Sydney to Byron Bay road trip

Itinerary Inspiration: Sydney To Byron Bay Road Trip

This post is inspired by day thirteen of our 30-day At Home Travel Challenge, helping to keep you inspired for future travels during isolation.

This road trip takes you through some of the best of Australia’s East Coast, all set within NSW. From the skylines and vibrant energy of Sydney to the blissed out Byron Bay, come and explore an itinerary that highlights the best of what lays between these two destinations!

We recommend allocating around 1-week for this itinerary. However, spending a couple of extra days in Sydney and Byron Bay is ideal, to make sure you experience as much as possible!

4-Day Sydney to Byron Bay Road Trip Itinerary:

1. Sydney

If you’re not a Sydney local, then you definitely need to spend a few days here to kick start the trip. Wondering what to do in Sydney? Here’s a quick list to get you started:

  • Spend some time in nature on one of the inner-city coastal walks;
  • Soak up the culture and cafes of Newtown and Surry Hills;
  • Marvel at the Opera House (before having a drink at the Opera Bar);
  • Enjoy the city’s nightlife (a night at Side Bar is always a good idea!);
  • Walk over the Sydney Harbour Bridge (or take in the views from the Bridge pylon for just $19);
  • Chill out at the beach or an ocean swimming pool;
  • Grab some picnic goods and settle in at Sydney’s public gardens;
  • Experience Aboriginal culture with a Heritage Walk in the Botanic Gardens.

Yep, you definitely need to plan for several days in Sydney!

Where to stay in Sydney? Wake Up! Sydney Central is in the very heart of the city, convenient for getting anywhere by foot or public transport. Wake Up! Bondi Beach is as close to the beloved Bondi as you can get, perfect if you’re keen for the surf. 

2. Bouddi National Park

The first day of your road trip, head to Bouddi National Park at the southern end of the NSW Central Coast. This is a hidden treasure of beautiful landscapes and beaches. The glistening water and golden sand makes this park idyllic during summer, but it also provides a prime vantage point for whale watching and total serenity over the winter. Pack your picnic goods and head on the 8.5km (one-way) Bouddi Coastal Walk. It’ll give you a perfect taste of the best of what the park has to offer!

While you’re here, be sure to explore some of the nearby towns, like Terrigal and Killcare.

Stay overnight.

3. Port Stephens, or the Hunter Valley

Day two of the road trip gives you two options: Port Stephens or the Hunter Valley.

Option 1

Head to Port Stephens, where you can experience the Stockton Sand Dunes and Mount Tomaree. These sand dunes are the largest moving coastal dunes in the Southern Hemisphere. As well as their Indigenous significance, they’re also an adventure playground with options of sandboarding, quad biking, 4WDing and horseriding along the beach. The walk up Mount Tomaree will reward you with the most magnificent views of the coast. It is just unreal!

Option 2

Otherwise, veer left and experience the Hunter Valley. This is one of Australia’s famous wine regions, and you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to which cellar doors to pick. The Hunter is beautiful in the wintertime, as many wineries offer tastings inside amongst their fireplaces. If you’re looking for an amazing Hunter experience, consider a hot air balloon ride over the region!

Stay the night at either location.

4. Dorrigo National Park and Coffs Harbour

Day three, and you’re heading north to Dorrigo National Park. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park is part of the Gondwana Rainforests and has been made over millions of years. You’d be right then, to expect some of the most stunning (and secret) waterfalls here. For one of the best experiences, head to the Skywalk lookout. This elevated walkway will take you right into the heart of the rainforest, providing soaring views 21m over the rainforest all the way to the coast.

Spend time exploring Dorrigo National Park, before heading to Coffs Harbour. Tick seeing ‘The Big Banana’ off your list, enjoy the surf, and stay in Coffs Harbour for the night.

5. Byron Bay

You’ve made it to Byron Bay! Welcome to a slice of paradise. This is your destination to switch off and enjoy some time for the soul, over sun-drenched, salty days and balmy evenings.

What to do in Byron Bay? Where do we start! Here’s a quick list of things to do in Byron to get you started:

  • Catch the sunrise at Australia’s most easterly point, with a walk to the Cape Byron Lighthouse (PS. Wake Up! Byron Bay provides free sunrise tours to the lighthouse, so you can have an extra sleep in, and still revel in the beauty!);
  • Explore the town by bike, making your way in and out of Byron’s quirky streets (Enjoy affordable bike hire at Wake Up! Byron);
  • Take a surfing lesson;
  • Kayak amongst the dolphins;
  • Head out shopping in the town centre and the Industrial Estate – there’s so many divine clothing, homewares and vintage boutiques around Byron;
  • Grab some fish and chips and check out the local buskers + live music by the Main Beach;
  • Eat ALL of the nutritious, delicious Byron food – there are so many options!
  • Enjoy Byron’s bar scene, with some delicious cocktails;
  • Explore the gorgeous nearby towns, farmers’ markets and Byron Hinterland on some day trips.

Where to stay in Byron Bay?

Wake Up! Byron Bay offers beautiful private and shared rooms, all at an affordable price. You can escape to our fairy-lit garden as the sun goes down for an ultimate golden hour, hire bikes and surfboards for free, and when you want to go for a swim? Well, Belongil Beach is right on our doorstep.

For those looking for something more central, The Surf House, is a brand new accommodation property offering quality, experience-driven accommodation in the heart of town.

Don’t want to forget this itinerary? Save the image below to Pinterest!

Sydney to Byron Bay roadtrip itinerary.

Image credits: @a.wild.mind; @leragoldd; @laboonthewhale; @shotsandsnaps_; @_biancatomoiaga; @agussgior; @hannahwilliams_photo.

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