August 12, 2022

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Australia is a large country and most visitors do not try and see it all...

Australia is a large country and most visitors do not try and see it all in one visit but instead select a few places to visit that will give them a range of different experiences and scenery to enjoy. The perfect way to see multiple places is with a self drive holiday and a campervan holiday suits this perfectly.

A large number of travellers visiting Australia do a self drive trip on the east coast of Australia from Sydney or Melbourne to Brisbane or Cairns. On any of these routes you can experience Australia’s great beaches and bush scenery. If you go Sydney to Cairns you can also experience tropical rainforests and the Great Barrier Reef.

Blue Mountains

 

West of Sydney are the Blue Mountains, a destination where the traveller can do some bush walking and experience the Australian bushland before heading further north. The central town in the Blue Mountains is Katoomba which is the starting place for quite a few experiences for the traveller to enjoy including:

  • Echo Point which boasts great views of the Three Sisters, Mount Solitary, Jamison Valley and the Ruined Castle
  • Scenic Skyway is a cable car that travels across the valley and has a see through floor to view the bushland and Katoomba Falls below
  • Scenic Railway is a train that runs to the valley floor down one of the steepest train lines in the world
  • The Walkway which is a 2.4km long broad walk that runs along the valley floor

There are many bushwalking options available from Katoomba including

  • Katoomba Falls Walking Track – 2kms
  • Prince Henry Cliff Walk – 7kms
  • Scenic Railway to Ruined Castle – 12kms
  • Dardanelles Park Track – 5.3kms
  • Federal Pass Walking Track – 7kms

From Katoomba you can also travel to Jenolan Caves which are one of the largest limestone cave systems in Australia. The caves were carved out by water flows through the soft limestone and are now a treat to visit for the casual visitor, but be sure to book before visiting the caves as they are very popular.

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South West Rocks

This small beach town located 6 hours north of Sydney is a great spot to visit as it offers the traveller a series of beaches, bushwalks, and water activities and coastal scenery. The town itself sits right next to Horse Shoe Bay that is a lovely crescent shaped white sand beach that offers a great family beach experience. There are other beaches around the town that are more exposed to the open ocean and have a totally different feel to them.

South West Rock is also located at the mouth of the Macleay River which gives the town multiple water sport activities to enjoy such as surfing, swimming, diving, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking and fishing. Just off the coast is Fish Rock Cave which is a popular dive spot that contains a 25m long swim through cave for divers to enjoy.

The town is surrounded by national parks and just south of the town you can find Smoky Cape Lighthouse. A visit to the lighthouse will give you great views of the coast line both north and south.

Byron Bay

Byron Bay is located some 1hr and 30 mins south of Brisbane at the most easterly point of continental Australia. Cape Byron is also the point where the cold waters coming up the coast meet the warm tropical waters coming down the coast.

Byron has long been a popular surf spot for locals and has also managed to retain its small beach town feel about it. The small beach town is now quite busy but it is still a must stop destination. Byron town has many crafty shops and plenty of restaurants and cafes to enjoy.

There are a large number of water activities that can be enjoyed including; swimming, surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding and diving at the very good dive spot of Julian Rocks located in the centre of the Bay. There is also lots of close national parks close to Byron where you can enjoy more bush walking and interesting scenery than you could possibly enjoy on a single holiday.

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Byron bay is also located near the towns of Lennox Heads, Brunswick Heads and the village of Nimbin. Each of these towns are quiet different to Byron but they are all very short distance and worth a visit if you have time while in Byron.

Bundaberg

Located some 5 hours north of Brisbane is the township of Bundaberg which is a great spot to stop for travellers. Bundaberg offers the traveller some great beaches, turtle nesting and access to the Great Barrier Reef.

Bundaberg is located on the Burnett River with the suburb of Bargara sitting on the ocean front. The ocean front area is rocky with small beaches between the rocky outcrops. If you head just south of Bundaberg to Elliot heads you are greeted with some great white sandy beaches and plenty of water sport activities to enjoy.

The beach of Mon Repos just north of Bargara is a protected turtle nesting ground. At Mon Repos is a turtle centre where you can learn all about turtles and also during nesting and hatching seasons you can take night tours to see turtles laying eggs and hatchlings leaving for the open ocean.

The Great Barrier Reef starts around Bundaberg and you can access several islands easily from Bundaberg. The first is Lady Elliot Island which has a eco-lodge on the island. You can take a flight or charter to the island for a stay and enjoy snorkelling, diving and relaxing on the beaches for a few days.

The second is Lady Musgrave Island which has a huge lagoon and day tours run to the island regularly. Passengers can enjoy snorkelling, diving, and a glass bottom boat adventure all inside the quite waters of the lagoon. Along with the water adventures in the lagoon you also can visit the island itself to explore the bird life population and sandy coral beaches.

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Port Douglas

The final destination is Port Douglas which is located north of Cairns but offers the traveller some very interesting scenery and experiences to enjoy. The actual drive from Cairns to Port Douglas is only 75 minutes but it is a drive along the coast with great views out to the ocean and passes one awesome beach after another awesome beach all the way to Port Douglas. This is one of the great scenic drives in Australia.

Port Douglas is located on the mouth of a creek that works as a natural marina with the main town sitting between creek and a wide four mile long beach. The town is a real tourist town with a variety of dining options and many touristy tours departing each day. You can visit the Barrier Reef on a snorkel or dive trip, explore the Daintree on a day tour, visit Mossman Gorge or take a river cruise up the Daintree River.

You can drive from Port Douglas to Cape Tribulation which is located in the Daintree. The Daintree is unique as it is the only place in Australia where tropical rainforests meet coral reefs at the beach. If you go to Cape Tribulation you can snorkel off the beach straight onto coral reefs. A visit to the Daintree is worth the effort and you can stop at Mossman gorge along the way.

Summary

The trip from Sydney to Cairns passes many places worth visiting, the ones I have nominated are just a few that will allow you to experience quite different scenery and places. Other destinations that are also worth stopping at include the Hunter Valley, Port Stephens, Coffs Harbour, Noosa, Airlie Beach and Mission Beach. The more time you have the more you can experience, so do not rush to your final destination but enjoy all the places and scenery along the way.