Sydney >> Brisbane

There’s a good mix of activities and places to visit between Sydney and Brisbane, including plenty of cute little coastal towns, theme parks and plenty of waterfalls! We’re also going to let you know when there are free or National Park campsites nearby! But you can also find budget or luxury sites on WikiCamps. Don’t forget to check out this post for recommended day trips from Sydney so you don’t miss out!

Approx Time Frame: Minimum 20 days

Distance covered: 1587.6km

Time spent continuous driving: 25 hours 30 minutes

*Approx. time frame doesn’t take in to account choosing to stay longer at places, skipping destinations or traffic/weather issues that may occur or stopping off at additional places.

Sydney Harbour Bridge at night poster
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Woy Woy

Reason to visit: Nature // wildlife // food // culture

Time from Sydney: 1 hour 10 minutes

Time from Brisbane: 9 hours 10 minutes

Time spent here: 1 – 2 hours

Things to do: See pelicans up close // walk down fisherman wharf // get amazing fish and chips at the waterfront cafe // see the aboriginal carvings

(40 minutes to the next stop)

The Entrance / Long jetty

Reason to visit: Wildlife // cycle routes // relax // sunset views

Time from Sydney: 1 hour 20 minutes

Time from Brisbane: 9 hours

Time spent here: 1 – 2 hours

Things to do: Cycle or walk to Tuggerah lake // explore the historical long jetty // watch the sunset over the lake // watch the pelican feeding.

(35 minutes to the next stop)

Swansea – Cave beach

Reason to visit: Unique coastline

Time from Sydney: 1 hour 45 minutes

Time from Brisbane: 8 hours 35 minutes

Time spent here: 1 hour

Things to do: Explore the caves and unique rock formations // spot whales during the migration

(45 minutes to the next stop)

Watagan State Forest

Reason to visit: Abandoned planes // walking trails // nature // wildlife

Time from Sydney: 1 hour 40 minutes

Time from Brisbane: 8 hours 30 minutes

Time spent here: 2 – 5 hours

Entrance fee: $0

Camping fee: $0 for both tents and camper vans.

Things to do: Find the abandoned plane // explore one of 40 aboriginal sites with aboriginal carvings and paintings // do one of the forest walks // spot platypus in the creek

Find out more about Watagan State Forest here

(51 minutes to the next stop)

Port Stephens // Nelson bay

Reason to visit: Wildlife // shipwrecks // sports // relax // architecture

Time from Sydney: 2 hours 10 minutes

Time from Brisbane: 8 hours

Time spent here: 1 full day

Things to do: see the shipwrecks // Spot dolphins and whales // explore the sand dunes // surf // explore the marina // join a camel tour // snorkel // quad bike tours of the dunes // sand boarding // walk to the lighthouse // go tobogganing

(2 hours 30 minutes to the next stop)

Camden Head

Reason to visit: Nature // museums // coastal walks // food

Time from Sydney: 4 hours

Time from Brisbane: 6 hours 20 minutes

Time spent here: 2 – 5 hours

Things to do: Spot blue ring octopus in the rock pools // Camden head historical museum // eat fresh oysters at rockin’ Oysters // hire a kayak // see whales from the beach //

(40 minutes to the next stop)

Port Macquarie

Reason to visit: wildlife // food // history // ruins // nature // architecture

Time from Sydney: 4 hours 10 minutes

Time from Brisbane: 5 hours 50 minutes

Time spent here: 1 – 2 full days

Things to do: Visit the free koala hospital // visit the historical Rotto House // walk to tacking point lighthouse // spot wild koala // discover sea acres rainforest centre // visit Nobby’s Beach // walk to the top of Nobby’s Head // Explore Innes Ruins // Go to Port Macquarie Museum // walk the ocean break wall // visit Billabong Zoo

Learn more about Port Macquarie’s Koala Hospital in this post.

(1 hour to the next stop)

South West Rocks

Reason to visit: Ruins // wildlife // history // culture // scenery

Time from Sydney: 5 hours

Time from Brisbane: 5 hours 30 minutes

Time spent here: 2 – 3 hours

Camping fee: $6 per person, per night (7-day bookings only, during school holidays)

Things to do: Visit south west rocks jail ruins // walk around Arakoon National Park // spot whales from Point Briner // see whales during the migration // visit Smoky Cape Lighthouse // relax on Horseshoe Bay Beach // Visit the Maritime Museum // Visit the historical German Monument // watch a film at the old South West Roxy cinema // learn to surf

Check out our guide to South West Rocks Ruins to learn more about its history

(1 hour to the next stop)

Taylor’s Arm // The pub with no beer, Australia’s most famous pub

Reason to visit: History // Culture // Music // Food + Drinks //

Time from Sydney: 5 hours 30 minutes

Time from Brisbane: 5 hours 25 minutes

Time spent here: 1 – 2 hours

Camping fee: $0 for both tents and camper vans.

Things to do: Have a pub at Australia’s most famous pub – the pub with no beer // Camp at Australia’s most famous pub // experience a proper traditional Australian bar // browse the huge collection of memorabilia // discover slim dusty – the singer that made this pub famous.

(1 hour 50 minutes to the next stop)

New England National Park – Point Lookout

Reason to visit: Hikes // nature // wildlife // scenery // relaxing // camping

Time from Sydney: 6 hours 15 minutes

Time from Brisbane: 5 hours 40 minutes

Time spent here: 1 – 5 hours

Camping fee: $12 per couple per night. $6 per extra person. Book via NSW Parks website.

Things to do: Check out Point Lookout // Wrights lookout // Hike the Cascades loop track // explore the Lyre Bird Track // spot platypus in the creeks // bird watch // camp almost 2000m above sea level

(1 Hour 10 minutes to the next stop)

Dorrigo – Dangar Falls

Reason to visit: Waterfalls // Wildlife

Time from Sydney: 5 hours 55 minutes

Time from Brisbane: 5 hours 25 minutes

Time spent here: 1 – 2 hours

Things to do: Spend the afternoon at Danger Falls – a 30m waterfall // lookout for wildlife

(1 hour 22 minutes to the next stop)

Coffs Harbour

Reason to visit: Giant roadside attractions // beaches // jungle walks // wildlife // museums // Islands // wildlife // history

Time from Sydney: 5 hours 30 minutes

Time from Brisbane: 4 hours 25 minutes

Time spent here: 1 – 2 days

Things to do: Visit the big banana // meet the local dolphins at Marine Magic // walk to Mutton Bird Island // walk the sky pier at Sealy Lookout // Spot whales during the migration // walk the botanical gardens // relax on jetty beach // walk Coffs Creek // Visit the Cartoon Gallery // Explore the Butterfly House // Try fish and chips on the seafront // Explore nearby Dorrigo National Park // Visit the WW2 Observation Bunker

(23 minutes to the next stop)

Bare Bluff

Reason to visit: Wildlife // Scenery // walks // relaxing // unique coastline

Time from Sydney: 5 hours 51 minutes

Time from Brisbane: 4 hours 15 minutes

Time spent here: 1 – 2 hours

Things to do: Walk to the top of Bare Bluff // Admire the views // spot curious roo’s // see whales during the migration // walk the beach // try and find what’s left of the nearby shipwreck

(2 hours 30 minutes to the next stop)

Bellina

Reason to visit: Giant roadside attractions // museums // beaches // food + drink // tours // Nature // sports

Time from Sydney: 8 hours 10 minutes

Time from Brisbane: 2 hours 15 minutes

Time spent here: 1 – 2 days

Free Camping: You’ll find one here 

Things to do: See the giant prawn // visit the coffee plantations // learn to surf // try the local caught seafood // take a ride in a classic aeroplane and admire the views // take a tour of a local brewery // Visit Bellina Manor – a 1925 house that offers free tours // take a tropical fruit tour // Do the 11km Bellina loop walk and cycle track // Explore Mount Warning // Visit Rocky Creek Dam // See Minyon Falls // or Killed Falls

(30 minutes to the next stop)

Byron Bay

Reason to visit: Iconic location // sports // beaches // walking // nature // architecture // history // wildlife // tours

Time from Sydney: 8 hours 40 minutes

Time from Brisbane: 2 hours 10 minutes

Time spent here: 1 – 3 days

Things to do: Walk to Cape Byron Lighthouse // visit Captain Cook Lookout // visit Arakwal National Park // visit the pass // top up your groceries at the community market // do Cape Byron Walking Track // visit Fishermans Lookout // go to the most easterly point of Australia // go to broken head beach and nature reserve // take a distillery tour // learn to surf

(1 hour 15 minutes to the next stop)

Nimbin

Reason to visit: Culture // Food* + Drink // Art

Time from Sydney: 8 hours 20 minutes

Time from Brisbane: 2 hours 30 minutes

Time spent here: 1 hour

Things to do: Explore the local art // see Nimbin Rock

*Marijuana is commonplace in the culture of Nimbin but it is still illegal in Australia. Officer Travels only recommends Nimbin as we enjoyed the art and nearby national parks.

(59 minutes to the next stop)

Border Ranges National Park

Reason to visit: Hikes // nature // wildlife

Time from Sydney: 9 hours 10 minutes

Time from Brisbane: 3 hours 15 minutes

Time spent here: 3 hours – 1 full day

Entrance fee: $8 per vehicle per day – honesty box system, please take correct change.

Camping fee:  sheep station campsite – $24 per night per couple $12 per additional person. Book online via NSW National Parks website (Tents, camper vans and trailers)

Things to do: Do the Pinnacle loop track // palm forest walking track // Rosewood loop track // Bar Mountain lookout // Blackbutt Lookout // Border loop lookout // visit bush box falls // Booyong creek walking track

(1 hour 50 minutes to the next stop)

Tweed

Reason to visit: Unique rock formations + coastline // wildlife // beaches // sports // walking // shopping // unique border town // culture

Time from Sydney: 9 hours

Time from Brisbane: 1 hour 35 minutes

Time spent here: 1 day

Things to do: Visit Fingals head // admire Australia’s very own Giant’s Causeway // walk point danger lighthouse and memorial // visit the border statue // visit the Minjungbal Aboriginal Centre

We have an indpeth post about visiting Tweed here 

Australian giant's causeway

Mount Tamborine

Reason to visit: Walks // nature // waterfalls // wildlife // tours // food + drink

Time from Sydney: 9 hours 45 minutes

Time from Brisbane: 1 hour 10 minutes

Time spent here: 2 days

Things to do: Take a glow worm cave tour // do cedar creek falls walk // walk to Curtis falls // take the lower creek circuit track // walk to witches falls // spot platypus in the creek // take a wine tasting course // explore the vineyards // try locally grown fruit // spot Lyre Birds

For more about Mount Tamborines Glow Worm Caves, check out this post. Or find out more reason to visit here.

(40 minutes to the next stop)

Surfers Paradise

Reason to visit: Theme parks // iconic city // beaches // nature // food + drink // culture // nightlife // museums //

Time from Sydney: 9 hours 25 minutes

Time from Brisbane:  1 hours 15 minutes

Time spent here: 1 – 5 days (depending if you want to see all the theme parks)

Things to do: Eat at Sky point Observation Deck // visit infinity special effects funhouse // ripples believe it or not museum // visit the wax museum // relax on surfers paradise beach // learn to surf // walk the pier // explore the markets + China town // go to Warner Bros. Movie World // Visit Dream World // spend the day at Wet’n’Wild

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Budget guide
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