Pacific Coast (Sydney to Brisbane) 6 nights
7 days/6 nights Sydney to Brisbane.
Price from £711 per person
A gloriously varied self-drive Australia tour that includes 7 days car rental with Hertz Australia (Intermediate Automatic), 6 nights 'boutique' accommodation, meals indicated and daily driving notes. Price includes car pick up from downtown depot - supplements may apply from airport.
Sydney – Hunter Valley – Taree – Coffs Harbour – Byron Bay - Brisbane
Prices depend on seasonality
DAY 1 SYDNEY – HUNTER VALLEY (NM)
CESSNOCK was named after Cessnock Castle in Scotland by pioneer Scots settler John Campbell, who received a land grant of 2560 acres in 1826 from Governor Darling. His estate was subdivided in 1853 and a village developed. In 1856 coal was discovered and by the turn of the century this had brought prosperity to the district and a security of employment. The Cessnock area, once a favourite haunt of bushrangers as it was close to Sydney but backed onto wild bush, now encompasses over 20 towns and villages. Now, while the coal is still important, local industries include dairying, cattle breeding, mixed farming, timber milling, pottery and clothing manufacture.
HUNTER VALLEY - The Hunter Valley is the oldest wine producing area in New South Wales, with the first vines being brought here in the 1820's. It is one of Australia's more scenic wine growing areas, with the Hunter River winding its way lazily through the grapevine clad hills. Renowned for the production of top quality table wines, the Valley has wineries ranging from very large, more commercial estates to the smaller boutique style wineries.
OVERNIGHT: Peppers Guest House, Pokolbin (2 nights)
DAY 2 HUNTER VALLEY (NM)
Today is at your leisure to explore all that the Hunter Valley has to offer. You may wish to visit some of the local wineries. Tyrells, Brokenwood, Wyndham and Rothbury Estates all produce premium quality table wines, and are in easy driving distance from your accommodation. But there is more to the Hunter Valley than just wine. Take a horse and carriage ride through the vineyards, hire a bicycle and travel at a slower pace or drive into the mountains for a gourmet picnic. There is also bushwalking, local arts and crafts, antiques and unique Hunter Valley cheese to taste.
DAY 3 HUNTER VALLEY – TAREE (NM)
BULAHDELAH marks the main entrance to Myall Lakes. Myall Lakes is one of the state's largest coastal lake systems – a Ramsar Wetland of International Significance. Forty kilometres of beaches and remarkable rolling sand dunes make Myall Lakes one of the most visited parks in NSW. The Grandis, a magnificent 76m high flooded gum, is one of the tallest trees in the state. The lakes and beaches are perfect for water activities, with watercraft available for hire.
FORSTER, where Wallis Lake meets the sea, is a busy holiday resort town, interrupted by sudden moments of wonder. Watch dolphins play in the emerald shallows beneath the bridge that links Forster and Tuncurry across Wallis Lake. Stop to watch a spectacular sunset. Buy oysters (direct from the leaseholder) and succulent, freshly cooked fish from the fishing co-op. Lunch anticipates an afternoon at leisure, watching the fishing boats, strolling along lake foreshores, meandering through the cool rainforest or relaxing on a white sand beach.
TUNCURRY – Forster and Tuncurry are home to New South Wales' second biggest fishing district. Tuncurry means "plenty fish" in the Aboriginal Worimi language and, with lots of deep sea, rock, beach and lake action for the recreational angler, the region enjoys a long-lived claim to the name. Dolphin and whale watching cruises, sailing and diving charters, 4WD tours, beach and bush walks make the most of a unique natural environment. With grass to play on nearby, picnic facilities and a playground, Tuncurry Rockpool is perfect for children.
TAREE – One of the major towns on the rivers of the New South Wales Mid North Coast, Taree is idyllically situated on the Manning River. The Pacific Highway runs right through the town taking a sharp turn on either end of the bridge over the Manning River before heading north and south. It is a big, modern, attractive town servicing the surrounding rural industries and driven by the tourists and travellers who pass through. It is located 16km inland from the mouth of the Manning River and is a successful rural centre sustained by a wide range of activities including dairying, a timber industry, and engineering works. The famous Australian poet, Les Murray, was educated at Taree High School.
OVERNIGHT: The Bank Guest House, Wingham
DAY 4 TAREE – COFFS HARBOUR (NM)
DORRIGO NATIONAL PARK - Within an hour's drive of Coffs Harbour is the hinterland town of Bellingen and the Dorrigo National Park, which has many walking trails. Dorrigo National Park is one of Australia’s most accessible rainforest areas. The Skywalk, Walk With Birds and other areas have been designed to provide easy access and impressive viewing points. The Rainforest Visitors’ Centre houses a 50-seat video theatrette featuring the history, ecology and beauty of rainforests in the state.
COFFS HARBOUR is a popular year round tourist destination. The combination of golden sand, high mountains, dense rainforests, steep banana plantations and clear streams make it a superb holiday area. Stop by the famed Big Banana where you will find an audio-visual theatrette, Aboriginal Dreamtime Cave, historic exhibits, hydroponics glasshouse and a banana packing shed. Stroll along Coffs Promenade onto the beautiful botanic gardens with a mangrove boardwalk or spend time browsing in the local art galleries and museums.
OVERNIGHT: Santa Fe Luxury Bed & Breakfast, Coffs Harbour
DAY 5 COFFS HARBOUR – BYRON BAY (NM)
MACLEAN is referred to as “The Scottish Town in Australia”. A cairn made of rocks from around Australia and Scotland commemorates Maclean’s Scottish pioneers and overlooks wonderful town and river views. The town’s historic buildings will fascinate you as will a number of street signs which bear Gaelic translations. Edging the main thoroughfare into Maclean, there are hundreds of power poles painted with Scottish clan tartans and each bearing the appropriate clan name. Stroll along the street and search for your ancestral colours.
LENNOX HEAD is one of those small townships that is characterised by a large and beautiful headland to the south and a long “seven mile” beach. The Pat Morton Lookout offers excellent views from Lennox Head across Seven Mile Beach and south to Rocky Point and Skenners Head.
BYRON BAY is a mix of cultures and lifestyles. Byron – “where the sun first hits the sand” – has a yearround subtropical climate, with summer temperatures dominated by a cooling offshore breeze. Its beautiful beaches, nearby hinterland and cultural expression explain Byron’s burgeoning population and its attraction as a holiday destination. Cape Byron is the most easterly point of Australia, and is topped by an extremely powerful lighthouse.
OVERNIGHT: The Byron at Byron Resort & Spa, Byron Bay (2 nights)
DAY 6 BYRON BAY (NM)
Today you can explore Byron Bay and its surrounds at your leisure. Sample some of the local range of activities, from tandem hang-gliding and parachute jumps, to kayaking, surfing (or learning to surf), bike or horse-riding. The marine park at Julian Rocks, just off the main beach, is the meeting place of tropical and temperate currents, providing scuba divers and snorkelers with some amazing scenery. There is a great walking trail to the top of the Cape, with stunning coastal views, and the lighthouse is the spot to watch for whales. Don’t forgo a visit to nearby Brunswick Heads and Byron’s hinterland.
BRUNSWICK HEADS – Often seen as the smaller and quieter cousin of Byron Bay, Brunswick Heads is just 20km north of its busier counterpart. With a pretty river setting, which provides a commercial fishing boat harbour (and a great place for enjoying fish and chips) and beautiful surf beaches, Brunswick has always had devoted fans who prefer a gentler pace. A footbridge across the south arm of the river leads to the Flora and Nature Reserve – just one of the many fishing spots on both the river and beach.
DAY 7 BYRON BAY – BRISBANE (NM)
TWEED HEADS is bustling, busy, sometimes frantic, and is the northernmost town on the New South Wales Coast. Tweed Heads shares its main street with the Queensland town of Coolangatta – they are in fact twin towns at the mouth of the Tweed River.
SURFERS PARADISE is the centre of the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast region has one of the highest growth rates in the country and lays claim to being the tourist capital of Australia. With a climate providing more than 300 days of sunshine per year, surfing and swimming beaches are incredibly popular. They are patrolled by the largest body of lifesavers in the country. With many exciting theme parks, and a lush hinterland of national parks, mountain hideaways and spectacular views, it is no wonder the area draws visitors like a magnet. You can visit Movie World for insights into movie-making, stunts and pyrotechnics; Sea World for sea lion and shark shows; and Dreamworld for action rides.
An optional stay is recommended at O’REILLY’S GUESTHOUSE in Lamington National Park. From Currumbin, on the Pacific Highway, turn off at Nerang onto the Nerang Road following the signs to O’Reilly’s. A wide range of vegetation can be found within the park. Huge brush box, tulip oaks, giant stinging tees and buttress-rooted Moreton Bay figs are just a few of the many species which thrive here. One interesting way of viewing the park’s many wonders from above is via the rainforest canopy walk. Here visitors can stroll across a suspension bridge dangling 15 metres above the forest floor. This provides hikers with a chance of coming face-to-face with some of the brilliant birds which live in the dense canopy.