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The Ultimate Road Trip: Sydney To Brisbane Drive In 10 Days!

The drive from Sydney to Brisbane (or Brisbane to Sydney!) is an epic road trip to do whilst you are in Australia!

Australia is best seen on a road trip and this road trip itinerary hugs the coastline, encompassing some of the best things to see and do in Australia.

Read on for the best Sydney to Brisbane road trip itinerary!

Brisbane skyline


When Is The Best Time Of Year To Do A Sydney To Brisbane Road Trip?

You can do a Sydney to Brisbane road trip year round, but take note of the seasons.

November to February is peak season when you’ll have the best weather, but it’s also when prices will be higher and everywhere will be really busy.

Remember if you’ll be staying in a campervan that it can get quite hot in the campervan, especially overnight!

The cooler months of June to September see less people around and lower costs, but be prepared for a few rain showers and cool nights the nearer you are to Sydney.

The shoulder season (March/April and October) is personally my favourite time to do this trip as the weather is great and it’s not too busy and the campervan doesn’t get too hot or too cold at night. 

If you want to avoid crowds (and swarms of children everywhere!) you may want to check when the QLD/NSW school holidays are, including Easter and long weekend dates.

port Macquarie JUCY_Coaster_campervan_review 

Sydney to Brisbane Distance

The distance from Sydney to Brisbane is 917km if driving along the coastal route (the quickest route).

How Long Does It Take To Drive From Sydney To Brisbane?

To drive from Sydney to Brisbane on the coastal route (Bruce Highway/M1/A1) would take around 9.5 hours driving if you were to drive non-stop. 

Of course a non-stop drive would be pointless, and on the road trip there will be lots of places you’ll want to stop off along the way between Sydney to Brisbane.

Therefore many people tend to do a Sydney to Brisbane road trip over 10 days or 2 weeks. You can of course do it in less time – you just might need to spend less time in some places or just start your days a bit earlier!

The first time I did the Sydney to Brisbane road trip I did it in a car converted into a campervan, although I have since done the trip again both in a bigger rental campervan (a JUCY Toyota Hiace) and in a car, staying overnight in motels. 

It’s totally possible to do the road trip in a car (or even by Greyhound bus) and book motels, hotels or hostels to stay in each night if you won’t be sleeping in a campervan.

If you will be travelling this way I really advise you to book all accommodation beforehand as often accommodation gets booked out quickly, especially during peak holiday seasons. I book all my accommodation using

hunter valley camper van nsw

Campervan Safety In Australia

Australia is a great country when it comes to doing road trips in camper vans – it’s very safe, although it’s always good to familiarise yourself with these Campervan & Van Life Safety Tips to ensure you stay safe on the road and at night!

I have done several campervan trips both as a female solo traveller and with my partner across Australia, and I have never had any issues.




Sydney is a fantastic city to start your road trip! Make sure to spend a few days here first before starting your Sydney to Brisbane road trip as there are so many things to do in the Harbour City!

You will probably find it easier to book accommodation for your time in Sydney and hold off on the car/campervan rental until you are ready to leave Sydney to start the road trip.

Parking in Sydney is expensive, and the public transport system is so good that a car shouldn’t be necessary to visit all the tourist spots.

I advise to spend about 3 days in Sydney before starting the drive to Brisbane.

sunrise predictor bondi beach

Use this 3 day Sydney itinerary as a guide to help you:

Day 1 in Sydney:

  • Sydney Opera House and Opera House Bar
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge
  • Mrs Macquarie’s Point 
  • The Rocks & CBD

All the above locations are within walking distance of Circular Quay. You can reach all the destinations by foot so you won’t need to take public transport this day if your accommodation is nearby.

Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House is one of the most distinctive buildings in the world and one of the most Instagrammable places in Sydney.

You can get some really nice photos on the steps of The Opera House or from further back to capture the unique shape of the building.

Sydney opera house instagrammable places

The Opera House Bar is the perfect place to stop for a drink or snack before continuing with sightseeing. It is an outdoor bar offering stunning views out over The Harbour Bridge and The Opera House.

Drinks are reasonably priced and there is a lively atmosphere here. It is busy but it is easy enough to get a seat with a great view. 

Sydney opera house instagrammable places

Sydney Harbour Bridge

The iconic Harbour Bridge is the world’s largest steel arch bridge at an impressive 440 feet high and 3,770 feet long that spans Sydney Harbour.

No trip to Sydney is complete without going across the Harbour Bridge, although it is up to you how you would like to experience it.

Sydney harbour bridge 

You can walk across (free), do the Pilon Climb (reasonably priced) or do the Bridge Climb (most expensive option).

The cheapest and simplest way to explore The Harbour Bridge is simply to walk across it: it is free and is an incredible experience and makes for some great photos. It should take about 20 minutes to walk across the Harbour Bridge.

Sydney opera house

You can also climb the Pilon Lookout to get incredible uninterrupted views of the harbour from higher up.

The pilon lookout is located on the south side of The Harbour Bridge and you can climb it for just $19. There is no elevator and there are 200 shallow steps to get to the top. 

The ultimate Sydney bucket list item is to do the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb! The Bridge Climb is fairly expensive ($200 minimum) and you need to book a slot in advance – click here to go to the official website. 

Sydney harbour bridge at night

Mrs Macquarie’s Point

Mrs Macquarie’s Point offers one of the best views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and The Opera House together in one shot.

It makes a very popular place to watch the sunset and you can get some fantastic photographs from here – especially of the Sydney New Years Eve Fireworks!

This is one of the very best places in Sydney to take photos and you should definitely not miss it. 

mrs Macquarie's chair fireworks night Sydney


Stroll around Sydney’s downtown CBD (Central Business District) area and admire the beautiful architecture of the Town Hall and the Queen Victoria Building – a beautiful shopping arcade.

Also walk around The Rocks, which was the first suburb built by the first English and Irish immigrants who arrived in Sydney.

queen Victoria building Sydney

Day 2 in Sydney:

Day 2 is all about exploring Sydney’s north shore and beautiful Northern Beaches.

  • Luna Park
  • Copes Lookout
  • Maccallum Pool
  • Manly

Luna Park

Luna Park is one of the best located theme parks in the world! It is located on the north side of The Harbour Bridge and you can get some stunning photographs of the harbour from here!

luna park Sydney

Entrance to Luna Park is free (you just pay to go on each ride) and there is a really nice vintage vibe at Luna Park with the old fairground rides. 

luna park Sydney

Copes Lookout

Walk underneath The Harbour Bridge to the other side from Luna Park you’ll see more stunning views of The Harbour Bridge and The Opera House at Copes Lookout.

You can get some really unique views from here and it is never crowded. This waterfront walkway is also a great place for picnics and relaxing so feel free to bring a picnic here if the weather is good!

Sydney harbour bridge

Maccallum Pool

If you want to swim in an outdoor harbour pool for free whilst looking at the Harbour Bridge and Opera House, head to Maccallum Pool! This is one of those secret spots in Sydney so it is never too busy here!

There is also a lovely 3km Harbourside and marina walk you can do here at Cremorne Point if you fancy!

Manly Beach

Manly is a lively beach town on Sydney’s north shore. It is known for the popular Manly Beach, which is definitely worth a visit on any Sydney itinerary!

The Manly to Spit walk is one of Sydney’s most popular coastal walks and I definitely recommend to do it.

Also head to the nearby Shelly Beach and Manly Wormhole if you like finding secret spots!

You can get the ferry to Manly from Circular Quay – it’s a lovely 30 minute ferry with fantastic views.

shelly beach manly Sydney north head

Day 3 in Sydney:

Day 3 is spent relaxing in Sydney’s famous eastern beaches!

  • Bondi Beach
  • Bronte Beach
  • Coogee Beach

Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach is Australia’s busiest and most well-known beach! The great waves here always attract lots of surfers and the large sandy beach is permanently full of people sunbathing when the sun is out.

The vibes here are fantastic and there are many nice coffee shops, restaurants and boutique shops to visit. 

bondi beach

Bronte Beach & Coogee Beach

After you’ve enjoyed Bondi Beach and checked out the Bondi Icebergs ocean pool, start the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk.

bondi beach icebergs swimming ocean pool sydney drone aerial photography

The first part of the walk is actually called the Bondi to Bronte walk – when you get to Bronte Beach make sure to go for a dip in the stunning Bronte Baths ocean pool! (Entrance is free).

Then continue your coastal walk to Coogee and enjoy the laidback vibes there.

Bronte baths Sydney ocean pool


Blue Mountains

After you’ve enjoyed your few days in Sydney it’s time to head out of the city and drive 1.5 hours to The Blue Mountains.

The Blue Mountains is a rugged mountain range west of Sydney – named so because of the blue haze that surrounds the mountains. The scenery here is really dramatic and there are lots of hiking and nature trails you can do.

There are lots of beautiful places in The Blue Mountains such as the Three Sisters sandstone rock formations and Wentworth Falls.

These places are always fairly crowded as they are fairly easy to access, so if you are looking for somewhere a bit more remote and a lot less crowded then think about heading to Hanging Rock!

Hanging Rock is such an impressive place and the view out across The Blue Mountains is really stunning. As it is a 6km hike to get to Hanging Rock it means you’ll often have the viewpoint all to yourself! 

hanging rock blue mountains Sydney to brisbane road trip


Central Coast

And now to head back along the coast to The Central Coast. The Central Coast is full of several stunning laid-back beachside suburbs such as Avoca Beach and MacMasters Beach.

There are also several really nice walks you can do in The Central Coast such as the Bouddi National Park Walk, Box Head Walk and the Pearl Beach to Patonga Walk – all of which offer stunning views.

pearl beach to Patonga walk warrah lookout


Caves Beach

Heading up along the coastline you’ll reach the unique Caves Beach. As the name suggests, the beach has sea caves – and they are some of the best caves in the whole of New South Wales! 

The caves lie at the southern end of the beach, and if you stand at the back of the entrance of the cave you can get some really nice pictures of the sea behind the opening of the cave. 

caves beach Lake Macquarie Sydney to brisbane road trip



Newcastle is a lovely city in New South Wales, and when you are here you must head to The Bogey Hole ocean pool!

The Bogey Hole is well-known amongst the locals yet it remains fairly undiscovered to many tourists. It recognised as the first known ocean pool on Australia’s East Coast and possibly in the whole of Australia.

The Bogey Hole is a much-loved swimming spot and you can get some really fun photos of the waves crashing over the rocks. It is a really fun place, but you do need to be careful there and make sure you aren’t the only person swimming.

The baths are not patrolled, there is no lifeguard here and the rocks are incredibly slippy. Make sure to visit at low tide – sometimes the waves can be VERY strong and crash into the pool with a lot of force. 

the bogey hole Newcastle Sydney to brisbane road trip

Port Stephens

Port Stephens is a great stop on the Sydney to Brisbane road trip as it is home to the southern hemisphere’s largest moving sand dunes!

These sand dunes, known as the Stockton Sand Dunes, look out across to the sea and on the beach in front of the sand dunes – called Birubi Beach you can ride a camel or you can go sand boarding and 4wd on the sand dunes

port Stephens camel ride Sydney to brisbane road trip

In Port Stephens you should also make time to go swimming with dolphins or walk the 30 minute walk up the Tomaree Summit for a spectacular view over the surrounding area.

tomaree head summit mountain walk Sydney to brisbane road trip


Seal Rocks

Another great stop on the Sydney to Brisbane drive is Seal Rocks – a small, sleepy village known for it’s picturesque beaches and great surf.

It’s a small village with not too much to do, but it is the ideal place to relax for a few hours before you carry on your Sydney to Brisbane road trip.

Visit Number One Beach, Sugarloaf Lighthouse, Lighthouse Beach and Boat Beach before heading up to Sugarloaf Point lighthouse.

Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse was completed in 1875 and sits on the top of the headland 79 metres above sea level, overlooking Lighthouse Beach. 

The views from the lighthouse are stunning, and there is a lookout nearby that looks down onto a few rocky outcrops in the water .

These are the ‘Seal Rocks’ – where the village got its name from. Historically this was the home to a colony of Australian Fur Seals.

seal rocks NSW Sydney to brisbane road trip


Booti Booti National Park

The secluded Booti Booti National Park has some of the best beaches along the whole coastline yet it is never full of people! 

Booti Booti National Park has a beautiful thin 8km peninsula that separates Wallis Lake from the Pacific Ocean.

Take the Booti Hill Walking Track from Seven Mile Beach to Elizabeth Beach. Nearby Blueys Beach and Boomerang Beach are also worth a visit – they are particularly great for surfing. 

Also make sure to stop off at nearby Cellitos Beach a few kilometres away – voted one of the best beaches in NSW!

seven mile beach booti booti national park Sydney to brisbane road trip


Port Macquarie

Port Macquarie is a stunning seaside resort town on the Mid-North Coast of NSW that is definitely worth a stop on any Sydney to Brisbane road trip.

There are many things to do in Port Macquarie – which is famed for its great surf and beaches as well as having top dolphin and whale spotting sights and being home to the world’s largest urban population of koalas.

A visit to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital is an absolute must when in Port Macquarie.

Port Macquarie Koala Hospital looks after koalas injured through bushfires, motor vehicle accidents and dog attacks. Established in 1973 it is the world’s first hospital dedicated solely to koalas.

The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital has eight Intensive Care Units, one treatment room and several recovery yards for the koalas.

Normally anything between 200 and 250 koalas are admitted here every year, and they have a 24 hour Rescue and Treatment operation.

There is also a beautiful 9km Coastal Walk in Port Macquarie that you must do when you are here!

It goes from Town Beach all the way down to Tacking Point Lighthouse, however if you don’t fancy walking the 9km you can drive and stop off at all the main spots!

Port Macquarie beaches Watonga Rocks lighthouse beach Sydney to brisbane road trip



Yamba is a lovely small laid-back town with a lot of beaches. You’ll often spot dolphins near the surfers at Turners Beach, and there’s even an ocean pool at Main Beach to go for a dip in!

Less than 7km down the road from Yamba Town Centre is the sleepy coastal village of Angourie. Like Yamba, Angourie has some great beaches and swimming spots.

Angourie Green Pool and Angourie Blue Pool are really impressive and deserve a visit. Both are freshwater pools popular for swimming and cliff diving.

The Green and Blue pools at Angourie were actually created as they were used for mining and quarries in the 1890s, but they flooded with water just a few years after and have been popular swimming spots ever since!

Also check out Angourie Point Beach: a famous surf spot for die-hard surfers and Spooky Beach, a really good snorkelling spot.

what to do in Yamba beach NSW Sydney to brisbane road trip


Byron Bay

The trendy laid-back town of Byron Bay is a very popular place for backpackers and free spirits and is a firm favourite on any Sydney to Brisbane road trip. This iconic town is a must visit for a couple of days at least! 

Byron Bay the pass cairns to Sydney road trip cape byron lighthouse

There are plenty things to do in Byron Bay such as:

zephyr horses beach horse ride Byron Bay NSW

Cape Byron Lighthouse marks mainland Australia’s most easterly point and is an absolute must see on your Byron Bay itinerary.

The lighthouse is so picturesque, located on top of a cliff overlooking the ocean. You can get some fantastic pictures here, especially at sunrise and sunset.

cape Byron lighthouse photography

If you want to escape the crowds, head to Tallow Beach on the other side of Byron Bay that offers a lovely view of Cape Byron Lighthouse.

You can also take half day excursions from Byron Bay to:

  • Crystal Castle – see the tallest amethyst crystals in the world!
  • Minyon Falls – an iconic giant waterfall
  • Nimbin – a hippie town in the mountains where you can find lots of hemp!

crystal castle byron bay photography instagrammable places

Fingal Head

Everyone knows The Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland, but who has heard about The Giants Causeway in Australia – located in Fingal Head.

Very similar in appearance with its hexagonal black columns rising from the sea caused by cooling volcanic ash, the Fingal Head Causeway is absolutely one of the most magnificent natural sights in NSW.

Fingal Head Causeway however still remains relatively unknown, which of course is good as there aren’t crowds of people!

The Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland and The Giants Causeway in Australia are identical in geological terms, both featuring the same unique step-like rock formations. 

Fingal head giants causeway australia Sydney to brisbane road trip



If you’re keen to see the Queensland/New South Wales border, head to the twin towns of Coolangatta/Tweed Heads just south of the Gold Coast!

On Boundary Street you can see Boundary Statue, which marks the New South Wales/Queensland border. Tweed Heads is officially in NSW and Coolangatta in Queensland and are often known as the Twin Towns.

The statue is located next to a busy street but there’s plenty space to get a photo of NSW on one side and QLD on the other. There are lots of nice cafes on Marine Parade with Coolangatta Beach opposite to enjoy.

NSW QLD border statue Coolangatta tweed heads boundary street


Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is famous for its tall skyscrapers, long sandy beaches and great surf and can be compared to Miami.

There are so many things to do on the Gold Coast, whether you wish to go up the Skypoint Observation Deck , drive a bit inland to see the waterfall at Springbrook National Parks, visit the theme parks, or just beach hop. 

The Gold Coast gets full of schoolies once the school holidays have broken up, and it is a very popular holiday destination for Australians. Surfers Paradise – love it or hate it, is somewhere you should visit at least once.

If it all seems a bit much, head to the southern end of the Gold Coast to the likes of Currumbin where it is quieter. Elephant Rock at Currumbin provides great views across to the Gold Coast.

elephant rock view Currumbin Beach Gold Coast Queensland

Also head to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary where you can feed the lorikeets for free at 8am and 4pm. 

Head inside the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary if you wish to get a photo with a koala!

koala australia lone pine koala sanctuary Sydney to brisbane road trip



And so we reach Brisbane the final stop in your Sydney to Brisbane road trip drive. Located 1 hour north of the Gold Coast, Brisbane is the capital of Queensland and experiences lovely temperatures for the majority of the year!

Brisbane is definitely underrated and many people actually bypass it as they think there is nothing interesting there because it doesn’t have a beach – but that’s definitely a mistake!

24 hours in Brisbane sign to Sydney road trip

Brisbane has so much to offer and is such a great city to explore – I honestly prefer Brisbane to Melbourne!

Whilst in Brisbane you can head to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and hold a koala here and feed the kangaroos, take a wander up to the stunning Kangaroo Cliffs, take the free ferry ride to enjoy gorgeous views of the city and South Bank or stroll along The South Bank and go for a swim in the lagoon – Brisbane’s city beach!

bougainvilleas Brisbane Southbank 

Note just reverse this itinerary if you will be doing your road trip from Brisbane to Sydney!


Hopefully this guide was useful to help you plan your Sydney to Brisbane road trip. The East Coast is such a stunning part of Australia – I really hope you enjoy the drive! 

Looking for more Australia road trip itineraries? Check out:

Cairns to Sydney Road Trip

Adelaide to Melbourne Drive Itinerary

Broome To Perth Road Trip

10 Day NSW Road Trip Itinerary

Great Ocean Road Drive Itinerary

Perth to Exmouth Road Trip

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