Cairns, QLD to Sydney NSW

If you’re dreaming of seeing the very best of Australia, it doesn’t get much more scenic than a coastal drive from Cairns to Sydney. Think the Great Barrier Reef, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Newcastle, Central Coast & of course, the famous Sydney Harbour! With our Cairns to Sydney Itinerary, you’re sure to tick some epic things off your holiday bucket list and make memories that will last a lifetime!


Day 1
Distance : 140km Time : 2 Hours
Once you have collected your motorhome from our Cairns branch, you’ll have the opportunity to explore all that Cairns has to offer. Explore the beauty of Cairns with the Kuranda Scenic Railway and Sky rail Day tour, or go and explore the numerous beaches around. For those wanting something more active, Cairns also offers White Water Rafting at Barron or Tully River to get the blood flowing. Turn off in Babinda and head to the Babinda Boulders for an afternoon of swimming in this beautiful secluded area. Further along the way, stop at Charleys Chocolate Factory. With tours operating Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 10:30am, this is a must to fit into your itinerary. See how their chocolate is made from plant to the finished product. Arriving in Mission Beach, visit the spectacular beach for the afternoon. For the evening, stop by the Mission Beach Hideaway Holiday Village and get ready for your next day of adventure.
Day 2
Distance : 190km Time : 2 Hours 15 Minutes
Begin your morning by parking your motorhome at Clump Point and head on the ferry to Dunk Island. This is a great place to explore for the day by foot with many beaches, snorkelling locations and tracks to walk. Back in Mission Beach, hop in your motorhome and make your way to Balgal Beach. Along the way, stop by the Hinchinbrook and Panjoo lookouts to get some beautiful photos. Just before the turnoff to Balgal Beach, turn left onto Hencamp Creek Road which will take you directly to Rollingstone Beach Front Resort for the evening. With facilities such as a basketball court, giant jumping pillow, pools and direct beach access, you will have plenty to fill your evening in.
Day 3
Distance : 660km Time : 1 Hour
From Balgal Beach, you will be making your way through Townsville onto Magnetic Island. Magnetic Island is a stunning little paradise, just off the coast of Townsville. With the ferry departing regularly, you will have plenty of opportunities to make your way over. From the ferry terminal, make your way to The Forts carpark where there is a spectacular approximately 4 hours bushwalk. With stunning views at the top, you will also see the Forts complex that was utilised in World War II. Whilst on the island, a horseback ride with Horseshoe Ranch is a must do activity. With rides departing at 8:30am and 2:30pm, you will make your way through the bush and then out into the ocean for a swim on your horse. From here, make your way to the Bungalow Bay Koala Village for the evening.
Day 4
Day 4 will see you enjoying breakfast with the koalas. This experience is run by the village themselves and will see you enjoying a chef cooked breakfast with visits from Koalas, crocodiles and snakes. Bookings for this experience are essential. If this doesn’t take your fancy, enjoy your breakfast cooked straight from your motorhome and make your way over to Koala Village. You can enjoy this tour with one of the rangers as they take your through the park showcasing different native wildlife. We recommend booking ahead to secure your spot as these do fill up fast. As you make your way back to the ferry terminal, stop and enjoy the many lookouts along the way. With the ferry running throughout the day, you will be able to experience so much that Magnetic Island has to offer before arriving in Townsville. Take a quick trip to the Rock Pool for a relaxing afternoon swim. With a resort style swimming pool, pedal go karts and a giant jumping pillow, the Walkabout Palms Townsville is the perfect place to pull up overnight.
Day 5
Distance : 205km Time : 2 Hours 30 Minutes
Visit the Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium and spend your morning exploring the Great Barrier Reef on dry land. Take one of their many guided tours throughout the day before making your way onto Bowen. Along the way, you will pass the Billabong Sanctuary. This is a great place to see crocodiles being fed, hold a Koala for a quick cuddle and get up close and personal with a snake or baby crocodile. With interactive shows running throughout the day, you will be sure to learn a thing or two about the native wildlife in Australia. Arriving in Bowen, make your way to Horseshoe Bay for an afternoon swim and visit the nearby Rotary Lookout. There are a number of different caravan parks to visit in the area. For ultimate beachfront accommodation, be sure to visit Tropical Beach Caravan Park or Bowen Coral Coast Beachfront Holiday Park.
Day 6
Distance : 78km Time : 1 Hour
With only a short drive to Airlie Beach, you will have plenty of opportunity to make the most of what they have on offer. Salty Dog Sea Kayaking have tours departing at 8:30am from Shute Harbour and also offer hire of kayaks for those wanting to explore at their own pace. For those seeking a little more thrill, visit the team at Sailing Whitsundays for a 60-minute Island Jet Boat ride. With many different cruise options available, these guys will be sure to offer something for everyone. The Big 4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort is a great place to finish up for the day. With a waterpark on site, 2 jumping pillows, a kid’s club, tennis court and a lagoon style swimming pool, you will not be short on activities before a much need night of rest.
Day 7
Distance : 150km Time : 2 Hours
Spend your morning at the outdoor pool or beach at the Airlie Beach Lagoon. As you arrive in Mackay, you will not be short of options. The Bluewater Lagoon is a free family friendly pool. Year round friendly with three tiered lagoons and waterslides, you can easily spend a few hours here in the sun. For those travelling without children, the Goanna Brewery is a fantastic place to spend your afternoon. Taste the locally crafted beers whilst enjoying a bite to eat. From here, take a stroll through the stunning Mackay Regional Botanical Gardens. Late in the afternoon, visit one of the many beaches in the Mackay region for a quick swim before making your way to Mackay Marine Tourist Park.
Day 8
Distance : 336km Time : 3 Hours 45 Minutes
With a longer drive ahead of you today, you will want to get an early start to make the most of your time in Rockhampton. On your way, it is worth stopping by the Capricorn Caves. With most tours departing each hour, you will have plenty of opportunies to explore the natural limestone caves. Not only can you explore underground but also navigate the high ropes course or attempt the climbing wall. Capricorn Caves is truly a place for all ages, young and old. Arriving in Rockhampton, visit the Rockhampton Zoo to see otters, chimpanzees, koalas and much more. If the zoo doesn’t take your fancy, the Rockhampton Botanic Gardens are a great place to visit for a leisurely stroll amongst the tropical flora. A five-minute drive outside of Rockhampton you will find yourself at Kenrose Park. This 600 metre go kart track will keep you entertained no matter your age. For the evening, head to Big 4 Rockhampton to park your motorhome amongst the swaying palm trees for a night of rest in the tropics.
Day 9
Distance : 232km Time : 2 Hours 45 Minutes
Day 09 will see you depart Rockhampton to make your way to Seventeen Seventy. If you are lucky enough to pass through Gladstone on the weekend, make sure you include a visit to the HMAS Gladstone. This decommissioned Australian Navy Vessel will give you a chance to go onboard and enjoy a guided tour as you learn about life on the sea with the Australian Navy. The small coastal town of Seventeen Seventy is a must see on your travels from Cairns to Sydney. Famously known as the second landing spot of Captain Cook, when he discovered Australia, this place is truly Queensland’s best kept secret. With so many beautiful beaches to explore, you will need to have your bathers ready to go. Make your way to the very tip to view the spectacular Bustard Bay and Wave Lookout. Visit the team at 1770 Liquid Adventures for kayak hire or even book in to their kayak tours. The Agnes Water Beach Holidays is a great place to spend your evening, and you may even be lucky enough to secure one of their waterfront sites and catch the stunning sunset.
Day 10
Distance : 130km Time : 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Bundaberg, the famous home of Bundaberg Rum. Visiting the distillery is a must see while in town. Book a tour to learn all about the history of Rum in the town plus even get the chance to blend your very own. Stop by the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens for lunch in one of the many beautiful garden areas. Heading east, you will discover Mon Repos Conservation Park. This houses the largest area of sea turtles nesting on the east coast of Australia. For those travelling from November to February, the best time to see the turtles nesting is after dark. Even if you don’t get to discover this natural wonder, this beach is a stunning place to visit regardless. For those wishing to stay for the evening on the coast, the Bargara Beach Caravan Park is the place to stay. If you decide to make your way back into Bundaberg, make your way to AAOK Riverdale Caravan Park, right on the Burnett River.
Day 11
Distance : 257km Time : 3 Hours 20 Minutes
With a longer drive ahead of you on day 11, you will need to ensure you get an early start departing from Bundaberg. Stop by the Snakes Downunder Reptile Park and Zoo to see over 45 reptile species, including some of the most venomous snakes in Australia. View the snake shows or even the Koala talk before heading back onto the Bruce Highway. Pull off the Bruce Highway and stop at Lake Alford for lunch. Take a leisurely stroll around the lake while you rest and recharge. As you arrive in Noosa, you will soon discover that there is so much to see and do in the area. Visit Noosa Main Beach or even head out to the Noosa National Park so a short walk to see the many stunning lookouts over the cliff edge. The team at T Boat Hire, have all your water sport hire needs. Whether you are into stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking, they will have something for the whole family to enjoy on the water. Head over to the Noosa River Holiday Park for river front accommodation for the evening.
Day 12
Distance : 32km Time : 30 Minutes
Stop by Sunrise Beach for a quick more swim before heading towards Sunshine Coast. The Aqua Fun Park is a must see once you arrive on the Sunshine Coast. This is a fun for all ages inflatable floating playground. Take a trip over to Mooloolaba to get up close and personal with the sea life from dry land at Sea Life Sunshine Coast. See shows and talks on a wide variety of animals. You will even get the chance to walk through the Ocean Tunnel while sharks swim right over the top of you. This place is a must see whilst visiting the Sunshine Coast. Whilst in the area visit the team at Absolute Adventure Hire Hut for your Jet ski, and kayak hire. Cotton Tree Holiday Park is the perfect spot to spend your evening. With direct access to both Maroochy River and Maroochydore Beach, you will receive the best of both worlds.
Day 13
Distance : 110km Time : 1 Hour 30 Minutes
The Bellingham Maze is a great place to start your morning as you depart the Sunshine Coast. Not only will you get the chance to navigate the mazes, you will also have the opportunity to play some mini golf and mind-boggling puzzles. Take the turnoff to Landsborough to make your way to the famous Australia Zoo. Founded by the late Steve Irwin, his legacy has continued on which is clear once you visit this expansive zoo. See the Crocosuem, Africa, Tiger Temple and Elephantasia. You will truly be transported to different areas of the world all in one Zoo. The main Wildlife Warriors show begins at 12:00pm so be sure to get your seat early to see the animals in action. If not, there are many other shows running throughout the day. Arriving in Brisbane, you will be spoilt for choice on things to see and do. See the Wheel of Brisbane, Brisbane City Botanic Gardens or even the Story Bridge. There is so much to do just on the banks of the Brisbane River. Travel south to the Rocks Riverside Park for a night of rest and relaxation.
Day 14
Distance : 80km Time : 1 Hour
Gold Coast, the theme park capital of Australia. The trip from Brisbane through to the Gold Coast, will have you stopping by each theme park along the way. Each theme park has rides and experiences for the young and the old. Your day will be filled with a ton of thrill and excitement no matter which park you visit. Seaworld is a great place for those to visit seeking both thrilling rides and animal encounters. With polar bears, dolphins, penguins and many more species, you will certainly enjoy your afternoon here. For those seeking a different type of fun, there are a number of beaches on the Gold Coast to visit for a dip to escape the heat. For a stunning 360 view as far as the eye can see, head to the Skypoint Observation Deck. Not for the faint hearted, try the Skypoint Climb. With a range of different climb packages to choose from, you will find one that suits your needs. Visit the Main Beach Tourist Park for ultimate beachfront living. Across the road from stunning Main Beach, you will truly enjoy your stay here.
Day 15
Distance : 205km Time : 2 Hours 30 Minutes
Day 15 will see you crossing the Queensland/New South Wales border. Stop in at Byron Bay half way to Yamba. With many stunning lookouts to see, this place is a must to add to your itinerary. Visit the famous Byron Bay Beach for a swim before lunch. Find yourself a nice grassy spot outside the Byron Bay Surf Club for a picnic lunch, packed straight from your motorhome. Back on the highway, take the turnoff towards West Ballina to take a photo with the Big Prawn. Arriving in Yamba, a stop by the Yamba Lighthouse is a must. With stunning views across the ocean, view this historic Lighthouse that has been in service since 1880. The Calypso Holiday Park Yamba is the place to stay for the evening. Located right on the river, with a swimming pool and pontoon, you can set up from the evening and explore without having to get back in the motorhome.
Day 16
Distance : 140km Time : 1 Hour 45 Minutes
With so much to do in Coffs Harbour, you will want an early start to make the most of your day. Arriving in Coffs Harbour, a stop at the Big Banana is a must. Take a photo with this famous Australian Landmark plus also enjoy the activities that they have on offer. You can choose from the water park, laser tag, giant slide and much much more. Next stop on your trip is Dolphin Marine Magic. Book in to get the once in a lifetime opportunity to swim with either the Dolphins or Seals. With marine shows throughout the day, you will be sure to enjoy your time here. Take a visit to the team at C Change Adventures to hire a kayak for an afternoon on the water. Park Beach Holiday Park is the perfect spot to book into for the evening before embarking on a new adventure.
Day 17
Distance : 155km Time : 1 Hour 40 Minutes
Stop by Nambucca Heads on your way down to Port Macquarie. Visit Rotary, Pilot and Captain Cook Lookouts for some seriously stunning views over the vast ocean. Shelly Beach is a great place to have a picnic lunch and a quick dip before heading back out onto the Highway. Stop by the Stoney Aqua Park, 20 minutes prior to Port Macquarie. This is a fun for all ages inflatable aqua park on a man-made lake so you don’t have the worry of sharks whilst on this adventure. As you arrive in Port Macquarie, there are different ways you can take your afternoon. Whether you enjoy the leisure of mini golf, with the opportunity to win some prizes, or heading out on the water for a thrilling jet boat ride. Stop by Port Macquarie Breakwall Holiday Park for the evening.
Day 18
Distance : 110km Time : 1 Hour 20 Minutes
Before departing Port Macquarie, there is still so much to see and do. Visit the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre for a leisurely Rainforest Boardwalk or stop by Billabong Zoo with an up-close encounter with a wide variety of animals. These may include Snow Leopards, Spider Monkeys, Little Penguins, Crocodiles and much more! If you get an early start, you may even be able to visit both attractions. Arriving in Forster, a stop by Bennetts Head Lookout is a must. With spectacular panoramic views, you will need to make sure you have the camera batteries charged and ready to go. Forster Main Beach is a great place to spend your afternoon in the sun. If the waves get too much, further along you will find Forster Ocean Baths. This is a fantastic alternative for those wanting to enjoy the ocean breeze without having the hassle of surfers and waves as the come. Adjacent to Ohmas Bay you will find Great Lakes at Forster Tuncurry Holiday Park. With waterfront sites, heated pool and a waterpark, this is the perfect spot to spend your evening.
Day 19
Distance : 170km Time : 2 Hour10 Minutes
With the hustle and bustle of Newcastle tempting you, you will want an early start to make the most of your time in the area. After driving for just over two hours, a stop at Fort Scratchley Historic Site is a must. Take a self-guided tour or book in for one of the guided tours to learn about the in-depth history at Fort Scratchley. For a unique overview of the Newcastle area, jump aboard the Newcastle Famous Tram. The replica tram, based off the original tram in service in 1923, will take you around Newcastles beaches and historical sites. With full running commentary, you certainly won’t miss a thing. For those seeking a dip in the ocean, you will not be short on options for which beach to spend your afternoon at. With no caravan park in immediate vicinity of Newcastle, a quick drive over to Stockton you will find Stockton Beach Holiday Park.
Day 20
Distance : 73km Time : 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Instead of heading out onto the highway to make your way down to the Central Coast, take the coastal road for some spectacular views. Stop by the Spoon Rocks look out just outside of Swansea before making your way to the Norah Head Lighthouse. Book in for a tour to learn what it was like to be a lighthouse keeper when the Norah Head Lighthouse was in full service. Even if you do not wish to do the tour, the views in the area will take your breath away. Arriving in The Entrance, the Pelican Feeding is a must see. Operating daily at 3:30pm, this is a sight to be seen! Nearby you will find The Entrance Boat Shed for you kayak and stand up paddle board hire. If this doesn’t take your fancy, there are plenty of beaches to visit for a swim in the Central Coast area. After a day full of activities, the Toowoon Bay Holiday Park is a fantastic spot to pull up for a relaxing last night in your motorhome.
Day 21
Distance : 93km Time : 1 Hour 30 Minutes
You will want an early start for your last day to take in everything Sydney has to offer. Visit the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, the Taronga Zoo or even head to Luna Park for a thrilling ride. The Royal Botanic Gardens are a stunning spot to enjoy a picnic lunch with a view. For those daring enough, you may even want to book in to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge for a 360 view of Sydney. Head down to the Sydney Opera House for a photo on the famous steps or head into the city for a quick shop. There is so much to see and do in Sydney and will be spoilt for choice no matter what your taste. Finish your day by returning to the Caringbah branch to return your motorhome and share your adventure stories with the friendly staff.
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