Sydney to Brisbane
Best Time of the Year
All year round
- Coffs Harbour
- Byron Bay
- Stradbroke Island
- Currimbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Sydney to Newcastle
Distance 160km - Driving Time 2 hours
Having already taken in the famous Opera House and Harbour Bridge, take a cultural journey around one of Sydney’s most iconic areas – The Rocks. The Rocks Dreaming Tour will give you a whole new perspective of Sydney and how this billion-year old harbour has shaped Indigenous culture. During the 90 minute walk you’ll find out what ‘Dreamtime’ means. Go ‘walkabout’ around the harbour and discover more about the culture of one of the most ancient humans on the planet.
Heading out of Sydney you’ll drive past the famous Palm Beach, also known as Summer Bay! That’s right, where the one and only Home and Away is filmed. If you’re a fan you might want to stop and walk down the 2km long beach and take a few snaps of yourself in ‘Summer Bay’.
We recommending spending a day (or two) getting acquainted with Newcastle. A coastal town and the second most populated city in New South Wales, there are 8 beaches close by for you to check out. Newcastle’s harbour is home to coal ships, freight ships, fishing boats, ferries, yachts, kayaks and private vessels, making for chaotic but exciting viewing.
When you’ve finished swimming with the dolphins and exploring Nelson Bay and Port Stephens learn about culture, bush tucker, dig for fresh water and see one of the many Aboriginal Midden sites on the beach, all whilst riding a 400cc quad bike…culture and adventure at its best! Sand Dune Adventures offers a quad bike riding experience like no other. Experience the magnificence of the Worimi Sand Dunes on Stockton Beach, riding from bush to beach with expert Indigenous guides.
Newcastle to Forster
Distance 165km - Driving Time 2 hours
Travelling past Wallaroo and Bulahdelah State Forest and Wallingat National Park there’s picnic spots aplenty on your way to Forster!
Most famous for their Dolphin cruises, fishing, sailboarding and scuba diving and amazing beaches. Main Beach is a protected beach, making it ideal for families. Nearby Pebbly Beach is also a good spot for families as is Burgess Beach, with a range of other beaches surrounding the area you’ll be able to take your pick which one to swim at.
Walking along the Bicentennial Trail, you can sample fresh local oysters farmed in Wallis Lake and climb the steep 223-m summit of Cape Hawke for spectacular views. There are few places in the State that offer such a superb choice of fishing â€“ deep-sea, lake, rock, river or beach.
Forster to Port Macquarie
Distance 110km - Driving Time 1 hour 30 mins
Port Macquarie is a beautiful place to visit, surrounded by waterways, beaches, parks, gardens and walking trails there’s lots to do for families, couples and backpackers alike!
New South Wales only koala hospital is located in the grounds of Roto house and the first hospital dedicated to the care and preservations of koalas. You can go and watch the koalas fed daily by local volunteers.
It’s also worth trying to fit in some time to complete the 9km coastal walk from the breakwall on Town Green to Lighthouse beach.
Port Macquarie to Coffs Harbour
Distance 160km - Driving Time 2 hours
Have your photo taken holding up the ‘big banana’. A bit hard to miss, the big banana boasts The Banana Slip Water Park (with the largest inflatable water-slide in the world), Laser Tag, Ice Skating, Wild Toboggan Ride, “The World of Bananas" multimedia theatre experience, plantation and packing shed tour, a 36 hole Mini Golf Course and so much more. No trip to Coffs Harbour is complete without a trip to the Big Banana.
With lots of great beaches to visit you could learn to surf, visit mutton-bird island to connect with local wildlife and don’t forget to include a trip to the Forest Sky Pier. Located at Sealy Lookout, The Forest Sky Pier offers an amazing panoramic view from mountains to the Coffs Harbour coastline. The Pier extends 21 metres out from the Lookout and stands 15 metres above the forest floor.
Coffs Harbour to Byron Bay
Distance 250km - Driving Time 3 hours
You’ll understand immediately why people flock to this amazing part of Australia. Music is intrinsic to this little town, which is home to Splendour in the Grass, the Blues Fest and the Falls Festival.
Byron Bay is also renowned for it’s spiritual connections and you can experience a range of land, sea, air, art or mind and body activities. Yoga on the beach at sunset is not an uncommon sight and is a great way to unwind after a long day.
Once you’ve completely relaxed with that fresh sea air, dinner at The Balcony Restaurant on the corner of Byron Bay's Johnson and Lawson sts is the best spot for drinks & tapas.
One other thing you don’t want to miss about Byron Bay is the famous Byron Bay cookies. You’ll probably find yourself snatching up enough to fill your pockets for the rest of your trip!
Byron Bay to Gold Coast
Distance 90km - Driving Time 1 hour 20 mins
Wake up early to watch the sunrise from the Byron Bay lighthouse, many people make the pilgrimage to Byron Bay just to do this and it’s something you shouldn’t miss.
The most easterly point on mainland Australia, the Cape Byron headland features a nostalgic white lighthouse built in 1901. Ninety-four metres above sea level, the lighthouse is the perfect spot to watch the sunrise. Because Byron’s full of alternative types, you’ll often see people silently sitting cross-legged to meditate on the new dawn, or doing yoga on the beach. You may even spot dolphins or whales enjoying the early morning light just offshore.
On your way to the Gold Coast, stop in at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. About 50 minutes north of Byron, Currumbin gives you the opportunity to experience Australia’s amazing native wildlife and learn about Aboriginal culture in one, easily accessible location. The rich culture of Aboriginal heritage is celebrated daily at 3.30pm with a spectacular show featuring dances, stories and the distinctive rhythms of the didgeridoo.
Two days probably won’t be long enough for you to do everything you want while staying at the Gold Coast. While here you can visit one of the ‘big four’ – Warner Bros. Movieworld, Wet ‘n’ Wild Waterworld, Seaworld or Dreamworld / Whitewater World. Visit Q1 and take in 360o views of the the coast and its surrounds. A mecca for tourists, the Gold Coast beaches are always busy with sunbathers and swimmers, exciting nightlife will draw you in, along with amazing shopping and lots to see and do!
Some great day trips from the gold coast also include Tamborine Mountain and the Gold Coast Hinterland, where you can get in touch with nature and wander through a mountain top village (you definitely want to indulge in some of the delicious fudge), where there is even an old-fashioned cuckoo-clock shop!
Gold Coast to Stradbroke Island
Distance 90km - Driving Time 1 hour 30 mins
To get to Stradbroke Island, you’ll need to head North to Cleveland. With lots of cafes and Jacaranda trees to shade under, it’s worth stopping and grabbing a bite to eat before boarding the ferry. It’s a good idea to pre-book the ferry over during peak seasons as it can get very busy, however sailings to the island are every hour.
Fondly referred to as ‘Straddie’ from the locals, the island has an abundance of activities for all age and fitness levels. Popular with surfers, boaties and fishing enthusiasts, the island offers snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking, 4WDriving and bushwalking, and is also renowned for it’s native wildlife such as dolphins, turtles, manta rays, kangaroos, koalas, and spectacular shore views of the annual humpback whale migration. You might even get lucky and see ‘Migaloo’ one of the only Albino whales in the world.
Straddie has six beachfront camping grounds, so you’ll be spoiled for choice in where to stay while you’re here. Another place that you’ll probably want to spend an extra day or two at, if you have the time.
Stradbroke Island to Brisbane
Distance 30km - Driving Time 30 mins
Arriving in Brisbane, Queensland’s most populous city, you’ll be able to explore the Brisbane River, while away the afternoon in either Roma Street Parklands or the Botanic Gardens, shop along Queen Street, or pop over to South Bank and swim at the man-made beach or look through the museum or two art-galleries (all within the same precinct so visiting all three is easy).
Pop into Gramercy coffee in the Wintergarden and enjoy one of the best coffees in Brisbane with a handful of gluttonous delights!