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The Ultimate Sydney to Byron Bay Road Trip Guide

For adventure lovers—there is no better feeling than hitting the open road. A road trip from Sydney to Byron Bay has all the makings of an unforgettable journey— beautiful landscapes, charming beachside towns, and must-visit pit stops dotted along the way. 

Journey with us along Australia’s east coast with the ultimate Sydney to Byron Bay road trip guide. 

Sydney to Newcastle

Starting in the bustling metropolis of Sydney, head north on the Pacific Motorway (M1) toward Newcastle. The first leg of your Sydney to Byron Bay road trip is a 2.5 hour journey that will take you through national parks and over scenic bridges, before arriving in Newcastle. Book a night at luxury boutique hotel Crystalbrook Kingsley, spend a lazy afternoon exploring the city’s galleries and historic sights, and take your pick of restaurants in the ultimate foodie destination. 


Make sure to make a pit stop at Distillery Botanica in Erina—just one hour from Sydney. The award-winning distillery is set amongst three acres of tranquil gardens and offers the perfect spot to sample and purchase Moore’s Dry Gins, Mr Black and Distillery Botanica’s Vodka and liqueurs.

A Group Of People Standing In A Room at Distillery BotanicaImage credit: Destination NSW


As you make your way into Newcastle, stop off at nearby Merewether Ocean Baths for a quick dip. The bath, the largest in the South Hemisphere, is a hit amongst road trippers and the perfect place to cool off after a long journey.

Merewether Ocean BathsImage credit: Destination NSW

Newcastle to Port Macquarie

The second leg of your Sydney to Byron road trip will take you from Newcastle to Port Macquarie in just under three hours. The route again will take you through some of the coast’s most picturesque nature reserves with plenty of spots to help break your journey.


While you might be spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches between Newcastle and Port Macquarie, Blueys Beach is one of the best. Located in Pacific Palms just south of Forster, Blueys is a famous surfing and swimming beach with beautiful headland views. 

Blueys BeachImage credit: Destination NSW


Located just outside of Port Macquarie, Billabong Zoo Koala & Wildlife Park gives road-tripping animal-lovers the chance to get up close and personal with over 80 species of mammals, reptiles and birds.

A Group Of People Playing With Animals at Billabong Zoo Wildlife ParkImage credit: Destination NSW

Port Macquarie to Coffs Harbour

The next leg of the road trip will take you from Port Macquarie to Coffs Harbour—a quaint seaside town known for its beaches, Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve and surrounding banana plantations. The journey is under two hours, allowing plenty of time to stop and take in the area's natural beauty, as well as a few unusual sights.  


Urunga Boardwalk is located 30-minutes south of Coffs Harbour and is a NSW East Coast highlight. The 600m boardwalk begins in Urunga and passes along the banks of the Kalang River, to the junction with the Bellinger River and out to the sea, offering beautiful river valley views. 


Although Dorrigo National Park requires a short detour, it provides the perfect nature fix before making your way to Coffs Harbour. The World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforest features breath-taking waterfall walks through lush wilderness, plenty of BBQ and picnic spots and excellent birdwatching.

Dorrigo National Park Image credit: Destination NSW


A trip to Coffs Harbour is not complete without a pit stop at the iconic Big Banana. Not only is the Big Banana a tourist attraction, but a fun park featuring mini golf, laser tag, ice skating and a range of water slides and rides.

A Person Holding A Girl On at Big BananaImage credit: Destination NSW

Coffs Harbour to Byron Bay

The last stretch from Coffs Harbour to Byron Bay is a 2.5-hour journey. As you reach your final destination, take a wander through Byron Bay’s charming town centre, enjoy the views from the lighthouse, and soak up some rays at Wategos Beach before relaxing in the lap of luxury at Crystalbrook Byron


Located in Yamba, 1.5 hours from Coffs Harbour, Pippi Beach is one of the area's most popular surf beaches. With a stretch of sand spanning 1.6km, Pippi Beach is the perfect spot to stretch your legs, and take a dip before ending your journey in Byron Bay.

Pippi BeachImage credit: Destination NSW