Best itinerary for an amazing 4-week road trip through Australia

A salty in Daintree - Here's our best itinerary for a four-week road trip through Australia
Australia! If you haven’t been here for sure it is on your bucket list. And those who have been here before they want to go back. Looking at the pictures, reading travel blogs and hearing stories about the number 4 biggest island, more officially continental landmass, in the world made us enthusiastic as a child on the day before its birthday. For some facts about this amazing country read our blog post ‘Australian slang and 12 other facts on Australia that contribute to happiness‘. For the Australian secret to lifelong happiness read our blog post ‘how happiness in Australia is defined‘. In this blogpost, st we’ve put our Best itinerary for an amazing 4-week road trip through Australia.

Australia is big, very very big. Did we say it is big already?! Although we’ve spent almost four weeks here, we still only saw a tiny bit. The good thing is that we still have some left for the next trip to one of the most diverse parts of the world. We divided our trip into five big chunks: Cairns and surroundings, the outback near Richmond, from Brisbane to Sydney, Sydney, and Melbourne.

Here's our best itinerary for a four-week road trip through Australia

We think everyone is on a budget, some small and some a little bigger. Our best advice regarding Australia is not to go there during their summer holiday which is roughly from the beginning of December until the beginning of February. Prices of renting a car, camper, campsite, Airbnb and/or hotel double in this period.

We hope this blog post helps to give you some idea of the best itinerary for a four-week road trip through Australia. For all the free and paid camping spots, just download the wikicamps app. And we can advise you to book some places upfront as the cheaper campsite due get full, not only in high season.

Here’s our best itinerary for a four-week road trip through Australia


Cairns & surroundings

Cairns

We flew in from Bali Indonesia and started our trip in Cairns. We didn’t book a camper in advance. Why?!  Yes, that’s what we asked ourselves too. However, it turned out that renting a small car via Europe Car and staying at Airbnb’s was a better and cheaper option.

Cairns is not the Australia we expected. It is like a small village and its like you go back in time 40 years … and that’s a positive thing because the vibe is great. You can walk around and explore the center of Cairns and, depending on the weather, spend some time at Esplanade Boardwalk. There are many options for food and drink so just go with the flow. We had breakfast and lunch at the Pineapple Cafe and Caffeind. We also loved the Korean food in the mall.

Mossman and Daintree

From Cairns, we drove to Mossman and we stayed with Chantal and Andrew in their Airbnb. Mossman, a picturesque little township surrounded bright green rainforest and canefields an hour’s drive north of Cairns. To explore Mossman you only need a few minutes as it is small. Just drive or walk around to see the old sugar cane factory and take a relaxing walk in the sugar cane fields.  p

The main attraction in town is the Mossman Gorge. Only a few minutes outside the town and a beautiful short walk, and very cold swim, in the rainforest.

Near Mossman, there are many things to do with the two most important attractions being the Daintree National Park and the Great Barrier Reef. No visit to Australia is complete without a visit to the world famous and world heritage site of The Great Barrier Reef and Mossman is an excellent place to be to get on a boat and see it for yourself. We didn’t get into the water here because there were many stingers and we had some rough weather. We had more luck snorkeling in the Whitsundays.

The Daintree National park with its Rainforest is amazing. It is the oldest continually surviving rainforest in the world. From Mossman, it is just a short drive to the south gate of this park. From here you can choose your own adventure along the self-guided rainforest trails, breaking it up with refreshing dips in the crystal-clear swimming holes.

Here's our best itinerary for a four-week road trip through Australia

We didn’t spend the night in the park so were a little rushed. We advise you to take some more time here and enjoy the beautiful hikes the park has to offer. We really loved the one-hour boat trip with  Solarwhisper and saw some giant Salties! Stop for some freshly made ice cream at Daintree Ice village where they only have one choice of ice cream with 4 unique flavors each day made from local ingredients.

A salty in Daintree - Here's our best itinerary for a four-week road trip through Australia

From Mossman, we drove to Townsville. This is quite a long drive and we stopped at some national parks along the way to break up the drive. We walked around Crater Lake National Park and had lunch at Koombooloomba National Park.

Townsville

Townsville is a laidback beach town where you can spend a few days if you like. Swimming in the sea is a challenge as a larger part of the year it is forbidden because of the stingers.

A nice walk is starting at the marina and work your way up the Esplanade, stopping in to laze and graze along the parklands, making your inner-child squeal with delight under the dumping bucket at the water park.

A healthy lunch is sometimes hard to find in Australia, but in Townsville, you have some nice options. Our favorite is the Beet Bar. This wholefoods kitchen and superfood bar on Flinders Street is a treat for the eyes and stomach with their organic bowls and smoothies. They not only taste delicious but are visually appetizing as well, with colors ranging from pink dragonfruit and detoxing dark charcoal to green acai and caramel chai.


Outback near Richmond

One of the highlights of our trip to Australia was spending a couple of days on a cattle farm near Richmond. From Townsville, it is ‘only’ a six-hour drive through no-mans land and there is not much to do. However, it is amazing to drive through this part of Australia and driving through all these small villages in the middle of nowhere.

Here's our best itinerary for a four-week road trip through Australia

Charters Towers

A slightly bigger town is Charters Towers. Here its like you take a step back in time and driving through the streets of Charters Towers is like viewing a living montage of Australian history and heritage. When gold was first discovered in Charters Towers in 1871, Charters Towers became a gold rush town and quickly grew to become the second largest town in Queensland. We stayed at the Royal Private hotel which is more like a museum than a hotel. This grand old lady dates back to 1888. The honeymoon suite is my pick, decked out with all the bells and whistles of a bygone era. More about Charters Towers you can read here.

White Mountains National Park

From Charters Towers, it’s still a 3 to 4-hour drive and you will see the amazing surroundings of the white mountains national park.

Richmond

We were invited to stay with the Harrington family on their cattle farm near Richomd. This has been an amazing experience chasing cows with quads, inspecting fences and water holes, cursing kangaroos, catching pigs, drinking beers while mowing the lawn, building fences, flying over the property with a Cessna, and experiencing the most incredibly clear starry sky you can imagine.

Here's our best itinerary for a four-week road trip through Australia

Here's our best itinerary for a four-week road trip through Australia

Here's our best itinerary for a four-week road trip through Australia

Here's our best itinerary for a four-week road trip through Australia

Here's our best itinerary for a four-week road trip through Australia

They do not have a bed and breakfast so our experience was truly a unique opportunity. There are commercial options for staying in the outback. Check this website to see if this is something for you!

Best itinerary for an amazing 4-week road trip through Australia 


Brisbane to Sydney

After our adventure in the outback, we handed in our car in Townsville and flew to Brisbane. This is the fastest option and there is not a lot to do between Townsville and Brisbane. The drive from Brisbane to Sydney is one of the most famous drives in Australia. Just buy the Lonely Planet and choose your perfect trip. You can do it in a week or you can take a few months, it’s up to you. As there is so much information about this route we only mention our stops and highlights here.

We rented a campervan via Camperman Australia. We had some trouble with our first one, an oldtimer of almost 20 years old, and changed it for a newer one which was ok. You read so many bad reviews about all renting companies that it is hard to choose. The best option is to rent an (almost) new one, but that will cost you extra. Don’t buy the excess coverage from the rental companies as you will pay to much. Go Carhireexcess.com and save a lot of money in just seconds.

Brisbane

We started in Brisbane. Brisbane’s Southbank sits upon the shores of Brisbane River and is just a short walk over the bridge from the CBD. There is a free Red City Hopper ferry that operates throughout the city. The center is a combination of old and new with some great architecture next to huge skyscrapers. There are also many nice restaurants. Just outside of Brisbane you can have amazing views from Mount Nebo.

Our favorite places in between Brisbane and Sydney are Burleigh Heads, Byron Bay, Lennox Head, Nambucca Heads, Port Stephens, Hunter Valley and the Blue Mountains. Most of them are lovely beach towns where you can go sunbathing, surfing and relaxing. Some places are a little more special so some extra words about them.

Byron Bay

Byron Bay is known as the hippie capital of Australia and walking around you almost feel like turning into a hippie yourself. Byron is a great place to enjoy the beach, entertain the idea of eating organic and switch off in a completely laid-back atmosphere. You’ll feel at home immediately!

Hunter Valley

For the ‘winies’, not sure if that’s a word but it sounds nice, Hunter Valley is a must visit. Its one of Australia’s premium wine regions and it’s beautiful. Go there for the surroundings, go there for the wines or go there for both! As champagne lovers, see also our own company &Bubbles, we had to go to Petersons. It’s not as good as the real champagne but bubbly wine made of the Merlot or Sauvignon grape is quite an experience. We also had a very nice lunch at the Deck Cafe Lovedale where the wines taste great as well. In the afternoon we visited Bimbadgen Estate for some more tasting. Go to this blog to read some extensive descriptions of wineries in this region.

Blue Mountains

Just outside of Sydney you’ll find the Blue Mountains national park. The views are amazing, especially the Echo Point lookout, and the hikes breathtaking. We did the Grand Canyon Track which was a bit tough but beautiful, especially the view of the grand canyon at the beginning of the track is something you won’t see anywhere else in Australia. More tracks you can find here. A must do when near Sydney!

 

Here's our best itinerary for a four-week road trip through Australia

Here's our best itinerary for a four-week road trip through Australia

Here's our best itinerary for a four-week road trip through Australia

Here's our best itinerary for a four-week road trip through Australia

Best itinerary for an amazing 4-week road trip through Australia 


Sydney

Sydney is Australia’s answer to New York: a cosmopolitan a hive of activity, which never sleeps, but also boasts gorgeous beaches, fantastic weather, and mild winters. A lovely place.

After handing in our Campervan we spent a couple of days in an Airbnb in Bondi. Bondi is a popular beach and the name of the surrounding suburb in Sydney. The most active and breathtaking thing to do here is the Bondi to Coogee walk. This 6 km hilly walking track runs along some of the most popular beaches in Sydney. The walk makes a start at the famous Bondi Beach and you can either choose to follow the track to Bronte Beach or if you are keen, we suggest you follow the trail all the way to Coogee Beach (or alternatively walk the opposite way from Coogee to Bondi!). Its a total jaw-droppingly beautiful cliff top coastal walk that bends and winds itself around some of the most beautiful ocean-side scenery that you will find in NSW.

 

Here's our best itinerary for a four-week road trip through Australia

Here's our best itinerary for a four-week road trip through Australia\

Here's our best itinerary for a four-week road trip through Australia

In Sydney, we just walked around and enjoyed being in this famous city. Of course, we made some selfies with the Opera House, walked through the Botanical garden and took the ferry to have a different view of the city.

For a night out with good food, we can recommend Chin Chin in the center of town and Fonda in Bondi Beach. Surrey Hills has also got many nice places for breakfast, lunch, drinks, and dinner. We loved Masala Theory for Indian food and late night drinks at The Clock.


Melbourne

To be honest we liked Melbourne much much more than Sydney! But there are whole blogs written about what is the better city to visit. Truth is, both cities have their perks, and it’s up to personal preference to decide which of the two is the more appealing.For us, Melbourne has a more sophisticated feel to it. It has a European looking city center that is dominated by its famous trams and the colonial-style buildings.

Our highlights for Melbourne are walking in Fitzroy en Carlton. Eat in Flinders street. Strolling the Block Arcade. Visit St Paul’s Cathedral. Visit the Queen Victoria Market, the largest open-air market in the city. Best breakfast and lunch we had was at Seedling Cafe. For a date night, the best places are around Flinders lane. We had a great time with delicious food and drinks in the Coda restaurant.

 


Best itinerary for an amazing 4-week road trip through Australia

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