Brisbane to Sydney road trip

Brisbane to Sydney road trip

Brisbane to Sydney road trip – seven days of driving pleasure

The road trip south from Brisbane to Sydney is one of Australia’s most exciting motorhome adventures. It encompasses all the very best that campervan travel has to offer, it's also reversible so check out our Sydney motorhome rental page if you want to book a campervan in New South Wales . A stunning coastal drive, vast selection of crisp, sandy beaches and numerous outdoor adventures, as you take in rainforests, national parks and the kind of wildlife you only find in the southern hemisphere. And remember, while we recommend private camping grounds, there are numerous free camping locations around Australia, or those that charge a very small fee. So, what are you waiting for?

With a route of just under 1000km, Brisbane to Sydney certainly isn’t the longest road trip in Australia, but that gives you even more time to enjoy what’s on offer. There are a few routes you can take from Brisbane, but we will focus on the Pacific Highway coastal road. Here is your itinerary:

  • Day 1-2 Arrive in Brisbane. Take in the local sights, camp here.

  • Day 2-3 Brisbane to Gold Coast/Surfers Paradise. So much to do, you may want to stay longer.

  • Day 3-4 Gold Coast to Byron Bay, via Tweed Heads. Alternative and intoxicating.

  • Day 4-5 Byron Bay to Coffs Harbour. Fascinating sea life on offer.

  • Day 5-6 Coffs Harbour to Port Macquarie. Chill out and eat well.

  • Day 6-7 Port Macquarie to Sydney. What a fantastic place to finish your journey.

Brisbane is warm and welcoming, with a dynamic tourism industry. Travellers from all over the world come here to indulge in the ultimate Australian vacation. Sun, sea, surf and sand abound, but there is so much more to the region than beaches.

Once you collect your campervan, you’ll want to find a parking spot, so you can get acclimatised. There are plenty of options:

  • Brisbane Gateway Resort, 200 School Rd, Rochedale: This is a highly rated camping site just 20 minutes south of the CBD.

  • Brisbane Holiday Village, 10 Holmead Road: Powered and unpowered sites, but book in advance during summer months.

  • Newmarket Gardens Caravan Park, 199 Ashgrove Ave: Billed as the closest caravan park to the city – only 4km away.

  • Springtime Gardens Caravan Park, 13-17 Chatswood Rd, Springwood: Spacious with a natural parkland surround.



Day one. With a buzzing inner city, there’s plenty to enjoy in Brisbane. For the finest food and drink, why not take a seat alongside the river on the South Bank. Indulge in alfresco dining at the Little Stanley Street precinct, with numerous culinary styles, from Vietnamese and Chinese, to Spanish and Italian. Weekend markets are also hugely popular, thanks to the Carseldine Farmers and Artisan Markets. Gorgeously fresh produce is the order of the day, with live music and stuff for the kids. Eat Street Markets down Hamilton Wharf is a more eclectic experience, running until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

Brisbane revolves around an outdoor lifestyle, which is why you will need a couple of days to fit everything in. The Story Bridge Adventure Climb can take you to new heights, as will the Wheel of Brisbane – not dissimilar to the London Eye. Fantastic day trips include Bribie Island, for a brief escape from the hustle and bustle, or Moreton Bay. As the third biggest sand island on the planet, you can enjoy dolphins, snorkelling and wildflowers. Or perhaps you’re more adventurous and fancy jumping behind the wheel of a quad bike?

Family friendly activities are in plentiful supply, with Robelle Domain offering a water park, the Cultural Centre providing a colourful day out, and dinosaurs on show at Queensland Museum. The little ones are you sure to be exhausted.


BRISBANE TO GOLD COAST/SURFERS PARADISE – 90km, one-hour driving time

It’s day two and time to hit the road in your campervan. Fortunately, your first major journey only takes around an hour. Just head south down the M1 and you will land at the Gold Coast – one of Australia’s primary tourism hot-spots. The host of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, this region enjoys a subtropical climate, stacks of beaches thanks to 60km of coastline and a vibrant nightlife of bars, restaurants, clubs and casinos.

But when you arrive, where you stay is the first priority. There’s an assortment of options, including:

  • BIG4 Treasure Island Holiday Park, 117 Brisbane Road: Very family-friendly within tropical gardens and good facilities.

  • Gold Coast Holiday Park, 66-86 Siganto Drive: Just 15 minutes from Surfers Paradise and close to theme parks Movie World, Wet ‘N’ Wild and Dream World.    

  • Broadwater Tourist Park, 169 Marine Parade: Right on the water’s edge, with swimming pools and very impressive facilities.

There are many other tourism parks on route, with bush camping an option if you prefer a more isolated, back-to-nature type experience.

The heart of the Gold Coast is Surfers Paradise. This is, quite simply, a jaw-droppingly beautiful landscape of sun and sand, perfectly built to accommodate travellers. The main beach is a 3km strip, but there are many others close by. However, it’s after-dark when Surfers really comes to life. The Beergarden is perfect for a couple of drinks to start your evening, while the Central Lounge Bar has an extensive menu of cocktails. Hard Rock Café is well-established and there are too many nightclubs to mention here. Just pack your dancing shoes.  

If a family-focused holiday is more of a priority, don’t worry – Surfers has a strong local community, with indoor and outdoor attractions. The beachfront markets offer birdlife, bargain shopping and colourful market stalls, with Dracula’s Haunted House and Timezone appealing to those active minds. Theme parks such as Dreamworld and White Water World are very popular, so book ahead to guarantee a ticket.


GOLD COAST TO BYRON BAY – 90km, one-hour driving time

Day three and you’re nearly halfway through your east coast adventure. Set yourself for another 90km mini-trip, with numerous stops on the way. The beaches will continue to draw you out of your motorhome, with Palm Beach a particular favourite. However, when you hit Tweed Heads South, it could be time to take a break. Here you can get back on your feet with a trip to Mount Warning volcano, while Lamington National Park is another must-see.

But don’t delay too long, because Byron Bay is undoubtedly one of the most memorable, remarkable spots in the world, never mind Australia. An essential stop-off point for the younger generation of tourist (especially backpackers), Byron welcomes people of all ages, shapes and sizes. You are close to the eastern-most point of Australia – and you may not want to leave.

The population is only around 5000, but camping is easy. Here are some ideas:

  • Glen-Villa Resort, 80-86 Butler St: Grassy sites, very central location, friendly service.

  • Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park, Alcorn St: Powered sites, free BBQs and eco-friendly bushland setting.

  • First Sun Holiday Park, Lawson St: Great views towards Byron Lighthouse, free wireless internet and tour bookings.

  • Byron Bay Tourist Village, 399 Ewingsdale Rd: Pretty self-explanatory, very family-friendly and close to the CBD.

After you’ve parked up the camper, head into the centre of Byron. Completely different to the rest of Australia, its combination of events and festivals, markets and vibrant community create a unique environment. Although relatively small, there’s plenty to do – and first up is the walking track lighthouse trail which takes around two hours, with a free lighthouse tour at the end. Circus Arts is ideal for the younger hearts and minds, thanks to flying trapeze lessons, a jumping castle and play area… also fun for the adults.

The Feathers of Australia is a truly unique Byron experience. Beautiful wood birds are made right in front of you- a cavalcade of colour and artistry. And if you have the energy, Arakwal National Park is a couple of kilometres north of Cape Byron. Stunning birdlife and the odd wallaby may accompany you to Tallow Beach – and you will definitely need a rest after all that.


BYRON BAY TO COFFS HARBOUR, 240km, four-hour driving time

It’s day four and time to really put your campervan to work. Maybe set off early in the day as you journey further south to Coffs Harbour. However, there are numerous attractions on the way down, including Bundjalung National Park and Doubleduke State Forest, but the trip itself down the A1 should be relatively straightforward.

While Byron has a slightly alternative attitude to life, Coffs Harbour is true blue Aussie. Accommodation is geared towards family and there are plenty of places to park up the camper:

  • Park Beach Holiday Park, 1 Ocean Parade: Water slides and cannons will keep young ones happy, alongside a modern camp kitchen.

  • Banana Coast Caravan Park, 429 Pacific Highway: Camping grounds have powered and unpowered sites.

  • Sawtell Beach Holiday Park, 5 Lyons Road: Just out of Coffs Harbour, 10km south, Sawtell has a good reputation, offering camping sites with good amenities.

You’re not here for long, so get out there and explore. A priority should be the Pet Porpoise Pool and Dolphin Marine Magic, where you can get up close and personal with these remarkable sea creatures. Seals and little penguins are also adorable attractions.

The Big Banana Amusement Park is difficult to miss, thanks to the huge yellow fruit at its entrance, while National Parks at Dorrigo, Bongil Bongil and Bindarri are well worth a look. However, with plenty more driving to come, it could be time to just chill out and enjoy the award-winning restaurants and bars. Surrounding regions such as Woolgoolga, Bellingen and Nambucca Heads all offer culinary delights.


COFFS HARBOUR TO PORT MACQUARIE, 160km, two-hour 15 min driving time

Day five and you’re approaching the climax of your journey, but there’s still plenty to pack in. The drive from Coffs Harbour to Port Macquarie is another spectacular coastal route. Continuing down the A1, you bypass Pine Creek State Forest, Nambucca Heads and Hat Head National Park.

Upon arrival at Port Macquarie, New South Wales, get your camping ground sorted quickly so you can relax. There are a number of options located in a small area, so it’s easy to find your feet.

  • Marina Holiday Park, 52-60 Settlement Point Rd: Campervan sites all have water, sullage and power if required.

  • Sundowner Breakwall Tourist Park, 1 Munster St: A massive site right on the water, there’s plenty of space here with fantastic facilities.

  • Flynns Beach Caravan Park, 22 Ocean St: With more than two decades in the business, these guys know their stuff.

  • Lighthouse Beach Holiday Village: Next to a championship golf course, you can get special deals online. Slightly out of town, but still value for money.

Situated on the Hastings River, Port Macquarie is a friendly Australian town, famous for beaches and koalas! Very low key, it’s a great place to just relax and take in the warm sea air. A natural stopping-off point before you arrive in the hustle and bustle of Sydney.

Perhaps take in a guided tour via a scenic river cruise or charter a boat – water activities are an essential, which isn’t surprising considering the name. There’s always something going on at Port Macquarie Glasshouse Arts Conference and Entertainment Centre, with the Race Club hosting around 20 horse-racing meets a year. Then it’s time for the final stretch…


PORT MACQUARIE TO SYDNEY, 390km, four-hour 30 min driving time

It’s day six and you’re sadly coming close to the conclusion of your week-long trip down the east coast of Australia. Again, this journey is relatively straightforward, down the A1 and M1, taking in the likes of Myall Lakes National Park, Lake Macquarie and the delightfully named Woy Woy.

Tiredness will probably be a factor upon arrival in Sydney, so the quicker you find a campsite, the better. Fortunately it’s one of the most popular tourist cities in the world, so you won’t have any problems. Here are just some of the options:

  • Lane Cove River Caravan Park, Plassey Rd: Situated 10km from the Harbour Bridge, this is a massive tourist park and very well organised.

  • Sydney Hills Holiday Park, 269 New Line Rd: Located north-west of the CBD but worth the journey, a four-star site with great reviews.

  • BIG4 Sydney Lakeside Holiday Park, Lake Park Rd, North Narrabeen: More of a central option, there’s 30 landscaped areas for motorhomes and camping.

Described as one of the most liveable and popular cities in the world by numerous international surveys, Sydney is quite simply one of the most spectacular locations you will ever visit. The obvious tourist favourites are Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, but there’s also a wealth of cultural attractions, wildlife, restaurants, sporting events and photo opportunities. 

Darling Harbour should be one of your first stops, with massive shopping and entertainment centre, Sydney Aquarium, IMAX Theatre and Madame Tussauds, and that’s just for starters. Bondi Beach, Bronte and Coogee are all hugely popular with travellers, as is Luna Park – ideal for all the family.

But the key to your Sydney stop-off, and the whole trip, is planning in advance - otherwise you’ll miss out. So, hopefully this Motorhome Republic itinerary will guide you to the holiday of a lifetime. Happy camping and drive safe!

For another trip, consider Tasmania, or a trip along the Great Ocean Road beginning in Melbourne. New Zealand is another great spot for a campervan adventure, Christchurch is a perfect spot to begin your roadtrip.

Written By: Alex Bell

A journalist and editor for nearly two decades, I am originally from London but proudly call New Zealand home. Having travelled the South Island in a campervan, I know exactly how liberating motorhomes and campers can be. It’s a great opportunity to be part of Motorhome Republic, as we look to educate and encourage people to hit the road in what is, essentially, a portable hotel! I will be creating interesting industry articles, travel itineraries, road-trip ideas, movies and so much more. Come along for the ride!