The drive from Brisbane to Byron Bay only takes around two hours if you head there directly. If you stop off at the many beaches and natural attractions along the way, you could easily take all day. We recommend taking all day.
Instead of following the main highway to Byron Bay, follow your instincts. You can dally along the coast or veer inland to refresh yourself in the shady trails and cool waterfalls of national parks. Take your time and savour the journey as much as the destination. The scenic route from Brisbane to Byron Bay is immensely rewarding.
Here are some of our favourite places to stop on the Brisbane to Byron Bay drive.
BRISBANE TO THE GOLD COAST
YATALA PIE SHOP
Make your first stop on your Brisbane to Byron bay road trip this iconic pie shop. Their delicious pastry creations are the ideal fuel for long drives.
Brisbane to Tamborine Mountain: 72 kilometres - 1 hour
Tamborine is a lovely detour between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. There are a number of short walks here, so you can stretch your legs and breathe the fresh hinterland air.
Tamborine Mountain to Burleigh Heads: 52 kilometres – 55 minutes
Just south of Brisbane is the Gold Coast, with an endless stretch of pale sand bordering the brilliant blue water.
Stop in at Burleigh Heads, one of the best suburbs in the area, to indulge in the chilled vibe of this surfie enclave. If you're starting your journey from our Gold Coast branch, Burleigh Heads is an easy 20-minute drive north of Coolangatta.
The vibrant energy of the area is mellowed out by a retro vibe, making it the ideal holiday location. Settle into one of the gorgeous cafes lining the streets, wander along the pine-fringed beach or grab a surfboard and hit the waves.
GOLD COAST TO THE HINTERLAND
SPRINGBROOK NATIONAL PARK
Burleigh Heads to Springbrook – 35 kilometres, 45 minutes
The inland route from Brisbane to Byron Bay is every bit as enjoyable as the coast. From the beach, head inland to discover the shady trails and picturesque waterfalls of Springbrook National Park. One of the most popular spots here is the Natural Bridge, where a waterfall plunges through a curious rock formation into a turquoise pool below. While following the pleasant trail to reach the waterfall, see if you can spot birds such as paradise riflebirds, green catbirds and wompoo fruit-doves.
The Natural Bridge by Paul Welding
MOUNT WARNING, WOLLUMBIN NATIONAL PARK
Springbrook National Park to Mount Warning: 70 kilometres, 1 hour 20 minutes
From the top of Mount Warning, you can see the first sunrise on mainland Australia. The trail is 4.4 kilometres each way and takes around two hours. You'll walk through subtropical rainforests and up the slopes of the ancient volcano. The last 400 metres can be challenging, as it’s a near vertical climb over rocks. However, you don’t need any special equipment and a moderate fitness level is sufficient.
On the way up, if you want to catch the sunrise, you’ll be walking in the dark, but you’ll have time to appreciate the scenery on the way down!
Among the Aboriginal community, the name Wollumbin means ‘cloud catcher’, and you’ll understand why when you stand at the top. The view of the sun lifting over the horizon, illuminating low clouds blanketing the valley below and snagging on the curves of the Byron Hinterland, is truly spectacular.
Photo by Jamourous
THE HINTERLAND TO BYRON BAY
Mount Warning to Wategos Beach: 64 kilometres - 1 hour 5 minutes
It's a short drive from Wollumbin National Park to Byron Bay. The town itself is famous for its hippie vibes, creative markets and hip cafes. It's a popular spot, so expect traffic and queues out the door at the best cafes. It's famous for a reason though, so if you came for the yoga, sunsets, beach buskers and excellent food, you'll be happy.
We recommend staying at Wake Up! Byron Bay for quality beach-side accommodation. Plus, show your JUCY keys to receive 20% off rooms with free surfboard, bike hire, high-speed WiFi and parking included.
If you want to escape to somewhere quieter, head to Wategos Beach. This is an epic picnic spot and the sheltered waters make it perfect for swimming.
CAPE BYRON HEADLAND
About three and a half kilometres from the centre of town, just above Wategos Beach, is Cape Byron with its famous lighthouse up on a rocky perch. This is the easternmost point on mainland Australia, so if you make it here early enough you can see spectacular sunrises.
The Cape is also a great vantage point for spotting passing humpback whales - around 30,000 pass by between June and November each year.
To explore the full range of views from Cape Byron, check out the Cape Byron walking track, a 3.7km loop that takes around two hours.
BYRON BAY TO BRISBANE
Byron Bay to Bangalow: 15 kilometres - 20 minutes
On the drive back to Brisbane, check out the small town of Bangalow. A charming little country town, you'll find great food, antiques, galleries and markets here.
MINYON FALLS LOOKOUT
Bangalow to Minyon Falls Lookout: 30 kilometres - 40 minutes
Further inland is the Minyon Falls lookout, on the fringe of the Northern Rivers region. The falls are an impressive 100 metres high, tumbling over massive rhyolite cliffs. The walking track gives you great views of the surrounding rainforest and distant views of the coast.
Minyon Falls Lookout to The Farm: 30 kilometres - 40 minutes
Another great place to stop and enjoy the countryside is The Farm, a working farm and micro business hub. You can stop in at the bakery, produce store or restaurant, before going for a stroll through fields of crops and animals.
From The Farm, it's only a 40-minute drive back to JUCY's Gold Coast branch, or one hour and 50 minutes back to our Brisbane branch.