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sydney to cairns

Los Angeles
3 posts
1 review
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sydney to cairns

I would like to spend a few days in sydney and then make my way up the coast over the next week or so and then spend a few days diving the great barrier reef. I was thinking about renting a car so I can stop where ever....is there a better way to do this or cheaper. Any suggestions?

Brisbane, Australia
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2,282 posts
55 reviews
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1. Re: sydney to cairns

Well it's 2 days of complete driving from Sydney to Cairns (about 2500kms/1500miles) so make sure you're up for it! Some of the longer stretches of road can be very tiring to drive.

Sydney Australia
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2. Re: sydney to cairns

We drove Sydney to Cairns last July. It takes at least four days if you are going to see anything along the way and that is really pushing it. We have driven a lot in the US and I am sad to say that our roads are nothing like yours- we do not even have a complete four lane highway from Sydney to Brisbane. I would recommend that you drive perhaps from Sydney to Brisbane, then fly to perhaps Mackay, pick up another car and drive the rest of the way to Cairns. Around parts of Central Queensland it is very empty and only worth doing if you are not short of time. Last year Budget were the main car hire company without drop off fees.

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3. Re: sydney to cairns

A suggestion, rent a car and drive Sydney to Brisbane, great places to stop along the way and great surfing beaches. Once in Brisbane,fly to Cairns,head to Port Douglas, stay at either Parrotfish Lodge or Dougies Backpackers,both reasonably inexpensive and good accommodation, this will be the closest point to the reef for you and you can head out to Agincourt reef on Poseidon, alternatively,stay in Cairns and do an overnight dive, (not my field) but Bigfishlittlefish can fillyou in more on that side of things.

Milton Keynes, UK
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4. Re: sydney to cairns

We made this trip a few months ago. We flew Sydney to Byron Bay then bus to Gold coast and drove from Gold Coast to Cairns. The drive is long but it is also quite easy and even relaxing in places. There's hardly any traffic and the scenery can be cool on the way. For stop offs I would suggest Hervey Bay for Fraser Island and Airlie beach for the Whitsundays.

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5. Re: sydney to cairns

Another option is to just drive sydney-southern barrier reef.

Saves the long haul gladstone-cairns.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Business Travel, New South Wales
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31,043 posts
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6. Re: sydney to cairns

I agree with Jacko...you get to see the best spots..

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7. Re: sydney to cairns

My vote would be with Travelport - Car from SYD to BNE as the coastal towns are just great. Then north of that you get endless miles of cane fields and slow moving vehicles.

As for diving - assume you are certified divers - Cairns and Port Douglas are just terrific for diving. Unsure if you wish to try a live aboard boat as this is the best way to utilize your time. Traveling from the shore to the GBReef is 1 3/4 to 2 hrs in each direction if you use a day boat operator. Best from Cairns Tusa Dive, best from Port Douglas Poseidon.

If you wish to take the live aboard road, a 3 night will give you the GBReef and Ribbon Reef to Cod Hole route. Mike Ball, Spirit of Freedom and Taka Dive will all do this route. If time is short, look at Pro Dive Cairns 2 night/3 day trip. They dont hit the Ribbon Reef's but have good reviews and excellent boats.