9 answers

For a road trip to Cairns, is it cheaper to hire a campervan or to hire a car and stay at backpackers? We're 2 adults + 2 kids. Any other info you can share is appreciated. E.g., considering we don't have unlimited time, is it worth the extra time to go the Pacific route or are we better off taking the more direct route? And, any "can't miss" highlights along the way or should we just try to get up north to the reef (our main objective)?

9 Answers

  • +1

    We drove fromPort Douglas to Brisbane and for a lot of the route, we were inland, amongst the sugar cane fields and could not see the sea. If time is important, I would go the most direct route.

    We did our trip as a car hire and stayed mainly in serviced apartments along the way. This was a fairly cheap way to do it, but if I was to do it again, I would probably do a campervan - which is how we saw New Zealand.

    Much more flexible and you can push on and stay in nicer places, rather than spending time trying to find good accomodation for one or two nights.

    I liked the following places:
    Port Douglas
    The Atherton Tablelands
    Palm Cove
    Palm Bay
    Daintree Rain Forest
    Airlie Beach

    I didnt like Cairns or the Gold Coast that much to be honest. Not my thing.
    Hervey Bay for whale watching about 7 years ago

    Answered by Sam Richards via Site_iconTravellr.com
  • 0

    Call Travellers Auto Barn and ask them or visit the website. They've done some calculations about what's cheaper .

    One thing about a camper is that you can stay in the amaaaaazing national parks and campgrounds along the way - some of the best part of this roadtrip is the ability to visit and stay in remote places. With hostels, you will nearly always be in a town or city. I'm sure I would never have seen a platypus if I hadn't wandered down to the still waters beyond the streams shortly after dawn in the Wallaman Falls campground!

    My advice is to think about the kind of trip you and the kids really want (coffee shops/cities/towns and/or nature/parks/wildlife) and make a choice around that. about 7 years ago

    • from my personal experiences i would NOT recommend travellers autobarn. Have a look at the better car rentals like brits/maui or apollo campervans, they have budget options as well and they cars are generally in much better shape. DropBear over 5 years ago
  • 0

    how many days/weeks have you got planned for this. Sydney to Cairns is not just a days drive its a heck of a lot more then that. about 7 years ago

    Answered by Justin S via Site_iconTravellr.com
  • 0

    Yes I agree with evilpandas and would have to say "Are you insane wanting to drive from Sydney to Cairns?" It is so far, such a long way and there are bits of the drive that are quiet boring. I would suggest perhaps drive Sydney to Brisbane and stop at the beaches all along the coast and then fly to Cairns or if you want to do a bit of a drive then fly to Townsville and drive from there to Cairns
    Suzi about 7 years ago

    Answered by Suzi Watral via Site_iconTravellr.com
  • 0

    Hey @evilpandas and @swatral - agreed that you need to allow enough time to do this and enjoy it! But don't put someone off and call them insane.

    I did Cairns > Sydney and thought every single bit of it was amazing. I had about 2 months which was perfect for side trips and relaxing on the great beaches we found along the way. However, I also know someone who did it in 10 days last month... waaaaaay too quick. It was a crazy dash, not a holiday.

    @segdeha - it'd be useful if you could tell us how long you've got planned as it really does inform how you'd manage it. about 7 years ago

  • 0

    Hey everyone,

    Thanks for your replies! As we have limited time, we've decided to bite the bullet, money-wise, and fly to Cairns from Sydney. This way, though it costs more, we get to maximize our time at the reef.

    Any tips for tour companies in Cairns (snorkeling, not scuba) would be greatly appreciated! about 7 years ago

    Answered by Andrew Hedges via Site_iconTravellr.com
  • 0

    I hitchhiked Sydney to Darwin via the East Coast - great if you have the time. No sweat. about 7 years ago

  • 0

    take a look at Backpacking Queensland's website for some reputable tour operators out of Cairns.

    http://backpackingqueensland.com.au/cairns-and-tropical-north/ about 7 years ago

  • 0

    The comparison feature at http://www.mydriveholiday.com.au is very useful for travelers who are in the planning stage to hiring a campervan. The website got a huge of campers from different companies and you can all compare and book them right then, just like expedia. But the advantage is yours because you can compare all rates and features quickly almost 6 years ago

    Answered by Sydney via Site_iconTravellr.com

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