My husband and I are going to be travelling Australia this fall (East Coast and Great Ocean Road). We will be there roughly from November 8 to December 25 and I've heard that up North in Cairns the weather gets very rainy in December. Since we will want to do the GBR and a Whitsundays sailing trip, we were going to fly from Sydney to Cairns when we arrive (in the hopes of getting better weather there in Nov) and will drive down the coast in a campervan back to Sydney. Does anyone know if this makes sense, or if we should just to the drive from Syndey to Cairns, arriving in Cairns in early/mid December?
This is what our route currently looks like and any suggestions are more than welcome! (Note that we are planing to fly into Sydney and out of Melbourne)
8 Nov, 17 Arrive in Sydney
10 Nov, 17 Fly Sydney to Cairns
10 - 13 Nov Cairns day trips (GBR, rainforest)
13 Nov, 17 Campervan road trip begins towards Sydney
15 - 19 Nov Whitsundays Island sailing
19 Nov-11 Dec Driving down coast, stopping in various towns
11 Dec, 17 Arrive in Sydney
13 Dec, 17 Fly Sydney to Adelaide
14 - 16 Dec Kangaroo Island (rental car)
16 -21 Dec Drive Adelaide to Melbourne
25 Dec, 17 Depart Melbourne
Me again! First things first, you're aware that it's going to be stinkin' hot in Cairns/Tropical north QLD throughout November and December? And yes, the rains will be coming down pretty heavy. Definitely a good idea to get the tropics done in November, as it'll just get hotter the longer you leave that.
Sounds like money isn't a problem here (lucky you!). Be sure to book those tours in as soon as possible, you'd hate to miss your spot on the reef!
Another tip would be to download the Britz Campervan app. We used this in New Zealand, and the advice and easy method of finding campsites made the trip so much easier.
My boyfriend and I go camping a lot, but we've got a 4x4. We use WikiCamps - this is a better app, but will cost you about $7, and if you're not from Aus, there's probably no use.
Do your research and find remote, free campsites - there are so many. I think the main thing a lot of tourists do, is drive into the expensive big 4 holiday parks, and don't bother going to look for free campsites that are a little more difficult to get to.
If you need any ideas for campsites closer to Sydney, in the NSW region, there's plenty of info on my blog: https://wheresmildo.com/
This is a lot to digest - happy to answer any other questions if you have them!
Milly 10 months ago
Hi Milly! Thank you SO much for taking the time to reply. I really appreciate it.
Great to hear that we're doing the right thing by flying to Cairns first (although it will unfortunately be an extra cost)
We are trying to keep costs down as much as we can, without sacrificing the things we want to do/see. Do you think a more budget friendly option would be to rent a car and stay in hostels instead, since the campervans do tend to be pricier and gas will be quite an expense? I would love to hear your thoughts on that.
I will also be sure to check out your blog!!
Danielle 10 months ago
I'm pro camping! You'll enjoy the trip so much more, and there's nothing like sitting in the van (rain, hail or shine) watching the sun go down, and rise first thing in the morning! You just can't get that freedom when you're staying in hostels and motels.
If you've got the budget to go by van, go by van and do the camping - but if you need to save money, certainly hire a car and search for cheap hostels. Just keep in mind some of the best off-the-beaten-track destinations (national parks and day hikes) won't be anywhere near hostels, so if adventure/outdoors is your thing, I suggest you make the most of the trip and go with the van.
Milly 10 months ago
I would make sure that you include Fraser Island in your trip if you can - it's stunning! Also, Kangaroo Island is one of my favorite places in Australia. Having done variations of both trips myself, I would allot a few less days to driving down the coast to Sydney, and a few more days to the Great Ocean Road, South Australia and Kangaroo Island. Have an awesome trip!
Alicia 10 months ago
Thanks Milly! We're having quite a lot of trouble finding campervans for our dates, and our budget isn't huge, so we're thinking of going the car route, but trying to buy some simple camping gear when we arrive so we have the option of both camping and hostels.
Alicia, thanks for that tip! We're definitely planning to see Fraser Island as well. Good to know about the drive times too. Do you think we could forgo the flights in the south from Sydney, so we just drive all the way from Cairns to Adelaide? Could we do that in 5 or 6 weeks? Or is it smart to fly from Sydney to Adelaide and drive GOR back to Melbourne?
Danielle 10 months ago