Australia's East Coast

Posted on: 26 March 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Take a once in a lifetime journey along Australia's magnificent East coast.

The Pacific Coast Touring Route stretches 2,777kms between Sydney and Cairns showcasing the very best of Australia's East Coast. The ultimate combination of magnificent coastline with spectacular hinterland makes it the perfect place for your holiday any time of year, no matter what your interests, age or budget.

If you have enough time (and money), we recommend you indulge in a 20 night itinerary if you want to do the vast area justice. Our recommended itinerary would be something like this:

Sydney to Central Coast: Having spent some time enjoying the atmosphere of Sydney, a short drive to Terrigal will introduce you to the bliss of regional good life. Spend the morning in the shops and indulge in an alfresco lunch at Terrigal whilst enjoying spectacular ocean views. Wander through the galleries showcasing photography, pottery, glass, crafts, sculptures and gifts before relaxing in your choice of overnight accommodation. Distance/Time: 63kms - 1 hr.

Central Coast to Hunter Valley: Head for famous Hunter Wine Country where you can choose from boutique and world renown wineries in Australia's oldest wine-producing region. To do the area justice, spend the day enjoying a winery tour in a horse drawn carriage or a chauffeur driven limousine. Tonight, enjoy dinner at one of the many restaurants along the valley where some of Australia's finest chefs create culinary sensations. Distance/Time: 135kms - 1hr 30mins.

Hunter Valley to Port Macquarie: Depart early to Taree and spoil yourself with a country-style lunch and view the local galleries at Tinonee. Continue to Port Macquarie where you can enjoy more wine tasting at Cassegrain Vineyard or take a river cruise. Check into your accommodation and prepare for a night of fresh local seafood. Distance/Time: 265kms - 3hrs 35mins.

Port Macquarie to Coffs Harbour: Today it's a short drive to Coffs Harbour with plenty of time to sidetrack to the art and craft galleries of Gladstone, Nambucca Heads, Urunga, or Bellingen along the way. Stop and taste the wine at Raleigh Winery and your evening can be spent in any one of a large range of fine restaurants. Distance/Time: 170kms - 2hrs.

Coffs Harbour to Byron Bay: Your drive north is one of the most scenic sections of the journey. Visit the historic river port towns and villages along the Clarence River, Ulmurra, Copmanhurst, Grafton and the sugar town of Maclean. Explore cosy antique shops and interesting old country pubs. Distance/Time: 253kms - 3hrs 25mins.

Byron Bay to the Gold Coast: On the way to the Gold Coast you should stop at Tropical Fruit World for a very interesting experience in beautiful surroundings, complete with river cruise, train rides, farm animals and of course fruit! You can then enjoy the Gold Coast with its beautiful beaches, shopping, theme parks, restaurants and bars. Distance/Time: 125kms - 1hr 10mins.

Gold Coast to Brisbane: From the Gold Coast spend the morning at your choice of golf courses, shopping centres, galleries, museums or beaches, then enjoy lunch at one of the many waterfront establishments before heading north to Brisbane. Enjoy Brisbane's shopping, shows and nightlife. Distance/Time: 125kms - 1 hr 10mins.

Brisbane to Sunshine Coast: Enjoy sailing on Moreton Bay, or a City Cat ride along the Brisbane River, before heading north past the spectacular Glasshouse Mountains to the Sunshine Coast with its unspoilt beaches and pristine hinterland. The coastline from Bribie Island and Caloundra through to Noosa Heads offers panoramic seascapes and inviting shorelines. Distance/Time: 93kms - 1hr 30mins.

Sunshine Coast to Bundaberg: A cafe breakfast and a last-minute purchase before heading for Bundaberg where any of the 14 national parks and 140kms of unspoiled beaches are exceptional venues for a gourmet picnic hamper lunch. Visit the famous Bundaberg Rum Distillery, or take a day trip to Lady Elliot or Lady Musgrave Island. Distance/Time: 314kms - 4hrs 30mins.

Bundaberg to Rockhampton: Travelling north through Gladstone you'll find some of the state's best coastline and hinterland, and access to Heron Island a coral cay renowned for its marine and bird life. Distance/Time: 321kms - 3hrs 45mins.

Rockhampton to Whitsundays: Head north early to take advantage of the Whitsundays, Australia's favourite aquatic playground. From your accommodation base on the Whitsunday Coast or one of the island resorts, you can cruise the islands, charter a boat, snorkel or scuba dive, or just enjoy the beautiful beaches. Distance/Time: 499kms - 4hrs 50mins.

Whitsundays to Townsville: On your journey north you will travel through Bowen, home of Australia's best mangoes, tomatoes and rockmelons, where you can enjoy excellent fishing or just relax on a palm-lined beach. Head north to Townsville in time for a trip to nearby Magnetic Island. Distance/Time: 289kms - 3hrs 30mins.

Townsville to Mission Beach: Today's drive is known as the Great Green Way alongside sandy beaches, World Heritage rainforests and plunging waterfalls. Mission Beach is a great spot to relax or make the short trip to nearby Dunk Island. Distance/Time: 220kms - 3hrs 30mins.

Mission Beach to Cairns: Short drive to Cairns, the capital of Tropical North Queensland. Distance/Time: 130kms - 1hr 50mins.


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