Australia Queensland

Mega Cairns to Sydney One Month Road Trip Itinerary – Day by Day!

sydney opera house the end of the cairns to sydney one month road trip itinerary

Australia. The Island that’s bigger than Europe (not including Russia obviously) and over 10 thousand miles from home. A destination that since I can remember has been calling me to visit. It’s the place that taught me the true meaning of beauty and the place that proved to me I can do anything I want. Like so many others, to visit Australia has been my dream for so many years. In 2018-19 I finally got to live out that dream for a whole 364 days. Hand on heart it was the best 364 days of my life. Our Cairns to Sydney one month road trip itinerary that we followed was also one of the best adventures of my life.

The places I had dreamed of visiting I was touching, I strolled along the beaches I’d read about and swam in oceans of fish I’d only seen in a Disney film. If I had to pick one highlight from our year in Australia it would have to be our Cairns to Sydney road trip. It was mega. This was a no-budget kind of road trip. This was a hardcore let’s do everything kind of road trip and it was worth every single dollar.

In this comprehensive Cairns to Sydney one month road trip itinerary, I’m leaving nothing to the imagination. The best places to stop, campsites to stay at, vans to hire and of course how much it all costs! We spent a large chunk of money on this trip which we’d be saving up for, for almost two years prior. If you’re looking for a budget trip then this won’t be the one for you! I actually have no idea how people travel to Australia on a budget because it’s blooming expensive! 

Why Take a Road Trip from Cairns to Sydney?

The whole of Australia is worth visiting and even though I spent a year exploring the country, I have not done it all. But I cannot imagine anything in this world being as spectacular as the Australian East Coast. The east coast is a popular tourist destination with backpackers, retirees, families and young couples. It feels like everyone and anyone wants a slice of the magic.

I think a part of peoples fascination with Australia is that it seems so far out of reach to so many. It’s 8-10,000 miles away from the UK/ Europe/USA and Canada. And as we all know too well that sort of distance comes with the same sort of price. You need at least a couple of thousand dollars for a return trip to Australia. AND because of the distance, you need a decent chunk of time to travel to Australia. Too many believe that two weeks to fly to the other side of the world just isn’t worth it. Whilst I don’t necessarily agree with this notion I can fully understand it. So, to many of us visiting Australia becomes a life long dream. It’s the east coast that made those dreams for me come true.

Driving from Cairns to Sydney makes one incredible road trip. There are a lot of driving days because everything is so far apart but it’s all worth it. Swimming the Great Barrier Reef, sailing the Whitsundays, exploring Fraser Island, Skydiving onto Mission Beach, surfing on Bondi Beach and kicking back getting a tan in Byron Bay. These what we all think of when we think of visiting Australia and a Cairns to Sydney one month road trip itinerary includes them all!

What Time of Year is Best for a Cairns to Sydney One Month Road Trip?

Australia is notorious for being sunny all year round but let me tell you, this is not the case. Unlike so many perceptions Australia does suffer from bad weather. They get cyclone seasons up north, draughts, it rains and it gets really really hot. I personally wouldn’t recommend summer for this road trip. This itinerary involves spending a lot of time in Far North Queensland where the summers are hot and humid. I’m talking 40 degrees celsius with a humidity level of 80-90%! That’s my idea of torture not fun. On the other hand, winter can get cold too. My mum came to visit us in April and we did part of the east coast road again and needed a jacket. My mum too (she’s a Brit) needed her jacket so it wasn’t just that we had become accustomed to the heat.

As a couple, Dave and I drove from Cairns to Sydney in October which is late spring in Australia. I have to admit the weather was perfect at this time of year. It was hot but not too hot in Far North Queensland. The humidity up there was still quite low, perhaps 30%. This made sleeping in a campervan bearable and we hardly had any rain. We experienced one thunderstorm and a couple of overcast days but that was it. I really recommend a Cairns to Sydney one month road trip during the Australian springtime which is September to early November.

For more information on the Australian weather take a look here

Other Reasons to Avoid a Road Trip from Cairns to Sydney in Summer

  • Tourists – It’s the height of the Australian summer so it will full of tourists. All the sights will be consumed with people making it a lot less enjoyable experience all round.
  • Australian School Holidays – Just like summer in the UK the Australian summer holidays are no different. Families are off enjoying the sun and there are even more people.
  • It’s More Expensive – Combine the height of summer with school holidays and you get really expensive prices everywhere and Australia is already expensive enough.
  • Sustainability – Australia suffers massively from over-tourism so visit at the less busy times to leave less of a negative impact on the environment. Fewer people = less rubbish.
  • Sweat EVERYWHERE – Because of the crazy temperatures everyone is sweating anywhere and everywhere and you just take chaffing as something that’s unavoidable.
  • Flies and Bugs EVERYWHERE – No matter what time of year you take a Cairns to Sydney road trip the mossies are going to get you! But in summer you’ll need to ramp this up a least two gears.

Hiring a Camper Van in Australia

In order to complete this epic road trip from Cairns to Sydney in one month, you’re going to need a vehicle. The way that most travellers and the way I 100% recommend is in a camper van. Honestly, this trip was one of the happiest times of my life, living in van living out my dreams. Ah, I get all tingly just thinking about it! But in all seriousness, a camper van is the best way to go and Australia has so many options. From Hi-tops to motorhomes you’ll find a vehicle suited to your needs. You can even get camper cars from Spaceships which are like converted people carriers, a lot cheaper but of course a lot smaller too.

Our Camper van and Cost

During our Cairns to Sydney one month road trip, we used the company Ratpack travel to book our campervan and the majority of our trips like the Whitsundays and Fraser Island. Ratpack Travel is a small independent travel company based in Byron Bay. I first heard about Ratpack Travel through the blogger Mollie Bylett who runs the travel blog Where’s Mollie. I honestly can’t recommend these guys more. We got a great van, at after speaking to others on the road, came at a great price!

The camper van we hired came from company Camperman Australia and we’ve used them twice during our whole time in the country. The camper vans are great, come with everything you need and come with a low deposit which is awesome! A lot of the camper van companies charge a deposit/bond of up to $3000 whereas it’s just $500 with these guys.

Our camper van in Australia rented from Camperman australia
Our first camper Australia rented from Camperman Australia

Camper van Details

Model: Jade 3 Person Budget Campervan
Make: Toyota Hiace Hi-Top
Rental Time: 32 Days
Cost: $2316 / $72 per day
Despite being pretty old this bad boy drove us over 5000 km in total from Cairns to Sydney!

Other Ways to Travel from Cairns to Sydney

  • Greyhound Coach – The next most popular way to travel the east coast of Australia is the Greyhound Coach which stops at all the major locations.
  • Fly – You can fly to and from each destination but it will cost a bomb. But if you’ve got millions then why not!

Camping in Australia

I’m just going to touch on this quickly because if you’ve been to New Zealand then it’s good to know that camping in Australia is a little different. You can’t freedom camp like you can in New Zealand and will have to pay for camping at a campsite. The prices are fairly reasonable from $15-40 per night depending on whether you go powered or unpowered, the time of year and of course destination. A campsite in the rural Atherton Tablelands is going to be cheaper than one in Sydney.

I’m not going to mention every single campsite we stayed out but I did write a post dedicated to that which you can check out here.

Cairns to Sydney One Month Road Trip Itinerary Facts

  • Type of Road Trip: Driving One Way
  • Length: 32 Days
  • Starts: Cairns
  • Ends: Sydney
  • Kilometres: 6,000
  • Highlights: Cairns, Great Barrier Reef, Whitsundays, Fraser Island, Noosa, Brisbane, Byron Bay and Sydney

Getting to Cairns

The easiest way to get to Cairns is to fly. Domestic flights within Australia are quite cheap especially if you book them in advance. I always use Sky Scanner to book my flights and search for the cheapest deal! If you’re flying internationally then Brisbane is probably the nearest airport for you to travel to and then connecting up to Cairns. We flew from Brisbane with Jetstar and cannot complain about the flight.

Tip: Use an incognito screen on your laptop to search for flights and get the cheapest deals.

Cairns to Sydney One Month Road Trip Itinerary

Day 1-4 Cairns, Tablelands and Great Barrier Reef

People often describe as Cairns as the place where the reef meets the rainforest and I’m not going to describe it any other way. It sums up this tropical paradise perfectly. Cairns is, of course, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and a must-do when exploring the east coast of Australia. Cairns is also a great city in itself. It’s full of fellow travellers and is a popular place where a lot of working holiday makers live whilst in Australia.

If you’re looking for a bit of a party scene then Cairns has got that too. Spend day one exploring the city. It’s lined with great cafes and the lagoon is a gorgeous place to swim. However, the real experience not to miss is the Daintree Rainforest, the oldest tropical rainforest on earth.

There are so many different ways to explore the Daintree whether it’s by cable car or your own two feet. I’d start at the Daintree Discovery Centre or drive a little north up to Cape Tribulation, the meeting point of the reef and rainforest. You can even spend a couple of days there if you want too.

Ultimate road trip itinerary from Cairns to Sydney! This road trip is any travellers dream and one I would do again and again. Drive over 5000 km down the most beautiful coastline in Australia. Snorkel the reef, explore the worlds biggest sand island and surf in Byron Bay. Follow this one month road trip itinerary for an epic adventure. | Cairns to Sydney One Month Road Trip Itinerary | #australiatravel #roadtrips #roadtripaustralia #cairnstosydney #eastcoastofaustralia #travelguide
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Day 2 – Swim the Great Barrier Reef

I have to admit for me the most exciting part about hitting up Cairns is the Great Barrier Reef. Like so many others to swim the reef has been high on my bucket list for years. To swim amongst amazing sealife was such an honour and something I’ll never forget. You can snorkel or dive the Great Barrier Reef but we chose to snorkel. I’m not that great in the water and the thought of being that far down freaks me out. But I do not think we missed out. After all, the coral is near the surface of the water.

When booking a trip out to the Great Barrier Reef I recommend waiting until you arrive or at least call up different tour groups. We just went into the tourist information and ended up with a great deal. If you do want to book ahead do as much research prior as you can. There are weekend trips as well as day tours but a day tour was perfect.

Ultimately there are hundreds of different tour boats to choose and we went with Divers Den. The boat was great and for $200 we got a, a buffet lunch, drinks, all snorkelling/diving equipment and loads of time on the water! We swam and three different locations which were both unreal and we even saw a turtle! The instructors were really good and in the water, the whole time in case anybody needed any help and to educate us about the reef.

Cost: $200 PP/100 GBP

Day 3 – 4 Explore the Atherton Tablelands

A couple of hours drive inland from Cairns and you’re in the Atherton Tablelands. We hadn’t planned on visiting the Tablelands until someone I was working alongside in Brisbane said we just couldn’t miss it and I’m so glad we didn’t. Feel like you’ve been transported into a tropical countryside full of tranquil lakes and pristine waterfalls. I recommend spending one day driving around chasing waterfalls and another day swimming from lake to lake.

Famous waterfalls such as Josephine Falls and Milaa Milaa (Herbal Essences advert) live in the tablelands. Both are so much fun to explore and I don’t think you can miss them when up in Far North Queensland. We visited Joesphine Falls where we found our inner child and slid down natural waterslides (screaming our heads off!). Milaa Milaa where we enjoyed swimming under the falls and watching everyone else try to whip their hair back for the ‘perfect Instagram shot’. If you have no idea what I’m talking about just search #milaamilaa in Instagram and you’ll get it.

For more information on the waterfall trail and the other falls, we visited take a look at this in-depth post.

Lake Hopping in the Tablelands

Lake Hopping in the TablelandsFor incredible lakes to visit in the tablelands I’m going to recommend, Lake Tinaroo, Lake Eacham and Lake Barrine. Each beautiful and each unique. Spend the day hopping between the three. I think my favourite was the Lake Eacham. The water was so clear and we even saw a baby turtle which was so cute! There’s also a freshwater crocodile that lives in the lake but freshwater crocs are known to be less viscous so keep away and it will too. We didn’t even see it and swimming is permitted in Lake Eacham and believe me if the Australian government thought an attack was likely swimming would be banned.

Lake Tinaroo was also gorgeous and where we stayed the night a great sport for kayaking, canoeing or in fact swimming. Lake Barrine was also lovely, we didn’t swim but had our lunch at their stunning cafe. The Cheese Toastie was probably the best I had in the whole of Australia!

Day 5 – Mission Beach

Just a few short hours down the road from Cairns is Mission Beach. I’d heard so much about Mission Beach before arriving. The incredible stretch of sand and it’s the only place in Australia where you can Skydive and land on the beach! As we arrived at Mission Beach I was nothing short of stunned. It like as though I’d turned a corner and landed in Hawaii.

The water was so incredibly clear, palm trees hang over the beach, coconuts lay fallen and complete with island views in the distance. It felt like I was in the tropics or on a Caribbean Island somewhere. We didn’t Skydive but we did have a lot of fun. Another bonus about doing the Cairns to Sydney one month road trip in October is that Mission Beach is like a ghost town. Honestly, I think it was the quietest beach we visited in Australia. We laid out the towels, got the scream on and relaxed to the max.

Find out more about Skydiving in Mission Beach Here!

Cassowary’s Near Mission Beach

The best part about visiting Mission Beach was not what we experienced on the beach. But what we experienced as we left the beach. The coast that runs down Far North Queensland is also known as Cassowary Coast. For those of you who don’t know what a Cassowary is its part of the bird family.
Australias largest land animal. These birds are huge, a little scary looking but enchanting at the same time.

The Cassowary can be identified by its horn on the head and bright blue and orange neck. These birds are endangered in Australia and it was an honour to be lucky enough to drive past two as we left Mission Beach. After a cyclone in 2011, a lot of the Cassowaries natural habitat was destroy meaning they now venture into more urban areas and are sadly being struck down by drivers. Please drive safely on the roads and help Australia ‘Save the Cassowary’

Follow these rules if you see a Cassowary – admire from a distance!

Cassowaries in Australia
Okay, it may be a rubbish photograph but this was a special moment!

Day 6 – Townsville/Magnetic Island

Seen fellow travellers riding around an island in convertible Barbie cars? Well, that would be on Magnetic Island! An Island just off the coast of Townsville. Magnetic Island is popular amongst travellers for its huge Koala population! I would love to tell you how cool it was to drive those cars but the day we were due to visit Magnetic Island was the day a huge storm hit Townsville. Subsequently, we couldn’t get across to the island and as to stay on track with our Cairns to Sydney itinerary we missed out. So I’m pointing you in the direction of Big World Small Pockets and their incredible guide to Magnetic Island.

Day 7-11 Airlie Beach: The Gateway to the Whitsundays

This is my most exciting section in this Cairns to Sydney one month road trip itinerary! Sailing the Whitsundays is an experience like no other and it’s the only way to visit these gorgeous islands off the east coast of Australia. The Whitsunday Islands is made up of 72 islands and is home to the famous Whitehaven Beach. Whitehaven beach has been voted the second-best beach in the world by travellers and I couldn’t title it better myself. To visit Whitehaven beach is what the majority of travels want to scratch off their bucket list but the whole Whitsundays experience is incredible. 

Sailing the Whitsundays 

The Whitsunday Islands are offshore and the only way to get to them is by boat, including Whitehaven Beach. So other than take a boat trip to sail across this aqua ocean there aren’t many other ways to see it. You can fly over or Skydive and experience the Whitsundays that way but it just isn’t the same.

The Whitsundays is a special place, you need to feel it, touch it, breathe it, smell it and be as far into the action as possible. We went on a two night three sailing experience in the Whitsundays, which I go into a lot about detail in this post, and it was fantastic. Having never been on a sailing boat before it was breathtaking to set sail into the unknown, stargaze and sleep on the boat. It became our home for three nights and the experience where we’d meet some incredible personalities. 

Horizon Whitsundays Tour

The only thing that may put other travellers off about sailing the Whitsundays is the cost. This isn’t a cheap or budget activity. Our boat trip was $480 PP but it was completely worth it and I’d pay it all over again. Considering what that paid for I actually think it was a good price. Included in our $480 we got. Accommodation on board for two nights, all-inclusive food/drinks, snorkelling/diving equipment, visited Whitehaven beach including hill inlet and water sports. Most of the tour companies packages are very similar. We booked this trip with Ratpack Travel who I mentioned previously in this post. 

Whitehaven Beach
The incredible swirls of Whitehaven Beach

If an overnight boat trip is simply out of the question then don’t worry there are plenty of day tours available as well. The Whitsundays caters for all types of traveller. Young, retired, families, couples you will be able to find something that can cater to you and your cost. Booking in advance is essential for the Whitsundays if you need to stick to a tight schedule. It’s often required to check-in the day prior so  I recommending pencilling at least 4-5 days in Airlie Beach if you opt for a 3-day tour. 

Other Things to Do in Airlie Beach 

Whilst you wait for your sailing tour make sure you do explore the town of Airlie Beach as it is gorgeous. If you like to party then Airlie Beach is the place! 

  • Chill out in the Lagoon
  • Enjoy drinks on the Strip 
  • Shop for pointless souvenirs 
  • Skydive over the Whitsunday Islands 
  • Take a scenic plane ride over the Whitsundays Islands 
  • Party! 

Where to Park Camper Vans whilst on a Sailing Trip 

I looked high and low to the answer for this question and got nothing concrete in return so hopefully, this can clear it up for you campers. There are two options. One, pay for a campsite and leave your camper there and your mind will be ease for safety. Most campsites will happily lock away any valuables/passports for you during your absence. OR pay $10 to park on the harbour but this parking is not secure so it’s at your own risk. That said there are loads of campers that do it.

Day 12 – 13 Agnes Water/1770

After an exhilarating few days out on the water next stop Agnes Water/1770. I’ve noticed a lot of travellers actually skip these towns on their Cairns to Sydney one month itinerary but I recommend visiting 100%. It is a long drive from Arlie Beach so you may opt to stop off in Rockhampton on the way but there isn’t much to do or see there. Agnes Waters is a warm welcome after a few days of excitement up north because it’s one of the most peaceful places on the coast. The only way to describe Agnes Waters is as a coastal surfer town where the people living there dote on the beach and water.

Agnes Water

Agnes Waters is interestingly the most northerly surfing town on the east coast in terms of safety. By this I mean any further up the coast and you’re talking shark, crocodile, and stingray infested waters. Whilst in the Whitsundays if you go in the water (which you will) you must wear a ‘stinger suit’ aka wet suit at all times for protection.

The stingers up north are hardly noticeable but their stings can be fatal. If you’re into surfing then Agnes Water is a great place to hang out. We took 2 days here and enjoyed strolls on the beach, watching other surf and just enjoyed the peace and quiet. 1770 is another small boating town just down the road from Agnes Water and its shores are actually protected. Thus meaning no buildings etc can be bought on the majority of the land. The one must-have experience in Agnes Water is to visit Horizon Kangaroo Sanctuary.

Horizon Kangaroo Sanctuary is run by two locals who devote their time to caring for and rehabilitating orphan joeys. The sanctuary is up in the hills with acres of land that is filled with kangaroos and joeys and it’s simply wonderful. You can go up to the sanctuary during feeding times to get a little closer to these Australian natives or you can camp there! The owners raise money for the joeys by using their back garden as a campsite. Waking up with joeys bopping around us was an awesome experience. They have both powered and unpowered sites and good facilities. Visit their website here for more information. 

No longer than 2 days is needed at either of these small towns but there are definitely great to visit.  

Cairns to Sydney One Month Road Trip Itinerary – Day 14 – 17 Fraser Island 

Coming a very close second to the Whitsundays is our experience on Fraser Island. Fraser Island is a land like no other and the biggest sand island in the world. Fraser Island is made up of 98% sand and 2% rock which sounds crazy! So if you’ve ever wanted to go 4WD driving on sand then Fraser Island is the place to do it. Driving along the sand, paddle-boarding, swimming in Lake Mckenzie, floating down a natural lazy river and seeing dingoes are just some of the amazing actives on Fraser Island. 

There are a few options when it comes to visiting Fraser Island, You can go by yourself with a 4WD but I would not recommend doing this unless you are competent driving on the sand. I don’t mean a flat beach type of sand but I mean big potholes and steep drops kind of sand. Honestly, your life is not worth your pride. Or you can choose to go on a tour.

There are so many options for tours on Fraser Island: 

  • Coach Tour – driving around in a coach with other travellers 
  • 4WD follow on tour – experience driving a 4WD on the sand with other travellers following your tour guide
  • Private 4WD drives – be driven around the island 

There are also a few different types of option available on Fraser Island as well including camping or staying at one of the various resorts on the island. Kingfisher Resort is very popular. There are numerous tours operating on Fraser Island which you can take a look at here. We chose a 3-day coach tour with the company Cool Dingo. Tours depart from Rainbow Beach, Noosa or Hervey Bay.

Cool Dingo Coach Tour 

The Cool Dingo tour is a great way for backpackers to experience Fraser Island. The tour is aimed at the 18-35 age group complete with it’s very own Dingo Diner and Bar. There is an option to go on a 1-day 1-night tour or a 3 day 2 night with Cool Dingoes. I must admit when it comes to value for money this tour was incredible. We got to see a lot all of the main hotspots on the island, were fed like kings and had a full 3 days! Sometimes, tours can depart in the afternoon and then guests leave in the morning on the final day. But not with Cool Dingoes! The tour started as early at 10 am and didn’t end until 5 pm on the last day if that’s not good value for money I don’t know what is!

Again, like sailing the Whitsunday’s Fraser Island tours come at a cost. For the 2 night and 3-day coach tour, it cost $520 per person or 290 GBP. But it was totally worth every penny. Fraser Island is a once in a lifetime experience. As the worlds biggest sand island which covers over 110 km, you can’t have the Fraser Island experience anyone else. Drive along the sand highway where road rules exist. Yes, as you cruise along the oceanfront it’s still legal to stay within the speed limit and use your indicator! Float in a rubber ring down Eli Creek which couples as a natural lazy river and relax in the neutral pH waters of Lake Mckenzie.

Any tour on Fraser Island will be awesome but check the itinerary for these epic sights:

  • Lake Mckenzie
  • Eli Creek
  • Lake Wabby
  • Indian Head
  • Champagne Pools
  • Beach Highway
  • Maheno Shipwreck
  • The Pinnacles

For more information on the Cool Dingo Tour go here! Fraser Island is a spot on the Cairns to Sydney one month road trip itinerary that cannot be missed!

Maheno Shipwreck on Fraser island
The Maheno shipwreck on Fraser Island

Day 19 – 21 Noosa Via Rainbow Beach

After Fraser Island its time to continue down this awe-inspiring coast and find head to two gorgeous beach towns. Noosa is one of the most popular beach towns in Queensland. From backpackers to retirees Noosa attracts a lot of different visitors each year. The drive from Hervey Bay to Noosa is only a few hours so stop off at Rainbow Beach on the way. Rainbow Beach is about 30 km off the highway but its lovely place to explore. When we visited Rainbow Beach in October it was so empty! There isn’t much to do in the town other than the beach but it’s worth visiting. Sand dunes line the beach and if you’re after some adventure then you can go sandboarding on Rainbow Beach.

Noosa

Noosa is a fun beach town with a completely relaxing vibe. I recommend 2 days in Noosa or more if you have it. Enjoy relaxing on the beach, take a surf lesson or take a kayak out on the everglades. Eat and drinking is huge in Noosa and there are so many places to check out! Campsites are little more expensive from Noosa as you go further south too so just keep that in mind. Here are some of the great things to do in Noosa during your Cairns to Sydney one month road trip:

  • Take a Surf Lesson
  • Watch the surfers at Noosa Head
  • Stroll along the beachfront with an ice cream in hand
  • Visit Noosa National Park if you have a few more days
  • Kayak the Noosa Everglades
  • Visit Australia Zoo

For more things to do in Noosa take a look here!

Day 22 – Brisbane

The sunshine city is the first big Australian city on this Cairns to Sydney one month road trip itinerary. Brisbane may be smaller than Sydney or Melbourne but it’s a great city. I’m not to going to go into too much detail about Brisbane here because I have a tonne of other posts dedicated which you can find here! But after living in Brisbane for six months it should be everyone’s list to visit. To explore what Brisbane has to offer I recommend spending 1 or 2 days in the city.

Day 23 – 25 – Byron Bay

This best surfer town in Australia! Okay, that might only be one traveller’s opinion but Byron Bay was the only place we extended our time at on our Cairns to Sydney road trip. The 2 days I’ve recommended in this guide probably won’t be enough but we did miss out on other places to stay in Byron longer. I guess that’s up to you. Byron is jam-packed with cafes, restaurants and bars eating out is Byron is a must! Surfing is also big in Byron Bay as well as hiking, dolphin watching, shopping, sunbathing honestly there is so much to do in Byron! For the latest things to do in Byron Bay you can take a look at my other post here but here are my favourite things:

  • Byron Bay lighthouse walk (see dolphins from the top)
  • Afternoon trip to Nimbin
  • Sunrise at Tallow Beach
  • Surf lesson with Let’s Go Surfing
  • Enjoy the many bars and restaurants
  • Visit the Farm
  • Enjoy the best beaches: Main Beach, Wategos Beach and Tallow beach
  • Sunday Markets

Day 26 – Port Macquarie Via Coffs Harbour

Honestly, these next few days were my least favourite of this Cairns to Sydney one month road trip itinerary. The New South Wales coast is gorgeous but there’s not much going on. We drive quite a lot just stopping off to see various attractions. From Byron driving straight to Port Macquarie is a long drive but worth it to get nearer to Sydney. Stopping off in Coffs Harbour can make the drive a little easier. One must-do thing in Coffs that I would recommend is going to Sealy Lookout. After climbing the hill, in the car, the views are stunning across the water, views of the hinterland and city below.

Day 27-29 Blue Mountains, Sydney

As the big city approaches there’s time for one more jaw-dropping moment before arriving in Sydney. The Blue Mountains are located just a couple of hours west of Sydney. Perfect for avid hikers and view seekers the Blue Mountains showcases mother nature at her finest. A few days in the Blue Mountains is enough to experience the main lookout points and towns. But for hiker lovers, you could spend a week if not more in the Blue Mountains. I and David love hiking so we spent one day walking and the other driving around taking in the incredible landscapes. One place you have to check out is the Yellow Deli in Katoomba.

Things to See in the Blue Mountains:

  • Three Sisters Lookout Point
  • Honeymoon walk to Echo Point
  • The Yellow Deli in Katoomba
  • Evans Lookout
  • Wentworth Falls
  • Katoomba Falls

Day 28-32 – Sydney

sydney opera house the end of the cairns to sydney one month road trip itinerary
Sydney Opera House from a different angle – taken in the Botanical Gardens

Over 5000 km later and 5000 words in this post (and believe me this is the short version) the big city is finally here. To visit Sydney is a dream for so so many including me and when you arrive you will not be disappointed. I have no idea why Sydney hasn’t been crowned the capital. Personally, I don’t understand the Melbourne Hype. Four days in Sydney is a perfect amount of time to see all the major sights and attractions. Of course, there are the obvious places to visit like the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Bondi Beach but Sydney is packed with unique and different things to do as well. For my ultimate weekend guide to Sydney click here but here are the main things you have to enjoy whilst in this vibrant city!

  • Circular Quay: Opera House and Harbour Bridge
  • Bondi Beach
  • Bondi-Coogee Walk
  • Visit Milk Beach
  • Dine on Darling Harbour
  • Darling Harbour Fireworks every Saturday at 9 pm
  • Climb the Harbour Bridge
  • Explore/walk around Milsons Point
  • Have a day out in Manly

Cairns to Sydney One Month Road Trip Itinerary

If you’re still here reading this post right to the end then I hope you’ve got some ideas about how to plan your next road trip to Australia! During my travels, this road trip is one I’ll never forget and I know I’ll do it again. Dreams can come true here in Australia and I urge everyone to visit this amazing country once in their lives. This is only a tiny section of the vast country but it’s definitely an amazing part of it! If you enjoyed this post I would love it if you could share it!

Wishing you happy travels to Australia and Beyond,

Alicia

Ultimate road trip itinerary from Cairns to Sydney! This road trip is any travellers dream and one I would do again and again. Drive over 5000 km down the most beautiful coastline in Australia. Snorkel the reef, explore the worlds biggest sand island and surf in Byron Bay. Follow this one month road trip itinerary for an epic adventure. | Cairns to Sydney One Month Road Trip Itinerary | #australiatravel #roadtrips #roadtripaustralia #cairnstosydney #eastcoastofaustralia #travelguide
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  • Reply
    Tamara - Travelling Tam
    03/08/2019 at 18:46

    What a comprehensive post! I travelled the other way around a few years ago over a month and I realise now I missed so much! I live in Melbourne now but I’ll have to make another trip!

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    Darcy
    03/08/2019 at 20:32

    The Great Barrier Reef is on my bucket list too! What an amazing trip and itinerary. I’d honestly love to have a whole month to do this trip.

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    Caroline
    03/08/2019 at 21:39

    I love the detail here – this is so useful! Thank you 🙂

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    Vanessa Shields
    04/08/2019 at 02:49

    What an amazing post on a road trip in Australia! So much great information and tips that are really helpful in planning a long trip like that. I have never been to Australia but want to now!

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    Kay
    04/08/2019 at 03:28

    Australia sounds like such a good roadtrip country! But I never knew where to start hahah. Thanks for the suggestions!

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    Rahma Khan
    04/08/2019 at 18:04

    The Great Barrier Reef is such a dream for me! Not sure when I will be able to dive into it. However, loved this detailed and insightful guide

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