Sydney to Brisbane Northbound
Explore wilderness, discover wildlife and indulge in wine on this laid-back adventure from the iconic cityscapes of Sydney to Queensland’s capital of Brisbane. Sample cheese and chocolate as you venture through the picturesque Hunter Valley, get up close to cute and cuddly koalas in an animal hospital near Port Macquarie, hike down for a dip in cascading waters at the beautiful Dangar Falls and hang loose in the bustling beachside town of Byron. From city to surf, wineries to waterfalls, take an epic road-trip that hits all the highlights in just one week.
Ages: 8 - 99
Accommodation: Hotel (4 nights), Pub (1 night) Motel (1 night)
Your Australia adventure begins in the iconic harbour city of Sydney, the glittering jewel in the east coast's crown. Make your own way to the joining hotel where you’ll meet your expert leader and fellow travellers at 2 pm for a welcome meeting in the lobby. Afterwards, head out to explore the historic area around the hotel before heading out for dinner. If you arrive early, there’s plenty to see and do – why not head down to Circular Quay and check out the world-famous Opera House, or if you’re feeling brave, opt to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge to catch an epic view over this stunning city. Alternatively, you might like to take the ferry over to Manly Beach for some sun, sea and surf – soaking up the panoramic view of the iconic Sydney cityscape as you cruise along the glittering waters.
Leave the hustle and bustle of Sydney behind for the chilled-out Hunter Valley – a picturesque wine region in the rural hills of New South Wales. Your own personal wildlife ranger will be keeping an eye out for koalas and kangaroos as you make your way to lunch – yes, there will be cheese, and wine, and chocolate (the Hunter is famous for it!). After you’ve gorged yourself on a delicious feast, sleep off the food coma as you continue your drive to Newcastle. It may only be a fraction the size of Sydney, but this beach side city is jam-packed with trendy bars and a buzzing arts scene. This evening why not head out for a delicious dinner at one of the many restaurants or simply settle in at a friendly pub for a night of live, local music.
After an amazing local breakfast, hit the scenic Lakes Way and witness epic coastal views at their best as you drive past pristine beaches and lakeside communities. Stretch your legs on a leisurely walk and climb to a lookout where you can take a moment to soak up panoramic vistas of New South Wales’ breathtaking shoreline. Afterwards, continue your journey to Port Macquarie in time for a sunset cruise – keep an eagle eye out for local pods of dolphins as you enjoy the perfect end to a scenic day.
This morning, meet the volunteers at a local koala hospital (cute!). If you’re able to tear yourself away from the cuddly critters, you’ll be rewarded with a stop in Nambucca Heads to share in a unique and immersive Gumbaynggirr First Nations experience that will get you in touch with the traditional custodians of this land, lore and ancient cultural knowledge. Finish the day in true Aussie style in the Dorrigo National Park, at a traditional pub where you can relax, order some grub, have a few drinks and even play some pool. Why not opt for an Aussie classic like a chicken ‘parma’, or the quintessential meat pie (tomato sauce optional, but recommended!).
This morning, check out the beautiful surrounds of Dorrigo National Park, known for its lush, sub-tropical rainforest and waterfalls. Check out Dangar Falls and opt for a refreshing dip in its cascading waters, accessed by a short walking trail (approximately 20 minutes) leading down to the base of the falls. Alternatively, stay dry and appreciate its mammoth beauty from a small viewing platform. Next, head to Byron Bay, a laid-back surf paradise with boundless coastline, sand and friendly locals. On arrival, pay a visit to the local lighthouse for a unique photo opportunity and the chance for the chance to spot dolphins, whales, and other marine life (Get your eagle eye ready, or perhaps just bring binoculars). Finish the afternoon by popping to an organic farm where you’ll pick and prepare a healthy and delicious dinner.
Get up early or sleep late, sunrises are pretty ace at from Australia's most easterly point, but the choice is yours. It’s a free day today so perhaps kick-start the morning with a swim in the ocean or hunt down the best cold-brew coffee from one of Byron’s quirky cafes. Stroll along the streets and check out the trendy boutiques or stretch out your limbs at an optional yoga class. If you’re a seafood fan, head to The Balcony Bar for some delicious oysters or simply enjoy a cocktail or two as you people-watch from the outdoor terrace. If the waves are right, why not try your hand at surfing or just loll about on the one of the endless beaches. It’s a hard life.
Rise and shine as you begin your adventure along the sun-kissed coast from Byron Bay to Brisbane where your trip will come to an end on arrival.
- Byron Bay farm to plate organic dinner
28 MacLeay St
New South Wales
Phone: 02 93577755
Royal on The Park Hotel
152 Alice St
1. Please meet your guide in the lobby of your Sydney hotel at approx. 2pm on day one for a brief joining meeting.
2. A single supplement is available for each night of this trip.
3. This itinerary is the first section of a longer 14 day Sydney to Cairns trip. Please see trip code PVOSC
All group trips are accompanied by a group leader. In Australia your group leader is also your driver, taking you from start to finish. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Yor leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, as well as recommening great local cafe's, pubs and restaurants. They will also introduce you to our local friends along the way. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the areas visited on the trip, including historical, environmental, cultural and social aspects.
Daytime temperatures can be extreme from Oct to March with temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius. Please bring a large refillable water bottle. We strongly recommend the use of dehydration salts and sports drinks as a way to combat dehydration during times of extreme heat.
Rip currents are the leading surf hazard for all beach users. They can occur at any beach, and can sweep even the strongest swimmer out to sea. Rip currents are responsible for around 15,000 beach rescues and up to 120 people being drowned each year in Australia (source: Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA).
To enjoy Australia's beaches safely, take the following simple precautions:
* Always swim between the red and yellow flags, as these indicate it is a supervised location where a lifesaving service is currently on duty.
* Do not swim at unsupervised locations.
* Observe and obey safety signage, which indicates current and typical hazards for that location.
* Ask a lifeguard or lifesaver for advice on conditions; they are there to make your experience safer and more enjoyable.
* Always swim with a friend; never swim alone.
* If you get into trouble, stay calm and signal for help by calling and waving your arm above your head.
Be aware of your own limitations in terms of your physical health and your swimming ability in the given conditions. Never swim while, or after, consuming alcohol.
The Australian Tourism site has some great tips for staying safe in Australia
You can also contact us directly at https://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/contact-us/safety if you have any concerns about safety on your trip.
Wireless (wi-fi) is common across accommodation in Australia. Some properties may charge a fee for usage.
Cafe's and pubs across NSW and QLD may have wi-fi for a fee, with those in more tourist area's offering it for free. Shopping centre's, airports and other public spaces offer limited free wi-fi access.
Australia’s main telecommunication companies all operate in NSW and QLD. Pay phones are become rarer than hen's teeth so best use your mobile.
If you are spending longer in Australia, it might be a good idea to purchase a local SIM card for data and your mobile device.
All travellers, except New Zealand citizens, must obtain a visa or travel authority before travelling to Australia. Failure to do so means you may not be allowed to board your flight to Australia. Most nationalities can obtain an Electronic Travel Authority via the internet before arrival. Please check the following website or with your relevant Australian visa issuing office for your nationalities requirements. http://www.eta.immi.gov.au/
Why we love it
Keep your eye out for kangaroos on your way to a cheese, chocolate and wine-filled lunch in the chilled-out Hunter Valley – a picturesque region in the rural hills of New South Wales.
Soak up the beachside vibes of Byron Bay with a free day in this surfer’s haven. Go for a dip in the ocean, listen to buskers by the beach, join a yoga class or just hang loose in a quirky cafe – it’s a hard life!
Set sail along the azure waters of Port Macquarie on an incredible sunset cruise. Keep an eagle eye out for local pods of dolphins as you enjoy the perfect end to a scenic day.
Get in touch with Australia’s wilderness and wildlife. Meet cute and cuddly koalas at an animal hospital and explore rainforest and waterfalls in Dorrigo National Park.
Enjoy amazing local food including a 'farm to plate' experience in beautiful Byron Bay. Head out and collect local ingredients before indulging in a healthy and delicious dinner.
Is this trip right for you
This trip covers around 1000km / 620miles over 7 days. There are some long travelling days but it’s all part of the adventure and a great way to get to know your fellow travellers.
The weather can change considerably between Sydney and Brisbane. Please check out the weather info in this document and pack accordingly.
This trip visits some amazing beaches along the way. Please consider your swimming competency before getting in the water.
Please note this tour operates in remote regions and as such medical facilities may be difficult to access. If you have any medical conditions or take any form of medication please provide full details & nature of condition. Please provide details of medication taken.
Food and dietary requirements
Australia eats multi-culturally. Everything from meat pies to ramen, laksa, pho, rice and pasta are part of the national diet.
The East Coast of Australia is renowned for its fresh food, including dairy (amazing cheeses), produce, seafood and meat. From high end restaurants and gastro pubs and cafe's to local restaurants and markets there is plenty of choice for all budgets. Local produce is a feature on back roads. Roadside stalls sell tropical fruit in season in Northen NSW and QLD.
Vegetarians and Vegans are well catered for in Australia and most restaurants and cafe's will have a good selection of vegetarian meals. Gluten and Lactose free diets are also well catered for.
Tap water is safe and delicious in cities and towns. In the bush its best to check with your guide if in doubt. Bring a reusable bottle and drink tap water where you can. You'll use less plastic, saving both the environment and money.
Australia has strict laws regarding arriving with fruit and veg into the country. Please pay attention to signs when arriving internationally.
Please budget approximately $15 per lunch, and $20 - $40 for each dinner, perhaps a little more if you intend to also enjoy a glass of wine or beer with your meal.
The Australian Dollar (A$) is the currency of Australia.
Credit and debit cards are readily accepted just about everywhere in Australia. Occasionally there may be a minimum spend for both in smaller shops. You can usually withdraw money from shops where EFTPOS is available. Automatic teller machines (ATMs) are common across Australia. ATM's may be limited in remote areas and your leader will advise you when to withdraw extra cash.
Credit cards in Australia require a pin number rather than a signature and may have a small surcharge for purchases.
Tipping is not expected but appreciated.
We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.
What to take
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps.
You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day.
Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip.
- Lightweight clothing. You will need to bring a mixture of lightweight clothing and warm layers. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry. Maybe bring a change of smart clothes for dinner in bigger cities. Australia is pretty casual. A pair of shorts or a skirt and a top with thongs is our usual summer wardrobe.
- Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through bush, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings. A pair of sandals or thongs (flip flops) are great for the beach.
- Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses.
- Personal medical kit. A larger kit will be on hand with your leader, but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, Band-Aids and insect repellent.
- Water bottle. We recommend at least 1.5litre capacity.
- Camera with spare batteries.
- Ear plugs to guard against street noise and snorers.
- A good book, a journal and music player for longer drives.
Please keep your luggage to a minimum. One small soft-sided bag plus a day pack (no more than 15-20kgs in total per person) is essential. We recommend against bringing hard/externally framed suitcases as they are difficult to store in the vehicle and can damage equipment and other travellers' belongings.
Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. We recommend that you photocopy/scan all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals.
If you need some further tips for packing, you can always check out our ultimate packing list.
Climate and seasonal
Summer (December – February) Average temperatures range from 18 - 26°C (65.5 - 78.4°F). Its pretty humid
Autumn (March – May) The mildest time of year when the humidity drops and average temperatures fall between 15 - 22°C (58 - 72°F).
Winter (June – August) Sydney’s coolest months are June to August when average temperatures drop between 9 - 17°C (48 - 63°F). Rainfall is generally highest in June. July is the coolest month.
Spring (September – November) In spring, days are warmer but the humidity is not as high as summer.
Averages range from 11 - 23°C (51.8 - 73.4°F).
Summer (December – February) During summer its between 21 - 29.8°C (69.8 - 85.6°F) with the most rainfall, with spectacular thunderstorms.
Autumn (March – May) It finally cools down - 15 - 25°C (59 - 77°F), with low humidity and less rain.
Winter (June – August) Generally dry and mild with mean temperatures between 11 - 21°C (51.8 - 69.8°F).
Spring (September – November) Warm, sunny days are tempered by cool sea breezes. 15 - 25°C (59 - 77°F).
Please note that some of our planned activities are contingent on seasonal conditions. We will arrange alternative activities if this is the case. This is a flexible itinerary and may be altered to allow for better times to view certain inclusions depending on sunset/sunrise and weather conditions.
A couple of rules
Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden.
Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.
The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips.
By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund.
If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
EAST COAST: ALL general enquiry must be directed to our Reservations team on 1300 654 604. In the case of a GENUINE EMERGENCY, or concerns about a missed pick-up on the DAY OF DEPARTURE ONLY please contact our Operations Manager in Cairns. If your call does NOT warrant an emergency situation you will be asked to call our Reservations team in business hours.’
Via Travel: 0474 229 435
Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel.
Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting:
This is an Comfort level trip and consistes of a combination of hotels, private apartments and unique traditional Australian pub accommodation. All locations will have private ensuite bathrooms and linen and towels are supplied. Passengers travelling solo will be paired with another person of the same gender. A single supplement is also available for those wishing to have privacy throughout the trip.
Australians are not required to be covered for hospital care due to being covered by Medicare. However we strongly recommend that Australians have a domestic travel insurance policy which covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. It is also strongly advisable that Australians have current ambulance cover in the case of emergency evacuation or incidents requiring ambulance transportation.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all international travellers and should be taken out at the time of booking. Your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, death, medical expenses and emergency repatriation with a recommended minimum coverage of US$200,000 for each of the categories of cover. We also strongly recommend it covers cancellation, curtailment, personal liability and loss of luggage and personal effects. You must provide proof of your travel insurance on the first day of your trip; you will not be able to join the trip without it. If you obtain travel insurance through us you acknowledge that you are satisfied with the level of insurance we have arranged.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
Hotel (4 nights),Pub (1 night) Motel (1 night)