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Michael
San Diego

Australia, Sydney, Brisbane

Sydney-Brisbane Drive

I will be driving between the two cities in February 2014.    I'm debating as to taking the coastal route or an inland route and am quite torn.  I have five days free to do the drive.   Any recommendations about which route to take and highlights of that preferred route would be greatly appreciated. 


5 Answers

top answer by
Shannon from San Francisco

I know a number of people who have taken the coastal route to Brisbane -- it's probably one of the most scenic coastlines in the entire world. Many of my surfer friends would simply stop on the side of the road if they found a good surf break. Also, there's a cute little town called Byron Bay on the way (a hippie town with endless beaches full of white sand). Nimbin is about an hour from Byron Bay in the mountains; a community whose whole purpose is to legalize the sale of marijuana (and other drugs) in Australia, but it's a trip (literally and figuratively speaking). The Gold Coast is just south of Brisbane and definitely worth a visit for a couple of days. The beaches there stretch as far as the eye can see -- surfer's paradise. Also, the town is a fun place (kind of like the Miami of Oz).  I would continue the journey through Queensland up to Cairns -- check out the Australia Zoo (home of the now deceased Crocodile Hunter), camp out on Fraser Island (the world's largest all sand island -- the pristine hidden fresh water ponds are worth the trek through mini white sand deserts); go sailing around the Whitsunday Island (the Caribbean of Australia -- insanely beautiful island chain); and then finish by diving the Great Barrier Reef. However, if you do feel like going inland while in Sydney, I highly recommend checking out the Blue Mountains National Park in New South Wales


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Brisbane (city)
  2. Nimbin (city)
  3. Australia (country)
  4. Gold Coast (city)
  5. Fraser Island (city)
  6. Whitsunday Island (attraction)
  7. Great Barrier Reef (region)
  8. Sydney (city)
  9. New South Wales (region)
  10. Blue Mountains National Park (park)
  11. Australia Zoo (attraction)
  12. Byron Bay (city)
7 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Josh from Gold Coast, Queensland

Definitely take the Coastal route, the Australian outback can be fun but the novelty will ware off quickly. The best stops would be Byron Bay which has become very touristy but is worth visiting. Coffs Harbour and Gold Coast worth a stop too


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Byron Bay (city)
  2. Coffs Harbour (city)
  3. Gold Coast (city)
3 thanks


answered by
David from Sydney

Hi - I've done both, and the answer depends on what you want to see.

The coastal route is the most popular, and the busiest, and there are loads of nice towns big and small to stop at along the way, like Port Macquarie Byron Bay Coffs Harbour, etc.

The inland route is quieter, and gets you out into the countryside of Australia, with small towns like Glen Innes, the country music capital TamworthArmidale. You can always go inland and then turn off at Armidale and head towards the coast - beautiful drive through to Dorigo and Bellingen, onto the coast road and up to Brisbane from there.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Port Macquarie (city)
  2. Byron Bay (city)
  3. Coffs Harbour (city)
  4. Glen Innes (city)
  5. Tamworth (attraction)
  6. Armidale (city)
  7. Bellingen (city)
2 thanks


answered by
JR from Manhattan Beach

Reading Shannon's answer inspired me to weigh in on  Byron Bay. A while back, I spent 3 weeks in Oz and Byron Bay was the highlight. It reminded me what I envisioned say Malibu or Santa Barbara would have been like 50 years ago. It was beautiful with a very chill vibe and heavy hippie/backpacker influence. If you drive down the coast, definitely plan on staying at least 1 night there. We wished we would have spent more time there over  Surfers Paradise which we found to be a little too blingy, kind of like a mini vegas. Have fun Michael. 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Surfers Paradise (city)
  2. Byron Bay (city)
2 thanks


answered by
Henry from Australia

Sydney to Brisbane huh!! way to go you choose one of the best scenic drive in the world.  The attractions you can vsit are Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay, Surfers Paradise and fianlly to brisbane. This is the best roap trip possible try it. 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Newcastle (attraction)
  2. Port Macquarie (city)
  3. Coffs Harbour (city)
  4. Byron Bay (city)
  5. Surfers Paradise (city)
1 thanks




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