The Pacific Coast Drive from runs from Sydney to Brisbane and is around 920kms. The coastal drive takes you past some well know tourist towns and cities such as the Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Port Stephens and Newcastle.It also takes you past some other great spots that are worth visiting for a day or two.
The coastal drive is a great holiday and you get to see many diverse little towns, beaches and some amazing coastal scenery. The best way to visit these little towns is with a campervan as you can stay in caravan parks and there are plenty of caravan parks all up and down the east of Australia. Let’s start with a campervan hire from Sydney.
South West Rocks
This little spot is some 6 hours north of Sydney and you need to leave the main pacific highway to visit. The main township of South West Rocks lies on the southern side of the Macleay River on a small headland that is one part of a crescent shaped beach. The beach is a white sand beach and the surf swells are usually fairly calm. This bay area known as Wine Glass Bay is just in front of the main town area and is very popular with families enjoying the beach. It would be useful to rent out a place in Sydney closer to the places that you plan on visiting.
Outside of this protected beach there are also multiple open ocean beaches where you can enjoy a more surf beach experience. There are many water activities you can enjoy such as kayaking, stand-up paddling, surfing, swimming and diving. Just off the coast of South West Rocks is Fish Rock Cave a 25m swim through cave that is very popular with divers.
Not far south of the town is Smoky Cape Lighthouse where you can visit for some great coastal views both north and south.
Coffs Harbour is slightly larger than most towns and is on its way to becoming a city but it is still worth visiting. Coffs Harbour is located right between the mountains and the ocean providing access to both forest and beaches in one easy spot.
Coffs Harbour has many beaches stretching both north and south such as Emerald Beach and Moonee Beach which are great sandy beaches with open ocean swell. Coffs Harbour has many attractions to visit but is known for its Big Banana attraction that has long been a stop along any coastal trip.
While there are beaches, bushwalking and restaurants to enjoy in Coffs you can also visit the Solitary Island Marine Park from Coffs Harbour. The Marine Park can be enjoyed from a few locations, and they provide some remarkable ocean life to explore. Divers should take the time to visit the Solitary Islands.
Located at the mouth of the Clarence River is the township of Yamba. Yamba is a great destination for surfers as Angourie Point just south of town is an Australian National Surfing Reserve which offers great right hand point breaks.
Yamba is a great spot for water activities as it has the quiet water ways and the ocean at its doorstep.You can hire boats, kayaks, paddle boards all to enjoy the waterways around Yamba, or you can take a charter to the open ocean for Pacific fishing action.
Yamba also has the Pacific Hote,l with not only great views out over the ocean but is a great spot for a meal. Just on the north side of Yamba is Iluka which you can get to via ferry (or road but you have to drive out and back to get there). Iluka and Woody Heads is also a very popular beach holiday destination.
This quiet little beach side town is located just south of the very popular Byron Bay. Lennox Heads is a well renowned surf beach and is one of Australia’s National Surfing Reserves with multiple surfing events run here each year. Besides being just a great surf spot Lennox also offers many other water activities to enjoy including: swimming, stand-up paddling, kayaking, beach walking and sun baking.
Lennox Heads also has Lake Ainsworth situated right in the middle of the town. Lake Ainsworth has tea tree lined shores and offers somewhere to enjoy water activities beside the open ocean beach.
Lennox offers plenty of cafes and restaurants to eat in, a surf club and a classic waterside pub to enjoy.
This little township is located 18kms north of Byron Bay and is centred on the waterways of the mouth of the Brunswick River. The town is not located right on the beach like Lennox Heads is, but is set back off the beach by Simpson creek.
To get to the beach you need to cross the Simpson creek bridge and you are presented with a beach that is inside the entrance of the waterways to the open ocean. You also have access to the open ocean beach which stretches all the way south to Byron Bay. Brunswick and Byron are separated by a National Park that runs right to the beach which gives the open ocean beach a remoteness that adds to the appeal of the beach.
There are several commercial fishing boats that run out of Brunswick and fresh seafood is always on the menu in Brunswick. The Brunswick hotel in the centre of town overlooking the Simpson creek is a popular location for tourists and locals to gather on weekends and enjoy the some live music or the lay-back atmosphere of the town.
There are many places to stop on a Pacific Coastal drive, the ones mentioned are not the most well known, but are definitely worth adding to your itinerary if you ever get to do this self drive trip.