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Your Brisbane to Canberra Road Trip Guide

Your Brisbane to Canberra Road Trip Guide

Are you ready to experience the legacy of exploration on the Brisbane to Canberra road trip, that was once crucial for trade and communication?

Today, Brisbane offers a dynamic urban landscape, while Canberra has been known as a testament to Australia’s political and cultural heritage. 

Ready to discover the evolution of this iconic route and plan your unforgettable adventure? Read more to unearth the treasures awaiting along the Brisbane to Canberra road trip.

Brisbane to Canberra Road Trip: An Overview

Brisbane to Canberra Road Trip An Overview

The Brisbane to Canberra road trip covers a distance of approximately 735.9 miles and takes around 12 hours and 58 minutes to complete, making it a substantial but rewarding journey. 

This trip is great for those who love the open road and enjoy long drives. It’s also ideal for families seeking a mix of city experiences and natural wonders.

Along the journey, travelers can witness the diverse landscapes of eastern Australia, from the lush subtropical regions around Brisbane to the more dried up landscapes as they approach Canberra.

In Queensland, you can explore the stunning Gold Coast with its beautiful beaches and thrilling theme parks. Further south, the New South Wales towns of Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie offer charming coastal scenery and opportunities for relaxation.

As you venture into the Australian Capital Territory, be sure to stop and visit the nation’s capital, Canberra.

Here, you can explore the impressive architecture of Parliament House, dive into the country’s history at the Australian War Memorial, and wander through the picture-perfect gardens of the Australian National Botanic Gardens.

Brisbane to Canberra Road Trip
Number of Stops: 8Distance: 735.9 milesTravel Time: 12 hours, 58 minutes

1. Gold Coast

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As we kick off our Brisbane to Canberra road trip, our first stop is the lively Gold Coast, just 48.3 miles away, taking approximately 1 hour and 32 minutes to reach.

Here, adventure awaits at every turn! Sea World promises unforgettable family fun, while thrill-seekers can indulge in the excitement of Movie World, Dreamworld, and Wet’n’Wild

For a more peaceful experience, you can explore the wonders of Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary or Springbrook National Park.

Surfing enthusiasts will find their paradise at Burleigh Heads and Broadbeach, while night owls can celebrate in Surfers Paradise’s lively atmosphere.

Stop 1: Gold Coast
Distance: 48.3 milesTravel Time: 1 hour, 32 minutes

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Address: 6 Beach Rd, Surfers Paradise, QLD 4217, Australia

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Bunk Surfers Paradise is a cheerful and laid-back hostel conveniently located just a 2-minute walk from the nearest tram stop.

Situated only a 4-minute stroll from Surfers Paradise Beach and approximately 3.7 miles from Sea World Gold Coast, it’s perfectly situated for beach lovers and thrill-seekers alike.

Accommodation options include simple 4-, 6-, and 8-bed mixed or female-only dorms, all equipped with bunk beds, Wi-Fi access, and lockers. Some dorms even offer balconies for added comfort.

For those seeking more privacy, private rooms with en suite facilities are also available.

You can enjoy a range of amenities such as an outdoor pool, a hot tub, and a relaxing terrace area. The hostel also provides a communal kitchen, a cosy guest lounge, and convenient coin-operated laundry facilities. 


Address: Capri on, Shop 3 G7 Via Roma, Surfers Paradise, QLD 4217, Australia

Operating Hours: Monday – Friday: 11:30 AM – 10:00 PM; Saturday: 8:00 AM – 11:00 PM; Sunday: 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Edgewater Dining and Lounge offers a stunning setting for your dining experience. Their menu blends modern Australian flavours with classic cooking techniques, ensuring a unique culinary journey.

Whether you’re savouring a meal with friends or enjoying a romantic dinner, Edgewater’s extensive cocktail list perfectly complements the flavours of their dishes. 

With its image-worthy waterfront location, it’s no wonder Edgewater Dining is a top choice for dining on the Gold Coast.

2. Byron Bay

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Next on our journey after leaving the Gold Coast is the beautiful Byron Bay, just 57.1 miles away and about 1 hour and 21 minutes’ drive.

As one of Australia’s most renowned destination spots, Byron Bay offers stunning beaches, delightful shops and eateries, vibrant festivals, and a welcoming community atmosphere. 

Don’t miss the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse, marking the easternmost point of the country and offering breathtaking views of the coastline. 

Stop 2: Byron Bay
Distance: 57.1 milesTravel Time: 1 hour, 21 minutes

Address: 7 Carlyle St, Byron Bay, NSW 2481, Australia

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YHA Byron Bay offers an affordable and vibrant accommodation option, blending co-living spaces with private apartments to cater to every traveler’s needs. With a tropical pool and resort-like atmosphere, you can unwind and enjoy a relaxing stay.

Whether you’re mingling with fellow travelers in the communal areas or seeking privacy in your own apartment, YHA Byron Bay provides a comfortable and welcoming environment. 

Ideal for budget-conscious travelers looking for a touch of paradise on their Byron Bay getaway.


Address: 108-114 Jonson St, Byron Bay, NSW 2481, Australia

Operating Hours: Sunday – Wednesday: 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM; Thursday: 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM; Friday – Saturday: 12:00 PM – 11:00 PM

Ember Byron Bay is a must-visit dining spot for those craving mouthwatering char-grilled steaks and meats.

Using a special Jopser charcoal grill that cooks at high temperatures, their dishes are sealed quickly to preserve their juicy goodness while infusing them with a delightful smoky flavour. 

Aside from their delectable meats, Ember also offers a variety of seafood as well as gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options to cater to all tastes.

Wash down your meal with a selection from their carefully crafted beverage menu, featuring local and international products ranging from cocktails and fine wines to refreshing beers.

3. Grafton

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Your third stop on your Brisbane to Canberra road trip brings you to the charming town of Grafton, located approximately 101.4 miles away and about 1 hour and 46 minutes’ drive from Byron Bay.

Grafton is renowned for its enchanting jacaranda trees, which paint the town in a vibrant purple hue during the flowering season.

As you wander through its streets and along the Clarence River, you’ll be captivated by the image-worthy scenery and the stunning Victorian and Edwardian architecture.

Stop 3: Grafton
Distance: 101.4 milesTravel Time: 1 hour, 46 minutes

Address: 1 Prince St, Grafton, NSW 2460, Australia

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Crown Hotel Motel in Grafton offers a cosy stay with a rich history, located right across from Memorial Gardens and alongside the scenic Clarence River.

This family-owned establishment, dating back to the 1800s, provides a convenient base just a short 4-minute walk from the busy central business district.

You can choose from low-key budget rooms with en suite or shared bathrooms and a shared kitchenette or upgraded rooms in a separate building.

These upgraded rooms boast modern amenities such as air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, TVs, microwaves, and tea and coffee-making facilities, with some offering great river views.

You can unwind at the relaxed hotel bar, connected to a bistro-style dining area and terrace, all while enjoying views of the river and engaging in games. Parking is included, ensuring a hassle-free stay for you.

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Address: Shop 3 Grafton Mall, 25 – 35 King St, Grafton, NSW 2460, Australia

Operating Hours: Monday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Big River Pizza in Grafton offers a delicious dining experience for pizza lovers. From classic toppings to unique flavour combinations, there’s something for everyone on the menu.

In addition to pizza, Big River Pizza offers a variety of other tasty options, including salads, pasta dishes, and appetisers to satisfy all appetites. The casual atmosphere and friendly service make it a great spot for families, friends, and solo diners alike.

4. Woolgoolga

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From Grafton, your next destination on the Brisbane to Canberra road trip is just a short drive away. Travel approximately 36.8 miles, which should take around 40 minutes, and you’ll find yourself in the delightful town of Woolgoolga.

Here, you can immerse yourself in lush hinterland vistas, soak in stunning bay and beach views, and explore vibrant markets, galleries, and outdoor gardens.

Don’t forget to treat your taste buds to the delicious flavours of the local Indian restaurants. 

Stop 4: Woolgoolga
Distance: 36.8 milesTravel Time: 40 minutes

Address: 1858 Solitary Islands Way, Woolgoolga, NSW 2456, Australia

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Rosebourne Gardens Motel offers a peaceful retreat just 1.9 miles away from Woolgoolga Beach and 3.7 miles away from Wedding Bells State Forest.

The cosy rooms provide free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, mini fridges, and comfortable sitting areas. Upgraded rooms and suites come with added amenities like tea- and coffee-making equipment, while suites offer two bedrooms for extra space and comfort.

You can enjoy complimentary parking and barbecue facilities, perfect for relaxing evenings outdoors.

This motel also features an outdoor mineral pool, ideal for a refreshing dip after a day of exploring.

Additionally, select rooms are pet-friendly, ensuring your furry friends are welcome to join the getaway with applicable fees. 

Address: 3/18 Market St, Woolgoolga, NSW 2456, Australia

Operating Hours: Thursday – Tuesday: 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM

At Woopi Tandoori Nights Indian Restaurant, indulge in the flavours of authentic Indian cuisine in the heart of Woolgoolga.

With a diverse menu featuring a variety of traditional dishes, from fragrant curries to tandoori specialties, there’s something to satisfy every palate.

Not only does Woopi Tandoori Nights offer delicious options for adults, but they also cater to younger diners with a dedicated kids’ menu, ensuring a family-friendly dining experience for all. 

5. Coffs Harbour

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Just a quick stop from Woolgoolga, our next destination on the Brisbane to Canberra road trip is Coffs Harbour, located just 15.3 miles away and about a 20-minute drive.

Be sure to visit Dolphin Marine Conservation Park for a chance to interact with seals, otters, and other marine animals.

Don’t miss the stunning views from the Forest Sky Pier or the opportunity to observe coastal habitats and wildlife at Muttonbird Island.

Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the beauty of the North Coast Regional Botanic Garden, while families can enjoy a day of excitement at The Big Banana Fun Park.

Stop 5: Coffs Harbour
Distance: 15.3 milesTravel Time: 20 minutes

Address: Cnr Pacific Hwy and, Bay Dr, Coffs Harbour, NSW 2450, Australia

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Pacific Bay Resort offers a modern beachfront getaway surrounded by lush mountains and gardens in the Coffs Harbour area.

Just approximately 3.1 miles from Coffs Harbour Marina and approximately 2.4 miles from the Big Banana amusement park, the resort offers contemporary rooms equipped with balconies, flat-screen TVs, tea- and coffee-making facilities, and mini fridges.

You can upgrade to suites with spa baths, maisonettes with lagoon views, or penthouses featuring rooftop patios with hot tubs and BBQs.

A number of amenities await, including beach access, three outdoor pools, a rejuvenating spa, and a 9-hole golf course.

Here, you can also indulge in delicious meals at the on-site restaurant with a terrace, unwind at the casual bar, or enjoy recreational activities such as tennis and a kids’ club. 

Address:  8/1 Marina Dr, Coffs Harbour, NSW 2450, Australia

Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Latitude 30 offers a world-class dining experience right in the heart of Coffs Harbour. Situated with a casual atmosphere, you can enjoy watching dolphins and whales as you dine.

The restaurant specialises in serving the freshest seafood straight from the trawlers, along with the finest local produce available.

With its stunning waterfront location and commitment to quality ingredients, Latitude 30 offers an exquisite dining experience for those craving the best of Coffs Harbour’s culinary offerings.

6. Newcastle

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As you continue your Brisbane to Canberra road trip, get ready for a longer stretch of driving as you head towards Newcastle. Covering approximately 239.1 miles, this leg of the journey will take about 4 hours and 7 minutes.

Newcastle, affectionately known as Newie, is a historic Australian city bursting with charm and character. With its beaches, lively street art, iconic ocean baths, and stylish designer hotels, there’s plenty to see and do in this coastal gem.

While in Newcastle, be sure to make a stop at Fort Scratchley, located atop a coastal headland. This 19th-century fortification holds a rich historical significance, originally built in 1882 to defend against perceived Russian attacks. 

Another must-visit spot is the Bogey Hole, found at the base of King Edward Park. This historic landmark offers breathtaking views of the surrounding cliff faces and the famous Newcastle skyline.

Stop 6: Newcastle
Distance: 239.1 milesTravel Time: 4 hours, 7 minutes

Address: 5 King St, Newcastle, NSW 2300, Australia

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Located in the heart of Newcastle, Novotel Newcastle Beach offers a contemporary stay just a 8.7-mile walk from the sandy shores of Nobbys Beach.

The hotel features modern rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and carpeted floors, providing a comfortable retreat after a day of exploration.

You can enjoy amenities such as Wi-Fi access, flat-screen TVs, mini fridges, safes, and Nespresso machines, with some rooms offering balconies for added relaxation.

Novotel Newcastle Beach offers a range of facilities to enhance your stay, including a hip bistro serving delicious cuisine, a well-equipped gym, and a rejuvenating sauna.

Here, you can unwind in the hot tub or make use of the meeting space for business needs. With 24/7 room service, breakfast, and parking available, Novotel Newcastle Beach ensures a hassle-free and enjoyable stay for all guests.


Address: 25 King St, Newcastle, NSW 2300, Australia

Operating Hours: Tuesday – Thursday: 5:30 PM – 9:00 PM; Friday: 5:30 PM – 9:30 PM; Saturday: 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM; 5:30 PM – 9:30 PM

Bocados Spanish Kitchen offers a delightful dining experience in Newcastle, specialising in contemporary Spanish tapas and prix fixe banquet meals.

The restaurant features a warmly-lit space with chic brown decor, creating an inviting atmosphere for guests to enjoy their meal.

With an emphasis on quality and authenticity, Bocados serves up a variety of Spanish-inspired dishes crafted from the freshest ingredients. From traditional tapas favorites to innovative creations, there’s something to please every palate.

Service at Bocados is top-notch, with options for reservations to ensure a seamless dining experience. The restaurant also caters to vegetarians, offering a selection of delicious meat-free options.

Families with young children will appreciate the availability of high chairs, making it a welcoming spot for all. 

7. Sydney

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Sydney is your second to the last stop before concluding your Brisbane to Canberra road trip. Sydney’s 104.5 miles away from Newcastle, which is about a 2-hour and 4 minutes drive. 

From the iconic Sydney Opera House to the sun-kissed shores of Bondi Beach, Sydney boasts an array of must-visit landmarks.

Dive into the city’s rich history with a visit to the Queen Victoria Building and The Rocks, or wander through the peaceful Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.

For a thrilling experience, ascend to the Skywalk at Sydney Tower Eye for a bird’s eye view of the city.

As the sun sets, enjoy the lively atmosphere of Darling Harbour’s night markets, where you can discover souvenirs and sample local delicacies. 

Stop 7: Sydney
Distance: 104.5 milesTravel Time: 2 hours, 4 minutes

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Address: 428 Pitt St, Haymarket, NSW 2000, Australia

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Sydney Central Inn offers a convenient stay near the theaters and restaurants of Sydney. Just a 5-minute walk from Central train station and a 12-minute stroll from Darling Harbour, this low-key hostel provides easy access to the city’s attractions.

The hostel features bright and straightforward mixed-gender dorms, equipped with free Wi-Fi and lockers, with linens provided. Private rooms are also available, offering additional amenities such as mini fridges and TVs, with shared bathrooms for all guests.

Here, you can make use of the simple shared kitchen, as well as laundry facilities and a cosy TV lounge. 


Address: 10 Bligh St, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia

Operating Hours: Monday: 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM; Tuesday – Friday: 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM; 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM; Saturday: 5:30 PM – 10:00 PM

Spice Temple offers a unique culinary experience, presenting regional Chinese fare with modern twists in a chic and intimate setting.

Their menus feature dishes inspired by China’s lesser-known regions, expertly crafted to tantalise your taste buds and ignite your senses.

Indulge in their zodiac-themed cocktails, specially crafted to complement your dining experience and add an extra layer of sophistication.

8. Canberra

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And finally, your last stop on your Brisbane to Canberra road trip is Canberra, the capital city of Australia. Covering 177.7 miles and about 3 hours and 8 minutes’ drive from Sydney, Canberra offers a unique and memorable experience.

Designed by architect Walter Burley Griffin, Canberra offers a strong symbolic design that sets it apart. As the seat of the Australian government, the city hosts numerous national functions and events.

Explore the rich history and culture of Australia at museums and iconic landmarks, reconnect with nature in the beautiful surroundings, and savour the flavours of the local cuisine in Braddon.

Stop 8: Canberra
Distance: 177.7 milesTravel Time: 3 hours, 8 minutes

Address: 7 Akuna St, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia

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Located among shops in the city centre, The Village offers a relaxed hostel experience in Canberra. 

Accommodation options include simple mixed- and single-sex dormitories, featuring free Wi-Fi, linens, lockers, and shared bathrooms. Private rooms are also available, some equipped with en suite facilities and/or TVs.

You can enjoy a range of amenities, including a communal kitchen, a restaurant/bar, and a cosy TV and game lounge.

For those looking to soak up the city views, there’s a rooftop BBQ area.

The Village also offers facilities such as an indoor pool, a hot tub, and a sauna, along with bike rentals for exploring the area. 


Address: 23 Marcus Clarke St, Acton, ACT 2601, Australia

Operating Hours: Monday – Wednesday: 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM; Thursday – Sunday: 12:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Rebel Rebel is a trendy restaurant with a laid-back atmosphere and rustic charm. Located in a cool and airy space, it’s a great spot to enjoy innovative dishes paired with a selection from their impressive wine list.

With outdoor seating available, you can soak up the ambiance while sipping on great cocktails. 

At Rebel Rebel, you’ll also find an on-site takeaway wine shop. This convenient feature allows diners to browse and purchase their favourite wines to enjoy at home.

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