Then put the city to one side…and the ocean on the other. Point your hire car north and drive up the Pacific Coast Highway – one of the world’s great coastal routes – with the Pacific on your right. Mile after mile of superb oceanic views will be your constant companion.
You’ll pass almost irresistible beaches, hidden coves and quiet, sand-lined inlets. You’ll also motor through regions of swampy bayous, purple-headed mountains, and slow-moving rivers to stop off in characterful towns like Port Stephens, Coffs Harbour and Byron Bay.
Travel to and arrive in Sydney
You’ll be welcomed off your UK flight and taken to your hotel in the heart of Sydney’s dynamic Rocks area. So the city’s wide-ranging cultural opportunities, sizzling restaurants and bars, outstanding architecture, the harbourside and any number of different experiences are all close by.
You’ll be able to stroll past the Opera House and around the Circular Bay, relax in the Royal Botanic Gardens, take stunning photos from Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, cruise across the harbour, visit Manly by ferry or step outside the city boundaries to discover fabulous beaches.
Stay: Six nights in the Amora Jamison Hotel.
Tear yourself away from the bright lights of Sydney and set off on a drive that takes a winding course along the magnificent coast line of the Pacific Ocean. Expect a route that is flooded with sunlight and studded with inviting beaches, hidden coves and wave-lapped shores as you head north towards Port Stephens.
Here you’ll be staying in a luxurious resort that reflects the style of a typically Australian fishing village on the edge of the ocean. You can take a boat out to watch dolphins or wander through Tilligerry National Park on the lookout for koalas.
Stay: Two nights in an interlinked guesthouse at Peppers Anchorage.
Your next port of call along the Pacific Coast Highway is wonderful Coffs Harbour – a lively seaside known for its great nightlife, good mixture of restaurants and bars and hedonistic lifestyle.
It’s also a great starting point for taking in the swampy bayou countryside, lazy rivers spanned by bridges apparently constructed from giant Meccano, vast plantations of whispering sugar cane and tiny lanes leading to deserted beaches.
Stay: Two nights in Santa Fe Hotel.
Even when it’s hot, Byron Bay is cool. This 25 mile crescent of glorious beach and surf is tucked into a huge horseshoe of purple-headed mountains. With more than a nod to the hippies of the 1960s, Byron Bay’s shops feature local arts, crafts and artisan food.
The restaurants are fine and the bars and cafés are all laid back. It’s a cool place to learn to surf, or go out in a sea kayak. You can also wander through lush rainforest, play golf or tennis, or pamper yourself in your hotel’s luxurious spa.
Stay: Three nights in the five star Byron at Byron Hotel.