Sydney to Great Barrier Reef Self Drive • View Holiday Itinerary
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Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
Sydney Opera House
Hunter Valley Vineyards, New South Wales
Sydney Port Stephens, NSW
Port Macquarie, Australia
Sunset, Coffs Harbour
Byron Bay Beaches, New South Wales
Gold Coast
Noosa Everglades, Queensland
Whale watching, Hervey Bay
Agnes Water
Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia
Mackay
Airlie Beach
Townsville
View Of Cairns, North Queensland, Australia

Sydney to the Great Barrier Reef

25 day Self Drive Holiday – from £2349

With flights from £3449

The holiday of a lifetime as you follow Australia’s eastern coastline from Sydney in the south to tropical North Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef.

Highlights:
  • Enjoy the sights and attractions of Australia’s favourite harbourside city
  • Explore the Hunter Valley and coastal towns of New South Wales
  • Stay in Noosa, jewel of the Sunshine Coast
  • Visit Airlie Beach and the beautiful Whitsunday Islands
  • Experience the reef and rainforest around tropical Cairns

Your Itinerary

Expand All

Your East Coast Australia self drive holiday includes a choice of accommodation, local travel and lots of sightseeing suggestions. Your Freedom consultant will be pleased to personalise it for you.

Sydney Opera House

Day 1 to 3 – Sydney

Begin your Australia holiday with three action packed days in the stunning harbourside city of Sydney….

Begin your Australia holiday with three action packed days in the stunning harbourside city of Sydney. Top of the to see list must be the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge – maybe even to do a bridge climb!

Close by are the wonderful Sydney Botanical Gardens and, in the city centre, stylish shops and restaurants, plus many grand buildings and museums celebrating the history and growth of this modern nation.

For the beach, head to Bondi or Coogee or take a scenic harbour ferry to fashionable Manly. Perhaps enjoy a trip to the Blue Mountains, less than two hours away.

Sydney Opera House
Hunter Valley Vineyards, New South Wales

Day 4 – Hunter Valley

Pick up your car this morning and head out on the Pacific Highway to the lovely…

Pick up your car this morning and head out on the Pacific Highway to the lovely Hunter Valley winelands. You will travel through the forests and waterways of the scenic Hawkesbury River region and there are plenty of stops and detours along the way.

As you reach the Hunter Valley, you will see well tended vineyards scattered across the rolling hillsides. Stop for a tasting or two at one of the many cellar doors before spending the night in this beautiful part of New South Wales.

    Sydney > Hunter Valley | 180 kms
Hunter Valley Vineyards, New South Wales
Sydney Port Stephens, NSW

Day 5 – Port Stephens

Perhaps pick up a couple of your favourite Hunter wines before heading to the coast. First…

Perhaps pick up a couple of your favourite Hunter wines before heading to the coast. First stop is Newcastle, New South Wales’ second oldest city, with an interesting history and a delightful foreshore walk to its lighthouse.

North of Newcastle is beautiful Port Stephens, a huge natural harbour surrounded by sheltered coves, rolling dunes and small fishing communities. You can stroll along deserted beaches, sandboard on the dunes or go on a local cruise to see the harbour’s bottlenose dolphins.

    Hunter Valley > Port Stephens | 160 kms
Sydney Port Stephens, NSW
Port Macquarie, Australia

Day 6 – Port Macquarie

Follow the Pacific Highway north today through the dairy farms and the nut and fruit orchards…

Follow the Pacific Highway north today through the dairy farms and the nut and fruit orchards of this fertile region.

For some spectacular coastal scenery, detour round Myall and Wallis Lakes or take the Ocean Drive into Port Macquarie. One of Australia’s first penal colonies, Port Macquarie is now a welcoming seaside town, with a beguiling Koala Hospital and a native wildlife park to visit.

    Port Stephens > Macquarie | 220 kms
Port Macquarie, Australia
Sunset, Coffs Harbour

Day 7 – Coffs Harbour

A shorter journey today takes you through a major fruit growing region, so be sure to…

A shorter journey today takes you through a major fruit growing region, so be sure to stock up with fresh produce on your way. For an even more scenic drive, leave the highway on to some of the quieter, well signed tourist routes.

Your stop tonight is at Coffs Harbour, a popular holiday destination. As well as great beaches, the town has plenty of local shops, cafés and restaurants, plus delightful botanical gardens and a network of discovery walks.

    Port Macquarie > Coffs Harbour | 155 kms
Sunset, Coffs Harbour
Byron Bay Beaches, New South Wales

Day 8 to 9 – Byron Bay

The road heads inland today before returning to the coast at Byron Bay. The scenery is…

The road heads inland today before returning to the coast at Byron Bay. The scenery is dramatic and there are plenty of country towns and National Parks to explore.

Byron Bay, with its laid back, anything-goes lifestyle, is popular with travellers of all ages and you have a full day to relax and explore here. You will find plenty of action on the town’s surfing beaches and there is a wonderful coastal walk out to the Cape Byron Lighthouse, the most easterly point of the Australia mainland.

    Coffs Harbour > Byron Bay | 240 kms
Byron Bay Beaches, New South Wales
Gold Coast

Day 10 to 11 – Gold Coast & Brisbane

Travel to the bright lights of the Gold Coast this morning. This is Australia’s holiday playground,…

Travel to the bright lights of the Gold Coast this morning. This is Australia’s holiday playground, with high-rise apartments, theme parks, restaurants and entertainment centres lining the near perfect golden sands.

Only an hour north, is the Queensland capital of Brisbane, where you have a two night stay. This vibrant city is the cultural heart of Queensland, with many historical buildings and museums. The Botanical Gardens are along the river front, across from the pleasant walks, cafés and markets of South Bank.

    Byron Bay > Brisbane | 165 kms
Gold Coast
Noosa Everglades, Queensland

Day 12 to 13 – Noosa

There is time to visit Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo and the alluring Glass House Mountains today,…

There is time to visit Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo and the alluring Glass House Mountains today, before a two night stay in fashionable Noosa.

This jewel of the Sunshine coast has some fine boutiques, galleries and restaurants, as well as sheltered, soft sand swimming beaches.

You can cruise or kayak through the nearby Everglades or explore the coastal Noosa National Park. If you are lucky, you will see koalas here, plus plenty of other wildlife along its forest and bush trails.

    Brisbane > Noosa | 150 kms
Noosa Everglades, Queensland
Whale watching, Hervey Bay

Day 14 to 15 – Hervey Bay & K’gari

This morning, visit the old gold mining town of Gympie, with its heritage  museum and gold…

This morning, visit the old gold mining town of Gympie, with its heritage  museum and gold panning site, before heading back to the coast at Hervey Bay for a two-night stay.

The waterfront town of Hervey Bay is known for its whale watching cruises in season, and also as a gateway to K’gari, formerly Fraser Island, the worlds largest sand island and a World Heritage listed site. There are 4-wheel-drive trails around the island through pristine rainforest and past crystal clear lakes, and your FREEDOM consultant can book a day tour or island stay for you.

    Noosa > K’gari | 190 kms
Whale watching, Hervey Bay
Agnes Water

Day 16 – Bundaberg & Agnes Water

Look out for fields of sugar cane as you drive towards Bundaberg. This well known Queensland…

Look out for fields of sugar cane as you drive towards Bundaberg. This well known Queensland town has distilled rum from the cane since 1889 and exports it throughout the world.

Carry on through the forests and farmland of Queensland’s coastal strip until you reach the charming seaside town of Agnes Water. It boasts seven kilometres of pristine beach and over 250 days of sunshine a year, and makes the perfect stopping place for the night.

    K’gari > Agnes Water | 220 kms
Agnes Water
Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia

Day 17 – Rockhampton

Venture out along Agnes Water’s forest boardwalks before you begin your drive to Rockhampton, visiting the…

Venture out along Agnes Water’s forest boardwalks before you begin your drive to Rockhampton, visiting the old port of Gladstone on the way.

The early colonial city of Rockhampton has lots to explore, from its lush tropical gardens to its fascinating Heritage Village. Several prominent bull statues around the town show it is also the centre of Queensland’s beef producing region.

    Agnes Water > Rockhampton | 225 kms
Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia
Mackay

Day 18 – Mackay

The Tropic of Capricorn passes through Rockhampton, so, from now on, you are well and truly…

The Tropic of Capricorn passes through Rockhampton, so, from now on, you are well and truly in the tropics. You will pass through more sugar cane fields, cattle stations and forests as you drive to the coastal town of Mackay, set at the mouth of the Pioneer River.

There is an informative Walking Trail around many of town’s heritage buildings, giving you an insight into Makay’s pioneering history and development.

    Rockhampton > Mackay | 330 kms
Mackay
Airlie Beach

Day 19 to 20 – Airlie Beach & Whitsundays

After a short drive today, it is time to relax with a two night stay at…

After a short drive today, it is time to relax with a two night stay at the popular seaside resort of Airlie Beach.

From here, you can explore the stunning Whitsunday Islands or even the Great Barrier Reef. There are boat trips, cruises and scenic flights available from the town’s marina or neighbouring Shute Harbour, and we can pre-book some of these for you.

If you would prefer a quieter day out, head for the secluded beaches and forest walking trails of nearby Conway National Park.

    Mackay > Airlie Beach | 150 kms
Airlie Beach
Townsville

Day 21 – Townsville

An hour north of Airlie Beach is the picturesque seaside town of Bowen, a great place…

An hour north of Airlie Beach is the picturesque seaside town of Bowen, a great place to stop for a coffee or seafront walk before driving on to Townsville.

The coastal city of Townsville is the administrative centre for all of North Queensland. There is a delightful beachfront park and marina, a walk through reef aquarium and an excellent Tropics Museum. Be sure to drive up to Castle Hill Lookout for a fabulous view of the city and coastline.

    Airlie Beach > Townsville | 275 kms
Townsville
View Of Cairns, North Queensland, Australia

Day 22 to 25 – Cairns

Your Australia East Coast holiday finishes with a three night stay in the tropical holiday town…

Your Australia East Coast holiday finishes with a three night stay in the tropical holiday town of Cairns. The lively Esplanade has plenty of cafés, bars and restaurants and the palm fringed beaches of Palm Cove and Trinity Beach are not far away.

We suggest you keep your car to explore the area, including the scenic drive to Port Douglas, the Daintree Forest and the beautiful lakes and waterfalls of the Atherton Tablelands.

A highlight for many, however, will be a day cruise to the Great Barrier Reef, and your FREEDOM consultant can arrange this for you.

    Townsville > Cairns | 335 kms
View Of Cairns, North Queensland, Australia

Your Itinerary

Your East Coast Australia self drive holiday includes a choice of accommodation, local travel and lots of sightseeing suggestions. Your Freedom consultant will be pleased to personalise it for you.

Day 1 to 3

|

Sydney

Begin your Australia holiday with three action packed days in the stunning harbourside city of Sydney. Top of the to see list must be the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge – maybe even to do a bridge climb!

Close by are the wonderful Sydney Botanical Gardens and, in the city centre, stylish shops and restaurants, plus many grand buildings and museums celebrating the history and growth of this modern nation.

For the beach, head to Bondi or Coogee or take a scenic harbour ferry to fashionable Manly. Perhaps enjoy a trip to the Blue Mountains, less than two hours away.

Sydney Opera House

Day 4

|

Hunter Valley

Pick up your car this morning and head out on the Pacific Highway to the lovely Hunter Valley winelands. You will travel through the forests and waterways of the scenic Hawkesbury River region and there are plenty of stops and detours along the way.

As you reach the Hunter Valley, you will see well tended vineyards scattered across the rolling hillsides. Stop for a tasting or two at one of the many cellar doors before spending the night in this beautiful part of New South Wales.

    Sydney > Hunter Valley | 180 kms
Hunter Valley Vineyards, New South Wales

Day 5

|

Port Stephens

Perhaps pick up a couple of your favourite Hunter wines before heading to the coast. First stop is Newcastle, New South Wales’ second oldest city, with an interesting history and a delightful foreshore walk to its lighthouse.

North of Newcastle is beautiful Port Stephens, a huge natural harbour surrounded by sheltered coves, rolling dunes and small fishing communities. You can stroll along deserted beaches, sandboard on the dunes or go on a local cruise to see the harbour’s bottlenose dolphins.

    Hunter Valley > Port Stephens | 160 kms
Sydney Port Stephens, NSW

Day 6

|

Port Macquarie

Follow the Pacific Highway north today through the dairy farms and the nut and fruit orchards of this fertile region.

For some spectacular coastal scenery, detour round Myall and Wallis Lakes or take the Ocean Drive into Port Macquarie. One of Australia’s first penal colonies, Port Macquarie is now a welcoming seaside town, with a beguiling Koala Hospital and a native wildlife park to visit.

    Port Stephens > Macquarie | 220 kms
Port Macquarie, Australia

Day 7

|

Coffs Harbour

A shorter journey today takes you through a major fruit growing region, so be sure to stock up with fresh produce on your way. For an even more scenic drive, leave the highway on to some of the quieter, well signed tourist routes.

Your stop tonight is at Coffs Harbour, a popular holiday destination. As well as great beaches, the town has plenty of local shops, cafés and restaurants, plus delightful botanical gardens and a network of discovery walks.

    Port Macquarie > Coffs Harbour | 155 kms
Sunset, Coffs Harbour

Day 8 to 9

|

Byron Bay

The road heads inland today before returning to the coast at Byron Bay. The scenery is dramatic and there are plenty of country towns and National Parks to explore.

Byron Bay, with its laid back, anything-goes lifestyle, is popular with travellers of all ages and you have a full day to relax and explore here. You will find plenty of action on the town’s surfing beaches and there is a wonderful coastal walk out to the Cape Byron Lighthouse, the most easterly point of the Australia mainland.

    Coffs Harbour > Byron Bay | 240 kms
Byron Bay Beaches, New South Wales

Day 10 to 11

|

Gold Coast & Brisbane

Travel to the bright lights of the Gold Coast this morning. This is Australia’s holiday playground, with high-rise apartments, theme parks, restaurants and entertainment centres lining the near perfect golden sands.

Only an hour north, is the Queensland capital of Brisbane, where you have a two night stay. This vibrant city is the cultural heart of Queensland, with many historical buildings and museums. The Botanical Gardens are along the river front, across from the pleasant walks, cafés and markets of South Bank.

    Byron Bay > Brisbane | 165 kms
Gold Coast

Day 12 to 13

|

Noosa

There is time to visit Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo and the alluring Glass House Mountains today, before a two night stay in fashionable Noosa.

This jewel of the Sunshine coast has some fine boutiques, galleries and restaurants, as well as sheltered, soft sand swimming beaches.

You can cruise or kayak through the nearby Everglades or explore the coastal Noosa National Park. If you are lucky, you will see koalas here, plus plenty of other wildlife along its forest and bush trails.

    Brisbane > Noosa | 150 kms
Noosa Everglades, Queensland

Day 14 to 15

|

Hervey Bay & K’gari

This morning, visit the old gold mining town of Gympie, with its heritage  museum and gold panning site, before heading back to the coast at Hervey Bay for a two-night stay.

The waterfront town of Hervey Bay is known for its whale watching cruises in season, and also as a gateway to K’gari, formerly Fraser Island, the worlds largest sand island and a World Heritage listed site. There are 4-wheel-drive trails around the island through pristine rainforest and past crystal clear lakes, and your FREEDOM consultant can book a day tour or island stay for you.

    Noosa > K’gari | 190 kms
Whale watching, Hervey Bay

Day 16

|

Bundaberg & Agnes Water

Look out for fields of sugar cane as you drive towards Bundaberg. This well known Queensland town has distilled rum from the cane since 1889 and exports it throughout the world.

Carry on through the forests and farmland of Queensland’s coastal strip until you reach the charming seaside town of Agnes Water. It boasts seven kilometres of pristine beach and over 250 days of sunshine a year, and makes the perfect stopping place for the night.

    K’gari > Agnes Water | 220 kms
Agnes Water

Day 17

|

Rockhampton

Venture out along Agnes Water’s forest boardwalks before you begin your drive to Rockhampton, visiting the old port of Gladstone on the way.

The early colonial city of Rockhampton has lots to explore, from its lush tropical gardens to its fascinating Heritage Village. Several prominent bull statues around the town show it is also the centre of Queensland’s beef producing region.

    Agnes Water > Rockhampton | 225 kms
Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia

Day 18

|

Mackay

The Tropic of Capricorn passes through Rockhampton, so, from now on, you are well and truly in the tropics. You will pass through more sugar cane fields, cattle stations and forests as you drive to the coastal town of Mackay, set at the mouth of the Pioneer River.

There is an informative Walking Trail around many of town’s heritage buildings, giving you an insight into Makay’s pioneering history and development.

    Rockhampton > Mackay | 330 kms
Mackay

Day 19 to 20

|

Airlie Beach & Whitsundays

After a short drive today, it is time to relax with a two night stay at the popular seaside resort of Airlie Beach.

From here, you can explore the stunning Whitsunday Islands or even the Great Barrier Reef. There are boat trips, cruises and scenic flights available from the town’s marina or neighbouring Shute Harbour, and we can pre-book some of these for you.

If you would prefer a quieter day out, head for the secluded beaches and forest walking trails of nearby Conway National Park.

    Mackay > Airlie Beach | 150 kms
Airlie Beach

Day 21

|

Townsville

An hour north of Airlie Beach is the picturesque seaside town of Bowen, a great place to stop for a coffee or seafront walk before driving on to Townsville.

The coastal city of Townsville is the administrative centre for all of North Queensland. There is a delightful beachfront park and marina, a walk through reef aquarium and an excellent Tropics Museum. Be sure to drive up to Castle Hill Lookout for a fabulous view of the city and coastline.

    Airlie Beach > Townsville | 275 kms
Townsville

Day 22 to 25

|

Cairns

Your Australia East Coast holiday finishes with a three night stay in the tropical holiday town of Cairns. The lively Esplanade has plenty of cafés, bars and restaurants and the palm fringed beaches of Palm Cove and Trinity Beach are not far away.

We suggest you keep your car to explore the area, including the scenic drive to Port Douglas, the Daintree Forest and the beautiful lakes and waterfalls of the Atherton Tablelands.

A highlight for many, however, will be a day cruise to the Great Barrier Reef, and your FREEDOM consultant can arrange this for you.

    Townsville > Cairns | 335 kms
View Of Cairns, North Queensland, Australia

This Holiday Includes

24 nights accommodation
22 days car hire, with unlimited kilometres
Time in Sydney and Cairns

Flights & More

With FREEDOM, you can book your Sydney to the Great Barrier Reef self drive holiday and flights together, as an ATOL protected package. Our Travel Experts can find the best priced Economy, Premium or Business Class flights for you.

You can also personalise your holiday. Why not add:

  • Extra nights in Sydney or Cairns or any location en route
  • Day tour to the Blue Mountains
  • Day cruises to K’Gari and the Whitsunday Islands
  • Great Barrier Reef cruise and snorkelling
  • A stopover to Australia in Dubai, Singapore or other destination

Next Step

Please get in touch with our Australia Experts to start planning your holiday. You’ll have a single point of contact from your first enquiry through booking.

Sydney to the Great Barrier Reef

25 day Self Drive Holiday – from £2349

With flights from £3449

All prices are per person, based on two people sharing a double or twin room, and include pre-booked accommodation, air conditioned car and unlimited kilometres. Hotels specified are subject to availability and may be substituted by one of a similar or higher standard. Seasonal supplements may apply.

Map

Sydney to the Great barrier Reef, Australia Self Drive Holiday, Route Map