Sydney to Brisbane

Dec 6th, 2008, 12:44 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 64
Sydney to Brisbane

Hi, we have 5 days in all and are planning to drive to Brisbane from sydney. Need itenary suggestions, where we can break journey and stay a night enroute and places worth spending time doing
BUKU is offline  
Dec 6th, 2008, 05:17 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
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Five days is a good ammount of time to really enjoy the trip and in being prepared to do a bit of extra distance you can mix a bit of inland touring with the Pacific Highway.

There's some not overly testing navigation I have mentioned below but use a travelplanner like or has one too. and then you can have a trial run using google earth and just have a good map when travelling.

Depending on when you plan to do this trip, going inland could allow you to mis a fair bit of traffic and you'll have far less traffic on some inland roads at any time.
Thus for me, I'd do something like:
. D1 - up the Newcastle motorway that bypasses the central coast and Newcastle and then turn in for Nelson Bay/Shoal Bay on Port Stephens, there being some great beaches, Anna Bay sandunes, and some great lookouts on the headland and plenty of accommodation ranging from hostels/caravan park cabins and motels through to resort style units.
. D2 - Back to Pacific Hwy and just past Bulahdelah where highway goes dual carriage way again keep an eye out for Lakes Drive to Forster Tuncurry for an interesting loop off the highway - Dolphin swimming possible there and then head back towards the Pacific Highway via a small village called Failford and turn left(south) back to Nabiac(just a few km./miles) before turning right (west) there for Gloucester via Krambach [ a sneaky peel off that road after a right sweeper and two half left sweepers and if you miss it you'll get to Dyers Crossing! - turnaround]
At Gloucester you take Thunderbolts way for some superb hinterland views via Walcha and Uralla and then you'll be on the New England Highway for Armidale - nice high country University city for overnighting - plenty of motels.
[If you do not want to go inland, just keep heading up the coast, maybe turn off highway at Kew for the Port Macquarie coast and on way in there's a North Brother Mountain drive worth doing] and PM is a good place to stay the night or head on to South West Rocks for a special place, a number of accomodation options, for me an on site van or cabin in the Caravan Park right on the beach.

D3. The waterfall way down through Dorrigo to Belligen and there's quite a few waterfalls to take side roads to and some quite close to the main road - Go into Visitors Information Centre in Armidale and you'll be able to get a brochure - Visitor information Centres being good value anywhere when driving and particularly if you get lost!
Belligen is a good lunch stop and if you like the town, stay overnight.
Alternately if you want to get back to the coast for a nice evening walk on the beach, two options:
A. Head through the hinterland to Macksville[could be a bit tricky]but a great drive and back south down the Pacific highway to overnight at South West Rocks - or north from Macksville for Valla Park were there are cabins in a great setting -
B.More direct, keep on main road from Belligen for Coffs Harbour vis the Pacific Highway, Coffs Harbour being quite a large regional city with a lot of beaches and plenty of motels or for something quieter head further north about 30 KM. and just past Woolgoolba there is a Big4 Caravan park right on the beach with cabins/pool etc. -

D4 Head for Byron Bay or the Gold Coast and plenty of overnight options or if wanting to miss a lot of traffic etc. Turn off Pacific Highway at Grafton onto Summerway for Casino, Kyogle, Woodenbong and Beadesert and then head up to Mt Tambourine for overnighting.

You could also go as far as Byron Bay, great beach and a trendy tourist town often too overcrowded, and give yourself the afternoon to drive via Mullumbimby to Nimbin, quaint Marijuana type town and then either head back down towards the coast via Murwillumbah or out to Kyogle for the inland route to Mount Tambourine.

D5. Head for Brisbane, only an hour or so away depending on where you have stopped.
Bushranger is offline  
Dec 7th, 2008, 10:21 AM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 1,572
As an alternative to Bushie’s excellent suggestions, let me propose this itinerary, which assumes that you have not already done northerly daytrips (Hunter Valley wine country) while you were based in Sydney, and assuming that this trip happens during a season when beach life is an option.

I trust you know how to look things up on google maps. For online maps for Australia also go to

When you get to Sydney, for great maps and guidebooks (free if you are a AAA member) go to the walk-in facility of the NSW equivalent called NRMA ( contact-us/visit-us/sydney.shtml) in the middle of Sydney (CBD = Central Business District) on the corner of King and George.

Day 1: Explore the Hunter Valley wine country (, also, stay the night somewhere in the vicinity of Cessock.

Day 2: Drive to Armidale on the New England Highway (the inland route, faster than highway 1 Pacific Coast Highway). Look around, it is a charming country town with a good university feeling. Stay the night.

Day 3: A great drive inland and across the mountain range takes you via Ebor and Tyringham and Nymboida (what names!) to Grafton. You’re going through National Park mountain scenery - if you’re into hiking etc. ask for a good map in Armidale at a tourist info, the Cathedral Rock National Park for example could provide good hiking fun for a couple of hours.

Anyway, at Hernani you have to get off the Nr. 78 highway (otherwise you get to Bellingen and the coast) and keep going in the direction of Glenn Fernaigh to Grafton. A great drive!

Grafton is an overgrown country town - plenty of generous and inexpensive places to stay the night, and good places to eat unless you leave it too late...

Day 4: Drive north along the Highway 1, then north of Ballina, at Byron Bay, head off the highway towards the ocean and find a place to stay - still plenty of time to hit the beach for the rest of the day.

Day 5: Drive to Brisbane. Stop anywhere you like, you have plenty of time. A good detour is from Nerang, head west and up to Mt. Tamborine and hike down into the valley a bit from the lookout. Then keep going north via Tamborine and highway 95 to Marsden and onto Brisbane.

Or keep on Highway M1 past Nerang but get off at Oxenford, take highway 4 east to Paradise Point and have a nice lunch in one of the restaurants by the water. Just stop and ask a local, they’ll direct you.


DalaiLlama is offline  
Dec 9th, 2008, 04:47 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,092
BUKU - everyone has given you excellent advice, however my advice, is not to try & see everything there is. I've seen people over the years rushing around chasing their tails, trying to see all. Slow down, smell the roses, and stay a night or 2 in certain locations to get a feel for the place.
Most coastal beaches start to look the same after a while, so you need to pick somewhere interesting to stop for 1 night or 2 nights. My suggestion would be:
Day 1 is getting out of Sydney & up the Pacific Highway, and onto Coffs Harbour, a pleasant coastal town. (stay 2 nights...this will allow you to drive out to the Orara Valley, probably one of the best kept secrets & beautiful vallies in NSW) Also nearby is Belligen, Dorrigo Mtn etc)
Day 3 - Drive to somewhere like Lennox or Brunswick Head and stay 2 nights (this will allow you to "slowly" take in the wonderful sub-tropical region of this area.
Then Day 5 - its a pleasant drive to Brisbane on the Pacific Highway, and Motorway, right up to the Qld, border, then the new motorway near the Gold Coast, then onto Brisbane.
tropo is offline  
Dec 9th, 2008, 04:51 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,092
BUKU - pity you don't have a 2 extra days, as I would recommend driving out to Cleveland (near Brisbane) Then going out on a water taxi or take your car out(dearer cost for taking a car) to North Stradbroke Island. There are buses on the island which will take you to Amity Point and also Point Lookout/Main Beach. Near Point Lookout is Cylinder Beach, probably one of the prettiest beaches you will see in qld.
Also there are some nice cafes/restaurants near Point Lookout for lazy casual lunch.
tropo is offline  
Dec 10th, 2008, 12:50 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
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North Stradbroke Island is tops for beaches BUKU and if you organise yourself to be up close to Brisbane for night 4 and get an early start you could make it a day trip over on the ferry and back, but still a bit of a rush.

Within five days, you could give yourself an extra day by choosing to drop the inland route or heading more directly up that way by giving Port Stephens and/or Hunter Valley which has its coal mining industrial ugliness a miss.
Bushranger is offline  
Dec 10th, 2008, 01:17 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,051
Sorry, Bushranger - I can't let you get away with that last comment!

The Hunter / Port Stephens area has many charms and natural areas. Your comment would give the rest of the world an impression that is very misleading. I guess every area has down sides as well as highlights.

Buku - just take a look at or or for the correct information.

Happy travels, Di
di2315 is offline  
Dec 10th, 2008, 04:25 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
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Author: di2315
Date: 12/10/2008, 05:17 am
Sorry, Bushranger - I can't let you get away with that last comment!

My coalmining industrial ugliness comment is confined to the Hunter Valley and not the Port Stephens area and if you read my first post you see exactly my recommendation for stopping over there.

The sole reason for putting a bypassing of it is merely to give BUKU an option as raised by tropo to be able to make time for a look/stay out on Stradbroke Island.

Whilst there are some pleasant enough wineries in the Hunter, if you're travelling through you cannot but help to take in the mining tracts in the lower hunter.

A much more enjoyable drive with more spectacular vistas and little traffic can be had via the Gloucester route - have you ever travelled that way?, for if not it is worth doing.
Bushranger is offline  

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