Today we’re at Rainbow Beach, halfway up the East coast of Australia – in fact, we’re almost exactly halfway on our drive between Sydney and Cairns. We’ve driven 900 miles north in the last two weeks, plus another 200 miles around Fraser Island (the fun stuff…). And we’ve got about another 900 miles to go to get to Cairns, where we’ll start to think about turning around and heading down south. We’re going to be staying here for three nights, avoiding having to pack up and move on every morning, before doing some serious driving up the coast in order to reach Mission Beach by Wednesday night. It’s about 800 miles north, and we’ve got to get there because that’s where Charlotte’s birthday cards have been sent.
Australia is a lot larger than it looks on a map, and so driving distances tend to be pretty large too (magnified in an underpowered, high sided camper van – it’s not like driving a car the same distance). We found this postcard which illustrates it pretty well – Australia to scale overlaid onto a map of Europe. As you can see, we’re only attempting a small part of Oz, from Sydney at the bottom of the east coast, to Cairns at the top. For those people who wondered why we’re not going to Alice Springs, maybe this tells the story! (Ah, but we may still go there, after we’ve left the camper van and hired a 6 seater car instead, when Sarah’s parents come out to visit) Each day we can drive about 200 miles at the most, so it takes quite a few hops to get 2,000 miles. The roads are pretty straightforward, very like driving at home – occasional stretches of dual carriageway, but mostly single lane roads with overtaking lanes built in every few miles. It means we’re rarely stuck behind anything, and because the speed limit is pretty strictly enforced here, there are very few times when cars are queuing up behind us waiting to overtake (That’s sad – having a long line of cars behind me was one of the treats I was looking forward to when driving a ‘caravan’!).