Ready to hit the open road for a Sydney to Brisbane campervan trip and looking for some travel inspiration on the best cultural, wildlife and indigenous activities and experiences along the way? We have you covered with this east coast Australia road trip itinerary.
This ten-day road trip itinerary winds its way from Sydney to Brisbane through some of the most beautiful and quintessential stops on the NSW coast. From the rocks dreaming tour in Sydney, to a dolphin cruise in Newcastle, and snorkelling in Stradbroke Island - there is something for everyone. We have also included the best camping spots, travel tips as well as other handy motorhome tips to help you get the most out of your upcoming Sydney to Brisbane adventure. Let’s dive in.
Sydney to Brisbane
Best Time of the Year
Any time of year
- Palm Beach (aka Summer Bay from Home and Away)
- Worimi Sand Dunes
- The Big Banana
- Cape Byron
- Brisbane River
Sydney to Newcastle
Distance 160km - Driving Time 2.25 hours
Begin your journey by picking up your campervan from the maui campervan rental Sydney branch. Once you have your ride sorted, spend some of the day exploring Sydney and the main tourist attractions such as the famous Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Once you are done soaking up the modern side of Sydney, take a journey back in time with a cultural journey around one of Sydney’s most iconic areas – The Rocks. The Rocks Dreaming Tour will give you a whole new perspective of Sydney and how this billion-year-old harbour has shaped Indigenous culture. During the 90-minute walk, you’ll find out what ‘Dreamtime’ means as you go ‘walkabout’ around the harbour and discover more about one of the most ancient cultures on the planet.
Heading out of Sydney you’ll drive past the famous Palm Beach, also known as Summer Bay! That’s right, where the one and only Home and Away is filmed. If you’re a fan you might want to stop and walk down the 2km long beach and take a few snaps of yourself in ‘Summer Bay’.
Other top things to do in Sydney:
- Visit the Royal Botanic Garden
- Explore the street art of Newtown
- Take a stroll through Hyde Park
Where to park your motorhome once you arrive in Newcastle: NRMA Stockton Beach Holiday Park.
This coastal town is the second most populated city in New South Wales. However, there are eight beaches close by that are the perfect city escape. Newcastle’s harbour is home to coal ships, freight ships, fishing boats, ferries, yachts, kayaks and private vessels, making for chaotic but exciting viewing. Looking for an unforgettable bucket list adventure? Be sure to add swimming with the dolphins to your road trip itinerary!
Other top things to do in Newcastle:
Stay another night in Newcastle at NRMA Stockton Beach Holiday Park.
Newcastle to Forster
Distance 165km - Driving Time 2 hours
After making the most of the campsite facilities and enjoying your breakfast, it’s time to begin the drive north to Forster. Most famous for its Dolphin cruises, fishing, sailboarding and scuba diving and amazing beaches Forster is an ocean-lovers paradise. Main Beach is a protected beach, making it ideal for families. Nearby, Pebbly Beach is also a good spot for families as is Burgess Beach. However, be sure to stay aware of swim safety and beach safety while exploring the stunning blue waters of this region.
If you are looking for a peek into the indigenous side of Forster, be sure to join a Wallis Lake Cultural Experience. Here you can join Aunty Janice Paulson and Aunty Noelene Lever to chat about their history over a delicious morning tea.
Other top things to do in Forster:
Where to park your motorhome: Reflections Forster Beach Holiday Park.
Forster to Port Macquarie
Distance 110km - Driving Time 1.5 hours
Port Macquarie is surrounded by waterways, beaches, parks, gardens and walking trails and offers plenty of things to do for families, couples and backpackers alike! While in town, be sure to make a stop to visit the Koala Hospital where you can learn all about wild koalas and (even have a chance to hold one!).
Other top things to do in Port Macquarie:
Stay the night at NRMA Port Macquarie Breakwall Holiday Park.
Port Macquarie to Coffs Harbour
Distance 160km - Driving Time 2.25 hours
Beginning the day with a drive to Coffs Harbour, your first stop is at the Big Banana Fun Park to have your photo taken holding up the ‘Big Banana’. A bit hard to miss, the big banana also boasts a water park (with the largest inflatable water slide in the world), Laser Tag, Ice Skating, a Wild Toboggan Ride, “The World of Bananas" multimedia theatre experience, a plantation and packing shed tour, a 36-hole Mini Golf course and so much more.
With lots of great beaches to visit you could learn to surf and don’t forget to include a trip to the Forest Sky Pier. Located at Sealy Lookout, The Forest Sky Pier offers an amazing panoramic view from the mountains to the Coffs Harbour coastline. The Pier extends 21 metres out from the Lookout and stands 15 metres above the forest floor. Also do not miss the chance to connect to land and sea with a 2.5-hour Wajaana Yaam Adventure Tour on a stand-up paddle board.
Other top things to do in Coffs Habour:
- Stop by Wadjar Regional Indigenous Gallery
- See a different side of the rainforest with a Gumbaynggirr Cultural Rainforest Tour
- Visit Muttonbird Island to connect with local wildlife
Park your motorhome for the night at Big4 Coffs Harbour Caravan Park Beach Camping.
Coffs Harbour to Byron Bay
Distance 243km - Driving Time 3 hours
When you pull into town, you’ll immediately understand why people flock to this amazing part of Australia. Home to Splendour in the Grass, the Blues Fest and the Falls Festival, there is a beat to this town that can't be heard but begs to be felt. Spend the day falling into the rhythm of this town by exploring some of the iconic beaches like Belongil Beach, then head to The Balcony Restaurant and enjoy an unbeatable meal with a view.
Other top things to do in Byron Bay:
- Workshops, tours and cultural programs with the Arakwal People of Byron Bay
- Yoga on the beach
- Head to The Farm for a farm-fresh meal
Where to park your motorhome: Ingenia Holiday Park Byron Bay.
Byron Bay to Gold Coast via Currumbin
Distance 90km - Driving Time 1.25 hours
Wake up early today and drive or walk to watch the sunrise from Cape Byron Lighthouse. Ninety-four metres above sea level, this nostalgic white lighthouse built in 1901 is the perfect spot to watch the sunrise. Many people make the pilgrimage to Byron Bay just to do this, and it’s something you shouldn’t miss. As the most easterly point on mainland Australia, the Cape Byron headland is the perfect place to spot dolphins or whales enjoying the early morning light just offshore.
Once you have finished, it’s time to hit the road again. On your way to the Gold Coast, stop in at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (where maui customers receive 25% off entry!). About 50 minutes north of Byron, Currumbin gives you the opportunity to experience Australia’s amazing native wildlife and learn about Aboriginal culture in one, easily accessible location. The rich culture of Aboriginal heritage is celebrated daily at 3.30 pm with a spectacular show featuring dances, stories and the distinctive rhythms of the didgeridoo.
Other top things to do from Currumbin to Gold Coast:
Where to park your motorhome: Gold Coast Tourist Parks.
Two days probably won’t be long enough for you to do everything you want while staying on the Gold Coast. So choose your adventure today! Thrill seeker? Stop by the ‘big four’ adventure parks – Warner Bros. Movieworld, Wet ‘n’ Wild Waterworld, Seaworld or Dreamworld / Whitewater World. Prefer a more relaxed day? Visit Q1 and take in 360o views of the coast and its surroundings. A mecca for tourists, the Gold Coast beaches are always busy with sunbathers and swimmers, exciting nightlife will draw you in, along with amazing shopping and lots to see and do!
Other top things to do on the Gold Coast:
- Take a day trip to Tamborine Mountain
- Spend a day at Surfers Paradise Beach
- Catch up on some shopping at Pacific Fair
Park up for another night at Gold Coast Tourist Parks.
Gold Coast to Stradbroke Island
Distance 82km - Driving Time 1.5 hours
On the agenda today is a day trip to Stradbroke Island. Fondly referred to as ‘Straddie’ by the locals, the island has an abundance of activities for all ages and fitness levels. Popular with surfers, boaties and fishing enthusiasts, the island offers snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking, 4WDriving and bushwalking. It is also renowned for its native wildlife such as dolphins, turtles, manta rays, kangaroos, koalas, and spectacular shore views of the annual humpback whale migration. You might even get lucky and see ‘Migaloo’ - one of the only Albino whales in the world.
To get to Stradbroke Island, you’ll need to head North to Cleveland. With lots of cafes and Jacaranda trees to shade under, it’s worth stopping and grabbing a bite to eat before boarding the ferry. Sailings to the island are every hour. However, it’s a good idea to pre-book the ferry over during peak seasons as it can get very busy.
Other top things to do on Stradbroke Island:
- Explore the island by hiring a scooter
- Relax on Cylinder beach
- Grab an ice cream from Oceanic Gelato
- Go on a culture tour of Minjerribah
Where to park your motorhome: Main Beach Camping Ground.
Stradbroke Island to Brisbane
Distance 30km - Driving Time 35 minutes
This final day of the trip brings us back to Brisbane, Queensland’s most populous city. Here you can spend the day exploring the Brisbane River, wander Roma Street Parklands or the Botanic Gardens, and shop along Queen Street. Alternatively, for a little more culture, pop over to South Bank and swim at the man-made beach or look through the museum or two art galleries (all within the same precinct so visiting all three is easy).
If you are looking for one final cultural experience, don’t miss the Spirit of the Red Sands dinner show. This immersive 3-course dinner and show are regularly rated as one of Australia’s best aboriginal experiences and recently was awarded a gold Australian Tourism Award. It's a must-do when renting a travel van to explore Brisbane. When you’re done, it's time to return your motorhome to the Brisbane maui branch.
Go on your Australian road trip with maui
This section of the coast from Sydney to Brisbane is filled with enlightening cultural experiences, stunning wildlife and endless attractions just begging to be explored. Whether you want to stay in the caravan parks listed or get away from it all and try your hand at some of the best free camping in Australia - this is a bucket list itinerary not to be missed.
Ready to go on your Australian road trip with maui? Book your maui motorhome online today and then pick it up from your nearest maui branch to start your adventure. Looking for more advice on choosing the right motorhome or tips for motorhome travel so you can plan your trip? Check out the maui blog for more info.