Planning a road trip on the East Coast of Australia…

Travelling the east coast of Australia in a campervan is the perfect way to get to know this vast and varied part of the country and an experience that I can’t recommend enough. The freedom to go where you want to go, when you want to go, to stop somewhere on a whim, change your plans and sleep where you want is a wonderful feeling! This is my guide to planning a road trip on the east coast of Australia…

Campervan hire:

Our three-week adventure started in Sydney and ended in Cairns, covering a total distance of 2629 kilometres. We landed in Sydney, jumped in a taxi to Jucy rentals and picked up what was to be our home for the next three weeks, a green and purple campervan. This little beauty looked like it had been well-loved which made me like it even more!  We got given a quick briefing and then handed the keys. Our Jucy Van was compact but had everything we needed for our three-week journey. Bedding, pillows and towels were provided with the van along with pots and pans, crockery, cutlery and a map. The van had a small kitchen area at the back, which consisted of a camping gas stove, a cool box (powered by a leisure battery) and a sink. It also had a DVD player, but with so much exploring to do we didn’t get round to using it. Awesome campervan and an awesome company!

 

 

Things I took with me on the trip:

  • When planning for a road trip on the east coast of Australia, my first tip would be to pack fairly lightly as living in a van means you have limited space.
  • Guide books: Lonely Planet East Coast Australia and Cool Camping Australia – East Coast – I don’t know what we would have done without these two books. We found places we may not otherwise have visited and they really helped us out especially at the beginning of our trip when everything felt a little bit daunting.
  • Driving licence: Don’t forget this! Check out the Australian Government website for more information on driving in Australia with an overseas licence.
  • LED lights and torch: These were much needed as we stayed in some very remote campsites which were pitch black at night.
  • Keypod: We use one when we surf in the UK and I thought it would be perfect for Australia. It’s a small box, big enough to fit your car key in with a combination lock and padlock on top. It can be attached to the underneath of your vehicle and is perfect if you want to go for a swim or surf and don’t want to leave valuables and car keys on the beach.
  • Washing tablets: Although we could have bought these out in Oz I decided it was one less thing to spend our pennies on once we were there.
  • Resealable bags: Handy to store food in and to stop any beasties or bugs finding it!
  • Tea bags and sugar: Again something we could have bought in Australia but I just thought I would be prepared, and there’s nothing like a decent cuppa in the morning!
  • Anti – bacterial wipes: To clean down food prep areas in the van once we picked it up. You don’t know whose grubby paws have been on it before you! (Although the rental company did a very thorough clean it was just something that made me feel better!) They are also perfect for cleaning up after cooking.
  • Mobile phone and Wi-Fi Dongle: We were very lucky as our lovely friends Olivia and Jamie who we stayed with in Sydney lent us these – great for calling campsites in advance and Google mapping if you don’t have data to use abroad included in your phone contract.
  • We bought a USB charger to go into the cigarette lighter when we got to Australia. This proved priceless for charging our phones and camera batteries on the road.
  • I’m a big flip-flops wearer but I was so pleased I packed a pair of converse ‘just in case’ I needed them.  They came in very handy for bush camping. When it gets dark you never know what creepy crawlies are wondering around!  So I would definitely recommend packing some closed-toe footwear.
  • We took fairy lights and bought candles when we were out there, it added extra light to our camp and also made it look nice.

 

 

Sleeping:

National Park campsites:

National park campsites are the way forward for cheaper camping and for going back to basics. My advice is don’t be scared of long drop toilets and having no showers! I overcame this and experiencing these beautiful places, which can be off the beaten track and often with hardly anyone else around is awesome. It felt to us like ‘real’ camping. One tip my friend Liv gave me was to check under long drop toilet seats for spiders before you sit down! This was a great bit of advice, especially when you consider that most of the wildlife we came across were discovered in the long drop area! Liv did well at practicing her own advice….One night as we sat around the campfire in the Blue Mountains we heard screams coming from the dunny – she had found a nasty looking spider under the lid!  

You need to take your own water for most national park campsites and also need to pre book, although Black Rocks campground (one of our favourite spots) in Bundjalung National Park had signposts with a phone number to book upon arrival. Lots of these campgrounds can be found along very bumpy and long unsealed roads, but this adds to the fun! 

One night we parked up and slept on the side of a road, funnily enough opposite a campsite! It was quite a nice spot on the harbour front at Hervey Bay; we chose it as the car park just in front of our parking spot had a half decent public toilet that wasn’t locked at night. We had been on a whale watching trip which meant we didn’t get back until early evening and we had a lot of driving planned for the next day and got up at around 5am. Due to this we decided there was no point in paying for a pitch. Lots of car parks have no camping signs clearly displayed so they are of course a no go. I am not entirely sure as to whether we were allowed to camp on the roadside, but hey sometimes you’ve got to be a rebel and just live on the edge!

Head here for campsites in New South Wales: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Private campsites:

More expensive campsites were fantastic after a few days of staying in a national park or roadside camping where showers are non-existent.  So to pay for a campsite with showers, flushing toilets and even a laundry room was a small slice of luxury!  Most private campsites we stayed at had camp kitchens that were really well equipped with gas barbeques, fridges, ovens, sometimes microwaves, washing up facilities and plug sockets for charging electronics. Some even had free Wi-Fi, which was a big bonus.

For more information I’ve written a guide with all my favourite campsites to help with planning a road trip on the East coast of Australia: Cool Campsites on the East Coast of Australia.

 

 

 

The drive:

Driving the east coast is such a great way to see experience all the countryside and its differences as you head further up or down the country. The climate changed quite a lot from Sydney where there was a bit of a chill in the air to Cairns with its humid and very hot rainforest feel. I got bitten by mosquitoes further up the coast too. The temperature of the water also felt warmer as we moved further up the country.

On the drive we passed over hundreds and hundreds of creeks, we also passed sugar cane fields, plantations, rainforest, and ocean. It was interesting to drive through so many different towns like Rockhampton, with its quaint Victorian buildings making it look like it had stood still in time. Within the sugar cane fields were train lines, I loved watching the cane trains pass, transporting sugar cane to the plantations. There were also lots of banana farms up near Cairns and we also witnessed a few wild fires in this area; they were pretty scary looking.

There are plenty of opportunities to deviate from the main highway as sometimes the long straight road can get boring. All the way along there were brown tourist signs indicating an alternative route through places of interest and how many kilometers it covered before bringing you back onto the highway. We did this a few times; my favourite was the drive through the Glass House Mountains. The scenery was just incredible with bright red soil and the mountains looming high above the otherwise flat landscape. We stopped off at a great viewpoint for lunch and took photos; it was a lovely scenic diversion.

One thing to know about when driving in Australia is toll roads. These can be avoided but we ended up going through some in Sydney and then in Brisbane. They don’t cost very much but you need to make sure you go online or phone up to pay the charges. For NSW I used this website: myrta and for QLD: govia.  Phone numbers and websites are signposted as you go on the toll roads and you pay the charges by giving your car registration number along with the date and times you would have been on the toll roads. It is then automatically deducted from your credit or debit card, easy!

Although it is quite an obvious thing to say I would definitely recommend keeping an eye on your fuel as sometimes fuel stations were very few and far between. We often drove for an hour or two without seeing one. We tried to make sure that our fuel gauge didn’t drop below a quarter, that way we felt safe. Something else I should mention is that the Aussies are pretty strict on speed limits, so make sure you stick to them.

 

 

 

Rest stops:

We experienced a mixture of good and bad rest stops while on the road. Many with the words ‘Stop, Revive, Survive’ were brilliant, with toilets, gas barbeques and picnic benches sheltered from the sun. Some even provided free tea and coffee. Although, nice service stops turned into sparse truck stops with awful long drops on the Bruce Highway, north of Brisbane. So be prepared for some horrendous dunnys; hold your nose and don’t look down!

Two refreshment stops that stood out for me were Frosty Mango, serving, you guessed it all things mango. This was recommended in the Lonely Planet Guide I mentioned earlier. We bought a mango smoothie for the road, it was so good! Tooloombah Creek Roadhhouse an hour north of Rockhampton was also a great little stop off. We were greeted by a lovely lady who fueled up the van and told us a joke at the same time… “What happened to the beans that were travelling in Australia?… They ended up in Cairns!”… It made me laugh anyway! After a chat with this lovely lady we purchased coffee, two slices of her delicious homemade cake and continued on our journey. I really loved chatting to locals, who more often than not were very welcoming. Some also passed on useful information to us such as a fuel attendant in Byron Bay. I told him we were heading to Mission Beach at some point in our journey, he told us how nice it was and recommended a great campsite. A bit of local knowledge sometimes goes a long way.

 

I hope this has given you a bit of an insight into planning a road trip on the east coast of Australia. If you have any of your own tips please feel free to add them in the comments below; I’d love to hear them. Writing this post has made me want to go back to the land of down under right now! With 1633 miles of the east cast of Australia explored I can’t wait to share the rest of my adventures with you all…

 

For more on Australia take a look at my other posts:

Five Things to do in Sydney

Whale Watching in Australia

Three weeks in three and a half minutes

 

 

Cool Campsites on the East Coast of Australia…

Cooking a chilli on the camp fire

Discovering cool campsites on the East Coast of Australia

From Sydney to Cairns the east coast of Australia is made for a road trip, with endless beauty from the ocean to the rainforest there’s so much to explore. Hire a campervan or car, pack up a tent and go on an adventure down under. There are some very cool campsites on Australia’s east coast, from pitches with beach views, to dreamy spots surrounded by nothing but rainforest. It’s such a fantastic way to experience Australia. I went on a road trip from Sydney to Cairns a few years ago in a campervan with Matt, we covered 1633 miles in 3 weeks. There were a few very long days of driving, sometimes 8 or 9 hours but it was always worth it for the for the adventures we had and the cool campsites we stayed at. Driving is such a great way to see the ever-changing landscape and climate as you go up or down the coast and having the freedom to decide where and when you want to stop is fantastic.

Most of the campgrounds we stopped at we only booked the day we arrived or we just turned up and inquired if they had space.  In high season it’s probably best to book in advance as pitches can get fully booked months beforehand. National park campgrounds are often cheaper than privately owned ones and often need to be booked before you arrive. They will have limited facilities but are an amazing way to experience the great outdoors; proper camping if you will. It is necessary to take all your own equipment including water and food to these campgrounds as there will not be anywhere to purchase anything nearby.  If you are planning a road trip on Australia’s east coast read on for my favourite campsites from Sydney to Cairns…

 

My favourite campsites on Australia’s East Coast:  

Euroka Campground, Blue Mountains National Park

The Blue Mountains area is a beautiful place to camp and Euroka campground is the perfect base.  Found along an unpaved road amongst the bush this spot is popular with cockatoos and kangaroos.  Facilities are basic with pit toilets and no showers.  Sites are unpowered and unmarked which gives the campground a natural feel and there are fire pits for cooking.  Bring water with you as there is none available at Euroka. It’s a tent only campground and is a popular one, so book before you go.  From Euroka walk to Nepean River and enjoy being in the Australian outback.  Visit Katoomba for a coffee and Echo Point Lookout for a fantastic view of the famous Three Sisters.  There is a cable car and scenic railway to really make the most of the incredible views here.  Wentworth Falls is an awesome place to stop for a hike and take photos of the gorgeous waterfall.

 
 

Racecourse Campground, Goolawah National Park

Set behind the sand dunes of Goolawah Beach, Racecourse is a relatively small campground with only 20 sites. I loved watching the sunset on the gorgeous beach and waking up to the sounds of the ocean. Be sure to go well equipped to this spot as it is fairly remote, but magical! Matt and I woke up very early one morning to watch the sunrise over the ocean. We parked up a short drive from Racecourse campsite on Point Plomer Road to cook breakfast. There were kangaroos in the field behind us and dolphins jumping in the ocean in front of us. It was an awesome spot for breakfast!

 

 

Trial Bay Gaol Campground

This is an incredible spot for camping, set on a peninsula in Arakoon National Park.  The ocean is right on the edge of the campsite and has some water front pitches. The facilities are top-notch with toilet and shower blocks, its worth noting that the showers are coin operated.  Trial Bay is a fantastic spot to see whales on their annual migration north in the winter and in spring on their way back south.  We saw whales during our stay here which was totally unexpected and an amazing experience. We also had kangaroos pass us by in the evenings while we were barbecuing.  If you love the beach and the outdoors then this cool campground is totally for you.

 

Calypso Holiday Park, Yamba

Yamba holds some really memorable moments on our road trip.  A small town with a fishing harbour and cool surfy vibes.  It was one of my favourite stops, so much so that we ended up staying an extra night.  Calypso Holiday Park has pitches and cabins right on Clarence River, a gorgeous relaxing spot with fantastic sunset views.  The town and beaches are all within walking distance and the YHA does a great breakfast.  Take the short drive to Angourie, the beach there is a National Surfing Reserve.  Stop by the Blue Pools for a dip or leap in from the cliff edge.

 

Black Rocks Campground, Ten Mile Beach, Bundjalung National Park

It took around 45 minutes to drive along a very bumpy gravel track surrounded by dense woodland to reach Black Rocks. This place put me on the edge of my camping comfort zone for sure! It is one of the remotest places I have ever stayed and most definitely ‘wild’ camping, I loved it.

Set behind the sand dunes of the stunning and untamed Ten Mile Beach the pitches are very private. Separated by woodland it felt like we were the only people there, apart from the faint murmur of voices somewhere in the distance.  Black Rocks is an incredible place to explore, there’s Jerusalem Creek for fishing, the coastline and miles of undisturbed bush behind the dunes.  Each drive in pitch comes with a bench and fire pit, the facilities are basic with only pit toilets and no showers. Be sure to arrive fully equipped and self-sufficient and take enough water for the duration of your stay.  I loved that there was no light pollution, the starry skies were out of this world and in the van at night you couldn’t even see your hand in front of your face.  We got freaked out one evening in the dark too; as we were sat in our van having a few drinks we could hear a lot of rustling and something circling the camper…after a long time we spotted a possum by torchlight.  Not so scary after all, but slightly creepy in the dark, in the middle of nowhere!  This is a very cool campsite on the east coast and hands down one of my favourites of our whole three weeks in Australia.  If you like having your own adventures in complete remoteness then this is the campground for you.

 

Broken Head Holiday Park, near Byron Bay

This beach campground has awesome views of Broken Head Beach, a short stroll away.  It is around 7 kilometres from Byron Bay so it’s a nice distance to escape the crowds in high season.  Spacious pitches, not too close to fellow campers, a camp kitchen and BBQ area plus a camp kiosk mean it has everything you need.  The campsite is a short drive from Suffolk Park a lovely small town with a bakery, fuel station and convenience stores.  We couldn’t find a campsite with free pitches in Byron so this little gem popped up at the right time.  Byron is world-famous for its surf scene and the beaches are beautiful but it can get very busy so Broken Head is a great spot for a bit of tranquility.  We spotted dolphins in the surf here while swimming in the sea and said hello to some huge lizards near our van.

 

 

Noosa River Holiday Park

It doesn’t get more scenic than Noosa River Holiday Park.  Wake up to pelicans bobbing along on the river right in front of your van or tent and enjoy a barbecue with a glass of wine in the well equipped camp kitchen as the sunsets.  It is in the most perfect spot only a few steps from the sandy shoreline.  I’ve stayed in this campground a few times now, even if it is full the staff will do their best to accommodate you.  Matt and I once parked up in the overflow car park for the night among boats and trailers; we could still see the river from our spot!  The town, Hastings Street and Gympie Terrace are all within walking distance.  While you are in the area make sure you take a trip to Noosa National Park, it’s a stunning walk along miles of beautiful coastline.  Hire a paddle board and explore the river too, there are some interesting mangroves a short paddle across the river.  Go inland here to see the incredible Glass House Mountains and to visit the markets at Eumundi.

 

Ferns Hideaway Resort, Byfield

This is most definitely a hideaway. Found in the middle of nowhere surrounded by rainforest, friendly wallabies and fruit bats. Camping at Ferns Hideaway comes with complimentary use of kayaks to explore the stretch of privately owned creek. Matt and I absolutely loved paddling along the creek and exploring this hidden spot. Pitches aren’t marked out, you chose where you would like to park up. It is a lovely, small site with with a camp kitchen, clean shower facilities and welcoming owners. There is also a swimming pool and restaurant on site along with a handful of log cabins. If you are looking for a unique campground on the east coast of Australia then Ferns Hideaway is it.

 

 

Big4 Whitsundays Tropical Eco Resort, Airlie Beach

I loved the laid back vibes of Airlie Beach, we stopped here to go on a Whitsunday Islands boat trip.  The pitch we stayed on at this Big4 site was partly shaded by tropical plants, perfect for keeping the van cool.  A camp kitchen with two fridges and gas barbecues, plus a playground, swimming pool and clean facilities make this a great spot.  A trip to the Whitsunday Islands is a must when on the east coast of Australia.  Whitehaven Beach is a well-known beauty spot on Whitsunday Island, pure white sand and sparkling turquoise ocean make it a picture perfect paradise.  Book onto a day trip or jump aboard a sailing boat for a longer trip on the water.

 

Mission Beach Hideaway Holiday Village

This campground is very convenient for the beach which is just over the road and my gosh what a stunning beach it is. Miles and miles of golden sand backed by palm trees, it is a breathtaking spot. We stayed at Mission Beach Hideaway Holiday Village for less than 24 hours but had a really nice time. The facilities are well-kept and there is a swimming pool and camp kitchen.  Mission Beach is popular for sky diving, trips to Dunk Island and exploring waterfalls. Around 40 minutes north of Mission Beach is the gorgeous Etty Bay, it’s a small, secluded beach with a café and a caravan park with cabins, powered sites and tent pitches. We went in search of the cassowary, a shy bird known to live in the area.  Sightings are rare, so to see one on the beach would be fantastic; unfortunately we weren’t lucky enough to find one when we were there.

 

 

NRMA Cairns Holiday Park

This campsite wouldn’t have necessarily been my first choice, everywhere was full so from what I can remember it was one of our only options. It was pretty packed and pitches were quite close together, but the facilities were clean and it had a great camp kitchen and a pool. It also had a little veggie garden which you could help yourself to, a nice little touch. Cairns is the place to be to see the Great Barrier Reef. I will never forget catching a glimpse of it for the first time; crystal clear waters and colourful corals. Snorkelling above the reef and spotting a turtle was an incredible experience.

 

Once you’ve found and booked your campsites on the east coast of Australia, head to my post: Planning a Road Trip on the East Coast of Australia for tips on what to pack and what to expect on your adventure. 

If you have time check out this short video of my first road trip down under: Three weeks in three and a half minutes.  

If you are looking for ideas on things to do in Sydney I’ve got a post all about it here: Five things to do in Sydney.  

For whale watching here’s the lowdown on an amazing day trip: Whale watching in Australia.

 

Whale Watching in Australia…

One of the best and most memorable experiences I had in Australia was a whale watching trip. On day nine at 625 miles into our road trip along the east coast of Australia from Sydney to Cairns we arrived at Hervey Bay. Hervey Bay is a very popular spot in Queensland for whale watching trips. Matt and I had been really indecisive about our plans and whether to go whale spotting, so a last-minute decision saw us leave Rainbow Beach and drive two hours along the coast, I am so glad we made the decision to go. Arriving just after 1pm we were very lucky to get on a trip that had spaces left at 1.30pm. We hastily booked onto it and as we had not had lunch we grabbed snacks from the van and made a run for the boat!

The trip:

We went with Tasman Venture who have two trips a day running from July to October. Cruising out of Hervey Bay our route took us past the famous Fraser Island, at 75 miles long it is the biggest sand island in the world and pretty impressive. With around four hours at sea we were lucky to witness a lot of whale action! Humpbacks and right whales make their annual migration to Antarctica from July to November and stop in Hervey Bay to rest and rear their young. Not long into the journey we spotted a mother with her calf, the guides told us that this particular whale returned every year. It was incredible to see them moving so gracefully through the water, fin slapping, breaching and tail slapping too. I learnt from a very handy whale watching leaflet that the way to tell the difference between a humpback and southern right whale at a distance is from the shape of the air they blow out. Humpbacks push air straight up and right whales create a ‘v’ shape.

The first time I saw a whale from the shoreline made me feel quite emotional and to see them so close was breathtaking. It was a pretty stormy day with the boat rolling around a lot and quite a few people were ill. Before the boat left we were all warned of the impending bad weather and given the option to do the trip another day. I was alarmed at one point to see a couple shuffling along the floor on their knees, I couldn’t understand what they were up to, until one of the crew came and helped scoop them up…they had got sea sickness in a very bad way! I also found Matt up on the starboard side of the boat a one point clinging onto to the railings for dear life, unable to move because of the wind and the unsteadiness of the boat! It was getting very rough, so we retreated below deck to warm up with a cup of tea and a slice of cake and got the best sighting of the afternoon of the mother and calf leaping out of the water together. It was a fantastic day despite the weather, if you are planning a trip to Australia make sure you go whale watching, it really is a unique experience.

 

Australia and New Zealand adventure…

Today is the day that Matt and I are off on a big adventure and I have just come out the other side of what I can only describe as ‘packing hell’!!  My bag is finally zipped shut, with me sitting on top of it and I am now ready to fly to Sydney tonight!  I have had to master the art of packing for all seasons, which means a bikini, Ugg boots and everything in between!  As well as attempting to pack as lightly as possible for three weeks of living in a van.  I feel quite proud that I’ve achieved what seemed like almost the impossible when I started this morning!
I can now relax and move onto our very exciting trip, I’m thrilled to announce that Matt and I are collaborating with the lovely people at Jucy, an awesome campervan company for our ‘international roadie’ where we will be spending five days in Australia and then ten on New Zealand’s South Island.  We hired a Jucy Van last year in Australia, you can check out our previous adventures here: Planning a road trip on the East Coast of Australia.
We don’t have any firm plans yet but we do have a rough outline of where we want to stop and what we want to see.  We are planning everything from surfing, to snowboarding and glacier trekking.  I’ve also heard a lot about Fergburger in New Zealand so I’m going to have to try one of those!  Skydiving may also be on the agenda too, as long as I can build up enough courage that is!
Our travel plan goes something like this:
23rd August: London – via Singapore – Sydney = 22 hours(!)
25th August: Sydney – Brisbane = Pick up our Jucy van and head to the Sunshine Coast and Glass House Mountains. (5 nights.)
31st August: Drop off our van back in Brisbane and fly to Christchurch.
1st September: Pick up Jucy van in Christchurch. (10 days.)
10th September: Say goodbye to our beloved van and fly back to Sydney.
11th September: Sydney – via Kula Lumper – Bangkok. (2 nights.)
13th Bangkok – London.
As you can see its going to be an action packed few weeks and I can’t wait to get out there, explore, get lost and find cool places!
Follow our adventures here on my blog, Instagram and Twitter.  I will also be tweeting and instagramming using #jucyworld.
If anyone has any recommendations for things to see and do on the Sunshine Coast in Australia and South Island NZ, I’d love to hear them. 🙂
See you down under!

In Search of the Cassowary…

A Cassowary road sign

CassowaryOn the road to Mission Beach in northeastern Australia, a lot of signs appeared indicating that cassowaries lived in the area.  I really wanted to see one of these curious creatures but being so timid I knew it might be highly unlikely.  Still, I kept my eyes peeled and waited eagerly in anticipation on the drive through the Queensland rainforest just in case I spotted one appearing out of the jungle.  Further into the journey more signs popped up stating that there had been a recent sighting in the area, this made me even more excited!  The cassowary is a flightless bird, although timid and rarely spotted they can be potentially dangerous.  Found in northeastern Australia they can grow up to 1.8 metres in height, have brightly coloured heads with a casque on top and large clawed feet.  The only one I saw was at the West Pennant Hills Koala Park in Sydney, I would have loved to have spotted one in the wild.  Arriving at my campsite in Mission Beach for the night I explored the beautiful sweeping shoreline, paddled in the warm water and watched the sunset; always on the look out for this rarely seen bird.  Retiring to the campsite for dinner and a beer I did a bit of research and discovered that cassowaries had been sighted on the beach at Etty Bay about 40 minutes drive from Mission Beach.  So the next day I decided to get up early and move further up the coast.  Etty Bay, reached by a small winding road is a beautiful secluded beach surrounded by lush tropical rainforest.  With nothing but a small campsite and a café on the foreshore it proved to be a peaceful, idyllic spot for breakfast.  I am glad I visited, but there was not a cassowary in sight!  I did come across some information on the beach indicating what to do if you come face to face with a cassowary though.  The main tip was to get something solid between you and this very large bird, such as a tree!  The illustrations on the sign made me laugh; although I was not so sure after reading it how excited I still was about coming across this potentially dangerous prehistoric looking creature.  It was time for me to move on to the next stop on my road trip, which was Cairns.  Even though I didn’t spot a cassowary I have a lot of respect for this endangered bird; and don’t forget if you ever spot one yourself, find a tree!

For more information on cassowaries take a look at the Cassowary Recovery Team website.  It has a lot of information on where to potentially see them, reporting a sighting and what to do if you come across an injured one.

For more ideas on what to do in Australia check out my other posts:

Planning a road trip on the east coast of Australia

Cool campsites on the east coast of Australia

 

Five things to do in Sydney…

*Updated in Feb 2020

 

If you are spending time on the east coast of Australia then you must visit Sydney. Seeing the Opera House and Harbour Bridge in person is amazing. But not just that, there so many sights and experiences to be had in this beautiful part of the world. Staying with friends it was great to be shown around this iconic city by locals and thanks to their recommendations here are my top five things to do in Sydney:

 

1. A Friday night in Sydney…

Arriving on a Friday night I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than with drinks at the Opera Bar. Situated right by the Opera House the outdoor seating has the most fabulous views of Sydney Harbour. What a way to spend our first evening; sparkling wine in hand, gazing at the wondrous view. After drinks we had a stroll around the outside of the Opera House, I still couldn’t quite believe I was there! Next a short walk around Circular Quay bought us to an area of the city called The Rocks for dinner.  Liv and Jamie chose The Glenmore; if you are ever in Sydney I would really recommend this place for a meal or just a drink at the rooftop bar.  It was buzzing and the views of the Opera House and harbour in the distance are beautiful.

2. Meet the Australian wildlife…

Apart from seeing Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge another big tick off of my Australia to do list was to see the native animals. A visit to the Koala Park in West Pennant Hills was just the job. The park was fairly small but this was a plus point as it wasn’t very busy. The stars of the park are of course the koalas and with regular talks you can meet and get up close to these sleepy creatures. The park also has a gated off area with kangaroos inside, here you can wander around and hand feed them. Little did I know at this point in my trip that I would be seeing kangaroos all the way up the east coast. Being from the UK this was such a novelty and the excitement of seeing them especially in the wild never actually wore off!

 

3. Bondi to Coogee on foot…

While in Sydney I really wanted to visit the famous Bondi Beach. A great way to explore this lovely coastline is by walking from Bondi to Coogee.  Before the walk we stopped for brunch at Bondi Massive Café, a funky little coffee shop in the town centre. I had the very tasty Avocado Smash: feta, tomatoes, avocado and mint salad on sourdough. The Aussies certainly do make good healthy food. All fuelled up it was time to go. The 6km walk follows the coastline and takes you right past Tamarama, Bronte and Clovelly beaches, so you can stop for a swim or a snorkel on the way. I loved that the walk was dotted with water fountains and toilets. It was a hot day so being able to refill my water bottle was perfect. It is a fairly easy walk, although there are a few steps in places. I got star struck at seeing some of the lifeguards who feature in the TV show Bondi Rescue patrolling the beaches!  Once at Coogee you can either get a bus, taxi or walk back again…we chose a taxi!

 

4. Fish and chips…

An evening visit to Manly for fish, chips, ice cream and a stroll along the beach sounds like something quite British; but it was far from it. The climate for one is obviously a lot warmer and two, don’t get me wrong, I love good old traditional British fish and chips but Mongers in Manly (there is also one in Byron Bay and Bondi) gave traditional fish and chips a great modern twist. I had flathead with chips washed down with a local 4 Pines beer. Afterwards we had a stroll along the pine tree-lined beachfront with an ice cream and watched surfers catching waves as the sunset. A walk along the quirky side streets with a bit of window-shopping finished the evening off nicely.

 

 

5. Sydney Harbour tall ships cruise…

One of my best trips was a tall ships cruise on Sydney Harbour. Setting sail early evening meant that we cruised out past the Opera House just as the sun was setting. The views of the bridge and harbour from the water are incredible. After powering out, we slowly drifted back under sail and watched as the sunset and the twinkling lights of the city began to illuminate the night sky.I got pretty emotional at the sight of the Opera House as the sun went down and the stars came out, it was such a beautiful sight. We paid extra for an all-inclusive bar, which was fantastic. This was topped off with some delicious finger food of oysters, prawns, sushi, duck wraps and many other exciting trays that did a circuit around the boat. A musician singing and playing a guitar set the tone perfectly. It was such a special evening to share with my husband and friends who we had not seen for about a year and a half and is a memory I will treasure for a long time. I thoroughly recommend this trip, seeing Sydney Harbour from the water gives such a different view of the city; I loved it!

Three weeks in three and a half minutes…

Matt and I have put together a short video documenting our adventures in Australia. We spent three weeks travelling from Sydney to Cairns and covered 1633 miles. To view in HD click here. Hope you like it…

 

Here’s some of my blog posts all about our Australian adventures:

Planning a Road Trip on the East Coast of Australia 

Cool Campsites on the East Coast of Australia

Whale Watching in Australia

In Search of the Cassowary

Five Things to do in Sydney

 

 

Australia here I come…

I am heading to Australia in under a month and I am so very excited about it!  This will be my first visit down under and I can’t wait to actually be there!  My husband Matt and I are flying out from London Heathrow via Bangkok, spending two nights there and then flying on to Sydney.  We have a hired a campervan through Jucy rentals and are going to work our way up the east coast, starting from Sydney and ending in Cairns.  With the flights and van booked I am now in the process of drawing up a rough itinerary of where we want to stop off and what we want to see and do.  I almost love the planning stage as much as I love travelling and going away itself!  I love purchasing travel books and researching the destinations I am heading to.  Itineraries, list making, research, you name it, I love the build up to a trip away.  Not to mention buying books, magazines, toiletries, beachwear, flip-flops etc.  Although having said that I need to be pretty good in what I pack as we will be living out of a van.  My challenge will be to pack as little as possible…
I would love to hear your recommendations and tips on things to see and do on the east coast, as well as any advice on camping spots.  Please let me know 🙂