Be safe on the roads this holiday period.
Be safe on the roads this holiday period.

Holiday traffic hotspots to look out for this summer

THIS holiday season Roads and Maritime Services is providing motorists with the information they need to better help manage their travel plans and get to their destination safely.

Roads and Maritime Director of Operations Anna Andrews says as Christmas approaches, we will be experiencing the busiest time of the year on our roads with hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers heading to their favourite destinations up and down the NSW coast.

"Based on the traffic flow information from the last two years, Friday 21 and Thursday 27 December are expected to be the busiest days to travel on our highways and along the coastline," Anna says.

Roads and Maritime Director of Northern Region John Alexander says whether you're going to and from the north coast suburbs, or crossing the Queensland border, we are encouraging motorists to start planning their journey ahead of time to avoid the peak bumper to bumper traffic.

"We have a series of charts that will highlight holiday traffic hotspots in Woodburn and Coffs Harbour, showing days and times to avoid if possible," John says.

While some of the peak days are fairly predictable, motorists may be surprised to learn that leaving early in the morning isn't always the best option.

Based on delay data from previous years, the peak times to travel in northern NSW where motorists can expect travel times to increase by up to 90 minutes are:

  • Between 12pm and 6pm from 21 to 23 December
  • Between 12pm and 6pm on 27 December
  • Between 3pm and 6pm from 2 to 3 January

Anna says although these are expected to be the peak days to travel, it's important to remember delays will occur at the start of school holidays from 20 December through to the New Year.

"Planning your journey can make a huge difference to the experience, help you stay alert and provide a better holiday experience for everyone travelling," Anna says.

"It's time to plan ahead and save yourself some journey time!"

Find out how by visiting the holiday journeys webpage:

You will find expected journey information over the peak travel days, as well as alternative roads to avoid the queues.

While planning your journey, remember to include breaks along the way in our many public rest areas, or get off the highways to explore one of NSW's scenic towns.

To find your nearest rest area, Roads and Maritime has an interactive rest area map to search on:

Traffic Management in Northern NSW

Roads and Maritime will be using its traffic management systems to assist with the heavier traffic that is anticipated around Coffs Harbour, Ulmarra, Woodburn, Broadwater and Wardell.

Traffic delays around Woodburn northbound:

  • 21 to 23 December - up to 60 minutes between 12pm and 6pm
  • 27 December - up to 90 minutes between 12pm and 6pm
  • 2 to 3 January - up to 90 minutes between 12pm and 6pm

Traffic delays around Woodburn southbound:

  • 21 to 23 December - up to 40 minutes between 10am and 3pm
  • 27 December - up to 30 minutes between 12pm and 3pm
  • 2 to 3 January - up to 45 minutes between 10am and 12pm

John says the Pacific Highway has over 20 rest areas so holidaymakers are encouraged to plan ahead, take regular breaks to refresh and explore.

"To reduce impact to holiday traffic, no road work will be carried out on the Pacific Highway, from Friday 6am 21 December to Wednesday 6pm 2 January. This includes no work on the Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway Upgrade," John says.

Electronic message signs will be on the highway providing real time travel advice on the road.

Speed zone restrictions will be removed where it is safe to do so.

For the latest traffic updates download the Live Traffic NSW App, visit or call 132 701.

Five tips for a safe holiday journey

1. Plan your road trip like a flight

When you take a flight, you know when your flight leaves, when you check in and when you arrive. That planning can help make your road journey run more smoothly. Plan your stops and know your rest stops.

2. Know the busiest spots on your way

Do you know the most likely places - and times - where you might get stuck? There may be alternative roads that will help you get to where you're going faster or with less disruption.

3. Check if there are planned works where you're travelling

There may be some unavoidable works on roads over the holidays. Don't be caught off guard. Live Traffic is the best source of up to the minute traffic updates around NSW. If there has been an incident, it's the best way to find out. Check out or call132 701. There is also an app for most smartphones.

4. Know when holidaymakers pass through

If you use the big motorways and highways for everyday travel, know the peak times that holidaymakers will be passing through to help you avoid the queues by visiting

5. Prepare and don't trust your tired self

Bring some water bottles, snacks, games for the kids and be patient on the road. Many incidents during the holiday break are caused by driver frustration and fatigue.

Planning your journey and factoring in rest breaks can make a huge difference to your travels, contributing to reduced road incidents as well as providing a safer and better holiday for all involved.

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