We suggest taking two or three days to enjoy this drive, stopping overnight at Port Macquarie or Crowdy Bay National Park.
Nambucca Heads is a quiet coastal town scattered over a snaking headland interlaced with estuaries. The best place to view it from is Captain Cook Lookout. It has one of the coast’s prettiest foreshores with boardwalks so walkers can enjoy it.
Nambucca Heads. Photo: Alena.Rose via IG
Photo: Victoria10 via IG
Nambucca Heads rock art. Photo: Picachudefe via IG
South West Rocks is a picturesque seaside town. The headland is protected by Arakoon National Park, where you’ll find kangaroos, kookaburras and campers. Little Bay Beach in the National Park is sheltered from the surf by a rocky barricade and is perfect for swimming. It's also the starting point for some good walks. By the camp ground is Trial Bay Gaol, built in 1877 to house convicts. Smoky Cape Lighthouse is perched on the cape and has tours.
Arakoon National Park. Photo: Michael Van Ewijk
Hat Head National Park is on a stretch of stunning coastline. It is a place of exceptional beauty. There are a lot of walking tracks, lookouts and a lighthouse to explore. Free guided tours run every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1 pm.
Hat Head National Parl. Photo: Michelle Sallows
Hat Head National Park. Photo: JudithLurelle via IG
Port Macquarie lies about midway between Dorrigo National Park and Myall Lakes National Park. Its a great place for families and lovers of animals, art, wine, beer and beaches.
Myall Lakes National Parks is an extravagantly pretty mosaic of lakes, rivers, rainforests and secluded coastlines. It’s rich in birdlife and the changing hues of sunset and sunrise are reflected in the still water surfaces. The beauty is best enjoyed from a kayak, boat, or walking trail. The waters are perfect for swimming and during May to November you can watch migrating humpback whales.
There are many great places to cast a fishing line for bream, whiting, Australian salmon, flathead and mullet.
Myall Lakes. Photo: Simonegga via IG
Myall Lakes National Park. Photo: vshard via IG
Pacific Palms: Encompasses the towns of Elizabeth Beach, Boomerang Beach, Bluey’s Beach, Smith’s Lake, Coomba, Seal Rocks, and Tiona, plus the Booti Booti and Wallingat National Parks and the Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park. This place has everything – scenic lookouts, secluded coves, pristine beaches, tall cabbage palms, good surfing, cafes, galleries and rainforest walks.
Myall Coast: Encompasses the towns of Tea Gardens, Hawks Nest, Broughton Island, Seal Rocks, and Myall Lakes with their cafes, galleries and public art. Seal Rocks is secluded with golden sandy beaches and rocky shorelines speckled with rockpools. Broughton Island, a place of white sandy beaches, volcanic peaks, scrub, penguins, turtles and seabirds, has some of the best diving and snorkelling in the state.
The Hinterland: On the west side of the Lakes, the Hinterland encompasses the towns of Nabiac, Coolongolook, Wootto, Buledelah, and Stroud. Here you’ll meander through fertile valleys, taste local produce, potter through antique shops, cafes, boutique wineries, eco-retreats and country markets.
Campgrounds are dotted throughout the entire Myall Lakes region.
Myall Lakes National Park. Dees Corner Campground.
Tumbling down the sand hills. Photo: umlunguish via IG
Gold Coast to Sydney: an overview
Part 1: Brisbane - Gold Coast
Part 2: Gold Coast - Byron Bay | 200 km
Part 3: Byron Bay - Dorrigo National Park | 373 km
Part 4: Dorrigo National Park - Myall Lakes | 362 km
Part 5: Myall Lakes - Hunter Valley | 208 km
Part 6: Hunter Valley - Sydney | 165 km or 388 km
The Gold Coast to Sydney drive is just one of Australia's iconic road trips. For a complete list of road trips, see our Australia Road Trip guide.
18 Main Terrace,
South Australia 5033 Phone: 1800 216 223
344 Shute Harbour Road, Airlie Beach, Queensland 4802 Phone: 1800 216 223
40 French Street, Eagle Farm, Queensland 4009
Phone: 1800 216 223
440 Sheridan Street,
Queensland 4870 Phone: 1800 216 223
2/11 Northview St, Mermaid Waters QLD 4218 Phone: 1800 216 223
273 Elizabeth Street,
Victoria 3058 Phone: 1800 216 223
23-25 Erskine Rd,
Sydney, NSW 2229 Phone: 1800 216 223
167 Mount Low Parkway, Townsville,
Queensland 4814 Phone: 1800 216 223