• Claire

Top 10 Road Trip Stops Between Brisbane and Sydney!

Updated: Nov 4, 2018

I have done the trip down the Pacific Highway from Brisbane to Sydney twice now. My top 10 stops along this section of the Australian East coast proves that it certainly is more about the journey than the destination…

Stop 1: Burleigh Heads

Burleigh Heads is definitely one of my favourite spots on the Gold Coast. Around an hour and a half south of Brisbane and away from the craziness (and in my opinion, scumminess) of touristy Surfers Paradise, Burleigh is a great first stop on your Brisbane to Sydney Roadtrip.

The walk through Burleigh Headland National park is a really great way to stretch your legs. You might even be able to find the popular Instagram photo spot 'Cock Rock' along the way for a quick snap.

Everyone loves a picnic and the views of the Gold Coast skyline from the perfectly picnic-ready 'Burleigh Hill' are spectacular. Many locals and visitors alike set up on the grassy slopes of Burleigh Hill to watch the sunset each afternoon.

I stayed at this Airbnb right on the main street of Burleigh.

View of the Gold Coast skyline from Burleigh Heads

'Cock Rock' lookout

Stop 2: Mt Warning

Mt Warning lies around an hours drive south west of Burleigh Heads and is the first place in Australia to see the sunrise in winter. If you're feeling energetic, climbing Mt Warning at sunrise is definitely worth it for the view at the top.

The 8.8km return hike takes around 5 hours to complete and is an easy climb most of the way with a fun rock scramble at the end.

The top of Mt Warning

The top of Mt Warning

Stop 3: Byron Bay

Byron Bay is a popular tourist hot-spot on the east coast - around an hour and a half from Mt Warning. Whilst Byron Bay is beautiful, I tend to find it overcrowded and expensive. However, no east coast road trip would be complete without a visit to the Byron Bay Lighthouse. As Australia's most easterly point, the iconic lighthouse is a great place to visit for sunrise.

Cape Byron Lighthouse

Cape Byron Lighthouse

Stop 4: Lennox Head

Just half and hour south of Byron Bay is the Pat Morton lookout at Lennox Head which has to be my favourite scenic pit-stop on the East coast. The view is really beautiful and if you happen to pass through on the right day you can watch paragliders fly around the headland - or even sign up to have a try yourself!

Pat Morgan Lookout - Lennox Head

Pat Morgan Lookout - Lennox Head

Stop 5: Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour is a great little town to spend the night as a stopover on your way down the coast. At around 5 hours south of Brisbane and around 6 north of Sydney, Coffs is at relatively the halfway point of your trip.

The Sealy Lookout offers great views over the town - but the best part is the chocolate-coated frozen bananas on a stick that locals sell on the side of the road on the drive up. Muttonbird Island is also really beautiful and well worth a visit.

Sealy Lookout - Coffs Harbour

Muttonbird Island - Coffs Harbour

Stop 6: South West Rocks

On my previous trip down the East cost we left Coffs Harbour early to drive the 1.5 hours south to the small town of South West Rocks. We were rewarded with an epic sunrise. This little town is has great beaches, a dive centre and surrounding national parks which makes it an excellent spot for a stop-off on your roadtrip.

South West Rocks

South West Rocks

Stop 7: Port Stephens

Port Stephens is a popular tourist town around an hour north of Newcastle known for its idylic beaches, bay and costal inlets. The Mt Tomaree hike is an easy climb to which you are rewarded with spectacular view over Port Stephens and Shoal Bay.

At 2.2 kms return, climbing Mt Tomaree should take 1-2 hours return. With many cafes and restaurants Port Stephens is also a great spot to grab brekkie or lunch along the way.

Mt Tomaree - Port Stephens

Mt Tomaree - Port Stephens

Stop 8: Newcastle

Newcastle is one of my favourite places. I love the small town crossed with city crossed with beachy town vibe it has going on. There's heaps to do here including the memorial walk or exploring the many beaches and ocean baths along the coast line. If you have a 4WD you can also go 4WDing on Stockton sand dunes

When I visited Newcastle recently I stayed in this great Airbnb.



Stop 9: Hunter Valley

The Hunter Valley is one of Australia's major wine regions and Pokolbin at its centre is located around an hour west of Newcastle. There are many many wineries, breweries and even a vodka distillery which offer tastings and high-class restaurants.

When I visited my sister and I went for a beautiful sunrise hot air balloon trip over the valley. We went with a great company called Beyond Ballooning which I would highly recommend.

Hunter Valley Wineries

Hot Air Ballooning over the Hunter Valley

The Hunter Valley

Stop 10: Blue Mountains

The main town of the Blue Mountains - Katoomba is located three and a half hours drive south of the Hunter Valley. You could spend days here exploring the many bushwalking track and lookouts.

Lincolns Rock lookout at Wentworth Falls and the Grand Canyon track at Blackheath are two of my favourites. Leura village is full of great cafes and gift shops.

Blue Mountains National Park

Blue Mountains National Park

Check out all my other adventures in Australia right here on my blog!