Distances Sydney to Darwin

Submitted: Wednesday, Jul 11, 2001 at 00:00
ThreadID: 308 Views:2809 Replies:2 FollowUps:3
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How long time (weeks?!) would it take to a group of two adults and a 8 years old to go from Sydney to Darwin, following the costal road more or less based on the following ratio 3 days of driving (approx 30 hours) per week. We would be driving a 2.5 liters camping van. I'm preparing a trip but I'm based in Dublin (IRELAND)
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Reply By: Joe - Thursday, Jul 12, 2001 at 00:00

Thursday, Jul 12, 2001 at 00:00
Arnaud,

Well you are obviously planning on taking it easy and you can only be applauded for this decision. There is little point in rushing past all the sights along the way.

So, for what it is worth, here are my thoughts on the trip.

Sydney to the Gold Coast - This is a drive of roughly 12 hours in a campervan. It can easily be done in one session, but I would suggest that you would do it in two days actual driving. Perhaps breaking the trip at Coffs Harbour to see the rainforest areas there and also at Byron Bay as it is a beautiful place. Byron is also the easternmost part of the country and is a great place to see whales and dolphins. Suggestion - there are a couple of places that do sea kayaking tours (you could fit all three of you into one big kayak) where they will take you out to see a heap of things, but probably the best thing is that you will almost certainly be greeted by the local dolphins. Your kid will love it.

Take another break at the Gold Coast to show the kid the theme parks there - Movie World, Wet'n'Wild, Dreamworld and Seaworld - (s)he will love them, particularly Movie World where all the cartoon characters are portrayed and walk around the place. A bit like DisneyWorld really.

From the Gold Coast to Cairns is about 1900klms or 24hours or more driving. You can move up the coast pretty easily for a while, but then you start to get bigger gaps between towns. If you like bush camping then this will not be a problem, but otherwise you will have to plan the drives between population centres.

My suggestion would be to take it slow up past Brisbane (only an hour from the Gold Coast so asily visited from there) and call into the Sunshine Coast. Check out Noosa - it is a little up itself, but it is one of my wife's favourite places and is very pretty.

Call in to Hervey Bay after that (another couple of hours) and take a trip across to Fraser Island. You can join a tour or hire your own 4WD (or use your camper if it is a 4WD) to get across. It is a beautiful place, but keep your kid with you at all times - they seem to have shot all the aggressive dingoes, but I wouldn't be taking any chances.

From Hervey Bay I would recommend driving North to Mackay. This will take a camper about 6 hours or so. You could consider calling in to the town of 1770 (stupid name for a town "1770" but the history explains itself) for a day or two (turn right at Miriam Vale) to get a bit of country and coast relaxation.

From Mackay to Cairns you really start to hit some comparatively boring countryside so I would suggest trying to get much of this done as quickly as possible. Call into Townsville of course, but I wouldn't spend long there.

As you get closer to Cairns the road and the countryside gets more interesting and you will find a million places to call into and enjoy. Far too many to list, but Mission Beach is worth some time, as are many of the waterfalls that develop along the ranges you will find on your left.

Cairns ! Lovely place if you like backpackers, but a nice place otherwise :+) It provides the easiest (not necessarily the best!) options for getting out onto the reef and swimming and diving. Highly recommended!

At this point I am ssuming that you won't be going up Cape York. If you are then you will need a capable 4WD and should probably join a tag-along tour for safety's sake.

Otherwise, from Cairns to Darwin you have only a few choices in which road to take. I would spend some time around Cairns taking a look at Cooktown and the Daintree area first, but when travelling out I would go to the Undara lava tubes first. Spectacular and interesting, and only about 6 easy hours from Cairns (maybe less) it also has decent camping and good scenery.

You should call into a few other places locally, like Normanton. Normanton provides some good fishing charters which will allow you to not only enjoy the Carpentaria area, but also bring home a tasty feed for dinner :+)

From this point on I would be looking to call into Lawn Hill National Park - about 8 hours away. A stunning place to visit and very easy to live with.

Actually, I have just thought of something that I should have considered before. The site owners have done all of this travelling and published their diaries and they will give you a better idea than my ramblings and faulty memories. Check them out on www.itbeyond.com.au or via link from this site.

Phew! Just saved myself a heap of typing there!

Anyway - If there is anything else you need to know feel free to ask. Also, I live on the Gold Coast, so give me a call on 0412 318 809 when you get here and I will buy you a beer. I can probably also get a few cheap entry tickets to the theme parks (they give them away to locals) if you want to take advantage of that. I am a fellow Irishman (born in Galway, but left it at the age of about 12 months old) and happy to help a countryman.

Cheers

Joe
AnswerID: 753

Follow Up By: Col - Thursday, Jul 12, 2001 at 00:00

Thursday, Jul 12, 2001 at 00:00
Joe,
You give some great advice. I would like to mention that Arnaud should look at a few places between Sydney & Coffs Harbour, like South West Rocks or Nambucca Heads. When I drive with the family up to sunny Qld I make the stops at South West Rocks, Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay then the Gold Coast. With Kids that is the way to go. Nice bite size chunks with not too long on the road for the kids to get stir crazy.
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FollowupID: 222

Follow Up By: R.No - Friday, Jul 27, 2001 at 00:00

Friday, Jul 27, 2001 at 00:00
Thanks for this joe... All the familly has been reading this
I'll call...
do you have an email?
maybe we can discuss more of line.
r.no@midsummerdream.net
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FollowupID: 238

Reply By: Steve Mills - Friday, Jul 27, 2001 at 00:00

Friday, Jul 27, 2001 at 00:00
Arnaud- when are you travelling which months there is a little question of weather and road conditions so any response must be read with caution !! Having done a bit of travelling all over these roads- those in the replies, caution is a big factor! I have just returned from Carna --yes the one out your way!!
steve
AnswerID: 800

Follow Up By: R.No - Friday, Jul 27, 2001 at 00:00

Friday, Jul 27, 2001 at 00:00
all would happen through december and January 2001/02
So summer in fact and weather is expected to be good.

R.no
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FollowupID: 239

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