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10 Best Road Trips in Australia – #8 the Legendary Pacific Coast: Sydney to Brisbane

10 Best Road Trips in Australia – #8 the Legendary Pacific Coast: Sydney to Brisbane

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.

Budget Blog - Grand Pacific Drive

Grand Pacific Drive Photo Credit: VisitNSW.com

#8 Top Road Trip in Australia: Legendary Pacific Coast: Sydney to Brisbane Part One

Budget Blog - Pacific Coast Sunset

Pacific Coast Sunset Photo Credit: PacificCoast.com.au

Budget Blog - Sydney to Brisbane - Map

Legendary Pacific Coast Map Photo Credit: Google Maps

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. We will cover some of the highlight stops along the way. 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. Part one of this road trip will take us from Sydney northward with highlighted stops in Terrigal, Newcastle, Port Stephens, Port Macquarie, South West Rocks, Dorrigo National Park, and Coffs Harbour.

Hiring a Car for the Legendary Pacific Coast Road Trip

Budget Blog - Pacific Coast - Car Hire Map

Legendary Pacific Coast Road Trip Car Hire Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au

Budget Blog - Stockton Sand Dunes

Stockton Sand Dunes near Newcastle Photo Credit:PacificCoast.com.au

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.

Starting the Legendary Pacific Coast Road Trip in Sydney: Part One

Budget Blog - Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach in Sydney Photo Credit: Surf911.blogspot.com

Of course, Sydney is a popular holiday destination in itself, but for this road trip, it is just the starting out point. If you decide to holiday in Sydney there are so many things to do between the city life, the beautiful beaches, and excursions into the nearby mountains to the west. We have already detailed for you several holiday ideas in Sydney including things to do in and around Sydney, Sydney’s famous and private beaches, and 5 days trips from Sydney.

1st Stop: Port Stephens

Budget Blog - Port Stephens Map

Port Stephens Map Photo Credit: PortStephens-Australia.com

Budget Blog - Port Stephens Dolphin Watching Cruise

Dolphin Watching Cruise Photo Credit: PacificCoast.com.au

After leaving Sydney and starting your Legendary Pacific Coast adventure, the first part of the trip takes you past Terrigal, which is known for ocean front cafes and lovely boutique shopping. The Entrance is a beachside town north of Terrigal with family friendly happenings including a water playground and daily pelican feedings. Newcastle is the next town north with a strikingly scenic lighthouse, dining options, and plenty of history in Australia’s second oldest city. Finally, arrive in Port Stephens harbour in the town of Nelson Bay. Port Stephens is the dolphin capital of Australia and there is much to see and do while here. Of course, one of the must see activities for tourists on holiday is a dolphin watching cruise. There are also many beaches that line the coastline, peninsulas and the bay. Water activities, fishing, and exploring the unique character and charm of this area are all things you can have on your “to do” list here.

Port Macquarie

Budget Blog - Port Macquarie - Camels

Camel Tours on the Beach in Port Macquarie Photo Credit: PortMacquarieInfo.com.au

Budget Blog - Port Macquarie - Koala Hospital

Port Macquarie Koala Hospital Photo Credit: PortMacquarieInfo.com.au

Port Macquarie is a vibrant coastal city with personable seaside villages and plenty of things to do. As pictured above, camel riding tours on the beach are one of the highlights for holiday goers here. The Koala Hospital is also a favourite for tourists and locals alike. Other fun things to do while visiting here include beach fun, surfing, beach sports, boating and other water sports, biking, hiking and scenic flights. It is also a great place to relax on the beach, in a spa, or a cruise down the Hastings River.

South West Rocks

Budget Blog - South West Rocks - Rock Pool

Rockpool near South West Rocks Photo Credit: VisitNSW.com

Budget Blog - South West Rocks - Surfers

Surfers at Hat Head National Park near South West Rocks Photo Credit: VisitNSW.com

South West Rocks is a short drive north and should definitely make your list of places to stop on the Legendary Pacific Coast drive. The quiet ocean side city is an excellent place for fun in the sun all year. In addition to surfing and beach activities, you can explore the history and culture in this historic city. Tour the Smoky Cape Lighthouse, which is one of the oldest and tallest lighthouses in New South Wales. Hat Head National Park lines the coast and protects the beautiful landscape and marine life within. It also houses the Hastings-Macleay Important Bird area, so be on the lookout for unique and majestic feathered friends. If a dive adventure is what you seek, look no further than Fish Rock Cave. Just off the coast of South West Rocks is Fish Rock Island which has an underwater cave created by a fault in the island. The 125 metre long dive cave is filled with so many fish and other marine life that gave the island its name.

Coffs Harbour

Budget Blog - Dorrigo National Park

Dorrigo National Park Gondwana Rainforest

Budget Blog - Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour Photo Credit: CoffsCoast.com.au

After departing from South West Rocks, heading north to Coffs Harbour, you should stop in Dorrigo National Park to experience the amazing view of the Gondwana Rainforest from the 70 metre high skywalk. Then it’s on to Coffs Harbour where you can go on cruise adventures off the coast year round. From June to November, whale watching cruises will give you that once in a lifetime experience. From December to April you can take a sail and snorkel cruise and get into the Coral Sea for a close up view of the amazing marine life. Coffs Harbour has plenty of family vacation spots including Big Banana theme park, Dolphin Marine Magic, and the Butterfly House. The beaches in Coffs Harbour are famous for fresh seafood eats and fun surf.

Legendary Pacific Coast Road Trip Part One

Budget Blog - Hot Air Balloon

Hot Air Balloon Photo Credit: PacificCoast.com.au

This concludes part one of the Legendary Pacific Coast road trip. Stay tuned for part two of this amazing road trip up the eastern coast of Australia from Sydney to Brisbane. Part two will pick up where we left off in Coffs Harbour and complete the rest of our holiday drive north to Brisbane including stops in Yamba, Tweed Heads, Ballina, Byron Bay, and Surfer’s Paradise.

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Shari McConahay
Wife, mom & internet geek. E-Commerce & Internet Marketing old timer, lover of social media, kung fu movies, sci fi, reality tv & game shows.
Shari McConahay

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