Whether you’re wanting to start your Australian road trip or looking to explore Cairns and it’s surroundings. The best way is to hire a motorhome or a campervan in Cairns. As Cairns surroundings are definitely worth a visit, having a vehicle is probably necessary if you really want to get to know the area and venture off the beaten track. We’ll share the rental agencies available and give you a few itinerary suggestions for the Cairns region.
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Why rent a van from Cairns?
Cairns is the most popular city with tourists in tropical north Queensland and is a key stop when travelling the east coast of Australia. Indeed, it is most often either the starting point or the final destination for travellers. It is very easy to get to by plane from Asia, and flights are often cheaper to this city due to its proximity to the Asian continent. On top of that, the airport is very close to Cairns city centre and most hotels and hostels offer a free shuttle service to pick you up. A great start to your trip to Australia!
Motorhome rental comparison website
Internet price comparison websites are a real asset when it comes to saving time and money with motorhome rental! With just a few clicks you can select all your criteria (vehicle size, equipment, insurance, price…) and find the ideal van for your Australian road trip.
We advise you to use Motorhome Republic which provides comprehensive offers at the best price. The site offers regular promotions and a large number of different vehicles to suit everyone’s needs.
If you plan to hire a motorhome or campervan in Cairns, the easiest way is to use a price comparison website with a specific search option for rental vehicles. This will save you the time of researching several rental agency websites. Instead, you will receive the best price for vehicles (available within your desired dates) in only a few seconds! We recommend the website Motorhome Republic. The page offers many deals and is designed for Backpackers.
Motorhome and van rental companies
Cairns is a very small city in Queensland with only 140,000 inhabitants. However, it owes its popularity with tourists to its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest, as well as the many waterfalls in the area. Its popularity means there are several companies offer car rental ready to meet all your needs when planning your road trip!
The most popular car rental companies in Cairns are:
- Apollo Motorhome Holidays
- Hippie Campers
- Travellers Autobarn (get a 5% discount via this link)
Most car rental companies are located around the airport, but you can also find them in downtown Cairns.
Where about in Cairns are camper rental agencies located?
Motorhome rental companies are rarely located in the city center. Instead, most of them are based in the suburbs of big cities and near the airport. However, they are not accessible on foot from the airport. You need to take a taxi or use a shuttle to get there.
As a matter of fact, the privileged locations at the airport are reserved for car rental
How much should I budget?
The budget for your vehicle rental will vary depending on your criteria. Asking the right questions at the outset is very important and will avoid unpleasant surprises when the price is announced. Yes, a van rental can be very expensive, especially during the high season!
Here are the main criteria to take into account when determining the cost of your rental:
- the vehicle model (size, equipment, options)
- the season of the road-trip (high season, low season)
- the length of the road-trip
- the time it takes to book in advance
- the company (top of the range, low-cost)
In terms of price, renting a motorhome or van in Cairns is no more expensive than in any other city. In order to find the best price for your rental, compare prices well in advance. It is best to do this between 1 and 3 months in advance. Think also about re-leasing, which can save you a lot of money and help rental agencies that need to repatriate their vehicles! This solution allows you to travel at a lower cost but leaves less time for activities as the company imposes conditions for returning the vehicle (destinations, dates, etc.).Note: These companies generally offer several sub-brands (divided by price range). For example, the brand Cheapa Campa belongs to Apollo. The brand Mighty belongs to Britz. So don’t be surprised if you find different brand logos on their websites.
Rental prices examples
- For a 14 day rental of a campervan that sleeps 2 and seats 4
Booking made 4 months in advance
14 days rental in June (low season)
1585$ or about 113$ per day (without insurance)
- For a 14 day rental – Campervan sleeps 2 and seats 4
Reservation more than 6 months in advance
14 days rental in January (high season)
2235$ or about 159$ per day (without insurance)
To read: Motorhome rental in Australia
If you don’t take out full insurance, the rental companies will often block a very large sum as a deposit on your credit card. Australia is a wild country with many animals and an accident can happen very quickly! So be careful, and think about the insurance that is offered. This will allow you to reduce your deposit considerably.
However, insurance is still relatively expensive when you consider how much of your budget is spent on renting a vehicle. An alternative to this insurance is using the insurance of your credit card or a private insurance.
How to book your Motorhome or Campervan in Australia?
Don’t hesitate to compare! We would use the Motorhome Republic comparison tool to get a general idea of the prices and vehicles offered. You can also go directly to the rental agencies’ websites and compare prices. If you have any questions, email or call them for more information.
What type of van or motorhome should I choose?
There are many different types of motorhomes and vans and it is often difficult to make a choice. In fact, it all depends on the comfort and
depends on the comfort and equipment you need. You can ask yourself several questions before your road trip to better understand your
understand your expectations:
How many people will you be in the vehicle?
What is your budget?
What level of comforts do you do you want? A bed, a tent, a bunk?
Do you need sanitary facilities or can you do without and use the campsites?
What size of kitchen?
Requirements for hiring a vehicle in Australia
To be able to rent and drive a caping-car / van or any other vehicle in Australia, you must:
Have a valid driver’s licence – depending on your visa status and how long you have been in the country you may need to apply for an Australian license.
Be at least 19 years of age (some companies only hire from 21 years of age).
Have a credit card to pay the rental and deposit.
Visiting Cairns and the surrounding area
If you are planning to rent a car and then visit the tropical north Queensland region, here are some recommendations on the must-see
recommendations on the must-sees in this beautiful part of Australia.
The best way to visit Cairns and its city centre is on foot. The city is not very big, so you will be able to discover everything quite quickly. There are many activities to do in downtown Cairns: the Esplanade and the artificial lagoon, the Botanical Gardens, the Night Market, Cairns Central Shopping Centre, etc. Don’t miss out on this cool city to live in!
30 minutes from Cairns
Cook Highway & Palm Cove
The Cook Highway is a scenic route north of Cairns that offers great ocean views. There are many beaches to stop at including Trinity Beach (popular and family friendly), Kewarra Beach, Ellis Beach (one of the wildest). Just 30 minutes north of Cairns, you’ll reach Palm Cove, a small but very pleasant resort.
The town of Kuranda
A former mining town, Kuranda is located in the tropical highlands 25km northwest of Cairns. You can get there via the Kuranda Scenic Railway, a 34km tourist train from Cairns that takes you through the rainforest, Barron Falls and other beautiful waterfall views. The Sky Rail is another of the city’s top attractions. It is the longest and most environmentally friendly funicular in the world. It flies over the rainforest over 7.5km.
In Kuranda itself, you’ll find an Aboriginal cultural centre, a zoo, a small local market and many other local sights to explore as well.
1 to 2 hours from Cairns
Located 70 kilometres north of Cairns, Port Douglas (population 3,500) has a reputation for being far more pleasant, quiet and charming than Cairns. The town’s beach, Four Mile Beach, is perfect for swimming. Flagstaff Hill lookout is the perfect place for a great view of the city and the ocean. Port Douglas is also one of the closest towns to the Great Barrier Reef.
Daintree National Park
The Daintree Rainforest is one of the oldest forests in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a two-hour drive from Cairns.
You can take a cruise on the Daintree River to see the crocodiles. A guide will explain the intricacies of the rainforest and the animals that live there. A single 34km road takes you through this magnificent park to Cape Tribulation. A huge beach bordered by huge palm trees, this is the place where the forest meets the sea. It’s about as far north as you can drive in Queensland and the east coast of Australia. The beach is as beautiful as it is impressive and is named after the navigator James Cook who washed ashore here in 1770.
The many waterfalls
North Queensland is full of waterfalls, each more beautiful than the next. Here are some not to be missed:
Atherton Tablelands Waterfalls
The Great Barrier Reef
What would a trip to Cairns be without a visit to the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system? Cairns is one of Australia’s most popular destinations for this reason. From sea cruises to skydiving, flying in a plane or helicopter, the choice is yours! Don’t miss out on this Australian wonder.
Best Road Trip itineraries from Cairns
Cairns – Brisbane (1700 km – 2 weeks)
From Cairns you can join the Bruce Highway (A1) which goes south. This one follows more or less the coast and while joining the capital of Queensland, you can stop at:
- Mission Beach to see the cassowaries
- Wallaman Falls (Girrigun National Park), 268m high
- Townsville and Magnetic Island
- The beautiful Whitsundays Islands
- Bundaberg and its rum
- Fraser Island
In short, this part of the coast has a wealth of incredible places to visit! Allow more time if you want to visit each and every spot on the coast.
Cairns – Sydney (2500 km – 3 weeks)
If you have more time to spare, you can continue on down to Sydney. Again, you’ll see some of Australia’s most iconic sights such as:
- Brisbane and its artificial lagoon
- Springbrook National Park, an immense tropical forest
- The Gold Coast with Surfers Paradise and its huge buildings
- Byron Bay, the coolest town in Australia, and Nimbin right next door
- Port Macquarie and its koala hospital
- Sydney and the Blue Mountains