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Big Pacific Coast

The Big Pacific Coast Touring Route from Sydney to Cairns is a 14-day journey covering some of the country’s most spectacular coastline, but there’s a lot more to see along the way than just beaches.

Sydney to Central Coast and Hunter Valley

Woy Woy and Ettalong Beach are excellent starting points on this journey. Follow the bushwalking trails, find the surf at Avoca Beach and Terrigal. Water-ski on Tuggerah Lake at the nearby town of ‘The Entrance’ before travelling onto Newcastle, where you can scuba dive, or even hang-glide. Tour the vineyards of Hunter Valley on foot or take a Hot Air Balloon ride to see them from above.

Hunter Valley to Port Stephens and Coffs Harbour

In Port Stephens, join a dolphin spotting cruise from Nelson Bay or 4WD over the sand dunes of Stockton beach. Nearby, Myall Beach is a fantastic fishing spot. Take a detour from Port Stephens into Barrington Tops National Park – a world heritage listed rainforest. Get back on track and continue up the coast, fishing, snorkelling, and just taking in the scenery.

Coffs Harbour to Byron Bay and Gold Coast

Kayak through Bongil Bongil National Park or go white-water rafting in Nymboida National Park. Grab a coffee in Grafton, cruise next to dolphins on the Clarence River and ride a heritage steam train across the mountains in Glenreagh. Re-join the Pacific Highway all the way to Byron Bay.  Get up early to see the sunrise from Byron Bay lighthouse and drive up to the Gold Coast.

Gold Coast to Fraser Island

Spend the day enjoying the beaches, shopping or head inland to one of three World-Heritage listed national parks; Tamborine Mountain, Springbrook and Lamington. Cruise the highway up to the Sunshine Coast and Noosa, and whale watch in Hervey Bay. North of Rainbow Beach, take a boat to Fraser Island and 4WD across the island.  

Fraser Island to Bundaberg and Rockhampton

Just 15 minutes outside of Bundaberg is Mon Repos Beach, home to the largest population of loggerhead sea turtles in the South Pacific. Offshore, Lady Musgrave and Lady Elliot islands are great for snorkelling and diving. Drive to Cania Gorge National Park or Eurimbula National Park before arriving in Rockhampton and taking a cruise to Great Keppel Island.

Rockhampton to Mackay and Townsville

See the amazing Capricorn Caves and take a break at the Capricorn Coast and Byfield National Park. Here, you can birdwatch, bushwalk and fish from the beach. In Mackay, you can relax on the city beaches or the coastline of Cape Hillsborough National Park where you’ll meet the local wildlife. Pass through Proserpine and Airlie Beach, to Whitsundays. Take a chartered boat, jet-ski, seaplane or helicopter flight over the sands and reef. In Townsville, wander the scenic beach promenade and take a catamaran to Magnetic Island.

Townsville to Cairns

There are 12 national parks and 20 tropical islands between Townsville and Cairns, visit one, a few or all of them on the 350km trip. Finish off your journey in Cairns with a visit to the Daintree Rainforest.

This article was originally published on Australia.com
 
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