The route between Sydney and Cairns is a backpacker’s paradise and such an easy itinerary to follow. The hardest part is allowing for the distances, what looks fairly close together on a map actually takes the best part of a day to drive, it is very deceiving. That being said, here’s a list of some of my favourite activities from when I traveled there a few years ago.
- Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge. I’ve started with perhaps the biggest splurge of my trip but the views across the harbour are well worth it, and you get the bragging rights to say you’ve done it.
- Chill out in Byron Bay. This place is so laid back it’s virtually horizontal. From the casual parties to the hippy town of Nimbin this is the ultimate place to relax on a beach watching surfers (or joining in with them if you’re any better than I was).
- Canoe through the Noosa Everglades. This was a multi-day trip that saw us paddling up the river to various campsites with the pinnacle of the journey being a hike up to the Cooloola Sandpatch. It was really wild and if you’re crazy enough you can risk crocs and bull sharks to take a dip in the water.
- Watch a sandblow sunset. The sunset from the Carlo Sandblow near Rainbow Beach is one of the best I’ve ever seen and made the short walk up there seem worth the effort. Take your camera for some epic shots (and this was in their winter)!
- Visit Fraser Island. The rules for getting around on the island have changed since I was there however there are so many things to see all on one island. The Maheno shipwreck, Lake Wabby, Eli creek, the champagne pools and Lake Mckenzie were the highlights as all were stunning.
- Sail around the Whitsundays. There are many different operators offering trips for all price ranges and durations around the Whitsunday Islands. Make sure to visit Whitehaven beach which although it is touristy the sand is amazing.
- Scooteroo around 1770. This was an unexpected little gem of an activity. There are bikes with smaller engines for novices like me (for some reason I couldn’t turn left!) or bigger, more powerful bikes for those with a license. This short trip was so much fun with a good sunset at the end.
- Try to spot wild koalas on Magnetic Island. There are some nice little trails around Magnetic Island and we were able to get a good view of the cute marsupials in their natural habitat.
- Visit the Great Barrier Reef. Many people choose to dive here but as I have never scuba-dived before I stuck to snorkelling and was still able to see so much marine life. It is truly spectacular and was made even more exciting when I spotted a Nemo!!
- Visit the Atherton Tablelands. These provide beautiful natural scenery including rainforests and waterfalls (one of which is famous for hosting both Peter Andre’s “Mysterious Girl” video and the Herbal Essences adverts). We went with Uncle Brian’s Tours which was both informative and hilarious in equal measures.
There were so many great things to do on this trip and it caters for all interests from culture vultures, adrenaline junkies and party animals. It is perfect for both seasoned travellers and those who are perhaps going away for the first time. I caught the Aus Experience hop-on-hop-off coach to get around but it is also easy with other less (or more) formal bus companies or as a self-drive holiday.
Have you got any recommendations for Sydney to Cairns? Any other particular places in Australia you would suggest to visit?