Sydney and Brisbane are are incredible places to explore, but so is everything in between them such as Newcastle and the Gold Coast! Instead of flying from one city to another, how about going on a Sydney to Brisbane drive?
Go for a road trip and choose the stops to go to as you drive from city to city. Plus, you can decide when to go and how long to stay in one stop—you are the captain of this trip!
Before embarking on the Sydney to Brisbane drive, first things first - you need a car that fits the whole squad - you don’t, then don’t sweat it ‘cause you can easily pre-book a car rental on Klook!
Not only is it convenient, but it’s also cheaper than paying for a rental upon pick-up or arrival at your destination. Klook partnered with leading car rental providers, such as Hertz, Alamo, Europcar, AVIS, and more, to give you the best rates and a wide variety of vehicles to choose from! You can also choose from several pick-up and drop-off locations in Australia, and if plans change, you can always cancel for free!
Once you’ve got that covered, you can plan out your itinerary. If you don’t know where to start or where to go, we’re here to help! Here’s the ultimate guide for an epic Sydney to Brisbane drive:
Estimated Time: 12 days
Total Distance: 1,145 km (711 miles)
Day 1: Sydney & Coogee
Start off your epic journey at Sydney, a vibrant coastal town that’s a perfect balance of city attractions and nature getaways. It’s also home to iconic landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
Here are some of the fun things you can do in Sydney before embarking on the road trip to Brisbane:
The Sydney Opera House Guided Walking Tour
You shouldn’t miss out on getting to know this Australian icon and World Heritage Site. On this one-hour guided walking tour, you’ll learn all about how this architectural masterpiece was built and other fascinating trivia about it.
Sydney Harbour Bar Cruise
Gaze at the harbour with a drink in hand while on a cruise. With the Sydney Harbour Bar Cruise, you can experience just that! Relax aboard the Sydney 2000 as you cruise past Sydney’s iconic landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. All the while, you can catch up with your road trip buddies while sipping on free cocktails and a tapas-style menu (available for purchase).
SkyFeast at Sydney Tower (previously Sydney Tower Buffet)
What better way to see all of Sydney while eating a delicious meal than to go to SkyFeast, a restaurant on the 82nd floor of Sydney Tower that offers international cuisine. Pro-tip: if you want to make sure you’ll have the best views of the city, you can book a package with a window guarantee.
Coogee to Bondi Walk
The Coogee to Bondi Walk is a popular six-kilometre cliff top coastal walk. You’ll pass by parks, cliffs, bays, restaurants, and cafés. This serene walk is a great way to get a sweat in and chat with your road trip buddies while listening to the gentle sound of the waves.
Day 2: Sydney to the Blue Mountains
Distance: 103 km
Estimated total drive: 1.5 hours
On Day 2 of your Sydney to Brisbane drive, you can go on an hour and a half drive to the first stop: the Blue Mountains, home to various attractions. This includes Katoomba Falls, Three Sisters, Mt Solitary, and Jamison Valley. To cover a lot of ground, you can try these activities:
Blue Mountains Scenic World
The best way to see all the beautiful landmarks at the Blue Mountains is via walkway, railway, walkway, cableway, and skyway. With the Scenic Walkway, you’ll walk on a 500-metre elevated boardwalk situated under the canopy of a rainforest. On the Scenic Cableway, you’ll descend through a 545-metre cable into the breathtaking canyon formation that is Jamison Valley.
A thrill ride also awaits on the Scenic Railway, a passenger railway zipping through a verdant open terrain, with an incline of 52° and 128%. And finally, with the Scenic Skyway, a glass floor cable cart, you’ll have stunning views of Katoomba Falls, Three Sisters, Mt Solitary, and Jamison Valley.
Blue Mountains Stargazing
End Day 2 of your Sydney to Brisbane drive with some stargazing and storytelling at the Blue Mountains. With the help of professional-grade telescopes, you’ll be able to see celestial bodies as close as possible, from the moon’s craters to Saturn’s rings. A local expert guide will also help you determine the constellations and stars. You can even watch the sunset before the stars emerge from the sky for a truly breathtaking experience.
Day 3 to 4: The Blue Mountains to Newcastle
Distance: 238 km
Estimated total drive: 3 hours
After heading west of Sydney to the Blue Mountains, it’s time to go on a three-hour drive up north to Newcastle. This harbour city is home to Port Stephens, a local government area known for its diverse marine life and exciting water activities.
Here are the activities you can try and destinations you can visit while in Newcastle:
Oakvale Wildlife Park
Oakvale Wildlife Park is a 25-hectare open natural bushland home to up to 100 species of free-roaming animals such as kangaroos, bunnies, koalas, and more! You can pet and feed these furry friends with the help of the park rangers and even go on a tractor ride around the park! If you’re bringing little ones, they’ll definitely enjoy taking a dip at the Splash Bay Water Park.
Irukandji Shark & Ray Encounters
After playing with your furry friends at Oakvale, it’s time to hang out with the sharks and rays at Irukandji! At the Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounters, you can interact with sharks and rays of various species without the barriers of an aquarium. If you want a full-blown aquatic experience, you can opt for a gold pass that lets you get into the water with them.
Morning Whale Watching Cruise in Newcastle
On this 2.5-hour morning cruise, you’ll be able to see the majestic humpback whales up close in their natural habitat. You might even spot some dolphins and sea birds close by! You’ll have the perfect spot on deck to take photos of the magnificent creatures and simply relax with your road trip buddies while sipping complimentary morning tea.
Port Stephens Beach Tour and Sandboarding Experience
Discover the beauty of the epic sand dunes at Port Stephens! Drive up to the sand dunes and feel the breeze as you sandboard down and back up again! On this beach tour, you’ll also enjoy the guided commentary of the area. A guide will show you the local Pipis and how to find them on the beach!
Day 5: Newcastle to Port Macquarie
Distance: 103 km
Estimated total drive: 1.5 hours
After your two-day escapade at Newcastle, it’s time to go on a 1.5-hour drive further north to Port Macquarie, home to 17 gorgeous bushes and verdant hinterlands. One of the must-see attractions in Port Macquarie is the Koala Hospital. Here’s what you need to know about it:
Koala Hospital is a licensed wildlife rehabilitation facility that leads in the care and conservation of wild koalas. The facility includes care clinics, intensive care units, and rehabilitation facilities where the furry cuties can relearn how to climb. There’s even a Koalaseum where guests can learn all about these marsupials!
Day 6: Port Macquarie to Byron Bay
Distance: 387 km
Estimated total drive: 4 hours
On Day 6 of your Sydney to Brisbane road trip, it’s time to gear up for a 4-hour drive to Byron Bay, the final stop in New South Wales, before heading to Queensland. Byron Bay is known for the Cape Byron lighthouse, unique shopping and dining experiences, nature attractions and, of course, beaches.
You should definitely try these activities at Byron Bay:
Byron Bay Tandem Skydive Experience
Are you brave enough to leap from a plane 15,000ft in the air? The tandem skydive experience and the stunning coastal views of Byron Bay and Tygarah are definitely worth it! Before leaping off the plane, you’ll be briefed on safety protocols and provided the necessary equipment with the help of highly trained staff. Your diving partner will also be with you from flight to landing—after all, that’s what tandem skydiving is all about!
Byron Bay Surf Lesson
Cool down from the adrenaline-inducing skydive by chilling by the beach and going on a two-hour Byron Bay Surf Lesson. Learn the basic moves on the sand from the masters before you hit the waves. The important lesson? Just have fun!
Byron Bay Lighthouse Walk
End your day in Byron Bay with a two-kilometre walk to the Cape Byron lighthouse. The journey is just as beautiful as the destination, as the trail is surrounded by verdant greens and the view of the ocean below.
Day 7 to 10: Byron Bay to Gold Coast
Distance: 93.5 km
Estimated total drive: 2 hours
It’s time to bid farewell to New South Wales and enter Queensland for the penultimate city in your Sydney to Brisbane drive itinerary: the Gold Coast. This golden coastal town is a bustling centre of tourism and leisure in the region. From wet and wild water adventures to serene nature tours and adrenaline-pumping sky-high activities, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Here are some of the best activities in the Gold Coast that you can try:
Go to Movie World, Sea World, and Wet n' Wild with unlimited entry
Get access to three of the most exciting parks in the Gold Coast: Movie World, Sea World, and Wet n' Wild, which are only seven to thirty minutes apart. At Movie World by Warner Bros, you’ll see all your favourite WB characters like Batman, Robin, and Bugs Bunny and scream your heart out at their rides!
Wet n’ Wild is a water park seven minutes away from Movie World, which houses 22 water attractions ranging from slides, pools, and even jacuzzis! And finally, after a 30-minute drive is Sea World, home to several marine life such as seals, polar bears, and penguins.
Dracula's Cabaret Restaurant in Gold Coast
A night of entertainment that combines burlesque, contemporary music, and comedy awaits you at Dracula's Cabaret Restaurant! It’s like a taste of Vegas right on the Gold Coast! Plus, while watching all the performances, you can stuff yourself with delicious food.
SkyPoint Observation Deck
On the 77th floor of the Q1 tower lies the SkyPoint Observation Deck, where you’ll have unparalleled 360 views of the Gold Coast’s city skyline and cerulean oceans. Pro-tip: if you want to enjoy a $20 Food & Beverage voucher for SkyPoint Bistro + Bar, you can book the SkyPoint Deck and Dine ticket!
Paradise Country Aussie Farm Experience
Live the farm life at Paradise Country, which is just 45 minutes from Brisbane, the final road trip destination. Here you’ll see koalas, kangaroos, and dingoes, as well as farm animals such as sheep, lambs, and more! You can even get close to the animals, pet them, and watch sheep shearing by experts!
Day 11 to 12: Gold Coast to Brisbane
Distance: 79.2 km
Estimated total drive: 1 hour
Day 11 begins your drive to the final city in your road trip itinerary: Brisbane, a charming city with several must-see attractions and 280 days of sunshine!
Here are the best things to do in Brisbane to end your Sydney to Brisbane drive with a bang:
Go on a Mystery Picnic in South Bank, Brisbane
Pick up your empty picnic basket and solve clues along the way until you reach your final picnic destination. It’s like a treasure hunt, but with food! The Mystery Picnic lasts approximately three to four hours. It’s a great way to explore the South Bank and uncover its hidden secrets!
Story Bridge Adventure Climb
Strap on your safety gear and conquer your fear of heights with the Story Bridge Adventure Climb. It’s a great way to know the city from a different perspective—a 30-metre high one at that! As you climb up the bridge, you’ll learn about the city’s history while taking in its unmatched view. Depending on your preference, you can book the dawn, day, twilight, or night climb.
Watch the sunrise on the Greater Brisbane Scenic Hot Air Balloon Flight
After exploring the busy city of Brisbane, it’s time to head to the countryside on this hot air balloon flight. For one magical hour, you’ll fly through the Queensland greenery, where you’ll get an unbridled view of the countryside and the sunrise. You can opt to book the package with a free restaurant breakfast after your adventure.
Go on the Four X Beer Brewery Tour with Beer Tasting
After your exciting hot air balloon flight, head to the XXXX Brewery and Alehouse in Milton for an educational and experiential tour. Not only will you discover how their famous beers are brewed, but you can also enjoy their signatures paired with a taster plate! Plus, you’ll finally discover why it’s named XXXX.