Blue Bravo wrote:Places of interest on the way south would include Hervey Bay/Fraser Island, Gold Coast for the theme parks, Sydney for the sights (Harbour Bridge , Opera House), Canbera the capital ( Museum, Parliament House), Great Ocean Road south of Melbourne for the scenery and Alice Springs for the desert experience, especially Uluru (Ayes Rock).
Don't forget the Barossa Valley in S.A!
Phillip Island is a nice day trip from Melbourne to see the Little Penguins come in to shore after dark.
If you are looking at budget gear, I definitely recommend Big W. Their 'Escape with E.T' branded gear (tables, pop up shower/toilet tents, etc) are often well known brands just rebranded for a fraction of the price. For example, I got an aluminium roll top table from there and after unpacking it it has Coleman stamped into the top! Not bad for about $30-40 from memory. They have a decent sized range too including tents, sleeping bags, cookers, accessories, etc. I'd say if you only went to a Big W store you could nearly get everything you needed.
Not being from the Cairns area that is just a generalisation - there may be some great dedicated camping stores there. Google always works - try www.google.com.au
and use the "pages from Australia" function.
Also, Parks Victoria have a great website and lots of info about different regions in the state - attractions, free/low cost state camping areas (limited facilities), and I'm sure the other states would have something similar. Gives you an idea of what you may want to see and how long you should spend in the areas.