Sydney to Brisbane

Planning your next motorhome road trip along this iconic and popular route?
Use our travel resource to be inspired and plan your next dream motorhome holiday.

Beautiful coastline and national parks!

Take the coastline for great surf beaches, rugged national parks, banana plantations and spectacular coastline. Head inland for wineries, lofty mountain ranges, old gold rush towns, country music and the wide open spaces of the outback.

DISTANCE: 1,000 kms
SUGGESTED TIME FRAME: 7 days minimum
BEST TIME OF YEAR: Anytime, but winter may be cold

Watch this video for a quick taste of the Sydney to Brisbane route:

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Highlights of a driving holiday from Sydney to Brisbane

  • There are many routes that can be explored when you travel between Brisbane and Sydney. The most common two are following the New England Highway or the Pacific Highway –the ‘Inland’ or ‘Coastal’ route. Both routes are roughly the same distance of approximately 950 kms and there are ways you can travel parts of both or meander somewhere in between for a fair amount of the time. Either way, allow at least seven days – easy to fill in more time if you have it.

The Coastal Route from Sydney to Brisbane direction:

  • Leaving Sydney on the Pacific Highway, you’ll be in for a treat as you have the opportunity to explore numerous National Parks. You may even like to pop into one of the most well-known the Blue Mountains National Park, just west of Sydney before heading north.
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  • Call into Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park for a stunning detour before continuing north to enjoy a picturesque coastal drive from The Entrance all the way up to Newcastle. Pop into Lake Macquarie, which is Australia’s largest permanent coastal saltwater lake, which is four times the size of Sydney Harbour.
  • Check out Australia’s second oldest city, Newcastle, which is also near to the Hunter Valley, a renowned wine region.
  • Nelson Bay has a great mixture of calm beaches, surf beaches, wildlife and of course marine life which make it a popular holiday stopover. For those thinking of doing a whale watching tour, or perhaps are keen on seeing dolphins – this is the place to do it. You can also check out nearby Tomaree National Park.
  • South West Rocks, which is roughly half way between Sydney and Brisbane is another worth detour. There’s a beautiful loop out to the coast and a pretty nice campground which offers lovely views.
  • The drive up to Nambucca Heads is pretty, and you’ll probably see the oyster farms – maybe an opportunity for a taste test or two!
  • At Coffs Harbour, you can head along the ‘Waterfall Way’, which is a great detour if you have time, with a high concentration of national parks, and not surprisingly waterfalls! There are lots of opportunities to stretch the legs and also enjoy the tree top walk near Dorrigo at the Rainforest Centre. This road meets up with the New England Highway (inland route).
  • Coffs Harbour is home of the Big Banana and has a lovely beach to stroll along.
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  • Coastal towns continue to impress. Stop by Yamba and enjoy to enjoy some lovely walks and cafes, and Evan’s Head, which is fantastic for surfing, fishing and relaxing on uncrowded long sandy beaches. You might like to check out Razorback Lookout for great views – wonder if you’ll see the lighthouse at Byron Bay?
  • In Byron Bay, it’s easy to lose time relaxing in the cafes near the beach, swimming and of course exploring the headland and the lighthouse. Seeing the sunrise from the lighthouse is popular.
  • It’s not all about the bright lights at the Gold Coast. The area is renowned for its beautiful beaches and the hinterlands. You’ve also got the ‘fun parks’, which are popular with families.

The Inland Route from Brisbane to Sydney direction:

  • Leaving Brisbane on the New England Highway, you’ll head west via Warwick close to the border of Queensland and NSW and most likely near Stanthorpe. This is a popular area for tourists to spend a few days as they enjoy the Granite Belt and local wineries. Nearby Girraween National Park is a popular location for hiking amongst the dramatic scenery of massive granite outcrops and precariously placed boulders.
  • Pop into Glen Innes, which is a beautiful town rich with Celtic history. In a nearby park overlooking the town, are the Standing Stones, which is a monument to the pioneering Celts of the New England Tablelands. There are 40 massive granite stones which are solar aligned and function as a clock, calendar and compass.
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  • You’ve probably heard of the country music capital of Australia, Tamworth, which also has the largest country music festival in the southern hemisphere. Have a stroll on the riverbanks and have your pic taken in front of the famous 'golden guitar' which is 12 metres tall.
  • This route brings you into the Upper Hunter Valley. While all of the Hunter Valley is picturesque, the Upper Hunter Valley does have its own unique charm. The best thing is to pop into one of the friendly tourist information centres for a local map of tourist drives which really show off the area. While there are some wineries in the Upper Hunter you’ll also see the lush horse stud farms and historic homesteads. You might be interested in the largest sundial in the southern hemisphere in Singleton, – one of the beautiful country towns in the area.
  • Before making your way into Sydney, it’s worth checking out a cellar door or two in the Hunter Valley wine region, and also try some of the local produce at the farm gates.

Learn more details and useful planning tips about this route.

Grab yourself a drink, sit back and relax while you watch this 8-minute video providing more insight to help your road trip planning from Sydney to Brisbane.

Sydney to Brisbane route planning tips

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  • Travel this route any time of the year with winter being cold – depending which climate you’re used to!
  • It doesn’t matter which direction you travel this route; if time permits, doing a round trip gives a good diversity to experiences and scenery.
  • To experience this route, we provide motorhome hire in Sydney and Brisbane.
  • You’ll find helpful information centres along your route, and generally there is no need to book campsites in advance – except around Darwin. Darwin can be very busy in the Dry season, so great even if you can book a few days ahead to avoid disappointment.

We’d recommend a minimum of 7 days for this trip - if doing a loop, would suggest 10 – 14 days depending on how long you’d like to spend around Brisbane/Sydney. It's common for our retired clients to take around 15 – 21 days for the loop, and about 14 days for a one-way trip.

  • There are a number of commercial camps, low cost camps and some free rest areas that allow overnight camping. Coastal commercial camps in popular tourist areas will be busy over school holidays, long weekends and Christmas. You’ll need to pre-book during this time. There is not a lot of free camping areas located along the more populated coastal route (national park camping is a great alternative).
  • During some sections there will be longer distances between the roadhouses where you can get fuel, however there is no need to carry extra fuel inside your vehicle when travelling this sealed road.
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  • Refer to the Camps Australia Wide Guide book for locations for freedom camps which can be purchased along your route at some information centres, book or camping stores. You can also purchase an app called ‘Wiki Camps’ if you use a smart phone or tablet, plus the information centres en-route are a gold mine for local information.
  • See plenty of wildlife along this route also like kangaroos, wallabies, a vast range of birdlife including a variety of parrots and maybe even a chance to see humpback whales from the coast if travelling between May to September.
  • As a traveller along this route, please do note some areas have alcohol restrictions.

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