Starting to plan a road trip

February 3, 2021 | 25 Comments

This year I’m hoping to go on a big trip exploring my state – New South Wales. As I normally head north along the coast, I want to go west and south this time. I’m not sure I will make it to Broken Hill… but you never know!

I would dearly love to include ACT, Victoria (including Melbourne) in this trip… but well, interstate travel is a little hard to plan ahead at the moment.

I’m still in the early stages of planning (this is simply a quick and rough map of NSW, ACT and VIC with no route indicated)… so I would love to get some recommendations for you!

Please add any NSW country towns/ locations you think I should visit in the comment section below. And you can add some Victorian locations as well. (It goes without saying that Canberra is on my list!)

( If you are receiving this article via email please click on the post link below to leave your comment. Thanks! And if you would like to get every blogpost via email signup here)


  • Yvonne Carpenter says:

    Hi Liz! What a fun plan! I wish I could help, but I have only been to Australia once, in 2017, and could only stay for a week after a 3-week family vacation to New Zealand. My daughter and husband had to return home after the NZ portion of the trip as my daughter had to go to back to school ( short winter break during Christmas) since she was already missing a whole week of school, and missing 2 weeks sounded irresponsible, lol!! But I diverge, I only visited Sydney and Melbourne (was able to watch 2 days of the Australian Open Tennis Tournament in Melbourne which put a huge smile on the face of this tennis fan, lol!). When I got home, I told my family we needed to properly visit Australia as there is so much to see. I wish I could contribute to your itinerary but instead, I will watch your trip attentively to see where I should go when I am able to visit again!!!! The Great Barrier Reef is the only thing I knew was there, but it was too far (northwest?) to tackle during my short stay. Looking forward to your final plans!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Yvonne – thanks for sharing. Great that you were about to visit the Australia Open – it’s on my to-do-list one day!

  • Yvonne Carpenter says:

    Actually I was in Australia in Jan 2018, not 2017 ?

  • Julie Wickham says:

    Hey Liz check out this website – we can’t wait to plan a trip around seeing these amazing artworks

  • Nicki Haldane says:

    Hi Liz. This sounds like a wonderful idea. But given the news here in Victoria we may not see you this time unfortunately. We travel from Gippsland to Kiama to visit family when we can, and have enjoyed sketching in Junee. The old pubs, railway station and lovely cafe and of course, the chocolate factory there are all great places to sketch. Have a great trip! I sometimes think that the planning is almost as much fun as the travel! 🙂

    • Liz Steel says:

      HI Nicki – thanks for the suggestion of Junee – not sure I’ve every visited it. And yes… crossing state borders is very uncertain these days!

  • Jan K says:

    Hi Liz, how exciting! As you love architecture, my ideas, all heading south of Sydney, incl:
    – Goulburn, Australia’s first inland city; lots of old beautiful churches, court house, railway station, terrace houses etc
    – Canberra (my city), all the national iconic institutions incl old and new parliament houses, Australian War Memorial, Shine Dome ANU, Black Mountain Tower
    – Yass, smaller scale than Goulburn but also has Cooma Cottage which Hamilton Hume built into a Palladian Style Bungalow (that should get you excited!)
    – Bendigo and Ballarat for their magnificent historic buildings built in the gold rush days
    – Benalla if you like street art
    – Great Ocean Road for stunning seascapes
    There are hundreds of places in between but these ones immediately came to mind for ‘wow’ factor………..
    Enjoy planning your trip!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks Jan – what a great list. Been to all of those (or least driven through them) but only sketched in Canberra(one sketching trip) and one 10 min sketch in Ballarat.

  • Bridget Byrne says:

    If you stop by Mildura, North Western Victoria along the river, I’d love to catch up and show you some sights. A paddle steamer ride? Some bushwalks in the Kings Billabong area. Or a gentle kayak paddle! Rio Vista would be fun to draw. And I’ve got to take you to Woodsies Gem Shop! More if you’ve got time.

  • Kay Finlayson says:

    Hi Liz. Great idea! We did a road trip last year through NSW, mostly coastal. These were our favourite places:
    – Berry. Charming little town.
    – Norah Heads (central coast). Lovely light house with picturesque bays and beaches on both sides of the peninsula.
    – Eden (south coast). Lovely seaside town with a great, character filled whale museum. I was inspired by the local buildings. The pub has good meals.
    – Jindabyne. Beautiful part of the world – stunning lake.
    – Charlotte Pass is worth a look. It has beautiful, gnarly, twisted snow gums and great views. There was still snow on the peaks in November.
    – Canberra. Tons to see and do.
    – Albury has a wonderful park on the river called Noreuil Park. It has stunning trees and river walks. The River Deck Cafe in the park is worthwhile too.

    I’m interested to see what places you go to see. We’re always up for more adventuring.

  • Misuk Goltz says:

    How exciting to hear about your trip in making! We were in New Zealand twice, a month at a time in 2001 but never able to make it to Australia. I’ve heard some towns ( forgot names) near the rainforests and blue mountain area. I personally dreamed about making trips to there then. Someday…..

  • Janice Ford says:

    Cowra is worth a visit with the Japanese gardens which are lovely (check the best time for the cherry blossom – I think around Sept/Oct), an old railway station and heading out of town past the wineries is a towing business with a great variety of old trucks and service station memorobilia. My photographer friends loved it! Grenfell has some wonderful old buildings, painted silos and station, and I sat beside Henry Lawson on a bench and got some writing advice (well, it looks like his statue is giving me advice in the photo?). Carcoar would keep you busy sketching for a while, too! Canola time is a good time for a trip out west, but take some warm clothes. Look for old railway cottages around the train lines, and do some fossicking off the main roads to find some intersting bridges, homesteads and grassy-banked rivers.

  • Starr Mifsud says:

    Hi Liz, Great plan to explore our State.
    I would recommend a stop at Newnes. It has a fabulous Industrial Ruins Walk. Truly amazing, in my opinion. It was an oil shale mining site in the early 20th century and the beehive kilns and building ruins are fabulous and great sketch material in the Aussie bush. All in the beautiful Wolgan Valley.

  • Jeanette Susanne says:

    Hi Liz,
    Gunning on the way from Sydney to Canberra is a small and charming town (with good coffee!).
    And Shoalhaven Heads is often overlooked in favour of Berry.
    Happy planning

  • Helen Blue says:

    Hi Liz,

    In Covid times, my advice is to be nimble and flexible with your itinerary. Have a plan but be prepared to alter it if a Covid case occurs somewhere. I have to recommend the ACT. Look for the late Art Deco buildings including the School of Art & Design at ANU and the Film and Sound Archive just a short walk around the corner. There is a simple cafe and on a nice day have your tea in the quadrangle. Old Parliament House is beautiful too. There are about 10 buildings in that group. The national institutions are more modern and may not be your cup of tea. The old Hyatt Hotel is beautiful too. Drive safely!


    I’d also recommend Yass and Goulburn, and a little town called Jugiong on your way to Wagga Wagga, 2 1/2 hours out of Canberra. I love WW but not when it’s too hot. Tumut, Batlow and Tumbarumba are interesting too. NSW has a great deal to offer. Consider whether you want to do a lot of driving of if you’d rather do more sketching! Broken Hill and Cobar might be a trip for another time!

  • Anne Sands says:

    Hello Liz, Sounds like a good idea, I have recently moved to Albury/Wodonga by the Murray River. If you are anywhere in the area I would love to catch up to sketch, walk, chat. Happy Travels.

  • Mary Humphreys says:

    I would love to see some sketches of Ballarat. I sing a folksong written after the 1850s which describes the British soldiers’ involvement at the Eureka Stockade and a sketch or two from the town would help me visualise the place.

  • Maureen Upston says:

    If you have time, Sale and Bairnsdale in East Gippsland, Victoria, on the Princes Highway both have lovely old buildings.

Leave a Reply