How To Travel Queensland With A Baby (And Still Have Fun)

Can you still have your dream vacation even if your family just recently had a baby? The answer is a big yes.

Karen Edwards and her partner Shaun Bayes, together with their then 3-month old  baby, Esme, explored Australia, Asia and New Zealand for 10 months.

If they can do it, so can you.

If you are looking for an ideal year-round getaway, look no further than Queensland.  Its serene beaches like the Whitehaven’s, and laid-back lifestyle will surely ease the stress from your body.

The state has a compact land area which can be travelled aboard a motorhome with ease.

Here are some reminders that will help you in your travels around Queensland.

Travel While They are Young

The best time for your newborn to first experience the joys of travel is between the age of six months to one year. During this period, babies are actually much stronger than they look. They also weigh less at this point, making them easier to carry around.

Furthermore, babies have yet to develop preferences. For example, they don’t mind what food you give them. As long as your kids’ basic needs (food, sleep, play time and clean nappies) are being met, they are less likely to interrupt your travels.

Queensland_Baby

"Niall and Elissa" by furiousmadgeorge available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/8178823@N03/1383365407 under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license available at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ BY furiousmadgeorge

Vehicle Safety for Babies

Choosing the service of a motorhome or campervan hire in Sydney is one of the safest ways to go around Queensland when you are travelling with a baby. You can prepare your child’s food in the motorhome’s kitchen and have your baby sleep indoors anytime of the day.

One of the main challenges when travelling with your baby is securing him or her while your vehicle is on the road. Luckily, most motorhome rental companies provide baby seats to ensure the safety of their 6 months to 4-year old passengers.

For your baby’s safety, always check with the motorhome rental company if the particular unit you booked has baby seats. It may cost you extra for this safety feature, but it is a small price to pay for your peace of mind.

Here is a complete guide in choosing child restraints for your toddlers.

Things to Bring When You  Travel

Your baby’s needs may outweigh your own needs. Often, when a baby gets cranky or cries it only means that some of his or her needs (food, sleep, playtime, diaper change, etc.) are not being met.

Here is a list of things you should bring with you when you are going on a road trip with an infant:

  • Small toys and touch-and-feel books for entertainment
  • Extra clothes and nappies
  • Baby carrier to free your hands while moving around with your baby
  • Your baby’s favourite low-mess snacks or pureed food
  • Nappy rash cream and wipes for hygiene
  • First aid kit for emergencies
  • Formula milk, if you are not breastfeeding
  • Removable window shades to shield their eyes and skin from the sun
  • And of course, a CAMERA to capture those precious moments

Baby-Friendly Sites in Queensland

Contrary to popular belief, travelling with a baby will not significantly limit the places you can visit or the activities you can do. In Queensland, there are tons of travel destinations where families with toddlers can spend quality time together.

Below are a few baby-friendly activities you can do in Queensland:

  1. Hit the Sunshine Coast

Babies and the beach are a perfect match. Your little ones just love the feel of sand on their feet and to swim in the sea as much as you do. Drive your way into one of the magnificent beaches in the Sunshine Coast and splash around the refreshing waters with your tot. Minimise their exposure to the sun and avoid the hottest times of the day between 11 A.M. and 3 P.M.

Baby_in_Shunshine_Coast

"Luke Discovers the Beach" by Eduardo Merille available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/merille/3484294675 under a Creative Commons attribution. Full license available at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ BY Eduardo Merille

  1. Picnic at one of Brisbane’s Parks

You don’t need to travel far from the capital to enjoy a piece of Queensland. Picnic in one of the lush green parks in Brisbane and let your child snooze under the shades of trees. Colmslie Beach Reserve, Kalinga Park and Roma Street Parklands are just a few of your options.

  1.     Meet and Greet the Koalas

Introduce your child to the importance of nature and wildlife as early as possible. The tranquil Daisy Hill Conservation Park has lush trees that provide sufficient amounts of  shade. Possums and wallabies can also be sighted once in awhile.

  1.   Frolic at the Carrara Market

Head to Queensland’s biggest market with your tot tucked in a baby carrier. The popular family destination has merry-go-rounds, pony rides, bazaars and face painters which you can check out on top of your shopping. Best of all, the market has free entrance and parking.

Carrying your Child Through Your Travels

Babywearing is perhaps the best way to carry your child as your family travels. This ingenious contraption allows you to move around while your baby stays close to you. Other benefits of this parenting activity are: less crying, breastfeeding, freeing your hands and a quiet bonding moment.

"309a" by Suzanne Shahar available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/hugabub-babywearing/8137802777/ under a Creative Commons attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

"309a" by Suzanne Shahar available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/hugabub-babywearing/8137802777/ under a Creative Commons attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/ BY Suzanne Shahar

For a hassle-free babywearing experience, here are a few tips:

  • Practise wearing your child at home before your travel so your infant can get used to it.
  • Ensure your baby’s nasal airways aren’t blocked. Riding a bike or driving while wearing your baby is certainly a no-no.  
  • Be attentive and pay attention to your surroundings. Lastly, hydrate well. Babywearing can be a little hot, especially on hot days.

These are just some of the important points you should know when travelling around Queensland with a baby. To reduce the hassles of travelling with a baby, rent a motorhome. This vehicle will help you control your schedule and have enough room for everything your child needs when travelling.

 

 

The Best Sunshine Coast Spots For First Time Visitors

Sunshine Coast’s laid-back lifestyle revolves around its serene beaches, subtropical forests and warm weather.

Self-driving a campervan or motorhome from Brisbane is the most convenient way to go around, but it can be overwhelming to decide which places to go especially if you’re visiting for the first time. So to help you get the most out of your self-drive vacation, we’ve listed some of the best Sunshine Coast spots you can check out with your friends or family.

1. Mooloolaba Beach

Mooloolaba is one of Australia’s top rated beaches. With stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and patrolled waters, the place is perfect for swimming, surfing, snorkeling and marine life watching. All year round it has near perfect weather conditions and the water temperature is ideal for aquatic activities.

Mooloolaba Beach

"Alexandra headland / Mooloolaba" by texaus1 available at flickr.com/photos/texaus1/22995000904 under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic. Full License terms at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ BY texaus1

The coast is full of restaurants, cafes and shops so you will never go hungry, if you didn’t bring food with you. The beach is also near the Underwater World Sea Life Aquarium where you can see and sometimes even touch their collection of aquatic creatures.

How to get there:

Just like the previous destinations, take Bruce Highway. When you reach Sippy Down, turn right to Sunshine Motorway. Continue driving and turn left to Brisbane Road. The beach front is at the end of this road.

2. Stumers Creek

The dog-friendly estuary of Stumers Creek is just a  kilometre north of Coolum. The creek is shallow, making it ideal for children to swim in the waters. You can take the leash off  your pet here and let them frolic in the sand.

The nearby shaded grassy bank area serves as the picnic area. Stumers also has showers, toilet facilities and dog washing areas. The nearby shore is also ideal for kite flying. In fact, it used to be the venue of the Coolum Kite Festival which attracted kite flyers all over the world.

Make sure that you arrive early because the place is quite popular with locals and it’s difficult to find a parking space, especially during hot days. There are also nearby pet-friendly accommodations that charges $650 to $750 per week.

How to get there:

From Brisbane, drive north via  Bruce Highway. Turn right to Sunshine Motorway and when you reach a roundabout, turn right to Yandina Coolum Road. Continue driving until you reach the coast. Stumers Creek is just a bit up north.

3. Noosa Everglades

The Noosa Everglades is a must-see destination for any nature lover. Its assortment of flora and fauna is unparalleled in all of Sunshine Coast. Nestled in the Great Sandy National Park, this place is also a fave spot among canoers and kayakers. The Everglades also has access to Lake Cootharaba, Queensland’s largest natural lake.

Noosa_Everglades

"Everglades kayak" by eGuide Travel available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/eguidetravel/5778519933 under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0. Full terms at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ BY eGuide Travel

Cruise deep into the dark and tranquil waterways of the Everglades when you go on a wilderness tour. It also includes a meal at “Harry’s Hut”, a logger’s camp where they serve fish, steaks, salad and beverages.

Don’t miss walking on the elevated mangrove walk, and experience the beauty of the Everglades up close. You can camp at Cooloola Recreation Area along the upper Noosa River for $5.45 per person or $21.8 per family. Generators and open fires are prohibited on the site.

How to get there:

From Brisbane, drive northward via Bruce Highway. Take the turn-off at Eumundi and simply follow the Eumundi-Noosa Road. Exit at Gympie and turn off at Cooray. Continue following the signs along the Cooroy-Noosa Road. Average travel time is less than two hours. When you arrive in town, you can rent kayaks for as low as $55 per day.

4. Kondalilla National Park

Hiking enthusiasts will love Kondalilla for all the right reasons: the park has a challenging trail, dense forest, the backdrop of Mount Everglades, a swimming hole and a 90-metre waterfall. The place is a great stopover on a road trip and is perfect for picnics. So whether you want to spend your holiday relaxing and swimming or hiking and playing a game of golf, Kondalilla National Park has everything you need.

The park’s trails are also grouped into different categories. The walking circuit is about 4.7kilometres long and takes 2-3 hours to finish. There are parts that are easy enough for children, making it perfect for family bonding. If you don’t have food, there are plenty of stores at the nearby towns of Maleny and Montville you can go to for supplies.

How to get there:

From Brisbane, drive 54 kilometres northward via Bruce Highway then exit through Steve Irwin Way, Exit 163. Travel 22 kilometres north and head to Landsborough, following the signs to Montville. Near the top of the range, simply turn right to Maleny – Montville Road. About 2.6 kilometres of Montville, turn left to Kondalilla Falls Road and drive another 700 metres to the park entrance.

5. King’s Beach Foreshore

The stretch of Kings Beach has lots to offer in terms of water activities, from kayaking to boogie boarding. Children would also love its interactive water fountains and flying fox playground. The coast is also swarmed by cafes, shops and restaurants to satisfy any food craving. There are also barbecue and picnic facilities if you brought your own food.

The highlight of the beach is its salt water tidal swimming pool where people can swim for free. The facility is also equipped with shade sails and wading area with disabled access.

How to get there:

From Brisbane, just head north via Bruce Highway. Turn right when you reach the intersection with Caloundra Road. Follow this route and turn left to Sugar Bag Road which changes its name to Queen st. Continue on this road until the waterfront is on the horizon.

 

6. Mary Cairncross Reserve

Sunshine Coast is not just about its beaches. It is also famous for its lush mountains. The Mary Cairncross Reserve has 55 hectares of subtropical rainforest that any nature lover would feel right at home in. The hinterland’s walking tracks are wheelchair and stroller-friendly. The reserve also overlooks the famous Glass House Mountains, so make sure you take lots of photos.

The reserve is also home to  native Red-legged Pademelons, Regent Bowerbird, Southern Angle-Headed Dragon, Brush Turkey and a forest of giant trees like Blue Quandong which can reach heights of 40 metres.

How to get there:

From Brisbane, take Bruce Highway and turn left onto Steve Irwin Way. When you reached Landsborough, head left to Railway Street and then turn to Maleny Street. Switch to Landsborough- Maleny Road and head straight until you reach Mountain View Road. From here the reserve is just a walk away.

 

This post barely scratched the surface when it comes to naming some of the greatest destinations in Australia’s Sunshine Coast. Whether you’re visiting for the first or tenth time, it’s best to rent a campervan or motorhome when you are travelling in groups to these places, so you can stop any time to enjoy the great views along the way.

To get competitive deals on your next motorhome hire, call Salamanda Travel right away. We look forward to helping you plan your Sunshine Coast holiday!

Off The Beaten Track: 7 Queensland Beaches To Visit This Summer

Queensland has some of the best beaches in the country. With a coastline of almost 7,000 kilometers including The Great Barrier Reef, it is no wonder that this region is one of the favourite summer destinations in Oz.

However, you may have already been to these beaches, especially the popular ones like Palm Cove and Whitehaven Beach in Whitsundays Islands. If you’re searching for new places to spend the summer, here are seven hidden Queensland beaches that you should visit this season:

1. Dingo Beach, Whitsundays

Whitehaven is the star of the Whitsundays, but on the northern side of the island lies the serene stretch of Dingo Beach. The beach has a public boat ramp that allows access to the island’s best spots for snorkeling and big game fishing. Its waters have stinger net for the safety of swimmers, especially during summer.

Its beachfront is also pristine and quiet, which is better appreciated when one is cooking barbecue and just enjoying the view from its picnic tables under shady trees. There are also plenty of beachfront pubs and resorts where you can dine and enjoy a cold beverage.
This part of the Whitsundays can only be accessed by car. If you didn’t bring your own or rented, you can hire one along the outlets in Airlie Beach.

"08_dingo beach boating" by Allan Henderson available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/allanhenderson/4255835073 under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0. Full terms at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

CC_Attribution BY Allan Henderson

2. Orchid Beach, Fraser Island

Accessible only by a high-clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle, the northern-laid Orchid Beach is still worth the long journey. It has a peaceful atmosphere devoid of tour buses and day trippers in Fraser Island. The bay is also one of the best alternatives to  southern resort settlements. Children can safely swim in its low tide gutters and shallow lagoons.

Fishing and trekking are permitted on the island. There are also picnic tables, toilets, water and washing-up sinks. Fires are prohibited in Fraser Island’s Recreation Area with the exception of QPWS-provided fire rings in Waddy Point and Dundubara. Visitors are required to bring their own untreated timber mill-off cuts as firewood.

The Government of Queensland requires camping fees, camping permits and vehicle access permit fees to be paid before entering the island. Here is a guide on Fraser Island fees. You also need to check with your motorhome rental company, for regulations and safety information on driving 4WD vehicles on these remote beaches. 

3. Monkey Beach, Great Keppel Island

The Great Keppel Island is surrounded by 17 picture-perfect beaches and one of them is Monkey Beach. So, what makes this one different from the rest? In one spot you can find Aboriginal shell middens.

Monkey beach is also the island’s best reef snorkeling spots where you can enjoy its spectacular marine life. If you avail the Shotover cruise ($99 per person) you’ll be taken to the best spots to see manta rays, giant turtles, dugongs and hammerhead sharks.
To get to this stunning destination, ride a $55 boat trip from Rosslyn Bay, Pier 1. From the drop-off point, it only takes a short walk to reach Monkey Beach.

4. Cylinder Beach, North Stradbroke Island

“Straddie”, as the island is fondly called,  is known for its powder white sand and azure waters. Its main beach is also a haven for many surfers. However, if you want a tranquil ambiance simply head to the north facing part of the island and immerse  beauty of Cylinder Beach.

Its quiet waters are perfect as a paddling pool for families. Fishing and snorkeling are also allowed on the island. Lifeguards patrol the beach making it safe even for children to swim.

Carparks are also situated near the beach. It also has a shady camping ground where you can spend the night in tents. For cheap eats, make your way to Point Lookout Bowls which is less than 2-kilometers from Cylinder. Their barefoot-bowls are only $10 for adults and $3 for children.

.

"Sraddie160102_ 011" by Brian Hurst available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/hurstb56/24115065616 under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0. Full terms at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0.

"Sraddie160102_ 011" by Brian Hurst available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/hurstb56/24115065616 under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0. Full terms at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0. BY Brian Hurst

5. Cape Hillsborough Beach, Mackay

The rock-strewn Cape Hillsborough Beach is about 20-kilometers north of Mackay. It is sandwiched between two rocky headlands which make it unknown to many, but in truth, it is still part of the Cape Hillsborough National Park. The nearby national park has numerous facilities like BBQ, car park, tour desk and conference rooms.

At low tide, the beachfront can get up to 200 metres wide. Walk on its 1.2-kilometre Yuibera trail to see Ulysses butterflies and a wide range of colourful birds and insects. During sunrise and sunset, you can interact with wallabies and kangaroos as they find food at the water’s edge.

6. Rainbow Beach, Fraser Coast

The shoreline of Rainbow Beach is like nature putting up a mosaic of its own.  Leached vegetable dyes and deposits of iron oxide from 400,000 years ago give the beach its multi-hued sand. You can also appreciate it’s nearby rainforest, freshwater lakes, and heathlands. Fraser Island is also known for dolphin watching, paragliding and skydiving activities.

Go to Carlo Sand Blow to take great photos and a chance to slide down using your boogie board. The sunset on this side is also majestic. Several tours also offer a wide range of activities including beach horse rides for $120 and 4WD expedition for $135 and up.

7. Radical Bay, Magnetic Island

For the adventurous beach hunter, Magnetic Island is a hidden gem worth visiting. The best spot, Radical Bay, is accessible only by foot or  4-wheel drive vehicle. The place is old-fashioned and does not have your usual bright lights and buildings. If you want to come here be prepared to bring an esky and some grub. In return, you will be rewarded with a memorable snorkeling and fishing experience.

Magnetic Island is also great for sunbathing. On average, it has 320 days of sunshine in a year. The nearby national park is also home to rock wallabies, koalas, possums and a variety of wildlife.

To reach Magnetic Island, you need to ride a 20-minute ferry from Townsville. The ferry service has 14-return trips daily. For cheap accommodations book at Foresthaven Tropical Resort which charges $80 per night for 1 bedroom.

Going  to these Queensland beaches will take some effort, especially if you plan on commuting to get there. Instead, you can rent a campervan or motorhome for a worry-free travel with your family. To get the best deals on these vehicles, visit Salamanda Travel’s price comparison tool today.


Before renting any 4wd vehicles, we recommend you carefully read the terms and conditions to check if you are allowed to drive the vehicle on your intended travel route, especially on rugged terrains.

Off The Beaten Track: 7 Queensland Beaches To Visit This Summer

Queensland has some of the best beaches in the country. With a coastline of almost 7,000 kilometers including The Great Barrier Reef, it is no wonder that this region is one of the favourite summer destinations in Oz.

However, you may have already been to these beaches, especially the popular ones like Palm Cove and Whitehaven Beach in Whitsundays Islands. If you’re searching for new places to spend the summer, here are seven hidden Queensland beaches that you should visit this season:

1. Dingo Beach, Whitsundays

Whitehaven is the star of the Whitsundays, but on the northern side of the island lies the serene stretch of Dingo Beach. The beach has a public boat ramp that allows access to the island’s best spots for snorkeling and big game fishing. Its waters have stinger net for the safety of swimmers, especially during summer.

Its beachfront is also pristine and quiet, which is better appreciated when one is cooking barbecue and just enjoying the view from its picnic tables under shady trees. There are also plenty of beachfront pubs and resorts where you can dine and enjoy a cold beverage.
This part of the Whitsundays can only be accessed by car. If you didn’t bring your own or rented, you can hire one along the outlets in Airlie Beach.

"08_dingo beach boating" by Allan Henderson available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/allanhenderson/4255835073 under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0. Full terms at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

CC_Attribution BY Allan Henderson

2. Orchid Beach, Fraser Island

Accessible only by a high-clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle, the northern-laid Orchid Beach is still worth the long journey. It has a peaceful atmosphere devoid of tour buses and day trippers in Fraser Island. The bay is also one of the best alternatives to  southern resort settlements. Children can safely swim in its low tide gutters and shallow lagoons.

Fishing and trekking are permitted on the island. There are also picnic tables, toilets, water and washing-up sinks. Fires are prohibited in Fraser Island’s Recreation Area with the exception of QPWS-provided fire rings in Waddy Point and Dundubara. Visitors are required to bring their own untreated timber mill-off cuts as firewood.

The Government of Queensland requires camping fees, camping permits and vehicle access permit fees to be paid before entering the island. Here is a guide on Fraser Island fees. You also need to check with your motorhome rental company, for regulations and safety information on driving 4WD vehicles on these remote beaches. 

3. Monkey Beach, Great Keppel Island

The Great Keppel Island is surrounded by 17 picture-perfect beaches and one of them is Monkey Beach. So, what makes this one different from the rest? In one spot you can find Aboriginal shell middens.

Monkey beach is also the island’s best reef snorkeling spots where you can enjoy its spectacular marine life. If you avail the Shotover cruise ($99 per person) you’ll be taken to the best spots to see manta rays, giant turtles, dugongs and hammerhead sharks.
To get to this stunning destination, ride a $55 boat trip from Rosslyn Bay, Pier 1. From the drop-off point, it only takes a short walk to reach Monkey Beach.

4. Cylinder Beach, North Stradbroke Island

“Straddie”, as the island is fondly called,  is known for its powder white sand and azure waters. Its main beach is also a haven for many surfers. However, if you want a tranquil ambiance simply head to the north facing part of the island and immerse  beauty of Cylinder Beach.

Its quiet waters are perfect as a paddling pool for families. Fishing and snorkeling are also allowed on the island. Lifeguards patrol the beach making it safe even for children to swim.

Carparks are also situated near the beach. It also has a shady camping ground where you can spend the night in tents. For cheap eats, make your way to Point Lookout Bowls which is less than 2-kilometers from Cylinder. Their barefoot-bowls are only $10 for adults and $3 for children.

.

"Sraddie160102_ 011" by Brian Hurst available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/hurstb56/24115065616 under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0. Full terms at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0.

"Sraddie160102_ 011" by Brian Hurst available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/hurstb56/24115065616 under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0. Full terms at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0. BY Brian Hurst

5. Cape Hillsborough Beach, Mackay

The rock-strewn Cape Hillsborough Beach is about 20-kilometers north of Mackay. It is sandwiched between two rocky headlands which make it unknown to many, but in truth, it is still part of the Cape Hillsborough National Park. The nearby national park has numerous facilities like BBQ, car park, tour desk and conference rooms.

At low tide, the beachfront can get up to 200 metres wide. Walk on its 1.2-kilometre Yuibera trail to see Ulysses butterflies and a wide range of colourful birds and insects. During sunrise and sunset, you can interact with wallabies and kangaroos as they find food at the water’s edge.

6. Rainbow Beach, Fraser Coast

The shoreline of Rainbow Beach is like nature putting up a mosaic of its own.  Leached vegetable dyes and deposits of iron oxide from 400,000 years ago give the beach its multi-hued sand. You can also appreciate it’s nearby rainforest, freshwater lakes, and heathlands. Fraser Island is also known for dolphin watching, paragliding and skydiving activities.

Go to Carlo Sand Blow to take great photos and a chance to slide down using your boogie board. The sunset on this side is also majestic. Several tours also offer a wide range of activities including beach horse rides for $120 and 4WD expedition for $135 and up.

7. Radical Bay, Magnetic Island

For the adventurous beach hunter, Magnetic Island is a hidden gem worth visiting. The best spot, Radical Bay, is accessible only by foot or  4-wheel drive vehicle. The place is old-fashioned and does not have your usual bright lights and buildings. If you want to come here be prepared to bring an esky and some grub. In return, you will be rewarded with a memorable snorkeling and fishing experience.

Magnetic Island is also great for sunbathing. On average, it has 320 days of sunshine in a year. The nearby national park is also home to rock wallabies, koalas, possums and a variety of wildlife.

To reach Magnetic Island, you need to ride a 20-minute ferry from Townsville. The ferry service has 14-return trips daily. For cheap accommodations book at Foresthaven Tropical Resort which charges $80 per night for 1 bedroom.

Going  to these Queensland beaches will take some effort, especially if you plan on commuting to get there. Instead, you can rent a campervan or motorhome for a worry-free travel with your family. To get the best deals on these vehicles, visit Salamanda Travel’s price comparison tool today.


Before renting any 4wd vehicles, we recommend you carefully read the terms and conditions to check if you are allowed to drive the vehicle on your intended travel route, especially on rugged terrains.

Diving and snorkelling in Far North Queensland

Firstly it’s important to know some facts about the Great Barrier Reef before packing your flippers:

1- Lizard-Island_Great-Barrier-Reef_Snorkelling-575

  • Largest reef in the world
  • 2900 separate reefs
  • 900 islands
  • 2 million tourists annually
  • stretches from Bundaberg to Cape York along 2600 km (344,400 km2)
  • Biggest living organism in the world
  • Visible from Space
  • Formed around 18,000 years ago during the last ice age
  • World heritage listed by UNESCO since 1981

To enjoy your trip to the maximum, we advise you to go between May and September. July and August are the best months because of the mild temperatures and the whale migration season. October to May is stinger season so avoid this time.

Underwater the marine life offers a huge variety of possible encounters: six of the world’s seven turtle species live here. It’s also the habitat of Nemo (the Clown Fish), blue sea-stars, the Napoleon fish is found here, as well as fish of many different colours, a variety of corals, and during whale migration season most probably you’ll see whales. The must-have item is an underwater camera like a GoPro which you can buy for around $299 or hire for your time on the reef.

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To get to the reef there are several possibilities: boat, plane or helicopter ̶ it’s up to you! Cairns is one of the best launching platforms. The offers here are numerous and lots of companies depart from Cairns. Port Douglas is also a good spot to reach Agincourt Ribbon Reef offering huge diversity. This place is a mecca for scuba divers and considered one of the most beautiful places to view coral reefs in the world. Catch a sailing boat at Airlie Beach to the Whitsundays, from Townsville for Magnetic Island or Town of 1770 to get to Lady Musgrave Island which is a deserted island, protected, and allows a maximum of 40 campers at any one time. As you can read there are lots of ways to explore the reefs of Far North Queensland.

Practical considerations

Getting there:

Brisbane – Cairns: 1700 km

Sydney – Cairns: 2700 km (via Brisbane)

Cairns – Port Douglas: 65 km

Cairns – Airlie Beach: 625 km

Accommodation (campground):

BIG4 Cairns Coconut Resort, 23 – 51 Anderson Road – Woree, 4870, 0740546644

South-east Queensland is also a good place where you’re sure to have some great marine encounters. For example, 80 km (75 minutes) from Brisbane you’ve got beautiful Moreton Island: here you have a good chance of encountering kangaroos, koalas and many bird species. Moreton Bay itself is overflowing with rich marine life: turtles, dolphins, dugongs and small sharks. Old boats have been deliberately sunk to create habitat for fish and a good spot for diving and snorkelling. Numerous activities are available on the island: kayaking, quad biking, catamaran sailing, sand surfing or feeding dolphins; there is a resort there too if you plan to stay overnight.

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So now you know now what you’ve got to do: get in your campervan, head up to Brisbane and  Far North Queensland, go on board one of the boats and be amazed by this natural wonder that runs along the eastern coastline of Australia.