Discover caves and interact with flamboyant animals on a road trip from Dubbo to Sydney and experience the natural, cultural and gastronomic delights that lie in and beyond the Blue Mountains.
As every Sydneysider can tell you, there’s always something tucked away nearby – or hiding in plain sight – that’s not on the tourist checklist, but could be just the surprise you’re hoping to stumble upon.
Day 1: Dubbo to Bathurst
3hr | 200km
Pick up your car rental at Thrifty Car Rental Dubbo Airport where Members get a 15% discount, and head to the famous Taronga Western Plains Zoo. The 6km circuit is perfect for cycling around (flat enough for even the most inexperienced riders) and seeing everything from the wild dogs and lions to hippos and meerkats in wide open surrounds. The daily talks are worth getting along to and, even if you miss some exhibits, the tickets are valid for two days so you can always visit in the morning.
But Dubbo is more than just the zoo so leave time at the end of the trip to take in some local history at the Old Dubbo Goal (there are nightly ghost tours), marvel at local art at the Western Plains Cultural Centre or just cool off at the local water park in Elston Park. Also, don't forget to treat yourself and the kids to an ice cream at Annie’s Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Parlour.
Australia’s oldest inland city and the place where gold was first discovered in 1823. History buffs have to head to the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum, home of the world renowned Somerville Collection of fossils (including a full size T. rex skeleton) and rare gems and minerals.
The NRMA Bathurst Panorama Holiday Park is a fabulous place for families and couples alike to rest up after a long day, with a heated pool with waterslide. You can choose from cosy, gold rush inspired cabins, too. Self-caterers can also take advantage of the camp kitchen.
Day 2: Bathurst to the Blue Mountains
3.5hrs | 230km
Get on the road early to avoid the traffic rush and head to Jenolan, where it's famous Jenolan Caves are. The Caves are composed of 11 spectacular show caves, pure underground rivers, and amazing formations. This remarkable cave system is among the finest and most ancient in the world and is undoubtedly regarded as the most outstanding within Australia. Visit this 'hidden gem' for fascinating cave tours and other activities, designed to suit every age and fitness level.
Soak in all that is for offer in the Blue Mountains, stopping at Cahills Lookout, then cruise to Katoomba for a banquet style lunch before heading to Echo Point, site of the famous Three Sisters – both viewpoints take in the incredible expanse of the aptly named Megalong Valley. (Try to arrive early enough to beat the crowds at Echo Point.) If you chosen to check out the trails in this area, the kids will not doubt get a sweet energy boost at The Gingerbread House in Katoomba.
After a long day, check in at Travelodge Hotel Blacktown and enjoy a 10% discount.
Day 3: Blacktown to Sydney
45 min | 34km
Head to Featherdale Wildlife Park where you can meet koalas, crocodiles, echidnas and dingoes.
Head into the trees for some fun and adventure featuring flying foxes, zip lines & more with over 100 individual challenges at TreeTop Adventure Park Sydney. Located in the forests of the Western Sydney Parklands, this fun outdoor attraction allows ages of everywhere from 3 and older to harness themselves up and ascend to the treetops to take part in an array of courses, zipping, climbing and flying from one point to the next. Courses are divided up by ability level, so those who aren't too confident can take one of the easier courses and still come away with a level of satisfaction and achievement to suit them without feeling any unnecessary fear.
Drive into the heart of Sydney city, and put your feet up at Vibe Hotel Sydney as Members receive at least 10% off at all TFE hotels nationwide.
Day 4: Explore Sydney
Easily one of the best attractions to visit in Sydney, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium features multiple stunning exhibits - each showcasing a different aspect of marine life - with low viewing glass making it easy for the kids to see the likes of various kinds of sharks, the vibrant colours of the Great Barrier Reef, and even Australia's own duck-billed platypus.
Jump on the ferry for the best view of Circular Quay to Luna Park. Back by popular demand, ice skating returns to Luna Park Sydney these July school holidays. The ice rink is accessible with your Unlimited Rides Pass, purchase one now to use for Winterfest.