Cairns to Melbourne: Motorhome Road Trip Guide

Ah, the open road! There's nothing quite like the freedom of a motorhome road trip, especially one that takes you across Australia from top to bottom. Whether you're a seasoned road warrior or a first-time motorhome adventurer, this is a perfect road trip for anyone keen to see all the vast and varied landscapes of Australia.

Read along for some quick tips, tricks, and destinations as you set off from the tropical charm of Cairns to the cosmopolitan cool of Melbourne!


Planning & Preparation The Roadmap To Success


Planning & Preparation: The Roadmap To Success

Before you rev up your engine, some planning can go a long way.

Here are some things to consider before your Australia road trip starts include:

  • Route Planning: While spontaneity is the spice of life, having a rough plan helps. Plan your route, considering timelines, rest stops, and fuel stations. Don’t forget to check for any road closures or restrictions.
  • Packing Essentials: Pack wisely, balancing between what you really need and the space available. Essentials include clothing for varying weather conditions, a first-aid kit, and enough food and water for remote stretches. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
  • Tech & Navigation: Ensure you have reliable GPS (or hire one from us) and physical maps for areas with spotty cell service. Apps can also help you find campsites, fuel stations, and attractions.
  • Permits & Documentation: Some areas require permits, such as national parks and reserves. Also, keep your driver’s license and booking documents handy.
  • Route Planning: The coastal route via the Pacific Highway and the inland route through the Outback offer vastly different road trip experiences. The coastal route is more scenic with beachside towns and attractions, while the inland route showcases Australia's rugged heartland.
  • Timing & Duration: Covering approximately 3,000 km of highways and sealed roads, a comfortable motorhome holiday along Australia’s east coast can take 4 to 5 weeks – or longer if you want to take it easy and explore more at each stop.
  • Vehicle Type: Your choice of motorhome hire in Australia will vary depending on your own needs and interests, but we would recommend a larger 4-6 motorhome for the trip because of the cruise control and power steering. These additions will make a long road trip feel extra comfortable.


Driving Tips For A Road Trip From Cairns To Melbourne


Driving Tips For A Road Trip From Cairns To Melbourne

Navigating Australia's highways in a motorhome requires preparation and a relaxed attitude. Remember, a motorhome is heavier than a car, so you will likely drive slower than usual.

Keep these tips in mind:

  • Know Your Vehicle: Familiarise yourself with the motorhome's size and handling, especially if this is your first Australian road trip in a motorhome.
  • Road Rules & Etiquette: Observe speed limits, rest frequently to avoid fatigue, safely pull over if you have a lot of people stuck behind you, and be mindful of wildlife (particularly at dawn and dusk).
  • Fuel and Supplies: Plan your stops for fuel and essentials because distances between towns can be vast if you travel through the Outback.


Must-Visit Places Along the Way


Must-Visit Places Along The Way

From the tropical north to the southern coast, here are some highlights to consider on your motorhome road trip from Cairns to Melbourne:

  • Cairns: Kick-start your journey with the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest.
  • Townsville: Explore the Museum of Tropical Queensland and nearby Magnetic Island.
  • Airlie Beach: A gateway to pristine beaches and the azure waters of the Whitsundays.
  • Brisbane: Experience the vibrant capital of Queensland with its blend of culture and nature.
  • Gold Coast: The home of Queensland’s best theme parks and attractions for travellers of all ages.
  • Byron Bay: The up-and-coming favourite holiday destination along NSW’s coast.
  • Sydney: Don't miss the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
  • Canberra: Dive into Australia's history and politics in the nation's capital.
  • Melbourne: End your journey with the arts, culture, and coffee scenes of this dynamic city.

For a more detailed road trip, take some inspiration from our Brisbane to Melbourne itinerary!


Nature & Wildlife Exploring Australia’s Natural Wonders


Nature & Wildlife: Exploring Australia’s Natural Wonders

Your road trip from Cairns to Melbourne will take you through some of Australia’s most stunning natural landscapes and wildlife habitats.

Here’s what not to miss:

  • Great Barrier Reef: Start your journey with a visit to the world's largest coral reef system. Snorkelling or diving here is an unforgettable experience, showcasing vibrant marine life and coral gardens.
  • Daintree Rainforest: Just north of Cairns, this ancient rainforest offers lush scenery, unique wildlife, and serene river cruises. Keep an eye out for the elusive cassowary, a flightless bird native to the area – be mindful to keep your distance.
  • Whitsunday Islands: A slight detour off the coast near Airlie Beach, these islands offer stunning beaches, clear waters, and the chance to see humpback whales during migration season.
  • Fraser Island: The world’s largest sand island, located off the coast of Queensland, is known for its beautiful freshwater lakes, rainforest hikes, and dingo sightings.
  • Grampians National Park: As you near Melbourne, this park offers breathtaking landscapes, Aboriginal rock art, and diverse wildlife, including kangaroos, emus, and many bird species.
  • Phillip Island: Before reaching Melbourne, visit this island for its famous Penguin Parade, where you can watch determined little penguins return ashore at dusk.

Each destination provides a unique opportunity to connect with nature and witness Australia's diverse wildlife. Always respect local guidelines and keep a safe distance from wild animals to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.


Tips For A Smooth Journey


Tips For A Smooth Journey

  • Stay Connected: Choose a reliable service provider if you want to use the maps on your phone or need to call someone.
  • Budget Wisely: Factor in campsite fees, fuel, food, and activities.
  • Pack Smart: Bring flexible clothing, a first-aid kit, and all your necessary travel documents.
  • Remember, We’re Here To Help: If you run into any snags along the way, our friendly team is always here to help. You’ll find our 24/7 roadside number on your keychain and you can call our reservations team if you’d like to extend your trip.





How long should I spend on a road trip from Cairns to Melbourne?

Give yourself 4 to 5 weeks allows for an unhurried road trip, but you can easily spend more time along this route. There is no shortage of things to do and see along the way.

What are the best times of year to drive from Cairns to Melbourne?

Spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) offer calm weather and less competition with other tourists.

Can I find campgrounds and holiday parks easily along the route?

Yes, but booking in advance is recommended – especially during peak seasons.


Set Off On A Motorhome Road Trip From Cairns To Melbourne!

We have a massive range of articles on our blog dedicated to things you can do on your East Coast road trip, from family fun to National Parks and rental guides. Take your time to look through them and see if they can offer any help as you plan your ultimate Aussie road trip!

Now it’s time to start planning! Decide on your road trip timeline and give our friendly reservations team a call on 1300 664 485 or check out our website to see the motorhomes we have available at our Cairns branch!

Related Locations

motorhomes hire Australia

399 Sheridan St, Cairns North QLD 4870, Australia

contact motorhomes hire Australia

Phone Number : 1300 664 485

International : +61 3 6248 4789

motorhomes hire Australia

25-27 Catalina Dr, Tullamarine VIC 3043, Australia

contact motorhomes hire Australia

Phone Number : 1300 664 485

International : +61 3 6248 4789

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