We are on #8 out of the top 10 best road trips in Australia, as listed by AustralianTraveller.com. We have outlined the details of each road trip with details and highlights of things to do in each road trip destination. Road trip #8 on the list is a drive up the Legendary Pacific Coast of Australia from Sydney in New South Wales to Brisbane in Queensland. In part one of this road trip, we covered the start of the Legendary Pacific Coast road trip starting out in Sydney, then on to Port Stephens, Terrigal, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, South West Rocks, and Coffs Harbour.
St. Helena near Byron Bay Photo Credit: VisitNSW.com
Angourie Beach Photo Credit: PacificCoast,com.au
#8 Top Road Trip in Australia: Legendary Pacific Coast: Sydney to Brisbane (Part 2)
Legendary Pacific Coast Map Photo Credit: Google Maps
Whale Watching Photo Credit: Ballina.info
The Legendary Pacific Coast road trip covers 923 km up the eastern coast of Australia starting out in Sydney, NSW and driving north to Brisbane, QLD. This is a great self-drive road trip where you can pick from any number of coastline cities and towns to stop in and stay. In part two of this road trip, we will cover some of the highlight stops along the way from Coffs Harbour and north onto Brisbane. The region has beautiful weather all year with some of the best surf beaches in the world, beautiful national parks, rolling lush green hills, and friendly quaint villages. Deep in the winter from June to August the temperatures can get pretty cold. The whale watching season along the east coast runs from June to November.
Hiring a Car for the Legendary Pacific Coast Road Trip
Legendary Pacific Coast Road Trip Car Hire Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au
Boats on the Richmond River at Ballina Photo Credit: Wikipedia
As you can see, there is no shortage of car hire locations along the route for the Legendary Pacific Coast Road Trip. Renting a car is very convenient in this area. If you are starting out in Sydney, you can hire a car at any of Sydney’s 19 car hire locations in New South Wales. If you decide to start out your road trip in Queensland and head north, there are also many car hire location options in Queensland’s east coast. You can also return your car rental at the end of your road trip at car hire locations in Brisbane or Gold Coast. When taking a road trip, our car rental agents can help you with planning and safety tips. Be sure to discuss your itinerary with your car rental agent to discover the best insider holiday drive tips.
Coastal Cliffs at Yuraygir National Park Photo Credit: NationalParks.nsw.gov.au
Fishing in Yamba Photo Credit: VisitNSW.com
Picking up where we left off in part one of the journey north on the Legendary Pacific Coast Road Trip in Coffs Harbour, head north to Yamba. Leaving Coffs Harbour, it’s on to Grafton on the Clarence River. Take a walk through Grafton’s historic streets and be sure to take note of the famous jacaranda trees there and visit the Regional Gallery. Enjoy the beautiful coastline views and bird watching opportunities in Yuraygir National Park. Then it’s on to Yamba, a popular vacation spot with beautiful beaches for surfing, swimming, and more. It is also home to a very large fleet of fishing charters because the fishing in this area is quite spectacular.
Esk River in Bundjalung National Park Photo Credit: NationalParks.nsw.gov.au
Ballina Whale Watching Photo Credit: Ballina.info
The next stop after leaving Yamba is Bundjalung National Park. It’s on the way to the next city, Ballina. Bundjalung National Park is a great blend of rivers, freshwater lagoons, and unique black rock beaches. Canoeing, boating, snorkelling, and fishing are all popular activities in the park. The next stop on the Legendary Pacific Coast road trip is the city of Ballina. Its white sand beaches are enchanting or exhilarating depending on what you want you want to do. You can also visit Victoria Park Nature Reserve which protects what is left of the Big Scrub rainforest.
Lismore and Kyogle
Lismore Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Border Ranges National Park in Kyogle Photo Credit: VisitNSW.com
Taking a short excursion a bit inland and you will experience a big change in scenery from coastal beaches to rainforests and mountains. A short trip west of Ballina is Lismore, a city filled with artists and buskers than any other place in Australia. It is a great place to visit if you love art, music, and history. Visiting Kyogle is well worth the 30 minute drive from Lismore. Kyogle is known for its scenic beauty. Kyogle is the gateway to the rainforest. When visiting there, you should put the following places on your must see list: Kyogle Botanical Gardens, take a drive through the McPherson Ranges. In the area are 4 national parks to explore: Border Ranges National Park, Richmond Range National Park, Nightcap National Park, and Toonumbar National Park.
Nightcap National Park Photo Credit: PacificCoast.com.au
Byron Bay Photo Credit: AustralianTraveller.com
Nightcap National Park is closest on the route back towards the coast to continue on the Legendary Pacific Coast road trip. Once in Byron Bay, your holiday is back to a coastal vibe. In fact, Byron Bay is the easternmost point of mainland Australia. Here you will find a host of beach fun and ocean excursions in this vacation spot. The bay provides a great place to learn to surf, go kayaking, snorkelling, or take a yoga class on the beach. Visiting the Byron Bay Lighthouse is a great tour with amazing views of the coastline, the bay, and the Coral Sea.
Kingscliff Photo Credite: VisitNSW.com
Danger Point at Tweed Heads Photo Credit VisitNSW.com
After leaving Byron Bay for the last stretch of the Legendary Pacific Coast road trip, stop by Kingscliff on the way to Tweed Heads. Tweed Heads is close to the Queensland state border and is known for surfing and its golden sand beaches. There is a wide variety of things to do in this touristy city in addition to fun in the sun and sand. Relax on a Tweed River cruise, visit the Fingal Lighthouse, checkout the view from Danger Point, or explore the region from the Aboriginal perspective at the Minjungbal Aboriginal Cultural Centre. If you want to visit more national parks inland from the coast, you have two great opportunities here near Tweed Heads with Lamington National Park and Springbrook National Park.
Gold Coast and Surfer’s Paradise
Surfer’s Paradise Gold Coast Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Gold Coast Photo Credit: AustralianTraveller.com
Gold Coast, located in Queensland, is one of Australia’s original tourist cities. Known for its gorgeous beaches and Surfer’s Paradise, this is the ideal place for beach fun and beachside luxury from spas to luxury hotels, and more. It is also a great place to vacation with kids and the whole family; we highlighted an entire blog entry on holiday in Gold Coast with kids. Part of the reason it is great for kids is because it is the theme park capital of Australia. Of course, that doesn’t mean that adults can’t have fun in theme parks there including WB Movie World, Dreamworld, Seaworld, Wet n’ Wild, and White Water World.
Brisbane Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Queen Mary Falls in Main Range National Park Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Brisbane is the final stop on the Legendary Pacific Coast road trip. Brisbane is the 3rd most populated city in Australia and is a mix of urban city life, culture, and coastal beaches. To the west is rainforest covered mountains and national parks, including Main Range National Park, which we featured in a previous blog post.