Sydney to Armidale Roadtrip

Planning a road trip from Sydney to Armidale New South Wales? The driving distance from Sydney to Armidale is 585 km (6.5 hours) which makes it ideal for a day trip or a weekend excursion to this beautiful part of New South Wales. There are two alternative ways of travelling between Sydney and Armidale.


The shortest way is to take New England Highway 15 which starts near the city of Newcastle and passes through laid backcountry towns of Scone, Singleton and Tamworth. These are midsize agricultural towns and are popular for dairy, horse breeding and cattle production. The New England region of NSW attracted early settlers around the 1820s and enjoyed a boom during Gold mining days. 

Driving New England Highway from Sydney to Armidale New South Wales

The alternative route to take while travelling between Armidale and Sydney is the Pacific Coast Highway. The Waterfall Way B78 connects Pacific Highway near the town of Raleigh to Armidale. The driving distance between Raleigh and Armidale is 166 km. The two-way country road is a very scenic and enjoyable drive that passes through rolling hills as it ascends towards the city of Armidale. Bellingen and Dorrigo are two interesting places to stop along the way. 

Bellingen is a beautiful country town with a number of lodges and private retreats offering quality accommodation in the region. With a couple of nice cafes and restaurants, Bellingen is also great for a stopover along the way if you are planning to stay in Armidale. 

If your final destination from Sydney is Armidale, the Pacific Route can be a bit longer. However, if you have more time to yourself and plan to explore some amazing locations along the way, Paficfic Coast Highway can be an enjoyable trip. 

The original route I took during my first trip to Armidale is New England Highway to Armidale. On my way back to Sydney I took Waterfall Way stopping at Dorrigo National Park and Coffs Harbour before heading out to the beautiful cities of Forster and Tuncurry. The next stop along the way was the beutiful city of Port Macquarie. 


Driving along New England Highway to Armidale New South Wales

Some other interesting places to explore along the way. 

If you are into exploring the wilderness of NSW, there are a number of national parks with deep gorges, ravines and waterfalls. Oxley River Park is a famous spot near Scone with a beautiful waterfall and plenty of outdoor activities for adventurers. 

Best Route to take from Sydney to Armidale New South Wales

I decided to travel from New England Highway as I wanted to explore the beautiful inland towns of NSW from Hunter Valley to the Armidale Area. Driving from Sydney along Pacific Coast Highway, the turn-off for New England Highway is near the city of New Castle. The road can also be accessed if you are driving from Richmond in North West of Sydney (using Putty Road). This is a two-way country road and can be much slower.

Both of these roads (Pacific Coast Highway, and Putty Road) merge near Singleton. I recommended taking Pacific Coast Highway from Sydney and joining New England Highway near Newcastle.

New England Highway

Beautiful Landscapes on New England Highway

The landscape past Singleton is pretty flat with some hilly outcrops visible from the distance. You will observe plenty of small farming towns and country houses along the way. Cattle rearing is the main source of income for most farmers in the area.

What are some of the best things to do in Armidale New South Wales?

  • Armidale gives a different experience from travelling to the central coast or south coast destinations. Located close to the pastoral region of NSW, Armidale offers unique culinary adventures. 
  • Travelling along New England Highway you can enjoy the rich history of early settlers in Australia
  • The Big Guitar at Tamworth is home to country music in Australia
  • Enjoy cooler weather and the Alpine landscape which makes Armidale a unique location in NSW. Armidale is located 980m above sea level. 
  • Enjoy waterfalls, rivers, rapids and National Park in the region. Oxley Wild Rivers National Park and Dorrigo National Parks are not to be missed.
  • Enjoy outdoor adventures like bushwalking, wild waters rafting and trekking in many National parks in the region. 

Information Centre in Murrarundi NSW - on New England Highway

To get updated regional information, I stopped at the Information Center in Murrurundi The staff is very cooperative and friendly and can provide useful information including maps and brochures of major attractions in the area of NSW.  I enjoyed a nice coffee in a cafe near the Information Center. 

A wishing well and an early settlers' cottage located adjacent to the Information Center are some of the historical relics from the early days of settlements in regional NSW. 

Murramundi Information Center on New England Highway

Murrarundi Information Center on New England Highway

The next stop along the way was Tamworth. Tamworth is a great place to stay if you have more time for yourself, as there are some nice attractions and museums to be explored if you are travelling with children. The Big Guitar is a landmark that celebrates the country music tradition in the region.  

Big Guitar at Tamworth - Sydney to Armidale Roadtrip

Quality Hotel  in Tamworth is a great place to stay for a day. Big Guitar is an important landmark

Tamworth NSW is the heart of country music in New South Wales and hosts country music festivals attracting performers from across the world. Along with that Tamworth is home to the livestock and equine industry. Visit the Big Golden Guitar and Country Music Hall of Fame and Oxley Scenic Lookout while in Tamworth. 


Sydney to Armidale Roadtrip

19th-Century Architecture of Armidale Buildings


Syndey to Armidale Roadtrip
Sydney to Armidale Roadtrip
Sydney to Armidale Road trip
Sydney to Armidale Roadtrip

The road starts ascending as you approach Armidale and the vegetation is more Alpine with evergreen trees. The temperature in Armidale can drop substantially at night due to the high altitude, therefore it is advisable to carry some extra layers when travelling. 

Armidale is quite pastoral supplying high-quality wool.  The beautiful campus of the University of New England with a student population of more than 20,000 provides a scenic background to the laid-back town of Armidale. Armidale Information Centre provides detailed information on day tours and a range of activities for families and single individuals seeking adventure. Places worth visiting near Armidale include:

  • Cathedral Rock National Park
  • Ebor Falls
  • Oxley Wild Rivers National Parks
  • Mount Yarrowyck
  • Dorrigo National Park

Armidale is built on a raised plateau some 900 m above sea level and the temperature is quite cool in winter. I have enjoyed the relaxed colonial lifestyle of this university town. A notable feature of the city is its four distinct seasons which made it popular with the earlier settlers.

Rocky crests of the land towards the east turn into steep canyons and you can enjoy the waterfalls in Dorrigo National Park located halfway between Coffs Harbour and Armidale. Ebor Falls and Wollombin Falls are located between Armidale and Dorrigo National Park and are must-visit locations for nature lovers. Ebor Falls has a lookout and walking track that takes you close to the waterfalls. 

The commercial area in the city has a number of nice cafes and restaurants, old historical buildings and shopping malls. There are plenty of open spaces and parks in the city as well as the area near the University of Armidale. 

During public holidays there are not many choices for restaurants. Some restaurants along the main street are open till 9 pm. Therefore, it is advisable to have an early dinner as the options are quite limited. 


The drive between Armidale and Coffs Harbour is quite enjoyable. The road winds through the amazing countryside and rolling hills are covered with thick vegetation on both sides.

Dorrigo National Park NSW

Dorrigo National Park is a Heritage list Gondwana Rainforest and is ideal for a day excursion. I started early from Armidale and spend the day at Dorrigo National Park which has plenty of parklands, picnic areas and walks to the waterfalls located at the base of the valley. 

National Parks around Armidale are quite popular with campers, hikers and bushwalkers. More updated details on access to parks/permits and weather conditions can be obtained from NSW government-managed websites. 

Guided tours are organized by experienced park rangers, which provides a great opportunity to explore these locations and get more information that is available online or on other resources. 


Keep an eye on the weather and should have enough safety precaution when visiting these places as weather can be very cold and there are hundreds of acres of wilderness with thick vegetation. Carry satellite navigation devices and safety beacons are recommended when trekking on isolated tracks. 

Dorrigo National Park near Armidale NSW

Views from a lookout in Dorrigo National park 

Driving from Armidale to Coffs Harbour - Bellingen NSW

The drive from Armidale to Coffs Harbour is approximately 200km. Another interesting stop after Dorrigo National Park is the famous city of Bellingen. Bellingen retains the old country charm with a laid-back feel. There are a number of cafes and restaurants along the main road offering a great opportunity to taste the local delights. 

armidale to coffs harbour drive
armidale to coffs harbour - bellingen

Supporting a thriving community of artisans and farmers, Bellingen hosts weekend markets every 3rd Saturday of the month. Bellingen is a great place to enjoy gourmet delights and local produce in the region.


Other attractions in the area include canoeing and rafting in the Bellingen River. Bellingen Canoe Adventure offers canoeing lessons for beginners. A day out on the river is a great way to observe the natural beauty of the region. 

Bellingen NSW - Armidale to Coffs Harbour
Stopping at Bellingen - Sydney to Armidale Road trip
Sydney to Armidale Road Trip

Stopping in Bellingen on the way to Coffs Harbour from Armidale

There are a couple of nice retreats and farmsteads offering accommodation for travellers. Lombok on Waterfall Retreat  offers a unique Balinese style stay on the top of the hill overlooking the lush valleys. The self-contained luxury villas cover over 100 sq.m. offering a comfortable and enjoyable stay. 

Dorrigo National Park nsw

Beautiful Waterfalls in Dorrigo National Park

Dorrigo National Park Armidale
Driving from Armidale to Coffs harbour

There is a couple of quality hotels and motels available in Armidale. Some recommended establishments include:

Get Best Hotel Rates in Armidale NSW

 Accommodation in Armidale NSW? 

During my stay in Armidale, I booked the Powerhouse Hotel by Rydes . This is a very well-maintained property located very close to the city centre. The rooms are very comfortable and nicely furnished.

I enjoyed my stay at this hotel which serves great in-house breakfast and is furnished with a nice restaurant and a bar. The hotel is immaculate and the staff is very supportive and friendly. This place will definitely be my first choice when I visit Armidale next time. 

Powerhouse Hotel by Rydges Armidale - Sydney to Armidale Drive

Powerhouse Hotel by Rydges Armidale is a great place to stay. Check lowest rates online .

Sydney to Armidale Drive 

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 Driving from Armidale to Coffs Harbour NSW

If you are travelling from Gold Coast to Armidale or Sydney to Armidale, a stopover in Coffs Harbour would make an ideal weekend break. Coffs has plenty to offer for the entire family and is a great place to holiday with a number of quality hotels and serviced apartments. 

After spending two nights in Armidale, I start off early along the waterfall way to Dorrigo National Park a one-hour trek to the waterfalls inside the park. I planned for late lunch in Bellingen which is also a great place for a quiet holiday. 

Coffs Harbour Weekend Markets - Driving from Armidale to Coffs Harbour
Restaurants in Coffs Harbour NSW
Weekend Markets at Coffs harbour
Coffs Harbour Coastline
Sydney to Armidale - Coffs Harbour
Driving from Sydney to Armidale

Finding accommodation in Coffs Harbour during public holidays, especially around Easter Break and Thanksgiving holidays can be a bit of a challenge. I was able to find a place at the Big Windmill Corporate and Family Motel .

Weekend nights are very lively in Coffs Harbour with a few venues around downtown playing live music. The bars and restaurants along the waterfront stay back throughout the evening and offer a lively atmosphere for late nights. 

Weekend markets along the waterfront are also popular attractions. Families enjoy the shallow splash area near the waterfront with plenty of open picnic space and great views of the ocean. 

Driving Coffs Harbour to Forster in Central Coast NSW

On the return trip from Coffs Harbour to Sydney, a detour through Forster and Tuncurry is highly recommended. These two beautiful coastal towns are popular holiday destinations in the region offering a great opportunity for fishing and watersport. Local tour operators also organize Whale Watching Tours as Forster lies on the route of the seasonal migration of whales along the NSW coastline. 


A holiday Village in a central location in Forster NSW

The city of Forster is also a great place to enjoy the fresh seafood of the region including local varieties of fish and oysters. 


Forster is a popular spot for fishing and watersports

I stayed at Discovery Park Forster which offers cabin-styled accommodation along the river. The dolphins can be seen swimming in a narrow channel at the Forster waterfront. Forster is a great location for outdoor lovers as the open spaces, parks and coastal walks offer a pleasant retreat from the busy city life in Sydney. 


Walkway along Forster Tuncurry Bridge

I enjoyed the Centennial Walk along the rocky waterfront. The scenes were absolutely breathtaking. Forster is definitely one of my favourite locations for holiday in New South Wales's Central Coast. 

The drive from Forster to the Entrance in day time offers amazing coastal landscapes as well as lakes on the other side of the river. Booti Booti National Park has campgrounds and a number of walking trails for outdoor lovers. 




Sydney to Armidale nsw Drive

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