Chasing the Sun – From Melbourne to Cairns Via The Road Less Travelled

Chasing the Sun – From Melbourne to Cairns Via The Road Less Travelled


Just as humpback whales migrate from Antarctica to warmer waters for the winter, many travellers in Australia choose to wave goodbye to the crisp, wet climates of the south and enjoy winter in the tropics, where bikinis and thongs are fashion staples year-round. You can reach the tropical paradise of Far North Queensland in an easy 3-3.5 hour flight from Melbourne, Sydney, or Adelaide, or a 6-hour flight from Hobart. But if adventure’s what you’re here for, that’s almost… too easy. Many travellers instead opt to drive via the coastal route, stopping in all of the popular tourist hotspots – Byron Bay, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Airlie Beach – we’ve heard it all before. If you want to see a different side to Australia, or you’re short on time, you can choose the secret third option: driving the direct route.



This route will take you through some of the vast yet massively under-populated areas that make up such a significant amount of Australia. You’ll see beautiful desserts, bushland, farms and small, rural villages; a side of Australia that’s so often neglected by visitors. Whilst this is an exciting road trip experience, there are some things you should be aware of before hitting the road. Firstly, due to the rural nature of the area, you’ll need to carry plenty of food and water, and make sure to fill up on gas regularly – servos can be few and far between on parts of this expedition. It’s also worth investing in a good map and a compass, as you often won’t have GPS signal. Secondly, watch out for kangaroos, particularly if you’re driving around dusk or dawn. Finally, the following itinerary is based on a 6-day drive, however, if you’re feeling tired it’s essential to stop and avoid pushing yourself too hard. You’ll be driving for long hours if you want to make the journey within a week, so be sure to download a rocking playlist and some entertaining podcasts for the trip.

The following itinerary is based on travelling from Melbourne to Cairns via the most direct route. Campsites are suggested because they’re an important part of any road trip experience, and most of them are free because road trips should be as budget-friendly as possible. However, other accommodation options are available.


Start: Melbourne

End: Cairns

Total km: 3100

Total driving time: Approx 34.5 hours

Budget: Allow at least $1,500 for food, gas, camping fees, and an emergency fund.



Day 1: Melbourne to Grenfall.

On your very first day, you’ll be crossing state lines as you leave Victoria behind and breeze into New South Wales. It’s a long day of driving so make sure to hit the road early – at least the longest drive is out of the way at the start! Day 1 will see long stretches of open highway, slowly getting quieter and quieter as you leave the city behind and venture into the unknown.

Total km: 650

Total driving time: ~7 hours

Camp at: Holy Camp. This is a free campsite with drop toilets, picnic tables, and fire pits. Hot tip: bring firewood – you’re in for a chilly night!

Day 2: Grenfall – Walgett

Take in the lush green fields and trees on either side, as you drive through day two towards Walgett. Enjoy the small, rural towns, and stop in popular holiday destination, Dubbo, to stretch your legs and re-energise with a coffee. You’ll find that your campsite is a lot closer to the town tonight and most likely a lot more popular. There’s a handy newsagent selling everything you need, from newspapers and soft drinks to guns and ammo. However, if you happen to be here on a Sunday, don’t expect the shops to be open in the afternoon.

Total km: 500

Total driving time: ~5.5 hours

Camp at: Alex Trevallion Rotary Park. This free campsite has an open feel and offers flushing toilets and cold water to wash up. There’s a beautiful lake and a stunning view of the sunset on the right night. There’s no clear information on whether campfires are allowed or prohibited, so it’s best to wrap up warm instead.

Day 3: Walgett – Yuleba

The time has come to cross state lines again, leaving behind New South Wales in favour of the warmer climates of Queensland. Travelling in the dry season means you’re likely to be welcome with clear blue skies and sunshine, as well as slightly warmer temperatures. Enjoy outback vibes as you pass through tiny, undeveloped towns, and drive over that red dirt that we associate with the heart of Australia.

Total km: 490km

Total driving time: ~5.5 hours

Camp at: Judds Lagoon. Yay, another free campsite! Pitch your tent by the water and enjoy a cold beer by the campfire. Drop toilets are available, but there are no other facilities. There is firewood for sale (cash only), but no fire pits, so be careful where you spark up, and always put it out before you go to bed.


Day 4: Yuleba – Clermont

It’s another long drive! Enjoy mountain views and farmland as you cruise through Queensland. Full disclosure – today’s drive includes one rather long and slightly boring stretch of road. Top tip: download some comedy to listen to on this part of the trip! Look out for cows in the road as you drive along – they like to wander. Roma and Emerald are convenient places to stock up on food or other supplies that you may need.

Total km: 600

Total driving time: ~6.75 hours

Camp at: Theresa Creek Dam. This lovely campsite is $15 for the night, but let’s be honest, at this point in the journey you need a shower. As well as hot showers, there are flushing toilets, sheltered camping areas, a coffee shop, and lovely water views. You can also enjoy a campfire here – camping budget well spent.

Day 5: Clermont – Balgal Beach

Today’s an exciting day because you’ll hit the coast! Enjoy your last bit of inland driving before you hit Townsville. This is a handy place to stock up on food and supplies, although it can be a bit of a culture shock being in a busy supermarket in a city again after all those small towns. As you venture north up the coast, be sure to stop at Mission Beach for a walk by the sea. Look out for cassowaries on this drive, and keep an eye out for kangaroos as you approach your campsite.

Total km: 590

Total driving time: ~6.25 hours

Camp at: Balgal beach. This beachside campsite is not only free but also stunning. Wander along the beach, then tuck into some tasty fish and chips from the on-site restaurant and shop. Watch the sunset over the ocean with a lovely glass of wine. Hot tip: you’ll need some insect repellent spray to avoid being eaten alive overnight here!


Day 6: Balgal Beach – Cairns

The last day of your trip has arrived! The adventure is almost over, but a new one is just about to begin. This coastal drive makes a stunning backdrop for your last day of driving, although you will have to get used to driving on busy roads again. You’ll be pleased to know that your final day of driving is also the shortest, leaving more time to settle into your new home.

Total km: 300

Total driving time: 3.5 hours

So you’ve arrived in Cairns, and now you’re on your own. What will you do next? Head further north to the beautiful Port Douglas, venture into the tropical Daintree Rainforest, or snorkel the Great Barrier Reef? The choice is yours and the tempting options are endless.

See Australia’s Most Iconic Sights on a Reef, Rock and Bridge Trip

See Australia’s Most Iconic Sights on a Reef, Rock and Bridge Trip

In a country as vast as Australia, it can be overwhelming trying to decide where your time would be best spent. While there’s a lot to be said for getting off the beaten track and onto the country roads, most of us don’t want to leave this enticing country without seeing Australia’s most iconic sights. You’ve swooned over the photos again and again, and now it’s time to see them for real. A reef, rock and bridge trip will take you to three of Australia’s biggest icons: the Great Barrier Reef, Ayers Rock, and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The Reef



Your adventure will begin in tropical north Queensland, where the rainforest meets the reef. Great Barrier Reef trips typically leave from either Cairns or Port Douglas, and both are worth visiting. It has been suggested that you could spend a lifetime here and never get bored of the hot weather, relaxed atmosphere and friendly people, but as that’s not always possible, it’s definitely worth setting aside at least 4 days to explore the area. You will most likely arrive in Cairns first, and if you’re heading further north to Port Douglas then you’re in for a treat; the one hour drive is one of the most scenic you’ll ever see, with the rainforest to your left and the ocean to your right as you tear up the wide open road. This is the part where you realise you’re in paradise. The best time to visit is during Australia’s winter, or Queensland’s ‘dry season’, from May to October, as it is generally dry and sunny with highs of between 25-30 degrees. The summer months, or ‘wet season’ see heavy rainfall, hot weather, and high humidity.

While many people journey to Port Douglas to see the Great Barrier Reef, there’s so much more to it than that. Spend a day exploring the Daintree rainforest, trying to spot a cassowary, and head all the way to Cape Tribulation where you’ll emerge from the trees to find yourself on a gorgeous beach. Take a stroll along the beautiful Mossman Gorge, and enjoy a river cruise where you can spy on crocodiles in their natural habitat. Cuddle koalas at the wildlife habitat, followed by a sunset cruise with champagne and canapés. Make a splash in one of the many refreshing creeks and stunning waterfalls, and marvel at the beauty of the area as you look up at mountains, rainforest, and clear blue skies. Be careful though – avoid saltwater creeks and pay attention to any warning signs as crocodiles do inhabit the area. Swimming in freshwater at a higher altitude is the best way to avoid them, as crocs don’t swim uphill.

One thing you may observe about Far North Queensland is that it’s one of few places where our stereotypes of Australia come to life: there are snakes, huge spiders, and crocodiles, and the people are extremely friendly and laidback, wearing shorts, thongs and a gorgeous tan wherever they go. You can just as easily stay in an upmarket hotel or apartment, a fun hostel, or a fully equipped campsite – the area has something for everybody. Dine at award-winning restaurants, tasty cheap eateries, and everything in between. Fall in love with the relaxed vibe of the area, and the friendly locals who are always happy to help you out.

When it comes to visiting the reef itself, there are plenty of companies offering full or half day trips, including diving or snorkelling, and inner or outer reef locations. It’s not ‘one size fits all’ so do your research to find the perfect trip for you. Wade through the water over brightly coloured corals, crossing paths with various exotic fish. Keep your eyes peeled for turtles, reef sharks, and other exciting marine life.

The Rock


Saying goodbye to Far North Queensland can be a sad time, but you have the ‘rock’ section of your trip to look forward to next.  As the plane approaches Uluru, you’ll see passengers watching in awe as they catch their first glimpse of the famous Ayers Rock. Two days is plenty here if used wisely. It’s advisable to focus your time on the sunrises and sunsets and spend the daytimes relaxing by the pool, riding camels at the local camel farm, or taking a walking, cycling, motorbike or camel tour of Ayers rock.

It’s an early start for the sunrise, but it’s so worth it. Many tours offer sunrise viewings where you can watch the outback slowly come to life as the sky fills with light and colour. Enjoy some hot coffee and tasty breakfast, followed by a tour of Uluru or Kata Tjuta, during which you may learn about the origins of the rock, the native people of Australia, and why the rock is sacred to them. Hot tip: look for trips that take you to the quieter viewing spots for the sunrise, so that you’re not fighting with 100 other tourists for the best view.

Sunset tours again take you to a viewing area, where you can splash out and enjoy champagne and canapés as you struggle struggled to decide whether to look to the breathtaking rock or turn our back on it and watch the stunning sunset fill the sky with pink and orange hues. You can also opt to enjoy a highly recommended dinner under the stars after sunset for a truly mind-blowing, luxurious experience, where the feel of an exclusive five-star, fine-dining restaurant is fantastically recreated in the middle of the outback. You will enjoy fabulous food and service, followed by stargazing guided by an astronomer.

The Bridge


Of course, when people visit Sydney they want to see the opera house and the harbour bridge, but there’s so much more to it than that – it’s basically the ultimate big city, with excellent eateries, rooftop cocktail bars, fascinating museums, high-end shops,  gorgeous beaches, and so much more. You could spend years here and still not do everything, but at least five days is recommended.

Daytimes in Sydney can be spent enjoying the famous landmarks, with bridge climbs, opera house tours, and the Tower Eye elevating you to the highest point in the city for breathtaking views. You can also visit the many beaches. Bondi is the most famous, and is well worth a visit but can get extremely crowded in summer. There’s also the well-known Manley beach, and plenty of others if you know where to look. If you do take the ferry to Manley, be sure to check out the fantastic views of the opera house and harbour bridge from the ferry. Visit the zoo for another perfect sighting of the famous landmarks from the giraffe enclosure, as well as a brilliant wildlife experience. Sydney is also home to an array of museums to tantalise your inner nerd, and enough shops to make you drop.

Evenings can be spent eating dinner right on the waterfront at a wide range of tempting restaurants offering something delicious for everyone, whatever your taste buds are craving. Follow dinner with drinks at breweries, rooftop cocktail bars, or one of many drinking holes in the city. See how many you can tick off!

Not only will you see three of Australia’s most iconic sights: the reef, the rock, and the bridge, but you will also see so many sides to this vast and beautiful country. From the beach to the rainforest, to the outback, and bustling city life, this trip has so much to offer, and in this immense country, there’s still so much more to see.

September 2018 Update

September 2018 Update

It’s been a while since I posted on the blog, but you may have noticed some exciting changes to the look and content of my website recently. Most notable is the addition of a whole section on travel writing, as this is an area I’m particularly passionate about. My portfolio is now divided into my three specialisms: travel, hospitality and health and beauty (including mental health). There is also an ‘other’ section for other bits and bobs I’ve done. I have also recently added a Twitter account which you’re more than welcome to follow me on for updates.

Another exciting change is that I will be contributing to my own blog more frequently with general updates as well as travel articles, and articles on anything else I feel may be of interest to readers. All travel articles on my blog are also available to purchase on Partica for use on your own website.

Alongside these changes, I look forward to working with some exciting businesses in the future. As always, I can be contacted at for any enquiries.

The Benefits of Adding a Blog to Your Company Website

Some business owners feel that adding a blog to their website may not be worth the time and effort involved. However, a blog is an inexpensive way to drive sales and the outcome makes it more than worth the effort you’ve put in. Statistics from Hubspot’s 2012 Inbound Marketing Report highlight the importance of blogging. According to the study, 57% of companies who have a blog reported acquiring customers via their blog. In that same study, a survey of marketers revealed that 81% of businesses say that their business blog is useful to critical for their business. Here’s why…

  1. Having a blog boosts SEO. Search engines love fresh content, and updating your blog regularly ensures that new content is added frequently, increasing your visibility on search engine results pages. Fill that blog with the right keywords for even better results.
  2. Drive potential clients to your website. Blog about topics that your target market are interested in and people will visit your blog. Then they’ll look around your website, hopefully leading to a sale.
  3. Show your companies’ personality and potential clients will feel that they can relate to the company.
  4. Educate your clients about the products and services they are seeking and convey your expertise.

While adding a blog may seem like a lot of effort, it keeps your website fresh in the eyes of both search engines and customers, educates your clients about a topic they are interested in, and adds a human face to your business.

If you would like to add a blog to your website but don’t have the time for weekly posts, contact me to discuss potential options at


Why a Strong Social Media Presence is Absolutely Imperative for Businesses

More and more businesses now connect with their existing and potential customers through social media, and it’s easy to see why. Facebook has 665 million daily active users, and Twitter has over 500 million registered accounts. Social media usage continues to increase and companies who aren’t using it are losing out. Here are 7 reasons why it is vital for your company to have a strong social media presence.

  1. SEO

    Search engines like social media, therefore having a social media presence will help your company to appear higher in search engine rankings. Tweets and Facebook pages can also appear in search results, so companies can benefit from having fully optimised social media pages.

  2. Raises Awareness

    Social media helps people to find your company. Your customer reach is extended to a huge audience who may never have known about you.

  3. Appear more trustworthy.

    Social media allows you to closely communicate with clients, which increases their trust for you and your brand.

  4. Feedback

    Through social media a company can rapidly gain feedback from customers and find out exactly what they want with minimal effort. In turn sales should increase as a result of this.

  5. Boosts Traffic to Your Website

    Your social media pages are exposed to new users every day, and a proportion of these users will follow the links to your website. There is potential to bring thousands of new customers to your website every day, who would not have visited it otherwise.

  6. Branding

    Social media helps to create your identity and exhibit your brands personality. Existing and potential customers can understand what your brand represents and what its values are.

  7. Build Relationships

    Social Media helps to build relationships with current and potential customers, as you can connect and communicate with them quickly on a more personal level.


However, it is not enough to simply have a social media presence. It is important to post regularly, and post content which interests your target audience. If you are interested in my services, please email with your requirements.