We left Sydney with coffees from our favourite spot, the Copper Mill and drove up the coast to Brisbane.
South West Rocks was our first overnight stop. Another camping spot overlooking the sea, but this time in a legit campsite. The beach was the perfect place for a long afternoon walk, the kind of place where you instantly relax.
The next morning, we scrambled down the rocks with our coffee and muesli, and ate our breakfast looking out to sea.
Just outside the campsite we passed some kangaroo families. They're typically shy, and will freeze for a few seconds before jumping away if you get too close. We've seen a lot of 'roos by now, but the males in these groups were massive.
On our way to Byron Bay we stopped for a quick look around the riverside town of Bellingen. We were only there for an hour, but the town's laid-back vibe, great food and quirky buildings had me imagining a new life as a baker in a small town (I'm still considering this, so don't laugh too hard).
We ended up staying in Byron Bay for four days, a little longer than planned. The beach is what draws the crowds to Byron, but it's so big that it doesn't feel packed. And the town is full of swimwear shops and cafes, with a mixture of holidaymakers, hippies and surf dudes that makes it the most chilled place ever. We found a great cafe, The Eatery (check out that burger!), with WiFi and staff who didn't raise an eyebrow when we stayed there all day, twice. We went for lots of walks along the beach and spent the evenings holed up in our van watching movies. Travelling around such a big country at this pace can be exhausting, so we really appreciated this downtime.
Just a couple of hours drive up the coast is Brisbane. We stayed in Fortitude Valley, an arty area next to Chinatown with lots of galleries and eateries. We lucked out with our Airbnb apartment, which was above a screen printing workshop:
...and included this little guy, meet Iggy:
Brisbane was a work stop for us, so we didn't get a chance to explore it all, but what we did see, we really liked. There's a real focus on art and music and it has an edge to it that we haven't found in other Australian cities.
Each morning we would head out early to pick up breakfast (two flat whites, two pain au chocolat – our diet is not going well) from a lovely French bakery Chouquette, where the staff greet you with 'bonjour'. And late afternoons were our time to explore the city, we visited art galleries and parks, and walked around the different neighbourhoods.
Our last night in Brisbane involved art exhibitions and a gig with our Airbnb hosts and their friends, and then we set off at 7am on Saturday to drive 850 miles in two days (it's Monday now, so I can confirm that we made it!).
If you're planning an Australian road trip, have a look at our route and tips.