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Fastest driving route from Canberra to Surfers paradise?

By c_daniel - 13 December 2012 37

Wanting to hear from anyone who has driven from Canberra to Goldcoast, or vice versa, within the last few months. I haven’t driven the coastal route for a couple of years and am wondering if it is faster than going inland nowadays?

All advice welcome!

What’s Your opinion?


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37 Responses to
Fastest driving route from Canberra to Surfers paradise?
voytek3 3:46 pm 13 Dec 12

Its just so fitting. A Canberran asking the best way to drive to the only place in the country that has less culture and soul than Canberra itself. Seems to me that you shouldn’t be on the road to begin with but then again neither should 75% of Canberrans.

Weatherman 3:40 pm 13 Dec 12

Sometimes, bushfires can also cause long delays, especially between Sydney and Newcastle. Even though the trip can be done from very early morning to late night. It’s better to take an overnight break. Last time, I stayed at Ballina. There are many accidents happening on both routes because of overtaking and concealed intersections. If you want to pay tolls, M7 is an okay bypass around Sydney, otherwise, Cumberland Highway is a good route without tolls, though can be busy during peak hours, as well as confusing if you don’t know which lanes to be in. During non-peak times, Cumberland Highway can be just as efficient as the M7 as an alternative route.

Panhead 3:32 pm 13 Dec 12

Did the coastal route last new years in 12 hours even with delays around kempsy. Stopped for lunch, petrol and a toilet break. 3 grown men in a little car, we were keen to do it quickly. I used to do it at least once or twice a year till we started flying to the gold coast around 05. The road is sooooo much better, once that section coming out of Port Macquarie is done it will be even better.

The new part around ballina is gorgeous.

neanderthalsis 3:31 pm 13 Dec 12

Inland my friend. At this time of year the coast road will be packed with carloads of holidaying families, meandering geriatrics towing caravans and trucks. Inland is marginally longer, but I have always preferred it. Take the New England Highway to Tenterfield, turn coastwards and head through the mountains to Casino & Ballina or north up through Kyogle.

mezza76 3:25 pm 13 Dec 12

ML-585 said :

“Coastal route” always has been and always will be the fastest way to Gold Coast from Canberra. Watch out for roadworks from about Port Macquarie to north of Kempsey for the Kempsey bypass. And if you’re planning on going during the holiday season, take your time – better to arrive late than not at all.

+1 – done it a few times. More so that the New England route adds at least a couple of hours to the trip.

Dont forget to take the M7 to get around Sydney (you’ll need a toll pass). I’ve never found the roadworks to be an issue but it’s been a year since I’ve done it. Don’t consider speeding (except when you are in QLD where police never seem to exist) – there are numerous speed traps/cameras along the way.

Weatherman 3:09 pm 13 Dec 12

The coastal route is quicker. However, there can be long delays on some days, which are caused by either roadworks or floods. In that case, the inland route is a better option when there are delays.

Holden Caulfield 2:42 pm 13 Dec 12

Apple Maps says the inland route is better, now that all roads lead to Mildura. Really, it’s still a better option than going through Auckland on the coastal route.

Rollersk8r 2:40 pm 13 Dec 12

Definitely coastal – although even if it was a couple of years ago the trouble spots remain the same my friend. Expect mammoth queues at Hexham, Buladelah and Kempsey over Christmas. I still have nightmares about the time it took me 12 hours to get from Sydney to Coffs.

The road improves incrementally each time we go up, although it will probably be another 20 to 30 years before they figure out what to do North and South of Grafton. Although I hear the new Ballina bypass is excellent. All clear sailing from there.

Trimega 2:33 pm 13 Dec 12

I’ll be doing Bris-Can early next year with a stopover in Port Mac.

shirty_bear 2:30 pm 13 Dec 12

I drove to the Gold Coast (and back) in winter ’10 and ’11; both times went one leg on the coast road and one inland.

Both times I found the coast road to be shorter and faster (by about an hour, mainly because the connection from the inland route to the Coast is clunky – it’s a much better option for BrisVegas/ further north than it is for the Coast).

Having said that, I prefer the inland run; easier roads, less roadwork, *much* less traffic, and gives Sydney traffic & tolls the swerve. It’s a better run unless time is really important to you. And the coast road is being improved all the time, but it’ll be a while yet before it’s up to spec all the way.

p1 2:30 pm 13 Dec 12

ML-585 said :

And if you’re planning on going during the holiday season, take your time – better to arrive late than not at all.

I would suggest that from a few days before Christmas, until a few days after, the inland route might well be faster. I have lost a couple hours to traffic jams before…

Grail 2:25 pm 13 Dec 12

TomTom says the coast route is also the most economical.

enrique 2:25 pm 13 Dec 12

Coastal route for sure.

Do yourself (and your friends/family) a favour also… give yourself enough spare time to take good long breaks along the way including staying somewhere overnight. Don’t rush it… you may shave off a few hours by pushing yourself but if you have an accident you’re a long time dead.

switch 2:11 pm 13 Dec 12

Google Maps reckons the coastal route is faster by a couple of hours.

ML-585 2:08 pm 13 Dec 12

“Coastal route” always has been and always will be the fastest way to Gold Coast from Canberra. Watch out for roadworks from about Port Macquarie to north of Kempsey for the Kempsey bypass. And if you’re planning on going during the holiday season, take your time – better to arrive late than not at all.

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