Ask the Experts: Christmas Road Trip in Australia

Our Travel Experts are a helpful bunch. They just love doling out travel advice, and they don’t just limit it to office hours, either. In fact, they’re right here on the blog every Friday, ready and raring to answer your most pressing travel questions in a little post we like to call (you guess it) Ask the Experts. In case you didn’t realise, that’s the post you’re reading right now. OK? Good.

If you’ve got a question for our panel of Experts, drop us an email, and the guys will answer it right here over the next few weeks.

Ready to hear this week’s question? ‘Course you are! It’s Kerry from Cambridge, who has a barbeque on the beach in store for her this Christmas…

I’ve got a month off over Christmas to do a road trip in Australia. I think a month’s a bit ambitious to see the whole country, so which areas should I focus on? Kerry in Cambridge

Sarah from our store in Covent Garden and Amy from STA Travel up in Leeds are here to help Kerry plan the road trip to end all road trips. Let’s see what advice they’ve got up her sleeves…

Sarah Jones from STA Travel Covent Garden says…

Australia is a pretty large country, with an awful lot to see, so focusing on a certain area is a very wise plan!

The east coast never disappoints on a first visit to the country. You could leisurely work your way up from Sydney to Cairns in around three weeks, giving you a week to venture into further realms of Australia.

With the legendary Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Bondi and the rest, Sydney is a great place to start. From here you can head north to the surf-odyssey of Byron Bay, the place to experience Australian beach and hippy culture in its full glory and, if you’re lucky, spot a dolphin or humpback whale from Australia’s most easterly point, Cape Byron.

Sydney is an awesome place to start your Aussie adventure

Next top places to stop are Surfers Paradise in Queensland – glitz, glamour and skyscrapers all on a beautiful beach; Noosa and the Sunshine Coast – the relaxing, more low-key alternative; and Brisbane, the capital city of Australia’s sunshine state.

Travelling on to Cairns, you’ve just got to stop at Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world, and the beautiful Whitsundays, a UNESCO world heritage site amid the Great Barrier Reef.

Short trips to both of these destinations can be booked before you leave, which not only tends to be a cheaper way of doing it, but also means you won’t miss out seeing these highlights during this Christmas peak season.

Cairns is a great place to finish an east coast trip. It’s a small yet buzzing city on the Barrier Reef with a sunny culture – top for diving, day-tripping to the rainforests, simply relaxing in the Lagoon or chilling in the many cafes on the Esplanade.

With a week left you could fly from Cairns to the famous Alice Springs, ending your trip with a completely different side of Australia. We run a 6-day Alice Springs to Darwin trip, which takes you to all the wonders of the Australian Red Centre.

Finish your trip in the Red Centre and gaze at Uluru

Gaze at the iconic Uluru, camp under the Outback stars and trek around outlandish Kings Canyon and Katherine Gorge before finishing in the Northern Territory’s capital, Darwin, where you can bid your farewells to Australia. Until next time that is…

Amy Pearson from STA Travel Leeds Vicar Lane says…

I think some hot Australian sunshine sounds perfect for Christmas, Kerry!

For any road trip around Australia I would always recommend hiring a campervan. It’ll save you money on accommodation, give you the freedom to explore the county at your own pace and it is also easier to veer off the beaten track and see Australia at its best. We can hook you up with any kind of camper, from pretty basic with literally just a bed and a cooker to rather plush motor homes.

As for the route to take, I’m wirth Sarah – it’s all about the east coast. I’d start all the way down in Melbourne and go up to Cairns – the fully monty.

Not a bad view from your driver's seat, eh?

There will be some long drives involved but this is a journey which offers some fantastic experiences. Starting in the state of Victoria, I would pay a visit to Phillip Island and check out some hidden surf spots. Here, you’ll also witness 20,000 Little Penguins descending onto the beach every night at dusk, and you can book a 2-day package which involves getting stuck into conservation projects on the island and learn a little more about the penguins and their habits.

Melbourne is a city that speaks for itself – it’s cool, full of hidden gems, and has a brilliant nightlife.

Next stop is Sydney! If I’ve got one bit of advice about this awesome city – make sure you make time to climb the Harbour Bridge, it’s a great experience. On your way up the coast, stop over at surfers Paradise and Byron Bay – a great place for a pit stop is at Spot X just south of Byron Bay to check out some of the bohemian surf schools around that area.

Just North from Cairns is an amazing place called Cape Tribulation, where the reef meets the rainforests – it’s a truly tropical paradise.

Whatever route you decide, I can guarantee this is a road trip you will never forget!


Inspired to go on your own Aussie adventure? We can hook you up with a cheap flight to Australia, whatever the time of year. And of course, we’ve got loads of options for adventure tours for you to fill your time while you’re there. Have you already been on an adventure Down Under? Let us know all about it below!