Road tripping from Sydney to the Gold Coast, being a meagre 840 kms, is easily doable in two weeks with stops along the way at some of the great seaside villages dotting the Pacific Coast.
The legendary Pacific Coast drive will take you to the Central Coast towns of Terrigal and Avoca; the huge expanse of the city of Lake Macquarie; the yachstmen’s paradise of Port Stephens; the Great Lakes area and fishermen’s favourite Forster/Tuncurry; the timberland area and city of Port Macquarie: the magnificent sub-tropical Coffs Coast and Coffs Harbour; the North Coast surfing meccas of Yamba, Angourie, Evans Head, Lennox Head, Broome Head and Byron Bay; and finally to the green cauldron of the Tweed Coast which takes you across the border into Queensland and the Gold Coast.
Travelling one hour north of Sydney is the Central Coast and the twin towns of Terrigal and Avoca both with beautiful beaches and a refreshing sea change from the over-populated beaches of Sydney.
Terrigal features the iconic Skillion which is the most prominent landmark of the region, with a steep cliff facing the ocean rising to a convenient lookout area that is easily accessed by a flat grassy area leading up from the reserve.
Avoca Beach stretches between two dominating rocky headlands and is renowned for surfing and an upmarket holiday resort area.
A further 15 kms is The Entrance which has the best of two worlds; with great surfing beaches and a large lake known as Tuggerah Lake.
Australia’s largest inland salt lake, Lake Macquarie, which covers and area of 110 square kms, is only 130 kms north of Sydney. Linking the lake, beaches and mountains are more than 90 villages including Torronto, Morisset, Warners Bay, Swansea and Belmont, offering great boating facilities, surfing beaches and heritage-listed towns throughout the area. You could easily wile away a few days on this magnificent waterway.
A small detour of 136 kms inland from Lake Macquarie, is the Hunter Valley Wine Region. It is definitely worthy of a stop on your Pacific Coast road trip, particularly if you enjoy a drop of wine. A Hunter Valley getaway offers a taste of the good life. Australia’s most visited wine region is home to more than 150 top-class wineries, vineyards and cellar doors as well as superb restaurants.
The yachtsmen’s paradise of Port Stephens features 25 beaches with sheltered bays and stunning surf breaks and is 207 kms from Sydney. The gleaming oceans are full of marine life such as bottle-nosed dolphins, visiting whales and there is plenty of fresh seafood to be devoured in the local restaurants and fish markets.
At the Northern tip of the Great Lakes, the twin towns of Forster-Tuncurry, which are separated by a kilometre long bridge, are where Wallis Lake meets the ocean. The twin townships, 303 kms north of Sydney, are surrounded by National Parks and feature majestic headlands and long secluded beaches. Boating, fishing, diving, paddling, cruises, whale watching and coastal walks combine with galleries, unique shopping and award-winning restaurants create an exceptional coastal destination.
Port Macquarie extends from the mouth of the Hastings and Camden Haven Rivers west to the Great Dividing Range, with a coastline of 84kms. The main towns within the Greater Port Macquarie region are Port Macquarie, Wauchope, Laurieton, North Haven, Dunbogan, Comboyne, Kendall, Kew, Bonny Hills and Lake Cathie.
Greater Port Macquarie is a treasure trove of impressive convict built buildings, Pacific Ocean, golden beaches, pristine rivers, lush rainforests and abundant wildlife and is 384 kms north of Sydney and roughly half way to the Queensland border.
Crescent Head on the mid NSW North Coast is surrounded by some of the most stunning natural environments in the State. As well as long stretches of coastline with fabulous beaches, there is a string of coastal national parks to explore. Crescent Head has one of the best right-hand point breaks in the world, and the town is one of the hot spots of international surfing.
The sub-tropical Coffs Coast is a breathtaking tapestry of colour, encompassing quaint villages, national parks, mountain escarpments, 90 km of sandy beaches, islands and marine reserves. Coffs Harbour is the regions hub, surrounded by the delightful seaside and hinterland communities of Bellingen, Sawtell, Urunga, Woolgoolga and is 532 kms north of Sydney.
Only 36 kms north of Coffs Harbour are the seaside villages of Red Rock and Corindi. Red Rock is a small holiday village in the northern beaches of the Coffs Harbour coast beside the banks of the Red Rock River. Whilst the adjacent village of Corindi is another idyllic seaside holiday destination.
At the mouth of the Clarence River is the coastal town of Yamba, a beach lover’s paradise with excellent beaches for swimming and surfing and is 672 kms north of Sydney. Only a short drive away is Australia’s first surfing reserve and famous point break of Angourie. Both places are perfect for family holidays or short breaks with great camping facilities.
A further 70 kms north is the town of Evans Head which is an old-fashioned beach town surrounded by national parks, with 6 km of surfing beaches and pretty coastal scenery. It has one of the largest caravan parks in NSW and is extremely popular family holiday spot.
Travel 56 kms to the surfing mecca of Lennox Head which is a quiet seaside village situated at the southern end of Seven Mile Beach between Ballina and Byron Bay. Surfers know the beach well for its internationally famous right-hand point break, whilst Lake Ainsworth on the northern end of Lennox Head is renowned for its distinctive blue-brown waters caused by the surrounding tea trees.
A must see on the Pacific Coast road trip is the laid-back unspoilt town of Byron Bay which is 775 km north of Sydney. From the lush hinterland to the sparkling beaches on the coast, the region is full of natural wonders. Byron Bay is a melting pot of surf culture, alternative philosophies and hedonistic indulgence.
Almost at the doorstep to the Gold Coast is the far northern NSW Tweed Coast. The Tweed Coast stretches from world-famous Byron Bay in NSW to Queensland’s sun-drenched Gold Coast and is dotted with small fishing villages where you can enjoy an Aussie beach holiday swimming at safe patrolled beaches or paddling a kayak up the creek.
Depending on your personal preference for holiday destinations, the Gold Coast is possibly the most sought after beach holiday experience in Australia and maybe even in the world. Here you can discover a city experience with great shopping, nightlife and entertainment, tourist attractions, glamorous high-rise accommodation and top-class restaurants, whilst enjoying the beach. With a full range of water activities, you can surf, dive or snorkel, explore national parks and the thrills of the many theme parks. The Gold Coast is 840 kms from Sydney and with such so much to see and do, could not possibly be seen in one day!
Do you go on road trips? Which ones have you been on?
Linking up with Wednesday Wonderlust
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 4 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now 60. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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