NE Australia campervan tour - with kids
March 2, 2020 9:24 AM   Subscribe

After a conference in June, we have a couple of weeks to tour around Australia. We think we want to rent a campervan. But seeking suggestions!

We will have a tween and a baby. We've found a ton of online itineraries, but they're a little focused on backpackers. Taking any and all suggestions.
We've never done a campervan before.
posted by k8t to Travel & Transportation around Brisbane, Australia (5 answers total)
Where is your conference - Brisbane? One option is to start there. The other is to pick a starting point (Barrier Reef/Cairns?) and fly there. You need to read up and prioritise what you want to see. Australia is big, and two weeks in a campervan with kids is not going to cover much territory at all. Come back here and tell us more about what you want to see, what you want the kids to see, and what your interests are.
posted by GeeEmm at 12:53 PM on March 2, 2020

I would suggest doing some of your holiday in a camper van. Like GeeEmm says, Queensland is a lot bigger than non-Australians give it credit for—the reason Australian campervan holidays are dominated by backpackers and retirees/grey nomads is because they've got so much time. With a baby, you should know as well that if you go into the remoter (inland) bits of QLD, medical facilities can be far between and phone reception patchy.

Around Brisbane/Gold Coast you have the option of a lot of absolutely beautiful coast and islands, and the north coast of NSW as well. A lot of tourists use Cairns as a base to see the coast because it's surrounded by national parks and accessible parts of the reef. You have plenty of options—but please don't come to Australia just to spend all your time behind a steering wheel!
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 3:21 PM on March 2, 2020

Response by poster: Yeah, I was thinking Brisbane to Cairns but hoping for some recs.
posted by k8t at 4:16 PM on March 2, 2020

To paraphrase my response above, and pick up on Fiasco's comment, how much driving do you want to do, and how much looking/doing? Use g**le maps and set up some itineraries that way to get an idea of the tradeoffs between looking and driving. I don't know Qld well enough to make detailed recs, but basing yourself in one area, close to a major airport, will maximise the looking component. Probably.
posted by GeeEmm at 5:21 PM on March 2, 2020

Going from Brisbane to Cairns in 2 weeks would be WAY too much driving and too much time traversing places like Townsville and Gladstone which are not particularly amazing unless you dig mining company towns & racism (with apologies to cool mefites from these places...). Brisbane is also not that exciting although if you are there with the family, Southbank is great.

I would spend the whole time just in and around Far North Queensland. Went there last winter with the kids, grandmother, & spouse. We could have done 2 weeks happily. There are plenty of camping options in the region that would be campervan friendly.

- Snorkelling on Low Isles with turtles (reasonably affordable)
- Bigger more expensive boat trip to Outer Reef
- Port Douglas, Palm Cove resort towns - if you want somewhere with a water park etc for the tween
- Paranella Park! it's beautiful and weird
- Mission Beach - has some nice restaurants and is a bit cheaper than the more northern resort towns
- Skycable/skyrail (I forget the name) which takes you up to the town of Kuranda with the butterfly house etc. (There's also a historic train, but apparently it's hot and full of diesel fumes so we went skycable both ways.)
- Atherton Tablelands are great, Yungaburra esp. (you can skip Mareeba)
- Crater lakes are amazing! Walk around Lake Eacham (Crater Lakes Rainforest Cottages are lovely, if you don't mind squeezing into a 1br place)
- Rainforest walks, Indigenous culture/science/history learning experiences.
- Go to an island
- the Daintree rainforest
posted by 8k at 9:31 PM on March 2, 2020

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