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road trip cairns to sydney

Glasgow, United...
Level Contributor
13 posts
1 review
road trip cairns to sydney

hi everyone,

looking for a bit of advice. arriving in cairns on 4th of jan and leave sydney on the 20th. i would like to know what the 'must sees' are and how long to stay in each place. also, we are wondering whether to get a greyhound bus pass and hop on/off at the different stops or hire a car. any advice would be really appreciated.

thanks

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Business Travel, New South Wales
Level Contributor
31,325 posts
2,127 reviews
1. Re: road trip cairns to sydney

For information regarding these routes click on the threads below.

tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i18251-Brisbane…

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g255055-c3001/Austral…

For you transport question it certainly depends on your budget. Click on the thread below for cheap deals available .

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g255055-i120-k2669…

Surfers Paradise...
Level Contributor
812 posts
21 reviews
2. Re: road trip cairns to sydney

glasgowgirl, sounds like a great trip but i dont know if going by road is the best thing for you.

may be a little cheaper but not much than flying although with driving ou will be able to see a lot more smaller towns.

it is about 3000kms from cairns to sydney, so that equates to probably 40 hours of straight driving no stops. if its done over 16 days thats over 2 hours driving every day and say you want to stay somewhere 3 days, that means 600kms the next day.

maybe flying from say cairns to sunshine coast as theres long distances with not much to see and then do that leg down to sydney via greyhound or train.

Glasgow, United...
Level Contributor
13 posts
1 review
3. Re: road trip cairns to sydney

Thanks for your advice, I will check out the links posted and also the flights from Cairns to Sunshine coast.

Glasgow, United...
Level Contributor
13 posts
1 review
4. Re: road trip cairns to sydney

Another question ... and there will probably be loads more to come! Would you recommend then spending a couple of days in Carins then flying from there to Brisbane or would there be somewhere else we would fly to? From there then either going by Greyhound or driving down to Sydney?

thanks

West Chester...
Level Contributor
1,780 posts
181 reviews
5. Re: road trip cairns to sydney

Having driven the road from Brisbane to Sydney, you may find it's not very interesting unless you plan to stop along the coast several times or go inland to places like Dorrigo Nat Park. North of Brisbane there is Fraser Island, worth at least a day trip. Flying between Brisbane and Sydney was quite cheap. We worked out our trip itinerary by first deciding how many days we wanted to spend in major stops, like Bris, Sydney, Blue Mts. and then decide if we had enough time to drive betwen stops or needed to fly.

australia
Level Contributor
3,289 posts
6 reviews
6. Re: road trip cairns to sydney

Despite what others have said I think driving from cairns osuth is a fine idea. 200km on main highway is nothing and there are days when you will want to cover double that to get to the next stop, so that makes up for your no day drive days.

There are so many small places along the route that maybe only need an hour or so to see, that you will miss by any other way of travel. Sure you could get a greyhound coach pass and stop whereever you like on the route, BUT for the shorts stop places you really wouldnt want to stay a full day (depending on when next coach comes through- some are more than once daily).

If you do decide on fly/coach, take the coach from Cairns to Airlie Beach, maybe with stops in Townsville/Magnetic Island and Bowen. From Airlie Beach the near by airport is Prosperpine where you could fly to brisbane and back track to Sunshine Coast, though I'd stll stay on the coach and visit hervey bay/Fraser Island after Airlie Beach. Depending on your interests there are many other places.

On holiday I would never fly Brisbane to Sydney. the road passes through or near so many diverse areas of coast and rainforest - Byron bay, Nimbin/entire hinterland area inland of Byron., Coffs Harbour, Bellingen, untold number of small beach towns where you could enjoy a quieter few days break.

It just goes on and on.

West Chester...
Level Contributor
1,780 posts
181 reviews
7. Re: road trip cairns to sydney

We flew Bris to Sydney because we were driving back and could stop at many of the places you mentioned. However, for someone on vacation, one has to consider that much of the time spent in a car is using up a precious amount of the limited time that you have for the holiday just being on the highway. There were times during the drive back north when we got stuck behind slow moving traffic and watched large chunks of time slip away. Yes, we were able to come off the main highway and take a side road and find an unexpected gorgeous beach like Bluey Beach, but in between a lot of time was spend just driving.

Unless you have a route planned that purposely gets you to places you absolutely want to see and can only get to by driving, it may be better to focus your limited time on a few key spots and take day trips from them, like going to Byron Beach or Fraser Island from Bris, or the Blue Mts. from Sydney. It really is important to decide where you want to go and then figure out the best way to get there.

South Pole
Level Contributor
15,381 posts
35 reviews
8. Re: road trip cairns to sydney

agree with dev that the drive from sydney to brisbane is a must as long as u have 3-5 days to do it. this way u will see a bit of the real australia and enjoy some genuine beach culture as well as some pretty spectacular inland destinations. if however u have a list of tourist icons to tick off and are on a limited time table flying would be the best idea.

Glasgow, United...
Level Contributor
13 posts
1 review
9. Re: road trip cairns to sydney

Thanks very much for all your information ... much appreciated! There are 4 of us going, all over 25 and can drive, so if we decide the driving option then at least everyone can take a turn each!

Cairns, Australia
Level Contributor
2,838 posts
11 reviews
10. Re: road trip cairns to sydney

Personally do not like the drive too much, struggle to see why travellers do it so often. Makes it hard that the gems along the way are scattered in a way that driving sometimes just makes sense. Would say the Brisbane - Sydney portion is the best as more opportunities to leave the highway. Though I would think focusing on a few areas and flying between the best option.

To put a nail in the driving from Cairns to Brisbane plan once and for all though, it will be start of monsoon season and somewhere along that long stretch of highway between Cairns and Mackay there is reasonable risk of roads being closed due to flooding. This past wet Cairns was cut off for 10 days and supermarket shelves were empty. Was an extreme year but always possible.

Marine stingers in Northern Queensland waters, maybe right down to Bundaberg make beach swimmimg off limits (other than netted areas).

Time around Cairns that time of year best for reef (but allow a few days wiggle room to choose the best day dependant on weather forcasts), rainforest, waterfalls, waterhole swimming, white water rafting and tropical fruits. Forget the beach up north, plenty of options Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and NSW coast. So up north water sports, down south lazing and suntaning on the beach.