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Coastal Gem: New South Wales Legendary Pacific Drive

Driving this route south means that you are on the ‘correct’ side of the road to enjoy deep blue Pacific views

Kayaking in Byron Bay

By Ht Brand Studio

LAST PUBLISHED 08.07.2023  |  10:23 AM IST

Agreed that it is just a 90-minute flight from Brisbane to Sydney, but honestly this is a route you would rather do at the wheel of a car.

The views, the roads, the experiences and the waypoints are more than worth your time. It is little wonder then, that this 900 odd kilometre road trip is called the Legendary Pacific Drive.

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Driving this route south means that you are on the ‘correct’ side of the road to enjoy deep blue Pacific views.

First up just 2.5 hours south of Brisbane is the relaxed town of Byron Bay with great luxury stay options, fantastic food, quiet beaches and invigorating walk to Cape Byron headland that is home to the most easterly point on the Australian mainland. The 22-metre lighthouse on the headland was built in 1901. Byron Bay also boasts luxury stays, superb restaurants and fun activities that include kayaking and surfing.

Three hours or 210 kilometre south is Woolgoolga where the Punjabi community hosts the Curryfest every year. In 2023 it is scheduled for the 23rd of September. It promises to be a carnival of colour, sights, sounds and taste. It is a festival that embraces humanity, kindness, happiness and all of the beautiful differences that make us all the same packaged in one enormously energetic and vibrant celebration of food culture and dance.

Just a further 10km from Woolgoolga is the Moonee Beach Nature Reserve situated in a scrubland packed with scores of kangaroos that hop around without a care in the world and are amicable enough to be petted. Restaurants nearby feature oysters on the menu that taste like fresh sea breeze.

Continuing down the A1 that is called the Pacific Highway, the next stop is Coffs Harbour just a 20 minute drive south. Coffs Harbour warrants at least a few days because it is packed with experiences that are adventurous, culinary and cultural. The town’s most famous highlight is the Big Banana located on a working banana plantation and no trip to Coffs is complete without stopping for a photo opportunity and a chocolate covered banana treat.The Big Banana is probably the most well known “Big Thing" in Australia. This famous attraction boasts The Banana Slip Water Park (Australia’s first 3 storey high inflatable waterslide – the biggest in the world), an Ice Skating Rink, Wild Toboggan Ride, Café, Candy Kitchen and Sunset Lakes Nursery. There is also the World of Bananas multimedia theatre experience, plantation and packing shed tour or, for the kids, Laser Tag!

And for foodies the treats are at ‘eat street’- the Jetty Strip. Here more than 20 cafes and restaurants dish out everything from pub grub to fresh seafood or sushi. On a Sunday head to the bustling Harbourside Market for fresh regional produce and gourmet food stalls.

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Coffs Harbour

Carrying on south from Coffs next up is Nambucca Heads 45 kilometres away. Here tourists and locals alike have painted the rocks that form the breakwater with holiday messages, inspirational words and memories. This creative space proves a great read with comments from locals as well as visitors from around Australia and across the globe and you can add to them too.

The charming coastal town of Port Macquarie situated at the mouth of the Hastings River is 120 kilometres south of Nambucca Heads. Here you can discover beautiful beaches, experience a green hinterland and have memorable wildlife encounters.

Port Macquarie has the highest koala population on the east coast of Australia. Join a guided tour of the famous Koala Hospital, located in the historic Roto House, and learn about the work being done to care for sick and injured koalas. Then pat a koala at Billabong Zoo Koala and Wildlife Park. Here you can also feed cheetahs and meet the monster saltwater crocodile christened Shrek.

The painted rocks on the walkway in Nambucca Heads

Getting close to Sydney and 216 short of the New South Wales capital is Port Stephens that is home to 26 beaches, a vast aquamarine bay and giant sand dunes. The dunes can be explored on a 4 wheel drive, sandboards or quadbikes and resident dolphins can be spotted on a Dolphin Discovery Cruise. Treat yourself to some sublime luxury on this road trip with a stay atThe Anchoragein Corlette or Bannisters Port Stephens. These two properties are just 5km apart.

Finally on the home run to Sydney, the city of Newcastle is worthy stop as it is a thriving beachside metropolis with cool cafes and bars, a lively art and music scene, golden beaches and plenty of maritime history. See Nobbys Lighthouse that was built in 1857 and originally burnt China Tea Oil to guide ships through the night.

Take in beautiful sights along the Newcastle Memorial Walk - Besides the views being beautiful, this wonderful walk commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Gallipolilanding of WWI. Almost 11,000 names of men and women, who enlisted in other conflicts, including World War II, are displayed along the walk.

Explore Lake Macquarie by Kayak – This lake, the largest saltwater lake in the southern Hemisphere, is fun to explore by kayak or stand up paddle boards. It is just a 30-minute drive from Newcastle.

For more details in Delhi reach out to info@travelwithmaurya.com 9811596048 and for Chandigarh to kanwaljit@grandtravelplanners.com 9814010162

Disclaimer: This article has been produced on behalf of the brand by HT Brand Studio.