I recently drove from Byron Bay to Sydney via the New England Highway. It was a wonderful drive, good roads very little traffic and quite scenic.
Maybe from Port Macquarie you could go west on the Oxley highway then onto the New England through Armidale, Glen Innes, Tenterfield Casino and Byron Bay.
This is a considerable detour but in my opinion a much more satifying drive.
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I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.
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