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The RVgeeks Australia Road Trip

[/text_output][text_output]Welcome to our Australia page, where we’ve posted videos, links and other resources from our epic road trip to Oz! Besides sharing our destinations, activities and information about our campervan, we’ve included details about the resources we used to plan our trip.

Our Australian CampervanFirst and foremost, after researching every available company, we rented our campervan from Maui because they checked off every box on our wishlist: one-way rentals available, fully-self-contained for Free Camping (boondocking), small enough to fit into just about any campsite (they had larger ones available, but we wanted to go small), very new fleet so we wouldn’t be driving something too old, automatic transmission (driving AND shifting on the left?!) and a long list of included features. They’re also part of the largest RV rental company Down Under (THL) and considering the distances we’d be traveling, we decided that the more support we have available the better… just in case.

Everything about our trip turned out great… except having to leave! 😉

To see more details about our campervan: www.maui.com.au  (we rented an “Ultima” which sleeps 2… but the unit they had available for us was the “Ultima Plus” which sleeps 3)[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row inner_container=”true” padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”all” bg_video=”” class=”” style=””][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/1″][feature_headline type=”left” level=”h3″ looks_like=”h3″ icon=”video-camera” id=”” class=”” style=”margin: 0.5em 0em;”]Videos[/feature_headline][text_output][pt_view id=”5b2d3ed15b”][/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/1″][vc_raw_html]JTNDYSUyMG5hbWUlM0QlMjJhdXNSZXNvdXJjZSUyMiUyMGlkJTNEJTIyYXVzUmVzb3VyY2VzJTIyJTNFJTNDJTJGYSUzRQ==[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row inner_container=”true” padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”all” bg_video=”” class=”” style=””][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/1″ id=”” class=”” style=””][feature_headline type=”left” level=”h3″ looks_like=”h3″ icon=”book” id=”” class=”” style=”margin: 0.5em 0em;”]Resources[/feature_headline][text_output]Here are some of the resources we used to plan and execute our RV trip to Oz. We’ll be adding many more as our trip progresses.

CAMPERVAN RENTAL

COMMUNICATIONS

  • Vodafone Australia – keeping us well connected everywhere we travel in Australia… the $50/month prepaid plan we chose even includes unlimited calling to the U.S. (and 90 minutes of calling to many other countries… Canada included)! Obviously this plan may not be available when you come Down Under, but look at all the options. Mobile plans here are as good as, if not better than, in North America (Telstra is the major player here, with the best coverage, but Vodafone Australia, Virgin Mobile and Optus are not far behind… pick whichever one best suits your needs & budget)
  • T-Mobile – we purchased a T-Mobile data plan for our iPad (we got lured in by the Binge-On video streaming) that allows us to use unlimited 2G data in Australia.  It’s not fast, but (1) it allowed us to have internet connectivity from the minute we touched down in Oz… and (2) it has saved our bacon a number of times when we were in areas that Vodafone didn’t cover. It’s always good to have a secondary data carrier, right?

PLACES TO STAY (Check the Apps below, too)

  • Tropic Breeze Caravan Park (Port Douglas, QLD) – situated right in the heart of the resort town of Port Douglas, this caravan park is within easy walking distance of downtown (great restaurants & shopping), the beach (just a short walk out the back gate of the park) and the marina (where our Great Barrier Reef snorkeling trip departed from). The managers were extremely friendly and provided invaluable help with recommendations for things to see & do and places to eat.
    • Watch the related video (picking up our campervan, hooking up for the first time at Tropic Breeze, and snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef)
  • Malanda Falls Caravan Park (Malanda, QLD) – another VERY friendly caravan park. Private stairs lead to Malanda Falls where you can hopefully see platypus (they’re extremely shy) and turtles. Or spot a Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo (who knew kangaroos could live in trees?!) in the surrounding rain forest. Or just check out all sorts of adorable baby farm animals in their petting zoo!
  • Coral Coast Tourist Park (Townsville, QLD) – very nice, clean park… a little close to the airport (not that WE mind), but it was the perfect staging point for taking the ferry to Magnetic Island.
  • Cape Hillsborough Resort Nature Tourist Park (Cape Hillsborough, QLD) – literally surrounded by Cape Hillsborough National Park, this is THE place to stay if you want to roll out of bed at sunrise to see Kangaroos & Wallabies on the beach. Which we did! 😉
  • Greenacres Motel & Caravan Park (Benaraby, QLD) – with our first week of non-stop movement under our belts, we needed a comfortable & convenient place to catch our breath (and catch up on some work)… and Greenacres fit the bill.
  • Big4 Holiday Parks (they’re everywhere… plus Maui customers get a 10% discount!)
    • Big4 Airlie Cove Resort & Van Park (Airlie Beach, QLD) – wonderful resort town with plenty of shops & restaurants… plus access to the Whitsunday Islands for anything beachy/aquatic you could desire.  And after a hard day of eating/shopping/snorkeling/kayaking/etc… who wouldn’t want to cool off in the pool or water park (yes, we’re still big kids)?!?!
    • Big4 Byron Holiday Park (Byron Bay, NSW) – just south of the hip, surf-culture town of Byron Bay, this Holiday Park has everything you need: all the amenities for a comfortable stay, close proximity to town (food, shopping, the lighthouse… you name it), and direct access to beautiful & uncrowded Tallow Beach. It was the perfect place for us to unwind after the excitement of Bluesfest!
    • Big4 Bonny Hills on Rainbow Beach (Bonny Hills, NSW) – another great Big4 Park, Bonny Hills is a great spot to use as home base to explore the area in and around Port Macquarie, NSW. Spend the day relaxing on Rainbow Beach (accessible directly from the park), or head to one of Port Macquarie’s 17 (!!!) fantastic beaches, or visit the Koala Hospital to see the fantastic work the volunteers are doing to help rehabilitate sick/wounded koalas!
  • Boondockers Welcome (they’re Down Under, too!) – we couldn’t think of a better way to connect with locals while in Australia than to stay with them… and Boondockers Welcome came through!
    • Woodgate Wanderers (Woodgate Beach, QLD) – We connected with Doug & Di before we even left North America and were thrilled to find out that they were going to be in town, and had space for us, when we were going to be coming through. They were an awesome source of information about our whole route (not just their immediate area)… and were incredibly gracious and inviting hosts. We’re SO thankful we got to meet them and look forward to connecting with them on their next visit to North America!
  • Grey Cliffs Camp (Yuraygir National Park) – this small, National Park campground afforded us the opportunity to stay the night on a bluff overlooking a secluded and private white sand beach. As if falling asleep to the steady sound of the surf and the fresh salt air wasn’t enough, we also got the chance to be up close to the largest group of Eastern Grey kangaroos we’ve seen on our trip! Maybe even a little TOO close!

DESTINATIONS & ACTIVITIES

  • Wavelength Great Barrier Reef Tours  (Port Douglas, QLD) – All-day snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. Virtually brand new boat (Wavelength 4) was wonderful… large enough to be comfortable & stable, but small enough (about 45 passengers) that each snorkeling stop didn’t feel crowded. All of the crew were friendly, professional & helpful… and the marine biologists on board were incredibly knowledgeable (and entertaining)!
    • Watch the related video (picking up our campervan, hooking up for the first time at Tropic Breeze, and snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef)
  • Magnetic Island (near Townsville, QLD) – Just a 20 minute ferry ride from downtown Townsville, QLD (we rode the Sealink Ferry), there are lots of tropical, beachy things to do on Magnetic island. But we went to see Koalas in the wild!
  • Salty Dog Sea Kayaking (Airlie Beach, QLD) – Airlie Beach is a great place to get out on the water and explore the Whitsunday Islands. We booked a half-day kayaking tour and really enjoyed it. The route took us out to White Rock, where we had the chance to snorkel and grab a bite to eat on the sandy beach. Loved being out on the water!
  • Air Whitsunday Seaplane Tours (Airlie Beach, QLD) – We couldn’t be in the area and not get out onto the Whitsunday Islands we’d heard so much about (from EVERYONE)! Our last-minute trip planning meant that there were no boat trips available, and a shortage of time meant we only had a half day to try and get out there… so a seaplane trip was perfect! We chose the Whitehaven Experience Tour… a 3 hour trip out to the world-renowned Whitehaven Beach. It was an expensive splurge… but well worth it!
  • Cape Hillsborough National Park (Cape Hillsborough, QLD) – aside from the dramatic natural beauty of this rugged headlands, the real draw (for us, anyway) of Cape Hillsborough was the chance to see kangaroos and wallabies on the beach… at sunrise! We stayed in the Cape Hillsborough Resort Nature Tourist Park so that we could roll out of bed and step right out onto the beach. We weren’t disappointed!
  • Byron Bay Bluesfest (Byron Bay, NSW) – this awesome musical event happens every year on Easter weekend (lucky us we were coming through town)! With five large, covered venues and loads of food, you can’t help but have a great time. We timed our visit so we could see Jackson Browne, Melissa Etheridge, Brian Wilson and Tom Jones perform (90 minutes each)… and we had a blast! Camping is available onsite:  grassy, un-powered sites… but there are showers and water available.
  • Cape Byron Lighthouse (Byron Bay, NSW) – Cape Byron is the easternmost point of Australia, and this beautiful lighthouse is perched right out at the end. Great spot to see up and down the gorgeous coastline surrounding Byron Bay.
  • Yuraygir National Park (NSW, between Coffs Harbour & Yamba) – Yuraygir NP encompasses the longest stretch of protected coastline in New South Wales. It’s striking cliffs, rocky headlands, isolated beaches and quiet lakes are set against a backdrop of forests, heaths and wetlands. We found a spectacular campsite on a bluff overlooking a white sand beach in Grey Cliffs Camp. Plus there are kangaroos!
  • Port Macquarie Koala Hospital (Port Macquarie, NSW) – We are so glad that Russell Mills of the Legendary Pacific Coast told us about the Koala Hospital (see the video). We LOVE Koalas… and it was heartwarming to see the great work the volunteers here do to help rehabilitate sick/wounded koalas, so they can (hopefully) be returned to the wild.
  • Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse (Seal Rocks, NSW) – First lit on December 1, 1875, Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse is not only a fantastic historical monument, but is still an active navigational aid… warning ships of the dangerous Seal Rocks to the south. Perched high on a bluff, it offers commanding views of the surrounding coastline. Just watch where you step!

APPS & RESOURCES

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