Few people would argue that Australia is one of the best possible destinations out there for any traveler: it has both interesting cityscapes and natural sceneries of a lifetime. And if you like the freedom of stopping whenever and wherever you wish to in order to marvel at the beautiful view, perhaps a road trip is right up your alley.
One of the most popular roads for such a trip in Australia is the one taking you from Sydney to Brisbane: the Legendary Pacific Coast. This road stretching over nearly 1000 kilometers is no small endeavor to undertake, but the many amazing things that await you on the way make it more than worth it. Here’s a little guide that will both help you prepare and catch all the best sights.
Before the trip
The starting point
Regardless of whether you are beginning your journey in Sydney or Brisbane, make sure you spend a few days in the city before you head out. Each of Australia’s metropolises offers so many things to see, and you really don’t want to miss the legendary Sydney Opera House or the Brisbane City Hall.
You should also use these days for thorough preparation; have your car checked and load up on food you can take with you. The trip can last for as long as you want, perhaps even weeks depending on what you plan to do along the way. The east coast is more than perfect for those who like camping and would like to save on accommodation, so consider this option and get the essential camping gear.
Expect the unexpected
No matter how much you prepare, emergencies happen. You might get a flat tire so you’re forced to take a break. Or you might find your battery failing you in the middle of nowhere. The most important thing about such emergencies is to be prepared, so it wouldn't hurt to have a number for a car battery replacement service. Ultimately if that does happen, try not to stress too much. It’s your road trip and you dictate the tempo.
Spots not to miss
There is something interesting just about every step of the way, but some of the stops you should not miss out on are the following:
- Lake Macquarie – On your way to Newcastle, make a stop at this huge saltwater lagoon to enjoy a tranquil atmosphere. Maybe you will even want to stay over at one of the little towns for the night. If not, check out Newcastle, a massively underrated city with amazing food and coffee.
- Port Stephens – Port Stephens is another worthy stop with attractions such as Nelson Bay with the Nelson Bay Lighthouse, Shoal Bay, the Tomaree Mountain and Zenith Beach as well as Anna Bay. You can even go and see dolphins in this area!
- Myall Lake – The Myall Lake National Park less than two hours from Port Stephens is another great stop for nature lovers. It has great campgrounds for avid campers, the lake is perfect for fishing and there are numerous walking tracks.
- Port Macquarie – make a stop at this lovely small town that does not lack in beautiful beaches. You can also go on a 9km Coastal Walk here, try your hand at surfing, and look at unique rock art at the breakwall.
- Hat Head National Park – First check out Crescent Head, as this is a well-loved surf spot and actually one of the country’s National Surfing Reserves. Then, move on to Hat Head National Park which is just a stone’s throw away. You can camp at the beach, climb up to Captain Cook’s Lookout or enjoy the fresh air on the Rainforest walking track.
- Coffs Harbour – You’re already halfway into your amazing trip, so you can take a longer break in Coffs Harbour. Nature reserves abound, and if you’ve got kids with you (or you’re one at heart), the Big Banana Fun Park is a great place to have some laughs.
- Yuraygir National Park – For a quiet stopover, Yuraygir National Park also has a campground to accommodate road trippers.
- Hastings Point – The swerving waters in Hastings Point are beautiful scenery in themselves worth taking a beach stop for.
- Byron Bay – Stop in Byron, at least for a delicious lunch. This place has its fair share of impeccable beaches as well, but the bushwalks are not to be missed either. Moreover, an absolute must in Byron Bay is checking out the Byron Bay Lighthouse.
- Gold Coast – Once you arrive in Gold Coast, you’re almost at the end of your trip, so feel free to have as much fun here as you want. The Gold Coast is your picture-perfect tropical beach destination, but it’s also an interesting city to explore. There are a good number of theme parks to give you some adrenaline, but if you want a more relaxed vibe, stay in the suburb of Coolangatta or Burleigh Heads.
Exploring some of Australia’s wonders by car is perhaps the best way to do it. A road trip is always a memorable experience – it lets you be completely independent and free and discover off-the-beaten-path nooks if you’re not afraid to explore. However, such a trip is also one that requires quite a lot of preparation to go smoothly. Make sure you organize everything well and you are certain to have the trip of a lifetime!