48 hours from Sydney to Byron Bay

Heading north from Sydney along the coast, you’ll see some of the most striking landscapes in New South Wales, some well-known, and others are some of the state’s best-kept secrets. Follow the Pacific Coastline through national parks, lush rainforests, and along expansive beaches. 48 hours from Sydney to Byron Bay
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48 hours from Sydney to Byron Bay

Take a drive along the Legendary Pacific Coast touring route, a popular scenic road trip from Sydney to Brisbane.  


Heading north from Sydney along the coast, you’ll see some of the most striking landscapes in New South Wales, some well-known, and others are some of the state’s best-kept secrets. Follow the Pacific Coastline through national parks, lush rainforests, and along expansive beaches. 

Day one morning

Breakfast with a view

Less than an hour’s drive from the heart of Sydney, Brooklyn is a sleepy little town set on the Hawkesbury River, with bushland on all sides and gorgeous river views. A fantastic spot to stop for breakfast and take in the stunning river scenery, and if you have time, hop on a ferry to Dangar Island.

Walk to Nobby’s Lighthouse

Nobby’s Beach, walking distance from Newcastle City, is Newcastle’s most well-known beach, and popular with swimmers and surfers. Take a walk along the break-wall of Macquarie’s pier to the historic Nobby’s lighthouse, perched on Nobby’s headland for sweeping views of the pacific ocean, Newcastle city and surrounds.

Lunch in the dynamic city of Newcastle

The city of Newcastle has an enviable position, resting on a peninsular bordered by the magnificent working harbour and spectacular surfing and swimming beaches. For lunch head to Suspension Espresso a café that serves up some of the best coffee in the city and a healthy and homely menu. 

Day one afternoon

Hike to Tomaree Head Lookout

Just under an hour’s drive from Newcastle, 161 meters above Port Stephens, the 360 degree views from the top of Tomaree Head Lookout are unique. From the north platform, you can see as far as the nature reserved Cabbage Tree and Boondelbah islands where the colonies of the threatened seabird Gould’s Petrel breed. While from the south platform there are great views of Zenith beach, one of the best surfing beaches in the area, and Point Stephens Lighthouse on Fingal Island.

Spot a whale at Cape Hawke Lookout

Start your morning with a 500 metre rainforest hike to Cape Hawke Lookout, which has amazing 360 degree views across the coast and surrounding national parks. On a clear day, you can see as far as Barrington Tops and during winter, you may be lucky enough to spot a whale during their annual migration north. 

Stay in the centre of the Great Lakes area

Drive two hours from Tomaree National Park to the coastal town of Forster for the evening. Here you will find a range of restaurants available for dinner including Reef Bar Grill, which serves up modern Australian cuisine with water views, and Little Lucifer, a Spanish tapas restaurant.  Stay overnight at one of the many accommodation options available including Sails Apartments, located in the heart of town and only a short distance from Forster Main beach. 

Day two morning

Climb Smoky Cape Lighthouse

Start your morning with a two hour drive to the mouth of the Macleay River where the coastal retreat of South West Rocks is surrounded by calm clear waters and bordered by National Park.  Climb the stairs of Smoky Cape Lighthouse, built in 1861, for panoramic views of the spectacular Hat Head National Park.

Lunch with a view in Coffs Harbour

Stop off for lunch at the coastal town of Coffs Harbour, a 90 minute drive from South West Rocks. Head to Harbour Drive where you will find an assortment of restaurants and cafés all close to the beach and harbour.  

Day two afternoon

Visit Protesters Falls, Nightcap National Park

The lush rainforests of Nightcap National Park, near Lismore in northern New South Wales, are home to the World Heritage-listed Protesters Falls walking track. About a four hour drive from Coffs Harbour, it’s an easy 1.5 kilometre walk to the spectacular Protesters Falls.

Visit the Cape Byron Lighthouse

Cape Byron Lighthouse, just over a 90 minute drive away, is perched at the easternmost point of mainland Australia and was built in 1901. It comprises spectacular sea cliffs, rare coastal plant life and pristine beaches, with breathtaking views of the surrounding Cape Byron Marine Park. During whale watching season (May-November), it’s likely you’ll spot a whale.

Dinner in the charming town of Byron Bay

Celebrate the end of your road trip in Byron Bay, known for its relaxing beach culture and dynamic arts and culture scene. Tonight, have dinner at Fishheads, nestled on Byron Bay’s main beach with dazzling views of the Coral Sea, Mount Warning and the Cape Byron Lighthouse.  

Discover more great destinations to visit in New South Wales.

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Explore the sparkling beaches and lush hinterland of the Central Coast, the wineries of the Hunter Valley and the picturesque inlets of Port Stephens. Work on your swing in a rainforest golf course on the Coffs Coast and your aura on the beach in Byron Bay. Dive with brightly coloured fish in Solitary Islands Marine Park or into the bright lights of the Gold Coast. This scenic drive takes you from Sydney to Brisbane, offering sweeping beaches, sleepy villages, mossy rainforests, adventure and relaxation along the way.

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New South Wales' Hunter Valley is Australia's oldest wine growing region. It is also renowned for its fine dining, cooking schools, galleries, health spa retreats and golf courses. Here you can sample local cheeses, hand-made chocolates, charcuterie, dairy goods, sourdough breads and olive oils direct from the producers. Join a wine tasting master class; or sample a broad selection of wines at one of more than 150 cellar doors. After your epicurean indulgence, escape to the great outdoors with a game of golf, hot-air balloon or helicopter ride or shopping for antiques and local artworks in the region's many galleries.

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