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Driving from Sydney to Port Macquarie

Oppegard, Norway
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Driving from Sydney to Port Macquarie

Hi,

family of four (kids 10 and 6) are driving from Sydney to Port Macquarie in mid-December. We have the whole day (from 9 am to 6 pm) to drive up to Port Macquarie, so we thought we'd stop a few places on the way.

I was recommended Port Stephens by a travel agent. But Is it worth a stop? If so, where should we visit? Is Shoal Bay there any good?

Any other places worth a stop on the way?

All feedback is appreciated.

Wauchope, Australia
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1. Re: Driving from Sydney to Port Macquarie

Port Stephens is really out of the way, you would have to drive in and back out along the same road. Personally I think Port Stephens is really overrated.

I'd recommend going the Lakes Way (mynrma.com.au/travel/…the-lakes-way.htm) to Forster, it's still a detour but at least it's just an alternative loop and doesn't require backtracking.

There are many fabulous beaches to stop at on the way to Forster along Lakes Way such as Boomerang , as well as Forster itself where you'll often see dolphins from the lookout at the top of town. Or you could even drive to Seal Rocks, it's a real classic Australian coastal village.

The other alternative route I recommend as you get closer to Port is to turn off the highway at Kew and drive to Port via Laurieton along Ocean Drive, it's a much prettier drive and not much longer than continuing up the highway.

Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: Driving from Sydney to Port Macquarie

The Lakes Way is a slow and difficult drive. Steep grades, sharp curves and narrow pavement. It is fairly long and needs close attention to driving.

Shoal Bay/Nelson Bay are out of the way and are highly commercialised.

It is a 10 minute drive into Tea Gardens/HawksNest from the Highway and back again. You will see something of the Port and the best beach along the coast. You may also see dolphins. They use the beach and are often seen in the Myall River.

All day to drive from Sydney to Port Macquarie is comfortable and will allow you to stop periodically along the way.

Sydney Australia
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3. Re: Driving from Sydney to Port Macquarie

Having driven this route many times, and almost always gone looking for alternatives to the highway, I have to say that many of the options are too far off your route to make them worthwhile.

I agree with LesS_10 in respect to Hawks Nest, then take Mungo Brush Road and the car ferry and out at Buladelah. Stop at Hole in the Wall for great views up and down the coast.

The detour at Kew is another of the best detours. A trip up North Brother to the lookout is a must.

I have found Seal Rocks is a bit hit and miss depending on the weather. It can be absolutely stunning on a nice day.. the sort of place they photograph for travel books that makes you dream of seeing it.... or it can be grey and a bit "meh" when it's overcast.

Alternatively, if you are spending time on the coast further north, you might enjoy taking the route up through Dungog and Gloucester.. I like that way quite a lot.

Sydney, Australia
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4. Re: Driving from Sydney to Port Macquarie

for safety ...allow yourself at least six hours WITHOUT stops from Sydney to Port Mac...regardless of which route you take

Wauchope, Australia
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5. Re: Driving from Sydney to Port Macquarie

Thanks for the reminder re North Brother Snodge I have lived here a few years now, and being visiting the area all my life, and haven't got there yet. I'll be in Dunbogan next weekend do I'm definitely heading up there for a look.

Sydney, Australia
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6. Re: Driving from Sydney to Port Macquarie

Hi,

I love doing this route - If you have the time to spare, take a detour from the Pacific Highway at Bulahdelah and do the coast road. Visit the wonderful Myall lakes National Park and check out the super trendy Blueys and Boomerang beaches. Cross the bridge at Wallis Lake and discover the waterways of Forster/Tuncurry.

Sydney, Australia
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for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands
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7. Re: Driving from Sydney to Port Macquarie

^6 hours to Port no stops?

6 hours no stops is Coffs and my place is in the south of Sydney, takes me an hour just to get to the freeway

I'll also rec the drive in through tea gardens, nice place to stop for morning tea and sometimes you may glimpse some Koalas as you go over the bridge to Hawks Nest.

Laurieton and North Haven are also a great option and we are staying on the "beach side" of town this is our preferred route.

Wauchope, Australia
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8. Re: Driving from Sydney to Port Macquarie

I agree, I do it comfortably in 6 hrs and always stop at least once, generally to the CBD.

South Pole
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9. Re: Driving from Sydney to Port Macquarie

from previous roostown posts on drive times it is obvious he is a very conservative driver.

nothing wrong with that of course.

unless u get stuck behind him doing 75 in a 100 zone with no passing lane for 20km. ;-)

Canberra, Australia
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10. Re: Driving from Sydney to Port Macquarie

Big vote for Laurieton & go up to the lookout if it is a nice day.

South West Rocks & the old gaol also worth a stop