The Legendary Pacific Coast


National parks and forests

Get back to nature in one of the 48 national parks and 12 state forests along the Legendary Pacific Drive. Bouddi National Park on the Central Coast and Booti Booti National Park in the Great Lakes area are just two examples of nature experiences you'll discover, and there are spectacular views of Protesters Falls from Nightcap National Park near Lismore.

  • Road trip, Bellingen
  • Tallow Beach, Byron Bay

Bouddi National Park

Travel The Legendary Pacific Coast

Heading north from Sydney along the Pacific Ocean coastline, this scenic drive takes you through some of the most striking landscapes in NSW.

An almost continuous line of surf beaches, national parks and a hinterland of rolling green hills and friendly villages make this a great drive. There are plenty of attractions, good accommodation choices, adventures and fun for the whole family. Make sure to explore Central CoastPort Stephens, Coffs Harbour, Ballina and Byron Bay along the way.

The Legendary Pacific Coast

Sydney to Terrigal: Drive north on the F3 Freeway and on to lovely Terrigal. Stop for a coffee at an oceanfront cafe before checking out Terrigal's boutique shopping.

Terrigal to The Entrance: Head north to The Entrance and take in the sea views while the kids play and swim in the water playground. If you happen to be there on time, check out the famous pelican feeding, held at 3:30pm each day.

The Entrance to Newcastle: Drive to Newcastle, Australia's second-oldest city. Stop for something to eat at Honeysuckle Wharf, before checking out some of the area's renowned beaches, including Mereweather and the famous Nobby's Beach.

Newcastle to Nelson Bay: Continue on to Port Stephens and the main town of Nelson Bay, known for its great dolphin and whale watching opportunities (seasonal). Walk to the top of the headland for some incredible photos of the bay and Tomaree National Park. Later, you'll find plenty of options for dinner on the marina, along with a wide range of accommodation.

Nelson Bay to the Great Lakes: Once you've finished breakfast, it's time for an early dolphin or whale watching cruise. En route to your next stop, why not take the scenic route through the Great Lakes region. Just follow The Lakes Way past Myall Lake where you can spot one of the 280 bird species that call the lake home. You might also want to pick up some fresh local produce as you pass through the Manning Valley – try the farmers markets in Nabiac on the last Saturday of each month.

The Great Lakes to Port Macquarie: Travel to Port Macquarie and stop for a seaside lunch break and walk along the breakwater to see the colourful mini murals painted by tourists. Then, visit the Koala Hospital for the daily 3pm tour, or stroll along stunning Town or Lighthouse Beach.

Port Macquarie to South West Rocks: Drive just over an hour to South West Rocks, at the entrance of the Macleay River. Stop for dinner, and then head to Smokey Cape Lighthouse in Hat Head National Park to stay the night in historic surroundings.

South West Rocks to Dorrigo: After a breakfast accompanied by sea views, drive to Dorrigo; home of magnificent rainforest in the Dorrigo National Park. Walk the Skywalk, a 70m elevated boardwalk, or stop for a coffee in the Canopy Cafe.

Dorrigo to Coffs Harbour: Drive back to the coast to vibrant Coffs Harbour. Do as the locals do and enjoy fish and chips by the beach, then let the kids choose among the many family attractions, such as the Big Banana, Dolphin Marine Magic or the Butterfly House. In the mood for something more adventurous? Kayaking or skydiving should get the blood pumping.

Coffs Harbour to Grafton: Make your way to the gorgeous provincial city of Grafton, situated on the Clarence River and famous for its jacaranda trees. There are loads of things to do in Grafton: visit the Regional Gallery, pack your camera and roam the unspoilt Yuraygir National Park, or take a heritage walk through Grafton's historic streets.

Grafton to Yamba: Continue north to Yamba. Indulge in a pastry treat from the famous Pot Belly Pies, then walk along one of 11 uncrowded beaches to make room for dinner. Check out entertainment on offer at the Yamba Bowling Club before turning in for the night at your choice of accommodation.

Yamba to Ballina: Get an early start and drive to Ballina for breakfast - you'll find plenty of stylish cafes lining the inner city streets. Then, stroll the forest boardwalk of the Victoria Park Nature Reserve or enjoy some watersports on the river or on one of the white sandy beaches. Also worth visiting is the Evans Head Heritage Aviation Museum, just a short drive south of Ballina.

Ballina to Lismore: Drive inland until you reach Lismore. Creative and cultural, Lismore is home to more artists and buskers per capita than anywhere else in Australia, so make time to admire some local contributions at the Lismore Regional Art Gallery. You'll also find plenty of historic treasures at the Richmond River Historical Society Museum.

Lismore to Kyogle: Drive about half an hour to pretty Kyogle , a place surrounded by rainforest and with two heritage-listed national parks nearby. Explore the Kyogle Botanical Gardens on the banks of Fawcetts Creek, check out the striking views from Captain Cook Memorial Lookout or drive the scenic Lions Road over the McPherson Ranges.

Kyogle to Byron Bay: Drive to Byron Bay where the first order of business has to be a surf or swim in the luminous water. Then, take your pick of restaurants and cafes for lunch and, if you're feeling energetic, try a walk to the Byron Bay Lighthouse - Australia's most easterly point - for amazing views.

Byron Bay to Duranbah: Detour to Duranbah where you'll find Tropical Fruit World, the largest grower of tropical fruits in the world. Here you can taste a wide range of luscious fruits as well as enjoying boat rides, bird feeding and much more.

Duranbah to Kingscliff: Drive northeast to Kingscliff. From here you'll have easy access to scenic delights like Mount Warning and the Tweed River.

Kingscliff to Tweed Heads: From here it's less than 20 minutes to the golden beaches of Tweed Heads. This drive concludes here, but with so many beautiful, fascinating destinations in the region, you've only seen a fraction of them. It's time to start planning your itinerary for next time!


Aquatic Experiences

Crescent Head Beach, Crescent Head

With its stunning coastline and network of lakes and national parks, the Legendary Pacific Coast Drive plays host to a range of fantastic water-based activities for the whole family. Don’t miss some of the best surfing in the country at Crescent Head surfing reserve, scuba diving the Solitary Islands Marine Park near Coffs Harbour, and whale watching in Port Macquarie.

Find the NSW roadtrip adventure that suits you

  • Tumut, Kosciuszko National Park

    Kosciuszko Alpine Way

    Make your way through picturesque mountain valleys, along the streets of quaint country villages, past snow-capped peaks and amongst the many varied wilderness areas of the Kosciuszko National Park. Admire the dramatic and beautiful scenery that lines the roadside as you travel between Jindabyne and Khancoban.

  • Skywalk, Dorrigo National Park

    Waterfall Way

    Head from Coffs Harbour towards the New England region and discover several national parks, ancient rainforests, lush countryside and vast open plains. Stop along the scenic drive as you make your way from the coast to the tablelands and explore the many ethereal waterfalls scattered along the route.

  • Gundagai countryside, Riverina

    Snowy Valleys Way

    Explore the scenic foothills of the Snowy Mountains as you make your way along an enchanting backdrop of the national park. Pass through quaint historic towns including Gundagai, Tumut, Corryong, Tumbarumba and Beechworth and sample the region’s cool climate wines direct from cellar doors and local eateries.

  • Leura Cascades, Blue Mountains

    The Greater Blue Mountains Drive

    Tour the 18 different discovery trails that branch off from the main route and enjoy world heritage-listed scenery along the way. Explore a selection of the many natural attractions of the Blue Mountains region, including Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens and the scenic lookouts and walking tracks of the Grose Valley.

  • Royal National Park

    Grand Pacific Drive

    Follow this scenic southerly route as it heads from the Royal National Park towards Wollongong, and further south to Kiama. Explore seaside villages, swim at quiet sandy beaches and marvel at areas of ancient rainforest along the way. Stop and enjoy the sweeping coastal views offered from Sea Cliff Bridge, Stanwell Tops and Bald Hill Lookout.

  • White Cliffs, Outback NSW

    Darling River Run

    Make your way alongside the Darling River, from Walgett to Wentworth, and experience life in Outback NSW. Savour the natural beauty and ancient formations along the length of the route and stop to learn more about the rich indigenous culture of the region. The riverside towns of Bourke, Louth, Tilpa and Wilcannia are scenic spots to stop, revive and survive.

  • Deniliquin

    The Long Paddock

    Experience the wide open spaces, sun baked dunes and lush wetlands of Outback NSW as you make the journey from the twin towns of Echuca Moama on the NSW border towards Wilcannia. Discover the iconic rural towns of Bourke, Broken Hill and White Cliffs as you follow plenty of farmland along a stock route that is still in use today. 

  • Nimbin Rocks, Nimbin

    The Rainforest Way

    Travel through the ancient World Heritage-listed rainforests of Northern NSW and spot rare and endangered native animals along the way. Break the route up into short day trips departing from Murwillumbah, Lismore, Casino or Kyogle and stop and enjoy a spot of canoeing, bushwalking and bird watching in charming countryside settings.

  • Cowra countryside

    100 Mile Diet

    Make your way to Country NSW and enjoy the region’s food and wine - from flavoursome dishes and fine wines locally grown in Orange, Cowra, Dubbo and Mudgee. Sample wines direct from the cellar door, purchase produce straight from farmer markets or dine in fine eateries as you make your way through the rich cuisine and farming region.

  • Road trip, Bellingen

    The Legendary Pacific Coast

    Pass through the Central Coast, Port Stephens, Coffs Harbour, Ballina and Byron Bay as you make your way north on the iconic drive from Sydney to Brisbane. Passing miles of coastal scenery including many spectacular national parks, abundant state forests, golden surf beaches and friendly villages, there’s plenty of picturesque spots to stop and admire views on the coastal road trip.

  • Shaw Vineyard Estate, Capital Country

    Poachers Way

    Journey to the region surrounding Canberra and sample the fine food, wine and art produced by a range of talented local chefs, winemakers and artists. Visit the towns of Gundaroo, Yass, Hall, Bungendore and Murrumbateman along the way and enjoy the high quality produce and discover the handcrafts and local produce of local businesses and artisans.

  • Sea Cliff Bridge, Illawarra

    Sydney to Melbourne Coastal Drive

    Explore the scenic South Coast on the coastal roads that connect Sydney and Melbourne. Travel past seaside towns and quaint villages while delighting in the ever-changing landscapes of the route, varying from pristine beaches, including Jervis Bay and Montague Island, to lush national parks. Stop and savour flavoursome local produce and fresh seafood along the way.

Avoid driving tired and reach your destination

Roads & Maritime NSW

When driving, always consider how tired you are - fatigue is one of the top three contributors to Australia's road toll.

Ensure you have had enough sleep before your trip and share the driving wherever possible. When driving on Australian roads take advantage of the many 'rest areas' available, regardless of whether it's a long-distance or short-distance trip.

Easily locate rest areas and plan your rest breaks for your next journey by visiting