Brisbane to Byron Bay Road Trip

Australia’s east coast is full of spectacular destinations, and the area between Brisbane and Byron Bay is possibly the most prolific. It features countless beautiful beaches, amazing towns and cities, and excellent national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. The scenery along the way is simply breathtaking, making it the perfect place to take a road trip. In this guide, we’ll look at the different routes between Brisbane and Byron Bay, the best things to see, and the best time to go. Read on to learn all the key information before taking this fantastic road trip.

How Far is it From Brisbane to Byron Bay?

It’s 143 km between Brisbane and Byron Bay as the crow flies and 164 km by road following the quickest and most direct road route. This road route follows the M1 for almost the entirety of the journey and bypasses all of the area’s key attractions on the way. However, if saving time is your priority, this is the quickest route and can be driven in 1 hour and 45 minutes on a clear run.

There are several alternative routes you can take between Brisbane and Byron Bay, which incorporate many of the best attractions along the way. The first of these routes is the coastal route, which takes in North Stradbroke Island, Gold Coast, and the many beaches to the south. The other alternative route is the inland route, which takes in Tamborine Mountain and Springbrook National Park. Both routes take significantly longer, but you’ll see some fantastic things along the way.



Travel Time



164 km

1 hour 45 minutes


(Stradbroke Island – Gold Coast – Pottsville Beach)

210 km

3 hours 30 minutes


(Tamborine Mountain – Springbok National Park)

254 km

3 hours 45 minutes

How to get to Byron Bay from Brisbane

Byron Bay and Brisbane have a myriad of transport options between the two of them. Whether it’s travel by car, bus, or train, you’ll find many options for covering the 164 km distance between the two locations. 

Driving / Road Trip betwen Brisbane and Byron Bay

As described above, it’s possible to drive between Brisbane and Byron Bay in around 1 hour and 45 minutes. Using the M1, you’ll cover the 164 km in the quickest way possible. There are, however, more scenic and better routes that take in much of the area’s scenery and attractions.

If you don’t have a car or you can’t drive, it’s also possible to take a taxi or an Uber between the two locations. Both options will take the same 1 hour and 45 minutes it takes to drive yourself, but the cost will be significantly more. Expect to pay between $250 to $300 for a one-way trip by taxi or Uber.  

Bus Between Brisbane and Byron Bay

There’s a host of bus services between Brisbane and Byron Bay. These include an express service, the ever-popular Greyhound Australia service, and Premier Motor Service. Costs range from $20 to $50, and travel times vary from 2 to 5 hours. There are plenty of departures each day, so there’s no need to book ahead outside peak season. 

Train Between Brisbane and Byron Bay

It’s no longer possible to take a train between Brisbane and Byron Bay. The station in Byron Bay is no longer served by trains and is instead served by a TrainLink bus service. It’s possible to take this service to the Gold Coast before hopping onto the train into Brisbane. It’s not the quickest or the easiest way to cover the distance, but if you love trains, it might be the right option for you. 

Aerial view of Surfers Paradise in Australia
Surfers Paradise in Gold Coast is a spectacular destination to visit.

Best Things to see Between Brisbane and Byron Bay

There are plenty of spectacular attractions between Brisbane and Byron Bay. Whether you choose to follow the inland route, the coastal route, or even create a hybrid route combining the two, you won’t be disappointed by what you see. Below are some of the highlights of each route. 

Coastal Route

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary – Located in one of Brisbane’s suburbs, this is the original and largest koala sanctuary in the world. If you’ve always dreamt of holding and cuddling a Koala, this is the place to do it. The sanctuary is also home to other indigenous animals, including dingos, raptors, and kangaroos.

North Stradbroke Island – This beautiful island retains much of its original landscape, flora, and fauna. It’s an excellent place for hiking, with many forests, a dramatic coastline, and plenty of wonderful beaches. You’ll need to take a ferry to visit the island, but it’s sure worth the effort.

Gold Coast – One of the most fun places on the East Coast, it’s home to the Dreamworld and Warner Bros theme parks. It’s also home to the world-famous Surfers Paradise suburb and beach. With its white sand beaches and high-rise buildings, it’s one of Australia’s most spectacular settings. 

Burleigh Head National Park – This small national park covers just 27 hectares but incorporates a host of different habitats. These include rainforests, eucalypt forests, and mangroves. There are a couple of short designated walking tours you can take that showcase the best of the park. It’s a great introduction to Queensland’s indigenous habitats. 

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary – This is another fine wildlife sanctuary along the east coast. It’s home to many native species, including koalas, wallabies, and echidnas. It also has many international animals, such as the rare Red Panda. If you’ve not already been to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, then it’s a great place to stop. 

Kirra Beach / Coolangatta Beach – These twin beaches are located side by side just south of Gold Coast and close to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. The beaches are popular with surfers, swimmers, and families and have a host of amenities close by.

South Kingscliffe Beach – Another beautiful beach with a vast expanse of sand. Holiday apartments are behind part of the beach, but otherwise, it’s largely undeveloped. It’s an excellent place to visit if you like your beaches quiet and natural. 

Pottsville Beach – One of the best beaches along the Tweed Coast and one of the quietest. It’s not uncommon to have large swathes of the beach to yourself, and it’s often possible to spot dolphins offshore. 

Inland Inland Route

Tamborine Mountain – This superb small town is home to many attractions. There are many great family activities, including a skywalk through the rainforest, searching for gems at the Thunderegg Mine, glow worm caves, and much more. There are also plenty of attractions for grown-ups, including botanical gardens, a brewery, and the world-famous Tamborine Mountain Distillery. 

Springbrook National Park – This spectacular national park covers almost 6200 hectares of land across the McPherson Range in the far south of Queensland. It’s home to beautiful rainforests, excellent hiking, and spectacular waterfalls. Hiking routes range from a few hundred meters to an enormous 54 km. The park is part of a more comprehensive protected World Heritage site, and it’s easy to see why. Various activities are available in the park, with nature tours, horse riding, and wildlife spotting some of the most popular.  Best of all, admission to the park is free. 

bright coastal waters off of Burleigh Head National Park
Burleigh Head National Park is a small but beautiful park that's well worth a visit.

Best Time to Take a Road Trip From Brisbane to Byron Bay

Brisbane and Byron Bay’s proximity to each other means they both share very similar climates. They both enjoy warm year-round weather with rainfall throughout the year. This means that there’s no bad time to visit the area, as it’s always going to be pretty warm and pleasant. However, as that’s not much of an answer, we’ll try and refine it a little further!

The summer months of December through February tend to be the busiest. This is in part down to the annual school holidays that run from mid-December through to late January. If you want to avoid the worst of the crowds, avoid this period. Summer is also the wettest part of the year, which continues into Autumn, so again, consider avoiding this period. One time that offers a good compromise between crowds, warmth, and rainfall is the spring. So, if there are no time limits on when you can take this trip, we’d suggest aiming for the spring. There are more in-depth details in our best time to visit Byron Bay blog post.

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