Winter Holidays in Australia: The North Queensland Coast

Mrs Bob and I are thinking about booking our winter holidays for this year and wondering where to go. School winter holiday time here is around the last week in June and the first week in July, just two weeks in total.

The thing with Australia is, we can stay within this country and we can go to cold…

snow fight on Mt wellington…as we did five years ago when we went to Tasmania for our winter holidays. Or we could go to hot…

On the waterfront…as we did in 2013 when we went to Darwin in the middle of winter.

This year we’re thinking of going to warm. Warm, we think, would be somewhere in or between Townsville and Cairns with average midwinter daytime temperatures of around 24° to 25°C. That’s the decision we are currently making; Townsville, Cairns, or the bit in between.

The bit in between is a 410 km drive along the coastline known as the Great Green Way. It’s about twice the length of the Great Ocean Road, one of my favourite drives ever. I’m not sure if the Great Green Way hugs the coastline quite as closely as that drive did, but it’s something I’d like to find out.

To do it justice, I think the journey would need an entire week to drive, allowing stop offs at places like Ingham, Cardwell, Mission Beach and Innisfail before pushing on to Cairns. Maybe even longer to fully enjoy all the beaches, islands, wetlands, national parks, waterfalls and magnificent wildlife along the way.

There is also a thing up that way call the Great Barrier Reef; I’ve heard that’s worth a look.

For example, if we’re going to Townsville, we really must visit Magnetic Island. Magnetic Island made a brief appearance in last week’s post Possums: An In-Depth Study of How Cute They Are. Here is a closer look…

Reminds me so much of our own Stradbroke Island, just off of Brisbane.

If we go to Cairns, we really need to see the Great Barrier Reef as I’ve already mentioned. I also can’t imagine getting all the way to Cairns and not visiting Port Douglas and Daintree, which is another sumptuous looking coastal drive just one hour further north.

As you probably know, the Great Barrier Reef is World Heritage-listed, what you might not know though is so is Daintree National Park, an ancient tropical rainforest. Here’s a peek at both…

As you can see, so much to do up there, how do we fit it all into seven days? That’s why we haven’t quite decided yet exactly what we’re going to do, but we are working on it.

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{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Fred May 9, 2016, 11:41 am |

    Bob, if you go to Cairns, you should also take the Kuranda Scenic Railway up to Kuranda. When we were visiting in November we took the train up from Freshwater Station and the Skyrail down from Kuranda. If you book both at the same time, you can arrange to take a bus from the Skyrail station back to your car at Freshwater Station. It was a fantastic experience.

    • BobinOz May 10, 2016, 12:58 am |

      Thanks for the tip Fred, sounds like a must do. I will definitely look into it, but crikey, you haven’t really helped here, that’s something else I need to fit into my seven-day trip! 🙂

      I’m assuming we can do it all in one day though, so we will definitely build it in to our holiday. Cheers, Bob

      • Fred May 10, 2016, 10:29 am |

        Yes, Bob. It can be done all in one day. Of course, if you can’t fit it in, you’ll just have to make another trip up to Cairns.

        You did mention Port Douglas, that is worth the trip as well. Closer to Cairns is Palm Cove which has a nice but narrow beach. I also found the Apres Beach Bar and Grill there, to have sufficiently cold beer.

        • BobinOz May 10, 2016, 11:41 pm |

          Great, we have definitely put it on our list of things to do when we get there. Our current line of thinking is that for now we are just going to fly into Cairns, spent four days there and then drive up to Port Douglas and spent three days there.

          I think the area will need a second visit at some stage to do it justice, but I’m sure I will find time to go to that bar in Palm Cove to grab a cold beer on this first visit.

  • djmcbell May 6, 2016, 7:16 pm |

    Looking good. We’re now intending on making the move in the next 2 months, to Victoria (near Melbourne). I should have a job interview next week which, if I get it, will be VERY good (perfect place, ideal job for my experience, hopefully a good wage). Only issue is that I may have to go out early if I get it, but at least that gets some stuff sorted.

    Of course, though, we’ll be moving to Victoria during their winter, compared to our summer in the UK. So it’ll be chilly to start off with. We could even see some snow (though here in the UK, we had some snow last week where I live!). But it should heat up soon enough.

    I’m kind of glad that we’ll still have some element of cold weather, as I do worry I’d get bored of endless heat all the time. Both my wife and I have a few places we both want to visit – I’d like to visit Uluru (they’ve got an art installation there, until end of March next year, that I’d like to see), and I think my wife wants to return to Rottnest island which she went to as a kid.

    • BobinOz May 8, 2016, 7:25 pm |

      Yes, it will be a bit nippy when you get to Melbourne, but you’ll still be acclimatised to the English weather, you’ll breeze through it.

      When you do get here, you won’t be short of places to explore, and I highly recommend Uluru, it’s a quite fascinating experience. Great for a winter holiday, stay awhile at Alice Springs as well, lots of interesting outback places to visit around there.

      Sounds like things are moving fast for you now, good luck with that job interview, it would be great to land a job before you even get here.

    • Ronny May 9, 2016, 6:32 pm |

      Dear djmcbell,
      I sincerely wish your interview will turn up positively and I wish you a happy jump down under!
      I hope you’ll continue to give us updates!!

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