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Campgrounds on this Tour

Rating: 1 = great ...... 6 = poor


  • Ellis Beach Campground - 3
    Direkt am Meer nördlich von Cairns (ca. 15 km)
    Viele Dauercamper

  • Cairns Coconut Caravan Resort Big 4 - 1
    The most clean and tidy Caravanpark we were in Australia. Very large but really recommendable
    At the south end of Cairns a few hundret meters from Highway 1 to the west.

  • Rowes Bay Caravan ParkTownsville - 4,
    Ugly amenities , untidy sites
    Near the beach, north of town centre

  • Cape Hillsborough Nationalpark Campground - 2
    In a beautiful landscape, located in the forest, behind the beach. In the evening Kangaroos regularly visit the camp.

  • Point Vernon Holidaypark - Hervey Bay (Big 4) - 1
    Very nice and clean Park
    Located near the Beach North of Town Centre, follow signs to Pt. Vernon

  • Byron Bay - 2
    Very tidy,big campground
    Near the railway station

  • Noosa River Campground, Noosa Heads - 2
    Nice but big Campground, directly at the river

  • Emerald Beach Holiday Park, Big 4 Coffs Harbour - 2
    Nice campground at the sea. Located about 14 km north of Coffs Harbour

  • Sundowner Breakwall Tourist Park Big 4, Port Macquarie - 1
    very nice but big campground between the river and the sea.
    near towncentre.


Views and sights on this tour


Cairns and around it

Cairns:

Cairns is a small town. Live happens around the harbour at the so called "Esplanade" . There are uncountable Bars, Cafes, Restaurants and most of all Touragents. There isn't much more about Cairns. Roads are wide, there is not much traffic and there are lots of parking spaces, so driving around Cairns is not a problem at all. Cairns is mainly startingpoint for tours to the Great Barrier Reef, the Atherton Tablelands and to Cape York.

Great Barrier Reef:

Even if you had nothing in your mind regarding fish and diving, it is most recommendable to spend at least one day out at the reef because there are not many places in the world where it is so easy to have a look at the underwater-wonderworld as at the Great Barrier Reef. Only in Cairns are already dozens of Tour agencies. The only thing, you have to bring with you is your swimsuit. On all tours the participants are supplied with Wetsuits (sometimes additional charge) and Snorkelingdevices. Never the less, I recommend to bring your own snorkel because you will have more fun on this day, if you have tried out snorkeling before.

We were with the Supercat from Down Under Dive out at the Reef and can really recommend this company. The price in 2001 was 75 A$ incl. Softdrinks and Lunch.

The underwaterworld at the reef is really fascinating. For somebody who was never before diving or snorkeling it is absolutely unbelievable to see this amount, size and color of fish and corals.

The Tablelands:

The plateau of the Atherton tablelands begin directly behind Cairns. Most of them are covered by rainforest. It is possible, to drive into the tablelands by car or you can do a tour to Kuranda. We have made the combined Skyrail - Railwaytour and did not regret it.

Especially the 30 minutes journey in the skyrail above the treetops of the rainforest is really impressing. Kuranda itselt is very touristic is no must see. The way back by he Kuranda Railway is although very nice and follows its way down to Cairns, passing some high bridges.

Cape Tribulation:

It's worth to do a boattout on the Daintree River. They start near the ferry. We were kucky and were the only attendees of the tour which we made with Bruce Belcher Tours. We saw lots of animals and have learned much about mangroves.

On the way from Daintree River to Cape Tribulation are several Rainforest walks. At the Cape itself is a big parking lot where you can get directly to the sandy beach. The paved road ends here.


Cairns - Brisbane:

Townsville, Magnetic Island:

Townsville itself is not a must see, its just the starting point for tours to magnetic island. Never the less there are some nice buildings in town and the view from Castle Hill is breathtaking.

Magnetic Island is a very nice island with spectacular bays and beaches. There are lots of hiking trails and the bus connections are quite good and easy to get on. The chances to see some koalas in the woods are very high. We made the trail to the forts and liked it very much.

Cape Hillsborough Nationalpark:

Cape Hillsborough Nationalpark is not very popular and not to spectacular. It is located on a small Peninsula which is on one side completely covered with mangroves. There are a few, but nice hiking trails. The park is mostly known for some roos who come to the beach in the evenings.

Hervey Bay und Fraser Island:

Hervey Bay is a typical tourist village. Whale watching tours and tours to fraser island are the most offered goods

Fraser island is the largest Island built of sand in the world. Most people visit the island on a guided tour, what is especially recommendable for daytours. Who want's to go there on his own, needs a good 4WD vehicle

Besides of raiforests, you can see dingoes, clear blue lakes and rivers, long beaches and the maheeno wreck.

There is just one north to south route, which runs on the eastern beach, called 75-mile highway.

Noosa Heads:

Noosa Heads is a typical tourist village. There are lots of restaurants, pubs, clubs and shops. There is really no need to visit the town. The Noosa Nationalpark has some nice hiking trails but there are lots of visitors. As the park is famous for it's koalas, I must say, there are better places to see them e.g. Magnetic Island.


Brisbane - Sydney:

Brisbane:

Brisbane is a modern City with a nice car-free shopping area in the centre. A boat tour on the river should be very nice. In the small Chinatown district little markets are held frquently. You can easily park your vehicle outside of town at one of the many shopping centres and take the bus, to visit the town centre. There are not so many must sees as e.g. in Sydney, but I can recommend it for extensive shopping day.

Cape Byron - Byron Bay:

Byron Bay is famous as a Surfer and Hippie village. The normal tourist does not see much of this, despite for the many hostels. It has a wonderful long sandy beach and the sight from the lighthouse is wonderful in all directions. So is the lighthouse itself. From the lighthouse, the most eastern point of the australian mainland is just a few steps away. A nice and easy walk leads you from the edge of town up to the lighthouse and back along the coastline (approx. 1 hour). We were lucky and saw some dolphins quite near during our walk.

In the evening we dropped into the railway pub, where there was a very good live music performance and a happy atmosphere. We can recommed the shoestring fries with aioli.

Port Macquarie:

Port Macquarie is a typical australian small town. There is a small city centre with a small shopping mall. Nice, but not a must see.

The beach where at the river mouth is nice as well, but there are nicer beaches around.

Coast in NSW:

The New South Wales coast part north of Sydney mainly shows farmlands, rivers, forrests and small towns. Sometimes the landscape looks like in Ireland with green pastures. From the main highway tourist loop drives bring you on side streets to smaller sights and beaches bevor they turn back to the highway again. Here everybody can find a lonely beach and if one has enough time he should drive along some of this drives.


Sydney

We liked Perth, Melbourne and Adelaide very much, but Sydney is the town in Australia we like most. It's atmosphere is so beautiful and the views and sights are spectacular.

The town center can be seen easily by walking. Additionally you could use the two explorer bus lines. The blue one goes out into the suburbs and the red one drives to the sights inside town. You can leave an board the buses as much as you like. More information on Sydney Explorer here !

In the follwing, you'll find a list of places we think are most interesting:

Circular Quay:

Circular Quay is the traffic centre of Sydney. The ferries and trains from the suburbs arrive here. During lunch time the sydneysiders meet here in nive weather for their break. You can sit somewhere around Circular Quay for hours and just watch. The view to The Rocks, the Opera and the Harbourbridge as well as to the arriving and departing derries is fantastic.

Darling Harbour:

Besides Circular Quay, Darling Harbour is the second touristik centre of the town. Especially in the evenings you can have a nice walk here and drop into one or the other pub. During the day you can go shopping in the Harbourcenter. At and around Darling harbour you'll find the following atractions:

  • Sydney Aquarium - very beautiful, especially the the big tanks, where sharks and rays live.

  • IMAX cinema - not visited

  • Harbour Centre - nice little shopping centre with mostly touristik shops

  • Maritime museum

  • Japanese Garden

  • Fish market - (10 minutes walk) Working fish market with restaurant, shops and places to sit outside. Priceless and fresh fish can be bought and the wine you'll might need for your meal can as well be bought in a bottle shop.

  • Paddys Market - (10 minutes walk) Big indoor market with everything you don't need.

The Rocks:

The Rocks is the historic part of Sydney below the harbour bridge where all began and where you still can see many historic buildings.

A walk around "The Rocks" is always nice and in the evenings many nice restaurants invite you for dining.

Botanic Garden:

Sydneys Botanic Garden brings "The Spot" to your eyes, the view to the Opera with the Harbourbridge in the background. Best is to get into the park from the Opera and have a walk to the other side of the bay. But take care, the park gets closed in the evenings, so watch the opening hours when you enter through one of the gates. You can see many birds, trees and flowers in the park. Often whole lots of white or pink Kakadus can be seen and during dawn you might spot a possum.

Big lawns invite for a break.

Manly:

Manly is located at the north entrance into port jackson and can easily be reached by ferry. Ferrys to Mynly leave half hourly from jetty 4 at Circular Quay and need depending on the ship type between 15 and 20 minutes to their destination. I really can recommend this trip, as it is a good substitute to the much more expensive harbour cruise.

Manly is located at the open sea and has nice beaches, on both, the seaside and the harbour side. There is the save swimming beach of Shelly beach and the more rough Manly beach which is popular for surfers.

There is a car free town center with nice shops, that stretches between the seaside beaches and the harbour side.

Bondi:

Bondi is again a seabath near Sydney. You can reach it by public buses, or use the blue Sydney explorer line (see above).

There is a broad beach and two pools with seawater. along the shore you can find some shops, cafes and restaurants.

We liked Manly better than Bondi.

Gap Park:

The Gap Park is located north and south of the sea to harbour entrance. It is a smaller Nationalpark with walking tracks and nice sea views.

The southern part lies on the route of the blue Explorer bus line and the northern part is accessible from Manly by car or feet.


All about driving in Australia


Vehicle and Driving:

Generally there is the possibility to use a motorhome or to hire a car and stay in Hotels/Motels. If you decide the one or the other should be driven by your intentions, because there is no price difference. One likes Camping/Motohome one doesn't.

Advantages of Motorhome/Camper against car/Hotel-Motel:

  • You do not have to pack your bags every day

  • lots of nice campgrounds located at beautyful spot

Disadvantages:

  • slower travelspeed

  • probably parking problems when using larger motorhomes (not really a problem in Australia)

  • restrooms and showers are not allways (but most times) clean and tidy

Tip for selecting a Campervan or Motorhome:

  • The selection of a type depends mainly on the following preferences. own expectations regarding space, expected Weather, daily amount of driven km's.

  • The smaller the vehicle is, the fast you get on with it. The Hightop Camper for example is nearly as fast as a normal car.

  • Larger Motorhomes, espacially with Diesel engines and cabover beds are slower. The Maui Spirit 4 which we had in 2000 for example did not drive much faster than 110 km/h.

  • The expected weathe is important, because the more time you have to spend inside the vehicle the bigger it should be. If you are travelling in a region, where it should be warm and dry, so you can sit outside most of the time, a small Hightop Camper can be big enough.

Driving in Australia:

  • Driving in Australia is not a problem at all

  • You get used to driving on left side very soon and outside of the big cities there isn' much traffic.

  • A really important advice is to not drive at night, as there are many animals like Kangaroos, Koalas, snakes and lizards on the streets.


Photography:


  • Especially around noon (10 AM to 2 PM), I allways used a Pola filter, to get higher color saturation.

  • For sunset and sunrise I often used a Cokin greyscale filter to lower the contrast.

  • Films are availabel in AUS but more expensive than in Germany. Slidefilms are hard to get.

  • Who wants to do snorkeling or diving, should bring an underwater Singleuse Camera with him. I had to pay 35 AUS$ for a camera which would have cost about 10 € in Germany


Dining and Shopping:


  • All common Fastfood restaurants are available in Australia. We have only tasted Mc D's once. Tasted the same as everywhere in the world.

  • In Sydney the variety of restaurants is very big. Especially nice ones are located in "The Rocks", but they are more high priced.

  • In Melbourne there is a street in towncentre where many Greek and italian restaurants are.

  • I can recommend the selfservice restaurants of "Tims Surf and Turf" which are availabe in some Cities on the eastcoast. The seafood platter for one normally lasts for two persons, is very cheap and tastes fantastic.

  • The price level for shopping is generally the same as for example in Germany. But there is allways somewhere SALE where you could make a bargain.

  • Digeridoos can be bought nearly everywhere. Who doesn't want to get one "Made in Indonesia" better goes to an Aboriginal Shop or a specialist shop. Genuine Digeridoos made by Aborigines cost from 120 AUS$. We found a very good selection in Kuranda.

  • You should at least once try out the typical australian BYO Bring your own, where you can bring your own bottle of wine to the restaurant.


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I appreciate any feedback and additional information.

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