Three girls have been stopped by police after driving a stolen vehicle more than 500 kilometres from Queensland to the NSW Mid North Coast, police say.
When officers approached the four-wheel-drive in Taree South on Monday afternoon, they allegedly found a 15-year-old girl in the driver's seat, with her two friends, aged 13 and 12, in the passenger seats.
Police said the Nissan Murano, which belonged to one of the girls' relatives, had been reported stolen from outside a house on the Gold Coast on Monday morning.
The same vehicle was spotted at a service centre on Bucketts Way in Taree South about 4pm on Monday.
Police allege the 15-year-old girl had driven the vehicle nearly 500 kilometres from the Gold Coast to Taree with her two friends before police caught up with them.
Inspector Ben Atkinson, from the Manning-Great Lakes Local Area Command, said the girls told police that they were on their way to Sydney.
He said it was remarkably lucky that no one was injured.
"They've driven 500-odd kilometres on one of the busiest pieces of road in the country. You have trucks, other motorists, people with caravans and novice drivers. The risk is pretty high," he said.
The oldest girl had been dealt with under the Young Offender's Act, and all three children had been placed in the care of the NSW Department of Family and Community Services.
The incident comes less than a month after a 12-year-old boy was stopped by police in Broken Hill after he attempted to drive across Australia on his own.
The boy, who was reportedly tall and more mature looking than his age, was about 1300 kilometres into his planned journey from Kendall, near Port Macquarie, to Perth when highway patrol officers pulled him over on April 22 when they noticed his car's bumper dragging along the ground.
"Checks revealed the driver to be a 12-year-old boy travelling from Kendall, NSW, on his way to Perth," a police spokesperson said at the time.
The boy told police he was planning to visit relatives in Western Australia.
He was issued with a caution for the illegal use of a conveyance, failing to pay for petrol and unlicensed driving.