Top Tips for Travelling from Sydney to Cairns
The East Coast of Australia is a popular route for backpackers because there’s so much to see and do along the way.
But with so many places you could stop off and usually only a limited timeframe, where should you add to your itinerary?
Bethany Mawby from the UK has just come back from 4 weeks travelling from Cairns to Sydney and the trip was without a doubt the best month of her life.
Here she shares her top tips for travelling up the coast of Australia including top places to visit and adventures you might want to do along the way.
Me and my friend decided to take the journey in a camper van but a lot of people choose the Greyhound bus staying in hostels or hotels along the way.
Hiring a camper van has many advantages, the main one being you can stay in places as long as you like. As with anything there are downsides to having a van, mainly that sleeping past 7.30am is rarely possible due to waking up covered in sweat because it becomes too hot outside to sleep but it just means you’re up early ready to explore the beautiful country that is Australia, or it just means you get more tanning time!
If you are keen on the indpendent option, view tips for driving the East Coast of Australia.
The end of September is the best time to take this trip because you’re following the sun down to Sydney which is why it’s so popular. Another downside to having a camper van is not having a guaranteed shower every night. We became experts at washing in public toilets (gross, I know) but don’t let this put you off, the freedom to go wherever you want overshadows all of this and it truly is the best way to travel Australia.
Activities & Adventures
In between the goon (cheap casked wine) hangovers I skydived, snorkelled in the Great Barrier Reef, did a 4WD tag along tour on Fraser Island, took a boat around the Whitsunday Islands, met a lot of hippies in Byron Bay and took a trip to Cape Tribulation.
Everyone’s been asking me what my favourite part was and the answer? Skydive. Even if you think you’re too scared and wouldn’t be able to do it, just go ahead and do it anyway because I was petrified, spending the whole of the 15 minute plane journey up to 14,000ft wondering why I was literally putting my life in someone elses hand but it was the most amazing, thrilling, beautiful experience and I’m already planning the next one!
We did ours over Mission Beach which is 2 hours drive south of Cairns. You can skydive all over Australia but this is a popular spot because you do it over the Great Barrier Reef making the views absolutely breathtaking. There are also lots of other amazing things to do like tours, sailing, swimming, scuba diving, visiting wildlife sancturaries, exploring cities, learning to surf and much much more.
Where to Go
Starting off in Sydney is the easiest and usually most popular way to stay this adventure. You will get to travel up the coast stopping off on the way to Cairns in the north east of the country.
I would recommend a short stay in Townsville, around 2 nights, whereas in Airlie beach you could stay for around a week. My second favourite experience was Fraser Island. We did a 4 wheel drive tag along tour which was so much fun. You have to be 21 years old to drive so sadly I couldn’t but it’s still fun being a passenger.
The island is beautiful and although you can’t swim in the sea there are lots of lakes and creeks to swim in which are all a perfect, refreshing break from the heat. We stayed at the Eurong Beach Resort which I would highly recommend, clean rooms and a fun bar for the evenings. My favourite place on Fraser Island is Lake McKenzie, it is so stunning and the perfect place to relax and catch the rays.
From Fraser, head north up to Cairns for the remaining time you have available.
For more recommendations in this region view this article on must see destinations on the East Coast of Australia.
Top Tips Before Departing
My top tips for travelling are make sure you have enough money, I was helped out by the ‘bank of mum and dad’ and although I never struggled we did have to miss a few things out simply because we couldn’t justify the money when we had petrol and food to pay for!
Tip number two, take sleeping pills for the plane if like me sleeping on a plane is a distant dream. Finally, enjoy it because before you know it you’ll be on the long journey home wondering where the past weeks have gone.
The question now burning on my mind; where next?
By Bethany Mawby