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Take a ‘Wayward Bus’ road-trip with opportunities to coast walk along some of NSW’s most iconic beaches travelling from Noosa/Brisbane/GoldCoast to Sydney over 6 days & 5 nights. This trip gives keen walkers the chance to cover up to 90 kms of coastline – but there are also easier options so you can walk as much or as little as you like.

The trip is also part of a ‘slow-tours’ series, proposed to run in a 30-day circuit every month from 1st October 2020: Brisbane – Sydney – Adelaide – Broken Hill – Brisbane.


1st-6th of every month, starting from October 2020


$480 per person 


  • YHA accommodation – with a choice of single/double/twin private rooms (approx $90 per room night) – or beds in share rooms (approx $27 p.p. per night).
  • Motel accommodation can be arranged, prices may vary according to seasonality and demand.
  • 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.

The Walks

  • Brunswick Heads to Byron Bay (15km over 4 hours)
  • Cape Byron (6km 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 walking is self-guided along sections of coast that are clear to follow. There is no accompanying crew person.
  • If on any day weather conditions are adverse for walking we will substitute other touring and activities.
  • We check tide times and advise – low tide is the easiest time to hike.

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 and adventure leader.

Overnights x 5:

  • 2 nights Byron Bay YHA
  • 2 nights Coffs Harbour YHA
  • 1 night Newcastle YHA


Book your pick-up from either:

  • Noosa Heads at 0700 (bus station near Halse Lodge YHA)
  • 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.

Coast Walks 6 days Noosa/Brisbane to Sydney Itinerary

Bring your beach walking gear – or some good books to read. This is a ‘double-sided’ road trip – test yourself with up to 90kms of coast walks – or idle away the hours relaxing around beaches and enjoying free days in Byron Bay and Coffs Harbour. 

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), target time 1730.

If NOT walking to Byron, browse the alternative-flavour town of Mullumbimby and we will 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.

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.

Day 2: Byron Bay free day

Enjoy a full day in this popular resort – perhaps 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.

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, old Ulmarra village 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 our trekkers planning to go all the way, today is 20km from Red Rock 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.

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 coast-walking or free day

Early in the morning we take the walkers back to Woolgoolga to continue the Solitary Islands Coast Walk, this is their big day, trekking 30km to Coffs. Tide conditions we will check on the trip. If walkers opt out along the way they can catch local buses (or request a cab) back to Coffs.

The other choice is a free day to hang out in ‘Coffs’ – a great town.

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 our 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.

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.

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), eventually 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:

  • Bookings can be held up to 30 days prior to departure
  • Deposit of $100 is required 30 days before start (non-refundable)
  • Full payment is due 14 days before start (then 50% refundable if customer cancels)
  • Advise your accommodation preference at time of booking and we will arrange
  • The add-on charge for preferred accommodations will be calculated, with payment to be made direct by traveller to Arcadia Travel 7 days before the tour commences (50% refundable if cancelled)
  • If a trip is cancelled due to low numbers or for reasons beyond our control (such as Covid19 border closures), any payments made will be refunded in full.

Shorter trips are possible to book:

  • Byron Bay to Sydney 4 days $420
  • Byron Bay to Newcastle 3 days $360
Contact us or email go@arcadiatravel.com.au