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The capital of New South Wales, Sydney is indisputably a shining star of the Southern Hemisphere. From world-class beaches to vibrant street cafes, there’s always something to do in this intensely gorgeous city blessed with natural highlights.

In addition, its easy accessibility and ideal location mean most travellers will either begin or end their Australian adventure in Sydney. For 4WD hire enthusiasts, the country’s largest and oldest city is a great base from which to explore eastern Australia, heading north up to the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, west to the Blue Mountains or south to Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road and on to Tasmania.

What to do in Sydney?

Opened in 1932, the Sydney Harbour Bridge connects the city’s Central Business District in the south with the business district and the city beaches in the north. Affectionately known to locals as the “Old Coat Hanger”, the bridge is best explored on foot on an hour’s round-trip walk on the eastern side or by bicycle on the western side for beautiful views of the harbour, especially from the Pylon Lookout. Or do the Bridge Climb up ladders, catwalks and part of the upper arch of the bridge which spans a total length of 503 metres. Remember to come back at night to see the girders all lit up with all the colours reflected in the water.

Widely considered one of the most beautiful harbours in the world, Sydney Harbour stretches some 20 km inland to the mouth of the Parramatta River and is home to city beaches, harbour islands with historic buildings, Aboriginal rock art sites and camping, and even a national park. Experience the harbour from the water, either on a harbour cruise taking in some of the area’s mansions owned by stars like Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett and Russell Crowe, or simply on one of the 15 ferries to destinations such as Manly, Darling Harbour or Watsons Bay. Around the harbour, there are also great walks and parks, including Rushcutters Bay and the Botanic Gardens.

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Opened in 1973, perhaps no sight is as iconic in all of Australia as Sydney’s Opera House, truly stunning from any angle. Taking 14 years to complete, the Opera House is one of the world’s busiest performing art centres as well as Sydney’s top tourist attraction. Under its 10 gleaming white sails made up of over one million tiles, there are more than 1,000 rooms to be explored – home to an opera theatre, a concert hall with a 10,500-pipe organ, a drama theatre, a playhouse and more. Tours are available, or if you weren’t lucky enough to pre-book event tickets, try walking up and asking for last-minute “partial view” tickets.

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Just near Circular Quay and the Sydney Opera House, The Rocks was Sydney’s first European settlement. Now, it’s been refurbished into a lively neighbourhood filled with souvenir shops, museums and colonial-era homes. The area is also home to Garrison Church (Australia’s oldest church), Cadman’s Cottage (Sydney’s oldest house) and the Sydney Observatory (free admission). Don’t miss the Market on Saturdays.

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Despite being just 1 km long, the golden sands of Bondi Beach make it one of the most iconic beaches anywhere in the world. Whether you’re a swimmer, surfer or just there to watch all the pretty people play, there’s something for everyone in Sydney’s favourite outdoor playground. Body surfers will want to head to the northern end of the beach while board surfers occupy the southern end. Kids will enjoy the rock pool near the 240-tonne boulder known as Ben Buckler just below Bondi’s northern headland. To people-watch, head to Campbell Parade, Bondi’s main tourist stretch packed with seafront pubs and trendy eateries and cool off with a gelati or an ice cold beer. Or take a 5-km hike along Bondi’s clifftop Coastal Walk, past Tamarama Beach, known to locals as “Glamarama” for its display of toned beach bods, Bronte Beach and ending in Coogee Bay.

Located on the eastern side of Lavender Bay, the huge, somewhat creepy smiling clown face of Luna Park has been beckoning kids and kids-at-heart since 1935 with its traditional thrill rides sporting names like the Flying Saucer and the Tumble Bug. This raucous family-friendly amusement park is accessible via ferry from Circular Quay or on foot across the Harbour Bridge from The Rocks. Admission is free for those who just want to enjoy the carnival-like atmosphere. Tickets for rides can be purchased inside.

Seen from as far away as the Blue Mountains, the 305-metre Sydney Tower (also known as Centrepoint Tower) is the Southern Hemisphere’s tallest building. Join the million or so annual visitors and head up to the podium level for expansive views of the entire city or hit OzTrek, a virtual multi-media presentation that uses 3D technology and real motion seating to take visitors on a trip around Australia. For dizzying, unencumbered views, the open-air Skywalk with its glass-floored moving platform 260 m above street level is the place to be. Extend your visit with a coffee or a meal in one of two revolving restaurants located on the turret’s nine levels. Attraction passes that include Sydney Tower and other sights like Sydney Aquarium and Sydney Wildlife World are also available.

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Taronga Zoo, with its more than 4,000 animals and free animal shows like the Free Flight Bird Show, makes for a superb day trip from Sydney. Opened in 1916, the park is extremely family-friendly with exhibits where you can get up close and even touch some of the animals. In addition to the regular exhibits, the zoo puts on twilight concerts in February / March, and offers a Roar & Snore package, complete with overnight stay, BBQ and a night-time safari experience. The most enjoyable way to get to Taronga Zoo is by ferry from Circular Quay, followed by a cable car to the main entrance. Other wildlife parks in New South Wales include Symbio Wildlife Park (about an hour’s drive from Sydney) where you can hand-feed koalas and kangaroos; Featherdale Wildlife Park, home to more than 2,000 animals representing over 300 species; and a cluster of parks around Bateman’s Bay (approximately 300 km south of Sydney), including Birdland Animal Park and Mogo Zoo.

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Opened in 1945, Scenic World is comprised of four attractions: the Scenic Railway, the world’s steepest, with a thrilling 52-degree, 300-metre descent down to the floor of the Jamison Valley; Scenic Cableway, an 84-passenger, 545-metre, fully-enclosed cable car ride providing bird’s eye views of the Three Sisters, Katoomba Falls and more; the glass-floored Scenic Skyway which travels above the Katoomba Falls with the option to disembark and follow bushwalking trails to Echo Point; and the Scenic Walkway, an elevated 2.4-km long boardwalk above ancient rainforests.

The nearby Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum is also worth a visit for insights into one of Australia’s most famous artists. His mountain retreat now houses a gallery for his many works featuring risqué nudes and other sexually-unrestrained pieces from the early 20th century. While there, walk through the beautifully landscaped gardens or perhaps take the scenic bushwalk beyond the gardens.

Named after the blue haze released from eucalyptus tree oil that envelops them, the Blue Mountains are a spectacular destination chock full of excellent 4WD tracks and walking trails to explore its wild landscape 250-million-years in the making.

Within the park, there is much to discover including: the scenic Wentworth Falls bordered by rainforest; the spectacular rock formation known as the Three Sisters, named after three sisters imprisoned by their father according to Aboriginal legend; and the nine Jenolan Caves with striking stalactites and stalagmites as well as pools and rivers that date back some 300 million years. Outdoor enthusiasts will find the 3-day, 42-km hike along the Six Foot Track between Jenolan Caves and Katoomba irresistible.

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With Sydney 4WD Hire Bush Campers you can explore places like The Blue Mountains which are also excellent 4WD territory, including the gorgeous Six Foot Track. Built over 100 years ago, the 2-metre wide track was built to accommodate a small horse and buggy, running from the Explorer’s Tree near Katoomba to the Jenolan Caves. Nowadays, the single track is shared by hikers, cyclists and 4WD hire enthusiasts through some gorgeous landscapes. While the track does have creek crossings, ruts and big rocks (with some shortcuts for more experienced drivers and rugged 4WD campers), it’s considered a relatively easy drive, ideal for beginners. Enjoy the vistas with a night or two at the Coxs River 4WD Campsite (free) on the western bank of the Coxs River. It’s beautiful setting amid tall eucalypts more than make up for its limited facilities. Spend the day on walking trails and looking for native birds, including kookaburras and sulphur-crested cockatoos.

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With your own Sydney 4WD Hire Camper with ground clearance, adventures in the vicinity waiting to be explored include: the 50 km-long Mt Walker Loop near Lithgow with steep, rocky climbs and descents, water crossings and lots of mud; Turon National Park featuring steep terrain and thrilling water crossings; Abercrombie River National Park with well-maintained 4WD-only tracks highlighted by steep ascents and descents, sharp rocks, sand, and superb wildlife viewing opportunities; Rydal and Lake Lyell with excellent camping and challenging tracks; and the Newnes Plateau with hundreds of kilometres of dirt roads, interspersed with attractions including the Lost City, Glow Worm Tunnel, and Sunnyside Ridge.

Just a 2-hour drive north of Sydney lies the Hunter Valley, New South Wale’s largest grape-growing region. Grapes have been cultivated here since the 1830’s and the area now boasts more than 140 wineries producing world-class wines, particularly well-known for top-quality Semillons, Chardonnays, and Cabernet Sauvignons. The scenic sheep and cattle farms, rural Australian countryside and rugged bushland just add to the allure of whiling away leisurely days sight-seeing and wine-tasting.

The region is blessed with cultural attractions including the family-friendly Hunter Valley Gardens. Kids will love roaming through the 50 acres of expertly landscaped gardens, including spotting their all-time favourite literary characters in the whimsical storybook garden including Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill and the cast of Alice in Wonderland.

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Adults can take to the links in this wonderfully scenic area featuring multiple world-class golf courses with incredible vistas including the Cypress Lakes Golf and Country Club in Pokolbin, the Hunter Valley Golf and Country Club and the Vintage Golf Club in Rothbury.

For a more active adventure, the Hunter Valley is blessed with a number of national parks featuring well-maintained bushwalking tracks that range from quick and easy walks to more challenging treks. Some of the best sites for bushwalking include: the 7,751-hectare Watagans National Park with trails leading through pristine forest scenery and past stunning waterfalls; Yengo National Park, one of the best sites in Australia to view Aboriginal engravings, and noted for its amazing views and secluded wilderness setting of steep gorges and rocky ridges; and Werakata National Park, with its diverse flora and fauna, including a handful of threatened species.

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Sydney 4WD Hire enthusiasts can also enjoy this region of great natural beauty on a wide range of off-road tracks. The 165-km long Great North Road from Sydney to the Hunter Valley has both sealed and unsealed sections. Built using convict labour in the early 19th century, there are 4WD tracks as the road approaches the town of Wollombi featuring gentle slopes as well as more challenging detours.

Around the Lower Hunter Valley, Yengo National Park is an off-road favourite, with 4WD tracks like the 30-km long Howes Trail through open forest with side opportunities for birdwatching, and the 22-km long Big Yango Loop Trail through rugged landscape featuring tight switchbacks and steep ascents and descents.

The Upper Hunter Valley is home to the 2,902-hectare Bretti Nature Reserve with challenging tracks where drivers must contend with mud, clay, sharp turns and steep ascents and descents through beautiful eucalyptus forest and rainforest.

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Sydney 4WD Hire is part of Australian 4WD Hire, a nationwide network of premium rental agencies strategically positioned in close proximity to all famous 4WD destinations and hotspots as well as major regional and capital cities throughout Australia, ensuring you’re never far from a pick-up point.

Australian 4WD Hire is renowned for our meticulously maintained vehicles and top-tier customer service. Our fleet is constantly being updated to ensure you enjoy your self-drive adventure in comfort and safety. 4WD Tourism is one of the best ways to see the broad range of amazing sights Australia has to offer, with the flexibility and freedom to discover the outdoors at your own pace. For your Sydney 4WD Hire adventure, please contact us at 1300 360 339 or +61 7 5527 6191. Or email us at or visit us at

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