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Family Roadtrip from Sydney to Cairns

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An Australia road trip makes for an incredible family campervan holiday. And the trip from Sydney to Cairns is one that is truly unforgettable. Spanning 2460 km, this road trip is worth planning over at least 10 days – but you could easily stretch it out to a few weeks if you have the time!

As you travel from Sydney to Cairns, you’ll discover there’s an endless offering of things to see and do for families with children of all ages. And there’s no better way to enjoy it than with the freedom and flexibility of a Britz campervan hire

Whether you want to spend time at the beach, bushwalking, or having fun at adventure theme parks, this Australian road trip has it all. In fact, it has so much that it can be hard to know where to start and how to make the most of everything on offer! Don’t worry, we’ve done the hard work for you and have researched some of the best places to visit along the way. We’ve put them all together in our ultimate 10-day Sydney to Cairns road trip itinerary. 

This popular route starts in Sydney and then takes you to Port Stephens via the Hunter Valley before heading up the coast through some of Australia’s must-see cities including Byron Bay, Brisbane, Noosa Heads, and more. 

Pick up your Britz campervan at our Sydney branch, enjoy your East Coast road trip at your own pace, and then drop off your campervan at our Cairns branch.

Travel

10 days


Route

Sydney to Cairns

2922km


Best Time of the Year

All year round

Highlights

  • Snorkelling at Great Lakes Marine Park
  • A day trip to Fraser Island
  • Wine tasting at Hunter Valley
  • Museum of Underwater Art
  • Swimming at Airlie Beach

The Journey

Days

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Day 1
Sydney to Port Stephens via Hunter Valley

Distance 361km - Driving Time 5 hours 10 minutes

It’s day one of your exciting family campervan holiday! Get started by picking up your pre-booked Britz camper from our Sydney branch at 1/1801 Botany Road, Banksmeadow. You’ll be welcomed by our friendly Britz team who will get you set up and ready for the road with everything you need to know about your campervan.

Today, you’ll head up the East Coast and make your first stop in Newcastle (about a 3 hour, 15 minute  drive). Stretch your legs at the Newcastle Memorial Walk, a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landing in Gallipoli. 

Next, it’s time to head to Australia’s wine country – Hunter Valley. Here, you can enjoy a spot of wine tasting and some lunch. Don’t forget to pick up a bottle or two to enjoy once you’re parked up this evening. Some great family-friendly wineries in the region include Peter Drayton Wines, Calais Estate, and Misty Glen Wines

From the valley vineyards, your next stop is Port Stephens (about 2 hours drive). Time to hit the road! 

Tourism Australia Image Gallery

Day 2
Port Stephens

As you’ll discover, Port Stephens is full of fantastic activities for the whole family. Here are a few top recommendations to enjoy while you’re here: 

Park up for the night at Halifax Camping Ground. This great campground is right next to the beach in Port Stephens. If you prefer a free camping experience, you can park at the surfing club parking lot at Redhead Beach. 

Tourism Australia Image Gallery

Day 3
Port Stephens to Byron Bay

Distance 621km - Driving Time 6 hours 30 minutes

Wake up bright and early today – it’s a big driving day! But there are plenty of good stops along the way for the kids. Here are a few suggestions:

For a great family-friendly campground experience, plan a stay at Big 4 Byron Bay.

Tourism Australia Image Gallery

Day 4
Byron Bay

In the mood to lounge in the sun, enjoy a swim, and soak up the serenity? You’re going to love Byron Bay! Plan a day (or two) exploring this coastal paradise and all it has to offer. Some of the must-dos while you’re here include:

  • A stroll (and swim) at Belongil Beach

Park up your campervan for the night at BIG4 Byron Bay.

Tourism Australia Image Gallery

Day 5
Byron Bay to Noosa Heads

Distance 302km - Driving Time 3 hours 40 minutes

It’s day five of your Australia road trip, you’re halfway! Today you’ll be heading to Noosa Heads. This popular holiday destination is packed full of fun for families. Here are a few top activities to add to your road trip itinerary planner:

  • Visit the Eumundi Markets where you can browse the stalls, try the tasty local produce, and enjoy great entertainment. The markets are open every Wednesday (8 am – 1.30 pm) and Saturday (7 am – 2 pm) all year round.

  • Take a day trip to Fraser Island. You’ll be led by an experienced local guide who will show you the island’s unique sights including the iconic Maheno shipwreck. 

  • See the marine life at SeaLife Sunshine Coast. There are some great experiences on offer including a behind-the-scenes tour and swimming with sharks!

For a truly memorable camping experience, book a campsite at Tin Can Bay Tourist Park.  This great campsite is just a short stroll from nearby cafes and restaurants. Plus, you can hand-feed dolphins at the Barnacles Dolphin Centre – a truly unforgettable experience!

Tourism Australia Image Gallery

Day 6
Noosa Heads to Rockhampton

Distance 526km - Driving Time 6 hours 20 minutes

It’s another big driving day today as your Australia road trip takes you to Rockhampton. Make sure you are well-rested and ready for an early start. Rockhampton is a great destination for families, and a great place to switch off, relax, and enjoy nature at its finest. Here are some of our top recommendations:

  • Discover the historic gold-mining town of Mount Morgan. Visit the Railway Museum, grab a tasty pie from the Mount Morgan Hot Bread Shop, and take in the incredible views from the Arthur Timms Lookout.

  • Spend the afternoon at Kershaw Gardens Playground. This amazing playground is home to swings, zip lines, hamster wheels, and the 9-metre-tall super sphere!

  • Go underground at the Capricorn Caves. Experience the breathtaking acoustics in the Cathedral Cave on one of the hourly tours.

Book yourself into a powered campsite at the Capricorn Yeppoon Holiday Park.

Tourism Australia Image Gallery

Day 7
Rockhampton to Airlie Beach

Distance 482km - Driving Time 5 hours 20 minutes

It’s another big day today as you drive from Rockhampton to Airlie Beach. This idyllic coastal town is a tourist mecca and with good reason! From its stunning beach to its vibrant cafes and shopping, Airlie Beach is one of Australia’s ultimate holiday destinations. There’s loads to see and do, here are a few activities to get you started:

  • Visit Eungella National Park and surround yourself with lush forest and birdsong on one of the many walking tracks. More than 200 bird species have been recorded throughout the park!

  • Enjoy a sweet experience at the Sarina Sugar Shed. Take a tour behind the scenes to learn how sugar cane is processed. Enjoy a tasting session of non-alcoholic ginger beer as well as yummy sauces and condiments. 

  • Relax by the Airlie Lagoon and wander through the Saturday morning markets.

 

For an unforgettable experience, treat the kids to a stay at the BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort

Tourism Australia Image Gallery

Day 8
Airlie Beach

Airlie Beach has so much to enjoy, that we suggest staying at least another night and making the most of everything on offer. Here are a few more great activities to enjoy:

  • Take a ride on the Aquaduck amphibious bus.

  • Spend an afternoon playing with the kids at the BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort. This incredible resort is a destination in itself with a waterslide park, mini golf, pedal karts, an animal park and loads more.

  • Snorkel the fringing reef. These calm waters are a great place to see a huge variety of marine life including green sea turtles and manta rays!

Tourism Australia Image Gallery

Day 9
Airlie Beach to Townsville

Distance 275km - Driving Time 3 hours 25 minutes

From its fascinating history and culture to its incredible arts and entertainment scene, Townsville is a fantastic family holiday destination. Here are a few great places to check out:

  • Visit the Billabong Sanctuary and watch the crocs being fed, cuddle a wombat, and have a photo with a koala! 

  • Check out the Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA), a series of installations by world-famous underwater sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor. 

  • Cool off under the giant fig trees with a gelato from Juliette’s

Park your campervan up for the night at BIG4 Ingenia Holidays Townsville.

Tourism Australia Image Gallery

Day 10
Townsville to Cairns

Distance 347km - Driving Time 4 hours 25 minutes

Hit the road for the last time as you head to your final destination and explore Cairns. There is plenty to see and do while you’re here, including:

  • Indulge your inner adrenaline junkie at the Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome, the world’s first challenge ropes course in a wildlife park!

  • For something a little more serene, head to the Cairns Aquarium and check out the marine life.

  • And for something free and fun, head to the Cairns Botanic Gardens – home to one of only two Amorphophallus Titanums plants found in Australia. This massive flowering plant has leaves that can grow up to seven metres!

Now that your incredible Australia road trip is complete, drop off your campervan at the Britz branch in Cairns.

Other Tropical North Queensland Attractions to explore

Want more? There are plenty of other attractions worth the visit. So if you would like to extend your holiday, add these things to your travel itinerary. 

  • Port Douglas

  • Cape Tribulation

  • Daintree National Park

  • Swimming at Mossman Gorge

  • Cape Tribulation where you can see the critically endangered Cassowary bird

Ready to book your own incredible Australia road trip?

What an action-packed 10 days! From cuddly koalas and wild dolphins to adventure playgrounds and vibrant markets – the Australia road trip from Sydney to Cairns packs a lot of punch! 

A Britz campervan hire makes family holidays so much easier – and more memorable! Take the next step toward your ultimate Australia family road trip and book your Britz campervan online now.

With 10 Britz branches throughout Australia, you can pick up your campervan at one branch and drop it off at another. So easy!