Gold Coast to Sydney Road Trip! Travel Guide

June 14, 2018

gold coast to sydney road trip

Road trips are one of the most relaxing ways of travelling, and Australia is a great place to do so! My husband and I did a 14-day road trip from Gold Coast to Sydney in the end of summer (end March to early April). The weather was slightly hot, but the skies were beautiful. There was almost no rain during our trip, which makes for great sightseeing and phototaking weather!

Gold Coast to Sydney Road Trip: Travel Itinerary
• Day 1 to 4: Gold Coast
• Day 5: Gold Coast to Coolangatta to Byron Bay
• Day 6: Byron Bay to Coffs Harbour
• Day 7: Coffs Harbour to Port Macquarie
• Day 8: Port Macquarie to Newcastle
• Day 9: Newcastle to Hunter Valley
• Day 10: Hunter Valley to Sydney
• Day 11 to 15: Sydney

Read on and watch my vlog for more details of our trip!

Day 1: Arriving in Gold Coast
Accommodation: Sunset Boulevard (airbnb)

Upon landing in Gold Coast in the morning, we collected our rental car near the airport. Our first stop is to check into our Airbnb that's located in Surfers Paradise because we wanted to freshen up after a long flight.

We were starving by then, and so we headed to straight to lunch at Commune and took a stroll at Burleigh Heads Beach. After that, we did some shopping and stocked up on groceries for the rest of our road trip!

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Commune Cafe
1844 Gold Coast Hwy, Gold Coast, Queensland 4220, Australia

Burleigh Heads Beach 
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

Day 2: Of Shopping and Beaches

We kicked off the second day with a filling brunch from Local & Co. We ordered the pulled pork burger which was a bit dry. But the cold pressed fruit juice was really good and fresh! Then, we drove to the Harbour Town Outlet Shopping Centre where we bought lots of stuff at very reasonable prices. Jon stocked up on his office wear there as the style and cutting really suits him. After hours of shopping, we visited Surfers Paradise to catch the sunset. Even though I'm not usually a fan of beaches, Surfers Paradise really won me over. It's no wonder this beach is called Surfers Paradise.

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Local & Co Cafe
Shop 6, 20-22 Tedder Avenue, Main Beach QLD

Harbour Town Outlet Shopping Centre
147/189 Brisbane Rd, Biggera Waters QLD 4216, Australia

Surfers Paradise Beach
The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland 4217, Australia

Day 3: Dreamworld and White Water World

Day 3 was theme-park-day! We spent the entire day at Dreamworld and White Water World. As it was a weekday (and not the school holidays), the park was not at all crowded, and we barely needed to queue for rides.

Within the first 2 hours, we already managed to take quite a number of extreme, thrilling rides. But I guess our pace was too fast, and Jonathan felt sick and puked after that hahaha (he blames it on age). So we slowed down and chilled at White Water World, where he took some of the wet rides (our pass gives us access to both theme parks).

We ended the day by having dinner from Chickery Chick. The chicken is extremely tender, and their fries are very tasty (they sprinkle some kind of flavoured powder over it). The rest of the night was spent watching Netflix in our Airbnb.

Dreamworld + White Water World
Coomera QLD 4209, Australia

Chickery Chick

4/31 Aubrey St, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217, Australia

Day 4: Day trip to Currumbin

We were intending to visit another theme park on the fourth day, but because Jon said he can't take too many extreme rides, we decided not to go again. With time on our hands, we went for brunch at Elk Espresso, and visited a beautiful plant nursery called Borrowed Nursery. Then, we drove down to Burleigh to stock up on vitamins at Chemist Warehouse. We also visited Elephant Rock at Currumbin Beach, and took a long stroll by the beach while taking in the beautiful weather.

Along the way, we stopped by Superbee Honeyworld (we didn't pay for the tour, and just bought honey from the shop). Lunch was at Easy House Vegetarian (because Jon was craving for Chinese food), and second lunch at The Journal Cafe and Pastry (healthy chia bowl!). We even had time to watch a movie, Black Panther.

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Elk Espresso 
16 Chelsea Ave, Broadbeach QLD 4218, Australia

Borrowed Nursery
44 Cronulla Ave, Mermaid Beach QLD 4218, Australia

Elephant Rock
Pacific Parade, Currumbin QLD 4223, Australia

Superbee Honeyworld
35 Tomewin St, Currumbin QLD 4223, Australia

Easy House Vegetarian Restaurant
8/90 Markeri St, Mermaid Waters QLD 4218, Australia

The Journal Cafe and Pastry
88 Markeri Street, 4218 Mermaid Waters, Queensland, Australia

Day 5: Gold Coast to Byron Bay
Accomodation: Discovery Parks Byron Bay

After checking out of our Airbnb, we drove towards Byron Bay and stopped by Coolangatta along the way. We had brunch at Cafe Dbar (yummy food, good coffee, beautiful ambience), and had ice cream from Gelato Messina as I heard it's a must-try! 

At Byron Bay, we visited The Farm, which is a working farm that house a collection of micro-businesses including a restaurant, all operating under the motto of "Grow, Feed, Educate". We also stopped by the Cape Byron Lighthouse, which I recommend to go for beautiful views! We ordered a fruit smoothie from Munch Juice Bar for a mid-day boost. And in the late afternoon, we explored the shops of Byron Bay and filled our tummies with cheap but good burgers from BayGer.

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The Farm
11 Ewingsdale Road, Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia

Cape Byron Lighthouse
Cape Byron Walking Track, Byron Bay NSW 2481, Australia

Munch Juice Bar
8 Bayshore Dr, Byron Bay NSW 2481, Australia

1/8 Jonson St, Byron Bay NSW 2481, Australia

Day 6: Byron Bay to Coffs Harbour
Accomodation: Royal Palms Motor Inn

Farmers markets are always fun to visit (especially since we don't have much of those in Singapore), so Jon and I felt very lucky to have the chance to catch the Byron Bay Farmers Market. Despite the slightly wet weather, we enjoyed checking out the fresh produce and other products at the market.

From Byron Bay, we made our way down to Yamba for lunch and ice cream! We didn't know where to go for lunch, and chose a random cafe that turned out to be really good - Caper Berry Cafe. We were very pleasantly surprised with the Frittata and Carbonara. Super value for money. For dessert, we had the chocolate and blood orange ice cream from Yamba Icecreamery.

Next stop, Korora Lookout! We did a short walk up to the lookout and the Forest Sky Pier. It was nice to take in the view with very few tourists around.

Caper Berry Cafe
Cnr Coldstream & Yamba St, Yamba, New South Wales, Australia

Yamba Icecreamery
4/23 Coldstream St, Yamba, New South Wales 2464, Australia

Korora Lookout
115A Bruxner Park Rd, Korora NSW 2450, Australia

Day 7: Coffs Harbour to Port Macquarie
Accomodation: Country Cottage 'Koliel' Farm Stay (airbnb)

We had brunch at Cafe Aqua. As it was Easter, it was very very crowded. The food is decent but the crowd probably affected our experience of the place. We also visited Big Banana, which was packed with families so we didn't spend much time there.

After buying a frozen chocolate banana to beat the heat, we headed to the Koala Hospital. At the Koala Hospital, there are stories about each Koala living there. Some are really heartbreaking, like the Koala who was burnt in a forest fire which affected her ability to use her hands. I'm touched to learn that these injured Koalas have a safe place to live.

As we still had some time, we visited the Tacking Point Lighthouse and Ricardoes Tomatoes. Then, we went drove to our Airbnb - a cottage farm stay at Cooperabung. The place was absolutely beautiful. The owners have a friendly dog and cat who get along well. There are also cows on the farm. We decided to stay in for dinner to enjoy the place, and so we cooked instant noodles, bought some fried chicken from KFC, and I baked some bacon and egg cups. 

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Cafe Aqua
57 Ocean Pde, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales 2450, Australia

Big Banana
57 Ocean Pde, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales 2450, Australia

Koala Hospital
Lord Street | Macquarie Nature Reserve, Port Macquarie, New South Wales 2444, Australia

Tacking Point Lighthouse
Lighthouse Rd, Port Macquarie NSW 2444, Australia

Ricardoes Tomatoes
221 Blackmans Point Rd, Port Macquarie, New South Wales 2444, Australia

Day 8: Port Macquarie to Newcastle
Accomodation: Travelodge Hotel Newcastle

On our way to Newcastle, we visited 2 wineries - Cassegrain Wines and Long Point Vineyard & Art Gallery. It was a 3 hour drive down to Newcastle, where we stopped along Nelson Bay to stretch our legs. Jonathan was tired from the long drive, so we had takeout for dinner from the nearby shopping centre. It was a nice night spent resting in our comfy room while watching trashy television shows haha.

Cassegrain Wines
10 Winery Dr, Port Macquarie NSW 2444, Australia

Long Point Vineyard & Art Gallery
Long Point Drive (Off Houston Mitchell), Cooinda Pl, Lake Cathie NSW 2445, Australia

Day 9: Animal-filled day

In the Port Stephens/Newcastle area, we had the opportunity to see and interact with a variety of animals. We started the day by visiting the Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounter. Jon get suited up and he waddled into the pool to feed the sharks and rays. Meanwhile, the timid me stayed dry and fed them from the side. We learnt from the staff there that the falling numbers of rays in the sea are leading to the increase in Irukandji population (a type of extemely venomous jellyfish), and thus one of the roles of Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounter is to raise awareness about the conservation efforts to protect our seas. 

We were lucky enough to get a table despite not making reservations, and had lunch at the Barramundi Farm's Cookabarra Restaurant nearby. The fish was nice and fresh, and staff were friendly. They offer farm tours too (which we decided to give a miss due to the blazing sun). 

After lunch, we went to the Oakvale Farm and Fauna World. There, we got to feed the animals on the farm like goats, piglets, chicken, kangaroos, horses, donkeys, camels, llamas, and even ALPACAS! I was so excited to see an alpaca in real life, they are one of the cutest and sweetest looking animals. 

We ended the day by cooling down at the Newcastle Ocean Baths with a view that looks out to the sea. It is free to enter and opened all year round.

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Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounter
686 Marsh Rd, Bobs Farm NSW 2316, Australia

Barramundi Farm's Cookabarra Restaurant  
476c Marsh Road Bobs Farm, NSW 2316, Australia

Oakvale Farm and Fauna World 
3 Oakvale Dr, Salt Ash NSW 2318, Australia

Newcastle Ocean Baths
Shortland Esplanade, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

Day 10: DIY Wine Tour in Hunter Valley
Accomodations: Wine Country Motor Inn

We did a DIY Wine Tour around the Hunter Valley region, which is famous for its wines. It was the first time we did a wine "tour" on our own. Jon was my designated driver as he doesn't drink wine (or any alcohol in fact). Even though joining an actual wine tour is definitely more informative, it was a different kind of experience to visit wineries on our own at our own pace.

Lunch was at PK on Polkobin's Cafe, an unassuming cafe with suprisingly decent food (we shared a lasagna that came with a side of salad). We also did a cheese tasting at Hunter Valley Cheese Company. Cheese and wine, could it be any more perfect?

These were some of the wineries we visited:
• Briar Ridge
• Audrey Wilkinson Winery (extremely beautiful views)
• Piggs Peake Winery
• Margan Wines

PK on Polkobin's Cafe
455 Wine Country Dr, Pokolbin NSW 2320, Australia

Hunter Valley Cheese Company
447 McDonalds Rd, Pokolbin, New South Wales 2321, Australia

Day 11: Hunter Valley to Sydney
Accomodations: Travelodge Hotel Sydney

It was the last day of our road trip, and we drove from Hunter Valley to Sydney! But first, we stopped by Wyong and had breakfast at Wyong Milk Factory Cafe. Jon ordered this huge chocolate banana milk shake that was super refreshing on a hot day. Meanwhile, I had my favourite cold pressed juice. We also visited Little Creek Cheese. Very nice cheese, but unfortunately, we could not buy any as the shop attendant advised that the cheese won't last our drive to Sydney.

After a 1.5h drive, we finally reached Sydney. Like a typical tourist, we visited the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Then, we returned the car and checked into our hotel. (We should have returned the car first, as parking is very expensive at Sydney Opera House.)

At night, we went for dinner at Hurricane Grill in Darling Harbour. One of the best meals we had on the trip! The steak and ribs were very tender, and their Ohayo cocktail packed a punch.

Wyong Milk Factory Cafe
141 Alison Rd, Wyong NSW 2259, Australia

Little Creek Cheese
141-155 Alison Rd, Wyong NSW 2259, Australia

Sydney Opera House
Bennelong Point, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney NSW, Australia

Darling Harbour
Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Hurricane Grill
433-436 Darling Dr, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Day 12: Sydney on foot

It was a day of walking, lots and lots of walking. I almost couldn't feel my feet at the end of the day, and my legs ached for the rest of the trip. I believe we were too ambitious to visit so many places solely on foot. We must have walked at least 10km that day ๐Ÿ˜‚Below is a chronological list of where we visited (if you are up for the long walk).

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Art Gallery of NSW (free entry)
Art Gallery Rd, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Royal Botanic Gardens (for bird feeding!)
Birdwood Ave, South Yarra VIC 3141, Australia

Bar Luca (for lunch. we had amazing burgers!)
52 Phillip St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Angel Place (to view the "Forgotton Songs" installation - bird cages suspended in the street)
Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

The Strand Arcade (victorian-style shopping arcade)
412-414 George St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Westfield Sydney (for even more shopping)
Pitt St & Market Street, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Queen Victoria Building (shopping in a beautiful landmark in the heart of Sydney)
455 George St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Cadmans Cottage (the second oldest surviving residential building in Sydney)
110 George St, The Rocks NSW 2000, Australia

The Rocks Discovery Museum (about the history of The Rocks area)
Kendall Ln, The Rocks NSW 2000, Australia

Museum of Contemporary Art (free entry)
27A Loewen Road, Singapore 248839

Day 13: Jon's Birthday!

We visited Paddy's Markets and bought lots of nuts (very affordable compared to Singapore). My favourite was the honey cashew and almonds, they are very addictive. 

As our feet were aching from the previous day, we decided to take a bus down to Newtown. Lunch was at Lentil as Anything. This vegan restaurant has no set prices, and you are welcomed to contribute as much as you want for the meal. 

"The Lentil as Anything mission is to provide food without borders, without borders of race or socioeconomic status. Lentil As Anything also works to remove the borders in society through providing volunteer training and employment opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds, including those who have been marginalised."

For dessert, we had the much-raved-about watermelon cake from Black Star Pastry. It's flavour is unique, and recommended for those who like light and fruity cakes. 

And to celebrate Jon's birthday, we stopped by C9 Chocolate & Gelato and ordered a warm brownie, topped with pistachio gelato, and served with a side of chocolate sauce. When Jon's face lit up upon seeing the dessert, my heart smiled too. I'm just happy if he's happy. 

Lentil as Anything
391 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia

Black Star Pastry
277 Australia St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia

C9 Chocolate & Gelato
55 Willoughby Rd, Crows Nest NSW 2065, Australia

Day 14: Last Day to Explore Sydney!

It was a chill day on our last day to explore Sydney. We went to Glebe Foreshore and walked to the Sydney Fish Markets from there. The fish market was not what I had in mind  - it was not a Tsukiji fish market style, but more like a supermarket yet not quite. We ordered some fresh seafood and sat by the waters, while fending off hungry seagulls at the same time.

Then, we did shopping at Market City and Central Park Sydney, and ended the night by visiting Darling Harbour again (as it is a nice place to relax and take in the views). We had a simple dinner before heading back to the hotel to rest and pack our luggages.

Glebe Foreshore
Chapman Rd, Annandale NSW 2037, Australia

Sydney Fish Markets
Bank St & Pyrmont Bridge Road, Sydney NSW 2009, Australia

Market City
9-13 Hay St, Haymarket NSW 2000, Australia

Central Park Sydney (Shopping Mall)
28 Broadway, Chippendale NSW 2008, Australia

Day 15: Sydney to Singapore

What a journey trying to get to the airport! As fate would have it, the train station was closed and we had to find another way to get to the airport. What was supposed to be a short journey turned out to take twice as long (thank goodness we left early and thus had time to travel). Thankfully, we managed to make our way to the airport by a shuttle bus, and we enjoyed our last moments in Sydney by having Macdonald's and a chia seed pudding for lunch.

Thank you Australia for the beautiful memories!

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