Along the Pacific Highway

The Pacific Highway leads over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and merges into the Sydney-Newcastle Freeway. It continues to the industrial coast town of Newcastle, bypassing Tuggerah Lake and Lake Macquarie. From here, the Pacific Highway stays close to the coast until it reaches Brisbane, some 1,000km (620 miles) from Sydney. The farther north you travel, the more tropical the landscape gets. By the time you reach the coastal resort town of Coffs Harbour, temperatures have noticeably increased.

Along the coast, you'll find excellent fishing and some superb beaches, most of them virtually deserted. Inland, the Great Dividing Range, which separates the wetter eastern plains from the dry interior, throws up rainforests, extinct volcanoes, and hobby farms growing tropical fruit as you head farther north toward Queensland. You shouldn't miss Dorrigo and Mount Warning national parks, both of which encompass some of the country's best rainforest.

If you drive up here form Sydney stop off at either Port Stephens or Myall Lakes. Further north Fredos Famous Pies, on the Princes Highway at Frederickton, just north of Kempsey has 160 pie variations, including crocodile and camel. It's open daily from 7am to 7pm. Between Nambucca Heads and Coffs Harbour, don't miss the Urunga Boardwalk, at Urunga; it takes you right into the mangrove swamps and out across a stunning bay.