Road trip: Sydney, Bryon Bay and Brisbane in 21 days
The Pacific Highway from Sydney to Brisbane is also known as The Legendary Pacific Coast. It’s by far one of the most popular and sought-after road trips in Australia. The 1000km long scenic drive takes you on an adventure through lush national parks, stunning beaches, rolling green hills of the hinterland, and small yet vibrant off the beaten track towns full of charisma and authentic Australian culture.
Sydney, capital of New South Wales and one of Australia’s largest cities, is best known for its harbourfront Opera House, with a distinctive sail-like design. Massive Darling Harbour and Circular Quay are hubs of waterside life, with the towering, arched Harbour Bridge and esteemed Royal Botanic Gardens nearby. Sydney Tower’s 268m glass viewing platform, the Skywalk, offers 360-degree views of the city, harbour and suburbs.
Stop 2Bouddi National Park
Small secluded beaches fringed by rainforests, sandstone cliffs, and coastal heaths blanketed in wildflower colour make this park one of the most diverse and delightful reserves accessible to Sydney. Camping is available at Putty Beach, Little Beach and Tallow Beach. Discover picturesque Maitland Bay and the wreck of the PS Maitland at the heart of the park’s marine protected area. Explore the spectacular Bouddi Coastal Walk with its breathtaking views along the windswept coastline.
Photo via iCentalCoast.com
Stop 3Port Stephens
Port Stephens is known for its wonderful beaches. There are 26 golden sandy beaches, some sheltered bay beaches that are perfect for families as well as swimming, snorkeling and kayaking. Ocean beaches are sublime, great for surfing and beach walks. Don’t miss One Mile Beach, Box Beach and Fingal Spit if you’re an experienced surfer.
Port Stephens is home to around 150 bottlenose dolphins; you’ll find plenty of tours departing from Nelson Bay that offer dolphin-watch cruises or even kayak trips.
Stop 4Port Macquarie
Port Macquarie is surrounded by beautiful waterways – the Hastings River, canals, creeks, bays and the Pacific Ocean. The city also has a five-star collection of golden-sand beaches stretching from Port Macquarie Beach to Town Beach and north along the 16-km swathe of North Beach.
Stop 5Coffs Harbour
Coffs Harbour, in Australia, is a coastal city located on the north coast of New South Wales about 540 km north of Sydney, and 390 km south of Brisbane. The coastal city is home to stretches of golden beach flanked by rainforests. Stop by the iconic Big Banana for a photo, as well as rides, puppet shows and delicious choc-banana sticks.
Stop 6Lennox Head
Lennox Head is a seaside village in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia, situated on the stretch of coast between Byron Bay and Ballina. with spectacular coastal scenery including a gorgeous lake for kayaking and the beautiful Seven Mile Beach.
Photo by @kirrapendergast (via IG)
Stop 7Byron Bay
Pristine blue beaches and rolling countryside are what places Byron Bay so high on every tourist’s wish list. Byron is also known for its art, entertainment and locals, with a steady stream of international travellers, especially backpackers, attracted by the laidback atmosphere and the beauty of the location. One of the most popular highlights of the area would have to be the famous lighthouse, where you may spot some of the migrating whales famous in the area. An easy walk to the Cape will allow you to experience the coastal scenery at its best.
Photo by @olivecooke (via IG)
Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, is a cosmopolitan and lively city that is home to many different types of scenery, including skyscrapers, parkland and even an artificial beach. Brisbane is a river city, although close to the coast, with Brisbane River running through it. It is surrounded by hills and full of bridges. Brisbane also gives easy access to a number of attractions as well as the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.
The highway is partially converted to a motorway and dual carriageway, but some parts are just a single carriageway. Please keep to the speed limit as there are plenty of speed cameras along this highway and also Police patrol. Speed limit is mostly 100 or 80km/hour (110 on Motorways/Freeways)and through towns/villages 50 – 70km/hour.
Stop, revive, survive. The best places to stop and have a break is at the local pubs and cafes, there are many of these in the small towns. They offer excellent lunches and dinners at very reasonable prices, plus you get to meet the locals with all their personalities and warm characters.
Short on Time?
No worries. You can still experience the Pacific Coast even if you don’t have the luxury of 2-3 weeks or more. Our advice:
Choose the stops that interest you the most. If you only have one week, cut the number of stops by three. Don’t try to squeeze in everything.
Reduce the number of days you spend in each town.
Consider driving in the evenings or early mornings to avoid wasting the day on the road.
If you want to read more of our Sydney adventures, come and explore our dedicated Sydney Road Trip section. Happy Exploring!