Easter Road Trip Travel Guide | Coffs Harbour – Surfers Paradise

Easter Road Trip Travel Guide - Words and Wanderlust

Easter Road Trip Travel Guide | Coffs Harbour – Surfers Paradise

It is no secret that the open road is my travel terrain of choice. After all, “the dream” began on countless bus trips from my barrio to the city, in all my years in school.

Easter, as Jonat and I serendipitously came to reckon in 2011, is the perfect time for road trips. Whilst a four-day weekend is too short for an overseas trip, it is long enough to still have a holiday even with all the driving in between.

Last Easter was different: We took friends with us. On a test run on, albeit milder, a life lived out of a backpack.

 


Day 0 – Sydney to Coffs Harbour

Travel Time: 5h 47m
Total Distance: 532km

Where to stay: Coffs Harbour YHA (click link to book)
Cost: 30AUD/night on weekdays; 33AUD/night on public holidays and weekends (cost based on a 4-person mixed dorm room)

Cpffs Harbour YHA - Words and Wanderlust

Backpacker Tip: Volunteer work in exchange of free stay available. Couchsurfing too!

Note: if arriving past 9pm, keys will be left at reception and you will be given an access code.

  1. Fan rooms only. Shared toilet.
  2. Clean, quiet and spacious
  3. Big kitchen and common areas
  4. Has fridge, cutlery, cookery
  5. Free surfboards, bodyboards and bikes
  6. Limited parking inside but plenty of free parking outside
  7. Central location – 51 Collingwood St
  8. Has swimming pool, barbecue
  9. Topnotch customer service

Day 1 – Coffs Harbour

 

What to do:

Easter Road Trip - Muttonbird Island

  • See the sunrise at Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve | Cost: Free

Take your morning walk from the marina to Muttonbird Island through the causeway (500m) and enjoy the 1km walking track around the island. Not only is this a sweet spot to see sunrise, it offers a priceless skyline view of the harbour town as well.

  • Get a bird’s eye view of Coffs Harbour from the Forest Sky Pier | Cost: Free

After breakfast, head out for a short drive up the Forest Sky Pier and bask on panoramic vistas of the city. Also known as the Sealy Lookout, it is located within the Orara State Forest, just a short drive north from Coffs Harbour.

Forest Sky Pier - Words and Wanderlust

  • Snap a groupfie before the Big Banana | Cost: Free

On your way back to Coffs Harbour from the Forest Sky Pier, drop by the iconic Big Banana. The Fun and Water Park is best for families traveling with kids, but it isn’t short on sweet treats for adults as well!

  • Have the time of your life at Splash Waterpark | Cost: 15AUD/hr

If there is anything anyone heading down to Jetty Beach MUST do, it is to shell out 15 bucks for the best time with your mates! By the end of our Splash Waterpark experience, we were sore AF. But also, it was the most fun we’ve done in a long, long time, if not EVER.

Coffs Harbour Jetty - Words and Wanderlust


  • Stroll along the Coffs Harbour Jetty at sunset | Cost: Free

Built in 1892, the jetty is Coffs Harbour’s most iconic landmark. Grab a soft-serve ice cream and marvel in a sunset stroll. For the bolder and braver, a jetty jump surely ain’t a bad idea!

Where to eat:

  1. Fisherman’s Coop – Fresh seafood from local fishermen, located right smack in the heart of the marina.
  2. Twilight Food Market – On Fridays at 5PM, locals and tourists alike gather for a picnic on the grounds of Park Beach Reserve on the corner of Ocean Parade and Surf Camp Road. Good food, great music!

Coffs Harbour Fish Coop - Words and Wanderlust

If staying longer:

  1. Solitary Island Marine Park
  2. Dorrigo National Park
  3. Never Never Creek
  4. Bellingen River
  5. Sawtell Beaches

Day 2 – Coffs Harbour to Byron Bay

Travel Time: 2h 53m
Total Distance: 241km

What to do:

  • Take a hike up the historic Cape Byron Lighthouse | Cost: Free

Standing on the most easterly point of the Australian mainland, the lighthouse beckons, once one reaches the promenade of Byron Bay. It stands proud on the far east, mighty sure of its place in the story.

Byron Bay Main Beach - Words and Wanderlust

  • Cool down in the cyan waters of the Main Beach | Cost: Free

The sun, no matter fierce it gets above the Byron Bay skies, has no match for its seascape. Easily one of the best beaches in Australia, Byron Bay’s main beach is truly living up to its name.

  • Jam with a laneway busker | Cost: Free

If anything, Byron Bay is home to the most free-spirited people in the Southern Hemisphere. If you can carry a tune, feel free to jam with a random busker and see if you can make beautiful music together. My girl bae, Abby, did!

Bradley Stone - Words and Wanderlust

IG: @BradleyStone

Where to eat:

  • Spice (IG: @spicebyronbay) – size doesn’t matter, as Byron Bay’s smallest hole-in-the-wall wonder, proves. Run by Kane and Lon, the most amazing couple in the galaxy, it is hands down my happiest place in all of NSW. When my search for a decent seat in a proper restaurant in the midst of lunchtime proved futile, it was a large cup of Spice’s Filthy Dirty Hippy ($6) and a big arse piece of chocolate-almond brownie ($3 – i think!) that saved me.
Spice Byron Bay - Words and Wanderlust

IG: @spicebyronbay

If staying longer:

  • Nimbin
  • Ballina

Day 3 – Byron Bay to Surfers Paradise

Travel Time: 1hr 13m
Total Distance: 93.6km

Where to stay: Surfers Paradise YHA (click link to book)
Cost: 38AUD/night (cost based on a 6-person mixed dorm room)

  1. Fan rooms only. Shared toilet.
  2. Clean, quiet and spacious
  3. Big kitchen and common areas
  4. Has fridge, cutlery, cookery
  5. Plenty of parking space
  6. Has water views of the Gold Coast Marina

Gold Coast Marina - Words and Wanderlust

What to do:

  • Get your tan on the sandy strip of Surfers Paradise Main Beach | Cost : Free

Lather up with sunblock, don on a mean bikini and sunbathe like it’s summer forever. Surfers Paradise has a strip of beach that stretches out endlessly, there’s always enough space and is never too crowded.

  • Shop til you drop in Harbour Town | Cost : Who cares, everything’s on sale!

Because really, who are we kidding? Not even the most hardcore travellers can say no to really good bargains. I, for one, stocked up on good quality swimwear and some luxury handbags.

Surfers Paradise Main Beach - Words and Wanderlust

  • Try your luck at the pokies in Jupiters Casino | Cost: Free

Cap your last night with a dress up night at the casino and try your hand at good old Blackjack. If the wives/girlfriends are protesting, spare them some cash for the slot machines. It works all the time; with me, at least.

Where to eat:

  • Food Fantasy | Cost: 49.90 (Sundays to Thursdays) 59.90AUD (Fridays and Saturdays)

Treat yourself to unlimited seafood. There are drinks, dessert and other meals too, but in my experience, all else becomes insignificant when fresh oysters and king crabs come into play.

If staying longer:

  • Mt Tamborine National Park
  • Lamington National Park
  • Brisbane

Day 4 – Surfers Paradise to Sydney

Travel Time: 9h 26m
Total Distance: 848km


Taking our friends out on a road trip necessitated planning; a feat for those who, like Jonat and myself, are used to just winging it.

NSW Road Trip - Words and Wanderlust

The need for more ascorbic acid, caffeine and alcohol is a necessary learning that would unfold in time. For now, I can only hope the travel bug has bitten them, like it has bitten us 7 years ago.

But from here onwards, one question incessantly begs: “Where to next?”

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