December 23, 2021


A Self Drive Holiday in Australia for Beaches, Reefs & Forests

A self drive holiday is the perfect way to explore Australia for any visitor wishing to experience as much of the country as possible. A lot of travellers will elect to do a drive trip along the east coast of Australia from Sydney to Cairns in a Campervan. This trip allows them to experience some very uniquely Australian scenery and experiences.

Beach Towns

The coast of Australia is particularly known for great beaches and the drive from Sydney to Cairns will pass a huge number of beaches and beach towns that are worth the stop. While a self drive holiday allows you to pick where to go and what to see I am going to recommend that the following places are must stop spots if you are travelling past.

  • Port Stephens
    • Open surf beaches and quiet bay beaches
    • Marine Park with 150 dolphins
    • Marine activities: swimming, surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, diving & fishing

    South West Rocks

    • Open surf beach and quiet bay beach
    • Fish Rick Cave famous diving spot
    • Smokey Cape Light House

    Lennox Head

    • National Surf Reserve
    • Quite lake lined with Tea trees
    • Iconic water side hotel

    Byron Bay

    • Open surf beaches and crescent shaped beach
    • Small popular town quality shopping and restaurants
    • Cape Byron Lighthouse and headlands
    • Marine activities: swimming, surfing, diving, paddle boarding, fishing & kayaking

    Gold Coast

    • Gold sand beaches open surf and the broad water
    • Casino, restaurants, cafes, shopping
    • Theme Parks: Sea World, Wet & Wild, Movie World, Dreamworld, Outback Adventure
    • Marine activities: surfing, swimming, diving, paddle boarding, fishing & kayaking


    • North facing beach family friendly
    • Lakes and waterways around the township
    • National Park headlands with views over great sandy region

    Airlie Beach

    • Gateway to the Whitsunday islands
    • Marine activities: sailing, diving, fishing & swimming

    Mission Beach

    • Wide sandy beach over looking Dunk Island
    • Island ferry, reef tours, white water rafting
    • Quiet and laid back tropical township

    Port Douglas

    • Wide four mile long beach
    • Restaurants and shops in tropical paradise
    • Marina and snorkel, dive & sailing tours to barrier reef
    • Easy access to Mossman gorge, Daintree forest


The beaches in these spots are all stunning in different ways and each one is worth a visit. The beaches inside of a bay or inside the Barrier Reef are more protected and quieter than the open ocean beaches.

Rainforest Areas

All the way along the coast there are national parks full of bushland and great scenic views, but there are also a few places where you can experience a true tropical rainforest.

The Gold Coast

The hinterland of the Gold Coast is home to several tropical rainforest spots including the natural arch, Binna Burra & Oreilly’s national parks. Binna Burra & OReilly’s are also home to Artic Beach which are trees that have not germinated since the last ice age. If you ever want to move to the Gold Coast, you won’t regret it. Or you can look for homes in Brisbane which is Queensland’s capital city.

Cape Tribulation

Heading north from Port Douglas we can arrive at the Daintree which is the only place in Australia where rainforest meets coral reef at the beach. If you take a drive to Cape Tribulation you can snorkel of the beach over a coral reef. The Daintree rainforests are the most extensive and best tropical rainforest examples in Australia.

Coral Reef (The Great Barrier Reef)

The coral reef only starts at around Bundaberg and then extends all the way north to the very top of Queensland.


From Bundaberg it is easy to visit two of the most southern coral islands in Lady Elliot and Lady Musgrave Islands. You can do a day trip to Lady Musgrave with its massive lagoon which provides a great snorkel and dive experience. Lady Elliot Island has an eco lodge on the island and you can fly to the island and stay a few days to enjoy the reef.


There are many trips from Cairns out to the Barrier Reef each day taking tourists to experience the reef for a dive adventure or a snorkel adventure. These tours are easy to find and give the traveller an experience of the reef.

Port Douglas

Port Douglas like Cairns has trips to the Barrier Reef to explore the reef by snorkelling or diving. These trips are all from the Port Douglas Marina and are an easy way to experience the reef. From Port Douglas you can also go for a drive to Cape Tribulation and experience coral reefs off the shore of the Daintree Rainforest area.


The east coastal drive trip is a great holiday for anyone visiting Australia for the first time or even the 10th time. Each different trip will expose the traveller to whole new host of experiences and create more memories of Australia.



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