Melbourne to Cairns in 2-3 weeks?!

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Melbourne to Cairns in 2-3 weeks?!

1. Posted by celeste123 (Budding Member 26 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!


Am planning a rtw trip for this summer, our flight options mean we can only land in Australia in either Perth of Melbourne. I went for Melbourne but want to see as much of Australia as possible. I was thinking of getting a bus from Melbourne to Sydney with a few days in each (and around each) before getting a flight upto Cairns so we can see some of the Great Barrier Reef and some of the more rainforesty areas a bit further up. Does this sound like long enough, and what are the highlights I shouldn't miss on the way?

2. Posted by steff (Travel Guru 1162 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Why do you want to fly from Sydney to Cairns? You would miss out on most of the coast.
There's plenty of buses and tours going up that way, so you could see a lot more of the country and three weeks is a decent amount of time.
When I travelled from Cairns to Sydney I really liked:

winetasting in the Hunter Valley
chilling and taking surfing lessons in Byron Bay
sightseeing in Brisbane
doing a 4x4 tour on Fraser Island
sailing at the Whitsunday Islands
hiking on Magnetic Island
diving at Yongala shipwreck
Spending two days around Cape Tribulation and Daintree rainforest north of Cairns

Just a few suggestions ;).

3. Posted by celeste123 (Budding Member 26 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Thanks thats really helpful! I was only going to fly because I was concerned about time and wanted to definately get some time around the Great Barrier Reef, but if you reckon that's do-able in the time without flying i'll have a look into some of those places!

4. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5672 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Do you have 2 or 3 weeks to spend in Oz? pity you don't have longer, isn't that an option anymore on your RTW trip?
If you really only have 2 weeks I would just spend that time in and around Melbourne and Sydney. No need to rush things as Australia is huge! And just from Melbourne to Cairns alone is about 3 days of driving.
So choosing a flight might be an option. Really, even with 3 weeks you don't have enough time for Melbourne to Cairns and fit in many things like Steff mentioned.
With 2 weeks, I would fly into Melbourne, spend a couple of days over there, drive the Great Ocean Road, visit the Grampians NP en then onto the Australian Alps, Blue Mountains, Philip Island maybe and if you like your cities planned visit Canberra, before ending in Sydney and spend some time over there.

With 3 weeks, you could fly to Cairns and spend a week around Cairns, Port Douglas, visit the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Forest and the highlands behind Cairns with beautiful waterfalls, forests and nice drives.
Really, don't rush it!


5. Posted by celeste123 (Budding Member 26 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Hi I should have 3 weeks, Im not sure on the weather situation but fancied including Cairns as a base to do a lot of nature activities, i have heard however that its a bit of a party town, is there anywhere you might recommend that is good for access to the beach and rainforest but a bit less touristy or noisy? Also does anyone know what the weather will be like, or what diving visibility we can expect?

6. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5672 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

When will you be there? In the summer of the northern hemisphere? Sorry, couldn't see where you are from, but I assume you are either european or north american.
Anyway, if visiting during those months of 'our' summer, the weather up north will be fine. It's the best time to visit this part of oz and temperatures are around 30 degrees and usually it's dry and sunny. Best time to visit the reef as well, although I am no diving expert.
In the south on the other hand, it can get a bit cold, especially in and around Melbourne, less so in Sydney. Expect around 18 or so in Sydney, bit less in Melbourne, but it can get 5-10 degrees cooler, or warmer. It's not a bad time to visit the south either on the other hand.

Along the coast north of Cairns there are many options to stay. I stayed in Port Douglas, which I thought was fine and much less crowded. But I heard people saying it's too expensive and the few bars that have a happy hour could be a pain in the *ss as well. It was fine though, and there are places for decent prices. For some people, everything is expensive I guess

Hope you have a car by the way? That seriously increases your chances of just picking a beach bungalow somewhere along the road. After the twisting road from Cairns to Port Douglas, there is a straight stretch with some possibilities to stay. You'll find it.

7. Posted by celeste123 (Budding Member 26 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Hi, Thanks for the weather info! We will be there in August (im from the UK!) so it'll be our summer and their winter. We were planning on renting a car or campervan in Cairns and exploring locally. I'll have a look into Port Douglas, it sounds good, to be honest it's just me a my boyfriend travelling, we like a few drinks every now and again but we're not that fussed about partying every night so somewhere a little quieter sounds good!

8. Posted by HeatherV (Budding Member 8 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

We drove from Townsville to Syndey in 2002. We did alot of driving in 6 days but still able to see the coasts and a few sights in between. I would definately reccomend Fraser Island but make sure you have the time to do it. I thought we could do a half day there but you really need to book a whole day there and with a 4x4 if your renting a car. Make sure you get a Fodor's guide for all the little things to see while you drive.

9. Posted by kbombtom (Budding Member 5 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

The drive from Sydney to Cairns is amazing if you're up for it, you get to hit all the coastal towns and see the real side of australia. Visit places like Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay, Tweed Heads, Surfers Paradise, Brisbane, Maroochydore, Fraser Island is def worth a look then keep heading North. I personally reckon you take out more time to visit all this coast than staying in the city too long as it gives you a real feel of Aus...I would say if you have the coin then def fly from Melbourne to Sydney...Im from Canberra so i know there isnt tonnes in between the two for a short visit as a wanna get into the hotter regions

10. Posted by celeste123 (Budding Member 26 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!


Well know we're thinking about seeing melbourne and things around melbourne for 3 days then flying or getting a bus from melbourne to Sydney, and spending 3-4 days in ad around sydney and then flying to Brisbane where we will rent a van and spend a week and a half to two weeks driving the rest of the way to Cairns. There's just going to be two of us and only my boyfriend can drive, he's really keen to rent a campervan and do some driving but we don't want to do a distance thats too long because then he'll be too tired to see anything. But do you think we'll miss the best bits of the east coast doing this or will there be plenty still to see? Thanks