Today we have a guest post from Sinead at Map Made Memories all about her family’s East Coast Australia road trip and why travelling around Australia in a motorhome is a great way to see this incredible country. I can vouch that it is a fabulous way to travel as we’ve also done an East and West Australia road trip and travelling in Australia by campervan or motorhome is such a brilliant way to see the country!
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I’ll hand you over to Sinead who can tell you all about travelling around Australia in a motorhome…
Australia is a vast, diverse country that attracts millions of overseas and domestic tourists to its beautiful natural locations every year. There is so much to see and do in Australia that, despite the distances involved, the best way to explore this amazing country is to do a road trip.
Why choose a road trip in Australia?
Our family of five travelled in a motorhome from Cairns to Sydney, driving over 2000 miles. Our epic six-week East Coast road trip could have taken months to complete as there is so much to enjoy on this incredible route. We hugged the stunning Queensland and New South Wales coastline but we also made detours inland to hike in the rainforests of Daintree National Park and Mossman Gorge, to explore the rolling green hills of the Atherton Tablelands and into the outback to enjoy its contrasting, iconic scenery.
Self-driving enabled us to visit lesser known places that buses, trains or tour groups do not visit. We did not have to keep to a rigid schedule and could go where we wanted to when we wanted to.
Travelling in a motorhome or campervan instead of a hire car allowed us to stay in quieter, rural locations as we did not have to find accommodation to stay in. We were able to avoid busy tourist centres. We did not have to unload or repack our luggage each day and we could stop to cook whenever we wanted to (a huge bonus when travelling with children)!
What is it like to do a road trip in Australia?
Touring in a motorhome in a warm climate such as Australia has, is ideal as you spend most of your time outdoors which helps to alleviate space or privacy niggles due to the confined quarters of a motorhome!
Vans available for hire range from basic, compact ‘campercars’ to large, luxury motorhomes sleeping six or more people. Larger motorhomes may be more expensive to hire and challenging to manoeuvre or park in towns and cities but they are the best option for a family due to the extra space, warmth and comfort they provide. I would recommend getting a self-contained vehicle – having your own toilet gives you a much wider choice of camping options.
Road tripping families are brilliantly catered for in Australia. There are driver rest stops, roadside barbecues and campsites everywhere. Campsites range from budget-friendly basic sites to sprawling sites with swimming pools, playgrounds, washing and laundry facilities.
We found it easy to drive and navigate Australian roads and never encountered a problem finding somewhere to camp for the night.
To make life in a motorhome with kids as stress-free as possible, we quickly learned to have a place for everything and to shop often for little amounts of groceries. We kept our main luggage stowed away, keeping only a few essential items inside the living area. By doing this, we were not tripping over bags and toys or boxes of groceries and it was easier to maximise and enjoy a small living space.
Where did we go on our East Coast Australia road trip?
Our East Coast road trip was an incredible trip of a lifetime.
We visited the usual, lively tourist hotspots of Cairns, the unmissable Great Barrier Reef, cosmopolitan Brisbane and beautiful Byron Bay. We saw estuarine dolphins at Tin Can Bay, humpback whales at Port Stephens, kangaroos, kookaburras and wombats at Sapphire. We were very fortunate to see the elusive platypus in a river in Yungaburra.
We hiked across sand dunes and through forests of bleeding eucalyptus, went sandboarding, surfing and snorkelling. We enjoyed the world-class museums of Sydney and Brisbane and had fun at the Mary Poppins festival in friendly Maryborough.
However, we found that straying off the beaten track sometimes offered the best wildlife encounters and opportunities to meet local people. We found this interaction important as travelling in a motorhome is not as social as staying in a hotel or hostel.
We decided to take several detours away from the coastal route which led to unexpected but wonderful experiences.
We paddled at the idyllic Millaa Millaa waterfall in the Atherton Tablelands and watched a family of tree kangaroos playing in the treetops at the Nerada tea plantation in nearby Malanda. We had no idea Australia produced tea and drove past the plantation by chance! Our kids were fascinated at the tea making process!
Detouring into the outback to the flat red landscape of Emerald we joined a fossicking trip and spent several hot hours digging in the rocky dusty ground. Our daughter was rewarded for her hard work with a satisfactory haul of sapphires worth $300! The rest of our family were not so fortunate! That evening, we watched kangaroos feeding at sunset and were then treated to a breathtaking starry night sky.
In the small town of Bowen, we decided to treat our kids to a trip to the independent local cinema which is famous for hosting the premiere of the Baz Luhrmann film ‘Australia’ as it was filmed in the local area. We bumped into the owner of the historic cinema who gave us a personal tour and asked the kids to sign the visitors’ book alongside the likes of Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman!
Visitors to Australia should not be daunted by the distances involved when choosing whether to do a road trip or not. Even hiring a vehicle for a few days and getting out of the major cities will provide access to hidden gems of this amazing, varied country.
If you are lucky enough to have the time to do a longer road trip, you are promised the trip of a lifetime.
Thanks so much to Sinead for painting such a wondering picture of life on the road in a motorhome in Australia. If you want to price up your own Australian motorhome adventure, you can get a quote from Motorhome Republic by completing the form below, or visit their website here: