Road Trip Along the Pacific Coast
The Pacific Coast is legendary for its scenic views, ease of access and incredible length. This route can take you all the way from Sydney to Brisbane. The journey can take quite some time, so it's a good idea to map out your trip with a few rest stops along the way. Book your holiday location, load up a playlist with your favourite driving songs and get set to explore this special part of Australia.
Depart from Sydney and head north along the Pacific Ocean coastline toward Brisbane, travelling through some of the best landscapes New South Wales has to offer. These include surf beaches, national parks, rolling hills and plenty of attractions to take in - the only challenge is deciding which to stop in at and explore.
The touring route showcases some of Australia's most beloved landmarks, including a super-sized prawn, pineapple and Ned Kelly sculptures.
At around 930 kilometres in length, the Pacific Coast touring route should definitely be broken up into smaller sections to allow you to experience all this spectacular road has to offer. Set aside between three and ten days to explore the Central Coast, Hunter Valley Region and beyond.
The drive from Sydney to Port Stephens takes approximately two and a half hours. When you arrive, seek out one of the area's 26 stunning golden sand beaches, including Anna Bay, Williamtown and Salt Ash. Try your hand at surfing at One Mile Beach, Box Beach and Fingal Spit or take a tour from Nelson Bay to see bottlenose dolphins in their natural habitat.
If you plan your road trip between June and July or September and November, you can fit some whale watching in to your holiday. Take a cruise or head to Tomaree National Park to get a glimpse of these magnificent animals from the comfort of dry land.
Quench your thirst at Murray's Craft Brewing Co., located on Nelson Bay Road. Named Australia's Brewer of the Year, expect exciting beers crafted to perfection at this gem of Port Stephens. Start with the Angry Man, Whale Ale or Rudeboy Pilsner then move on to heavier drops like Wild Thing and Heart of Darkness. The beer is brewed slowly and without sugar, giving each a natural goodness that you're bound to appreciate the next day.
Coffs Harbour is just about halfway in between Sydney and Brisbane, making it the perfect destination to stop off at and enjoy a mini-break on your trip.
One of Coffs Harbour's - and Australia's - leading tourist attractions is its Big Banana. It's one of the country's most photographed object, standing high at 5 metres tall, 11 metres high and 2.4 metres wide. Make sure you factor this classic Aussie icon in to your Pacific Coast trip.
Stop in to the Yarrawarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre, nestled amongst the homelands of the Garby Elders and the Gumbaynggirr people. Here you can dine out at the Bush Tucker Cafe, take in traditional indigenous art and try your hand at an Aboriginal art class. There are even clay modelling and traditional basket weaving classes.
The Wadjar Regional Indigenous Art Gallery should be your next stop, where the work of regional indigenous artists and craftspeople is showcased amongst traditional and contemporary arts, crafts, books and clothing.
Australia's easternmost town is also known as the style capital of the North Coast, with volcanic hills surrounding the area's natural beauty. The relaxed seaside area is abuzz with creativity, which you can indulge in at Byron Bay Art Studio. The studio promises to turn you into an artist in just three hours, with kids and family classes complementing artist and owner Irena's own pieces.
Keep the creativity flowing at Circus Arts, where you can express yourself physically through climbing and trapeze. The venue is family friendly and offers something for all ages and levels of ability, with a 10-metre high indoor flying trapeze and indoor climbing wall available to test your limits. Learn to juggle, hone your hula hoop skills and try a yoga or pole fitness class while you're there. Best of all, the venue is open rain and shine.
For a touch of nature, explore Cape Byron State Conservation Area. This is comprised on coastal vegetation, sea cliffs, beautiful beaches and a walking track system that offers views of the Cape Byron Marine Bank and the hinterland. The Reserve is situated at the most easterly point of mainland Australia, with historic lighthouse and light-keepers cottage providing excellent photo-taking opportunities.
Settle in for some whale watching or strap up your boots for a nature walk. Head to The Pass, Wategos or Tallows for a beach retreat.
Before finishing your journey in Brisbane, stop by the glittering Gold Coast. There's glitz, glamour and plenty of beaches to explore here, so make sure you pack both your bathers and your glad rags.
Shop at one of the many mega malls in the area, including Pacific Fair, Australia Fair and Harbour Town. Embark on the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk or explore the Burleigh Heads National Park if you feel like getting active.
Another attraction of the Gold Coast, especially for the young and young at heart, is its range of theme parks. Splash about in Wet'n' Wild or get in touch with your favourite film characters at Warner Bros. Movie World.
Top it all off with a night on the tiles, trying your luck at Jupiters Casino before taking in a show at Dracula's Dinner Theatre. This combines a spectacular cabaret show with dinner and is truly an experience not to be missed.