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East Coast tour

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific East Coast tour

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1. Posted by Rachel1977 (Budding Member 3 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Hi, hope you guys can help me?

I don't want to bore you, but I just wondered if anyone maybe able to add some useful information, or feels something isn't a good idea...

I have got 5 weeks off mid March to mid April 2009 to travel the East Coast. I have done loads of research into this trip, however going into overload with all the things that there are to do and see!

I am relocating/hiring, cars/motorhomes whilst doing the trip so at the moment I don't know which way round I am doing the self drive tour. And obviously stuck with the time scales that the motors need to be at whatever location I need to take them too. Though I will be able to pick and choose what suits me. I know the drive from Cairns to Melbourne can be done in about 40hrs without breaks. I don't want to rush my trip so I am going to get different motors from one city to the next, to ensure that I can stop and see things along the way. (I will have the pick-up and drop-off information to hand about 6 weeks before I leave).

Aiming to go to Cape Trib. via a tour guide company from Cairns (due to floodings may cause roads to be inaccessible). Not booking till I arrive there. I am guessing I may want to do a 2 day tour. Though open to ideas. And the Kuranda Scenic Railway, Skyrail etc. Do any of these involve the stops at creeks that I read about? I wish I made a note of every website I have read then I would know where I read these things!

I am not planning to stay in Cairns too long, I would like to try out snorkelling Great Barrier Reef (not suba diving - damaged ear drums). Though I can't seem to decide on which trip would be ideal, there are so many, and island trips too. I would love to see all of them but just haven't got the time, so would be grateful for recommendations. Can you see dolphins, I don't want to swim with them, as I think that is wrong, but would love to see them in their own environment? Is the night zoo worth doing? In Rockhampton, the caves look quite interesting - anyone been, worth doing?

In and around Brisbane, I most want to see beaches, history - Australian Workers Heritage Centre, culture, Crocodile Hunter's Australia Zoo, anything else I should give a go? I have read about Infinity, it looks like a fun day out has anyone been? If I have time might go to Dreamworld. I would like to see Surfer's Paradise, though I get that it is a tacky place.

I may stop at Sydney for a couple of days, but I am not much of a city girl. If there is anything you think may interest me let me know. PS. I don’t particularly like heights (before anyone mentions the bridge climb). I have a feeling I might be spending much more time at this end of the East Coast than the lower end, I know I want to stop at Lakes Entrance for a few days, purely for the 90mile beach and the scenery & relax before moving on to Melbourne. I think I read about a toboggan ride there, though can't find it now?

Then I will be seeing some relatives in Melbourne, so I am not sure if I will have any time to see things in and around Melbourne, though hope to see the Queen Victoria market and Phillip Island to see the penguins.

Well thanks for reading this. Bet you wished you hadn't!


2. Posted by maba (Inactive 227 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Hi Em,
I can see you are anxious and keen to fit lots of Oz into your 5 weeks. I take it you will be flyng into Cairns and out of Mebourne!

March - April is the best time to be in the southern states (New South Wales, Victoria etc.) as far as weather is concerned. It is warm to hot and you can enjoy the beaches right along that coastline.

North Queensland would still be quite wet and humid but certainly always an awesome place to visit.

5 weeks is a big ask to see everything. Consider it is about oner weeks drive from Cairns to Melborne with only the obligatory stops and minimal sightseeing! so good luck.

Have you considered just spending up to a week in Far North Queensland then flying south, eliminatig the long drive down the Queensland coast? OR, give Queensland a miss and fly into Sydney and do the Southern states! Come back to Queensland during June- October - the weather is much better !

Otherwise, why not hire the vehicle and keep it from day 1?. Your plan to drop off and pick up a different vehicle means the vehicle situation is dictating your route and you will loose at least 1/2 day each time you drop and again when you pick up. This will eat into your limited and valuable time. One vehicle from day 1 will enable you to travel and detour as you want!.

I would tend to bypass Sydney if Melbourne is your destination. Melbourne is much easier to get around and not so much hustle & bustle. Save Sydney for another time.

Melbourne has lots to offer, apart for the things you mentioned such as a day trip to Ballarat (start early), the Yarra Valley and Healsville for wineries, scenery and wildlife park. There is also Puffing Billy - the famous steam train that winds its way through the Dandenong Ranges - only about 1 hour from the city centre.
The city itself is welcoming with fine and reasonalbly priced dining along Southbank, then there is Lygon Street for Italian, and Victoria St. for Asian fare plus lots more.

Enjoy your trip but don't try to see everything ' be selective and enjoy what you chose to see and do' and if you miss out on something there is always another time.

Cheers Mario ;)
I think my reply is competing with yours for length !!

3. Posted by Rachel1977 (Budding Member 3 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Hi Mario

Thanks for your reply, I am glad you wrote a long post! Made me feel much better.

I am flying into and out of Sydney (was the cheapest), it appears to be more expensive flying into one city and out of another city.

However my plans have slightly changed now! lol womens prerogative. Fair point about the relocation motors, a bit difficult, probably better for someone who is in Australia for longer. Just seemed a good idea as it was really cheap. However I won't been needing a car the whole time, as I will probably use a tour companies for the trips I want to do. Which looking online, appear to do pick up points in the cities, so no real need to keep a car.

I have decided after a couple of days in Sydney to spend about 6 days in Cairns (with view of seeing the rainforest, reefs and Green Island - if timed well and places available). Then just renting a car for 2/3 days & drive down to Goldcoast/Brisbane - stopping at a motel(s) along the way. 6 days in around this area. I hope to do a Fraser Island tour and Dolphin cruise and Australia Zoo. Then hire a car to drive down to Sydney in 2 days, stopping along the way.

So on... till I get to Melbourne. I am just going to go with an open mind, and see what I can see while I am in each area, think it is the best way. Then I wont be disappointed if I can't do a trip due to dates or places etc... It will be an adventure that's the main thing for me.



4. Posted by maba (Inactive 227 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Hi again Em,
Being flexible is good and the best approach to have when travelling like this in Australia. For accomodation, also consider Caravan (trailer) Parks, they are plentiful, and cheaper that motels, have a holiday atmosphere, are often located in scenic areas and are self contained so you can cook your own food if you wish.
As an example, this is one Australia wide Caravan Park Group -

When you arrive in Cairns, go to the RACQ (Auto Association - and purchase the accomodation and / or caravan & camping guide books. (Bring you Auto Association membership card you may be entitled to some discount!).

Be aware the drive South from Cairns along the coast to Brisbane will be long. Try to have some days where you don't detour but actually do quite a few hours of driving so the miles get eaten up!. As as an example I suggest in North Queensland you do go to Airlie Beach. It is a beautiful area and gateway to the Whitsunday Islands. Enjoy that area for a day or two. It caters for the traveller quite well.

From Airlie Beach, I suggest you make your way directly to Rockhampton (Rocky) - there is nothing I can suggest you would want to stop for. The distance is about 500KM (300miles).

When driving long distances in one day, I use a guide of 80Km (50 miles) will take one hour. So as an example from Airlie Beach to 'Rocky', with only mandatory stops (you should stop about every two hours, even just to stretch).
Using my estimation this would be about a 6hr 15min drive plus stops so comfortably allow 8 hours. Leaving at 8am means arriving at 4pm. which is time to settle into the accomodation and enjoy the area.

Rocky to Hervey Bay (Fraser Island access) is similar no major places of interest to stop for aprox 330Km (200Miles) 5hrs

When you arrive in Brisbane, you will only half way to Melbourne. But you would have experienced some awesome people, places and sights... with more to come !!

I hope you enjoy the experience and next time you can come back and enjoy the Victorian Coast from Melbourne to Adelaide and of course visit our Red Centre - Central Australia.


5. Posted by Cool Paul (Respected Member 611 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

what I would do:
Sydney-take the ferry to manly beach-it's THAT nice. go to the zoo.
Byron bay- surf and if you don't surf take a lesson
Fraiser Island
Whitehaven beach and a tour through the whitsundays
The Reef-snorkeling was downright amazing! I could've done that again and again if I had the money.
the northern beaches at cairns-ellis beach and palm cove- but not if it's stinger season

there's tons more that you'll see on the way but I'd def make sure to see those.

6. Posted by Rachel1977 (Budding Member 3 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Hi Guys

Thanks for your posts, very useful suggestions.

Cool Paul, I would like to do all the things you have posted, apart from the surfing (I have terrible balance, so I doubt I will get too far! lol)

Mario, I have been looking online for lots of accommodation, I have compiled a list to take with me - so that I can easily ring around if my 1st choices are full etc.. I have a couple that are cabin/static caravan sites on my list too particularly for Lakes Entrance, I will also look at the website you mentioned, thank you.

I found a fab site last week, gives you driving distance and how long it would take. Which is good as there was a drive that I thought I could do without having to drive for longer than 6-7hrs - which I was very much mistaken! Thanks for the heads up on the RACQ, very useful - and I am a member of the RAC here.

Well you will be pleased with me, I have Airlie and Rockhampton on my list of stops (stays). If lucky will do the Great Barrier Reef trip from Airlie.

I hope to do another part of Australia in a few years time, thank you for your suggestions etc. I hope you are not being affected by the fires.



Post 7 was removed by a moderator