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Sydney to Cairns One Way Campervan Rental

Planning a trip from Sydney to Cairns? Did you know you can rent a campervan one way? Compare vehicles from several campervan hire companies offering one-way rentals from Sydney to Cairns.

Popular Campervans

Find the perfect camper for your travel needs

All Types

Spaceships Alpha 2-Berth
Apollo Vivid Camper

Vivid Camper


Cruisin 4-Berth HiTop
Jucy Condo
Portable toilet only

Not all vehicles may be available. Use the search tool to check availability for your travel dates.

Sydney to Cairns One Way Itinerary

This route from Sydney to Cairns is approximately 3,000 km and will take you along Australia’s east coast and up into Tropical North Queensland.

Part 1: Sydney to the Blue Mountains

Distance: 60-100 km

Estimated driving time: 1-1.5h

Things to see:

  • Blue Mountains
  • Opera House
  • Harbour Bridge
  • Bondi Beach

Part 2: Blue Mountains to Hunter Valley

Distance: 250-300 km

Estimated driving time: 3.5-4h

Attractions along the way:

  • Barrington Tops National Park
  • Wineries

Part 3: Hunter Valley to Port Macquarie

Distance: 240 km

Estimated driving time: 3-3.5h

Things to see on the way:

  • Koala Hospital
  • Tacking Point Lighthouse
  • Lighthouse Beach

Part 4: Port Macquarie to Coffs Harbour

Distance: 150-170 km

Estimated driving time: 1.5-2h

Popular Attractions:

  • The Big Banana
  • Dorrigo National Park
  • Muttonbird Island
  • Butterfly House

Part 5: Coffs Harbour to Byron Bay

Distance 230-250km

Estimated driving time: 2.5-3h

Things to see:

  • Cape Byron Lighthouse
  • Tallow Beach
  • Arakwal National Park

Part 6: Byron Bay to the Gold Coast

Distance: 100km

Estimated driving time: 1.5-2h

Popular attractions:

  • Surfers Paradise
  • Theme Parks
  • Whale Watching
  • Springbrook National Park

Part 7: Gold Coast to Brisbane

Distance: 80-100km

Estimated driving time: 1-1.5h

Things to see:

  • Brisbane City Botanic Gardens
  • South bank
  • Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
  • Queen Street Mall

Part 8: Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast

Distance: 100-150 km

Estimated driving time: 1.5-3h

Things to see:

  • Australia Zoo
  • Glasshouse Mountains
  • Sealife Aquarium
  • Noosa Beach

Part 9: Sunshine Coast to Hervey Bay

Distance: 180-200 km

Estimated driving time: 2.5-3h

Popular Attractions:

  • Whale Watching
  • Fraser Island

Part 10: Hervey Bay to Bundaberg

Distance: 100-150 km

Estimated driving time: 1-2h

Attractions along the way:

  • Bundaberg Rum Distillery
  • Musgrave Island
  • Southern Great Barrier Reef

Part 11: Bundaberg to Rockhampton

Distance: 250-300 km

Estimated driving time: 3.5-4h

Things to see:

  • Rockhampton Botanic Garden
  • Japanese Garden

Part 12: Rockhampton to Airlie Beach

Distance: 450-500 km

Estimated driving time: 5.5-6h

Attractions along the way:

  • Airlie Beach
  • Whitsunday Islands

Part 13: Airlie Beach to Townsville

Distance: 250-280 km

Estimated driving time: 3.5-4h


  • Reef HQ Aquarium
  • Magnetic Island
  • Billabong Sanctuary

Part 14: Townsville to Cairns

Distance: 340-380 km

Estimated driving time: 4.5-5h

Things to see:

  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Daintree Rainforest
  • Kuranda Scenic Railway

Popular Attractions Along the Way

Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains are located west of Sydney in NSW, Australia. The mountains, which are part of a national park, are located in an area offering many outdoor activities.

There are numerous hiking trails in the area, with some offering the opportunity to see the famous Three Sisters, an unusual rock formation that is considered a popular tourist attraction.

The Great Barrier Reef

When you’re in Cairns, it’s hard to miss the 1,429 miles long World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef.

No shortage of tour operators can deliver a day outing by boat, with opportunities to enjoy warm, calm water snorkelling and scuba diving, surrounded by the reef system’s – renowned vibrantly coloured marine life.

There are also glass-bottomed boats and submarine experiences, and options to suit everyone, including pontoons, stationed within the Outer Reef and various islands of the reef.

The Rainforest

Aside from the reef, the second most likely destination you’re likely to explore near Cairns is the Wet Tropics Rainforest, with two of the most popular destinations for a day being Kuranda and Daintree.

Kuranda is a town on the Barron River, 15.5 miles from Cairns, with a scenic train and cableway making for an easy day trip.

Known for its exceptional biodiversity, the World Heritage Daintree Rainforest (which contains Daintree National Park), north of Cairns, is the largest continuous rainforest in the country, as well as the world’s oldest rainforest.

Surfers Paradise

Located on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Surfers Paradise is a seaside neighbourhood famous for its beaches, skyscrapers and lively nightlife. The area is home to many of the Gold Coast's best restaurants and cafes, with many of the high-rise buildings offering spectacular views of the surrounding seaside.

Sydney Harbour Cruise

A view of the famous Opera House, iconic Harbour Bridge, and majestic Sydney skyline is often the highlight of a stay in Sydney, and seeing the unique perspective from the water truly shows off the city’s charm. Several long-time cruise operators offer sailings of varying lengths: short narrated sightseeing trips, brunch and dinner cruises, and whale watching excursions.

Theme Parks

The Gold Coast is home to some of Australia's best theme parks. Just a short distance from each other, you’ll find Warner Brothers Movie World, Dreamworld and Seaworld as well as two water parks: Wet and Wild and White Water World. The companies offer multiday passes, giving you the opportunity to visit multiple parks over a few days.

Whale Watching

Every year between May and November, whales migrate along the east coast of Australia. The Gold Coast is a popular place to see these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat. Many companies offer guided tours or cruises.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any one-way rental fees?

Campervan rental companies may charge a one-way rental fee. If there is such a fee we will include it in the rental price listed in our comparison tool.

Can I travel in the opposite direction - from Cairns to Sydney?

Yes - simply use the search tool at the top of this page to check availability.

What kind of licence do you need to hire a campervan in Sydney?

An Australian resident needs a valid class C (car) licence to hire a camper in Sydney. Rental companies generally won’t do business with drivers holding learners, provisional (Ps), or probationary licences.

If you’ve arrived from overseas, you’ll need an English translation of a comparable car license or an International Driver’s Permit (IDP).

Drivers must be 21 or older to rent a campervan or motorhome. Travellers under 25 can hire a vehicle but must pay a young driver surcharge.

Where can I park overnight in Sydney?

It’s recommended you stay in a holiday park or designated campsite. Free camping is not allowed in the city itself and is only allowed at designated sites throughout Australia. Most caravan parks are located away from the city centre.

Some popular campsites include: NRMA Lakeside Holiday Park, Cattai National Park Campground and Patonga Camping Ground.

If you wish to explore Sydney CBD and other city attractions like Circular Quay, Darling Harbour, Bondi Beach or the Opera House, plan ahead. It's best to avoid peak traffic hours and to plan where to park ahead of time, especially if you're in a large motorhome.

Can I pick up a campervan rental around the Northern Beaches?

Currently, all the major motorhome rental brands have their Sydney branch close to Sydney Airport, on the southside.

Note: policies vary from supplier to supplier. Always check the T&Cs for your rental.