Campervan Hire Sydney to Cairns Review by Sassi
Day One – Sydney to the Blue Mountains
We picked up our Travel Wheels Campervan and headed towards the Blue Mountains! Our trip had started and we were super excited! This is our blog for our campervan hire sydney to cairns road trip.
We finally Leave Sydney and head to Katooba
It took about two hours to drive the campervan out of Sydney and finally to Katoomba. This is right in the heart of the Blue Mountains. From here you can easily get to Three Sisters, Katoomba Falls, Scenic Skyway and the world’s steepest railway! First stop was “echo point” to check the incredible views! From here we parked up the campervan for free and dreamed about tomorrow!
Day 2 – Blue Mountains to Newcastle
In the morning we went to Grovett Leap and Evans Lookout which is near Blackheath and checked out the amazing views there. Then we made our way back to Katoomba and went to Scenic World. But we couldn’t really see the Wentworth Falls very well because it was kinda rainy and foggy, so we left the Blue Mountains and went to Newcastle. We went to Lack Macquarie (just a small detour off the main highway), but unfortunately it was still raining though and wasn’t that great. We kept going, got to Newcastle and found a nice place to stay for the night which was next to the beach at Nobbys Head.
Day 3 – Newcastle to Port Macquarie
We went for a stunning walk around Nobbys Head. It was amazing and at the obelisk at King Edwards Park you can look out over the whole city. Then we went to Blackbutt reserve. There are heaps of kangaroos, koalas and parrots there. The admission was free and at two o’clock you can have a picture with a koala for only $3. Then it was onto Nelson Bay which is known for being the dolphin capital and also for Red Neds famous pieshop J. He makes more than 50 different pies and has won heaps of awards. Afterwards we stopped at Rocks Roadhouse (off the main highway), which has a huge fake Uluru on top of the shop.
Finally we arrived in Port Macquarie and found a night place to stay at Towns Beach.
Day 4 – Port Macquarie to Coffs Harbour
In the morning we checked out the Sundowner Breakwall, which is made up of lots of rocks painted by tourists. If you are a koala lover, you should go to the Koala hospital in Port Macquarie – you can see these really cute koalas which are ill getting lots of food and being looked after.
We then got back on the highway and took the exit to Kempsey (route 15), which brings you to the crescent head (longboarder mecca!). From the Smoky Cape lighthouse there is the most amazing view stretching out so far and if you are lucky you can see some whales off the coast.
After that we had a look at the Trial Bay jail and had a taste of life in prison during the 19th century. If you like fresh oysters, there are lots of places to buy them along the way to Coffs harbour and Park beach is a good spot to stay overnight there.
Day 5 – Coffs Harbour to Byron Bay
After brekkie we headed to Byron Bay. We saw the Big Banana along the way, but unfortunately it was a big disappointment. We kept going a few km’s down the highway and found the ‘Legend of Surf’ museum, which was awesome.
Our first destination in Byron Bay was the lighthouse, which was a great spot to see the sunset. Finding somewhere to part for the night was quite difficult (harder than we thought), but we managed to get somewhere in the end.
Day 6 – Byron Bay
In the morning we were woken by a guy from the city council telling us (nicely) to move along because apparently it is illegal to stay the night on Bryon beach. But it’s quite expensive when you are staying at a camping ground you get charged at least $30 a night for an unpowered site. So, after Byron bay we went to another town about 7 km away where we found a good spot to camp and met really good people also camping there.
Day 7 – Byron Bay to Nim Bin to Surfers Paradise
If you need to recharge your mobile phones or cameras, a good place is the Café Fresh or Byronian, which is in the centre of town. We had a coffee and made our way to Nim Bin. Nim Bin is a small Hippie town, about one hour from Byron. It is really worth visiting, and we felt like it was the most relaxed town we had visited.
From Nim Bin we drove to Tweeds Head, where you have some incredible views to look out at. You can see the skyline of Surfers Paradise. Later on, we went to Surfers and spend the night at Southport mainbeach.
Day 8 – Surfers Paradise
We allowed ourselves a day of rest on the beach, because it was such a nice and sunny day. Later we walked along the main shopping mall of ‘Little Las Vegas’ and saw some stunning buildings. For dinner we cooked stir fried noodles with oyster sauce. Mmmmmm Yum!!
Day 9 – Surfers Paradise to Redcliff
Due to the rainy weather we decided to go further north and were planning on going into Warner Brothers Movie World along the way, but it was going to cost $60 per person so we didn’t go in the end.
Instead we made a detour to visit the Tambourine Mountains and their famous waterfalls. Unfortunately it was raining and we couldn’t walk along the path to the Witches Falls because it was too muddy and slippery so we drove to Brisbane and found a place to sleep in a suburb called Redcliff. We watched the State of Origin rugby at the local RSL.
Day 10 – Redcliff to Mooloolaba (Sunshine Coast)
After having a good brekkie by the beach, we got caught in the rain again. So we went to the brand new indoor swimming pool “Dolphins” in Redcliff and had some fun. Does anyone remember Steve Irwin “the crocodile hunter” with his great TV shows? His family owns the “Australia Zoo” near Coloundra. The admission to the zoo is $54 but you are able to get really close to the crocodiles and snakes (if that’s what you are into!)
We went onto Mooloolaba, where we enjoyed some sunshine and the beautiful beach. We met up with two Italian friends and had… guess what? Delicious pasta (of course!) made by our friends
Day 11 + 12 – Mooloolaba
We had a great bike ride along the coast, which was stunning. Later on we checked out the surf at Moroochy beach, which was really great. After lunch we had a lovely lazy afternoon just chilling out at the beach. We walked along the beach to the lighthouse and saw an amazing sunset. We had Thai for dinner, at a restaurant right next to the beach (would highly recommend).
Today we have nothing special to report. We spent all day long by the beach and enjoyed the beautiful weather. For dinner we went to the Red Rooster and found a nice place to sleep at the marina in Mooloolaba.
Day 13 – Mooloolaba to Noosa
Mooloolaba is really nice, but after 3 awesome days it’s definitely time to move on. After saying goodbye to our Italian friends we headed towards Noosa. We stopped at the big Pineapple for a quick photo session. It’s hilarious how Australians are into their ‘big’ things. We got to Noosa and went for a hike in the National Park.
We would recommend the Tengel Wood path which takes about 2 hours.You get to see some amazing trees, weird animals, beaches with hardly anyone on them and, if you are really lucky, some dolphins and koalas.
Day 14 – Noosa to Tin Can Bay
This morning we have again been woken up the guy from the city council, even though the police told us that we were allowed to sleep in a car overnight at the entrance to the beach. Seems like the QLD police don’t talk to each other ;-).
Anyway we had an awesome day by the beach at Everglades National Park in Noosa.
In Noosa, camping is strictly prohibited and if they catch you, you will have to pay up to $750! So we decided to keep moving and we ended up in Tin Can Bay. It’s a small nice town near to Rainbow Beach and you don’t have to worry about where to camp.
Day 15 – Tin Can Bay to Hervey Bay
We had a relaxing night in Tin Can Bay and fortunately were not woken up by the council!
In Harvey Bay we booked a one day trip to Fraser Island for $159 per person.
Later on we went to the Vic Hislops Shark Expo. Admission was $12 and you get to see a really huge deep frozen great white shark, and hear heaps of amazing and scary stories about sharks. And for those of you who think that dolphins and sharks don’t share the same area, you are wrong – it seems to be just an old wives tale.
At the end of the day we found a nice spot to sleep at the Hervey Bay sailing club.
Day 16 – Fraser Island
Fraser Island here we come! We’re so excited! At about 10am we landed on the world’s biggest sand island. It took one hour by ferry to get from Hervey Bay to Moon Point. The way through Yidney Scrub to Happy Valley felt like a ride on a rollercoaster. It was unbelievable how Richard, the tour guide, drove this big 4WD bus through these tiny little sand paths. After having a yummy lunch at Happy Valley, we headed to the beach.
We really enjoyed the Pinnacles, the Maheno shipwreck and Eli creek. But the most amazing part was the flight over the whole island which only cost $70. Only from the air can you get to see the island. We even spotted a shark in the ocean.
We had a swim in Lake Garawongera and then it was time to say goodbye to this beautiful island.
As a little bit of advice guys, we would suggest booking your own 4WD for 2 days cause you can’t see everything in one day
Day 17 – Childers to Agnes Water to 1770
The two towns Agnes Water and 1770 are a little further away from the hustle and bustle of the city, but the detour is definitely worth it though because they just so beautiful. You will find a nice beach at Agnes Water and in 1770 you have the choice of two really nice cafes, stunning views and an easygoing feeling about the town to enjoy.
There are lots of things you can do, like a Harley Davidson ride or a kayak trip to the Great Barrier Reef, or you can just relax in the park or by the beach. We found a nice place to stay overnight and had a fun evening with some other campers we met.
Day 18 – 1770 to Rockhampton
We headed north to Rockhampton Bruce Highway which is in-between 1770 and Rockhampton and I have to say, it was quite unspectacular and boring. Arrived in Rockhampton and went to the zoo (free) and the botanical gardens. Another little bit of advice – animal feedings are around 3pm if you are interested. If anyone needs a hot shower or a washing machine? We recommend going to the Arche Hotel, its only $5 per night.
Day 19 – Rockhampton to Mackay
The ride to Mackay was again pretty boring and the city itself was as well; just another country town really.
We went to the marina village, which had some quite nice seafood and some nice restaurants. Afterwards we went to the northern beaches to settle in for the night. Mackay is only worth visiting if you’re tired of driving or if you have some spare time.
Day 20 – Mackay to Airlie Beach
The Victoria St Sunday market in Mackay, which was really well recommended in all the tourist info, was actually quite disappointing. When we got to Airlie Beach we went for a swim in the Lagoon. After that we walked along Shute Harbour Rd and had a nice chilled beer in the famous Magnums biergarden.
In the evening we drove to Shute Harbour to the lion’s lookout an enjoyed dinner and a lovely sunset.
Finding a good parking spot in Airlie was again pretty difficult, so we drove all the way back to Proserpine to be able to sleep without worrying about getting a fine.
Day 21,22,23 – Sailing trip to Whitsundays on ‘Spank me’
Amazing, awesome, wicked and sick!! That definitely sums up our trip! We don’t wanna bore you with details – you just have to experience it yourselves. But we do wanna give you a little taste of what you are in store for if you do get to go….
What’s better than great food, sailing with dolphins, snorkeling with turtles and diving with sharks?!! All at the amazing Great Barrier Reef, the beautiful Whitsundays and, the most amazing beach in the world…..Whitehaven beach. You are really gonna love this trip if you do it – we promise!
Day 24 – Airlie Beach to Townsville
Leaving Airlie behind, we headed to Bowen (Bowenwood). This is where they shot some of the scenes for the movie “Australia”, and you can still experience some of the hype from the movie…but that’s about it for Bowen.
Our next destination was Townsville, which is really worth going to. There is a quite nice esplanade with heaps of BBQ spots, a huge seawater pool and a water playground, which is closed for cleaning on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. In the evening we had a great time at a really nice campus party at townsville university.
Day 25 – Townsville to Mission Beach
With a bit of a hangover from the night before we headed over to Mission beach. The drive there was pretty boring but if you wanted you could try for a job during the banana harvesting season in Tully.
Mission beach is just beautiful. Nice beaches, heaps of palm trees and lot of cafes and restaurants.
If you’re looking for a nice place to stay overnight we would definitely recommend the boattramp near the lookout.
Day 26 – Mission Beach
We started the day with a stunning walk along the beach. After that we had a nice brekkie for just $5 at Piccolos in the heart of the town. On the way, we even saw a cassowary (a rare, beautiful and flightless bird). For the adrenalin junkies among us, Mission Beach is the place to be. There are heaps of extreme, or not so extreme, activities to do like white-water rafting, skydiving or snorkelling and diving at the Reef. But if you prefer to take it a bit easier, you can just enjoy a nice day at the beach.
Day 27 – Mission Beach to Cairns to Port Douglas
Mission Beach was pretty cool, but it was time to get going. The drive to Cairns was again pretty boring. At first sight Cairns looks quite nice. There is a nice Esplanade and heaps of backpackers looking for fun and parties. If you need a hot shower just go to the lagoon, there are heaps. After some hours in Cairns we headed to port Douglas. The Cook Highway to Port Douglas is amazing! You have the rainforest on your left and the beaches on your right. Looks like the way to PARADISE. Unfortunately it was already dark when we arrived here so we can’t tell you anything too much about it today.
Day 28 – Port Douglas
In the morning we walked along the main shopping street, which is worth a look, because there are really nice coffee shops, fancy restaurants and bars. Afterwards we headed to beach which is beautiful for some relaxing. In the evening we walked to the lookout, where you there is the most amazing view all over port douglas.We just arrived and already we have a little crush on the place.
Day 29 – Port Douglas
Port Douglas is so awesome and so we thought we would try and get some work here! Every day the temperature is 30 degrees and the water is about 25 degrees. AWESOME!!! In only half a day we have found a job for 3 months. Flats and apartments are really cheap compared to Sydney and Melbourne. If you’re looking for a job in hospitality and tourism, Port Douglas is the place to be. There are heaps of jobs available from April till October. The only “bad” thing is that free camping is not allowed. The only way to do that is if you are prepared to get up early at about 6.30 to 7.00 o’clock, otherwise you will get fined. If you’re fine with that there it’s not such a problem.
Day 30 – Port Douglas
Today we had a trial day at work and it went well J We both have new jobs and tonight went to the Ironbar to celebrate. At about 8.30 they started the toad races which mean that you bet on some of the toads and if you’re lucky you can win a voucher for a free open water dive trip!
Day 31 – Mossman to Cairns to Port Douglas
In the morning we drove to Mossman. Mossman is famous for the Mossman gorge. It’s a really nice place to have a cool swim in the rainforest. Don’t worry; there are no crocs, just some black perches and turtles.
The water comes from the mountains and so is a bit chilly, but if the weather is fine it’s awesome to have a swim there.
Unfortunately our camera has stopped working so we had to drive to Cairns to get it fixed. It was going to cost more to fix it than it was to buy a new one, so we ended up buying a new camera today. Little word of advice – make sure you don’t get sand in your lenses!
Day 32 – End
Here’s a list of things we recommend to do in Port Douglas:
- snorkel in the reef
- bike along the 4 mile beach
- spot a crocodile
- swim in Mossman Gorge
- check out Cape Tribulation
- use the toilets at zinc bar
- go fishing
- take a heli ride
- hire a jet ski
- watch the sunset
- sail for free at the yacht Club
- shop in town