the opening of Australia’s ski season, which means there’s plenty to do in ski resorts around the country. Grab your board or skis, your favourite road tripping companions, and head off on one of the best long weekend trips down through New South Wales’ Snowy Mountains.
Start out from Sydney and make your way down to Canberra, which is roughly a three hour drive. Here, you can take the family to Questacon or enjoy a lazy afternoon by Lake Burley Griffin, before heading off to Thredbo or Perisher for the official start of ski season.
The Queen’s Birthday long weekend is opening weekend for New South Wales’ ski fields, which means there will be fireworks, live music, parties, and earlybird ski pass deals. After you’re down carving up the slopes, you can drive back to Sydney the same way, or drive back via Wollongong and enjoy some sun before the end of the long weekend.
Tip: when you’re planning your 4WD vehicle rental, don’t forget to get your snow pass and snow chains in case it’s snowing.
The Hunter Valley Food and Wine Trail
If you’re a foodie looking for long weekend trip ideas, a road trip from Sydney to the Hunter Valley will hit the spot. This drive is around two hours drive from Sydney, and along the way you’ll drive through national parks and beautiful seaside towns, before finishing up in one of Australia’s most loved wine regions.
En route, stop by the beachside towns of Terrigal and Avoca, where you can soak up the sun and enjoy some beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean. You can also spend the night in Newcastle, where you’ll discover a thriving food and coffee scene and plenty of gorgeous beaches to boot.
From there, it’s a quick drive to the Hunter Valley. As one of Australia’s most famous wine regions, you’ll be spoilt for choice with incredible wineries and breweries, as well as cheese and chocolate factories. Just be sure to hire a car with plenty of boot space – there’s no telling how many cases of wine you’ll be bringing back home!
Grand Pacific Drive, New South Wales
Another Aussie favourite, the Grand Pacific Drive is less than 200 kilometres long if you’re starting out in Sydney – making it the perfect trip for anyone who wants to spend as much time as possible in the great outdoors this long weekend.
After an hour of driving, you’ll be in the Royal National Park where there are rugged coastlines, swimming holes, and beaches galore. Take on the Coastal walk from Bundeena to Otford, or do a short half-day hike from Wattamolla to Big Marley Beach, and enjoy spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean along the way.
From the Royal National Park, the road heads down through the seaside cities of Wollongong, Kiama, Shellharbour and Shoalhaven. Spend a day in one town, or a few – it’s up to you how you want to enjoy the beautiful of South NSW during your long weekend!
The Great Ocean Road, Victoria
No road trip list would be complete without the Great Ocean Road! Starting out from Melbourne, this quintessential road trip hits all the classics: beachside towns, amazing limestone formations, and bushland.
During your road trip, you’ll see the famous Twelve Apostles rock formations off the coastline, and the Great Ocean Road London Bridge. You can also stop by the surfing town of Torquay and catch a wave (just make sure you have a wetsuit!), then spend a couple of nights relaxing in the coastal town of Apollo Bay or Warnambool before heading back to Melbourne. Plus, winter is whale watching season so you might be able to spot some blue whales along the way at Logan’s Beach.
All up, the Great Ocean Road is around 350 kilometres one way (roughly a three hour drive) and there are plenty of flights to Melbourne, making it the perfect road trip for the Queen’s Birthday weekend. Plus, with over 170 locations around the country, it’s easy to hire a car with Thrifty no matter where you are.