One of the most popular coastlines to explore is the stretch between the Sunny Coast and Sydney, with a handful of iconic Australian coastal villages along the way, many with unique attractions and each feeling different from the next. We have created the ultimate east coast itinerary to give you a taste of all of the highlights between the beautiful Sunshine Coast and Byron Bay
Day One: Sunshine Coast to Byron Bay
The journey between the Sunshine Coast and Byron Bay takes about 3 hours and is not the most scenic stretch of the road trip, however, there is plenty to do and see in Byron Bay so we recommend leaving as early in the day as possible to make the most of the beautiful northern new south wales town.
If you get peckish, around the halfway point in your Journey you will come across signs for the famous ‘Yatla Pies’, if some delicious baked goods tickle your fancy, definitely be sure to stop into this Brisbane Institution.
Once you have arrived in beautiful Byron Bay you will have a plethora of caravan parks to choose from, so depending on what you are wanting to see and do each caravan park offers a unique location and features.
If you are just wanting to spend your time exploring the beaches, we recommend the Suffolk Park Beachfront Holiday park, which boasts the perfect beach front location, allowing you to fall asleep to the sound of the waves.
If you are wanting to spend more of your time exploring the town and it’s quirky boutiques and restaurants, consider staying at First Sun Holiday Park, which is conveniently located close enough to the town centre you are able to walk to and from your caravan.
Day Two: Byron Bay to Yamba
The drive from Byron Bay to Yamba is only just over an hour and a half so spend some time in the morning exploring Byron Bay if you wanted to check out the lighthouse or grab some breakfast before getting back on the road.
If you are wanting to stop in at another town along the way, we recommend checking out Ballina, which boasts some of the most beautiful beaches and rainforests in the Northern New South Wales region.
Once you reach the picturesque town of Yamba, you will have plenty of things to see and do so be sure to make the most of your time.
One of the most popular attractions in Yamba is the ocean pools and the lighthouse, so depending on the time of year that you are visiting, be sure to check out at least one of these beautiful features of this sleepy coastal town.
One of the best rated caravan parks in the town is the Big 4 which is conveniently located on the river and is just a short walk from the nearest beach and the town centre.
This park is a great place to set up for the night and is particularly popular with kids, thanks to the array of different activities and entertainment. It’s a great place to kick your feet up while the kids entertain themselves at the waterpark or any of the playgrounds inside the caravan park.
Day 3: Yamba to Coffs Harbour
It’s only another short drive down the beautiful town of Coffs Harbour and the drive is extremely picturesque as you get to explore both the countryside and the coastline.
If you are wanting to stop in anywhere for a quick bite to eat, you will be passing through the town of Grafton and the town boasts one of the best cafe’s in the northern rivers region, the Heart & Soul Wholefood Cafe. The delicious menu is made up of all the brunch classics, so it’s the perfect place to stop in for a mid-morning snack before continuing down to the Coffs Coast.
It’s recommended you set up camp at the Reflections Holiday Parks, which is conveniently located close to the Coffs Harbour Town Centre while also boasting water-frontage, making it a great place to cast a rod and relax.
Coffs Harbour is a town with many things to do and see so after you have secured your site, head out to explore the beautiful attractions in the area.
One of the most popular attractions in Coffs Harbour, is the Big Banana, which is essentially a fun park with water rides, mini gold, ice skating, laser tag and more. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon with the kids, as the park has something fun for people of all ages.
Day 4: Coffs Harbour to Port Macquarie
Because Coffs Harbour is one of the most fun and beautiful places to explore of the trip, plan to spend some more time exploring the beautiful township and grab a bite to eat.
If you are feeling adventurous, it’s recommended you check out the Korora Lookout and the Forest Sky Pier, which has some of the most spectacular views of both the ocean and the surrounding mountains.
The drive down to Port Macquarie is only an hour and a half so you will have plenty of time to spend a relaxing morning in Coffs Harbour before having to hit the road.
Once you arrive in Port Macquarie, we recommend staying at the NRMA Holiday Village, which has a convenient waterfront location close to the centre of town.
The holiday park has all of the facilities you would expect, plus a swimming pool and kids club, making it one of the most popular parks in Port Macquarie for families.
While in Port Macquarie, be sure to explore some of their beautiful beaches, the township also has a historical lighthouse and a koala hospital to check out if the weather isn’t perfect for a beach day.
Day 5: Port Macquarie to Hunter Valley
Be sure to get up nice and early on Day 5 as this will be longest leg of the journey down to Sydney. Although the hunter valley region is somewhat off the beaten track it is definitely worth the drive out to the beautiful area to give yourself a taste of the stunning countryside as well as the food and wine that the region is known for.
On your way down to the hunter region, you will be passing through a number of little towns, consider stopping in at Laurieton or Taree for a bite to eat and a place to stretch your legs.
The best place to stay if you are wanting the most convenient location to the array of vineyards, the Wine Country Tourist Park is a great place to set up for the evening.
The holiday park has a bus that will take you to and from a range of the best cellar doors, so be sure to book in a tour in the afternoon in order to make the most out of your time in the Hunter Valley.
Day 6: Hunter Valley to Nelson Bay
You won’t need to rush this morning, so feel free to spend a sleepy morning listening to the beautiful country sounds of the hunter region before embarking on a 2 hour drive to the beautiful Nelsons Bay.
There is plenty of amazing holiday parks in the Nelson Bay region, so it definitely depends on the type of activities you would like to be doing in the area.
However, one of the most popular parks in the region is the Halifax Holiday Park, thanks to it’s picturesque location surrounded by two quiet beaches. The holiday park is also conveniently located just a few minutes drive from Shoal Bay and Nelson Bay, both of which are home to an array of relaxed cafes and boutiques.
Along with the beautiful towns in the area, the Nelson Bay region is just a great place to relax and admire the beautiful beaches in this more southern area of New South Wales.
Day 7: Nelson Bay to Newcastle
Today is going to be one of the shortest drives during the road trip, with Newcastle located less than an hour away from the Nelson Bay region.
Newcastle is one of the largest cities you will be visiting, besides Sydney so there is plenty to see and do here. Try and get away early to make the most of the day in Newcastle.
Once you arrive, be sure to check out the Blackbutt Reserve, which is home to an array of Australian Wildlife, allowing you to get up close with cuddly Kangaroos and koalas.
One of the best parts about the Blackbutt Reserve though, is that it’s completely free! Once you have had enough time bonding with the adorable wildlife, go for a walk through one of the many hiking tracks to get a feel for the beautiful area.
If you are visiting Newcastle in summer it is also home to some beautiful beaches and great places to surf. If you are feeling less adventurous but still want a taste of some Vitamin Sea, the Mereweather Ocean Baths are a great place to take a dip without diving into the surf.
Newcastle is also home to some amazing rock pools and ocean baths, so there is plenty of coastline to discover.
When deciding on where to stay, there are going to be many, many parks to choose from, however, one of the most highly rated parks in the area is the NRMA Stockton Beach Holiday park, thanks to its central location near Newcastle city centre, but also thanks to its picturesque location just meters from one of the most popular beaches in Newcastle.
Day 8: Newcastle to Sydney
It is only a short, 2 hour drive from Newcastle to Sydney, however, depending on traffic this can take a little longer.
If you are wanting to get down to Sydney early in the day so you have some time to check out the beautiful city, stop at The Sitting Duck on your way down for a bite to eat. It’s conveniently located on the drive between Newcastle and Sydney making it the best place to stop.
If you have some extra time before you need to be at the caravan park, be sure to check on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, a fantastic place to soak up the relaxed atmosphere of the beachside suburbs before heading into the bustle of the big city.