Road Trip Brisbane to Stanthorpe

Sunnyside Railway Bridge near Tenterfield

There are some short trips that I have taken in recent years that I have not share through this blog to date. I wanted to get around to resolving this and get everything up to date ready to head off on another adventure soon. The first is a little road trip that I took a couple of years back.

To kick off the catching up I will be rolling the clock back to the week before Easter in 2015. Over the Easter weekend, Stanthorpe was to host the first Geocaching MEGA event to be held in Queensland. So with a small amount of planning, I decided to take the scenic route from Brisbane to get to Stanthorpe.

The non-scenic route from Brisbane to Stanthorpe is around 218km and takes roughly three hours to drive. But I wanted to take this chance to explore some others areas along the way. So I planned a route that I could travel over three days travelling between Brisbane, Coffs Harbour, Armidale and Stanthorpe. A route slightly shy of four times the distance, but with many great spots to stop along the way.

Brisbane To Coffs Harbour – 391km

The trip between Brisbane and Coffs Harbour is one that I have done more times than I can remember. As a child, we would travel to Coffs Harbour almost every school holidays to spend time with family. So I know the route quite well, and it is very straightforward if you stick to the Pacific Highway. However, I choose a couple of detours off the highway to make the drive a little more enjoyable.

Belongil Creek Byron Bay

I attempted to make a stop at Byron Bay but soon realised that this might be a bad idea. The traffic was rather heavy, and I decided not to make the stop here. Instead, taking a turn off and finding this outlook. The waterway is known as Belongil Creek and made quite an idyllic spot today.

Towards the back of the visible water in this picture, you might be able to make you a railway bridge. The bridge is part of the Casino – Murwillumbah line which services were suspended on in 2004. However, it appears there may be a train that will start running a tourist train here in the future. You can find out more at Byron Bay Railroad Company Ltd.

Belongil Creek near Byron Bay

Yamba Lighthouse

A town that was a little easier to access today turned out to be Yamba. The exit for Yamba is located around 90km south of Ballina and is around 12km East of the Pacific Highway. The population is around 7,000 people, but can more than double in peak holiday periods.

One of the main spots I stopped was at the Yamba Lighthouse. The lighthouse went through some iterations. However, from my research, I believe the one that stands here now was built in 1880.

Yamba Lighthouse

Abandoned Peters Ice Cream Factory In Grafton

Like Coffs Harbour, Grafton is also a city that I have visited many times in the past, due to visiting family. However, it was only on this trip that I discovered a rather interesting looking building. The building is abandoned and used to be a Peters Icecream Factory. It sits right beside the train line which is in the picture on the right.

Abandoned Peters Ice Cream Factory Grafton

Overnight Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour was my first overnight stop. I made today the biggest driving day as I had covered the route so many times in the past. The drive was just a little over four hours of actual on-road time, but with the little detours, it took most of the day.

Coffs Harbour View

As you are approaching Coffs Harbour from the north, you can turn off onto Bruxner Park Road. If you follow this road around 3.5km and turn onto Sealy Lookout Drive, you will reach the Forest Sky Pier. From here you get a great view over the whole of Coffs Harbour to the south.

Lookout View of Coffs Harbour from road trip

Big Banana Coffs Harbour

The Big Banana is around 4km north of Coffs Harbour CBD and less than 1km from the northern edge of the town. As kids, it was a sure sign we could stop asking that question “are we there yet?” But it was also a great place to stop if we were allowed.

Big Banana near Coffs Harbour

Coffs Creek Inlet

Being that this leg of the trip is a little reminiscent of being a child, I thought this stop only appropriate. As children, while visiting family in Coffs Harbour we would get to come down here for a swim. Although there is some great beaches around the area as well. However, they are not the best option for young children like me, and my brother were at the time.

Coffs Creek Inlet - Coffs Harbour

Coffs Habour To Armidale – 191km

After a good nights rest in Coffs Harbour the next leg of the journey was the shortest at 191km for today. But it is also my favourite part of the trip travelling along Waterfall Way.


Even though my route for today would not take me past Urunga, it was just a small detour. Urunga is located around 30km south of Coffs Harbour and is now bypassed by the highway. With a population of around 3,000 people and this beautiful setting by the water. It had only just stopped raining as I arrived here this morning

Beachfront at Urunga

Waterfall Way

Waterfall Way is the name of a road that runs between the Pacific Highway in the east and the town of Ebor to the west. As a photographer one of my favourite things to photograph is waterfalls. As you might expect with a number like Waterfall Way, there are numerous waterfalls along this drive. I would have loved to stop at all of them, but unfortunately, some require a little more effort to reach.

Dangar Falls

Dangar Falls is located relatively close to the town of Dorrigo. The Bielsdown River plunges around 30m creating Dangar Falls. While the cliff face to the left of the falls highlights some features of the volcanic activity that would have created this area.

The photo below is taken from the viewing platform near the carpark. However, there is also a walking trail that takes you down to the edge of the lake at the bottom of the falls.

Dangar Falls near Dorrigo

Ebor Falls

Ebor Falls was my second stop today and is quite a spectacular sight. The water here drops in three stages, in the picture below you can see the upper two drops. While there is a third longer drop a little further downstream. It is possible to get all three drops in the one image, but it is not as impressive.

There are three different viewing points here, and some walking trails. So it can be a great point to stop and stretch the legs at just over halfway between Coffs Harbour and Armidale. But you need to watch the signs, or you might miss the turn-off.

Upper section of Ebor Falls

Old Machinery

I cannot pinpoint exactly where I spotted this old tractor along the way. But I do know it was between Ebor Falls and Armidale. There were a couple of different sights like this along the way, and they do make the drive a little more enjoyable.

Old Machinery roadside

Armidale To Stanthorpe – 244km

The overnight in Armidale was an excellent choice. There was a Geocaching event here today, for those who were travelling towards Stanthorpe. But the bigger shock was waking up to a rather cold morning temperature of around three degrees Celsius.

After leaving Armidale this morning, I had made a couple of stops but totally forgot to get the camera out. So I only have a couple of photos for the day.

Glencoe Barleyfields Upland Lagoon

The Barleyfields Upland Lagoon is one of three similar lagoons in the area. They are part of The Upland Wetlands of the Drainage Divide of the New England Tableland Bioregion. It does look a little indistinct from this view, but the sign in the middle is what caught my attention while driving.

Glencoe Barley Field Upland Lagoon

Running Flat

Somewhere between the area of Deepwater and Tenterfield, I hit a little snag. It did not take much for me to figure out what went wrong, as soon as the tyre blew out. Thankfully there was a convenient area to stop and change the tyre. However, it took nearly 45 minutes to do so considering the boot was full of luggage and tents and such.

Once the tyre was changed, I continued into Tenterfield to get it replaced. With tomorrow being Good Friday, I thought it best to get it repaired here rather than risk four days without a spare tyre.

Sunnyside Railway Bridge

The Sunnyside Railway Bridge was built in the 1880’s and served the Glen Innes to Wallangara Railway. The bridge served in crossing the Tenterfield Creek and is one of four similar bridges constructed in the area. The bridge was in use up until 1972 when the last passenger service to Wallangarra ceased. Today the end of the line is Armidale for the train. However, the bridge still sits there as an interesting part of history in the area.

Sunnyside Railway Bridge near Tenterfield


It was mid-afternoon when I arrived in Stanthorpe. I soon met up with some friends while registering for the Geocaching MEGA Event I was here to attend. It turned out to be a little dismal with cloud and over the coming days a bit of rain as well.

I am kind of sad to say that I did not even think to take more photos. I hardly even got the camera out. But one day when driving along some back roads I did manage to capture this shot, with the clouds closing in on the road.

Early Morning Foggy Roads near Stanthorpe

Enjoyable Road Trip

I very much enjoyed this road trip and feel bad that it has taken so long to include it here on the blog. Even with some bad weather and a flat tyre along the way, it did not spoil the road trip. I suppose it is little things like that which make a road trip what it is.

Going back and remembering this road trip does get me thinking about where I can dead to next. I would love to get out on the road again, but it is just thinking about a good destination for another road trip. So keep your eyes open, and you may just find me heading off on a road trip soon.

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