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Secret spots between Sydney and Brisbane
There is a reason the east coast is one of the most popular destinations in Australia, let alone the world. If you are a surfer, world class waves abound. Foodies will find a plethora of delicious fresh and local meals. Walkers love the abundance of national parks, filled with waterfalls, old rainforests and so much beautiful fauna and flora. Plus there are so many retreats and peaceful places for those who just want to relax and unwind.
The main attractions like Byron Bay are popular for a reason and are an absolute must see. But there are lots of hidden treasures in amongst these famous locations.
Sydney is amazing, but hectic. We love getting out of the suburbs and in to the hidden treasures. If you are looking for something a little different and out of the city, then definitely head to the northern beaches.
The Collaroy hotel on the northern beaches is definitely worth a quick stop for lunch. Right on the beach front, it has amazing views and very decent prices. Newport is also really cool, with the further north you go, the less you will feel the hustle and bustle of Sydney.
Watagans National Park
This is only one hour west of Newcastle, and about 2.5 north from Sydney. But it feels like you are much further away. It has beautiful hikes and stunning scenery. Any of the walks are great, but check out Turners track for the best waterfalls.
Seal rocks is an absolute must for the surfers out there. The beach is angled in such a way that there are often off shore winds and great banks. Just be aware as there can often be a few rips in the water, especially in the shallower parts.
Sawtell is an absolute treasure of a town. Just south of Coffs Harbour, it has an abundance of charm with a great little main street full of bustling cafes serving delicious local and international foods. The point of the beach also often has an excellent wave, though can get busy. For great value and arguably the best fish and chips, head to sea salt on the main drag. A fish and chips for one pack easily feeds two adults, with a good serving of chips and at least two fillets of fish!
Just inland from Sawtell is a town called Bellingen. The moment you drive in you will feel the hippy vibe. It is uber relaxed and made for the slow and relaxed pace that life is really meant to be lived. There are many great national parks around for hiking and plenty of good options for food in the town itself. Our favourite is 5 Church Street, which as the name suggest is at 5 Church street in Bellingen! The vego burger and fries are delicious and home made chai tea superb. Also a very cool venue for live music at night. If you happen to be coming through on the 3rd Saturday of the month, then head to the Bellingen markets too.
Woolgoolga is just north of Coffs Harbour. It is a small and beautiful little town with a twist. It has a large population of Indians, which is great because it means there is great food there! The curry fest is usually in late September and very much worth checking out. But there are always good curries in town, plus White Salt also does superb fish and chips. The bay in Woolgoolga is also a little more protected so nice for a swim, though some good clean waves often break around the point too.
Lennox head is just south of Byron Bay but so much less crowded. Surfers who get sick of the traffic in the line up at the pass in Byron absolutely must head to Lennox head. It is a long right hander and gives one of the best rides on the east coast. The town also has some great cafes and bars - it feels a bit like a mini Byron Bay!
Byron is Byron. If you haven't been there, you definitely need to check it out. But be prepared, it is full on! Summer months get particularly busy, with christmas and new years often having proper traffic jams! But there is a reason for so many people being there. Beyond its beauty, there is a remarkable energy in Byron. Good people are attracted to Byron and there is generally a feeling that people will mostly help you if in trouble. Hitchhiking for example is extremely common in the area. It's hard to get around the expenses of Byron, but if you are open to camping then that is probably the best way (we can help sort that if you want - just contact us). Otherwise you really just need to dive in and do as much or as little as you want!
There aren't many places along the Gold Coast that we need to mention, it being so touristy and well covered already. Pretty much anything you want to do will be there. But if you are looking for something slightly lower key and more relaxed, then definitely check out Burleigh Heads. There is a beautiful walk around the headland from a perfectly positioned caravan and camping ground. The beaches and waves are still busy, but slightly less so than the main parts of the Gold Coast.
There is no surf in Brisbane, but there are lots of great places to eat and a pretty cool night life. Definitely hit fortitude valley if you are heading out. The Beat is a gay club, but very straight friendly. It is genuinely one of the most fun places to go out whether you are LGBT or not.
These are just some of the amazing places to check out along the coast. Feel free to email us with any questions. If you would prefer to have someone show you these and other great places on the east coast, then check out our all inclusive trips and come and make some great new friends along the way!