I recently did a road trip from Melbourne to Cairns, which turned out to be a pretty typical thing to do for foreigners and Aussies alike. During my trip, I met many other travelers and discovered other ways of getting across the coast that I hadn’t considered when planning my trip. So here are some options to consider when planning your trip along the coast:
I have to admit, I loved the three weeks we spent living in a campervan. It was nice to have a consistent living space (rather than switching hostels or hotels every few days) where I could have things somewhat spread out, well, at least not crammed into a backpack. I went slightly overboard in the beginning to try to make it feel cozy and put up some decorations, but it really did start to feel like home. We found tons of great caravan parks along the coast, and Queensland has plenty of free campsite options.
There are many companies that you can rent camper vans from and multiple sizes/styles available. It is important to do some research to determine the size/style that is ideal for you, but in terms of choosing a company, well I personally just went with the cheapest available. For me, that was Wicked Campers, and although I have friends who chose not to rent with them based on poor reviews, I thought we had a great experience. There was an issue with the heating in a camper van so not only did they replace the car no questions asked, but they even gave us an upgrade. Other options to look into would be Jucy, Spaceships, and Hippie Campers.
There are tons of options to consider if you choose to travel the coast by car. You can choose to pack a tent and stay in campsites, find hotels/hostels with parking, or a combination of both. The bigger question is, renting or buying?! When we took a road trip with friends to Karijini National park, we rented a car and a camper van, and pitched a tent every night. But I met some people who actually purchased a used car. This might be more cost-efficient; the girls I met had spent the same amount of money purchasing their car as we did renting our van, but they were able to sell it at the end to make a lot of the money back. However, you have to consider the potential additional costs and inconvenience of buying a car. For example, setting up your insurance might be more complicated, if there are any issues with the car you will have to figure out how to deal with it and may incur huge costs, etc. If it’s smooth sailing, this can be incredibly cheap, but it is a bit of a gamble.
- Hop-on, Hop-off Busses
Greyhound offers the option of purchasing hop-on, hop-off passes which are more cost-effective than buying separate bus tickets for each trip. This is slightly more restrictive in the sense that you will only be able to travel along the routes offered, but very flexible in the sense that you can plan your own route and timeline.
Another option would be to plan a trip with flexible travel companies like Loka. They offer some guided tours and plan part of the trip for you, but also give you the ability to extend your time in any city along the route as long as you please, offering some additional freedom and flexibility. This will be a relatively pricey option, but it includes a ton of activities thereby saving you the time and headache of planning everything on your own, and is an easy way to meet fellow travelers if you’re doing the trip alone.
- Organized Trips
Many companies including Contiki and Life Before Work will do all the work for you, so that you can enjoy your trip without having to plan or organize anything on your own. This will likely be the most expensive of your options, but they do have sales so if your schedule is somewhat flexible, sign up for mailing lists and keep an eye out for their promotional e-mails!
No matter what you choose, you can’t go wrong on the east coast of Aus. I hope that this information helps you with your travels!