The road less travelled, 7 Day Campervan Road Trips on Australia's east coast.

The road less travelled, 7 Day Campervan Road Trips on Australia's east coast.

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When you only have a week for a road trip in a country the size of Australia, where do you go?

East coast pick-up depots for Campervans and Motorhome rentals are in the major cities/towns close to airports.  Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Cairns are the main pick-up points and the best spots to start a 7-day road trip.

Sydney to Brisbane, Sydney to Melbourne and Brisbane to Cairns one-way trips are all achievable but also well-trodden routes with well-known attractions, so let's concentrate on regional round-trips and spend a bit more time on the roads less travelled.  In this article, we will feature the 3 largest Australian cities as our starting point.

Round Trips  - Ex Sydney

Hunter Valley to Western Plains to the Blue Mountains - Start in Cessnock and take in the wineries of the Hunter Valley then head north.
  • Morpeth - Old Maitland Rd. - unique history of the Hunter River and its region.
  • Stroud - one of the prettiest towns in Australia, not to be missed, visit the Farmers Wife Gin Distillery for lunch a tour, and some gin (in nearby Allsworth).
  • Muswellbrook - the upper Hunter town that you base yourself in to do the Barrington Tops.  Also, if you're there on Race Day join the fun.
  • Dubbo - follow the Golden Hwy 260km from Muswellbrook to The Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Family fun at Western Plains Taronga Zoo. Picture: Rick Stevens, Western Plains Zoo.

  • Mudgee - taste wines, and outstanding cuisine, shop and enjoy the countryside
  • The Blue Mountains - Katoomba - Scenic Railway, Scenic Skyway, suspended 270m above the valley floor,  Scenic Cableway down into the Jamison Valley, and wander through the rainforest on the Scenic Walkway, it's very scenic!

Ex Brisbane

Turtle Road-Trip - Brisbane to Gladstone with two great walks thrown in.

Turtle eggs take 6-8 weeks to hatch,  the egg incubation needs warm sand so they are generally laid between the end of October to January, and then hatch between February and March.  So you can either go for the laying or the hatching.  Hatching is the more popular, but be prepared for some of the little cuties not to make it to the water which can be a little confronting, circle of life and all that!  Most people who have done a 'hatching' say it's one of their life's highlights. On your way to Bundaberg stop in at the Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World

  • Mon Repos Turtle Centre in Bundaberg - To see the hatching you need to book a Turtle Encounter ticket, buy your tickets as soon as you have your campervan booked.  To protect this delicate environment and the tiny Logger Head hatchlings you will have a National Parks Ranger as your guide for the evening encounter.  Make sure you do your visit to the Centre first so you're well educated before seeing this amazing site.
  • Bundaberg Rum Distillery - do a tour and see how this famous Aussie drop is made.
  • Agnes Waters/1770 - 90 minutes south of Gladstone. South of Agnes Water is the Red Rock Trail, a little slice of easy beach walk paradise. Distance: 6km round trip (plus add on 1km for the Paperbark Forest Trail) it would only take about 3 hours if you just do the walk, but plan for it to be a full day.
  • Carnarvon Gorge is a spectacular gorge walk,  Carnarvon is literally an oasis in the arid heart of Queensland. It's a full day of walking, 20 km return from the visitor centre where you will park your camper. It's not a round trip, you will be retracing yourself on return. Make sure you get some shots in Cathedral Cave for Instagram.

Ex Melbourne

History and natural beauty abound on a Victorian road trip,  being mainland Australia's most compact state you can actually cover quite a bit of the state in 7 days,  but not all!
  • Lakes Entrance  There are lovely walks around the foreshore, docks and esplanade, lots of water activities and excellent golf courses in the area if that's your thing.
  • Bright and the surrounding high country, walks, cycling tracks and if you visit in autumn amazing colours
  • Beechworth  When you hit this historic gold mining town you'll experience heritage architecture and modern wine and food as well as access to great local walks and terrific mountain bike trails.
  • Bendigo - Best advice for Bendigo is to make sure you give yourself enough time.  Unique heritage, outstanding regional cuisine and vineyards.  Start with the vintage tram ride.  
  • Ballarat - Home of the Eureka Stockade, Victoria's gold rush and the immense wealth that went with it. It's now renowned for its restaurants, cafes, bars, artisan breweries and distilleries. Do the city walk to absorb the architecture, and visit the Eureka Centre and Sovereign Hill pioneer village.
These are just some ideas to get you started.....off you go, hit the road.

Other related articles:

Tips for picking the right campervan, motorhome to rent in Australia

7 day road trip adventures in NSW

10 towns in Australia's south to immerse yourself in history

Don't forget to pay your respects to the traditional custodians of the lands on which you travel, their elders past, present and emerging.

Photo Credits:  Queensland Tourism, Sovereign Hill, Western Plains Zoo

Shelley Richardson

Shelley Richardson

Shelley has been working in the travel industry for over 30 years, in aviation, for tour operators and since 2016 for DriveNow. Having travelled extensively worldwide, alone, as a couple and with her family, Shelley has experience to share about how to make the most of your holiday, especially road-trips to amazing destinations.

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