Over the past few months in straya, I got to do a bit of coastal exploring with my travel bestie Rachel to check out some cool beach towns on two mini road trips! Starting off the trips in Byron Bay, the first one we did was up north towards Noosa and the second down south towards Forster. Keep reading if you’re interested in finding out my top spots to hit up if your planning on doing a roady from Byron! (Disclaimer: includes long neck turtles, sunset surfing, fire spinning, kangaroo heaven, secret gem locations, beaches, beaches, beaches, and more beaches!!
Let’s Go To The North ~
Byron – Rainbow Beach Road Trip
Rach and I started off trip heading to Woodford Music Festival which was happening During New Years Eve/Day. The drive there was actually really interesting with green loopy roads with nature scenery… lots of cute back roads that would make you say “WHERE AEE WE??? LOL”. Course we pumped up the tunes and stopped at a nearby mackers for hashbrowns when needed. Definitely worth going to Woodford at least once if you happen to be on your trip during the festival. It’s like a hippie circus themed type of festival, all ages so you don’t get that mainstream type vibe and lots of cool stalls and food options. We camped here for a night and continued on our trip.
ROAD STOP: Came across a long-necked turtle on the way to Sunshine Coast (next stop) during a lightning storm drive. We stopped and brought the big guy back to safety 🙂
2) Sunshine Coast, Coolum
Hitting up the Sunny Coast which is where Rachel is based, we ended up staying here for a few nights cause we were just completely exhausted and the weather in the Sunny Coast was just not Sunny at all… how misconceiving of their name eh?! Shouldn’t name yourself the Sunshine Coast if you ain’t sunny!! HAHA jk but yeah, the Gloom and Flume weather got us just feeling like vegan meals + movie night all the way which honestly is always crucial for any road trip. Chill out and not feel too pressured to be on your way all the time. Go with the flow, no plans, and do what you want!
Finally, after we got off our asses and drove up to Noosa which was about a 30 min drive from Coolum we ended up getting there at night and checked into a Hostel called Nomads Backpackers. We happened to have gotten there at the best night because it was ladies night AKA FREE drinks from 7-9pm. Had a huge dance party, things got weird… but let’s be honest when do things not get weird?? Would highly recommend partying in Noosa, it’s a great nightlife or maybe it was the free drinks that earned them this review.. not sure.
I’ve actually heard a lot of people talking about Noosa before actually going which made me even more curious to see what all the hype was all about. Every single person I met before coming to Australia told me to go to Noosa (and not Byron, surprisingly…) and tbh it’s not FANTASTIC. It’s like a bougy rich town with expensive restaurants with a resort type of feel. They do have some beautiful beaches you can check out with a trail that leads you to different spots but overall, I actually learned to appreciate the Byron beaches so much more after going to Noosa. With that being said, in summary, it’s still a place to check out to party and meet people but personally wouldn’t stay there any more than 2 days!
4) Rainbow Beach
After Noosa, we headed up towards Rainbow Beach. The Gloom and Flume was persistent but that didn’t blow away our spirits! It was about a 2-hour drive from Noosa and we arrived at this super cute small town to check into our Hostel. It was one of those towns with like 10 shops and everybody knowing each other type feel #hippiesmalltowncutievibes.
We got in at around sunset so we packed up a few snacks and blankets and went to the beach to have some heart to heart chats. With the ocean breeze blowing, a lightning storm brewing in the distance where you can just make out the strikes, it was just a perfectly memorable heartwarming night.
5) Carlo Sand Blow
This is probably one of my favorite spots of the whole trip. It’s only a 7-minute drive away from Rainbow Beach Town and takes you to this hill FULL of sand. Literally, think about a ski slope with sand. Bring a body board so you can ride the sand waves. We didn’t have one so we just walked down to the bottom where you can see the true colors of Rainbow Beach and played with the orange pigmented magical sand. I went crazy and used my body as a canvas and walked around town like a jungle kid weirdo!
Let’s Go South
Byron – Forster Road Trip
Asset: Hippie Camper Van
1) Brooms Head
About an hour drive from Byron we arrived during the night after sunset. A great spot for caravan parking for a space to wake up early in the AM for sunrise. With a mini trek up to the hilltops, you can lay a blanket down and overlook the sunrise over a cliff. Jump over the wooden fence to get a better view…
The beach there isn’t really for swimming but it does have really cute shells with stripes to add to your shell collection hehe!
2) Coffs Harbour
Heres a great spot to stock up on your groceries!! We ended up just stopping for stock then leaving to head down to Forster to spend more time there. Tbh not much at the harbor.
3) Around Forster
At Forster was a magnificent place to spend a couple days because they have a ton of beaches about 10 min drive away from each other but all SOOO different. We stopped at Booti Booti, Seven Mile Beach which a long ass deserted beach all to yourself and you can just run around screaming and diving into the ocean lol. Boomerang Beach was one of my fav spots because we got to meet a ton of other travelers that were doing the van life (10+ years and more experience) and just getting to hang with them and hear about their stories living minimalistically with life out of a van. We met a Gypsey Soul Surfer (literally) and he toke me and Rach out for a sunset surf then we had like a mini hippie hang out with fire spinning, instrument placing under the stars, chats and snacks, and morning coffee the next day! Shout out to Blake for being the best Gypsey Soul Surfer and just being so positive and stoked about life. If you ever travel around coastally NSW, look out for this guy!
Tip: There’s also a lot of lakes to camp out at which is best to do so if you hadn’t got a camp spot.
4) Emerald Beach
Thanks to the Gypsey Soul Surfer, our next destination was back up towards Byron to hit up a few more spots we missed before going back home. Next destination: Kangaroo Heaven. At Look At Me Now Headland you’ll find a pathway that leads you to a spot where all these kangaroos are located on the beach. See below my Instastory interaction with a special Kangaroo mommy:
After seeing the Kangaroo’s there a beach right downstairs which is deserted (Yes!!!) perfect to go skinny dipping in 😛
We rolled up our Hippie Camper at Sandy Beach because the Headlands were too much of a public area. We watched a rom-com and a rainy night and woke up to the sandy beach for sunrise! Last spot we checked out was Spot X which is a well-known surf camp area. Saw a couple dolphins and went back to Byron for a quick surf sesh before parting ways with Rach!
Special thanks to Rach for being my road trip buddy!! Yup that marks the end of my two mini coastal road trips so far but wayyyyyy more to come! Hope this little guide helped anyone looking to doing a road trip and wants some real sweet spots ~ YEWWWWWWWW~ see you in my next road trip post 🙂