It’s a long way from Brisbane to Sydney! So what can the independent traveller do inbetween those two Australian cities? Take a step off the normal tourist trail and read the travel tips here!
Why: Australia’s Answer to Florida
Description: Skyscrapers dominant the narrow coastal strip, theme parks are popular, this is Australia at it’s most over-developed and flashy. Surfer’s Paradise is still a great place to learn to surf.Theme park fans will enjoy Sea World, Wet’n Wild and Dreamworld.
For your travel planning: Easily accessible by bus, train, or shuttle from Brisbane. About an hour’s drive south of Brisbane (depending on the traffic).
Coolangatta / Tweeds Head
Why: Because you can step back in time.
Description: These two towns straddle the New South Wales/Queensland border. That means that during the summer when Queensland doesn’t observe daylight savings time and New South Wales does, you can enjoy two New Year Eve’s count downs! Coolangatta feels like an older-style beach resort, with most buildings dwarfed by the pine trees which line the streets. The beaches are good in each town. If gambling is your thing then the Tweeds Head RSA is one of the larger ones in the area (An RSA is a kind of a casino but just with slot machines).
For your travel planning: The Gold Coast Airport has international and domestic flights and is closer to Coolangatta than the Gold Coast. All Sydney/Brisbane coaches will drop off/pick up in either town (make sure you know which time zone the bus timetable is based on!).
Why: Access to five World Heritage listed National Parks, well regarded local arts, crafts and markets.
Description: Murwillumbah is a laid-back river town. Murwillumbah has long attracted those interested in alternative lifestyles and self-sufficiency. For the visitor this means that there are regular festivals and excellent markets selling local produce and crafts. If you are not planning on hiking, take the Tweed Range 64km long scenic drive through the Border Ranges National Park.
For your travel planning: Coming from the south the nearest rail station is Casino (believe it or not, but that is the name of a town). From there pick the connecting bus for passengers going to/from Murwillumbah.
Coming from the north use the coach service that runs from Tweed Heads to Murwillumbah and then on south to Sydney.
A car is recommended for exploring the surrounding countryside.
Why: Eastern-most point in Australia, some of Australia’s best beaches, plus parties!
Description: The lighthouse is picturesque, but what keeps most people in town are the beaches and the nightlife. The competition for the “best beach” is very strong in Australia, but Byron Bay has a good claim. Byronoffers 30km of uncrowded beaches, good surf, and the chance to whale watch from the shore, in season.
The hippies discovered Byron Bay, but they’ve moved on with a far more up-market crowd these days. Lots of music, lots of dance parties, popular DJ’s, plus the odd wet T-shirt competition.
For your travel planning: Byron Bay is on the main Pacific Coast Highway approximately 175km south of Brisbane and 800kms north of Sydney. Regular trains and coaches will drop off and pick up. To explore the area outside of the town a rental vehicle is useful.
Why: Dinosaurs and fast cars in a sleepy country town.
Description: At first glance Bathurst is a typical sleepy country town. At second glance it’s anything but. The name is familiar to most Australians as Bathurst is the home of Mt Panorama, Australia’s premier motor racing circuit. The track’s museum is worth a look, but don’t miss the opportunity of driving your own vehicle around the circuit (excluding racing days!).
Also don’t miss out on the Australian Mineral and Fossil Museum this unlikely museum includes 2000 specimens including crystals from over 100 Australian mine sites, a T Rex skeleton.
For your travel planning: An easy 2.5 hours’ drive west of Sydney a car is recommended to explore the town and area.
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