Roadtrip Brisbane to Sydney

Last Updated on February 24, 2023

A roadtrip on Australias east coast is one of the most popular roadtrips in Australia. Whether you go all the way down from Cairns to Sydney or just a smaller itinerary, it’s definitely a roadtrip to remember.

Four years ago we rented a camper van and travelled from Cairns to Brisbane. We got the full adventure from jungle trips to outback rides and sceneric beaches. Whether we went diving at the Great Barrier Reef, snorkeling at the Whitsundays or Whale Watching in Hervey Bay. There was something new to explore every day.

Whitsunday Island
Whitsunday Island

Getting around:

This roadtrip was a bit different, since I had less time and was not allowed to rent a car or camper van due to my age. Instead, I bought a greyhound “hop on hop off pass” from Brisbane to Sydney. The greyhound bus operates all over Australia and stops at several cities.

With the “hop on hop off pass” you have the chance to get off the bus whenever and wherever you want. They provide free wifi on board and you can book and select your preferred seat online.

I only had two weeks to complete this roadtrip, so I picked only a couple of spots to stop. I wanted to have more time at each place instead of running from one city to another.

1. Stop: Surfers Paradise

Surfers Paradise - Gold Coast
Surfers Paradise - Gold Coast

Starting in Brisbane, I took the bus to Surfers Paradise (Gold Coast). If you’re interested in what you can do in Brisbane, click here to check out my blog post about 10 things you can do there.

Surfers Paradise
Surfers Paradise

Surfers Paradise is famous for the skyscrapers next to the beach, which reminds me of Miami. It takes about one hour from Brisbane to get there. The city is a very beach and party oriented place and lots of Australians go there for holiday aswell. I spent there about two and a half days enjoying the beach life and getting used to the backpacking life.

Another great beach on the Gold Coast is Burleigh Heads, which I visited as a daytrip from Brisbane.

Burleigh Heads - Gold Coast

Things to do in Surfers Paradise:

2. Stop: Byron Bay

Byron Bay Lighthouse
Byron Bay Lighthouse

From Surfers Paradise it takes about two hours to get to Byron Bay. You leave Queensland and enter New South Wales, which is one hour ahead of Queensland.

I spent about four and a half days in this pretty town. Byron Bay has kept its hippie and relaxed atmosphere, although there are many tourists. I really enjoyed watching surfers all day long and finishing the day at our beautiful camp site. If you’re interested in my time in Byron Bay, click here to read my blog post.

Surfers in Byron Bay
Surfers in Byron Bay

Things to do in Byron Bay:

  • lighthouse walk along several beaches
  • sunrise at the lighthouse
  • surfing

3. Stop: Port Stephens

Port Stephens
Port Stephens

To get to Port Stephens, we took the overnight greyhound bus to Newcastle and then the local bus back north for about one hour. We stayed at my friends place for about three days.

Our days were filled with tipical Fish and Chips, a BBQ at the beach and strolling around the small towns. My friend is a water police officer, so he took us on his boat and allowed us to join his daily work. While driving around the bay, we spotted some dolphins!

The township is called Nelson Bay and pretty famous for dolphin and whale watching. My friends told me, that in winter you can watch whales from the top of Mt. Tomaree.

This moutain was actually next to my friends the main reason to visit this place. When I was younger, I saw a photo of the beautiful beach, you can see from the top, and I have been dying to see it with my own eyes ever since. Unfortunately I never found the location…Until I did some research about my upcoming roadtrip and when I saw it, things were clear for me. I needed to go there!

Things to do in Port Stephens:

  • climb Mount Tomaree
  • boat tour to spot dolphins
  • BBQ at the beach

4. Stop: Newcastle

After some nice and relaxing days in Port Stephen’s I took the bus back to Newcastle, where I only spent one day before I went to Sydney.
The day was still worth it. Newcastle is a pretty relaxing city aswell, where you can go surfing or spent the day at the beach.

Things to do in Newcastle:

5. Stop: Sydney

Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House

The last stop of my roadtrip was Sydney and it took about three hours from Newcastle with the greyhound bus. Although I’ve been in Sydney before, I really enjoyed exploring the city again and also attended the famous Mardi Gras Parade. Click here to read my blog post about my time in Sydney.

Things to do in Sydney:

  • visit the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge
  • surfing at Manly or Bondi Beach
  • grab a meal in China Town

I really enjoyed these two weeks roadtripping all the way from Brisbane to Sydney and hope you I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post.

Click here to check out my travel page to see all the photos, I took during the roadtrip.

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