Yee Haw, Road Trip
August 10, 2010 10:53 PM   Subscribe

I am driving from Coolangatta Gold Coast to Sydney next week - taking five days - and am interested in hearing your sightseeing/accommodation recommendations.

I will be looking at farm real estate around Grafton and Lismore but since I haven't ever explored the East coast of my fair land, I would like to take the opportunity to have a wider look around on my way down to Sydney. I like mountains, rivers, oceans, forests, views more than tractor museums or the biggest sheep/cow/yabby statues. But any notes of your good experiences would be welcome.
posted by honey-barbara to Travel & Transportation around Sydney, Australia (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Myall Lakes National Park, near Bulahdelah. Not sure why exactly, but I love that area.
posted by Pinback at 11:19 PM on August 10, 2010

Byron Bay is very lovely and I would recommend a visit (quite soon into your trip but still worth it)

Outside Grafton is the Gilbraltar Range National Park which would have some great scenery. Lots of great walks

Once you you're closer to Sydney maybe consider some time in the Blue Mountains, might sound cliched but honestly, has some of the most awe inspiring scenery.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head, have a nice trip!
posted by latch24 at 11:21 PM on August 10, 2010

If you are serious about looking at land around Lismore / Grafton, that will take a few days of your time. Don't forget the smaller villages around both towns such as Coraki, Mummulgum etc.

What's your accommodation budget and needs?
posted by Kerasia at 12:33 AM on August 11, 2010

Oh yeah, the North and Central Coast is lovely country.

Stay a night in or at least visit Newcastle, and if you can, have dinner on Darby Street. It's one of my favourite small cities. I've never heard of anyone not enjoying Newcastle or Novocastrians.

When you drive into Sydney, avoid the F3. It's the quickest way in, but it's ordinary. From Newcastle, drive the Old Pacific Highway which is twistier and has much better views of the Hawkesbury, or from further inland, go down Putty Road from Singleton through the Wollemi National Park. If you want to go to the Blue Mountains from further north on the coast, the Putty Road is the way to go.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 12:48 AM on August 11, 2010

I've done the same trip as you inland and coastal from Byron Bay. If you wanted to do the inland trip the roads are quiter and the driving is infinitely more pleasant. You definitely get to see a different bit of the country from the norm.

I loved the back country out from Byron. Lush, green and a real hidden gem. Nthing spending some time around Lismore. National Parks out that way like Bald Rock are lightly used and good for short walks if you don't have much time. The climb to the top of Bald Rock is relatively simple and worth the trip alone IMHO.

You also get to go through Tamworth, home of country music, seeing as you've put Yee Haw in the OP title. If you did that route, you'd want to come down towards Sydney on the 69 for the scenery.

Nearer Sydney, the Hunter Valley, is worth a stopover. I don't know Newcastle, but given a choice between it and the Hunter Valley, I'd still probably go to the Hunter Valley because I like wine.

If you go the coastal route, avoid Taree like the plague. It's a butt ugly service town and a waste of time for an overnighter.

Slightly lesser known highlights of the coastal route (IMHO)

- Cooloola National Park
- Dorrigo National National Park
- Seal Rocks (Myall Lakes)
- Hawkesbury / Brooklyn / Wiseman's Ferry
posted by MuffinMan at 1:31 AM on August 11, 2010

For the full Brisbane to Sydney road trip experience, you'll want to be listening to the classic Australian gonzo radio play "What's Rangoon To You Is Grafton To Me", featuring the voices of Russel Guy and James Dibble. Broadcast in 1978, on Double J!
posted by rdc at 10:51 AM on August 11, 2010

If you end up driving the inland route as MuffinMan suggested, you may want to check out the accommodation at Anketell Forest just south of Tenterfield.
posted by Kerasia at 3:22 PM on August 11, 2010

Stop of in Nelson Bay / Shoal Bay (about 40 minutes off the highway just before Newcastle). Excellent beach town. Best free entertainment is to climb Stephens Peak - EXCELLENT views, and a great walk.Typical View
posted by trialex at 3:29 PM on August 11, 2010

Seconding that you avoid Taree.

Also seconding Nelson Bay/Shoal Bay - beautiful beaches.

South West Rocks is also a lovely spot
posted by robotot at 6:45 PM on August 11, 2010

If you're taking the inland route , there are a couple of options. One would be to take the Gwydir Highway from Grafton through the Gibralter Range National Park - you'll end up on the New England Highway at Glen Innes, and from here there's nice scenery on the drive to Armidale via Ben Lomond, Guyra, and Llangothlin.

Alternatively, from Grafton you can drive throught hinterland to Dorrigo, and then take Waterfall Way to Armidale. This way, you can see the Tree Tops Walk at Dorrigo National Park, Point Lookout in New England National Park, (which also has nice cabins to stay in); and Ebor and Wollomombi Falls.

Either way you end up in Armidale which is a pretty town with nice B&Bs to stay in, and includes the Hinton Art Collection and a University.

I'd recomend avoiding Tamworth because that route leads to a long boring haul down through the Hunter Valley. Instead, leave the New England Highway at Uralla and head down Thunderbolts Way through Walcha and Gloucester. There is glorious scenery as you go over the escarpment, you can see Apsley Falls, at Walcha, and Gloucester is a nice place to stop for lunch (I recommend Perenti).

From Gloucester, you can either take the Stroud Road out to join the Pacific Highway just north of Newcastle; or you can go cross-country through Barrington Tops (lots of accomodation options here too, though none I can personally recomend), and enter the Hunter Valley near Branxton, which positions you nicely for a visit to the wine country around Pokolbin, from where you can cut across to the Putty Road for the scenic route to Sydney.

If you want to stick to the coast, Yamba has a lovely beach, and South West Rocks is great - you can even stay in the Smoky Cape lighthouse there. Trial Bay Gaol is interesting to visit.
posted by girlgenius at 7:20 PM on August 11, 2010

Cheers everybody - all best answers :) I have mapped out all of your suggestions on Google itineraries and it looks like we're gonna have an excellent trip meandering from coast to inland to coast. You are so lucky on that side of the country to have such easy access to so many interesting types of experiences.
posted by honey-barbara at 5:03 AM on August 12, 2010

girlgenius: "... and then take Waterfall Way to Armidale. This way, you can see the Tree Tops Walk at Dorrigo National Park, Point Lookout in New England National Park, (which also has nice cabins to stay in); and Ebor and Wollomombi Falls...."

If you'll take advice from an American whose only been to your lovely question once, and then only for a few days- there's another road from near Wollomombi back to the Pacific Highway (It's called Armidale Road/Armidale Kempey Road ). It's long, windy, unpaved, and not particularly fun. I would take the Waterfall Way back as well or, maybe one of the roads from Armidale instead of this "shortcut." Of course, for all I know, this might be a great road by Australian interior standards (I dunno- we never got further from the coast than about 50 km), but it was, well, less than staller.
posted by JMOZ at 7:15 AM on August 12, 2010

We had a great trip - there was so much to see and experience. It got a bit rushed and we missed a few things further south unfortunately. We loved the back of Byron Bay, Mount Warning and further south, adored Bellingen and Dorrigo the most - so MuffinMan, they were great suggestions. Thanks everybody.
posted by honey-barbara at 12:44 AM on August 22, 2010

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