Legendary Pacific Coast Drive
There is nothing quite like a roadtrip and The Legendary Pacific Coast drive on the East Coast of Australia is one of the best.
It stretches from Sydney in New South Wales up to Brisbane in Queensland and takes in the entire NSW North Coast. It's a must do for any traveller who has a bit of time to spend on their way along the coast to and from Byron Bay. Take a few days, a week, or take a month and rent a campervan... hug the coast and go north, go south, or head into the hinterland to discover some amazing nature trails. However you tackle the drive, there is unmissable beauty and an endless list of fun activities to be had along the way.
The drive from Sydney to Byron Bay alone is well over 700km, and doing it straight (allowing for minimal break time) will take you around 9 hours at least.
We'll be putting together below some suggested drive options for touring different parts the NSW North Coast. So pack up your car and hit the highway!
Byron Bay long weekender (3 days)
If you are short on time and coming from Sydney or elsewhere, we recommend flying into either Ballina-Byron or the Gold Coast Airports and hiring a car from there. Book yourself in to one of the many great accommodation options in Byron Bay and make that your relaxing base. You don't strictly need a car for a Byron Bay long weekend if you are staying somewhere central and if all you plan on doing is relaxing on the gorgeous beaches and frequenting the town's cafes, restaurants and bars. The town isn't big, so you can pretty much walk everywhere.
However, there are some great spots within driving distance so if you want a bit more freedom to explore, having your own transport can be worthwhile. On Saturday, after a morning spent soaking up Byron Bay itself why not drive 10 to 15 minutes down the road to beautiful Broken Head beach and spend the afternoon on a more isolated stretch of sand, where the rainforest meets the ocean. A gorgeous spot. Or if you feel like some country charm, take the short 15 minute drive through the hills to the lovely Federation village of Bangalow for some strolling and shopping. If you are a morning person, you can take in the local farmers market there til 11am and feast on the freshest of local goodies. On Sunday, after some more relaxing time in Byron, you can hit the highway again. Perhaps a quick jaunt down to Lennox Head to watch some spectacular surfing at the famous point? Or head just up the coast to the tranquil and sleepy Brunswick Heads for a great pub lunch by the river? Closer to home, if you don't feel like doing too much walking around Byron Bay itself, why not drive along main beach, towards the lighthouse and head down Palm Valley Drive to beautiful Wategos beach. One of the most gorgeous beaches around and an unbeatable place to spend a day lounging on the sand. You can then do a loop around up to the lighthouse to take in a spectacular Cape Byron sunset.
Newcastle getaway (3 days)
Another getaway for those short on time, a road trip around the Newcastle area can have you covering off a lot in a short space of time. A visit to the area can give you a city break, a food and wine break and a beach break all in one. Start your weekend with a night out in Newcastle, perhaps dining Harbourside at a funky restaurant or head to cosmopolitan Beaument or Darby Streets for a choice of great eateries. In the morning why not drive to one of Newcastle's great city beaches for a spot of breakfast overlooking the surf. Just 45 minutes drive away you can totally get away from the city in the gorgeous Port Stephen's area. A marine playground, take up your spot on a gorgeous beach or head out on one of the many cruises and tours. Halfway between Newcastle and Port Stephens, don't forget to stop at the famous Stockton beach to explore the huge sand dunes. It's popular for dune buggying and 4WD adventures. Take a guided tour, or if you are up for it and you have your own 4WD vehicle, you can get a recreational beach permit to drive yourself! Visitors to Newcastle have to make use of the city's close proximity to the Hunter Valley wine region too. You can easily spend a day or longer driving through the rolling vineyards, stopping at Cellar Doors as well as discovering fantastic restaurants and cafes.
One for the food and wine lovers out there, this trip will see you cover some ground through the lush countryside that backs our coast, sampling top drops as you go