PLAN AHEAD: Find out when's the best and worst time to travel this holiday season.
PLAN AHEAD: Find out when's the best and worst time to travel this holiday season. Trevor Veale

MUST READ: Best and worst times to travel these holidays

ROADS and Maritime Services have released new data pinpointing when the traffic will be at its worst this holiday season along the Pacific Highway.

The information has been generated to provide motorists with information to assist them in managing their travel plans and getting them to their destination safely.

Roads and Maritime director of operations Anna Andrews said as Christmas approaches hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers will be heading to their favourite destinations up and down the NSW coast.

Ms Andrews said based on statistics compiled from the last two years, yesterday and Thursday, December 27 are the busiest days on the highway.

Roads and Maritime director of northern region John Alexander said whether you're going to and from the north coast suburbs or crossing the Queensland border, motorists need 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,” Mr Alexander said.

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 December 21-23

Between 12pm and 6pm on December 27

Between 3pm and 6pm from January 2-3

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

Mr Alexander said 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, December 21 to Wednesday, January 2. This includes no work on the Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway Upgrade,” Mr Alexander said. .

Electronic message signs will also be on the highway providing real time travel advice on the road and 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 132701.

Below is a gallery of the major time disruptions expected on the Pacific Highway: