Roadtrip from Sydney to Cairns with Selim family.
Sydney to Cairns
Best Time of the Year
All year round
- Snorkelling and diving at Great Barrier Reef
- Swimming at Mossman Gorge
- Visiting Lake Mckenzie
- Staying at Platypus Bush Camp
Sydney to Port Stephens
Distance 200km - Driving Time 3hrs
We stayed in Sydney for three days and were initially worried about finding a caravan park so close to the city. To our surprise found Lane Cove River Tourist Park, a lovely site just 10 minute walk from the train. After Sydney, we went to Newcastle where we enjoyed our first wine tasting at Hunter Valley. We stayed at a free campsite at Redhead beach which was just the parking lot of the surfing club. Was really cool to hear the waves crashing on the beach all night! From there we went to Port Stephens, one of our favourite spots of the whole trip. We saw dolphins and other wildlife, snorkelled in clear water and hiked to the top of Tomaree Heads.
Distance 738km - Driving Time 3hrs
After Port Stephens, we went inland to Barrington Tops National Park which was a great experience in wild camping. We saw our first snake, collected fire wood and enjoyed roasting marshmallows over the fire every night. We did some lovely hikes through the forests, crossing streams and enjoying the abundant bird life. After a few days we got back to the coast and had great fun boogie boarding and swimming in the surf beaches.
Gold Coast, Noosa Heads and Fraser Island
Distance 1235km - Driving Time over a few days
We briefly stopped at Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast for the day but all the high rise buildings and attractions wasn’t too our liking. The beaches were really beautiful though. We continued north onwards to Noosa Heads. We loved the chilled environment in the region, loved visiting i Market, such good food! We hung out at sunshine beach, went to Fraser Island which was really amazing. Lake Mckenzie, Eli Creek, and driving on the beach were such unique experiences. When we got back to the mainland we stayed at Tin Can Bay Caravan Park and saw wild dolphins in tin can bay. This was definitely one of the top highlights of our road trip.
Rockhampton to Townsville
Distance 819km - Driving Time over a few days
Stopping at the Tropic of Capricorn in Rockhampton was great for some travel schooling with the kids. The scenery just quite suddenly as did the weather. It was hotter, more humid and really lush and green all around. We started seeing sugar cane plantations along with mango and banana trees. We stayed at an amazing holiday park in Townsville – Big4 Walkabout Palms, it had a great resort style swimming pool. We saw the big mango and the big shrimp, part of Australia’s big structures. At Eungella National Park we stayed at an awesome bush camp – Platypus Bush Camp. We hiked up to the Wheel of Fire and swam at the water hole at the top next to the waterfalls.
Port Douglas, Cape Tribulation to Cairns
Distance 527km - Driving Time 7hrs
The last 6 days of our month-long campervan trip in Australia was spent travelling across Tropical North Queensland from Port Douglas to Cape Tribulation. We dived at the Great Barrier Reef, visited Daintree National Park, the oldest rainforest in the world, swam at Mossman Gorge and did an amazing aboriginal dreamtime walk. We also went up to Cape Tribulation where the reef meets the rainforest and saw the critically endangered Cassowary! We stayed at some really high end campervan sites including Tropical Breeze Caravan Park.
Road trip highlights:
Where the best view was?
Tomaree Heads Summit Walk, Port Stephens, Nelson Bay
Where you stopped for a picnic?
Pebbly Beach, Murramarang National Park, saw wild wallabies hopping onto the beach from the forest, enjoyed a picnic on the beach and then swam in the sea
Where was your favourite place/town visited and why?
Fraser Island – one of the most unique places we have ever visited. Lake McKenzie was just picture perfect – shades of turquoise, deep blue and clear water.
What was your favourite experience/activity & why?
Swimming at Mossman Gorge – clearest water we have seen to date, snorkelling at Great Barrier Reef – this was one for the bucket list and Boogie boarding at Ballina, new experience for the kids and the waves were just right for having great fun whilst being safe.
Snorkelling and diving at Great Barrier Reef, swimming at Mossman Gorge, seeing wild dolphins at Tin Can Bay.
Best café for coffee?
Banana Bean Cafe Rainbow Beach – lovely organic smoothies and the coffee was excellent.
Red Neds, Port Stephens, Nelson Bay – Best Gourmet Pies in the world! We ate their twice and tried several of their savoury pies.
Did you have a favourite Holiday Park you stayed in and why?
Townsville Big4 Walkabout Palms Holiday Park. Amazing resort style swimming pool, spent hours in the pool!
What would be your top tip for other campervan travellers?
Driver Tip: Try not plan more than 3 hour google map drive time. Add one hour or picnic lunch and it then leaves a few hours to do an activity most days.
Can you share a recipe from something you cooked in the campervan?
Kichuri – traditional Bengali dish which you usually have on a rainy day, a Moorish day. Recipe: Serves 4-6. 2 cups Basmati Rice, 1 cup of red split lentils, 1 tsp turmeric, half a tsp salt (adjust to taste), pinch of red chilli powder. Method: wash rice and lentils together, drain water, add 4 cups of fresh water, place on medium heat, bring to a simmer then add turmeric, salt and chilli, stir well and allow water to evaporate. When water almost gone, turn off fire, cover with a lid for 10 minutes. Enjoy with an omelette or pickles from your local Indian store.
What is your greatest memory of the whole campervan holiday?
We really loved the freedom that comes with campervan travel, just to be able to zigzag inland and then back to the coast as we please, and staying somewhere as little or as long as we want to. Showing up at Platypus Bush Camp, Eungella National Park was one of our top favourite memory.