Sunshine Coast to Cairns & Further North – Road Trip, Australia

After I finished my time as an AuPair on the Sunshine Coast, my plan was to travel up north once again so that I could leave Australia from Cairns to go to Bali.

Even though I’ve already travelled the East Coast with my family in a caravan from Cairns to Sydney, we only had a very short time for this long distance and therefore I didn’t felt like I had actually seen much of it.

Luckily a friend of mine, that I met right at the beginning of my travels in Melbourne about 8 months before wanted to join me for this trip and so we had a really great road trip together.

Before, we already did a little mini road trip in Wilsons Promontory, Victoria for a few days, to see if we would fit together travelling in a small camper and after travelling on my own for a long time, I was really happy to share this experience.

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Home on Wheels

We rented a camper at travellers-autobarn for little over a month in Brisbane and he picked me up on the Sunshine Coast, where we stayed for the first two days.

In the beginning, when you get your new car, everything feels weird, not homie and you might wonder how you are going to survive five weeks in this little space. But after everything has it’s place and you are into a routine, you can really imagine how people live in vans fulltime.

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On the Road

Because we had over 5 weeks for our trip, we could really stop wherever we wanted and only had to plan for a few days in advance, never rushed to get anywhere in time.

I know that is not the case for everyone, but I will just share out experience and the best places we visited and you can pick and choose what places you actually want to/have time to go to and I bet that there are still places that we haven’t visited ether – Australia just has so much to offer!

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Money Money Money

I tried to write down what we spend on this trip, but it is really hard to remember. Also, the costs really depend on season, if you try to find free camps as much as possible, if you eat out or do lots of activities and trips.

I’d say we spend around 700$ + 600$ for the costs of the van for those 5 weeks. So it was definitely not a cheap month on my travels. But on the other hand we went to soo many places, did so many amazing things, had the freedom of our own car to go places and that was definitely worth it.

When you first hear camping and van life, you think of a very cheap way of travelling. But actually renting a car, fuel & campgrounds are pretty pricey. It’s probably cheaper to travel by Greyhound Bus and sleep in cheap hostels but you don’t have the freedom of your own car to go places…

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FOOOOOD

As I said, the costs of your trip also really depend on what you eat, what you buy & cook and how much you eat out. And we definitely weren’t super thrifty.

Food is a really big passion of mine. I love eating out, trying restaurants and healthy eating and cooking is important for me and I would rather spend a bit more money on it – in my opinion, that’s worth it.

We did cook mainly vegan (meat and cheese is pretty expensive anyways). Lot’s of chickpea curries, wraps with egg or falafel, avo toasts, porridge, burgers & sandwiches…

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But we also loved a good Aussie brekkie in a nice café and with an epic view. Coffee is also pretty expensive, so I’d recommend not having coffee out all the time.

App Recommendations

There are some apps that have been really helpful to plan our trip, find free camps, find campgrounds, free toilets, water to refill our tank and to find cheap fuel.

  • Campermate
  • Fuel Map
  • Here we go
  • Wikicamper

As well as google maps obviously :D

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Our Trip

Our trip started on the Sunshine Coast, where I was living with my AuPair Family at that time. James picked me up and we spend one day in the Hinterlands of the Sunny Coast with another friend of mine.

We went to the Glasshouse Mountains, Maleny & Montville. A very beautiful landscape and drive and two very cute little mountain towns, that are pretty touristy (in a good way) and offer a lot for daytrippers.

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Then we continued to Rainbow Beach and had a night in Maryborough, before we went to Hervey Bay & Fraser Island.

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In the Bundaberg region we went to Coral Cove and Mon Repos Conservation Park. A very beautiful place where you can learn a lot about sea turtles and if you are lucky (and there at the right time) you can even see baby turtles hatch and make their way to the ocean.

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We further north to Rockhampton and Yeppel, where we stayed for two nights to have one full day on Great Keppel Island. A very small and beautiful tropical island where you can hike, explore, snorkel and enjoy – without many other tourists!

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In Mackay, we stayed at my friend’s families place and explored Eugella NP. I would really recommend going there as you can very likely see wild Platypus at Broken River
– which is really special, as they are super shy. And the Finch Hatton Gorge is very nice to have a cooling bath as well.

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Afterwards, we went to the famous Cape Hillsborough NP where you can experience a sunrise with Kangaroos at the Beach. Unfortunately, it was foggy in the morning, but nevertheless, this place is really beautiful.

Also, I can highly recommend doing the walk to the Turtle Lookout as we saw soo many turtles and the water has an epic colour.

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We spend a few nights in Airly Beach. Had breakfast at the Fat Frog with a beautiful view. Went to the Cedar Creek Falls, did a two-day sailing tour with Southern Cross to the Whitsundays and to snorkel & I also did my very first SkyDive which was such an epic experience and a really awesome view!

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Further north we stopped in Bowen for a night and went snorkelling at Horseshoe Bay – a really nice place to go to.

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I really fell in love with Townsville. The view from the Castle Hill for sunset is amazing and we also enjoyed an adventurous day on Magnetic Island.

Magnetic is really great for snorkeling, hiking, exploring and they also have some cute cafés, but it is definitely a more common and more touristy place than the Keppel Islands – very worth it though.

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Next up was exploring Little Cristal Creek, Jourama Falls and Wallaman Falls. A very beautiful area and we had so much fun exploring all day, swimming and wondering around.

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Mission Beach is probably a really beautiful place, but unfortunately, it was not the best weather, so we couldn’t really enjoy it to the fullest. We still did some rainforest walks and did a little Lookout drive around.

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Somewhere I really wanted to go was the Milla Milla waterfalls circuit. A bit off the Coastline but so worth going there in my opinion.

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In Cairns, we again stayed at my friends families place at Palm Cove / Clifton Beach and I can really recommend this area. Central Cairns isn’t really that special, but the northern Beaches are so beautiful!

The lagoon in Cairns is really nice as it is a free swimming pool area and the Art Gallery is really nice as well if you like to see some local and aboriginal art – it’s free to visit too!

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We went on a day-trip to Fitzroy Island, which I can really recommend, to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef from the Island.

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Also went to the rainforest village Koranda for a day to explore the markets and go to the Butterfly Sanctuary.

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Obviously, we had to do another boat trip to the Great Barrier Reef for a day. They are so worth the money as it is so fun to snorkel and I also did my very first scuba dive trial which was a lot of fun as well.

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From Cairns, we went up further north: along the famous beach with stone architecture to Port Douglas, to then go even further to Daintree Village to do a Croc Tour on Daintree river.

We crossed the river with the ferry to go into Daintree rainforest. The ice cream at the Ice Cream Company is really amazing and so worth a stop as they have flavours of fruits you have never seen or heard of before – and they taste so epic and tropical!

That’s why I also decided to do a fruit tasting in Cape Tribulation to try all different kinds of tropical fruits and learn about them – so interesting, fun and delicious.

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We had such an epic time on our road trip and even though I would say I’ve seen a lot of Australia and had such a long time there – I still feel like I really need to come back to explore more and to go back to places I love.

Being in Australia for 10 months and really feeling like I belong there. I am already excited to come back!

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My last picture in Australia <3

One Day on Rottnest Island | +Vlog

It’s only a week since I posted my first ever Vlog from my time in Perth and now there is already the next video: One Day on Rottnest Island.

I went with a ferry on a day trip to the famous island and explored it by bike. It was a really nice and exhausting day with the most amazing views and picture-perfect beaches.

Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t good enough to swim or snorkel, but I had a great time biking from viewpoint to beach to viewpoint, spotting a seal and at the end of the day, I was exhausted from all the hills and the wind that I fought against.

I had a lot of fun vlogging and filming that day as the island is not super busy and so I could talk to my camera with nobody listening :D but I really hope it shows you a bit more of the island than pictures could.

If you want to get some more information about my trip to Rottnest Island, head to my Perth & Surrounding Travel Guide and get inspired to go to Western Australia by the upcoming pictures :)

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What kind of videos would you like to see from me? Food related? Vlogs? Travel and Backpacking Tips?

 

Perth & Surrounding – Travel Guide | Tips, Places, Markets, Food

When I arrived, I quickly fell in love with Perth as I had such an amazing experience with the bus driver that took me to the city. He was so caring, helpful and friendly and I also really enjoyed that Perth isn’t as huge and busy as Melbourne or Sydney.

I filmed my first vlog when I was in Perth! Very new and weird to talk to the camera, but I will get used to it when I do it more often and I hope you enjoy watching anyways :)

There are also some impressions from my South-West Australia Tour included in this video at the end.

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Sadly, I got a bit homesick and lonely in my first days in Perth which made me then not enjoying my time that much. Luckily, I could change my mood by booking a tour to explore the south-west of Australia and meeting some nice travel mates on the way.

I really can tell that your experiences on your travels and whether you like a place or not depends so much on the people you share your time with. And as a solo traveller, it is very likely that you will feel lonely at some stage of your travel – but that’s okay, that’s part of the experience and in my second week in Perth, I was luckier with my roommates and had a great time!

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Where to stay

I stayed at the City Perth Backpackers which is located between the centre, Northbridge and Subiaco (the best/main parts of town) and it takes less than 10 minutes by foot to the city centre.

I really liked this hostel because it was super clean and had a nice kitchen without any dirty dishes or food in the sink. I met some great people in the two weeks I stayed, even though there are also some long-term workers living there that tent to drink too often, too early and too much… but I just avoided the TV area and then it was fine.

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Things to do, Places to go

The prettiest place in the city (in my opinion) is the Kings Park with a beautiful view of the city. A great place to run, walk, explore the Botanical Garden with many unique plants that only exist in Western Australia and have a picnic.

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The Victoria Quay is another pretty place with a great view over Southbridge and the river, as well as the city centre when you stand on the bridge. At night it looks even more special and I can highly recommend going there (but taking a jacket, it’s pretty windy :D ). Also, the harbour is located there and you can do tours to Fremantle, through the river and to Rottnest Island.

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The CBD area has a pedestrian area with a lot of shopping and food places. On the weekends there are markets and live music (see more down below), but as it is the business district I prefer Northbridge for eating out more.

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The funny thing is, you can find those old and British looking arcades right next to the high buildings in the CBD.

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Northbridge is super nice to eat out, especially for Asian food and you can also find very nice cafés, bistros, book shops, vintage stores and little boutiques.

 

At the Northbridge Piazza, they sometimes show movies and you can relax in the grass.

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Between the CBD and Northbridge, there is a Plaza called Yagan Square where the main train and bus station is located. There is also a big building with many nice restaurants, bars and food stalls.

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Even though it can’t keep up with Melbourne or Sydney, the Art Gallery of Western Australia is worth a visit and if you need some quiet time to work (+ free Wi-Fi) I can recommend the Library right next to it.

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There are many nice beaches not far from the city that you can go to by bus or train and the great thing is: because it is Western Australia you get to see an amazing sunset over the ocean! I went to Cottesloe Beach once and other very nice beaches (from what I’ve heard of) are Port Beach, Leighton and Mosman Beach, City Beach, Floreat Beach and Brighton Beach.

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Markets

I love going to markets here in Australia. It’s so much fun seeing all this good food, supporting local growers and producers, trying new and exciting things and having a look at beautiful self-made things. Especially after I had such an amazing experience in Brisbane with markets, I am always in the hunt :D

Here are some markets that I visited:

  • Subiaco Farmers Market (Subiaco) on Saturday
  • Perth City Farmers Market (East Perth) on Saturday
  • Perth Home Grown (Murray Street Mall, CBD) on Sunday
  • Mends Street Farmers Market (South Perth) on Sunday
  • Twilight Hawkers Market (CBD) Friday evenings in summer month
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I also went to a super cute Etsy Handmade market in Northbridge

Eating Out

I would say eating out in Perth is even a bit more expensive than on the East Coast and there are also less great options.

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In Northbridge you can find many Asian restaurants and in the CBD some more expensive ones but I missed some cute cafés and little bistros. You can find some in the suburbs like in Subiaco or also in Fremantle (read more below).

At Yagan Square there are a few nice places for lunch and afternoon snacks.

And I also went to an amazing restaurant called Formosa which is an Asian restaurant that is completely vegetarian and has a lot of vegan options and they recreate the real meals. I had a vegan seafood noodle soup and my friend a chicken stew and some nuggets and it was really yummy. You definitely need to like those „fake foods“, but I tell you: the nuggets were crazy delicious!

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At the Victoria Quay there is an Indian restaurant called Annalakshmi with a buffet and you pay as much as you want to.

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Food shopping

In the city centre, there is only one Coles that is super expensive and small as well. Better go to Coles or Aldi in the Suburbs of Perth, like Subiaco (if possible) because they are much cheaper and bigger or shop in these stores instead:

  • La Vida Vegan Grocery (West): completely vegan grocery store that has soo many cool products
  • Golden Choice Fruit Veg (Subiaco, West): the best place to shop fresh and cheap fruits and veggies as well as Asian groceries
  • Emma Seafood Yong Tofu Asian Market (Northbridge)
  • Kakulas Brothers (Northbridge): Bulk food store where you can get all kinds of flour, grains, rice, herbs and spices, dried fruit, muesli, as well as some special foods (they had German red cabbage and a German dumpling mix :P )

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Day trips from Perth

Fremantle

Fremantle is a really popular and hip suburb of Perth and only 10 minutes by tram and around one hour by bus from the city centre.

I stayed at the Fremantle Backpacker Hostel which I can’t really recommend because my room window was right where everyone partied outside so it was super loud, but I’ve heard that Fremantle is a party place anyways. So probably all hostels have those issues.

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The Fremantle Market in the Market Halls (from Friday-Sunday) is very popular and a nice undercover market with a lot of different things, as well as many food stalls. You can try the food at many stalls and there is definitely a lunch or snack for every taste.

The South Beach Sunset Market, South Fremantle (Saturday evening in summer month) are supposed to be very nice as well.

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Right at the market, there is a completely vegan café and bistro called ‚Chick Pea‘ which has some amazing yummy food. I had a tumeric waffle. toast with cashew cheese and tomato.

 

And the Milk Belly Café also serves two vegan sandwich options and I tried there pulled BBQ jackfruit sandwich that tasted really delicious and super flavourful. Even my friend admitted that it was really good!

There is also an Acai Brothers and Aloga Bowls for great Acai Bowls and a restaurant that I wished I could have tried (but it is more on the expensive side) is Raw Kitchen.

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Rottnest Island

Rottnest Island is a very famous island in the Indian ocean only about 40 minutes by ferry from Fremantle or 2 hours from the city centre. It is home to the funny looking and friendly Quakkas and a beautiful place with breathtaking turquoise beaches and lovely landscapes. There are no cars allowed so you can explore the island by foot, bike, e-bike or by hop-on-hop-off bus.

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I had a wonderful day cycling around the pretty hilly island stopping for beautiful views, taking pictures and enjoying nature.

There is another vlog coming soon where I take you along my day on Rottnest Island!

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From Perth you can also make your way up to Exmouth along the less popular but just as beautiful West Coast of Australia (which is still on my bucket list) or travel along south to see Wave Rock, Margret River, Albany and Esperance which I did on a 6 day tour that you can read about here!

Western Australia is less popular than the Eastern coast but definitely still worth visiting. Perth is a great city that as plenty of things to offer and you can see and travel a lot when you go north or south. I will for sure come back to travel along the West Coast one day!