If, like me, you’re lucky enough to live in a beautiful city like Sydney, blessed with a gorgeous coastline, one of the world’s most famous beaches, and close to a UNESCO World Heritage site national park, then you have all the ingredients for a wonderful driving tour.
It’s a beautiful morning in Autumn and as I slide behind the wheel of Maranello’s latest grand tourer I know exactly where I will head first. The symbol of the famous, laid back, Aussie lifestyle, Bondi Beach is where locals go for an after-work surf and swim or for reviving morning walks by the ocean.
I find a convenient parking spot, shut off the Roma and stroll to a beachside café. As the barman brews me a fresh espresso, we talk about the latest Prancing Horse, a rare sight for most locals. After all, mine is one of the very first to be seen out and about on Australian roads.
The Ferrari Roma parked under the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge. One of the longest steel-arch bridges in the world, it connects the Central Business District to the North Shore neighbourhood
As the beach starts to get crowded, I feel the urge to get back behind the wheel. I settle into the Roma, use the electronic adjustments to find the perfect driving position, and push the Start button. The engine rumbles into life, attracting yet more glances. With a satisfied smile, I pull away.
Once again, it’s just me and the 620cv Prancing Horse. My next stop is the Macquarie Lighthouse, the first and longest serving lighthouse in Australia, right at the entrance of Sydney Harbour. From there it’s on to Centennial Park, a sprawling public parkland which encompasses almost 200 hectares, set in the city’s eastern suburbs.
After a short stroll, I take the Roma over to Sydney Harbour Bridge, one of Australia’s most famous landmarks. Completed in 1932, the bridge was an engineering triumph as well as a harbinger of the country’s emergence from the Great Depression. Known locally as ‘the Coat Hanger’ due to its shape, it often features in Sydney’s spectacular New Year firework displays.
Taking a break at the Hawkesbury River; The popular local hotspot, Cafe Bondi; The 1818 Macquarie Lightstation, Australia's first and longest operating Lighthouse; Surfers enjoy the endless waves just outside Sydney
Now it’s time to test the Roma on a longer drive. I take the M4 motorway and the Great Western Highway west- bound, towards Leura. I press a bit on the accelerator, enjoying the sound of the powerful eight cylinders and less than an hour later I reach the Blue Mountains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Aside from the astonishing beauty of its boundless nature, the park is especially famous for the so-called ‘Three Sisters’, surreal sandstone formations that jut upwards like fingers pointing to the sky.
Another 30 kilometres or so westward and I reach Leura. The town is a true gem, arguably the prettiest village in the Blue Mountains area, filled with heritage homes and boasting a National Trust-classified town centre. Cruising slowly down the streets in the Roma makes me feel like I’m a celebrity come home. Stares follow me – well, the Ferrari Roma – and I catch both approving smiles and admiring glances. Life at the wheel of a Ferrari.
The Ferrari Roma cruises alongside the new Sydney Light Rail, in the Central Business District
I still have some precious time left with the Roma. I push the pedal and let the powerful twin turbo V8 take me through to Echo Point lookout in Katoomba. It’s a panoramic spot, where I take in breathtaking views of the Jamison Valley and – from yet a different viewpoint – the Three Sisters.
Before heading back to the motorway, I take her along some of the less- travelled roads around Bilpin, in the Blue Mountains. With their many twists and turns, Bilpin roads can match some of the best in the world, making them ideal for stretching all eight gears of the Roma.
After covering almost 500 kilometres, I arrive home in a bug-splattered Roma and wearing a broad smile. It was a haphazard but wonderful road trip in and around Sydney. One that saw the laid-back Aussie approach get up close and personal with the very best of Italian style.