Vanlife is huge in Australia and I had to see it for myself.
According to social media, driving around the coastline down under takes you to natural beauty every day. You’ll experience things such as rock pools, sand dunes, empty beaches with pristine water and perfect surf breaks. Tropical forest with unique wildlife, waterfalls and diverse vegetation.
If you’ve been following vanlife accounts such as @vanlifediaries, @mitch.cox, @elisecook (amongst many others), everywhere they go looks like paradise. In addition to the beautiful landscapes, we also had a few friends we wanted to visit. So we got online and booked our flights. Hello, kangaroos and koalas – we’re coming your way!
Landing in Brisbane, we rented a converted Toyota Hiace with everything we needed.
There are several options to hire a camper van around the country. Most companies also have locations in each major cities, which is very convenient. We found that Travellers Autobarn has the best selection of vehicles and their vans are pretty affordable. The staff was really helpful, providing us with plenty of useful tips to make our stay even better. And just like that we hit the road and headed to Byron Bay for the Surf Festival, where our friend Jonny was playing with his band Dusty Boots!
The first thing you need to know about Australia is that it’s probably bigger than you expect!
Most of its inhabitants live on the east coast where it can get crowded. One solution to avoid the crowds is to explore the beautiful islands in the area. Great options on the Sunshine Coast are Moreton, Frasier, Stradbroke, and Double Island Point. The ferry rides, vehicle permits, and camping fees are all worth it!
Without a 4WD, you could only access Stradbroke Island or the Noosa North Shore, where you’ll have to stay at the beautiful North Shore Beach Campground.
We were lucky enough that our friends John and Catherine had the right vehicle to explore well into the sandy beaches. We even were able to experience the 80 km beach highway and enjoy the wonderful Rainbow Beach!
Our favorite area where we spent most of our time was Noosa.
Its headland has a fun walk throughout the National Park, filled with several coves offering perfect surf conditions for every level. You’ll find great beach restaurants in town and can drive across the beautiful Noosa river, weaving in and out of this entire region. On weekends or when the surf gets big, parking can get difficult but you’ll always find a spot on the surrounding streets.
Another thing worth mentioning, especially about Queensland and New South Wales, is that wild camping near the coast is not easy.
It reminded me of Orange County in California at certain points! Fortunately, we found great RV parks, such as the Noosa Caravan park. The toilets were so clean and they even had strong wifi.
The Noosa Hinterlands is also worth a visit, with its great hikes, such as Mt. Cooroora.
Lastly, you don’t want to miss the Eumundi market each Wednesday and Saturday.
In that area, you can stay at Habitat Noosa, where you can explore the Everglades and enjoy the sunrise by the lake. This is a great place to watch kangaroos too!