Shake off the winter blues with a spring road trip that takes you on a sunkissed adventure alongside the glittering blue Pacific Ocean. The Sydney to Brisbane road trip is not only packed with lively coastal towns, stunning coastal scenery and great food – it’s also one of Australia’s best road trips. So buckle up and get ready to explore an unforgettable drive from Sydney to Brisbane. We also recommend making the most out of these iconic destinations by factoring in a couple of nights at each stop! 


The Sydney Harbour Bridge. Image from Destination NSW.

The emerald city of Sydney is a great starting point for any adventure. Where else could you visit the Sydney Opera House, sip a pint in the historic Rocks district or stroll the gorgeous Coogee to Bondi Walk? And then there’s the food. From a classy meal with a view at Bennelong Restaurant, inside the famous Sydney Opera House sails, to the sizzling hotspots such as the East Ocean Restaurant in lively Chinatown –  Sydney’s foodie scene is a winner.

Where to stay

Kick off your road trip from Sydney to Brisbane by finding accommodation that suits your plans, style and budget – from heritage-listed Art Deco hotels to modern apartments. With options in the heart of the city, you’ll also find plenty of nearby activities in Sydney CBD.


Be sure to stop by the Mereweather Ocean Baths. Image from Destination NSW.

160 km / 2 hrs from Sydney

Newcastle is where surf and city meet in style. A scenic two-hour drive north of Sydney, this vibrant coastal city is renowned for its gorgeous sandy beaches, rich heritage and vibrant food precincts – so it’s no surprise that you’ll find plenty of fun things to do in Newcastle. Start by relaxing with a cocktail in hand as you watch the surfers from Merewether Surfhouse, or enjoy a tasty bite with a signature craft beer at the Grain Store.

Where to stay

Enjoy the wealth of activities in Newcastle by staying in the heart of the action. The Terminus Apartment Hotel Ascend Hotel Collection offers a unique and comfortable experience.

Coffs Harbour

The famous Big Banana at Coffs Harbour. Image from Destination NSW.

385 km / 4 hrs from Newcastle

Coffs Harbour is a Pacific Coast gem. From the glittering Solitary Islands Marine Park, where you can snorkel, dive, or take a boat tour to see colourful marine life, to the fun-packed Big Banana Coffs Harbour, you’ll find plenty of ways to immerse yourself in the region. If you’re wondering what to do in Coffs Harbour at night, start by visiting the acclaimed oceanfront Latitude 30 Restaurant or sample some fresh seafood at Shearwater

Where to stay

Explore the coastal city of Coffs Harbour by finding accommodation close to the marine park and beautiful beaches.


The Grafton Jacaranda Festival is stunning. Image from Destination NSW.

84 km / 57 mins from Coffs Harbour

Just an hour north of Coffs Harbour, the historic township of Grafton is famed for being the gateway to the beautiful Northern Rivers and for its stunning Jacaranda Festival in October. Take a leisurely stroll through the historic district, and enjoy lunch at Heart & Soul Wholefood Cafe, one of the best restaurants in Grafton. Be sure to try the famous Grafton beef pie for a taste of local flavour.

Where to stay

You won’t be left wondering what to do in Grafton when you stay at Quality Inn Grafton,  centrally located in the heart of the town and two minutes from the beautiful Clarence River. 


Killen Falls! Image from Destination NSW.

136 km / 1 hr 30 mins from Grafton

Breath in that South Pacific breeze as you head to Ballina, a picturesque coastal town known for its abundant local produce, ocean beaches and spectacular nearby rainforests. Spend your day at Shelly Beach or explore the Ballina Naval and Maritime Museum. For lunch or dinner you can’t go wrong at The Cove, known for its seafood platters and waterfront dining. Che Bon Restaurant also serves mouthwatering European creations. 

Where to stay

The inviting Comfort Inn All Seasons is located 140 metres from the beautiful Richmond River, Shelley Beach and Lighthouse Beach, offering plenty of things to do in Ballina right on your doorstep.


The gorgeous Brisbane CBD. Image from Tourism and Events Queensland.

186 km / 2 hrs from Ballina

Welcome to Brisbane! One of Australia’s leading city lights, this vibrant destination is known for its sunshine, riverside attractions and foodie experiences. Explore the South Bank Parklands, visit the Queensland Museum, or take a cruise along the Brisbane River. For cool places to eat in Brisbane, indulge in modern Italian cuisine at OTTO Restaurant or savour a meal at La Vue Waterfront, which offers French-inspired dishes by the river. 

Where to stay

From free things to do in Brisbane by the stunning waterways and beaches to the restaurants and bars, this city’s accommodation options will give direct access to the best the city has to offer.  

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