Sydney scenic drives

Most of the articles on Sydney Scenic drives list the same old drives everyone knows.   I’ve had a free day once a week for the last couple of months.   Its given me the opportunity to explore different roads a day trip away from Sydney.    I don’t normally get the chance to go long drives, to it was also a good opportunity to give all the cars a good run.    The idea was to leave about 7:30AM, and return by 6PM, leaving time for a few breaks.

The idea was to find some good roads for the classic car driver who wants to get out and explore the area a couple of hours around Sydney.

Mudgee via Bells Line of Road

The first drive I did was to Mudgee.   I took Cattai ridge road from Glenorie through Maraylya.  This is a drive I do quite a bit as it can be done in a couple of hours.   Instead of returning, I then took Bells line of road up through Lithgow and then up the road to Mudgee.

Bells line of road is always an enjoyable drive, especially during the week without much traffic.   The road up to Mudgee is a nice undulating road with some fast sections and some tighter sections.

I made the mistake of coming back via the Great Western Highway.   It really is a horrible road.   Congested, insanely low speed limits, speed cameras on every corner.   Next time I would go back via Bells Line of road again.

I took my DS.   On the way up the DS drove really well, but it was a bit unhappy on the way home and I had to nurse it back.  It felt like something was dragging on the motor, perhaps one of the accessories?    I did this drive first, before the hot summer weather came in.   The DS isn’t the best as a hot weather car.     It is really comfortable and soaks up the bumps on a rough road like few other cars.

I really enjoyed this drive and would do it again.


DS to Mudgee

Putty road, returning via Wollombi

I did this drive as part of a mid week drive with the Mercedes Club.   This drive is already covered here.    I took my SLC.    The Putty road is so much better mid-week than on the weekend.  The return via Wollombi is much nicer than going on the M1.   This drive is on most Sydney Scenic drives list.

Bylong Valley

This one was a surprise because I just started looking at google maps to find roads that might be interesting.   The self-leveling rear suspension had just been re-installed in my 560SEL and I wanted a good drive to give it a work out and make sure my used struts were not leaking.    Not only was this a good drive, but it fulfiled that requirement as the road was quite rough.   The car was transformed.   The horrible old ute feel was gone and it was back to driving like an S-Class again.

I started by driving up to Singleton where I had lunch.   I then took the Golden Highway to Bylong Vally Way.     The Bylong Valley Way is a really enjoyable road.   A bit rough in times, but scenic and twisty as you cross the mountains.

Bylong Valley

Return was via Lithgow and Bells Line of Road.  You pop out very close to Mudgee  so the return is very similar to the drive above.   The SEL is better than most people would expect on twisty roads.   It also has plenty of power to accelerate up hilly roads.      This drive really cemented my decision to put the SLS back in.

You could probably make this drive even better by taking the Putty road up to the Hunter and then continuing the drive from there.  Large sections of this route have no phone reception.

Oberon to Goulburn

I’ve been wanting to do the Oberon to Goulburn drive for years.   I’ve always heard it was good but never got a chance to try it.    After I got the cooling system working again, I took my 560SEC.   I figured of the cars I own, the SEC with its 220KW engine or the E-Type are the most ideal cars for this drive, and given the weather was iffy at the start of the day, the SEC was the best choice.

I took Bells Line of Road to get to Oberon and then proceeded to Goulburn.   This road really lived up to expectations.    There are some long fast sections were I got to push the SEC along as well as some curvy bits decending down the mountains.     The road to Oberon from the Great Western Highway is really picturesque as you can see from the photo below.

The only real downside to this drive, is that the return journey on the freeway is a bit boring.


Goulburn to Oberon

I enjoyed the Goulburn drive so much I decided to do it again, but in reverse.   I just had the E-Type ready after its new fuel pump.      The E-Type drove really well and was really in its element on this drive.    I did this one as a pop up drive with the Mercedes Club.   It is kind of funny the one I did on my own, I did in a Mercedes, but the one I did with the Mercedes Club I did in a Jaguar.

I think its slightly better to do it in this direction.   Not because the drive is better, but it’s easier to manage traffic that way, especially if you live north of the Harbour like I do.

Grand Pacific Drive

I’ve done the Grand Pacific Drive through the Royal National park many times.   Both on club events and on my own.   Most recently I did two variants, one that took me inland to Berry and another over Macquarie pass through to Mittagong.   We didn’t have time, but the Berry drive would have probably been even better to return via Kangaroo Valley.   The drive through the Royal National Park is nicer during the week and very scenic, if a bit slow.   The speed limits are artificially slow and heavily policed.   There are also a lot of cyclists.

I took my 250SE on the drive through Berry and the 300SE on the other drive.   Like Putty road, this one is also on most of the Sydney scenic drives list.

Sydney Scenic Drives


Wollombi, returning via Wisemans Ferry

I had a bit less time this day so did a shorter drive.   I took the old Pacific highway to Peats Ridge, and followed the roads north to Wollombi.    On the way back, I turned off and went via Wisemans Ferry.   This is quite a nice drive if you don’t want to spend the full day.   The roads up to Wollombi are in decent shape although the one to Wisemans Ferry not as much.

I took my 560SEC.   The Old Northern Road after you cross Wisemans Ferry is a nice drive too.

Hunter Valley – Scone – Merriwa

On this drive, I took the freeway up to the Hunter Valley and then went up towards Scone, where I had lunch.   From Scone, I took the road to Merriwa, which was scenic and deserted.  I was able to push the 450SLC along a bit.    This was quite a nice drive once I got up to the Hunter but the freeway section was boring.   It could be combined with Putty road or Old Pacific Highway.    I think Bylong Valley was better though.

Barrington Tops

This one was a bit speculative.   There looked like there could be a nice road through the Barrington Tops national park from Barrington across to Scone.    And there is.   Problem is that its unsealed for about 80km.    I took my 560SEL, and while it could easily do an 80km unsealed road, I didn’t want to.   I drove on the unsealed bit for about 5KM until an information kiosk.   When the extent of the unsealed section was apparent, I turned back.

I had tried to get up there without using freeways.   Getting up to Peats Ridge via the Old Pacific Highway was good, and then I went towards the coast towards Alison.   From there I should have taken the motorway as I ended up driving through the Newcastle suburbs.      The other Alternative would have been Putty road and skip the whole area.

During my navigation, I discovered some key differences between Google maps and Waze.   When you avoid Motorways on Google Maps, it just avoids Motorways with an M prefix.   A roads that are built to almost motorway standards are OK.   Waze is stricter.    Major A roads that are dual carrigeways are also avoided.    Thus, Waze will tell you the only way to get up there without using Motorways is to drive up to Queensland and take the silly route around the top.   Google will take you on the A roads.

Waze has an option to avoid Dirt roads, but it doesn’t show them on the map.   Google doesn’t show them at all.   I wish it would.   Maybe I need to invest in a proper printed road atlas to explore more Sydney scenic drives.

It may be worth at some point exploring up Thunderbolts Way.  This takes up towards Tamworth which is too far, but there could be some good intermediate stops.


If I get more time to explore more Sydney Scenic Drives, I may look at more roads on the other side of the great dividing range.   From Oberon, as an alternative to Goulburn, it looks like you can turn off earlier and go via Wollondilly.   There may also be some roads in the area between Bathurst, Mudgee and Lithgow.   I can probably explore further West too.

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