5 great ways to discover Cairns and Surrounds

By Cairns /

Cairns is a tropical paradise for any person who loves the great outdoors. It’s world famous for being one of the best spots to explore the Great Barrier Reef. But what many people don’t realise is Cairns has absolutely everything to offer those who enjoy nature – including pristine rainforests, tropical islands, hiking trails and more.

Hire a car at Cairns Airport so you can easily get around to some of these incredible attractions. Make sure you book your car rental well in advance if travelling during peak season around September.

Swim at Babinda Boulders

The Babinda Boulders is a glorious swimming hole that’s popular with the locals. The cool, crystal clear waters feel like heaven in the summer. But it’s also worth visiting the attraction at any time of year. The flowing creeks are surrounded by lush rainforest and a short walk away from the main swimming area are the magnificent, tall boulders. Here’s a tip: make sure you stop by the famous Babinda Bakery on the way there!

Babinda Boulders

Hike Mt Bartle Frere

This quest isn’t one for the faint-hearted! Mt Kosciusko holds the title of Australia’s highest mountain, at 2,228m. But not far behind is Mt Bartle Frere, at 1,611m. You can hike the challenging eastern approach or opt for the easier western approach. Either route will take a full day with an early start and you should be prepared with water, food, insect repellent, and don’t forget your sunblock. The views at the top are well worth the challenge!

Mount Bartle Frere

Visit Fitzroy Island

One of Australia’s most beautiful beaches is on Fitzroy Island. Nudey Beach is stunning at any time of year, with sandy shores meeting turquoise waters. It’s only a short boat ride from Cairns and you can stay for just a few hours or several nights. Fitzroy is a popular swimming spot to see turtles. There’s also a walking track that takes you to the top of the island, where stunning views await.

Fitzroy Island

Feel the fear with Bungy Jumping

Get the adrenaline pumping at AJ Hackett in Cairns. Take a leap of faith as you throw yourself off a 50 m tower towards a pond below. It’s a thrilling adventure that you must try at least once in your life. So why not try it while surrounded by lush, tropical rainforest?

Bungy view at AJ Hackett, Cairns

Relax at Cape Tribulation

Cape Tribulation in the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest is one of the most unspoiled natural wonders. If you come in the off season, you’re likely to find you have the entire beach at Noah Bay to yourself. There are many great hikes, cafes and restaurants to explore around the area, as well as the famous crocodile spotting tours.

Robinson’s lookout at Cape Tribulation


Cooling off with some Cairns attractions in summer

By Australia / Cairns /

The fierce heat of summer months in Far North Queensland scare a lot of travellers away from Cairns. What many people don’t realise is there are plenty of Cairns attractions where you can spend your days cooling off. Some of the best Cairns attractions are inland waterfalls and lakes where you can go swimming. Pick up your hire car from Cairns Airport this summer and visit one of these Cairns attractions.

Lake Eacham

Volcanic activity formed the gorgeous Lake Eacham, which is popular among locals. It’s a clear, blue lake in the middle of a cool rainforest. Take the 3.5km walk around the lake or go swimming, canoeing and have a picnic. Because it’s about an hour inland and only accessible by the windy Gillies Range, it’s not on many travellers’ radars. But if you have your own car it’s not an issue getting there.

Josephine Falls

Venture 75km south of Cairns and you’ll encounter one of Australia’s most exciting waterfalls, which is fed by rains cascading down Queensland’s highest mountain, Bartle Frere. It’s consistently ranked as a top favourite among visitors. Swim in crystal clear waters and relax with a picnic lunch on its smooth boulders. You can also slide down the bottom part of the waterfall. Park your car and it’s only a 700-metre walk through rainforest to get to the falls.

Fitzroy Island

Travel 45 minutes by boat and you’ll feel as if you’ve entered an unspoilt, tropical island paradise. Stunning blue waters, an abundance of coral and marine life along with lush forests await. Fitzroy Island has many walking trails that treat you to spectacular views. We recommend doing the 3.6km steep trek to the lighthouse as soon as you get off the boat. Then you can spend the rest of your day relaxing by the cool ocean.

Welcome Bay on Fitzroy Island

Welcome Bay on Fitzroy Island by Riftreef at English Wikipedia CC BY 2.5

Palm Cove

Drive north of the CBD and you’ll be enjoying one of the most famous Cairns attractions (pictured, image by Martin Galivursky 123rf). This quiet, relaxing seaside village is the perfect place to have a meal or coffee on a hot day as you enjoy the cooling sea breeze. After walking past the exotic, distinct palm trees, take a dip in the ocean. Make sure you swim between the nets and wear a stinger suit during summer when stingers are about.

Crystal Cascades

This is one of the most charming waterfalls and the best part about it is it’s right on Cairns’ doorstep. It’s a secluded freshwater swimming hold, hidden in a tropical rainforest at the city’s fringe. Several small waterfalls flow into large pools that you can swim in. There’s also a BBQ and picnic tables for visitors. It’s a scenic drive to get here. Once you’re at the carpark, be prepared to walk for half an hour to the falls.


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5 wild Cairns adventures for kids in a campervan

By Cairns / Queensland /

Cairns is the perfect place to explore in a campervan with the kids. Hire a campervan from Cairns Airport. You can also hire a vehicle from Port Douglas. Begin your wild adventure by visiting these five incredible places.

Kuranda Butterfly Sanctuary
The butterfly sanctuary in Kuranda is Australia’s biggest butterfly farm. It’s also home to the country’s largest walk-through aviary. Step inside and you’ll be surrounded by about 1500 butterflies. Spot these beautiful insects in all colours, including the magnificent, bright blue Ulysses. Make sure you wear bright clothes and they won’t stop landing on you!

Snorkelling at Green Island, off Cairns
Hope on a short boat trip from Cairns and you’ll be amazed by the beauty of Green Island. It’s the ideal place for those who want to give snorkeling a try but are uncomfortable with heading further out on the Great Barrier Reef. Make sure you check out the coral gardens close to the pier – that’s where you’ll find some of the most colourful corals on the island.

Hartley’s Creek Crocodile Adventures
This award-winning attraction is located 40 minutes north of Cairns. Hartley’s Creek Crocodile Adventures has more than 2km of pathways that weave around five distinct wildlife areas. Visit cassowaries, walk amongst baby wallabies and watch a live crocodile feeding show. Also book a boat tour through Hartley’s Lagoon, which will get you nice and close to these wild monsters!

Fishing at Palm Cove Jetty
If you’re after a quite, relaxing afternoon then look no further than Palm Cove. This sandy beach is the perfect place to spend time with the family. Grab some rods and bait and any food you might need to keep you going. It’s only a short walk to the end of the Palm Cove Jetty, where you can set yourself up for the day. You’re bound to get some great catches, not to mention you’ll admire the idyllic scenery surrounding you for hours.

Crystal Cascades
Crystal Cascades is one of the most popular waterfalls for Cairns locals. Luckily, many tourists still don’t know about this natural wonder! This waterhole is hidden by rainforest and a short walk, all located only about 20 minutes from Cairns CBD. It has several different plunge pools and is a quiet spot for a nice picnic on a weekend.

Also try Cairns to Cape York for a great driving holiday up north or our Cairns City Guide



7 unmissable Queensland food and wine events in 2016

By Australia / Brisbane / Cairns / Gold Coast / Port Douglas / Queensland /

THE Sunshine State is not just beaches, babes and sunshine, you know, it’s also home to an endless supply of delicious local produce that’s been grown, caught, baked and served by “an array of clever clogs and inspired minds”, as the Tourism Queensland crew tell us and here are five suggestions by them for Queensland food and wine events to kill for in 2016

What: Ginger Flower & Food Festival

When: January 22-24

Where: Yandina
The Ginger Factory Yandina comes alive for the weekend-long Ginger Food & Flower Festival, surrounded by Australia’s largest and most ornamental gingers and heliconias, all under one roof. This year the festival celebrates its 20th birthday with a line-up of local kitchen maestros and gardening experts.

What: Feast of the Senses

When: March 12-20

Where: Innisfail
Discover North Queensland’s premier tropical food event that engages every one of your senses! Over 10 amazing days, this region’s abundance of exotic tropical fruits, produce, seafood and meats will be on show and include farm trails, art, and photography, cooking competitions and the piece de resistance – a market day extravaganza on 20 March – with Innisfail’s art deco architecture providing a fitting backdrop.

What: Gold Coast Italian Festival

When: March 26–27

Where: Gold Coast (various locations)
Savour the tastes, sights and sounds of Italy at the first annual Gold Coast Italian Festival. From fine food, Italian wines and family entertainment, the festival will celebrate all the best about the dolce vita culture. Street vendors will be slinging wood fired pizza, pasta and gelato.

What: Felton Food Festival

When: April 10

Where: Felton
For one day, Felton throws the spotlight on the delectable produce, stunning landscape and the people that make this region so vibrant. For a taste of real country living, families, farmers and food lovers are invited to mingle through markets, take a crop tour, meet a local farmer and learn more about the paddock to plate concept. Special guests this year include Matt Golinski, Alison Alexander and for the first time Wild Canary Head Chef, Glen Barratt.
What: Relish Fraser Coast

When: June 4

Where: Fraser Coast (Multiple Locations)
A feast of culture and cuisine is served! Immerse yourself in Maryborough’s heritage streetscapes and riverside parks for the Relish Fraser Coast and their jam-packed program of celebrity chefs, gourmet tastings, cooking workshops, live music and art. True foodies will have the chance to try Hervey Bay’s famous scallops, Fraser Island prawns and macadamia nuts all paired with wines from Queensland’s premier wineries.

What: Regional Flavours

When July 15-17

Where: South Brisbane
South Bank’s signature food and lifestyle event returns in 2016 with free entertainment, celeb chefs and industry experts as well as fresh produce from more than 80 Queensland providores. Within eight unique venues, the food lover in all of us can experience al fresco dining, expand our culinary knowledge and sample some of the state’s best artisanal food and wine. Gather a group and take advantage of the South Bank views to eat and enjoy a few of life’s simplest pleasures.
What: Hervey Bay Seafood Festival

When: August 14

Where: Hervey Bay
A festival to celebrate wild-caught seafood from the pristine waters of the Fraser Coast. Escape for a warm wintery weekend and tempt your tastebuds with an ultimate seafood menu at the festival’s signature Tastes of the Bay long lunch with Chef Andrew Mirosch. If that doesn’t take your fancy, navigate a DIY feast at the array of seafood stands serving the iconic Hervey Bay scallop, prawns and fish by local restaurants. Either way, no one is going home hungry!



Top snorkeling spots in Australia

By Australia / Brisbane / Cairns / New South Wales / Perth / Port Douglas / Queensland / Sydney / Western Australia /

AUSTRALIA  has some of the best snorkeling spots in the world. If you’re heading to the Australian coast this summer, consider discovering the beauty of the underwater world with snorkeling. Join a guided tour or grab your snorkeling gear and swim through some of the most spectacular marine areas – anybody can do it.

Here are some of Australia’s best places to snorkel.

Ningaloo Reef, WA

Check out the whale sharks, manta rays, turtles and humpback whale at certain times of the year around this incredible section of the world. Some of Ningaloo’s hotspots are:

The Oyster Stacks. Five isolated islets which protrude from the reef and are covered with oysters. It’s also home to a variety of colourful fish. Best accessed during high or incoming tide.

Turquoise Bay. Absolutely stunning and is widely considered by many to be one of the area’s best snorkeling spots. Beginners who don’t want to deal with currents can simply step off the beautiful sandy beach of Turquoise Bay and swim right into the coral section.

Geographe Bay, WA

While Geographe Bay has many popular attractions, snorkeling off this pristine coastline in the state’s south-west is the number one experience for anybody visiting the region.

Busselton Jetty. The heritage listed Busselton Jetty is the longest timber-piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere, extending 1.8 kilometres across the bay. Dive into the surrounding waters surrounding to discover the 300 different marine species living below the jetty.

See something different at Shelly Cove, located at the end of Bunker Point. It’s a wonderful place to snorkel, with limestone cliffs towering above and gorgeous pebbles and shells of all colours and patterns scattered across the seabed.

Great Barrier Reef (pictured)

The world’s longest coral reef system has inner reefs, which comprise of softer corals, and outer reefs, where you’ll find harder corals. It’s definitely worth visiting both if you’ve got the time. However, the GBR stretches for over 2,300 kilometres, so we’ve narrowed it down to the three best snorkeling spots for you.

Agincourt Reef: located on the very outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef. Because of its distance, fewer travellers visit. Here, unique reefs known as ‘ribbons’ run parallel to the continental shelf, offering vibrant coral gardens.

Lady Elliot Island, Southern Great Barrier Reef: the lagoon on the island’s eastern side is ideal for beginners, with an abundance of colourful coral and tropical fish, along with sea cucumbers, starfish, sea urchins and gorgeous turtles. More experienced snorkelers can head to the deeper western side, where you’ll encounter mantas, reef sharks and dolphins.

Orpheus Island: this world-class snorkel site is situated just north of Townsville. Researchers regularly study this gorgeous section of the reef because of it’s fantastic variety of marine life. There are thousands of damsel fish and hundreds of giant clams, which have been seen to squirt water at low tide!

Lord Howe Island, NSW

Situated at the crossroads of five major ocean currents, Lord Howe Island is renowned for its pristine waters. Some of the best snorkeling spots include:

North Bay: a secluded beach, accessible only by foot or water. In these waters explore the colourful fish and coral, and also the shipwreck of the Favourite, which has been lying on the ocean floor since 1965.

Erscott’s Hole: among the luscious coral garden, including Staghorn coral, you may spot the amazing Double Header Wrasse or the Blue Fish, which can change its body colour from dark green to sky blue within seconds.



Five great spots on the east coast to beach yourself after a beautiful drive

By Australia / Brisbane / Cairns / Melbourne / New South Wales / Queensland / Sydney / Victoria /

It’s easy enough to fly in to any capital city along the east coast, but one of the tougher tasks is knowing which way to go to reach a great beach. Due to the sheer volume of beaches Down Under, the options can even confuse you. Without rolling out pages of recommendations or offering up a best of, we’ve tracked down five beautiful beaches in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland where you can’t go wrong once you’ve jumped in that car rental from the airport and hit the road.

1. Lennox Head

Where: Summerland Coast, 755km north east of Sydney

Thrill seekers from all over the country journey to Lennox Head to surf its hardcore waves. The relaxed seaside village is famous right-hand point break and it’s also home to one of Australia’s biggest and longest warm water surf breaks. Definitely not for the faint-hearted.

2. Hyams Beach

Where: Jervis Bay, 190km south of Sydney

One of the country’s most beautiful beaches and many say Hyams Beach has “the whitest sand in the world”. You have to witness Hyams Beach in person to believe the powdery, white sand and the contrasting blue water aren’t photoshopped. Surrounded by forests and marine parks, it’s the perfect place for families to relax, swim and absorb their natural surroundings.

3. Noosa Main Beach

Where: Sunshine Coast, 140km north of Brisbane

Noosa’s Main Beach is popular with families, as it offers gentle waves and is perfect for swimming all year round. With it’s gorgeous, crunchy sand and relaxing ambience, Noosa Main Beach is one of the few beaches in Australia that face north. Enjoy lunch or dinner at one of the restaurants, only steps away from the beach, as you admire the amazing scenery.

4. Palm Cove

Where: 30km north of Cairns

Experience the ultimate tropical paradise only a short drive from Cairns. The quiet, seaside village of Palm Cove is hidden behind several “paperbark” Melaleuca trees which like the walkway. A postcard setting, with a rainforest backdrop and surrounded by coconut trees and the Coral Sea, Palm Cove is a dream come true for couples seeking a relaxing holiday.

5. Ninety Mile Beach

Where: Gippsland, 245km east of Melbourne

Separating the Gippsland Lakes from Bass Strait is a 90-mile long stretch of stunning, golden sand and sand dunes. Those who visit the south-facing beach say it’s one of the most natural and unspoiled beaches they’ve ever come across. You can go swimming, fishing, dolphin-spotting or simply walk along this majestic beach.



A visit to Mossman Gorge – Daintree Rainforest

By Australia / Cairns / Port Douglas / Queensland /

SITTING on the edge of the World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest, Mossman Gorge is part of the world’s oldest rainforest tracing its origins back over 130 million years and home to an extraordinary diversity of flora and fauna.

If you are visiting Far North Queensland take time out to spend a half-a-day visiting Mossman Gorge. Located just over an hour’s drive north of Cairns and 20 minutes from Port Douglas, Mossman Gorge is easy to reach with sealed roads and plenty of parking available at the Gorge Centre. DriveNow can help with car hire in Cairns and there are also rental locations in Port Douglas.

The Mossman Gorge Centre is staff and managed by the local indigenous Kuku Yalanji people and through its Art Gallery showcases artwork from artists based locally and from across northern Queensland. There’s a retail shop with gifts and souvenirs designed by the local community and the Mayi Cafe allows you to experience locally sourced bush ingredients with light snacks and full meals.

To help protect the Gorge environment travel from the Centre up to the Gorge (2kms) is via shuttle bus that runs every 15 minutes and the entry fee is $8.50 per adult, $4.25 for children (free under the age of 4) and family of 4 passes cost $21.25.

Explore the Gorge yourself or join a guided tour with Dreamtime Gorge and Legend Walks that give you the opportunity to discover more about the culture and traditions of the Kuku Yalanji people with an experienced local guide. Tours operate daily running for between 1.5 and 2.5 hours and can be booked at the Mossman Gorge Tour desk.

Useful things to take with you – if you are going to swim in the Mossman River – bathers and towel, hat and sunscreen, comfortable walking shoes – thongs may not be the go over the paths, insect repellent – although visiting in July we found this not a requirement, water bottle and light clothing (being in North Queensland this is likely a given!).

For further information visit the Mossman Gorge Website .

DriveNow Reservations Team






The road to fun and friendship drives a girls’ weekend away

By Australia / Cairns / Melbourne / New South Wales / Perth / Queensland / Sydney / Victoria / Western Australia /

A weekend away with the girls is a great way to take some time out to recharge the batteries. Whether you want to get away from the kids for a while, have some fun with your bridesmaids before the big day, or catch up with old school friends you haven’t seen in ages, there are some fabulous packages around that are designed to spoil you rotten.

When it comes to choosing a Australian hire car, find a vehicle that is roomy and comfortable enough for several adults. You might even decide to stay in a holiday park, so a campervan may be the way to go.

So if girls just want to have fun, where do they go?

In your Melbourne car rental head for Daylesford. This beautiful town in Spa Country in Victoria has an excellent reputation for accommodation, restaurants and relaxing spa treatments. It’s a 110km (one and a half hour) drive from Melbourne taking the Western Freeway (M8) and getting off at the Daylesford exit at Ballan. On the way home you could take the Calder Freeway and explore Hanging Rock and Mt Macedon along the way. Park the car, have a relaxing walk around Lake Daylesford and then make your way to the Lake House, where you can enjoy a one night indulgence retreat package for up to four people, which includes wining and dining with your own personal butler services and magnificent spa treatments.

Margaret River, WA is 267km (just over 3 hours drive in your Western Australia car rental) south of Perth – State Route 2 and Bussell Hwy/State Route 10. You will find Yelverton Brook Luxury spa eco-chalets nestled in the area’s wine region. The “Girls Only Pamper Retreat” for four includes two nights in a two bedroom chalet, a large private “spa under the stars”, gourmet food, spa treatments and a five-star stretch limo winery tour.

In NSW, for a beautiful coastal drive and unique experience, Paperbark Camp in Jervis Bay (197.5 km, almost three hours from Sydney – Princes Hwy/National Route 1) is on the banks of the Currambene Creek, ideal for those who love being close to nature, but appreciate life’s little luxuries – accommodation is a safari style tent and freshly prepared food is provided.

For those up North, picking up a Cairns campervan rental and taking the short, half-hour drive to Kuranda Rainforest Accomodation Park, would allow you to set up camp in an ancient rainforest, be a 20-minute walk away from the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and the famous Kuranda Scenic Railway, and get in some shopping at the renowned market precinct.


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


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Great driving holidays – Cairns to Cape York (Qld)

By Australia / Cairns / Queensland /

CAPE York is absolutely totally out of this world. No word can sum it up, no matter how much you try to describe it. Quite simply, you just don’t know how great it is until you experience it for yourself.

I bid farewell to Sheree and the kids (they are having a week in Cairns) while myself and the film crew head into the unknown territory of Cape York Peninsula. Firstly, there’s a few very important things to remember. If you are travelling along, as in only one vehicle, make sure you stick to the Cape York Development Road at all times! If you are lucky enough to have a support vehicle or vehicles with you, then venture off on to the Telegraph Track.

We had only one vehicle, but we still saw so much and had the best time ever. Once you get past Laura you will feel like you are in a different country. It isn’t that far distance-wise, but time-wise it can be. It took us 8 1/2 hours to travel 291km from the turn-off to Weipa! Too funny! But it was all worth it and was a great opportunity to test out all your 4WDriving skills on these roads in particular – so much to learn along the way, but funnily enough we never felt in danger or at risk. Mobile phones will work in most parts, definitely in all the towns, but be sure to take a satellite phone with you for back up.

First stop was Weipa which boasts the most amazing sunsets. We stayed at a beachfront caravan park – what more could you want?! Take in the Totem poles, a history lesson you will never learn or experience anywhere else in the world. Weipa has all the services you will need. And remember to stock up on water at every place you can. After that, we headed straight across to the other coast to Portland Roads and a little private house called Portland House. It’s all run from “eco” things – eco this, eco that. It’s a great little spot and for only $75 per person it is great value. If you are looking for a romantic getaway then this is for you.

Then it was off to Seisia, a great little town a few kms short of the Tip of Australia. Once again, beachfront camp sites and just stunning. Seisia and Bamaga have a lot of services. Don’t forget to take the Champers when you finally reach the very tip of Australia! An enormous accomplishment by any standard!

The Great Australian Doorstep is coming to 7TWO. Visit for more information


Great driving holidays – Cairns to Mossman (Qld)

By Australia / Cairns / Queensland /

WHO ever would have thought that a place like Mossman was only a 90-minute drive north of Cairns.

Tucked away in the beautiful hinterland and on the base of the Daintree. Mossman hides one of the most spectacular and entertaining places that is simply unforgettable – The Karnak Playhouse, owned by world famous Diane Cilento! It is so enchanting, I could have stayed there forever. They do world class stage performances and when you throw the setting into the equation, it’s really something out of a story book.

After leaving the Playhouse, we took in the Mossman Gorge. Once again, somewhere you simply do not want to leave after experiencing it. The scenery is so untouched, which is awesome to see, and make sure you take your swimmers as the big swimming hole is fantastic! Best of all, you don’t have to be fit as you can go to the main viewing platform. It’s an easy 250m stroll with only a few stairs.

Once back at the Riverside Caravan Park, the kids wanted another swim and what better way to do it than in an Olympic-sized swimming pool right in the confines of the caravan park. Sure beats swimming with the crocodiles in the nearby river!

Mossman is very small but has all the amenities you will need. It sure has changed a lot in the past 10 years when Sheree was there last. She couldn’t believe it and all for the better too. The corner pub has great meals at affordable prices and you can watch the latest in all sports on their screens (should the caravanning and kids and wife be getting to you!)

The Great Australian Doorstep can be found on the How To Channel on Foxtel. Visit to purchase DVD copies of the TV series.


Great driving holidays – Ayr to Cairns (Qld)

By Australia / Cairns / Queensland /

BIDDING farewell to Ayr, we headed off for a leisurely four hour drive north to Cairns and I couldn’t wait! The Great Barrier Reef, the shopping, the Kuranda Railway, the Skyrail … so much to do.

We stayed at the Coconut Holiday Resort and this was a five star park in the truest sense. This is an ideal place to set up camp after a long drive in Queensland in your campervan or caravan. With everything from unpowered grassy sites right through to three bedroom condos, two enormous pool areas, the best children’s play activities you could think of and it even has its own restaurant where you can sink your teeth into the best fish and chips going around. Just ask Sheree, she had them almost every night! Must be a Kiwi thing.

The first day we spent out on the reef on the Quicksilver Reef Escape. Unfortunately the day wasn’t such a good one, so we could only go as far as Green Island as the visibility out on the reef wasn’t good, but Green Island certainly didn’t disappoint. We went on the glass bottom boats, the submarine and took a walk through the stunning rainforest, before finishing up with some snorkeling. A great day was had by all, and actually was all the better for none of us having any unwanted sunburn!

The next day we took in the Skyrail up the mountains and the Kuranda Railway back down. You really have to spend an entire full day doing this as there are so many great photo opportunities and some fantastic shopping up at the Kuranda Markets. You will never get a view anywhere else like you do from the Skyrail. Boston, our youngest, really loved the Kuranda Railway, he thought it was James and Percy towing us.

On our third day we took a drive up the gorgeous coast road up to Port Douglas. ‘Why don’t we live here’, I keep asking myself. I am definitely heading back up there to live one day. Every day really is beautiful one day and perfect the next. And the one highlight for all our kids was Muddies Water Park on the waterfront boardwalk in Cairns itself. Definitely something Boston will never forget, and a bonus for me – its all free!