Top nine must-see locations road tripping from Sydney to Brisbane

The trip along the iconic east coast, from Sydney to Brisbane, is a fantastic road trip the whole family will love. Take time along the way to explore the beautiful beachside towns, wineries, historic sites, hinterlands, national parks and wildlife hot spots. Here are some of the must-see stops along the way.

  1. Newcastle
    This lively city has a youthful and vibrant vibe with plenty of culture, live music, and nightlife. The giant sand dunes on Stockton Beach are perfect for 4WD tours, sandboarding, and quad biking. Port Stephens is just north of Newcastle and provides visitors with the opportunity for snorkelling, diving and whale watching.
  2. The Hunter Valley
    Visit the Hunter Valley for a taste of Australia’s best wines. With over 140 wineries, an abundance of restaurants and cafes, the Hunter Valley is the height of food and wine heaven, not to mention stunning to travel through.
  3. Seal Rocks
    Seal Rocks is a peaceful fishing town. It has beautiful clear blue bays perfect for swimming, snorkelling, boating and fishing. The lighthouse is a gorgeous centrepiece to the town, worth the visit for a pretty photo op, or you can stay the night at one of the lighthouse’s original cottages.
  4. Port Macquarie
    At the estuary of the Hastings River, lies the town of Port Macquarie. If you are the active type, you can take the 9km coastal walk from Towns Beach to Tacking Point Lighthouse. The walk takes in beaches, headland, historic sites and rare subtropical rainforest. Hit up the iconic Royal Hotel in town for the spectacular sunset views overlooking the river.
  5. Coffs Harbour
    Halfway between Sydney and Brisbane is this large fishing town with plenty to do and see. Visit the Jetty and take a walk to the top of Mutton Bird Island to watch beautiful sunsets over the Marina. Visit the world heritage listed Dorrigo National Park for a bit of bird and wildlife spotting. Take the kids to visit the butterfly house where you can stroll among hundreds of live Australian tropical butterflies. Don’t forget to stop off at the big banana for a photo op and famous banana smoothie.
  6. Yamba
    Fun fact about Yamba, it officially has one of the world’s best climates to live work and play, according to CSIRO and Stanford University. It has also held the title of Australia’s best town. If that isn’t enough to justify a visit, how about the endless wildlife that resides here thanks to the surrounding national parks, including the unique coastal emu? Or Yamba’s world famous prawns? Enjoy some of this award-winning seafood at the Iconic Pacific Hotel that looks over Yamba’s main beach.
  7. The Macadamia Castle
    If you are travelling with kids, don’t forget to take a detour to Macadamia Castle. The food here is delicious, and all cooked to theme. Some favourite menu items include macadamia infused beef burgers, macadamia and banana pancakes, and macadamia cheesecake. The kids can enjoy interaction with an array of farm and native animals, which they can see touch and feed. They can also play mini golf or take a turn on the train.
  8. Byron Bay
    Byron was once a sleepy beach town and is now a pumping tourist hotspot, famous for its lively nightlife and abundance of international world class dining options. Stop in at ‘The Farm’ on your way out of town. This is a large working farm with a restaurant where you can try delicious food all grown on site or sourced from the surrounding farms. Treat yourself to some delicious craft beers, including famous Stone and Wood brewed just down the road.
  9. The Gold Coast
    The Gold Coast is a sprawling tourist hotspot with something for everyone.  Burleigh Heads is a great spot for families and couples looking for safe surf beaches and a peaceful, laid back atmosphere. Surfers Paradise is right in the heart of the action for those who like to keep busy and enjoy the thumping nightlife scene. This area also provides easy access to the many theme parks. There is also the option of staying on the beautiful Gold Coast hinterland which is quiet and peaceful so you can relax, hike, admire the stunning views and breathe in that fresh country air.

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