× Search

Sydney to Byron Bay Road Trip Itinerary


Tackling an Australian road trip in a campervan is a bucket list adventure, and Sydney to Byron Bay (or the reverse from Byron Bay to Sydney) is easily one of the most iconic routes. From the bustling heart of Sydney to the laid-back atmosphere of Byron Bay, this route is the epitome of Aussie coastal charm. So we thought we would give our take on the best things to see and do on a classic Sydney to Byron Bay road trip. 

Kicking off in Sydney’s metropolis, this itinerary begins by ticking off some of Australia’s best attractions, including the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House, all before heading north to explore the coastal gems of the Central Coast. From our top pics of gorgeous little cafes serving some of Australia's best coffee to the best family-friendly things to do in NSW, as well as must-see places like Terrigal Beach, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour and the Big Banana – we have you covered. Before you know it, you’ll be all set to explore Australia. But first, let's start with this NSW classic. Get ready to dive into the ultimate Sydney to Byron Bay road trip itinerary planner.


Day 1: Sydney to Terrigal

Travel time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Distance: 110km 

Kick off your journey by collecting your campervan rental from the Apollo Sydney branch. With the thl Roadtrip planner as your guide, spend some time enjoying the sights. If you are travelling with family, be sure to check out some of the family-friendly things to do in Sydney. Otherwise, you can spend a chilled morning relaxing on Bondi Beach with a coffee from Makaveli. At the very least, treat yourself to a drive across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and get a good view of the Sydney Opera House before setting out on your Sydney to Byron Bay drive adventure towards Terrigal.

Before dropping into Terrigal itself, drive a few minutes further north and check out The Entrance. This gorgeous seaside town is tucked between the tranquil waters of Tuggerah Lake and the expansive Pacific Ocean and is a family favourite for locals and visitors on the NSW Central Coast. While offering plenty of family-friendly water activities, including fishing, boating, standup paddle boarding, and swimming, there are also plenty of walks and cycling tracks to take advantage of in the brilliant Australian weather. Keep an eye out for pelicans as they love to spend time relaxing around The Entrance as well.

Next, continue into Terrigal, and appreciate the beachfront’s gorgeous Norfolk Pines that line the esplanade before exploring the town centre. Prefer a little solitude? Under the Norfolk pines, follow the pathway that leads you along the beach and out to Broken Head. Here you will find the rather oddly-shaped headland known as ‘The Skillion’ – the region's most prominent landmark –a brilliant lookout that is easily accessed by a grassy area leading up from the reserve. A perfectly tranquil way to unwind before setting out to camp for the night. 

Where to stay: Settle down for the night at Toowoon Bay Holiday Park.

Image: Tourism Australia


Day 2: Terrigal to Newcastle

Travel time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Distance: 93km 

After a refreshing night making the most of the campground's campsite facilities, it's time to set the campervan GPS towards the city of Newcastle. On the drive north, make a stop at Caves Beach. This incredible Australian attraction is well known for its namesake and houses a network of spectacular sea caves that can be explored at low tide. 

Newcastle is Australia’s second oldest city, and its neo-classical design is a telltale of this city's past. But it's the allure of Nobby's Beach that is the star of this Central Coast hub. As Newcastle's premier beach, it has a great swimming/surfing spot on one side and a public recreation area on the other, making it the perfect spot to park up your campervan for a beachside picnic on your Sydney to Byron Bay drive. This beach is also a great starting point to explore the Newcastle coastal walks. These walks are easily the best way to explore the stunning coastline around Newcastle. Need inspiration? Why not check out the Newcastle Memorial Walk linked to the Bathers Way walk, and enjoy the scenic 6 km wander from the impressive Nobbys Lighthouse to Merewether Ocean Baths? This is a perfect way to experience the iconic beauty of New South Wales’ coastline.

Where to stay: Park up your campervan for the night at BIG4 Karuah Jetty Holiday Park and enjoy their campervan-friendly campsite facilities.


Day 3: Newcastle to Port Macquarie

Travel time: 2 hours, 50 minutes

Distance: 245km 

On day three, rise from your comfortable slumber in your little home on wheels and point her towards Port Macquarie to continue your Australia road trip north. Halfway through, make a stop in the twin coastal towns of Forster-Tuncurry. Separated by Wallis Lake, the two towns are connected by a large bridge, allowing you to explore both seaside gems with ease. Take this time to enjoy some delicious food, either whipped up in your campervan or grab some famous Australian fish and chips from a local fish market. Want to add an Aussie spin? Get the meal to go and enjoy it at one of the local beaches like Nine Mile Beach or Forster Beach.

After fueling up it's time for the next stop on your Sydney to Byron Bay road trip: Port Macquarie. First, spend some time checking into your powered camping site and familiarising yourself with tonight’s campsite facilities. Then head out to explore the Koala Hospital for the afternoon. This beautiful wildlife rehabilitation facility has been rescuing and rehabilitating koalas since 1973, making it one of Australia’s best wildlife activities and easily sits up there on the best things to do in Australia. After cuddling a koala or two, carry on your van travel adventure up to Taking Point Lighthouse. This 19th-century lighthouse offers brilliant views of the coastline and an idyllic panoramic drive on the way up – perfect for a sunset dinner in your campervan. 

Where to stay: Settle back into your powered camping site at NRMA Port Macquarie Breakwall Holiday Park for some much-needed rest.

Image: Destination NSW


Day 4: Port Macquarie to Coffs Harbour

Travel time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Distance: 160km 

Today on the itinerary is the tropical Coffs Harbour. If you've ever wondered, “what is halfway between Sydney and Byron Bay?” you are just about to cross it! Port Macquarie marks the halfway point of this Sydney to Byron Bay road trip. En route from Port Macquarie to Coffs Harbour, South West Rocks is a perfect pit stop. An often-underappreciated gem on the iconic Sydney to Byron Bay road trip itinerary, it captures hearts with the Smoky Cape Lighthouse's grandeur. With every step upwards, you will be treated to sweeping views of the coastline. Then, just a short drive away, the ancient walls of the Trial Bay Gaol are another must-see, with their uncanny beauty juxtaposed against the mesmerizing ocean backdrop. 

Just a little further north, Coffs Harbour's vibrancy welcomes travellers with open arms. The allure of the shimmering Jetty Beach becomes undeniable, urging you to sink your toes into its soft sands. Yet, Coffs is more than just its beaches; it's also the home of the famed Big Banana – an eclectic mix of fun, rides, and that unforgettable giant yellow banana-shaped structure. To end the day, spend a few hours winding down at the Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve sanctuary. 

Where to stay: Set up for the night at BIG4 Park Beach and enjoy the Coffs Harbour seaside and the lulling waves – a reminder of why so many choose to explore Australia in a campervan.

Image: Destination NSW


Day 5: Coffs Harbour to Yamba

Travel time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Distance: 132km 

On day five, gear up your campervan and leave the Coffs Harbour behind as you set course toward Yamba. A short drive away, the town of Grafton, the Jacaranda capital of Australia, beckons. Offering an amalgamation of nature and history there are plenty of things to explore. First is the Susan Island Nature Reserve. Nestled in the heart of the Clarence River, it is a haven for native wildlife. Here, a leisurely walk among the canopy of Moreton Bay Fig trees provides glimpses of nesting birds and is easily one of the best Australia attractions for nature lovers. Then head into town to explore Grafton's historic town centre filled with majestic trees, heritage buildings, and boutique shops. A perfect stopover, encapsulating the joys of van travel.

Arriving in Yamba, it's impossible not to be enchanted by the town's laid-back vibe and breathtaking coastal beauty. Its collection of charming beaches offers the perfect setting to relax, sunbathe, or maybe even join a spontaneous game of beach cricket. If you're inclined towards water adventures, consider taking a river cruise. For those yearning for more adventure, the sprawling Yuraygir National Park awaits. With its diverse ecosystems, the park is a prime example of how to travel around Australia and witness its unparalleled biodiversity. From coastal heaths to lagoons, it's a captivating finale to day five of your Sydney to Byron Bay road trip. 

Where to stay: Park up at a campsite at BIG4 Saltwater at Yamba for the evening.


Day 6: Yamba to Byron Bay

Travel time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Distance: 127km 

The grand finale of your Sydney to Byron Bay road trip dawns with the last stretch of the journey from Yamba to the ever-vibrant Byron Bay. As your campervan hums along, a short pitstop at Shelly Beach feels almost mandatory after the first hour of the drive. This tranquil beach, with its gentle waves and powdery sands, is an invitation to take a momentary break, breathe in the salty air, and reminisce on the adventures of the last five days of van travel.

But the anticipation of arriving in Byron Bay is imminent. Byron, with its Bohemian vibes and a cocktail of natural beauty and lively town culture, never fails to impress. One of the first landmarks to check out is the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse. Towering majestically, it stands as Australia's easternmost point, offering panoramic views of the Pacific that are worth every snapshot and an absolute highlight for those looking to explore Australia’s coastal charm. A stone's throw away, the expansive Main Beach stretches out, the perfect spot to lay down your beach towel, bask in the sun, or take a refreshing dip. As the day transitions to evening, the town's atmosphere pulses with energy. Live music, bustling cafes, artisan stalls, and a faint whiff of its hippie past; this is Byron Bay in its essence. Soak it up! Travelling with family? No problem! For an even deeper dive into Byron's family-friendly activities, our guide to Byron Bay’s family-friendly activities is your go-to!

Where to stay: Spend as long as you like in Byron Bay Holiday Park and soak in the one-of-a-kind coastal town vibe of Byron Bay.

For those who wish to extend their journey, repeat the journey in the reverse order and explore what else might be out there between Sydney and Byron Bay. Head south and enjoy the scenic 8-hour and 15-minute drive back to Sydney to return your campervan to the Apollo Sydney branch. Otherwise, the Apollo Brisbane branch is just an additional 2.5-hour drive north.


Want to try this road trip itinerary?

From the bustling cityscapes of Sydney to the Bohemian shores of Byron Bay, this road trip of Australia is a front-row seat to some of the country's most mesmerizing coastal sights and experiences. But the magic doesn't stop at just reading about it. If you are ready to create your own memories and embark on your own Sydney to Byron Bay road trip, don't just dream – make it a reality! Book your Apollo campervan online today and gear up for coastal adventures, scenic beauty, bohemian Byron Bay locals and stories that you'll be telling for years to come.




You may also like

Terms Of UsePrivacy StatementCopyright 2024 by Apollo RV Holidays
Back To Top