Byron Bay, New South Wales and Lord Howe Island

Follow the sea to empty beaches, sleepy towns, coral reefs, beautiful coves

The coastal drive from Sydney to Brisbane is a classic road trip that winds you round an ever-changing coastline to Port Stephens, Coffs Harbour and into the original surfer-cum-hippy town of Byron’s Bay (cool, man). Then on to Jervis and Bateman Bays and Lord Howe Island.

It may take you longer than you think. The coast road sweeps you along seemingly endless, crescent-shaped beaches without a soul on them. It takes you through dense, damp, moss-green rainforests and into sleepy villages and typical, old fashioned Australian towns. So you will find yourself stopping often, and spending more time than you planned in each new place.

Picturesque inlets like Port Stephens and Coffs Harbour, for example. And the ‘alternative therapy’ town of Byron Bay with its surfers, artists, craftsmen and bohemians (and, yes, a sing-along, happy hippy bus service).

But push on. The South Coast has 30 national parks, plus marine reserves, immaculate beaches and a rich Aboriginal cultural history to explore. You can see dolphins in Jervis Bay, cruise along the Clyde from Batemans Bay, sample award-winning gourmet cheeses in Bega and watch whales along the Sapphire Coast. Few luxury, tailor-made holidays to Australia offer quite so much. And there’s still Lord Howe Island to come – surrounded by empty beaches and a warm sea that harbours the most fantastic coral displays after of the Great Barrier Reef. Not to mention a UNESCO-listed interior for superb hiking amongst indigenous plants and interesting wildlife.

Take a look at our 'The Best of New South Wales' brochure for more inspiration.
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  • It was a complicated itinerary for 12 people and Tania got it spot on!

    EM, South Africa, 2015