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Take a ‘Wayward Bus’ road-trip along NSW’s spectacular North Coast travelling leisurely between Noosa and Sydney over 6 days & 5 nights.  If you’re a keen coast walker, we can do drop offs and pick ups to give the chance to trek up to 90 kms of coastline. 

Byron Bay and Coffs Harbour are featured stops – both are 2 night stays.  Along the way, there’s time in Pokolbin (Hunter Valley), historic villages, river towns, galleries and bookstores, and a mix of back roads and highway.

The tour will run southbound Noosa to Sydney.

As well as Noosa, travellers can start in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Brunswick Heads or Byron Bay.  At the southern end, travellers can choose to finish a day earlier in Newcastle. 

The trip is part of a ‘slow-tours’ series, proposed to run in a 30-day circuit every month: Noosa – Sydney – Adelaide – Broken Hill – Noosa.  We’re planning to run a trial through July 2021, then taking a break before stepping up to a continual service.


  • Wayward Bus operates according to the Qld Health Covid 19 Checklist for Transport Operators;
  • All tour payments will be refunded if a tour can not run due to Covid19 related circumstances;
  • All tour payments will be refunded if a traveller can not practically join due to Covid19 related circumstances;
  • Travellers booking accommodations should do so choosing late notice cancellation.


2021: departing 1st of the month from Noosa (July trial, then more runs from Oct 2021)

COST: $480 per person (savings for start/end Byron Bay and/or Newcastle, see bottom of page)


Accommodation costs can vary according to seasons and other reasons and because we offer choice, we don’t hold allocations.  We will hold places on the tour while accommodations are confirmed.  Some may be bookable through Arcadia Travel.  Travellers can also book direct.

  • YHA accommodation – with a choice of single/double/twin private rooms (approx $90-100 per room night) – or beds in share rooms (approx $25-30 p.p. per night).  For reservations of all 5 nights in the YHAs, it can be done in one booking.
  • Guest house, BnB, apartment, pub and motel accommodation – may be arranged nearby to the YHAs, prices vary according to seasonality and demand.  Fancier 4-star options expect to pay about $200 average per room per night.  Cheaper 3-star options about $100-150 per room per night.  Contact us for more details.  
  • Any activities and entry fees. 
  • Meals are not included – bakeries, cafes, supermarkets, pubs and restaurants are plentiful along the way and the YHAs have guest kitchens and dining/lounge areas.

Coast-walk options:  

The Wayward schedule enables drop offs and pick ups for travellers to do these.

  • Brunswick Heads to Byron Bay (15km)
  • Cape Byron (6-10km return on free day)
  • Solitary Islands Coast Walk (Red Rock to Sawtell up to 60km over 3 days)
  • Newcastle’s Bathers Way (6km)


  • We provide travel in a touring mini-coach with driver-guide.
  • From 4 to 20 participants.
  • The walks are completely your choice, self-guided and a waiver is to be signed.  There is no accompanying crew person.
  • If on any day weather or beach conditions are adverse on the coast, we may alter our touring and activities.

Coach and Driver-Guide:

  • Our ‘Bandicoot’ mini-coach is a Mitsubishi Rosa refitted with reclining coach seats and extra legroom for extended touring.
  • An enclosed trailer securely carries the luggage.
  • Our driver is an experienced tour driver-guide.

Overnights x 5:

  • 2 nights Byron Bay CBD
  • 2 nights Coffs Harbour Jetty Precinct
  • 1 night Newcastle City Beach


Book your pick-up from either:

  • Noosa Heads at 0700 (bus station)
  • Brisbane City YHA at 0900
  • Robina Station (east side) 1015
  • Burleigh Heads Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre 1045
  • Coolangatta YHA at 1100
  • Tweed Heads Minjangbal Aboriginal Cultural Centre 1115.

Traffic may delay these times.


Drop off point is nearby Sydney Central YHA, convenient to Central Station trains, buses and light rail.

South to Sydney Itinerary  (runs in reverse for North to Noosa)

Bring your beach gear – and perhaps some good books to read.  This is a ‘double-sided’ road trip – you can relax around beaches and enjoy free days in Byron Bay and Coffs Harbour – or test yourself with up to 90kms of coast walks.

Day 1: to Byron Bay 

Starting in Noosa Heads on the Sunshine Coast in Gubbi Gubbi country, the trip has further pick up points as we cross Yuggera and Yugambeh lands: in Brisbane (YHA 392 Upper Roma St), along the Gold Coast strip (hotels on request), Coolangatta (YHA 230 Coolangatta Rd) and Brunswick Heads.

Breaks en-route will likely include Burleigh Heads and/or Tweed Heads South where the Jellurgal and Minjungbal Aboriginal Cultural Centres may be open to visit.

Brusnwick Heads is lunch-stop and commencement point for the optional beach-walk to Byron Bay suitable for more confident beach-walkers.  Be advised, the walk is all-beach (no headlands) – and there are NO facilities on the way.  Tidal conditions may help or hinder hikers.  It will take about 4 hours.  You will meet us at the Byron Bay YHA (7 Carlyle St, 500m back from Main Beach along Middleton St), target time 1730.

If not opting to walk the beach to Byron, we’ll browse the alternative-flavour town of Mullumbimby and be in Byron Bay by mid-afternoon.

The Ballina-Byron stretch of coast and hinterland are the ancestral lands of the Arakwal.

Byron Bay YHA is quite hip and offers choices of share, private and ensuite rooms. It is our only drop-off and pick-up point. For travellers who’d like to stay in 4-star luxury, over the road is 28 Degrees Guesthouse (28byronbay.com.au). Close by is the Atlantic Boutique Hotel (atlanticbyronbay.com.au). 500m away, around the Main Beach end of Middleton Street, are many apartment complexes.

Interesting people to browse:  Peter Foster (b.1962) grew up on the Gold Coast, weight-loss tea seller, featured in UK ‘Cheriegate’ scandal in 2002, self-titled ‘International Man of Mischief’, fugitive, escapee, jailed in Australia, UK, USA and Vanuatu.  Latest arrest in August 2020 in Port Douglas on alleged links to an international sports trading scam.

Day 2: Byron Bay free day

Enjoy a full day in this popular resort and home to many celebs. We suggest the walk to Clarkes Beach, exclusive Wategos Beach, Cape Byron and its historic Lighthouse and Tallow Beach, about 6km for the loop.

Activities include Sea Turtle Snorkelling (3 hours), Kayaking with Dolphins, Sea Kayak Tour and Arvo Brewery & Distillery Tour.

Interesting people to browse:  The Wizard of the Wire, Con Colleano (1899–1973), born in Lismore with indigenous ancestry, first to do a high wire forward somersault, celebrated performer of the 1920s and 30s.  Among others, Adolf Hitler enjoyed watching Con performing.

Day 3: Byron Bay to Coffs Harbour 

A morning travelling the Northern Rivers and an afternoon of coast walking.

Along the way are Lennox Head, the port town of Ballina where the Richmond River meets the sea, Scottish-enthused Maclean on the Clarence River, Ulmarra historic village on the Old Pacific Highway, and Grafton City, host to the annual Jacaranda Festival.

The Bundjalung People populated the coast between the Richmond and Clarence Rivers.

Next south, the coastal lands were the country of the Yaegl then below them the Gumbaynggirr, connected by related language.

The Yaegl began court claims in the 1990s, succeeding in 2015 to have their indigenous use rights recognised to the land – and in 2017 they were the first to achieve recognition of their ‘sea rights’ – to access and fish 90km of coastline for non-commercial traditional purposes.

Back to the coast, we visit Yarrawarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Corindi Beach – with Bush Tucker Cafe, Wadjar Art Gallery, a range of activities and accommodation centre.

Red Rock is also known as Blood Rock and marks the site of an 1880s massacre when mounted police attacked a large group of Gumbaynggirr people in their camp and chased them, some being driven off the headland.

Red Rock is the northern trailhead of the Solitary Islands Coast Walk and for any trekkers planning to go all the way, this afternoon we can drop you off at Red Rock to walk 20kms to Woolgoolga.  Timing is 4-5 hours, 1230 to 1730.

While they hike, other options are beach-time, shorter walks – and/or activities at Yarrawarra.  We’ll re-meet at Woolgoolga, a town famous for its Sikh heritage and temple. The remaining drive is 30km into Coffs Harbour for a 2 night stay.

Coffs Harbour YHA is in the Jetty Precinct and offers choices of share, private and en-suite rooms.  It is our only drop-off and pick-up point.  For travellers who’d like to stay in 4-star luxury, over the road is Pacific Marina Apartments (pacificmarina.com.au).  Just 200m away are the Pier Hotel (pierhotelcoffs.com.au) and Caribbean Motel (caribbeanmotel.com.au), both offering 3-star rooms.

The Solitary Islands Marine Park was declared in the 1990s.  It includes streams and lakes, from the high water to three nautical miles out at sea.  Of volcanic origin, there are five key islands, outcrops and submerged reefs.  Captain Cook gave the name ‘Solitary Islands’.

Interesting people to browse:  Ruby Payne-Scott (1912-81) from Grafton, pioneer in radio-physics and radioastronomy, secret researcher in WW2, bushwalker and communist.

Day 4: Coffs Harbour free day or coast-walking

Enjoy a free day to hang out in ‘Coffs’ – a great town.  Stroll the harbour precinct, walk into town, join a bike ride, play a round of golf or take a local day trip.  Other activities that may be offered include whale watch cruises and tandem skydives.

Early in the morning we can take the walkers back to Woolgoolga to continue their Solitary Islands Coast Walk.  This is the big day, the trek to Coffs is 30km.  If walkers opt out along the way they can catch local buses (or request a cab) back to Coffs.  It is important to check weather forecast and tide conditions before deciding to walk.

Interesting people to browse: John Veron (b.1945) – marine park ranger and world recognised specialist in corals and reefs. 

Day 5: Coffs Harbour to Newcastle 

Early start for walkers to complete the Solitary Islands Trek with the final 10km to Bonville Headland at Sawtell where we’ll rendezvous.

With everyone back on, the drive includes short detours to some of the NSW North Coast’s favourite places; Nambucca Heads, Pt Macquarie and maybe an added 25km to go via The Lakes Way through Forster.

We travel successively through the ancestral lands of the Djangadi of the Macleay Valley, Birrbay of the Port Macquarie coast and Worimi of Great Lakes, Port Stephens and lower Hunter River.

Newcastle City recognises both the Worimi and Awabakal people as traditional owners.

Grand and out of yesteryear, Newcastle Beach YHA offers choices of share or private rooms.  It is handy also to the city centre, strolling through Newcastle’s historic quarter.  It is our only drop-off and pick-up point.  For travellers who’d like to stay in 4.5-star luxury, over the road is the Novotel (novotelnewcastlebeach.com.au).  It neighbours the modern budget Hotel 1 (hotel1.online/en-us).  Within 300m are The Grand Hotel (thegrandhotel.net.au) and high-rating Terminus Apartments (terminushotelnewcastle.com.au).

Interesting people to browse: Charles Menzies (1783-1866) – Royal Marines Officer who founded Newcastle at age 21, later a General and the Aide de Camp to Queen Victoria.

Day 6: Newcastle to Sydney 

For the early risers, Newcastle’s Bathers Way coast walk is 6km from Nobbys to Merewether Beach.

Eschewing the main road to Sydney, we go west towards Pokolbin and the Hunter Valley vineyards, in Wonnaruah Country.  Explore the fantasy world of Hunter Valley Gardens – or if you prefer wine tasting, stroll over to Roche Estate Cellar Door, Tempus Two Cellar Door, Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop – and the impressive new Brokenwood Wines Cellar Door.

In the Hunter Valley the vast coal layer below the Sydney Basin is accessible.  Underground mining commenced in the 1840s.  In recent decades the Upper Hunter Valley landscape has been torn up for giant open-cut coal mines to satisfy export demand.  We don’t go to this area but the satellite view on internet maps is not pretty.

The scenic back road via historic Wollombi Village (famous for its pub) joins the Old Pacific Highway at Peats Ridge.

Next stop is beside the Hawkesbury River in Darug Country before the run through Sydney’s leafy northern suburbs, across the Harbour Bridge and around the east side of the city to Central Station.

Sydney is on the ancestral lands of the Eora People.  The nation that was unfortunate to have to play host to the new arrivals suffered the most severely.  In 1789, the year after the First Fleet arrival, sadly around 90% of the Eora died, it is thought from Smallpox.  This carnage from disease no doubt meant a lot less opposition for the boat arrivals from Britain.  Nevertheless, the 18th Century ‘boat people’ from Britain remained ‘in detention’ within the natural enclosure of the Sydney Basin for 25 years before gathering enough strength and courage to venture out.

As well as Sydney Central YHA with a choice of share or private rooms, we also recommend Avonmore Hotel at Randwick for 4-star heritage accommodation, convenient to bus and light rail.

Interesting people to browse: Pemulwuy (d. 1802) Eora warrior and medicine man / Francis de Groot (1888-1969) member of the right-wing New Guard who cut the ribbon at the 1932 Harbour Bridge opening / Ted Noffs (1926-95) Uniting Church minister, founded the Wayside Chapel


Bookings by email or phone to Arcadia Travel:

Booking arrangements for departures up to 30 Dec 2021:

  • To give time to arrange accommodations, bookings can be held for up to 7 days except that in the 14 days prior to departure a shorter amount of time will be apply
  • Deposit of $100 is required when confirming a booking (non-refundable)
  • Full payment due 14 days before start (then 50% refundable if customer cancels)
  • Advise your accommodation preference at time of booking and we will arrange or assist with contacts
  • If a trip is cancelled due to reasons beyond our control (such as Covid19 border closures), any payments made will be refunded in full.

Shorter trips are possible to book:

  • Noosa/Brisbane/GC – Newcastle 5 days $420
  • Byron Bay – Sydney 4 days $420
  • Byron Bay – Newcastle 3 days $360

Bandicoot provides the hi-spec’d mini-coaches for Wayward Bus road trips

Booking inquiries: go@arcadiatravel.com.au or fill the form below