Road trip from Sydney to Noosa


Apr 28th, 2010, 07:34 AM
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Road trip from Sydney to Noosa


I'll be traveling through Eastern Australia with a friend in late June/July. We want to rent a car in Sydney and drive up the coast to Noosa, and stop in little beach towns along the way. Does anyone have any advice on any "must-see" towns along that stretch? We have a week to work with...

erinkelly74 is offline  
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May 2nd, 2010, 06:51 PM
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Lots of little gems, Erin. I'll post a few of my favourites later today.
Bokhara2 is online now  
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May 17th, 2010, 10:54 PM
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There are MANY little beach towns between Sydney and Noosa. It's been along time since I've travelled through them so maybe Bokhara2 will have more up to date information.

I suggest that you use Google Maps to get the directions and see what towns you can go through or be near on your trip. Google Maps are calling it a 14 hour drive. Adding stops for fuel etc and driving in Australia this could be a total of about 18 hours of driving required. You should take this into account when doing your planning.
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May 18th, 2010, 01:45 AM
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What makes it a must see for you?
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May 19th, 2010, 04:03 PM
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Some stops on the way I like are: Newcastle, Port Stephens, there is a great place to see koalas in the wild, Tilligerry Peninsula:

I also like the area around Hat Head/Crescent Head: lots of wallabies and kangaroos.
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May 19th, 2010, 07:19 PM
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Erin, sorry - forgot I'd not posted on this.

I know this track reasonably well - drive up to Noosa at least once a year and several times to the Gold Coast.
With a week to play with, there are some lovely spots to stay for a day or just a few hours' detour.

In rough geographical order, here are some of my favourites:

* At Buladelah, take The Lakes Way past Myall Lake, across the narrow isthmus between Wallis Lake (great oysters!) to Forster & Tuncurry. There are some nice spots to stay at Hallidays Point & Diamond Beach if you want to stay a night before rejoining the Pacific Highway just south of Taree.

* At Kew, turn right onto Ocean Drive (I think the sign says "Lake Cathie) & follow the coast up to Port Macquarie. At Laurieton there is a lovely picnic area in the Dooragan National Park, with sensational views to North Brother

Port Macquarie is an attractive large town, with some interesting art galleries, coastal & rainforest walks and waterways. You might take a boat trip through the mangroves and oyster leases. Cheap, interesting and a nice way to spend a couple of hours. I just walk along the jettys - someone is generally offering a last minute special deal. Good spot for locally caught fish & oysters.

There's a Koala Hospital just out of town, near the Wauchope turn-off.

*Crescent Head. Lovely little town - beautiful location & fabulous beach. Busy in the summer as it's a surfing mecca. Caravan Park with cabins at the water's edge. Good food at the Tavern, the cafe on the corner near the roundabout, and the bakery. Forget the Country/RSL club.

* From Crescent Head, take the back road along the Belmore River to Smithtown - through dairy country, old farm houses. Good coffee & bistro at the Riverview Hotel on the western bank of the Macleay river. You can either follow the river to South West Rocks on the coast ( good diving & lots of accommodation options), or rejoin the Pacific Highway.

* Nambucca Heads. White Albatross Holiday Park has great cabins right on the water, a very decent pub/bistro and is adjacent to a boardwalk which runs around the shoreline to the Golf Club (probably 3 or 4 kms). Very pleasant little town. I've had a couple of long weekends here and will go back & explore some more. Very interesting area.

* Bellingen - about 15kms left off the Pacific Highway on the Waterfall Way has great markets, and is a charming little town. Worth the diversion. Good coffee.

Coffs Harbour - nothing wrong with it, but I like smaller towns & villages.

* Woolgoolga. You'll come around a corner and wonder if you're seeing things as the big white Sikh temple sits on the hill in front. Turn off - this is a little gem of a town.
This is Banana country and the Sikhs have a rich history in the area. The locals call it "Woopi" (as in Woopi Goldberg) - I've never been able to figure how you get Woopi from Woolgoolga, and none of them can tell me ... it just is.

* Grafton & the Clarence River Valley. This is "Big River" country and if the vistas along this magnificent river don't take your breath away, you've no soul at all. Grafton itself is an attractive & interesting city - and if you're around for the Jacaranda Festival & Race meeting (end of October), don't miss it.

* Just out of Grafton, ULMARRA on your left. It's a blink on the map and you can so easily miss it - but please promise me you'll just make the turn. Tiny little port town, history oozing from every pore ... and they're still using those old buildings. Down on the river bank (do you think I might have a thing for waterways?) there's an old pub doing fabulous bistro food. Sit out on the lawn under those big trees & tell me this isn't heaven!

Just for fun - here's a little diversion: About 1 or 2 kms north of Ulmarra, there's a little punt/car ferry that takes you across the Clarence River - turn right & follow the road beside the river to Lawrence where you take another ferry back across the river to rejoin the Pacific Highway a few kms from Yamba. (These ferries are free BTW).

* At Ballina, you can either take the coastal run to Lennox Head (Good weekend markets) & on to Byron Bay, OR ... more interesting, I think turn off at Lennox Head & head for Bangalow. On the way, turn in to Newrybar & have lunch/a coffee at Harvest (it's 2 minutes off the Highway) Next door is a fabulous collection of artworks, collectables, furniture, sculptures in a shop with the biggest reclining goddess you've ever seen outside. Over the road, the Antique shop's sign accurately says "Dead People's stuff for sale".

* Bangalow - just up the road, is charming. 4th Sunday of each month Markets well worth a visit.

Bangalow/Byron Bay/ Nimbin/ Lismore ...this is the "Hippy Triangle", so there's lots of vegetarian foods, alternate lifestyle stuff and some very interesting people.

* Byron Bay (because you will feel deprived if you can't say you've been there) - just follow the signs & it's not far off the highway.

** You can continue up the coast, either stopping along the Tweed & Gold Coasts & skirting Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast.
OR, you might take an inland curve through Lismore, Warwick, Toowoomba, Nanango, Gympie, Cooroy & onto the coast at Noosa Heads. This would take you through some of our richest grazing & farming country, the Esk Valley and show you something completely different from the coastal route, which isn't all that charming from the Gold Coast to the Sunshine Coast as it's mainly highways.

Hope I haven't bored you rigid, but ... it IS one of my favourite drives, and there are so many variations ....
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May 19th, 2010, 09:47 PM
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Wow Bokhara2

That is an impressive list. Congratulations
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May 20th, 2010, 06:52 AM
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Once you are on the Bruce Highway north of Brisbane, take the Steve Irwin Way to Lansdsborough. This will take you close to the scenic Glasshouse Mountains. At Landsborough, take the road to Maleny. As you get close to Maleny take a left onto Mountain View Road (to Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve) for great mountain views. Continue on Mountain View Road, turning right when it ends, into Maleny, a nice little town. The Colin James cafe has great ice-cream. From Maleny head back east towards Landsborough and after a few kilometres take the left turn to Montville and Mapleton. Not too far along on the right is a lookout with sweeping views out to the ocean. Follow this road through Montville (the Edge Restaurant has good food and more massive views) and Mapleton, past Nambour Hospital and across the Bruce Highway (here it becomes Bli Bli Road). Stay on this road until you reach David Low Way. Turn left onto David Low Way and follow it all the way through Coolum to Noosa. The David Low Way runs close to he ocean whereas the Bruce Highway and Sunshine Motorway both stay inland. If you want to see Mooloolaba, Alexandra Headland and Maroochydore first (all nice surf beaches with great Surf Clubs), don't cross the Bruce Highway but head south on the highway one exit to Maroochydore Road, just follow that. To get from Maroochydore to Noosa get on the Sunshine Motorway and once across the river take the David Low Way exit.
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Jun 8th, 2010, 12:23 AM
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Topping for LisaFa

Lisa, lots of interesting places along the way.
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Jul 5th, 2010, 02:46 PM
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topping for dsmith
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