Traveling to Cairns from sydney by car. Which route's the easiest?

Hi,we want to visit Cairns from Sydney,traveling by car.Pls suggest a good route or an alternative - like flying till a point,then renting out a car to go to Cairns.


City: City of Sydney

State: New South Wales

Country: Australia


HI Thanks for the question

I really don't think any road is going to be the easiest - traffic conditions change every minute of every day - I guess it comes down to how much time you have and are wanting to spend in Cairns to maximise your time there, you can actually fly into cairns and the trip is not so fraught and with lots of budget airlines to pick and choose from the overall costs if you book early enough are quite inexpensive and at that point you can probably get a hire car there to save you the stresses of driving . . although I am a little more biased towards car driving as I love a good road escape . .

at the end of day you need to be able to decide which is more important . .

If you are not that confidant of the road and or following directions and you don't have someone or a couple of others to share the task of driving to prevent driver fatigue - you may be better off flying in the long run

If you really want to drive I would suggest making a map and a planned route as well as where you will be pulling up and or staying in ( motel ) at night as it would probably be a day or two nights drive at the most ( depending on number of driver's you have etc and the pace you drive at as well as the route taken ).

My own sister with with a mild disability had every single town listed with approximate number of kilometres written out for her as well as approximate travel times from Uluru ( Ayers Rock ) right through to Melbourne ( although I disagree with the route my father gave her and taken once she hit Victoria ) he went cross country from Mildura to Bendigo instead of straight down to Melbourne thus making the trip in my opinion longer than necessary - never the less the destination motel my sister had selected on night 2 to stop in turned out to be a ramshackle place and full of rough heads and thus she got out while the going was good and moved onto the next town which gave her more sense of safety and security ( not part of her travel plans to stay in this town for the night ) but one of necessity

later my sister drove our mother from Ayers Rock to Cairns and back which again was interesting in itself . ..

I'm sorry I haven't been the best of help in this instance perhaps one of my other fellow Aussies can assist with more detailed information of their personal experiences

I can provide you with the websites of the budget airlines to perhaps help sway you in your decision making

hope these help

Best regards

Hi Willie,

Thanks for the question. Driving from Sydney to Cairns would certainly be an experience, albeit a very long drive! As a minimum, you are looking at a trip which is roughly 2,500km (about 1,500 - 1,600 miles), so you would certainly need to allocate a few days to do it.

There are a couple of different routes you could take, however the most scenic is probably using the Pacific Highway from Sydney to Brisbane, and getting onto the Bruce Highway from Brisbane through to Cairns. You can use Google maps ) to play with various driving route scenarios.

If driving these sort of distances seems a little daunting, there are a number of alternatives, including flights, coach or rail (Queensland especially has some great rail trips available between Brisbane & Cairns), or even a combination of a couple of these transport options.

However, if you are driving, and doing the coast routes, here are a few places that may be worth a visit (or even a stay for a few nights). From Sydney, some of the more popular spots on the coast would include Newcastle, The Entrance, Port Stephens, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Ballina, Byron Bay, Surfers Paradise (The Gold Coast), Brisbane, Noosa & The Sunshine Coast, Hervey Bay / Bundaberg / Fraser Island, Agnes Water, Gladstone, Rockhampton / Yeppoon, Mackay, Proserpine / Airlie Beach & The Whitsunday Islands, Bowen, Townsville, Ingham, Mission Beach and through to Cairns.

This list is by no means exhaustive, and many places are probably more worth of just a visit than a stay.

Again, it would really depend on how much time you have on your hands as to whether the driving option is really economical for you. If you have limited time, I would certainly recommend flights!

Even if you just end up doing flights to Cairns, there are certainly many sights to be seen within a day's drive of Cairns. The route from Cairns to Port Douglas in itself is quite spectacular, and there are many other coastal drives available, as well as the chance to drive inland a bit and catch some true Australian "outback" scenery.

I am more than happy to help you with some thoughts and suggestions, and can put a bit of an itinerary together for you if you would find that helpful. Let me know in terms of the time you have available, and I can certainly see what I can do by way of a suggested itinerary!

Kind regards,

Matt Halloran
personal travel manager
Hi well from what you have already been given I believe there is not a lot more to add. Matt has definately covered the areas I would have so I would suggest going with his idea if you have the time.
Hi well from what you have already been given I believe there is not a lot more to add. Matt has definately covered the areas I would have so I would suggest going with his idea if you have the time.

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