Fiona’s Road Trip pt.2 Cairns to Darwin
Hi all, Fiona here again and sharing my part 2 of my Aus road trip! If you’ve read part 1 of my trip, then you’ll know that I’ve been chasing the sun around Aus (Covid safe)! I flew from Sydney to Cairns to explore the tropics of Northern Queensland for 2 weeks, and now I’m sharing my camper trip from Cairns to Darwin!
There is so much to explore in Aus! I hope our #GoLocal campaign and my road trip stories will inspire you to visit your own backyard and get involved with over 4000 Pelikin Experiences that you can discover and book in your Pelikin App today.
Being Covid Cautious
Now just to make it clear we are COVID safe! We left North Sydney (Covid clear) on the 20th July and flew to Cairns for 2 weeks! Once we’d been in North Queensland for 2 weeks we were able to travel to the NT. We had to fill out border declaration passes for both QLD and NT, and always keep up to date on the news to make sure we aren’t doing anything illegal or putting anyone in danger.
Cairns to Darwin RoadTrip
If you’re ever looking to book a camper van for a single journey then you NEED to check out iMoova! IMoova is a camper relocations website, which means you can get some unreal deals. We managed to bag ourselves a 2 berth motorhome for $1 a day!!! You are restricted on how many days you are able to get it to the next location for, but we thought 5 days was enough. Some iMoova’s may even give you $100+ towards your petrol fuel which is a life saver if you have a big camper!
For our 5 day trip we stopped over at 4 different spots to sleep and explore. I can’t say that there is much going on in these tiny towns which are located in the middle of nowhere, but it will open your eyes to see a very different way of living, the vast Australian outback and some stunning nature.
So our first day was a nightmare! They tell you 2 things when getting a camper van 1) don’t drive off road 2) don’t drive dusk until dawn (because of the kangaroo’s bouncing out in front of you). Well, we broke that on the first day!
With no signal when leaving Cairns, we went completely the wrong way and ended up driving through a dirt track for 200km, the rocky road meant we were terrified of popping tyres and being busted so we did the 200km at 20mph. As you can imagine this took FOREVER, meaning we were driving in the dark, AND we were getting low on petrol, SO SCARY! Plus, driving in the dark means we were emergency braking every 10 mins to avoid the cocky kangaroo’s bouncing out in front of the camper. We’d already seen hundreds of roadkill and we didn’t want to contribute to another.
By the time we got to the end of the national park (relief), I checked the CamperMate app (free to download and tells you all the free and paid camping spots around). Which led up to a random BP garage in the small town of Hughenden where we just fixed up the bed in the dark, attempted to calm down with a can of beer and then (tried) to sleep.
Okay, so we set off super early the following morning, seeing as we didn’t sleep much anyway, and drove 700km to Camooweal (which is a small town right next to the NT border). This time we decided to treat ourselves to a paid campsite so we could hook up to some power and cook ourselves a proper meal using the van stove. There is not much to see in Camooweal, the town consists of about 10 houses, a pub, campsite and a local supermarket.
After passing the Northern Territory border and driving miles and miles once again through the dusty red, dry outback for 800+km we got to Daly Waters. Daly Waters is another absolutely tiny town with maybe 10 houses and not even a supermarket! But I recommend stopping here as they did have a great pub, Daly Waters Historic Pub, that played some fab live music, had a beautiful beer garden and served a deserved cold cider.
Our next stop was Katherine. Another interesting town! I find it mad how people can live in such a small town and so far away from anything. Katherine had some amazing hot springs pools that were free for locals and tourists to take a dip in, although, only in the dry season as it can get a few sneaky crocs lurking about the waters when in wet season. You’ll be taken to the springs when you book onto the amazing Katherine Gorge cruise that you book in Pelikin Experiences in your Pelikin App. On this cruise you sail through the amazing 70 meter high walls through Katherine gorge, watch out for crocs and see all the birds of prey that hover around the Aus outback!
Plus, Kathrine is super close to the Kakadu national park, which unfortunately because our camper couldn’t do (or handle) off road access, we couldn’t visit, but definitely will be doing in the upcoming weeks when in Darwin, with some of the awesome Pelikin Experiences you can do there.
From Katherine we drove to Darwin in under 3 hours, returned our loved camper van, and started booking some exciting adventures in our Pelikin App for the week (which I will share on Fiona’s Road Trip pt.3).
Top Tips If You’re Road Tripping From Cairns To Darwin
- So we may have paid $1 a day for the camper van, but don’t forget the journey is 2800km so we did end up spending $400 on fuel. Definitly research on where to fill up, rather then relying on driving past one. There can be only one station for miles and miles, so they take advantage of this and make it super expensive.
- PREPARE prior to setting off. We had no signal all the way which meant that not only did we have to guess directions, but we couldn’t book our campsites (so had to just hope they had some spaces). It also meant we didn’t know the next petrol stop, and worst of all, we hadn’t downloaded a full playlist, so had the same 3 songs on repeat (including Waterfalls by TLC eh- song ruined).
- Cliche, but make sure you pack the essentials e.g water!! (And beer). Like I mentioned, they don’t have service stations for miles apart and it can get hot hot hot out there.
- Better to be safe than sorry, get breakdown cover & windscreen cover for the flying stones.
- If you’re a passenger (and 100% the driver), make the most of the trip and don’t fall asleep! Each road has different stunning scenery and beautiful wildlife to watch.
Fiona’s Go Local Road Trip pt.3 Exploring Darwin
Next, I’ll be sharing the part 3 of my #GoLocal road trip on exploring Darwin so make sure to stay tuned! Plus if you missed my #GoLocal part 1 on Exploring Cairns then check it out now here. Or explore my recent talks with local tour providers: Pacific Whale Foundation, Tamar Valley Wine Tours and Under Down Under to find out about some more activities you can book in Pelikin Experiences in your Pelikin App.
Whenever I’m in a new place in Aus I’m always checking my Pelikin App to see what exciting local adventures I can get involved in. Using Pelikin Experiences is so easy and it means I never miss out on all there is to do in the place I’m visiting. There are over 4000 amazing experiences to get involved in. So if you haven’t already then head into Pelikin Experiences in your Pelikin App now.
Or, if you haven’t already downloaded Pelikin, then do so now on either Apple or Android so that you are prepared for your road trip around Aus. Or even if you are just looking for an exciting experience near you!
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