Campgrounds on this Tour
Rating: 1 = great ...... 6 = poor
Views and sights on this tour
Cairns and around it
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 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.
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 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 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 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.
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 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.
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:
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.
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 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 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.
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:
Tip for selecting a Campervan or Motorhome:
Driving in Australia:
Dining and Shopping:
I appreciate any feedback and additional information.