Ace Rental Cars Blog

Sydney to Canberra Road Trip

A road trip from Sydney to Canberra promises a scenic exploration of bustling cities, quaint small towns and the East Coast countryside. Discover the region with visits to popular landmarks as well as hidden gems along the way in our guide below.

  • Sydney
  • Bowral
  • Berrima
  • Canberra

Day 1: Sydney Sights

  • Botanic Gardens of Sydney
  • Circular Quay

Welcome to Sydney, Australia’s premier tourist destination. Known for the landmark Sydney Opera House and iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney is a lively city filled with scenic beauty and entertaining attractions. Begin your exploration of Sydney with a delicious breakfast surrounded by beautiful greenery in the lush Botanical Gardens. The Leaf Dept. Cafe is located in The Calyx, a vibrant space home to one of the largest green walls in the Southern Hemisphere. Enjoy a coffee and a bite in this flourishing space or bring a picnic rug, find a cosy spot on the lawns and bask in the Sydney sun. Now is the perfect time to pull out your itinerary and set your intentions for your holiday across the East Coast. If you’re a green thumb, consider strolling through the gardens on a guided walk, or head down to the harbour and admire the views across Circular Quay before starting your road trip adventure. Next, stop by a convenience store to stock up on snacks and anything else you might need during your drive toward Canberra - consider picking up a disposable camera to add spontaneity to your adventure and memories to look back on after your trip.

Day 2: Discover the Southern Highlands

  • Bowral
  • Berrima

From Sydney, it’s about an hour and a half drive in your Ace rental car to reach the charming town of Bowral in the Southern Highlands. Enjoy the picturesque landscapes of the scenic countryside and embrace the relaxing feeling of being on holiday. Bowral is an excellent stop along the way to Canberra, with boutique stores, cafes and the beautiful Corbett Gardens here to explore. Cricket enthusiasts can stop by the Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame to view Sir Donald Bradman’s cricket bat, learn about the history of the game and discover the area on the Bradman Walk, while antique collectors will enjoy browsing vintage treasures, unique collectables and retro homewares at Dirty Janes. Before heading back on route to Canberra, consider stopping by the picturesque village of Berrima, just ten minutes from Bowral. Journey the river walk, discover local history at the District Museum and pop by Josh’s Cafe to lunch like a local. As the day winds down, settle into your accommodation to spend the night surrounded by the natural beauty of the Southern Highlands. From hotels to bed and breakfasts, there’s a wide range of accommodation available to suit every traveller.

Day 3: Lake George - Canberra

  • Lake George
  • Australian War Memorial
  • National Gallery of Australia

Continue your journey towards Canberra, Australia’s capital city. Break up your drive in your rental car with a stopover at Lake George for a peaceful break and some scenic views. Take some time to pause and reflect on your journey so far, perhaps capturing some shots of the lake on your camera or journaling for a moment before entering the final stretch of your road trip. Upon arrival in Canberra, delve into Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) history at the Australian War Memorial. Visit the World War galleries, discover the stories behind Australian and international wars and book a ticket to attend the Last Post Ceremony, held daily. Swap war history for an exploration of art and culture with a visit to the National Gallery of Australia. With over 155,000 works to admire, including the world’s largest collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, you’ll see impactful pieces across a variety of mediums when you wander the Gallery. Let the outstanding works of skilful artists inspire you and perhaps take some time out at the Sculpture Garden to create an artwork of your own.

Day 4: Making the Most of Canberra

  • Australian National Botanic Gardens
  • Mama’s Trattoria

Spend the last day of your adventure across the East Coast seeing the sights and soaking up the atmosphere of Canberra. Start your day with a visit to the Australian National Botanic Gardens, where you can wander through native flora and fauna at your own pace. Discover the Gardens on an electric bus tour where a local guide will point out the highlights of the Gardens, or embark on a 5.4km hike to the Black Mountain summit where you’ll reach the 811-metre high peak and take in panoramic views of the city and its surroundings. Enjoy a picnic at the summit, on the grounds of the gardens or by the water at Lake Burley Griffin, taking in the historic sights and sounds of Australia’s ‘Bush Capital’. End your day with a meal at one of Canberra’s excellent restaurants, the city offers a variety of cuisines to suit every taste. Mama’s Trattoria is a local favourite serving up traditional Italian dishes with alfresco dining for one last meal in the city’s lively plaza.

As your East Coast adventure draws to a close, reflect on the adventures you’ve had throughout your journey. From Sydney's sights to Canberra's culture, your road trip exploration will leave you with lasting memories and the urge to travel again.

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