Ever thought about an epic Aussie road trip? Picture this: You, a campervan from Travellers Autobarn, and a route that’s packed with the best of New South Wales and Queensland. From breathtaking national parks to tranquil sandy beaches and even those cosy caravan parks – it’s all on the itinerary.

Grab your adventurous spirit, jump into our 9-day Sydney to Brisbane guide, and get ready for a journey that’ll give you more unforgettable moments than your camera can hold!

Sydney to Brisbane Distance

Get ready for the ultimate Australia’s east coast road trip from Sydney to Brisbane! This epic journey covers 1,040 km across 9 incredible days. And guess what? The total drive time is just 12 hours and 30 minutes – plenty of time to discover all the amazing sights en route. Let’s hit the road!

Quick stats

1040km trip distance

9 day roadtrip

Campervan recommended

road trip map

Day 1: Sydney

Aerial view of Sydney City, Australia

Start your road trip with a bang in Sydney, a city that combines iconic landmarks with a dynamic urban vibe. Marvel at the architectural wonder of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, then explore the city’s evolving landscape of rooftop bars, theatres, and designer shops. Balance out the city buzz with serene afternoons on its stunning beaches. With diverse destinations just a short drive away, Sydney is not just a stopover but a launchpad for unforgettable adventures.

Sightseeing #1: Sydney Harbour Bridge

Prepare to be blown away by the Sydney Harbour Bridge – Australia’s iconic steel giant. Also known as the ‘Coathanger’, this is one sight you won’t forget. You can walk it, bike it, or for the adrenaline junkies, try the BridgeClimb Sydney for a heart-stopping view. Want more? Opt for a harbour cruise or a seaplane flight for a different perspective.

Sightseeing #2: Sydney Opera House

Why just admire one of the world’s most iconic structures from afar when you can experience it up close? The Sydney Opera House isn’t just an architectural marvel, it’s a cultural hotbed. Here, traditions are redefined and cultures celebrated. From ballet to comedy, there’s always a captivating performance to catch under its distinctive sails. But the real treat? Exploring its majestic interior with a guided tour. And don’t forget to indulge in gourmet delights at the Opera Kitchen or Bennelong Restaurant. This will surely be an iconic experience!

Day 2: Sydney to Newcastle

Travel time: 2 hours
Newcaste in NSW of Australia - Pacific coast waterfront at Hunter river mouth. Aerial scenic landscape.

After a scenic drive from Sydney, hit the road and land in the lively city of Newcastle. This coastal treasure is chock-full of personality and charm that’s simply irresistible. Dive into its rich culture, feel the buzz, and discover what makes this place truly one-of-a-kind.

Ready for some action? Go whale-watching, try a heart-racing CoastXP tour, or take off to the magical Hunter Valley for some top-notch wine and food. The adventure awaits!

Sightseeing #1: Newcastle Memorial Walk

Embark on a historical journey with the Newcastle Memorial Walk. This standout structure is a tribute to ANZACs and Newcastle’s steel-making roots. Enjoy the stunning views of the coastline and city while strolling among steel soldier silhouettes. The walkway, etched with names of around 11,000 World War I enlistees from Hunter Valley, also connects to the scenic Bathers Way promenade. Open all day, it’s a perfect blend of beauty, history, and importance.

Sightseeing #2: Blackbutt Nature Reserve

Next stop, just six kilometres from Newcastle city centre is none other than Blackbutt Nature Reserve. This 182-hectare green gem is filled with recreational spots, learning opportunities, and a vast range of habitats. Plus, it’s home to unique wildlife exhibits where you can meet Australia’s native fauna, like koalas, wombats, birds, emus, and kangaroos. A must-visit for anyone who adores nature.

Day 3: Newcastle to Port Stephens

Travel time: 45 minutes
View of beaches in Port Stephens, Australia

Port Stephens, or should we say Port Paradise? This coastal gem along the Legendary Pacific Coast route boasts 26 incredible beaches and a majestic bay. Dive into the pristine waters for an encounter with sharks or frolic with wild dolphins.

It’s no secret that Port Stephens is bottlenose dolphin central. Enjoy their water performance on a dolphin-watching cruise or swim alongside them with Dolphin Swim Australia. Add in grand sand dunes, sailing, snorkelling, winter whale watching, and diverse dining options – you’re in for a blast!

Sightseeing #1: Toboggan Hill Park

Slide into fun at Toboggan Hill Park, nestled in Nelson Bay’s natural bushland. The park’s main attraction is the 1km toboggan track with 11 downhill twists and turns. You’re in control of your speed – go for a thrilling race or a leisurely roll. Besides tobogganing, you can also enjoy a 19-hole mini-golf course, a tractor-train ride through the park, and a challenging maze. Perfect for all ages, it’s an adventure-filled destination that offers both indoor and outdoor activities.

Sightseeing #2: Tomaree National Park

Need a killer weekend getaway? This park near Port Stephens has it all. Think historical Fort Tomaree, whale watching, koala spotting, and beach picnics. You can even see unique rhyodacite outcrops here at Tomaree National Park. Enjoy scenic walks, spring wildflowers, and kid-friendly beaches. Keen on fishing? Make sure you check the marine park zoning. And for the grand finale, hike the Tomaree Head Summit walk for sweeping views and a dash of WWII history with Fort Tomaree’s gun emplacements.

Day 4: Port Stephens to Port Macquarie

Travel time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Lighthouse beach seen from the lighthouse in Port Macquarie in the summer

When you’re ready to hit the road, pack up the campervan and continue north on the Pacific Highway towards Port Macquarie. If you have the time to spare then we recommend that you take the scenic route by turning off the highway and driving along the coast, passing some stunning spots such as Myall Lakes National Park, Blueys and Boomerang Beaches.

Port Macquarie is a perfect destination to park up and hit the beach. So grab a flat white and soak up the laid-back Aussie beach town vibes. There are lots of great campsites here with full facilities, which make this the perfect place to park up and stay put for a few nights.

Sightseeing #1: Koala Hospital

Let us tell you, the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital is far from your usual hospital trip. Set up in 1973, this authorized wildlife rehab centre is a koala enthusiast’s paradise. Its goal? Leading the charge in koala care and conservation. With no entry fee, you can discover exhibit enclosures, ICU units, and rehab yards where koalas reacquaint themselves with climbing post-treatment. Be sure to hit the Koalaseum for an interactive experience with koala biology and evolution.

Sightseeing #2: Sea Acres Rainforest Centre

Dive into nature’s core at the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre, your entryway to the Sea Acres National Park. It features eco-displays highlighting local Aboriginal culture and rainforest ecology. Check out frequent local art exhibits and a gift shop full of exclusive environmental goodies. The knowledgeable staff can guide you about bush tucker and Discovery tours. Got a craving? The Rainforest Cafe offers tasty treats amidst beautiful Bangalow palms.

Day 5: Port Macquarie to South West Rocks

Travel time: 1 hour [insert image here]
Campervan parked at South West Rocks, Australia

After your Port Macquarie adventure, gear up for the excitement of South West Rocks. This lesser-known gem is a nature lover’s haven with stunning beaches, prime fishing and diving spots, and abundant hiking trails. Don’t miss the unique Trial Bay Gaol, a global attraction. With tranquil waters, secluded beaches, surf classes, and stand-up paddle boarding, there’s an adventure for everyone.

For the brave, dive into Fish Rock Cave, a top-tier cave diving site, and see endangered grey nurse sharks. If fishing’s your thing, South West Rocks is your perfect sandbox, with beach, rock, river, and offshore options.

Sightseeing #1: Hat Head National Park

Who said parks are just for picnics? Hat Head National Park is an artist’s palette of nature – think sparkling beaches, lofty sand dunes, dewy rainforests, and serene wetlands. It’s your go-to spot for bushwalking, camping, or simply soaking up the tranquillity. Fancy an overnight stay with a twist? The Smoky Cape lighthouse keepers’ cottage awaits! And birdwatchers, be ready to spot everything from black swans to curlews.

Sightseeing #2: Trial Bay Gaol

Where else can you find history with a side of scenic beauty? Only at Trial Bay Gaol in South West Rocks. This prison from 1886 has stories aplenty, from breakwater construction to serving as a WWI internment camp. Today, it’s a picturesque ruin, complete with a museum and memorial. Oh, and don’t skip the view from the guard tower lookout or the nearby walking trails. Trust us, they’re worth it!

Day 6: South West Rocks to Coffs Harbour

Travel time: 1 hour
Campervan in front of Big Banana in Coffs Harbour

From South West Rocks, you’re going to make your way to Coffs Harbour. Coffs has some excellent beaches, and we recommend you visit; Gallows, Park Beach, Sapphire, Emerald and Sawtell Beach. Other things to do in and around Coffs Harbour include; the Forest Sky Pier, Coffs Harbour Butterfly House, a segway tour or kayaking.

If you’re driving through Coffs Harbour in your hired campervan, make sure that you stop at the Giant Banana, a well-known photo stop for backpackers.

Sightseeing #1: Big Banana Fun Park

The Big Banana Fun Park is not just big, it’s the BIGGEST in NSW! Set amidst banana plantations with stunning views of the Coffs Harbour coastline, it offers many attractions. From a 6-lane Giant Slide (the largest in the country) to a 600m Toboggan ride, Laser Tag arena, Water Park, Mini Golf course, and Ice-Skating rink, the fun never ends. And guess what? Entry is FREE! So, pack your spirit of adventure and go bananas!

Sightseeing #2: Park Beach

Where Coffs Creek meets the sea, you’ll find Park Beach, your ultimate location for seaside joy. Whether you’re into surfing, fishing, kayaking, or a casual walk along Macauleys Headland Walk, it’s all ready for you. Food lovers, rejoice with numerous beachside dining choices. Make sure to hit the Friday Twilight Food Markets during daylight savings time! Need a place to stay? Choose from a variety of motels and holiday apartments. And if you need some retail indulgence, Park Beach Plaza is your go-to spot.

Day 7: Coffs Harbour to Byron Bay

Travel time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Aerial view of Byron Bay, Australia

Wind your way through small towns such as Grafton and the seaside of village of Yamba to the world-famous Byron Bay. If you’re driving through Grafton in October, then make sure your phone is charged and ready to take some pics. This town is renowned for its Jacaranda trees which will be in full bloom in October.

After the three-hour drive north, get ready to hit up Byron. This laid-back town is known around the world for its surfing beaches, local produce and hippie vibes. Park up and get ready to relax!

Sightseeing #1: Cape Byron Lighthouse

Fancy a lighthouse visit? Cape Byron Lighthouse, sitting on Australia’s easternmost tip, gives you stunning ocean and hinterland views. It’s not just about the view though, this 19th-century beauty has tales of maritime history to share. And keep your eyes peeled, you might spot some marine life. Make sure to book a tour to get the full story.

Sightseeing #2: Crystal Castle & Shambhala Gardens

How about something magical? Crystal Castle & Shambhala Gardens in Byron Bay’s hinterland is a gem, literally. It’s home to some of the world’s most beautiful crystals. You can explore the gardens, sit in an amethyst cave, and even experience a sound bath. It’s not just a visit, it’s an adventure that you’ll remember forever.

Day 8: Byron Bay to Gold Coast

Travel time: 1 hour
Aerial view of Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, Australia

After soaking in the bohemian vibes of Byron Bay, gear up for a day of sun, surf, and excitement at the Gold Coast. Known for its world-famous beaches, particularly the iconic Surfers Paradise, the Gold Coast is more than just sand and waves.

Explore laid-back neighbourhoods, indulge in the burgeoning culinary scene, and get your adrenaline pumping at the renowned theme parks. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker, a foodie, or a beach bum, the Gold Coast has something for everyone. So go ahead, strike gold on the Gold Coast!

Sightseeing #1: Surfers Paradise

Gold Coast’s shining star, Surfers Paradise, is not just a nightlife hotspot. This legendary suburb has transformed into a lively destination for all. Gaze at the towering buildings, learn to ride the waves at surf schools, or bask in the sun on the flawless coast. Make sure to visit the Q1 building, which offers panoramic Gold Coast views from the SkyPoint Observation Deck. When night falls, dive into the vibrant nightlife featuring multiple clubs and unique bars.

Sightseeing #2: SkyPoint Climb

For awe-inspiring vistas, make a beeline for the SkyPoint Observation Deck. Situated on Level 77 of the Q1 Building, this is Australia’s sole beachside observation deck. It provides stunning panoramic views from the waves to the hinterland, a must-see for all. Enjoy a meal at SkyPoint Bistro + Bar while looking out for migrating whales or observing a storm brewing. When evening comes, it transforms into a lofty lounge bar, an ideal place to relax with live tunes and a sparkling cityscape view.

Day 9: Gold Coast to Brisbane

Day 9: Gold Coast to Brisbane
Brisbane skyline, Australia

When you’re done with Gold Coast (and trust us, it will be hard to leave), it’s only an hour’s drive to the city of Brisbane. Get onto the M1 and work your way north. If you’re keen to do some more exploring before you arrive in the city, then make sure you check out Tamborine Mountain to the southwest of the city and try the treetop walk through the rainforest.

Sightseeing #1: Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Searching for a memorable time in Brisbane? Check out Lone Pine, the world’s pioneer and biggest koala sanctuary. With a rich 90-year history, it’s a hub for studying these iconic creatures. The main attraction? Kangaroo feeding! But wait, there’s more – you can even cuddle a koala. Just make sure to reserve your experiences early, they get snatched up quickly.

Sightseeing #2: Brisbane City Botanic Gardens

Dive into a botanical journey through time at Brisbane’s first botanic gardens. This 17-hectare historic treasure provides a peaceful haven right in the city hub. Wander down Weeping Fig Avenue, appreciate the Bamboo Grove, or unwind by ornamental ponds. And hey, entry is free! Whether you’re a plant lover or just craving some greenery, the City Botanic Gardens are a refreshing oasis in Brisbane’s core.

For more ideas on free things to do while you’re in Brisbane read our top tips here.

Campervan parked next to beach in Australia

If you’re looking to hire a campervan in Sydney for your road trip to Brisbane then speak to the team at Travellers Autobarn about our great rates and deals today!

If you want to read more of our Sydney adventures, come and explore our dedicated Sydney Road Trip section. Happy Exploring! Remember if you can start from Brisbane too! Check out our latest deals and specials on Campervan hire in Brisbane.

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