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Brisbane to Sydney in 4-5 days! Itinerary help!


Sep 3rd, 2016, 10:35 PM
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Brisbane to Sydney in 4-5 days! Itinerary help!

We are planning to drive from Brisbane to Sydney in November and are wondering what route to do ? or which places to stop for nights? We have 4 - 5 days for this leg of our journey. We aren't sure yet if we will be renting a car and staying in motels or if we will do a campervan rental/ relocation ? We are worried that rental car agencies will charge ALOT for a one way fee. Thanks so much for your time!
suzyq90 is offline  
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Sep 4th, 2016, 11:03 AM
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Have done the trip several times, most recently this past Dec-Jan to/from the Gold Coast, just south of Brisbane. We drove the inland route (mostly the New England Hwy) going north, then took the coast road (Pacific Hwy) on the return. With 4-5 days, you'll have plenty of time to explore, perhaps doing a bit of coast, and a bit of inland, depending on your interests. Here's our itinerary, which should give you some ideas:

Leaving Sydney, we started up the Pacific Hwy, then turned off for the Hunter Valley, taking the very pretty backroad route via Bucketty, Wollombi (quaint little town - wished we had time to stop!)and Cessnock. We had not made and advance booking so were lucky to find a room at the Mercure Resort in Pokolbin. Enjoyed a very good pub meal at the Cessnock Hotel that evening. The next morning we explored the Hunter for a few hours with a few stops including the lovely Briar Ridge Winery. After lunch in Singleton, we followed the NE Hwy through Tamworth to the attracive inland university town of Armidale. Unfortunely, our choice of accommodation in Armidale was very poor - the City Centre Motor Inn.

Heading north toward the Queensland border, we did not stop, as we have before, at Girraween National and Bald Rock National Parks, which I would highly recommend for walks and wildlife. Nor did we stay with our friends who own the beautiful Beverley Vineyard B&B outside of Stanthorpe. But we did do the rugged (partly unsealed), lush and very scenic drive on the Mt Lindsay Highway" over the border ranges to Beaudesert (outside Bribane).

While staying on the Gold Coast for 10 days, we took several side trips, including day trips to Byron Bay and Lamington National Park (O'Reilly's), two places I would enthusiastically recommend visiting while in Brisbane or en route south from Brisbane to Sydney, depending on which route you choose.

On the return trip to Sydney down the coast road, we stayed two nights in Coff's Harbour (quite a large town these days with a number of restaurant possibilites - the North Indian Restaurant was excellent!). In Coffs we very much enjoyed the scenic walk up Muttonbird Island, an Australian meat pie lunch in Sawtell (gorgeous beaches!) and a scenic side trip on Waterfall Way into the mountains via Bellingen (nice town!) to visit the Dorrigo National Park and Rainforest Centre. (Waterfall Way connects Coff Harbour to Armidale, so would be a possible sector on a combined coast-inland trip.)

On the final day, we stopped outside Port Macquarie for a fantastic seafood lunch at the Big Oyster, in Newcastle for a beer at the Beauford Hotel (my in-laws old pub), and in Woy Woy for a nice dinner at the Ela Mesa Greek restaurant.

The New England Hwy is slower, in general, as it often goes though towns as opposed to around them, and there are fewer sections of dual carriageway. The Pacific Hwy is now mostly dual highway, but some dual sections are still under constuction leading to some huge traffic backups in busy times like school holidays. Either way you go, be sure to detour to see some of the fantastic places along the way, some of which I've mentioned.
RalphR is offline  
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Sep 6th, 2016, 10:25 PM
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Price your vehicle alternatives, camper vs car and motels, doing a bit of home work and maybe a phone call will soon tell you which way to go. For my taste, hassling with a camper, the outfitting, the looking for places where you can hook up and all that, would be too much trouble for such a short time. November is not peak time, yet, so you can wing it with the motels.

As to the route, there could easily be several very good ways of doing it, but we have to pick one, and I'll tell you about one I did not long ago (I've cruised up and down many times, along various routes, for work and for pleasure).

That time we headed down the coast from Coolie (Coolangatta) past Byron Bay - you might want to stop there and look around, get inspired by www.byron-bay.com/beaches/

Keep going, and when you get to Coffs Harbour, turn inland, it's a great drive through the forested mountains, with very few points of civilization and little traffic along the way, until you come out in Armidale.

Armidale I always find an amusing mixture of academia, farmland capital, and other traits that make it fascinating - to me. Maybe not to you if you don't have much time to look around and "get the vibe".

Then as you head south along the New England Highway you get to Tamworth, the "country music" capital, a wanna-be Nashville where you can buy cowboy hats and do some yodelling...

Keep going and soon you'll be in the Hunter Valley - stop into the tourist info at Cessnock for maps and guidance if wineries are your thing. I've always been partial to Tyrrell's, their Long Flat Red used to flow freely in our household when I lived in Sydney.

Soon you'll be approaching Sydney once you get onto the M1. But there are lots of nice places along the Central Coast if you're not in a rush to get to Sydney just yet - see http://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/central-coast

michelhuebeli is offline  
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Sep 6th, 2016, 10:40 PM
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I don't doubt that Byron Bay has plenty of appeal and nightlife for the tourist, so it is a good fun place to stop.
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Sep 7th, 2016, 04:07 PM
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My choice would be the coastal route, lots of really nice places to stop, walk, stay overnight.
Bryon Bay is OK but more for young people, my choice would be Ballina. Yamba is another good choice. One of our favourite places is Urunga - just off the highway south of Coffs Harbour and right on the water. Port Macquarie is well worth visiting with lots of accommodation. Closer to Sydney, the Port Stephens area is a good spot to stay overnight.
Re the debate as to motorhome or not, we did a similar trip in August by car and staying in motels. We paid from $105 upward for a good modern motel and about $140 for an apartment.
marg is offline  
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Sep 23rd, 2016, 12:14 PM
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Wow this is a lot of helpful info.. Definitely useful! Thanks so much. We will do a proper check of price comparisons and see what is more reasonable . Still haven't decided which route to take but we will check out all these places you all suggested. It would be neat to see the inland farms and countryside.. guess we will see what we decide. I will get on google maps and do some route checking. Thanks again!
suzyq90 is offline  
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Oct 16th, 2016, 01:12 PM
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I was also wondering.. Do you think we should book our places for night ahead of time or do you think we can just wing it? We are pretty sure we will be taking the Brisbane - Coffs Harbour-Armidale- Tamworth-Newcastle-Sydney. Not sure which places we will stay night yet beings as we only have from the 19th - 23rd so that's only 4 nights. Any suggestions as to which town to stay night in along the way? or if we should bother to book ahead?
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Oct 16th, 2016, 10:04 PM
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If you have four nights to spend on this trip, that seems to me very generous (I used to have to do it nonstop through the night, some 14 hours if I remember right, in the '70s). That's positively trundling down in a leisurely manner.

A night in Lismore, a generous broad country town, another in the similar Grafton, then Armidale, and another night in the Hunter Valley (after some wine tasting and a dinner with local wine you might not want to drive that night anyway) will get you to Sydney in style.

While you can wing the accommodation, it's good to at least have a list of targets to hit when you get into a town. But with a mobile phone, make at least some calls when you have service somewhere during the day, saves you time.

If it's not all that was it cracked up to be online, it's only for one night, so don't be too fussy. Sleep and move on.
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Oct 20th, 2016, 04:13 PM
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I've done this trip at least once a year for my entire life. The routes suggested sound great & honestly regarding the accommodation you can wing it.
Once year we had 9 of us travelling together & had no problem finding a room for a night. Just have an idea(ish) of where you'd like to stay & maybe some numbers one hand. You'll only need to do a couple of hours driving a day so you can easily move on if you don't like the area & book somewhere else!
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