Feel the ultimate sense of freedom as you hit the road in New South Wales to discover natural beauty and charming towns. Cruise in comfort along the iconic driving trails of country and outback NSW during the winter months, when the cooler weather is ideal for longer walks and cosying up at the end of each day.

Embrace the romance of the Greater Blue Mountains Drive

Breathe in the crisp mountain air as you weave up winding roads into the wondrous wilderness west of Sydney on the Greater Blue Mountains Drive, taking your time to admire the heritage buildings of Springwood, Faulconbridge, Wentworth Falls and Leura en route to Katoomba.

Surrender to the romance of Katoomba in winter, when the mountain town’s restaurants, hotels and guesthouses feel cosier than ever. Katoomba doubles as a handy base for immersing in the storied history and superb natural settings of Leura, Blackheath, Mount Victoria and the Megalong Valley. Time your visit for mid-winter and you might even be lucky enough to wake one morning to the magical sight of the region’s eucalypt forests dusted with a layer of snow.

Soak up the dramatic Central Tablelands location of Lithgow to the north before taking an alternative route back to Sydney through historic Windsor. Stretch your legs en route in the lush surrounds of the cool-climate Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah, where you can also indulge in a hearty lunch. The scent of ripening winter fruit perfumes the air as you near the apple orchards of Bilpin on the final leg of your drive towards Windsor – pick up edible souvenirs at farmgate stalls along the way.

Channel your inner drover on The Long Paddock

Step back into NSW’s pioneer past on The Long Paddock drive. Relive an iconic chapter of Australia’s history as you trace the historic Cobb Highway, an integral stock route from the Murray River through the Riverina region of southwest NSW to the edge of the outback.

Tweak your itinerary to pack as much joy into your journey as you can with the help of the friendly folk at the Port of Echuca Discovery Centre in Echuca Moama at the start of the drive, before making the hour-long trip from Moama to the town of Deniliquin. Imagine what it must have been like to pass through the now-peaceful town in the mid–19th century, when Deniliquin was a busy livestock trading centre. Today, the cooler weather lends perfectly to taking an adrenalin-pumping mountain bike ride in Murray Valley National Park, with three loop trails to choose from.

Refresh with a well-earned drink at the atmospheric Royal Mail Hotel, the last remaining coaching inn on the stock route, in Booroorban, as you continue your journey north. Then move leisurely on to the towns of Hay and then Booligal, where you can get a taste of unpolished outback charm with your pub grub at the Duke of Edinburgh.

Take a moment to admire The Pioneers, a mural by Wayne Strickland Norin Ivanhoe, north of Booligal, before making your way to the Ivanhoe Hotel Motel. Meet local characters and get a feel for the land over a pub meal before embarking on the final leg to Wilcannia, where you’ll uncover even more historical treasures.

Nourish your soul on the Riverina to Snowy Valleys Way

Rev up your taste buds on an exhilarating winter drive that begins in the food-bowl town of Griffith, six hours southwest from Sydney. Stock your car with local goodies before heading on to the relaxing country town of Narrandera, making a short detour to visit Lillypilly Estate Winery and Toorak Winery in Leeton to pick up a bottle or two of Riverina region wine – perhaps a bone-warming shiraz or petit verdot — to enjoy at the end of the day.

Elevate a picnic lunch in Kindra State Forest, on the journey from Narrandera to Junee, with tasty morsels from Coolamon Cheese Co. in Coolamon. Relive your childhood fantasies at Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory in Junee, then cruise along for another half an hour south to Wagga Wagga for a revitalising cocktail at Birdhouse Bar & Kitchen before dinner at Magpies Nest. Set in a renovated stone stables dating from the 1860s, the location is as memorable as the modern Australian cuisine.

Allow the Sturt Highway to carry you towards the dreamy Snowy Mountains via charming towns such as Adelong and Tumut. Further south is Tumbarumba, where Australia’s highest peaks form a magnificent backdrop to an emerging wine region. Seek out installations by Australian and international artists on the expanding Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail, in and around the towns of Adelong and Tumbarumba, as well as Batlow and Tooma. Travel deeper into this soul-stirring area on the Kosciuszko Alpine Way, ending your trip in a snowy winter wonderland. Prepare for this fabulous final leg by checking for weather conditions and road closure information on the NSW National Parks and Wildlife website before you set off.

Feel moved by the wide open spaces on the Central to Outback NSW

Revel in the sense of adventure as you buckle up for a thrilling drive into the heart of the NSW outback during the cooler months to experience a new perspective of the spectacular region. Start by taking a walk on the wild side in Dubbo, a five-hour drive west of Sydney, and see lions up close on a Pride Lands Patrol at Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Wind down the window for a blast of fresh country air as you head west on the Mitchell Highway to Nyngan to check out the Nyngan Museum. Then take a restorative walk in the Macquarie Marshes Nature Reserve wetlands before diving into country NSW’s mining history in Cobar, 132km inland on the Barrier Highway.

Glimpse through an intriguing window into the Wilcannia’s past as a thriving river port via its beautiful sandstone buildings. Learn more at the town’s Pioneer Museum, housed in the Athenaeum Library building from 1883, then immerse yourself in the abundant wildlife that makes the Darling River home during a stay at Warrawong On The Darling.

Finally, set your sights on Broken Hill, Australia’s first heritage-listed city. Prepare to be amazed by the vibrancy of this remote cultural hub, where you’ll find period buildings, great dining and thought-provoking galleries. Be mesmerised by the clarity of the Milky Way in the dark skies outside Broken Hill during a Spectacular Sky Encounter with Outback Astronomy — an unexpected road trip view you won’t soon forget.