Northern NSW, A Road Trip from Sydney to the Gold Coast, Australia

Australia is a beautiful country. Open spaces, clean stretches of white sandy beaches, crystal water, blue skies, parklands and gardens within five minutes of everywhere, and of course laid back, down to earth, warm friendly people (;-).

A popular trip for visitors to Australia and locals alike is the drive between Sydney and the Gold Coast.  Flying from Malaysia makes this a convenient thing to do as you can fly directly into one city and out of the other with both Air Asia (Gold Coast) or Malaysia Airlines (Brisbane).
Road trip, Sydney to Gold Coast
Map – Sydney to the Gold Coast


Hiring a car is your best bet to fully take advantage of the many stops along the way. Unless you’re fortunate enough to have friends and/or family to put you up along the way, accommodation and travel will be your biggest expenses.


Our favourite website for finding a place to stay is The site lists holiday rentals around Australia. Properties range from studio apartments to five bedroom houses with pools and other recreation facilities. Most are usually equipped with kitchens and laundries, saving you further expenses in food and washing. With the added facilities and possibility to sleep more than just a couple, listings on this site are a reasonable price especially if traveling with a family or group of friends.It’s through this site we found the Medina Classic Martin Place, serviced apartments, in Sydney. For $105 AUD per night we established ourselves in the very heart of the city furnished with a kitchen, laundry, decently sized living and sleeping area, gym and mere minutes walking distance to all of the area’s top attractions.

Sydney accommodation, serviced apartment, budget, good value,
Medina Serviced Apartment, Martin Place, Sydney

Best Cafes and Restaurants in Sydney

Sydney is thought of by many as a foodie’s heaven, however it’s all too easy to get caught in the ‘tourist traps’ and miss the best the city has to offer altogether. The Yum List gets advice from local foodies and finds the top Sydneyite places for java, imbibement and cuisine. Click here to find The Yum List’s pick of where to eat and drink in Sydney.
Best cafes and restaurants in Sydney
So maybe Vegemite is not at the top of everyone’s list but Sweet Art makes a more palatable version in the form of a mud cake.
Best cafes and restaurants in Sydney
Grilled Seafood Platter from the Sydney Fish Markets

Where to Eat in Bellingen and Surrounds

Moving up the coast there are many places worthy of a stop, if not a stop over. The Hunter Valley, Nelson’s Bay and Port Macquarie all merit a look in. About mid way between Sydney and the Gold Coast you come to Bellingen. Just south of Coffs Harbour, a hippy community vibe pervades the streets and the number of cafes and interesting shops warrants the town a visit, even a stay over. An ideal day is a morning hike up to the waterfalls in the nearby Dorrigo national park, returning for lunch and coffee in the afternoon to the township. Planning your trip to coincide with their monthly markets is too a great idea. Click here for The Yum List’s favourite spots to eat in and around Bellingen.

best cafes in bellingen
You can’t go wrong with take away in the great outdoors
Belliingen Cafes
Locally produced goodies and shady spots for a picnic
water falls, national park, Dorrigo
Dangar Falls – Picnicking at its best

Where to Grab a Bite in Coffs Harbour

Continuing north on the highway you reach the subtropical climate of Coffs Harbour. At a latitude low enough to still cause four seasons, but high enough to make each one rather mild, Coffs is blessed with what some call model living conditions. Forest covered hills roll down to the sea and white sandy beaches splashed with pristine blue waters wait those ready to take a stroll or a dip. Regional farms supply cafes and restaurants with superb produce and the jetty sees an abundance of fresh seafood from the Pacific Ocean unloaded off fishing trawlers every morning. With the population including a heavy mix of university students, retired citizens and holiday makers, there is no shortage of places to eat to suit every budget and proclivity. Here’s The Yum List’s list of where to eat in Coffs Harbour.

Coffs Harbour
Sea Views
Coffs harbour, where to eat
River Views

Stop, Revive Survive in Woodburn, Knockrow and Byron Bay

Between Coffs Habour and the Queensland border there are any number of charming towns at which to pullover for a bite or spend the night. Here are our favourite spots to nourish yourselves on the way. 

cafes in woodburn
You must have an Aussie meat pie
Byron Bay
More picturesque settings for a picnic

The Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is famed for its surfing beaches, impeccable waters and amusement parks. The leisurely mood of the place usually means it takes a few years to catch up with other cities around the country. Recent times though have seen higher demands on the Food and Beverage scene and things are starting to pick up. Still, there are far too many tourist traps and it pays to bribe a local into giving up the hush on the spots they’ve been selfishly sequestering away from vacationer’s eyes. The Yum List did some arm twisting and here we have, The Best Spots to Eat on the Gold Coast Avoiding the Tourist Traps.

Mudgeeraba, Loung Room, Breakfast
Another ‘must eat’ Down Under – a greasy fry up of bacon and eggs
Gold Coast
Burleigh Heads looking towards Surfers Paradise

As is inevitable, owners change, restaurants close, new ones open. We’d love to hear about your favourite finds on your next road trip from Sydney to the Gold Coast. So keep a list and send us your secrets.

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  1. Beautiful! F1 starts next week in Austria, this is a great post for people who want to visit Australia for the race.

  2. good-looking food, great-looking outdoors. australia definitely is blessed! 😀

  3. In love with Australia! Hope to visit there soon!

  4. the sinful mud cake and lots of desserts on the go really make me drools!

    Latest: I Have Too Much Body Fat!

  5. Last trip was one whole week in Surfers. Totally enjoyed it. Am now contemplating a return trip when I fly in July for my run:D

  6. I love Australia. Australia has amazing places to visit. Tambourine Mountains are my favorite place in Australia. They have great restaurants, amazing breweries, breathtaking rain forests etc.

  7. Yeh. Going on a road trip from Great Ocean Road to Brisbane this mid week after 3 days in Melbourne starting tomorrow.

    • Enjoy your trip Janet! I also have a couple of posts on best breakfasts in Coffs Harbour and region and best coffees on the Gold Coast. 😉

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