Brisbane to Coffs Harbour: A self-drive itinerary
- Day 1 - Brisbane to Byron Bay
- Day 2 - Byron Bay & Surrounds
- Day 3 - Byron Bay to Coffs Harbour
- Day 4 - Coffs Harbour to Grafton
- Day 5 - Grafton to Brisbane
Brisbane to Byron Bay
Driving Time: 2hrs Distance: 166km
After collecting your hire campervan from Brisbane, drive an hour south to the legendary Gold Coast. Soak up some rays on the endless yellow beaches, take a surfing lesson, enjoy ‘the Goldie’s’ excellent dining or just pull up a chair and indulge in some world-class people watching. For a quieter experience, you could take a paddleboard out on Currumbin Creek or head into the hinterland to visit Springbrook National Park.
From the Gold Coast it’s an easy drive south to Byron Bay. If you’ve got the time, why not visit the new-age Crystal Castle or stop for fish and chips in gorgeous Kingscliff or Pottsville?
- Surf lessons
- Stand-up paddleboarding on Currumbin Creek
- Hike the Springbrook or Burleigh Heads National Park
- Explore bustling Cavill Avenue
- Relive childhood thrills at one of the Gold Coast’s theme parks
- Get magical at Crystal Castle and Shambala Gardens
Explore Burleigh Heads National Park.
Burleigh Heads National Park
Explore Surfers Paradise.
Get magical at Crystal Castle and Shambala Gardens.
Go stand-up paddleboarding on Currumbin Creek.
Hang ten with a surf lesson.
Relive childhood thrills at one of the Gold Coast’s theme parks.
Byron Bay & Surrounds
Byron Bay is one of Australia’s premiere beachside towns, offering the perfect blend of nature, culture and down-to-earth luxury. Enjoy great food and boutique shopping, indulge yourself with a massage or yoga class, go sea kayaking out to Julian Rocks or just grab your towel and sunscreen for some serious beach time.
Fancy exploring further afield? Get in touch with your inner hippie at Nimbin, a quirky, alternative enclave with an incredible arts scene and Australia’s only hemp embassy. Then you might like to admire Bangalow’s elegant federation architecture or hire a board and hit the waves at Ballina or Lennox Head.
- Enjoy the views from Cape Byron lighthouse – Australia’s most easterly point
- Relax on Byron’s renowned beaches: Main Beach, Clarkes, Wategos and Little Wategos
- Learn about (and taste) sustainable produce at The Farm
- Pick up a bargain at Byron’s vibrant markets
- Visit Nimbin Artists Gallery and the Blue Knob Gallery
- Experience the world-renowned Bluesfest in April
Experience the world-renowned Bluesfest in April.
Enjoy views from the Cape Byron lighthouse – Australia’s most easterly point.
Cape Byron Lighthouse
Byron Bay to Coffs Harbour
Driving Time: 3hrs Distance: 240km
Continue south, perhaps stopping for a swim at Evans Head or a walk in the Bundjalung National Park. Keep an eye out for dolphins and whales in Yamba, a laid-back town on the mouth of the Clarence River, or hit the waves in Woolgoolga, a superb surf village with a large Sikh community and fortnightly Bollywood Beach Market. Drive on to Coffs Harbour, home to splendid beaches and Australia’s original ‘big thing’ – the Big Banana.
Coffs Harbour to Grafton
Driving Time: 1hr Distance: 87km
The Coffs Harbour region has plenty to please nature lovers. Bird-nerds should check out Muttonbird Island, which hosts thousands of wedge-tailed shearwaters from August to April. Divers and snorkelers will find underwater bliss in the Solitary Island Marine Park, home to grey nurse sharks, blue gropers, loggerhead turtles and more.
In the afternoon, head back north towards Grafton, a grand old town on the Clarence River with many fine 19th-century buildings.
Experience purple rain at Grafton’s Jacaranda Festival in August.
Immerse yourself in subtropical plants at the North Coast Regional Botanic Gardens.
North Coast Regional Botanic Gardens
Grafton to Brisbane
Driving Time: 3hrs Distance: 314km
Take the inland route back to Brisbane, stopping to explore the ancient Gondwana Rainforests of the Border Ranges National Park. The 44km Tweed Range Scenic Drive takes in the highlights of the park, which include rainforests, steep slopes and splendid views towards the coast.
Alternatively, you can veer east at Casino to pass through Lismore, an interesting country town with a beautiful butterfly walk and a care centre for orphaned koalas.
Be humbled by 80-million-year-old Gondwana rainforests.