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Trip from Sydney to Cape Trib - recommendations appreciated!

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Dublin, Ireland
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Trip from Sydney to Cape Trib - recommendations appreciated!

My husband and I have rented a campervan to travel from Sydney to Cairns (from the 2nd to 15th January 2014).We have roughly worked out a route: Byron Bay, Surfers Paradise, Brisbane, Beerwah, Fraser Island, Airlie Beach/Whitsundays, Magnetic island, Mission beach, Cape Tribulation (Daintree). I realise we have pretty limited time so any recommendations/tips would be very much appreciated. We would like to include whale watching, swimming with dolphins (probably Seaworld) and snorkelling/diving somewhere along the way. Thanks in advance!!

Uden, The...
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1. Re: Trip from Sydney to Cape Trib - recommendations appreciated!

Hi

Don't think there's whalewatching in januari . Hope you realize you are coming in the Wet. Roads can be flooded and heavy rain can occur. No swimming in the ocean either because of box jelly fish other than in wetsuits or in designated areas the farther north you go.

Those all are great destinations but januari isn't best month for a visit imo.

Surfers Paradise...
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2. Re: Trip from Sydney to Cape Trib - recommendations appreciated!

You certainly don't have much time and are looking at almost covering 3000km in that short time period. It will be the wet season the further north you go and as stated above swimming in the ocean from Whitsundays up it is advisable to wear a stinger suit.

I think you need to narrow your list down to your must do things and focus on trying to do them as I think you will be spending a large chunk of your time just travelling from place to place if you try and cram too much in.

Have a look on Google maps to get an idea of how far it is between places remembering it often takes longer in a camper van to drive and also depending on our weather

I would either pick Fraser or Magnetic not both as there is no point in just going for one night. You really need to spend two or three nights on Fraser. And there is quite a cost involved in getting there

Best diving would be at Cairns but you need to do an outer reef dive or if you have the time a liveaboard but again depending on the weather this might not happen. While in Cairns or if you stop in Mission Beach(not much there but a pretty place) I would recommend if you have time to do some white water rafting on the Tully.

If you plan on going up Cape Trib be sure to check the roads and creek crossings as once you are over the river it is advisable to have a 4WD car especially in the wet season.

As for swimming with Dolphins Seaworld would be your best bet but will be expensive and extremely busy as it is school holidays. You are sure to see some dolphins on your reef trip in Cairns or out in the Whitsundays.

Remember it will be school holidays here so if you go to a theme park the lines will be very long and you will also need to check the ferry availabilty to Fraser or Magnetic and or trips out to the Whitsundays.

Hope the above infor is helpful and if you want any more help just let me know. I have lived on the Gold coast most of my life but also lived in Cairns and Sydney for a few years.

Brisbane, Australia
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3. Re: Trip from Sydney to Cape Trib - recommendations appreciated!

Do yourself a favour and call into a place called Bowen. The most beautiful beaches in North Queensland. You will be guaranteed a sheltered bay to swim at anytime of the year. (without a bloody stinger suit). GUARANTEED.

Mosman, New South...
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4. Re: Trip from Sydney to Cape Trib - recommendations appreciated!

Sydney is nice in January, traffic is good as everyone is jammed up the entire coast to Brisbane and beyond on Holidays. Schools don't go back until end of January. It will be tough to get into campgrounds along the coast. North Queensland will be very hot and humid. Do you need to get as far as Cairns? Byron and surrounds is great. Fraser is ferry across and 4WD only on the island. Look at booking on a 2 night small group camping tour and leaving campervan on mainland.

Darwin, Australia
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5. Re: Trip from Sydney to Cape Trib - recommendations appreciated!

Have you only allowed 13 days for this entire trip ? If this is so - you will not have enough time to do anything of great interest. This is a trip that needs at least 1 month..

If I look at your list its 9 destinations for 11/ 12 days? This is 000's of kms of driving in PEAK holiday traffic.

Just getting to Byron will take you a whole day of driving up the Pacific Hwy, then next day you will have to head off to your next stop at Surfers- another say 2 hr trip with traffic. Surfers is hard to get accom at the caravan parks- again book now. The reason is that it is built up and not much free land, so the caravan prks are JAMMED full of vans and tents.

If you havent booked any campsites esp at Byron you need to do now. Its the busiest during this time and will be overrun with people.

I think to be honest- you need to cut your itinerary up and go back to the drawing board. As other people say- its true wet season in Jan further north you go and the highway routinely floods and gets cut off. You may not even get to Cairns as you plan if the Bruce Hwy gets flooded....sorry to be a wet blanket...!

Daintree, Australia
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6. Re: Trip from Sydney to Cape Trib - recommendations appreciated!

Your itinerary is just far too ambitious I'm afraid - can only agree with everyone else's comments. For instance on the odd occasion when we drive the 2000 km from Daintree (which is 2 hours north of Cairns) to Brisbane we do it in three days of mostly solid driving, the last half of which is just plain BORING. And we'd never attempt it during school holidays and in the wet season.

I'd suggest perhaps just doing the Sydney/Brisbane leg by campervan - you can also get to the Sunshine Coast and Fraser Island from there. But you would definitely have to book your overnight sites ahead.

My personal advice would be to try to cancel the campervan and simply hop on a plane to Brisbane for a few days then on to Cairns and hire a car in each place - you'd be able to access many of your destinations from them and could work things out according to the weather.

We always feel incredibly sorry for folks cramped up in tiny campervans staring out at the thundering tropical rain in the wet season here in the far north!!!

Sydney, Australia
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7. Re: Trip from Sydney to Cape Trib - recommendations appreciated!

I think it would be very difficult to make Byron Bay from Sydney in a campervan on 2nd January. This is high holiday season and the Pacific Hwy is very crowded. Caravan parks all the way up will be fully booked and many parks innsist of minimum days stay.

Even at quieter times the trip you envisage would require most of the time to driving.

You should rethink your plans and itinery.

Dublin, Ireland
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8. Re: Trip from Sydney to Cape Trib - recommendations appreciated!

I meant to post earlier but thanks to everyone for your advice!

We cut out a couple of places on the route but pretty much did the plan above.

I would have loved another couple of weeks but the time we spent over there was amazing!!

We packed so much in and loved every minute of it.

Highlights for us were Whitsundays, Fraser island, Daintree and probably the best was feeding the dolphins in Tin Can bay. Lucky for us we had a 4 berth camper so loads of space for the 2 of us (and it did rain a lot!) but it was a trip of a lifetime so I'm so glad we did it that way. Thanks for all the advice folks - I love Oz!!

Edited: 7:36 am, July 22, 2014
Uden, The...
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9. Re: Trip from Sydney to Cape Trib - recommendations appreciated!

Thanks for the feedback and glad you enjoyed your trip! Obviously no flooded roads even with the rain.

Sydney, Australia
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10. Re: Trip from Sydney to Cape Trib - recommendations appreciated!

Fab to get some feed back on your road trip. I'm glad you got to feed the dolphins at Tin Can Bay - its a beautiful part of the world. Thanks for sharing !