Explore the stunning east coast of New South Wales, with an epic road trip from Sydney to Byron Bay. It’s one of the most popular routes for road trippers and holidaymakers in Australia, but with so many beautiful destinations along the way, which will you choose to visit?

We’ve put together this 7-day road trip itinerary, highlighting our favourite stops along the way. We’ve done so with campervan travellers in mind. We also have included some amazing campground recommendations that we’ve tried and tested!

Sydney to Byron Bay Distance

We’re looking at a total driving time of approximately 11 hours and 30 minutes (give or take a kangaroo crossing or two). That’s 965 kilometres of open road, stunning coastline, and awe-inspiring national parks. And yes, we’re taking a slight detour through the breathtaking Dorrigo National Park (because who doesn’t love a good detour?)

Quick stats

965km trip distance

7 day roadtrip

Campervan recommended

road trip map

Day 1-2: Sydney to Port Stephens

Travel time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Tomaree head port stephens

Heading north from Sydney, make your way to the gorgeous Port Stephens. Located about 3 hours from the city, Port Stephens is a popular weekend destination for Sydneysiders – and there’s no shortage of sea, sun, and fun to enjoy here as your first stop along the way. There’s something for everyone in the neighbouring beaches in the region. Head to Nelson Bay for delicious cafes and restaurants, Shoal Bay for gorgeous views of the top of Tomaree Mountain Summit, Fingal Bay to catch a wave or a fish, and Anna Bay to explore the sand dunes on a quad bike, camel, or join a 4WD tour.

When you’re all worn out from your day’s adventure, head to your choice of excellent campgrounds in the region. We recommend those run by Port Stephens Beachside Holiday Parks, which have three separate parks in the region. They are fully facilitated holiday parks with exceptionally clean toilets, showers, BBQ areas, laundries, and more. A van site at these parks will cost anywhere between $30-60 per night, depending on the time you are travelling.

Sightseeing #1: Irukandji Shark & Ray Encounters

Ever thought you’d be up close and personal with sharks and rays? Well, at Irukandji Shark & Ray Encounters, that’s exactly what you’re getting into. You’re not just watching—you’re in the midst of it, feeding and touching these incredible creatures. It’s a whole new level of fun, and don’t worry, it’s safe. Plus, there are hot outdoor showers to warm up afterwards.

Spot #2: Tomaree National Park

Feeling like escaping the concrete jungle for a bit? Tomaree National Park is just the perfect place for this—it’s a coastal haven where you can spot whales, hike to your heart’s content, and maybe even see a sea eagle or koala. And if history’s your thing, Fort Tomaree is waiting for you.

Day 3: Port Stephens to Crowdy Bay

Travel time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Crowdy Bay National Park NSW

Next, hit the road again and head another 2 hours north to Crowdy Bay on NSW’s mid-north coast. Crowdy Bay is the perfect destination for camping and enjoying Australia’s great outdoors, offering an abundance of wildflowers, birds and animals, bushwalking, swimming, and fishing. The beach views are nothing short of spectacular, and more often than not, there will be kangaroos lounging about by the shores.

There are several government-run campgrounds within the national park. For the best location & facilities, we recommend booking your stay at Diamond Head Campground. Facilities here include picnic tables, BBQs, showers, and toilets. It’s just steps away from the beach, and the price is $24 for two adults.

Sightseeing #1: Dooragan National Park

How about an outdoor adventure? Check out Dooragan National Park, just west of Laurieton. The North Brother’s summit there? It’s got killer views. You can walk through blackbutt forests and maybe even spot some wildlife. And get this – it’s a hotspot for hang-gliding and wedding photos. Plus, with trails for all fitness levels, it’s perfect for a picnic day out.

Sightseeing #2: Harrington Beach State Park

When it comes to beach vibes, Harrington Beach State Park has it all. It stretches from Harrington Village to Crowdy Head, offering the perfect setting for a relaxing stroll or a fishing session. The Harrington break wall? Great for both fishing and walking. And families, listen up – the Harrington Lagoon is a safe swimming spot for you. Bonus – there’s 4WD vehicle access available north of Harrington Beach Holiday Park.

Day 4-5: Crescent Head

Travel time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Surfers Crescent Head NSW

For laid-back days by the beach and a chilled-out, surfy atmosphere, head a further 1.5 hours north to the gorgeous Crescent Head. Its four sets of epic reef breaks make it one of the most famous surfing towns in Australia – and even if you’re not much of a surfer, you’ll enjoy watching the pros do their thing from the foreshore. Check out Crescent Head Lookout for amazing views of the area and enjoy an afternoon picnic at sundown by the water.

Crescent Head Holiday Park is an excellent option to stay in your campervan if you want to be as close as it gets to the action of Crescent Head. You take your pick between a seaside or lakeside site, and you’ll be just steps away from both the town and the south end of Killick Beach.

Sightseeing #1: Maria National Park

Ever wanted to lose yourself in nature? Maria National Park is a mix of everything – sandy beaches, towering mountains, dense forests, and even some colonial history. If that’s not enough, there are aboriginal campsites and fossil cliffs, too. Perfect for those who love nature and history.

Sightseeing #2: Goolawah Beach

If you’re all about that beach life, Goolawah Beach has got your name on it. It’s not your usual crowded seaside spot – think pristine headlands, untouched beautiful beaches, and native plants. Fancy some surfing? There’s a left-hand point break waiting for you. More into wildlife? Get ready for some top-notch birdwatching and whale watching. And at the end of the day, you can unwind at the Racecourse or Delicate campground.

Day 6: Dorrigo National Park

Travel time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Dorrigo National Park NSW

Not everything about this road trip revolves around sand and the ocean. Take a detour from the coastal route and make your way further north and inland to Dorrigo National Park. Although just one hour from Coffs Harbour, you’ll feel worlds away in this lush, high-altitude region for a night. Visit the heritage-listed rainforest for breathtaking waterfall walks, picnic spots, and birdwatching.

Crystal Shower Falls and Dangar Falls are two highlights of the region that are not to be missed. On your way back through, stop off in the bohemian town of Bellingen for a café brunch or to try the famous ice cream at Bellingen Gelato Bar.

When visiting Dorrigo National Park in a campervan, we recommend staying at the nearby Dorrigo Mountain Holiday Park. Here, you can enjoy grassy powered campgrounds and shady trees, surrounded by scenic countryside views. Facilities here include laundry, BBQ area, toilet block, and showers. You can even purchase firewood at the office and enjoy an evening by the campfire.

Sightseeing #1: Dangar Falls

Ever heard of Dangar Falls? This 30-metre fall, just north of Dorrigo, is a showstopper. With its new viewing platform, you’ve got the best seat in the house for photos. Plus, there’s a car park, picnic tables, and a walking trail to the bottom if you’re up for a dip. And hey, while you’re at it, check out Mihi Falls nearby. Sure, there are seven lookouts, but trust me, these two are the real deal.

Sightseeing #2: Bellinger River National Park

Now, let’s talk about Bellinger River National Park. This untouched gem is all about steep slopes, valleys, and waterfalls. No clearly marked tracks here, but if you are an experienced bushwalker, you are in for a treat. And for a view that is worth a thousand words, Griffiths Lookout has got you covered. It’s a haven for nature lovers and a perfect spot for some peace and quiet.

Day 7: Byron Bay

Travel time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Cape Byron bay lighthouse

After another 3.5 hours up the east coast of NSW, you’ll reach your final (and we bet your favourite) destination, Byron Bay! This stunning beachside town doesn’t require an introduction – it’s well-known and desired worldwide as a place where you come to ‘cheer up, slow down, and chill out’! Enjoy your time in this stylish coastal town, and don’t skip exploring the surrounding forested hinterland and stunning beaches.

Reflections Holiday Park at Clarkes Beach is our go-to campground when travelling in a campervan to Byron Bay. This campground locates you well between the town and the walk to Byron Bay Lighthouse and Wategos Beach (which is a must-do). It has all the facilities you need, and the price ranges from $40 – $65 per night for a powered campsite (plus more in peak travel times). Be sure to book in advance, as Byron Bay is extremely popular with campervan travellers, and this campground does book out quickly.

Sightseeing #1: Cape Byron Lighthouse

Perched on Australia’s most easterly point, Cape Byron Lighthouse isn’t just a beacon of light; it is a beacon of history. Built in the early 20th century, this 22-metre-high structure offers an unbeatable vantage point over the Pacific Ocean. Dive into some history and learn about shipwrecks. And, if you are lucky, you might spot turtles, dolphins, or even humpback whales!

Sightseeing #2: Wategos Beach

Just a stone’s throw from Cape Byron and its lighthouse, Wategos Beach is a haven for beachgoers and bottlenose dolphins alike. It’s the perfect place to unwind, picnic, or simply soak in the beauty. And hey, they have BBQ facilities and cafes nearby! Whether you’re up for a swim or a sunset watch, trust us – you do not want to miss out on this one.

Looking for the perfect vehicle to get you up the east coast? Check out our latest deals & specials on campervan hire in Sydney and travel with freedom and flexibility!

If you want to read more of our Sydney adventures, come and explore the dedicated Sydney Road Trips. Happy Exploring!

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