Australia’s best beach break destinations: a Christmas road trip guide

The Christmas break is nearly upon us! I’m pretty sure I read somewhere there’s only 30-something sleeps left until Christmas day. Where does the time go? It feels like Christmas only just happened. This year I’m spending my Christmas break a little differently than usual. I’m keeping things local and taking a road trip north, to enjoy a slow-paced, chilled-out beach break. We’re spending our time at a simple little beach house where we’ll be fishing, swimming, surfing and relaxing to our heart’s content. Is there anything better than feeling like you have nowhere to be and nothing to do?  Damn, I love holidays!

With all the expense that comes with Christmas, as well as the relatively short break some people have, it’s not always possible to head overseas for the break. Luckily, here in Australia, we’re blessed with some of the world’s best beaches and stunning scenery. Inspired by my own Christmas-break plans, I’ve put together three of my favourite beach break destinations in Australia. They’re three places I’ve visited and loved and I think they’re the perfect places to rent a little house or set up your tent and just relax.

But first, watch this…

Inskip Point and Rainbow Beach, Queensland

I visited this gorgeous little spot for the first time about 5 years ago with a group of friends and instantly fell in love with it. Inskip Point is around 3 hours drive from the heart of Brisbane, located north of Gympie and just outside Rainbow Beach. While the area tends to get busy during holiday seasons, it’s still a beautiful place to visit. In town, there’s a couple of pubs and restaurants as well as corner stores and bottle shops to keep you stocked up on supplies and well-fed.

The beaches here are fantastic and the water is beautiful, it’s a great area for fishing, enjoying the cool shade beneath trees and taking afternoon naps. If you’re lucky, you can spot dolphins swimming in the channel too. The locals are friendly and welcoming and there are some great breakfast spots in town.  My favourite thing to do is drive up to the Carlo Sand Blow at dawn and take in the incredible panoramic views, it’s unlike anywhere else I’ve been and is one of my favourite spots in the world.

Agnes Water & 1770, Queensland

Agnes Water is the sleepy little town where I’ll be spending my Christmas break and I cannot wait! This area is surprisingly well-known on the Australian backpacker circuit, but not very well-known among Queensland holiday-makers. It’s 7 hours drive north of Brisbane and about an hour south of Gladstone. It sounds like a crazy long drive, but it’s actually really fun as you pass through some cool little towns and see beautiful parts of Australia’s countryside.

The beaches here are just lovely, long stretches of golden sand and blue water you can enjoy all day. I love to wake up really early and go swimming then come home and hide out during the hottest part of the day and head back down for an afternoon swim in the afternoon.

The area has a small number of pubs, restaurants and corner stores. There’s a fantastic little market on the weekends where you can buy food, drinks, plants and arts and crafts. You can hire a paddleboard or kayak for some fun on the water, go fishing or head out to the Great Barrier Reef! It may be a little town, but it’s a quiet place that’s just perfect for taking some time out to relax and recharge.

Paperbark Forest Agnes Water girls trip

Port Macquarie & Camden Haven, New South Wales

I visited Port Macquarie and Camden Haven recently and will definitely be going back. The drive between Camden Haven and Port Macquarie takes in stunning coast land that one local described as comparable to the Great Ocean Road.

This is an especially great destination for families as there are so many fun activities for kids, including the Billabong Zoo and Ricardoes Tomatoes. The beaches in Port Macquarie are picture-perfect and a great place to spend your days enjoying the cool water and warm days.

Camden Haven, a short 30-minute drive from Port Macquarie is a little quieter. The little town has a big heart and offers a great range of restaurants for visitors. Hire a boat and spend your day BBQ-ing and fishing on the high-seas or drive up to the lookout for one of the most incredible views you could ever imagine. It’s an incredibly beautiful part of the world and, luckily for us, somewhere a lot of people don’t know to visit (yet!). There are some beautiful guest houses to stay at or you can rent your own place to come and go as you please.

Camden Haven

Things to remember

If you are planning a road trip, be sure to take ALL the necessary precautions to make sure it’s a safe one:

  • have your car serviced and check you’re prepared for any emergencies by packing a first aid kit, torch and even a blanket
  • make any necessary repairs, visit a site like Gumtree and stock up on any accessories, spare parts or repair equipment you may need
  • take regular breaks while driving or share the driving with someone else
  • make sure pets are restrained
  • do a tow check, if you’re towing a trailer or caravan, and
  • be prepared by having contact details for loved ones and emergency contacts like NRMA, and a vehicle accident claims firm, like Patinos.

Useful travel resources for your next adventure!

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Little Grey Box

I'm a writer and presenter and my husband Matt is a videographer. Together, we run Little Grey Box; an award-winning travel blog and YouTube channel.

4 thoughts on “Australia’s best beach break destinations: a Christmas road trip guide

  1. I have just spent 10 great days walking the Byron Bay beach each morning at 6am just fantastic. You must explore local food and shopping. The pizza restaurant is slice pizzeria is very good.

  2. Hi Phoebe,

    Guess I am lil late to plan, but was wondering if you have some suggestion for a family of 3 (dad. mum and kindy age son), between Sydney north shores through to Central coast and Newcastle? We had a fairly busy and stressful year with a massive relocation effort to Sydney, so would love to find someplace quiet and not so expensive.

    Awaiting your kind suggestions.

  3. Another great article Phoebe! I’ll be heading back home to Brisbane this Christmas and I can’t wait to have a chilled out beach holiday!

    1. Thanks Mel 🙂 I bet you can’t wait to get home again, you must be counting down. It’s particularly hot this year so prepare yourself. That said, nothing feels better than getting into the water at the beach on a hot summer day… I hope you have the BEST time while you’re home again xx

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