East Coast Road Trip By Car

by Dawn
(Coventry UK)

Road Trip The East Coast of Australia

Road Trip The East Coast of Australia


Me and my partner are planning an East Coast Road Trip By Car.

We are planning to travel to Australia December 2013 for 5 weeks. We have been advised to start planning ahead, and possibly book some accommodation and flights in January 2013.

I have enclosed the plans of our trip below as it is easier rather than trying to explain. We have been quoted £1600 each for a RTW ticket. We are planning on renting a car for the drive up the East Coast of Australia. We are going to save £9500.00 and plan on using £3000 for spending money.

We are going to stay in B & B's or would be open to suggestions for camping. My partner is not keen on staying in hostels. Unfortunately, we are unable to rent a camper van as I will have only been driving for a year and do not meet the requirements and my partner is not keen on doing all the driving.

Here is the plans so far:

Flight from London to Singapore (23/12/13)
Singapore (23/12/13 to 26/12/13) – 4 nights
Flight from Singapore to Sydney (27/12/13)
Sydney (29/12/13 to 02/01/14) – 5 nights
Travel from Sydney to Port Macquaire (03/01/14)
Port Macquaire (03/01/14) – 1 night
Travel from Port Macquaire to Bryon Bay (04/01/14)
Byron Bay (04/01/14 to 05/01/14) – 2 nights
Travel from Byron Bay to Gold Coast (06/01/14)
Gold Coast (06/01/14 to 08/01/14) – 3 nights
Travel from Gold Coast (Surfers Paradise) to Sunshine Coast (Noosa) – (09/01/14)
Noosa (09/01/14) – 1 night
Travel from Noosa to Hervey Bay (10/01/14)
Hervey Bay (10/01/14) – 1 night
Fraser Island (11/01/14) – 1 day
Hervey Bay (11/01/14) – 1 night
Travel from Hervey Bay to Rockhampton (12/01/14)
Rockhampton (12/01/14) – 1 night
Travel from Rockhampton to Airlie Beach (13/01/14)
Airlie Beach (13/01/14) – 1 night
Whitsunday Island Cruise (14/01/14) – 2 days/1 night
Airlie Beach (15/01/14) – 1 night
Travel from Airlie Beach to Townsville (16/01/14)
Townsville (16/01/14) – 1 night
Travel from Townsville to Cairns (17/01/14 to 20/01/14) – 4 nights
Flight from Cairns to Bangkok (21/01/14)
Bangkok (21/01/14 to 22/01/14) – 2 nights
Flight from Bangkok to London (23/01/12)

Is this realistic or are we trying to do too much in 5 weeks? Do we need more money for the trip?

Kind Regards



Your trip certainly sounds fantastic and certainly takes in all the key towns and highlights! You are absolutely right though to start thinking about accommodation now. You will be in Australia at it's most expensive and busiest time. The long School summer holidays are from mid December to the end of January - it's exactly like trying to go to Europe in July and August but worse!

To answer some of your questions - Your trip is doable in 5 weeks but it is FULL ON. There would be days when you are in the car for well over 6 hours. Can you cope with that?? - it's like travelling from London to Scotland on at least 7 days of your itinerary. The roads are pretty average - limited dual carriageways so it can be a slow drive.

I can also imagine you loving a certain place but only having one night there. This is tricky to get round though given your December/January timing - you don't want to risk messing with your itinerary as you could end up having nowhere to stay except your car!

If your plan is to see as much as you can and then perhaps come back to visit your favourite places, then this trip will work.

Your alternative would be to do one of the sections well and add an additional couple of flights - Maybe Sydney to Brisbane (do Noosa from here too as well as Frazer Island) and then fly up to Airlie Beach and then fly up to Cairns. You won't need a car for Airlie Beach (Whitsundays) but you could get a car for Cairns and do the Daintree rainforest, Cape Tribulation, Port Douglas as day trips. Don't forget that you will be in the middle of the wet season and rainfall in January is the worst month.

If you booked your internal flights at the beginning of the year, they won't cost you more than $100GBP each.

B&B's are available in Australia but are not as abundant as say the UK. I'd say you are still best to look on stayz.com.au for B&B ideas. They are also not that cheap these days and are more comparable with motel prices or some cases a lot more.

Sydney - You need to think about how much you are willing to spend in Sydney as being here for NY is utterly amazing but very expensive in terms of hotel costs. That said, heaps of Aussies go away at this time. You could put an advert on Sydney Gum Tree and see whether you find someone's house you can stay in. Have you heard of Air BnB? - you get to stay in someone's home or wing of their home at more reasonable rates. Or try Stayz.com.au for more apartment type options.

For all of the above options, work out how far you are away from the vantage points for the fireworks as getting home afterwards is a real headache. You will need to be able to walk and/or rely on public transport - getting a taxi is just impossible.

Accommodation for your road trip - There are some great campsites that usually have the best spots and views all the way along the East Coast.

Have a look at something like "The Big 4" who have lovely affordable cabins at around $150AUD at this time of year - The issue you may come across is that at this time of year, they all want you to book for a week, not one night. But if you commit to only staying at their sites, they may allow you to do more of a "tour" - worth sending them an email to find out what they could do for you.

You may find that buying a cheap tent is the way to go - you are more likely to be able to book for one night. Or again, try www.stayz.com.au or air bnb for other non camping options.

So, worst case scenario, if you were to budget at $150AUD for accommodation each night for your road trip aspect and $250 AUD for your Sydney, your accommodation cost would be approx $4,500 AUD + $1,250 = $5,750AUD

Spending money per day: $100AUD = $3,500.

So before you add in your flights and car hire, I think you will need about $6,000 GBP.

Obviously you can cut costs - camping would be much much cheaper at around $40 AUD per night. You would certainly still have to book in advance too.

National Parks have a ballot at this time of year for the most well known sites. There are limited facilities though and you need to be a hard core camper for this option - much more rustic and back to nature in beautiful settings though.

I hope this helps, but feel free to contact me again if you still have some questions.


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