Pick up a car rental and go cruisin’ with your pooch

By Australia / Brisbane / Cairns / Gold Coast / Great Ocean Road / Melbourne / New South Wales / Queensland / Sydney / Victoria / Western Australia /

WANTING a road trip and accommodation for the whole family, four-legged friends included?

Gone are the days when pet-friendly accommodation consisted of mildew walls and flea ridden couches, or when you had to re-mortgage your home to pay the kennel to keep your beloved pooch fed, watered and entertained.

These days, there are a range of pet friendly holiday accommodation options that will ensure fun for all the family, two and four legged creatures alike.

With pooch in your Gold Coast hire car, head for the hinterland and beach all rolled into one in the beautiful areas surrounding Byron Bay. Nestled on the exclusive Tallow Beach, Puri Pantali House affords absolute beachfront location in luxury Balinese style.  The house has four bedrooms, each with ensuite, catering for up to eight people comfortably.  Open plan living and a kitchen complete with state of the art appliances will ensure you feel right at home.   A private salt water solar heated pool will keep the kids entertained, while the stone paved pergola area and tropical gardens provide a romantic setting for adults.  Best of all, pets are welcome! $1000 – $2000 per night.

Cape Otway Cottages – Great Ocean Road Victoria

Providing creature comforts for four legged and two legged creatures alike, Cape Otway Cottages is a short drive in your Melbourne car rental along the famous Great Ocean Road.  The 60-acre property provides plenty of great walks for man and beast.  As you crack a bottle of champagne to celebrate your arrival, your pampered pooch will also have reason to celebrate, with a comfy bed next to the wood fire, silver service dog bowls and complimentary dog treats provided.  With an array of different cottage options of varying sizes, you are sure to find something that sill suit your family.  Prices start from $225 per night.

Kurrimine Beach Holiday Park, Queensland

Between Cairns and Townsville lies Kurrimine Beach Holiday Park.  The quiet fishing village provides the perfect backdrop to a dream family camping escape as you scoot off in your Cairns hire car or Brisbane car rental and into paradise. The Park offers self-contained cabins and large private sites, set among long deserted dog friendly beaches, salt water swimming pool and an array of great fishing spots.  Self contained cabins form $65 per night, powered camp sites from $22 and unpowered camp sites from $19.

Peppermint Tree Lodge, Peppermint Grove Beach, Western Australia

Half-way between Bunbury and Busselton, Peppermint Tree Lodge offers oceanfront accommodation just 40 meters from the beach.  Choose from three uniquely designed houses and a spa villa, all air conditioned and with wood fires to keep you comfortable no matter what time of the year you visit.  Pets are allowed inside and there is a dog beach directly in front of the house.  Relax and keep an eye out for dolphins from the luxury of your own Jacuzzi style outdoor spa. Prices start at $250 a night.

By Scott Podmore and Karly Hickman



Water world awaits at Lake Cania

By Australia / Brisbane / Queensland /

ABOUT 380km north west of Brisbane, Lake Cania is an easy spot to reach for a cool Queensland road trip idea.

Lake Cania itself is situated just north of the Cania Gorge. The lake has a capacity of 88,500 megaliters, so they tell me. There are many facilities available at the dam which caters for some great fishing and other water sports with boat ramp access, picnic areas, public conveniences, kiosk and two camping and caravan parks.

Lake Cania, when full, covers an area of about 1,200 hectares – now that’s a bit of fishing! We set out in our two-man inflatable Coleman canoe (these little beauties are great for fishing!) and head to a little spot that ‘Jack’, a local who has been coming here for 43 years, told us is where the fish live.

So out we paddle to this remarkable spot, which is so quiet and with a ton of animals and wildlife – just check out the picture (right) of what we woke up to one morning with the kangaroos and cattle grazing right next to our tent. The tent sites are awesome, and you can go as close to the water’s edge as you like.

With the fishing they say you can catch Australian bass, golden perch, saratoga and silver perch at Lake Cania, but I personally can’t tell because on this particular day we caught nothing! Now that may have something to do with the fact that we had no idea what we were doing as it was our first visit to Lake Cania.
But for all you mad fisherman out there, Lake Cania must be on the top of your itinerary. We watched boat after boat come in with an impressive haul of fish. Maybe they just didn’t like our inflatable canoe!

The campsites are roomy and there is plenty of room for boats, cars, campervans and the kids to run around safely. Just remember your mozzie repellent and, of course, remember to read the Fishing Permits sign and obey the National Park regulations. Take home everything you take in and leave it just as you found it.

Catch the Great Australian Doorstep on 7TWO


Bundaberg, bears and Bargara Beach – what a beauty with a capital ‘B’!

By Australia / Brisbane / Queensland /

So, you’ve jumped in your Brisbane hire car after lobbing in Queensland and don’t know where to head next? Head north, hug the coastline and you won’t be disappointed.

Bundaberg is a city with plenty of “big” appeal. Start with the mighty Bundaberg Rum Distillery and Bondstore, a place where you get to meet a world famous big “drop bear” called Bundy R. Bear and explore the distillery in one of its daily tours taking place at the Queensland landmark. Bundaberg is also the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, is also home to the world’s finest ginger beer (Bundaberg Barrel), and there’s also a beaut interactive museum in town that pays homage to one of our country’s great aviators at Hinkler Hall Of Aviation.

Reaching “Bundy”, as it’s affectionately known, is easy from Brisbane. Hit the Bruce Highway (or M1) and the signs will do the rest for the four hour journey.

While Bundy has plenty by way of things to see and do, and places to stay, it’s worth venturing out a little further to check out the “small” delights. Head 15 minutes east towards the coastline and you will stumble upon an absolute pearler of a little beachside town called Bargara, the gateway to the Coral Coast, and a place where the world’s biggest population of nesting Loggerhead turtles come home to hatch an army of babies.

For accommodation, I chose Bargara Beach Caravan Park, a tropical holiday park across the road from the palm-lined beach. This park offers an excellent range of cabins, caravan and camping sites plenty of facilities and services to suit all walks of life: WiFi internet, playground, tennis court, basketball court, skate rink and park, walking and bike tracks, camp kitchen, bbq and picnic areas, and a convenience store on site.

As the owners say, “it’s the seaside haven without the traffic jams”, plenty of great restaurants and shopping for a small destination, and the world famous Mon Repos beach and turtle rookery offering night tours with rangers. It’s also worth throwing the golf clubs in the back of the campervan or car hire as there’s a popular scenic golf course in the heart of town.


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On the road to Tin Can Bay – a quick road trip from Noosa to meet wild dolphins

By Australia / Brisbane / Queensland /

Where is Tin Can Bay? Just near Gympie in Queensland, that’s where, and only a leisurely three-hour drive in a campervan rental from Brisbane or a quick-fire 45-minute cruise if you pick up a Car Rental in Noosa.

And boy, what a great little spot it is. Tin Can Bay is a very sleepy little coastal village, with some of the most stunning scenery. The beautiful harbour area is just fantastic dotted with a ton of yachts and people enjoying the area. It’s great for fishing, water sports and a super spot to explore the area.

The best part, though, is the wild dolphin feeding which happens every day. The dolphins come ashore to meet and greet you (there’s my wife Sheree, pictured right), and for just $5 you can get a bucket of fish and stand in the water as they scoot around you – it really is worth the wait, too, and we had to wait three hours for them. It just depends on how hungry they are at the time. But never fear, the local restaurant which is perched on the waterfront right where the dolphins come in has some of the best food ever, including the biggest ‘Big Breakfast’ you could ever imagine which almost took three hours to devour!

It’s a quiet place, but yet there’s loads to entertain visitors including two great bush walks and plenty of great fishing spots. We stayed at the Tin Can Bay Tourist Park, boasting a sparkly and new salt water pool and hospitality that’s second to none. Big grassy sites and nice clean amenities, it’s all you can really hope for as a campervanner enjoying road trips in Queensland. The park is home to many wildlife species including a huge flock of parrots who come by to see what you might have on offer – every afternoon! So when you are driving up the Bruce Highway, do yourself a favour and take the 15-minute detour out to the coast to visit Tin Can Bay. You will not regret it.

The Great Australian Doorstep, visit

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Brisbane to Bundaberg, and a swim with the loggerhead turtles

By Australia / Brisbane / Queensland /

The strip of coastline between Brisbane and Bundaberg is a veritable Aladdin’s Cave of natural treasures – glorious beaches, pristine patches of wilderness hopping with wildlife, and humpback whales breaching offshore during the winter months.

But we’re here to see another endangered and fascinating marine creature – loggerhead turtles, who choose the beaches south of Bundaberg to perpetuate the cycle of life each summer. Mon Repos Beach is one of the two largest turtle rookeries in the South Pacific, which means it’s one of the best places to see them up close as they lay their eggs in the sand, with the babies hatching several months later.

To capitalise on all this area has to offer, having secured a great deal on our Brisbane Campervan Rental with DriveNow we are driving north,  so we can feel at one with our stunning natural surrounds. That’s the beauty of life on the road – you can pull up where your whim leads you, and with so many holiday parks located in areas of incredible beauty, we’re never disappointed.

It’s nearly a six-hour drive from Brissy to Bundy, but we decide to do it in one hit up with Bruce Highway, then take our time meandering back through the Sunshine Coast.

We’re a little exhausted as we pull into Bangara Beach Caravan Park late afternoon, but excited by what lies ahead. A pretty nature trail links the caravan park to the Mon Repos Turtle Rookery, and we head to the Visitor Centre after an early dinner to take one of their ranger-guided tours. These days, there are strict rules around approaching the massive reptiles as they haul their cumbersome frames up the sand; but it’s an incredible experience to see them giving birth with such dignity and determination.

My kids were a little disappointed they didn’t get to see the babies hatching and running the gauntlet back into the waves; but hopefully we can return one February to see nature’s miracle go full circle.

Taking our time to drive back down the coast, nature continued to impress – the stunning beaches of the Hervey Bay coastline, the wonderful dichotomy of Noosa, its glitz and glam complemented by glorious bushland and achingly beautiful bays; the emerald hills of the hinterland; and the sun and fun of the Sunshine Coast beaches. Australia Zoo is a must-see, as is the fabulous Underwater World at Mooloolaba, a massive aquarium filled with more than 25,000 sea creatures.



Great driving holidays – Brisbane to Townsville (Qld)

By Australia / Brisbane / Queensland /

FAR North Queensland is a region like no other in Australia and this drive is clearly a Top 10 campervanning adventure in the country.

It’s a long drive (18-20 hours straight, a few days including stops) that hugs the coast from Brisbane all the way up to Townsville. Most importantly, there are loads of great stops to make along the way. The direct route on the Bruce Highway is more than 1300km, so it would be well worth allowing a couple of weeks at least if you have the time as there are at least five stops that simply shouldn’t be missed. Pop these down for consideration when planning your itinerary:

STOP 1: Maroochydoore. God’s own country with one of the most magnificent little beaches you’ll find Down Under. It should take you no more than 2 hours to reach from Brisbane. Maroochydore boasts some super family attractions including Top Shots mini golf park, Underwater World to meet some of the ocean’s mighty creatures  and the Sunshine Plaza shopping strip. Stay at the Maroochy River Cabin Village and Caravan Park.

STOP 2: Bundaberg. A lengthy six hour drive or more, so pack a picnic and probably best to get an early morning drive planned for this one. Awesome little spot with plenty to do, including a visit to the famous Bundaberg Rum Distillery and the Mon Repos Turtle Rookery. Of course, as everywhere else along this route, there’s the beautiful Great Barrier Reef. Stay at Big4 Cane Village Holiday Park, a beauty!

STOP 3: Gladstone. Almost a 200km journey and shouldn’t take much more than two and a half hours if cruising at a slow but steady pace. The drive’s easy and the destination a treat. Simply cannot miss Kroombit Tops National Park for some outstanding waterfalls, creeks, and if you can spare the time and cash, head to Gladstone Marina (a whopper) and grab a charter for a spot of fishing or just for a quick cruise in the sunshine.

STOP 4: Mackay. Another big drive for this point of the trip, almost six hours and there is plenty to see and do during this road trip so maybe allow a full day on the road and hit points like Rockhampton. There are more than 30 beaches to explore here, believe it or not! There are also excellent golf courses and the Botanical Gardens is a beautiful hot spot for visitors. Stay at the Premier Caravan Park, which is a gem and has superb facilities.

STOP 5: Townsville. The last part of the journey and possibly the best, as you pass the waters that house Hayman and Hamilton islands – the trip is another lengthy one that will likely take you 5 hours if heading straight there. Townsville is an interesting part of Australia, full of history, contrasts of wealth and poverty, and has a beautiful Strand area. There’s a great little casino called Junipers in town and it’s well worth catching a ferry to Magnetic “Maggie” Island to spend a day. Stay at the Walkabout Palms Holiday Park.