If you’re driving up from Sydney to Sunshine Coast and unsure where to stay or what to do, we’re here to help you plan your trip! There are some awesome places to stay on the way up from Sydney to Noosa, so we’re going to tell you all about our hidden gems and why you need to stop over at them.

Looking for a Sydney to Noosa tour?

If you’d prefer to do a Sydney to Cairns hop on hop off bus rather than drive yourself, Check out a great tour here.

Sydney to Sunshine Coast map


1. Explore Port Stephens

2.5 hour drive from Sydneythings-to-do-in-port-stephens-day-trip-from-sydney

Sydney to Port Stephens takes roughly 2.5 to 3 hours to get to but there’s so many things to do in Port Stephens that you’ll be able to cram in loads before you’ve even got to the Sunshine Coast.

We recommend spending at least two nights in Port Stephens and do the following activities.

Hire a tinnie and explore the harbour which is twice the size of Sydney Harbour. Here you’ll be able to see loads of dolphins in the water.

Watch our video as we climb to the top of Mount Tomaree!

Climb up to the top of Mount Tomaree. It looks worse than it is but it only takes 15 minutes or so. It’s a well maintained path with various staircases and platforms leading to the top.

Go on the largest sand dunes in the South Pacific. Anna Bay is home to an amazing sand dunes that you absolutely must visit!

Find a great deal to go on the sand dunes here >

Read more: 13 awesome things to do in Port Stephens >

Looking for Port Stephens activities?

How long should I stay in Port Stephens?

We recommend you should stay in Port Stephens for at least two nights.

Port Stephens accommodation

We recommend you either opting for airbnb or going for one of our top picks below!

Get $76 off your first airbnb booking here >

Budget: YHA Samurai Beach Bungalows >

Mid range: Ramada Resort by Wyndham >

High end: Mantra Aqua Resort >


2. Get away from it all in Seal Rocks

3.5 hour drive from Sydney

things-to-do-in-SEAL-ROCKS

For those that literally want to get away from it all, we recommend heading up to Seal Rocks, a further 2 hours from Port Stephens, making it a 5 hour journey from Sydney.

Seal Rocks and it’s neighbour or Bluey’s Beach have amazing beaches that need to be explored. This is a paradise for someone looking for a no fuss holiday and it easily has some of the best beaches in NSW.

Read more: 7 reasons why you need to visit Seal Rocks >

How long should I stay at Seal Rocks for?

We recommend staying in Seal Rocks or Bluey’s Beach for at least 1 night. It’s a beautiful and peaceful place to stop, rejuvenate and relax.

Seal Rocks accommodation and Bluey’s Beach accommodation

We recommend you either opting for airbnb or going for one of our top picks below!

Get $76 off your first airbnb booking here >

Budget: Reflections Holiday Park >

Mid range: Moby’s Beach Retreat >

High end: Seal Rocks Lighthouse Cottages >


3. NSW’s biggest secret is Bellingen

5.5 hour drive from Sydney

THINGS-TO-DO-IN-BELLINGENBellingen is just 15 minutes inland from the Coffs Harbour coast, which is a 5.5 hour drive from Sydney.

There are so many things to do in Bellingen that it’s perfect for those who love nature and adventure. The town is small but very cool with an awesome Brewery and loads of brilliant places to eat.

On it’s doorstep is the incredible Dorrigo National Park, which in our opinion is the best national park in Australia! Read about the hike we did here >

There’s also plenty of waterfalls, wild swimming spots and sights to be explored.

Read more: 27 Best things to do in Bellingen >

How long should I stay in Bellingen for?

You could spend days in Bellingen but if you’re on a tight schedule, stay for at least two nights!

Bellingen accommodation

We recommend you either opting for airbnb or going for one of our top picks below!

Get $76 off your first airbnb booking here >

Budget: YHA Bellingen >

High end: Lombok on Waterfall >


4. Why Byron Bay is awesome

8.5 hour drive from Sydney

Byron-Bay-Guide-things-to-do

Byron Bay is a given that it would be odd if you didn’t stop by on your road trip up to the Sunshine Coast.

There’s so much to do in Byron Bay that we recommend going to Wategos Beach for a swim, The Farm for lunch and the Byron Beach Hotel for a sunset drink. And if you get up early enough, go climb up the hill to the Lighthouse for sunrise.

Don’t forget to check out the awesome Bryon Bay restaurants because there’s so much choice and it’s got some of the best food in Australia in this beach town! Read about our favourite places to eat in Byron Bay here >

Read more: 13 amazing things to to do in Byron Bay >

Byron Bay activities

How long should I stay in Byron Bay for?

You could easily spend at least a week in Byron Bay but we suggest at least two nights.

Byron Bay accommodation

We recommend you either opting for airbnb or going for one of our top picks below!

Get $76 off your first airbnb booking here >

Budget: Byron Bay YHA

Mid range: Atlantic or stay at this beautiful airbnb like we did on Wategos Beach >

High end: Byron at Byron or stay at this stunning beachside airbnb like we did >


5. Stay in the beach town of Mooloolaba

12 hour drive from SydneyBEST-THINGS-TO-DO-IN-MOOLOOLABA-SUNSHINE-COAST

If you’re heading up the East Coast of Australia or just not sure where to stay in Sunshine Coast, we recommend spending a few days on the coastal town of Mooloolaba. This family based holiday destination has something for everyone.

We recommend spending your time swimming with humpback whales or with seals, hang out in a salt cave  or jump on a boat for a seafood lunch cruise here.

Read more: 13 things to do in Mooloolaba you don’t want to miss >

Mooloolaba activities

How long should I stay in Mooloolaba?

We recommend staying at least two or three nights in Mooloolaba to make the most of this lovely Aussie beach town.

Mooloolaba accommodation

We recommend you either opting for airbnb or going for one of our top picks below!

Get $76 off your first airbnb booking here >

Budget: Mooloolaba Backpackers >

Mid range: Mantra Mooloolaba Beach > Read our review here

High end: Parkyn Place >


6. Stay in the beautiful Glass House Mountains

11 hour drive from SydneyTHINGS-TO-DO-IN-GLASS-HOUSE-MOUNTAINS

The Glass House Mountains is an absolutely spectacular part of the Sunshine Coast that needs to be explored.

There’s so many things to do in Glass House Mountains that you could spend ages taking in the beauty of the 13 mountains which are dotted around the area.

We recommend visiting the Maleny Botanic Gardens like we did here, going to Australia Zoo, and taking in on one of the many hikes.

Read more: 15 things you need to do in Glass House Mountains >

Glass House Mountains Activities

How long should I stay in Glass House Mountains?

You could easily spend a week in Glass House Mountains but put aside a good three days to explore the area.

Glass House Mountains accommodation

We recommend you either opting for airbnb or going for one of our top picks below!

Get $76 off your first airbnb booking here >

Budget: Jen’s Getaway >

Mid range: Glass House Mountains Eco Lodge > Read about our stay here

High end: Spicers Tamarind Retreat >


7. Visit Noosa’s awesome national park

12.5 hour drive from Sydney

THINGS-TO-DO-IN-NOOSA

Noosa is Australia’s most sought after holiday destination, with cracking beaches and loads to see and do. 

We recommend making your first stop to Noosa National Park which is Noosa’s biggest highlight. There’s plenty of tracks to go on, it’s well paved and safe for the whole family.

Read more: 13 unique things to do in Noosa >

Noosa activities

How long should I stay in Noosa for?

You could easily spend a week in Noosa but at a minimum we recommend staying for at least two or three nights.

Noosa accommodation

Budget: Noosa YHA

Mid range: Sofitel Noosa 

High end: Luxury Rainforest Retreat


Not sure whether to stay in Noosa, Mooloolaba or Glasshouse Mountains?

NOOSA-MOOLOOLABA-GLASS-HOUSE-MOUNTAINS

If you don’t want to move around too much when you visit Sunshine Coast and want to base yourself in one area, check out our post about what’s best for you out of Noosa, Mooloolaba or Glass House Mountains here. We openly talk about the pros and cons to staying in all three places on the Sunshine Coast.

Read more: Noosa vs Mooloolaba vs Glass House Mountains >

Have you read our Sunshine Coast posts yet?

⇒ What to see at Australia Zoo if you have 2 hours or less >

⇒ 15 Awesome things to do in Glass House Mountains >

⇒ Why you need to stay in a church in Glass House Mountains >

⇒ 15 reasons you need to visit Maleny Botanic Gardens > 

⇒ Where to stay with beach views in Mooloolaba >

⇒ 13 unique things to do in Noosa >


Sydney to Sunshine Coast

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