You’ve loaded your car with everything you need for a three-day getaway, including a trunk full of snacks and more hours of downloaded podcasts than there are in a day. The plan: set your cruise control and get to your final destination as quickly as possible. Sound like you? Well, we hate to break it to you, but you’re on the wrong way.

The perfect road trip makes the travel the hero. It should be both relaxing and fun, including plenty of detours along the way and plenty of opportunities to connect with locals. Oh, and car snacks. Lots of snacks. Surely we can all agree on that one? You should come home with a greasy steering wheel and crumbs stamped into your floor mats.

Aiming to get you on the road, we’ve teamed up with our friends at Ampol to curate the ultimate road trip from Sydney to the stunning South Coast, chronicling all the best things to eat, see and do – and the characters you need to meet along the way. Buckle up, let’s go for the adventure!

Day One: Sydney to Woollamia

Load up the car, whip up a killer playlist, and make sure you have a bag of salt and vinegar chips handy because you’re about to embark on an epic road trip and you won’t want to. not be hungry. Make tracks for Princes Highway, then cruise for about an hour until you reach Lawrence Hargrave Drive. Here, you’ll want to take the scenic drive that takes you past the beautiful Sea Cliff Bridge. Perched above the rugged Clifton coastline, stop at the viewpoint to stretch your legs and take in the majesty of the South Pacific Ocean. If it’s migration season, keep your eyes peeled on the horizon for whales.

By now you’ve probably gone through that bag of chips, so it’s time to get back in the car and venture to your next snack spot; The famous Berry Donut Van. The van has been pumping out hot, fresh cinnamon donuts since 1964, so it would be rude not to pick up half a dozen. Or a dozen. They also do coffee if you’re feeling a bit watery from the trip so far.

After a stroll back in time along Berry’s pretty main street, wipe the sugar off your fingers and hop back in the car for the day’s final stop, a 40-minute drive from Paperbark Camp where you will rest your head for the night. Have a blast and book a deluxe king safari tent amid the paperbark, gum and mangrove forests of Woollamia. Luxury glamping at its finest, the tent has a wrap-around deck, an open-air bathroom and an indoor hot tub you’ll want to sink into before bed. Before you do, head to the Gunyah (meaning: meeting place) to meet other travellers, share stories and devour a seasonal three-course feast.

Driving time: three hours

Day 2: Woollamia to Mollymook

Start your day in Jervis Bay on a guided bush walk with a Walbanga woman Deidré Martin. Deidre’s connection to the New South Wales south coast runs deep, as does her knowledge of its native plants, making her the perfect companion on this beautiful walk through Jervis Bay National Park. Try weaving while sipping local tea, munching on a shock absorber, and having fun with Deidre. Once you’ve had your fill of local lore, get back in the car and drive 50 minutes to Conjola, passing the area’s many nature reserves and national parks.

Get a taste of country driving as you leave Princes Highway on the dirt road to Martin’s Ridge Farm where you can take a guided walk through the pastures and get to know the animals that roam the grassy paddocks. If you time it right, you might even be able to sign up for one of the charcuterie workshops run by the proud owners of this spray-free farm; Ian, Tina and Rhys Martin.

Next, off to Mollymook and the clifftop boutique hotel Banisters By The Sea where you will spend the evening. Dial in the boujee and book one of their spa retreat rooms with a balcony hot tub that overlooks the ocean, but before you get ready to soak up the day, head to the Rooftop Bar & Grill at sunset. sunshine for elevated pub grub among the treetops. For something a little more economical but just as comfortable, book a stay at the Allure On Ocean Motel. This gorg motel offers modern interiors and thoughtful touches like chocolates on your pillow and toiletries from local suppliers. Best of all, you’re literally steps from the beach, so you can fall asleep to the sound of the waves and wake up for a morning swim.

Driving time: two hours

Day 3: Mollymook to Bawley Point

Wake up to the sound of the ocean and free continental breakfast – early departure is made easy with an included espresso. You’ll be on the road for just over an hour today, so you’ll have time for a mid-morning massage at Beachfront spa. Alternatively, if you’re up for another adventure, head to the beach to meet local surfing legend Pam Burridge for a private lesson at Mollymook Beach. Pam was the ASP World Champion surfer in 1990 and was part of the professional circuit for nearly 20 years before setting up her surf school at Mollymook Beach, so you are in very good hands.

After a morning frolicking in the waves (or getting a head-to-toe massage), you’ll have quite the appetite, so it’s high time to head to Hayden’s Pies in Ulladulla. This South Coast legend cooks up some of the tastiest gourmet pies you’ll ever eat, and if you’re lucky you’ll catch the man himself at this friendly, country-style pie shop. He’s been running the joint for almost 20 years, first with his mother by his side and now with his wife, so it’s no wonder the homemade puff is the stuff dreams are made of. The menu is extensive and includes gluten-free options, family pies, and rotating weekly specials like beef stroganoff, cheeseburger, and vegan vindaloo pies. Our favorite is hands down the butter chicken curry pie served with a side of mint yoghurt. If you like lunch and a view take it to go, walk down the hill to Racecourse Beach for one of the best views in Ulladulla.

Now is the time to find out more about Jerrinja and Wandi Wandian country that you have been passing through in the past few days on a Cultural visit of Commee Nulunga. Owned and operated by Aborigines, the walking tours take you along the coast and through Ulladulla bushland with an elder who will teach you all about the traditional bush tucker and medicines used by the Murramarang people for thousands of years. ‘years.

It’s time to eat again and it wouldn’t be a road trip without fish and chips now, would it? Get yourself a box of golden crunchy delights and some fresh oysters if you fancy, the local favorite The fish market on Burrill Lake. If you’re looking for a lighter lunch, you can take a detour to rustic whole-food cafe Milk HAUS in Milton. Housed in a former cheese factory restored from the 1900s, the Milk HAUS team uses produce from the vegetable garden to concoct tasty, healthy and seasonal dishes from Thursday to Monday. Chat with owners Kitty and Nat, peek into the garden, pick up a souvenir from the pop-up ceramic shop, spot dairy cows and say hello to the chickens before heading out. While in Milton you must stop at gorg Van Rensburg Galleries. The gallery is run by Sarah Thomas who has a background in interior design, so you know you’re likely to find a worthy piece of art to hang on your living room wall, and Joanne Barby who is an artist herself. Artwork here is well priced, so you can leave with a souvenir of your travels.

You’ve met a lot of human faces so far, but now it’s time to meet some furry ones at Pebbly Beach, 45 minutes south of Ulladulla. Home to eastern gray kangaroos, these adorable marsupials are on the shorter end of the spectrum when it comes to roos and they tend to congregate at dusk for a feast, so you’ll want to plan your trip accordingly. If you have time, you can take a bush walk or just sit back and enjoy the magnificent view of the forest-lined bay.

Your final stop on this journey is Mimosa Eco Retreat. Termeil locals Linda and Len Ivey have created accommodation that brings your Australian settler cottage style dreams to life. Perched on a lake, Billabong Cottage is as cozy as it gets with its fire pit, wood-clad walls, porch grill, and private outdoor fire pit where you can reminisce about your road trip with a few roasted marshmallows under the stars.

Driving time: one hour

It’s time to tick off one of Australia’s most iconic road trips, made so memorable with so many picture-perfect spots and friendly faces to meet along the way.

Be sure to refuel at your local Ampol along the way – for fuel and a cheeky bag of red frogs at the Foodary – because, well, essential snacks for the road trip. Whatever your needs, Ampol has you covered, so all you have to worry about is your next destination.

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