Route recommendation Sydney (north or south)

Submitted: Wednesday, Apr 02, 2014 at 19:33
ThreadID: 107047 Views:1500 Replies:6 FollowUps:3
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Hi guys,
I am currently travelling through Australia and my brother is coming to visit from Germany. As you might have guessed, I am from Germany as well. I just bought a 2007 Nissan Patrol which will serve us as a tourer. Thus we would like to spend three weeks together in a bit of a roadtrip adventure during April.

We start in Sydney where I thought about camping on the Bonnie Vale campground and visit Sydney for one or two days. Are there like park&ride train stations, where you can park the car for free and ride into Sydney as a tourist?

Then we would head west to the Blue Mountains for a bit of hiking, climbing and light offroading - any recommendations for some light tracks?

After that I would love to see the Bridle Track, although part of it is closed. Can anyone provide a track map or a recommendation which part to drive? From my research the track isn't too hard, or does it involve serious rock climbing or alike?

Luckily enough on the weekend after those days we will probably have a possibility to take part in a offroad course over two weeks with an offroading club in Sydney.

The biggest question is about the following two weeks...
Option A) South
Canberra - Victorian High Country & Alps - Melbourne - Great Ocean Road/Grampians/Wilsons Proymontory

From my understanding the Victorian High Country offers wonderful offroading possibilities. Is there any source on the internet or just books/maps that can provide details?

My brother would love to see some outback (> red dust). Although I have seen plenty in WA, I woulnd't have a clue where the closest would be around Victoria/New South Wales. Is there any "outback" in the sense of Alice Springs, red dust and dry country?

Option B) North
Gold Coast - Brisbane - Fraser Island

How hard is driving in Fraser Island for a good 4WD like the Patrol? Is it fairly easy if you bring along a compressor and handle the pressure of your tyres or is it very tricky?

Are there any recommendations for nice tracks along the Gold coast that offers adventure away from backpackers and party hostels?

Since my brother is a very experienced open-ocean sailor, are there any chances for a day rental along one of the routes? Everyone reads about Whitsundays, but I doubt the two weeks would be enough for that distance.

I appreciate any help!



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Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Wednesday, Apr 02, 2014 at 21:08

Wednesday, Apr 02, 2014 at 21:08
Some suggestions & food for thought

I've been to the Whitsundays five times and chartered yachts, as far as I know you can't charter one for a day, but there used to be plenty of famous ex Ocean Racing yachts which you pay to be ballast on (day trips out and back). The Whitsunday's is 24 hours basically non stop driving from Sydney (I've done it with someone). To an experienced sailor, those old Ocean racer day trips are not a great spend, (bit like driving Formula1s and coming down to being a passenger in a V8 supercar).
The Whitsunday's aren't ocean conditions, when the wind is up they are short 2m wind waves.
There are probably day charters operating in Sydney. Alternatively there used to be smaller charter shoal draft yachts available in the lee of Fraser Island, not sure if they still exist or if you can do day charters (I doubt it).

I have never been to the Vic high country, though it seems to rate very highly amongst well travelled Aussie 4WDrivers, possibly the best overall destination.
But guessing you are single and under 35, go to Fraser Island as conditions will be much warmer, swimming in the lakes is good and you are likely to find a lot of people your age, and most of them from western Europe. Driving is not hard on Fraser Island, just lower tyre pressure (130-140kPa), have a compressor, ideally a long handled shovel and follow where other people go (preferably an Aussie, not a backpacker in a hired 4WD)
Fraser Island is a beautiful place for 2-3 days.

"Desert" in NSW/ Vic, either Mungo National Park north of Swan Hill/ Mildura and or Broken Hill, both about 1200km from Sydney.

If you want some "nice tracks" in northern NSW on your way to the Gold Coast, investigate those in the hills behind Coffs Harbour, especially the State Forests. (Bellingen, Dorrigo, Ebor, Nymboida, the Junction on the Nymboida river is pretty nice).
Great bush walking at Dorrigo, provided it's not raining

All your ideas are great, but you can't do it all.
AnswerID: 529704

Reply By: Eric Experience - Wednesday, Apr 02, 2014 at 21:21

Wednesday, Apr 02, 2014 at 21:21
Welcome to Australia. You have done some research and have a lot to try and do in such a short time. The high country would be my choice in your time frame.The roads are still open but can be closed after heavy rain. If you come down throughCanberra and then over the snowy mountains. take the Barry way from Jindabyne to the high country you will see a lot of amazing country but no red dirt. Eric/
AnswerID: 529705

Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Wednesday, Apr 02, 2014 at 22:41

Wednesday, Apr 02, 2014 at 22:41
Hi Philipp,

For a start, I would like to see you spend the three weeks teaching the English language on this Forum. Yours is perfect, well apart from "Wilsons Proymontory" but I always believed it should be spelled with a "y". LOL

With only 3 weeks you may need to stay fairly close to Sydney. This really is a BIG country so plan your travel time carefully.

If you do come North, up my way, you could easily manage Fraser Island. Just watch the tide times and travel along the beach below high tide mark. Important to lower your tyre pressures to about 18psi and carry a compressor to reinflate when back on the bitumen. Do not exceed 80kph and do not turn sharply at speed. Vehicles have rolled that way with fatal results.

Whatever you do, have a great time and enjoy this wonderful country.


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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Thursday, Apr 03, 2014 at 08:19

Thursday, Apr 03, 2014 at 08:19

The area just north of Sydney right up through the Queensland border abounds with National Parks providing easy tracks and good camping. Not perhaps the 'Wide Open Spaces' that the Outback is famous for but very pleasant and much closer. It takes me several days driving from the East Coast just to reach the beginning of the real Outback.

From the Queensland border it is only one day's drive North to reach Fraser Island for a very different experience. Bypass the Gold Coast and stop off at Mooloolaba if you want coffee. Noosa has a reputation that it does not deserve so give it a miss also.


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Reply By: Member - Wildmax - Wednesday, Apr 02, 2014 at 23:02

Wednesday, Apr 02, 2014 at 23:02
Hi, and welcome to Aus.
I reckon wherever you go you'll enjoy, but at this time of the year I'd recommend going west or north, rather than south - unless you like it a bit cool and damp.
In three weeks from Sydney you could probably manage a loop out through Broken Hill to the Flinders Ranges/Wilpena Pound, then up the Birdsville of Strezlecki tracks to south-west Queensland and back via Thargomindah and Bourke - a good taste of the outback.
Alternatively, north to Fraser would be easily done in the time and there are plenty of great beaches and towns to visit - but much more crowded and touristy along the way.
Whatever you do, no doubt your brother will want to come back for longer than three weeks next time - enjoy.
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Reply By: Bazooka - Thursday, Apr 03, 2014 at 00:38

Thursday, Apr 03, 2014 at 00:38
3 weeks will actually be VERYshort Philipp. Lots of kilometres to be covered so there's a chance you'll spend far too much time driving and too little doing stuff you enjoy. Go north and enjoy the warmth all the way up the coast to Fraser Is. Get off the highway and visit the coastal towns/beaches etc. Good time of year so there should be plenty of activities and events along the way.

After Fraser you could head inland to Carnarvon Nat Pk if you're really keen and have time (doubtful). The inland routes through mid-west QLD and northern NSW on your way back home are 'outback' but a different sort to the "red centre".

So much in Sydney to see and do but for some R&R jump on a ferry to Sth Head (Watson's Bay) and/or Manly (boring suburb and beach imo) and come back during the evening to take in the city lights and Harbour Bridge - spectacular, as well as relaxing.
AnswerID: 529721

Reply By: Krooznalong - Thursday, Apr 03, 2014 at 14:18

Thursday, Apr 03, 2014 at 14:18
G'day Philipp
I think the answer really depends on what your brother would like to see.

Sydney - blah - just another city - I'm sure he's seen lots of those in Germany.

Blue Mtns - great views, lots of bush.

4W Driving generally - have you looked at the Treks on this site - that will give you an idea of what's available where you'd like to go.

Bridle Track - I don't think they've re-opened that. Not a difficult drive but if you can't go all the way through may not be worthwhile.

High Country - fantastic place. Lots of 4WDing - easy to bloody hard.

Lots of nice beaches up the NSW coast - no need to go all the way to Frazer. If you want to drive on a beach there are some opportunities closer to Sydney.

Red dust - long way from Sydney.

Whitsundays - too far. May be opportunities nearer Sydney??
AnswerID: 529755

Follow Up By: Bazooka - Thursday, Apr 03, 2014 at 15:40

Thursday, Apr 03, 2014 at 15:40
Only Frazer has Lake McKenzie (Boorangoora) though Kroozer. Worth the visit for that alone. Our small group was fortunate to experience it many moons ago with only 3 or 4 others which may not be the case for Philipp given his timeframe.

Which brings up a point you might need to consider Philipp. Qld school hols are 5-21 April, NSW 12-27 April so accommodation/camping etc might be somewhat restricted in a few areas. Conversely there will probably be more going on - that is, more things open and happening.
FollowupID: 812534

Follow Up By: Krooznalong - Thursday, Apr 03, 2014 at 16:28

Thursday, Apr 03, 2014 at 16:28
Some good points there Bazooka - especially re holidays.
Don't know that I'd want to drive from Sydney to Frazer just for Lake McKenzie - it's good, but not that good!
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