Cairns to Sydney in July(8 Posts)
Planning a 3 week trip in July. 3 Adults - 1 who has never been before. No idea of an itinerary and looking for ideas. We like history, scuba diving and will probably be driving - possibly a camper van or motorhome but think maybe staying in self catering will win in the end! Ideas would be most welcome
Might it be better to fly from Cairns to Brisbane and drive the last part to Sydney?
I think you should drive the whole lot! I love a good road trip. If you flew to Brisbane you'd miss the Great Barrier Reef.. I would stay in Airlie Beach at least, and do some diving from there.
It has been a long time since I did that route but from memory, a few highlights were the reef, Bundaberg (sugar country and ginger beer and rum, S.E. Queensland, which is paradise, especially the rainforest areas, Byron Bay (very popular seaside town), and any 'big' things like the Big Pineapple and the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is nice too.
I have done some really special and fascinating visits to aboriginal sites in the Northern Territory with guides, I'm sure there would be similar in Queensland.
The small country towns you encounter along the way are often a piece of colonial/pioneering history in themselves, especially if you go to the biggest oldest pub on the Main Street.
I am currently in the middle of a three week trip from Cairns to Sydney, so can hopefully help. We stopped in Singapore for 3 days which has helped us get over the jet lag a little, broke up the very long flights and gave us something a little different.
Our itinerary is -
Singapore 3 days, fly to Cairns
Drive up to Port Douglas for 4 days
Drive down to Mission Beach for 2 days
Drive to Townsville, catch ferry to Magnerix Island for two days
Catch ferry back to Townsville, drive to Airlie Beach for a day
Catch ferry to Hamilton Island for two days
Fly to Sydney from Hamilton Island
Sydney for 4 days
Fly back to London via Singapore
We found that we didn't like Cairns that much as it's a very backpacker focused town. Port Douglas was much prettier and has a nicer feel to it. We stayed at an eco resort between the two called Thala Beach which was a nice balance. North of there is the Cape Tribulation and Daintree which is well worth a day trip. You can see crocodiles and so rainforest walks.
All of the towns and islands south of Cairns have been beautiful and well worth a visit. There are lots of waterfalls on the way down, wine farms and plenty to see. The driving has been ok too, and we are only around 3 hours between places so it's not too much wasted time. If you do fly from Cairns to Sydney or Brisbane, you will miss the Whitsunday Islands which for us is a must see. Please google image search Hill Inlet to get what I mean!
We booked via Trailfinders who have arranged everything for us, and it worked out a bit cheaper than doing it ourselves and much more convenient.
The main Great Barrier Reef excursions go from Cairns and PD. Lots of Whitsunday Island tours and walks from Airlie Beach which is the gateway to the Whitsundays. Make sure you factor in enough time to do these, especially if driving.
You will have a great time!
Forgot to add, some of the travel agents have sample itineraries on their websites. You don't have to go with them, but it will give you some ideas of where you want to visit and roughly how long to spend in each place.
Thank you Pillow and Lady, just the sort of ideas I was looking for. We are going to book it through Trailfinders. It is actually July next year that we are going so loads of time to plan!
I'm sure you are aware that July is Winter here but it can be colder than you expect in Sydney, obviously a lot warmer in NT/Queensland. Winterfest in the Blue Mountains is fun though, Katoomba is nice with kids and Scenic World is worth a visit. We had UK visitors last July and despite lots of expectation setting they still seemed a bit surprised that the pool was purely decorative in Winter and if you are renting homes (through Airbnb, Stayz etc. which can be a good option for families) it is worth checking the situation with heating. Hotels/apartments etc. will obviously be fine but a lot of Sydney homes are not built for the cold, we just suffer through the six or so cold weeks every year then forget about it for another twelve months
We went to Tropical North Queensland and Sydney in July and even in TNQ it was too cold to swim in the hotel pool for more than a few minutes. It was generally T-shirt weather, but we had a lovely time. Stayed in Port Douglas, went to Dunk Island (now sadly destroyed by a hurricane) and flew to Sydney. In Sydney we got by with sweatshirts but it was windy, I seem to remember, and the boys' cheeks got chapped.
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