Sydney, the capital city of Australia, is regularly voted as the world’s best for its natural beauty and iconic landmarks. I embarked on The Legendary Pacific Coast self-drive in October last year… I guess it’s about time for me to share my awesome experience! ;-)
Check out our super fun self-drive route on The Legendary Pacific Coast!! We drove approximately 930km over 8 days.
Map credits: Google maps
Day 1 – Sydney
Upon arrival at Sydney we went straight for afternoon tea at The Grounds of Alexandria, a holistic café situated in a heritage-listed warehouse that roasts their own bean and grow their own organic ingredients. The rustic interior is sure to calm any post-flight discomfort and settle you right into the relaxed mood of Sydney.
If you traveled by dog, please park it here. Hehe.
The Grounds of Alexandria
Address: Building 7A, No. 2 Huntley St. Alexandria NSW 2015
Phone: +61 2 9666 2225
After settling ourselves down with some good coffee, we headed to our accommodation for the next two nights at Blue Sydney – A Taj Hotel. A boutique hotel in the heart of a luxury marina, entertainment and apartment complex, many shopping districts and tourist attractions are within walking distance, including the Sydney Opera House!
Blue Sydney – A Taj Hotel
Address: 6 Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo NSW 2011
Phone: +61 2 9331 9060
We then strolled along the Woolloomooloo wharf, located just by the hotel. Woolloomooloo is the longest timbered-piled wharf in the world! It used to be a busy wool and cargo dock, but is now known for its relaxed atmosphere for people to stay, eat and drink.
In the evening, we took a stroll at Darling Harbour, and walked towards Darling Quarter entertainment precinct for good food and entertainment at Stacks Taverna.
Photo credits: tripadvisor
Address: Southern Building, Shop 24/25 Darling Quarter, 1-25 Harbour St Sydney
Phone: 1300 989 989
Day 2 – Sydney
First thing in the morning, we visited Bondi Beach for the world’s largest annual outdoor sculpture exihibition, Sculpture by the Sea. Held from 24 October – 10 November last year, the sights were amazing. With the beach as its natural backdrop, the sculptures were beautifully woven into nature. What’s better is that the exhibition was free to the public!
After soaking in some morning sun we proceeded to have lunch at Formaggi Ocello, a contemporary Italian restaurant-café serving superb coffee, wine and quality deli goods.
Address: 16/425 Bourke Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Phone: +61 2 9357 7878
Day 3 – Hunter Valley
Departed Sydney for Hunter Valley! Our first stop was the Hunter Valley Gardens, which feature 10 stunning gardens in the heart of Hunter Valley vineyards. Be transported into a whimsical wonderland as you roam the gardens – a perfect activity for the young and old. Join the Mad Hatter for afternoon tea in the Storybook Garden!
Photo credits: Australian National Botanic Gardens
Hunter Valley Gardens
Address: 2090 Broke Road, Pokolbin, NSW 2320
We moved on afterwards to the Hunter Valley Cheese Factory, where we got the chance to try even more cheese! They house award winning cheeses, delicatessen products – and take the opportunity to view their cheese maker in action!
Hunter Valley Cheese Factory
Address: McGuigan Wines, McDonalds Road, Pokolbin 2320
Phone: +61 2 4998 7744
Time to check-in to our hotel! We were hosted at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley. Just look at the greenery surrounding the pool that makes it perfect for a carefree break –
Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley
Address: 430 Wine Country Drive, Lovedale, 2320
Phone: +61 2 9380 0228
Day 4 – Port Stephens
After breakfast, we made our way to Port Stephens, a 2-hour drive from Hunter Valley. When we arrived, I was amazed at how pristine and clean the beaches were, and how white the sand was! It was a breathtaking sight.
Our next activity was the Quad Bike Tour, organized by Quad Bike King!
Photo credit: Port Stephens
It was a super exciting and unique way to explore the sand dunes and eco-system of Stockton Beach, as we rode across the dunes, catching glimpses of the beautiful ocean, bushland and Newcastle. It was a great activity for groups like us, and we had lots of fun racing each other across the dunes!
Quad Bike King
Address: 2130 Nelson Bay Road, Williamtown
Phone: +61 2 4919 0088
Day 5 – Port Macquarie
We departed Port Stephens in the morning for Medowie Macadamias, a macadamia plantation established in 1980, with more than 12 acres of land harvesting five different varieties of macadamia nuts! A family business, Medowie Macadamias makes sure to be involved in every stage from production of nuts to experimenting with new, tasty products to be taken home.
Address: 672 Medowie Road, Medowie
Phone: +61 2 4982 8888
We visited the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre in the afternoon, immersing ourselves in rich Aboriginal culture, flora and fauna. This rainforest is one of the largest, least disturbed and most diverse coastal rainforests in NSW.
Photo credits: tripadvisor
Photo credits: tripadvisor
Sea Acres Rainforest Centre
Address: 159 Pacific Drive, Port Macquarie
Phone: +61 2 6582 3355
Day 6 – Port Macquarie/Coffs Harbour
We started the morning with a visit to The Koala Hospital, a one-of-its-kind and first ever Koala Hospital, established since 1973. The hospital has featured in various documentaries and wildlife programs throughout the world, and is Port Macquarie’s most visited attraction! You can even adopt a wild koala – proceeds go towards helping sick koala’s treatments and preservation causes. Just look at their cute squishy faces!!
Photo credits: Port Macquarie Holidays
Photo credits: Port Macquarie Holidays
The Koala Hospital
Address: Macquarie Nature Reserve on Lord St, Port Macquarie
Phone: +61 2 6584 1522
Time for some strawberry picking at Ricardoes Tomatoes and Strawberries! Tall strawberry vines climb up beside tomato houses in beautiful shady enclosures.
Ricardoes Tomatoes and Strawberries
Address: 221 Blackmans Point Road, Port Macquarie
Phone: +61 2 6585 0633
Departed Port Macquarie for Coffs Harbour, which is 2 hours away. Visited The Big Banana when we arrived, tried some local banana produce and took an exciting toboggan ride!
The Big Banana
Address: Pacific Hwy, Coffs Harbour
Phone: +61 2 6652 4355
Day 7 – Grafton, Byron Bay
We headed to Grafton in the morning for the Jacaranda festival – a floral festival from the last weekend of October up till the first weekend of November, opening with the crowning of the new queen in an open ceremony under the beautiful canopy of Jacaranda blooms.
After a long drive in the afternoon, stopping for oysters at Yamba and taking photos along the way on our road trip, we finally arrived at Byron Bay. Immediately, we checked into our rooms at The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa. Enjoy the seemingly endless summer here at The Byron, which promises only the most comfortable rooms and best services.
The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa
Address: 77-97 Broken Head Road, Byron Bay
Phone: +61 2 6639 2000
We then headed for dinner at Fishheads Restaurant that offers fresh local seafood cuisine, available for takeaway too!
Address: 1 Jonson Street at Main Beach, Byron Bay NSW 2481
Phone: +61 2 6685 6011
Day 8 – Byron Bay
Breakfast at Byron Beach Café – perfectly positioned with views of both mountains and the sea, and offering both indoor and alfresco dining, you get to pick your setting for the ultimate breakfast experience.
My choice of breakfast: Eggs Florentine. YUMMY!
Byron Beach Café
Address: Clarkes Beach, Lawson Street, Byron Bay
Phone: +61 2 6685 8400
No breakfast is complete without coffee! Although there was no café at Zentveld’s Coffee for us to sit down for a kopi break, the aroma of the coffee beans was enough to wake us up.
Address: 193 Broken Head Road, Newrybar NSW 2479
Phone: +61 2 6687 2045
We then headed to Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens, showcasing acres of lush gardens, panoramic views, amazing natural crystals and exquisite jewelry. The Shambhala Gardens features giant crystals and sacred statues, including the incredible World Peace Stupa, unique in the southern hemisphere! Also, stroll along the Buddha Walk and see Australia’s biggest Blessing Buddha.
Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens
Address: Monet Drive, Mullumbimby, NSW 2482
Phone: +61 2 6684 3111
After a holy afternoon at the Crystal Castle, we proceeded to the Cape Byron Headland Reserve, Australia’s most easterly point. We went up the lighthouse, taking about a half-hour walk as we soaked in sights and sounds of the ocean and distant mountains, and when we finally reached the lighthouse, we were generously rewarded with spectacular views over the Pacific Ocean.
Cape Byron Headland Reserve
Address: Lighthouse Road Byron Bay, NSW 2481
Phone: +61 2 6620 9300
As our trip came to an end it was time to say bye to our trusty cars that carried us across The Legendary Pacific Coast. This self-drive was one of the most exciting and adventurous trips I had ever embarked on. From food, to nature, wildlife and adventure, it was all easily accessible thanks to the self-drive!
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