Are you the kind of person that loves the journey as much as the destination? Then why not make your next adventure a road trip to Byron Bay from Brisbane – but with a difference! Unleash your inner explorer by veering away from the coast road and travel along the lesser travelled Mt Lindsay Highway and onto Lions Road and Rainforest Way before continuing through to Byron Bay.
If you have never discovered this amazing and unique part of Northern NSW then you haven’t truly discovered everything this colourful and pristine region has to offer. Come with us as we guide you through this adventure and share just some of the highlights and “must see” places to stay or stop along the way.
Which Way from Brisbane to Byron Bay?
Program your GPS and head off the M2 Ipswich/Toowoomba Motorway through Logan and onto the Mt Lindsay Highway. As you enjoy the picturesque rural landscape you’ll find yourself passing some of the many horse studs, wineries and cattle properties along the way. You’ll already be starting to get the feeling that this is a new experience from the coast road. Your first leg should take you around 55 minutes.
Picture credit: Scenic Rim Escapes
As you enter rural and rustic Beaudesert you get an immediate sense of its agricultural history. Part of South East Queensland’s “scenic rim”, this town is a springboard for exploring a host of nature, food and art trails. You may also be interested to learn that Beaudesert is one of the most popular places in Australia for hot air ballooning. Stop for a break or put together a picnic for the coming drive. As a starting point to find out more about what’s available to see and do here you can visit the Beaudesert Tourism or Scenic Rim Escapes websites.
Nature and History Surround You
Leaving Beaudesert behind the journey South continues along the Mt Lindsay Highway and the kaleidoscope of colours is breathtaking as the terrain changes to incorporate rugged valleys and rock formations. As you begin to climb the McPherson Range the winding road will lead you through areas of eucalypt forest, lush rainforest and mountain heath all with their own unique beauty and wildlife.
Tip: There are many charming picnic areas and lookouts dotted along this road so keep an open eye and be prepared to stop so you can revive and truly take in the beauty of this area. Our top pick is Captain Logan’s Lookout in the historic village of Rathdowney.
While you are there make sure you include a stop off at the adorable Information Centre and Historical Museum, open every day of the year (except Christmas Day). Take advantage of their local knowledge, pick up maps and unearth the history of the region. Rathdowney is also host to the unique Heritage Festival and Bush Poetry Competition held in March.
At this point of the journey it should be becoming clear why you’re travelling along what’s known at the Rainforest Way. With the Mt Barney and Border Ranges National Park on either side you now have access to some of the most pristine wilderness in Australia. We recommend you check out both the QLD and NSW National Parks websites for advice on the many recreation and camping areas nestled around the two parks and for any warnings or bush fire advice.
Mt Barney National Park: http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/mount-barney/
Border Ranges National Park: http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/border-ranges-national-park/travel-info
The Lions Road and Border Loop Railway
Follow the signs from Rathdowney and snake your way along to experience two marvels of engineering and human endeavour. The Lions Road is a scenic shortcut through the Richmond Gap built in the early 70’s. In a massive community effort led by the Lion’s clubs of Kyogle and Beaudesert they created this amazing stretch of road that will take you through some unforgettable scenery. It is here that you will cross the Border from Queensland into New South Wales and come upon one of the most extraordinary lookouts that is a favourite of train buffs from around the globe. Here nestled amongst the forest is the vantage point for viewing the Border Loop Railway. As you look down upon the railway line winding around and through the mountain twice, you cannot help but marvel at the skill and dedication of the 1500 men who worked to build this essential link to connect Brisbane the rest of the nation for both goods and passenger trains. Take the short bush walk (suitable for all levels) or have a BBQ and smell the forest air as you look down along the valley toward your next stop Kyogle.
Tip: To find out train times call 132 232 for the best chance of seeing the track in action.
A bustling and vibrant country town with a friendly atmosphere, Kyogle (which is the indigenous word for place of the Bush Turkey) is a great spot to grab a bite to eat spend some time and explore its many outlying villages. A must see here is the The Roxy Galley a home some stunning works from talented local artists with changing feature exhibitions. If your timing is right you may also include gathering some fresh local produce the Famers Markets held every Saturday morning 8am to 12 noon.
It’s an enjoyable and scenic 40 minute drive from Kyogle to the iconic and world-famous village of Nimbin. With its colourful alternative atmosphere, and bustling community it is an essential part of any visit to the Northern Rivers region, especially when your ultimate destination is Byron Bay. Feel the pace slow to what’s known locally as “Nimbin time” and be immersed in the laid back counter culture. Allow yourself time to browse and shop for souvenirs as there are many artisan shops, stalls and handmade trinkets available all with a uniquely Nimbin feel. Taste the flavours of the region in one of the many cafes, or put together a range of local and organic delights available along the main street.
TIP: Watch out for the many honesty boxes and roadside stalls selling freshly grown local and often organic produce. Delicious!
Your Byron Bay Destination Awaits
As you descend from the mountains and enter the township of Byron Bay you can enjoy the wave of elation and sea breeze that will meet you. Most importantly you can look forward to the many awaiting adventures along with the diverse range of eateries, entertainment and natural beauty on offer here in “the bay”. And if you’ve chosen to stay with us here at the Suffolk Beach Holiday Park you can relax knowing you have the perfect beachside accommodation with everything you need. If you haven’t booked your stay yet – then what are you waiting for!
Click here and start planning to hit the road.