We enjoyed the wonderful beaches in Queensland and northern New South Wales. There were our favourits:
1. Whitehaven Beach
2. Dicky Beach
3. Byron Bay Main Beach
4. Ellis Beach
Whitehaven Beach is exceptional. The sand is so white one cannot imagine. Every step sounds like walking on snow. The beach is long and wide, the water very shallow. Unfortunately the beach can only be accessed by boat and there are many boats there everyday.
A nice wide beach with surf and life guard service even in winter. The beach is not very busy (at least in winter) and there are some nice small waves which make fun. The water is shallow enough but there may be some currents. The wreck of the SS Dicky makes is also visual attraction. There are fresh water showers and BBQ area. At the surf club there is also very good food available in the evening.
There are several beaches in Byron Bay. The main beach is life guarded but only in summer. Main beach sand is very fine and water shallow. However, Byron Bay is a recognised surf spot so there are some great surfing waves. Main beach has less waves and is very good for swimming. As marine stingers and crocodiles are no issue in this area, swimming is safe.
Ellis Beach lies between Cairns and Port Douglas. It can certainly become busy in summer, when we were there it was not very frequented. At low tide the beach is very wide. It is a good beach to enjoy the sun and there is also a life guarded section with stinger nets. In winter it should be stinger safe anyway but from October you should really only swim in guarded sections with marine stinger nets.
We did two boat tours. One with Whitehaven Express to the Whitsundays and Whitehaven Beach. The other to a platform on the outer Great Barrier Reef with Quicksilver. Our clear recommendation is the Whitehaven Express Tour. This is a family operated business with a small but fast vessel. There are no more than 50 people on board. Reasons for recommendation:
- small vessel
- various things to see and do
- free snorkeling on a small reef
- access to Whitehaven Beach
- very casual BBQ on Whitehaven Beach
- very suitable also for kids
If you ever wanted to be on the Great Barrier reef, then a tour from Port Douglas to the outer reef is a must. I would only recommend it if you want to snorkel or scuba dive. Although there are activities for the kids on the platform (fish feeding, snorkeling in a guarded area and semi subs (all included in the price), I think the tour is just to expensive. With a family you easily pay 600-700 AUS$.
There are also special scuba dive and sailing tours offered.
- Amusement Parks
There are quite a few amusement parts on Gold Coast south of Brisbane. With Surfers Paradise and Gold Coast being Australias main holiday areas, there are so many things to do. We chose a special offer with a one year pass allowing access to three differnt parks. We went to MovieWorld and SeaWorld. This was great fun for the kids. Certainly not a must do on a campervan tour...
- Other parks...
There are various wildlife sanctuaries and crocodile parks so one has to make a choice. For us it was most important to do the following two things:
- Rainforest SkyRail (north Cairns)
- Australia Zoo (north Brisbane)
SkyRail is a cable cabin across the rain forst. Wonderful views on the forest, really good.
Australia Zoo shows all the Australian animals and a crocodile show. It was owned by the famous "Crocodile Hunter" who has been killed by a sting ray some years ago on the Great Barrier reef.
- Other things...
Talked about beaches so far, there are also other things to do. The tour through the Mount Morgan goldmine was interesting, but perhaps not a must see. Some of the waterfalls are very nice:
Gossman Gorge is nice, but very popular as well.
Wallaman Falls are impressive, but relatively far off. If you have half a day you should definately go there.
Josephine Falls is a must. Although well accessible they are not to busy and there are natural pools where you can swim.
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Position:Pimelea St,Everton Hills,Australien