Gone are the road tripping days of drive-thru Maccas and awful (like, seriously bad) roadside coffee. From wherever you are on the east coast, we have your road trip to Splendour In The Grass covered, with coffee, brunch, pub and scenery stops all accounted for along the big ol’ drive to Byron Bay.
Pick Your Way Through The Goulburn Valley
Let’s be real—your road trip is going to require a decent amount of car snacks so ideally, you’ll want to stock up on some fresh AF fruit in the Goulburn Valley. It’s likely you’ll need to bump up those vitamin levels prior to Splendour (no, that lime in your vodka soda doesn’t count) so what better way to do so than with a spot of cheeky fruit picking.
Stop Off At The Ettamogah Pub
To soak up as much of the great Aussie countryside as possible, set your GPS to Ettamogah Pub, which is about as country-Australia as it gets. The wacky looking pub is SO damn Aussie and dishes up pretty decent pub feeds that might just be exactly what you want before your Splendour bender.
Visit Ned Kelly’s Seige Site
Glenrowan is where you’ll get the change to stretch your legs and wander around the iconic Ned Kelly seige site and Ann Jones Hotel, because #straya. Brush up on your Australian history and pop into The Ned Kelly Museum then gaze at the man himself—well a giant statue if we’re getting technical (remember it’s not a road trip without a giant statue of something).
Must-Dos @ Beechworth
Just off the highway at Wangarratta, about three and a half hours North of Melbourne, is where the real fun begins—or at least the booze. Bridge Road Brewers is a must-do, cause who doesn’t love pizza and craft beer? Beechworth is loaded with good food and wine spots like The Ox & Hound and The Press Room Wine Bar—perfect spots to chill out before the next leg.
Dog On The Tuckerbox
Since you’re road tripping, it is compulsory to stop off at ALL the tourist attractions on the way, and the Dog on the Tuckerbox is absolutely not an exception. If you’re in need of a coffee, duck off the Hume Highway at Gundagai, because this spot is conveniently in close proximity to cafes and eateries if you’re still hungry.
The Scenic Route Via Orbost
If you want to avoid the boring AF Hume Highway (of course you do), then head for the coast and take the oh-so scenic route. To snap stunning coastal pics (you’ll be the envy of all your mates), swing by Lakes Entrance and south Orbost, where the Snowy River meets the ocean. You’ll find heaps of great food and drink along here too, which is always a tasty bonus. The Buchan Caves are also worth an honourable mention for a pit stop, or even a quick visit to the Bega Cheese factory if you’re as into cheese as we are.
Stop Off In The Central Coast
Only one hour out of Sydney, the Central Coast is your first coffee stop. Like Minds cafe in Avoca is a trendy little place to get your needed caffeine fix or drive to Maccoa in Terrigal for a cheeky smashed avo tortilla.
Brunch Time In Newcastle
The two-hour drive from Sydney to Newcastle isn’t too long at all, but we highly recommend you try Talulah Bar for a top notch brunch. The menu is delish and you may not see (or eat) food this good for some time—hello festival food!
Visit The Great Lakes
The Great Lakes is where you’re going to want to pull over and get your BFF to take anywhere from 100-7000 snaps of you in front of these gorgeous blue lakes. Not only is it a super Insta-worthy sport, but the Great Lakes is also the ideal spot to stretch those legs.
Port Macquarie Eats
Driving can become damn boring after a few hours, but with the image of house baked bread and specialty coffee on the horizon, you’ll be powering on through to Drury Lane Eatery and Social Grounds in Port Mac. These are some seriously good places to sneak a feed in before the next neck of your journey (P.S. you only have five hours to go).
Hat Head Beach
Soak up some sun rays and picnic on Hat Head Beach, marking the halfway point between Sydney and Byron Bay. This is the perfect little spot to take a driving break.
It’s almost recommended that you forget everything we’ve just said, and save up all your precious stomach space for a feast at Coffs Harbour’s Popla Belligen. Their menu is filled with share plates and wood-fired everything, so it’s perfect for sharing with your road trip comrades.
You’ve Pretty Much Made It
Splendour is only a short stint away now, but you’re exhausted and sleepy from all the driving. Fear not fellow festival bros, Harvest Deli in Newrybar Village is a good little deli to recharge your batteries for the final leg of your road trip. This one is also a bakery (jackpot) so stock up on some pastries for later.
Brunchy Coffee Time
You’ll need a solid (and totally delicious) meal before you arrive at Splendour this year, where (let’s be real) you’ll probably be surviving on muesli bars, beers and hot chips. Along the Gold Coast, some perf brunch spots include Commune Cafe, Burleigh Social and Paddock Bakery—all in the Burleigh area. Get in some veggies because it’s gonna be a long time before you see any decent food again (okay so only like 3 days but you get it).
Eat Dinner Here
If you’re travelling to Byron in the PM, then head to The Collective in the Gold Coast for lunch and dinner because pizza is always a good plan. When your friend suggests Dominos, you have permission to evict them from the car, because the only pizza you’ll want to be ordering is from The Collective.
Take A Nature Break
If you’re coming from Brisbane to Byron, you really have nothing to complain about since it takes a mere 1.5 hours to arrive at destination party town. It really begs the question, do you even deserve a ‘nature break’? We still think yes, yes you do. Stop off at the Cougal Cascades in Currumbin Valley for some breathtaking views and pretty waterfalls.
Noosa National Park
On your way down from Northern QLD to Byron, make a quick pit stop at Noosa National Park or climb the famous Glass House Mountain—Mount Ngungun. The view from the top will be more than worth the hike.
Road Trip Foodie Pit Stops
Hang with the locals at Village Bicycle in Noosa for some delish eats (think fresh fish tacos), or visit Sum Yung Guys for an Asian feast by ex-Masterchef, Matt Sinclair on Sunshine Beach. For the best breakfast of your damn life, you’ll want to head to Guru Life Coffee Roastery, because you’ll need as much good coffee and food as possible. This is the spot to fill up—you’ve been warned.
If you pass one of these burger joints, then you should make a special pit stop.
Image credit: Splendour In The Grass