16 Best Things to Do on the East Coast of Australia

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My first ever solo journey was to Australia and it turned out to be such a life altering expertise with so many nice moments I’ll always remember. I used to be feeling a bit nervous on the flight however as quickly as I landed, all my fears melted away. 

Australia may be very effectively arrange for backpacking with loads of superior hostels, low-cost backpacker bars and hop on hop off buses that make it simple to get round. Since the nation has an amazing Working Holiday Visa program, it’s particularly common with Gap Year vacationers and younger individuals who simply need to journey straight out of uni.  

The hottest route in Australia for first time guests is the east coast route from Sydney to Cairns. The east coast is extra densely populated than different components of Australia and due to this fact has loads to see.

Flights to Sydney are often the most affordable, so it’s greatest to fly into Sydney after which work your method as much as Cairns both by automobile or by bus. To offer you some inspiration and enable you to plan what to do, right here’s an inventory of a number of the greatest issues to do on the east coast of Australia.

East Coast Australia: Things to Do

Spend a Few Days in Sydney

Your first cease on the east coast will likely be Sydney, which is probably the most populous metropolis in Australia. 

Sydney is thought for its iconic Opera House, which value $102 million and took 14 years to construct. The spectacular constructing was designed by Jørn Utzon from Denmark and options greater than 1 million roof tiles. One of the perfect methods to expertise it’s by grabbing a sundown cocktail on the Opera Bar, which has a view of Harbour Bridge and Opera House.

Other main Sydney sights you’ll need to go to embody the Royal Botanic Garden, Darling Harbour, Sydney Harbour Bridge and The Rocks, which is dwelling to an open-air market plus plenty of eating places, pubs and outlets. If you need to take a break from sightseeing, absorb the solar on Bondi Beach, which is Sydney’s most well-known seashore.

Take the Ferry to Manly

No journey to Sydney could be full with out taking the ferry over to the seashore city of Manly. Departing from Circular Quay, the ferry takes half-hour and is less expensive than taking a Sydney Harbour cruise. If you need to get there a bit faster, you can even purchase a ticket for the Fast Ferry, which prices $10.20 every method. 

Manly has an attractive tree-lined seashore and a relaxed vibe, so be sure to pack your towel and swimwear so you possibly can spend your day enjoyable on the sand. Afterwards, take a stroll alongside The Corso, a pedestrian road lined with eateries, bars and pubs. 

Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk

Bondi Icebergs swimming pool

The Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk is a clifftop stroll that stretches 6km and takes round 2-3 hours to finish. It’s an attractive stroll with plenty of rock swimming pools, seashores and cafes to find alongside the best way. 

The stroll begins at Bondi Beach and can take you previous the well-known Bondi Icebergs – a swimming membership that’s proper on the ocean and a preferred spot for pictures. Other highlights alongside the best way embody Tamarama Beach, Bronte Beach and the Waverly Cemetery, which is the ultimate resting place for a lot of distinguished Australians. 

Visit Blue Mountains National Park

Blue Mountains, New South Wales

The Blue Mountains National Park is situated west of Sydney and is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the principle highlights of the park is the Three Sisters rock formation, which might be seen from Echo Point Lookout. 

With over 140 kilometers (87 miles) of observe, the Blue Mountains is a well-liked place for mountaineering and bushwalking. There are additionally tons of actions you possibly can strive, together with scaling canyons, looking for glow worms and exploring the world’s oldest underground cave system.  

Once you’re accomplished being adventurous, you possibly can go to one of many area’s quiet mountain cities the place you possibly can discover the outlets, artwork galleries, museums and cafes. And if you happen to actually need to deal with your self, take into account staying in a single day on the Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, which is an opulent retreat constructed on a big expanse of wilderness conservancy. 

Skydive Over Byron Bay

Skydiving needs to be a type of issues on each backpacker’s should do listing, and Byron Bay gives spectacular views of the seashores and shoreline as you leap out of that aircraft. 

I booked a tandem Skydive from 15,000 ft with Skydive Byron Bay and had such a enjoyable expertise. I used to be completely terrified nevertheless it was such an exhilarating factor to do and I felt like I’d completed one thing afterwards! The skydive instructors additionally seize the entire thing on digital camera too, so you’ve some recollections of your total expertise. 

Find Your Inner Hippie Child in Nimbin

The hippy city of Nimbin simply outdoors Byron Bay is each stoner’s heaven. Even although hashish is against the law in Australia, it’s no secret that the hippies in Nimbin like to smoke a joint. 

If you don’t have your personal automobile, you possibly can go to Nimbin with a tour firm, reminiscent of Happy Coach Byron. I visited with Jim’s Alternative Tours, which is unfortunately now not in operation. We boarded a brightly coloured bus which took us to the hemp museum and the weird dwelling of Paul Recher, which is in the course of a jungle. 

Nimbin was as soon as a sleepy dairying village however was reworked into Australia’s “alternative lifestyle” capital after the Aquarius Festival in 1973. Today the constructing facades are painted in brightly coloured murals and the city has an excellent quirky, psychedelic vibe.

If you need to do some buying, there are many artwork galleries and boutiques promoting jewellery and crafts made by native artisans. There’s additionally a weekly farmer’s market that takes place each Wednesday afternoon. 

For the perfect locations to eat in Nimbin, take a look at Armonica Cafe, Nimbin Bakery, The Mended Drum or Nimbin Oasis Music Hub & Cafe. 

Party on the Gold Coast

Surfer's Paradise, Queensland

Surfer’s Paradise is Queensland’s nightlife capital and is the the #1 vacation spot for partygoers. If you need to go clubbing or bar hopping, that is the place to do it. Popular golf equipment embody Lost Kingdom Nightclub, The Avenue, elsewhere, SinCity Nightclub and Cocktails Nightclub. 

If you like one thing a bit extra laid again, head to the Island Rooftop at sundown so you possibly can get pleasure from some cocktails as town lights up.

Provided you’re not too hungover from the evening earlier than, you may join a surf lesson on one of the crucial well-known surf seashores on the planet or strive arise paddleboarding to discover Chevron Island and Macintosh Island Park.

Discover Brisbane

As the biggest metropolis in Queensland, Brisbane is effectively value a go to and has tons to see and do. The metropolis has a reasonably laid-back vibe and because it has a tropical local weather, it’s good for al fresco eating.  

A preferred adrenaline-pumping exercise in Brisbane is climbing the Story Bridge, which lets you soak in panoramic views of town. Flowing via town is the Brisbane River, which is greatest skilled by taking a sundown cruise or renting an electrical picnic boat. 

The metropolis might not have a seashore, nevertheless it does have a small man-made seashore referred to as Streets Beach, which is lined with sub-tropical crops and has a blue lagoon for bathing. The seashore is situated inside South Bank, which boasts eating places, biking tracks, picnic spots and BBQs. 

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Next on this listing of the highest issues to do on the east coast of Australia is the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, which was opened in 1927 to assist defend considered one of Australia’s most iconic species. The sanctuary is situated in Fig Tree Pocket, which is round 12km from Brisbane CBD. 

Let’s face it, koalas are extremely lovable and cute, and at this sanctuary you possibly can really maintain one and have your picture taken with it. You’ll additionally get to go to the leaf sorting space to find out how workers cater for these choosy eaters. 

As effectively as koalas, the sanctuary can also be dwelling to owls, kangaroos, wallabies, wombats and a complete host of different Australian wildlife. 

4×4 On Fraser Island

4x4 on Fraser Island

Fraser Island by far probably the most enjoyable factor to do on the East Coast so it’s best to positively be sure to add this to your Australia itinerary. While there are day excursions to Fraser Island, probably the most enjoyable method to do it’s by driving your self! 

Rainbow Beach or Hervey Bay are two common beginning factors for Fraser Island experiences.

I stayed in a hostel in Hervey Bay and visited Fraser Island on a gaggle self-drive tour. We have been organized into teams and despatched on an alcohol run the evening earlier than in order that we may have a boozy time by the campfire whereas on the island. The following day we have been proven a security video explaining what-to-do and what-not-to-do on Fraser Island, earlier than embarking on a meals store to Woolworth’s to top off on meals. 

Next we have been taken to a storage to select up the 4×4, study some driving guidelines and at last hop on the ferry over to the island. Offroading is a lot enjoyable and it feels extremely releasing to drive on the sand with no site visitors lights! 

Fraser Island is sensible, not simply due to the beautiful lakes and surroundings, however since you get to drive on the seashore, prepare dinner your personal camp meals, arrange tents, play ingesting video games and sleep beneath the celebrities.

A serious spotlight is Lake McKenzie, which boasts powdery white sands and turquoise waters with pure tea tree oil. The island’s main freeway is Seventy-Five Mile Beach, which is dwelling to champagne rock swimming pools, a historic shipwreck and sea life reminiscent of whales and dolphins.

Learn to Surf in Noosa 

The East Coast of Australia is the pefect place to study to surf and lots of hostels have free surf boards and physique boards in an effort to follow by your self. However if you happen to’re new to browsing it’s all the time value taking a number of classes so you will get the cling of the fundamentals. 

Noosa is thought for its surf and has quite a few surf colleges, together with Surfdancer Academy of Surf, Go Ride a Wave, Epic Surf Lessons, Noosa Surf Lessons and Merrick’s Noosa Learn to Surf.

This coastal city is a well-liked resort vacation spot and many Australians go to to benefit from the sandy seashores, sunny climate, boutique resorts and stylish resort vibes. Most of the motion facilities round Hasting Street, which is full of boutiques, eating places, cafes, galleries, day spas and present outlets. 

Chill Out in Agnes Water/Town of 1770

When I heard concerning the Town of 1770 I pictured a city the place everybody wears interval costume however that turned out to not be the case. Located north of Fraser Island and south of the Whitsundays, Town of 1770 is a coastal city that’s common for browsing and serves as an entry level to the southern Great Barrier Reef. It has stunning sandy seashores and experiences over 300 days of sunshine per 12 months!  

The city was the second place the place Captain James Cook and his crew stepped onto Australian soil and their first touchdown in what’s now the state of Queensland. I stayed a number of days in a hostel there and cherished how enjoyable it was! 

Cool Bananas is unquestionably one of many coolest hostels I’ve stayed in with a Caribbean sort vibe- suppose hammocks, lanterns and palm timber.

Sail the Whitsundays

Whitsundays Australia

Backpackers travelling up and down the East Coast often have two actions they know they need to do – one is doing a 4×4 drive of Fraser Island, and the opposite is crusing the Whitsundays.  

There are quite a few tour firms which provide crusing packages to the Whitsundays from Airlie Beach, and it’s value buying round to seek out the suitable boat and bundle deal. 

The tropical Whitsunday Islands lie about half method up the Queensland coast and are bordered by the Great Barrier Reef. There are 74 of them, however solely 8 are inhabited. 

Tourists enterprise to the islands to stroll on the powder white, picture-postcard sands of Whitehaven Beach, snorkel or scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef or just calm down on a crusing boat as they cruise across the islands.

Rent a Topless Car on Magnetic Island

Lots of people I spoke to had by no means heard of Magnetic Island, despite the fact that it has a resident inhabitants of round 2,500 folks. The tropical island lies off the coast of Townsville and has an everyday passenger ferry service. 

The greatest time to go to the island is round a full moon in an effort to go to the complete moon get together at BASE Backpackers hostel. Whilst it’s not a patch on Thailand’s full moon get together, it’s an amazing excuse to get together anyway. 

Rent considered one of these Topless Cars for the day and also you’ll really feel a bit like Barbie- it’s an effective way to get round! 

If you need to see some koalas within the wild, I like to recommend doing the Forts Walk mountaineering path. The hike is about 3 to five kilometres lengthy relying on which route you’re taking and also you’ll get to see some breathtaking views alongside the best way.

Snorkel Over the Great Barrier Reef

One of Australia’s most well-known sights is after all the Great Barrier Reef, which is likely one of the seven pure wonders of the world and the one dwelling factor seen from area. 

The reef is definitely composed of two,900 particular person reefs and 900 islands that cowl an space of roughly 344,400 sq. kilometres.

If you need to discover the reef you’ve plenty of choices, together with scuba diving, snorkelling, helicopter excursions, glass-bottomed boat excursions, semi-submersibles and cruise ship excursions. 

Queensland has a number of cities that make nice bases for exploring the Great Barrier Reef, together with Cairns, Port Douglas, Rockhampton, Townsville, Airlie Beach and Mission Beach. 

Some of the reef’s islands are additionally dwelling to beautiful resorts the place you possibly can spend a day or two enjoyable. With powdery white sands, turquoise blue waters and phrase class diving, you’ll really feel such as you’re in heaven! 

Visit the Daintree Rainforest & Cape Tribulation

Cape Tribulation

When visiting Cairns you’ll see plenty of excursions marketed to the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation. GetYourInformation has various nice excursions you possibly can e-book on-line:

Here are a few concepts:

  • Cairns: Daintree & Cape Tribulation Guided 4WD Tour
  • Cairns: Daintree and Mossman Gorge Tour with Cruise Option

The Daintree Rainforest is the world’s oldest rainforest and has been rising for over 180 million years! Start your journey on the Daintree Discovery Centre, the place you possibly can see the cover from an aerial walkway and study loads of data concerning the rainforest with the assistance of interactive shows. 

Within the rainforest you possibly can hike on a wide range of mountaineering trails, expertise rafting on the Mossman River, uncover the best way to hunt for bush tucker or take a crocodile cruise to get a view of the saltwater crocs that reside there. 

If you need to be totally immersed in nature, take into account staying an evening on the Silky Oaks luxurious lodge, the place you possibly can sleep in treehouses and dine outdoor within the rainforest.

On the sting of Daintree National Park you’ll discover Cape Tribulation, which is a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. This stunning coastal area is situated on a headland and gives a novel panorama the place rainforest meets reef. 

Here you possibly can take a ship tour onto the reef, swim within the rainforest swimming holes or sign-up for a 4WD journey to discover the rugged terrain of the Bloomfield Track. The space is really beautiful, with remoted seashores and a wealthy variety of natural world. 

Getting Around the East Coast of Australia

The most handy method to get across the east of Australia is by driving. You may hire a automobile or hire a campervan so you possibly can sleep in your car and lower your expenses on lodging.

Popular van rental firms in Australia embody Wicked Campers, Britz, VroomVroomVroom, Apollo Camper and Jucy Rentals.

Australia is large, so driving distances between cities and cities might be very lengthy. If you drove the east coast of Australia with out stopping it might take 27 hours in complete! You additionally must keep in mind that they drive on the left in Australia, which can take some getting used to if you happen to come from the USA or Europe.

If you don’t need to drive, the best choice is to journey by Greyhound bus. Greyhound gives East Coast Whimmit Passes, which let you journey up (or down) the east coast at your personal tempo and hop off wherever you want. Coaches have free WiFi and in-seat USB chargers, and you may simply reserve your seat on-line. 

A 3-day Whimmit Pass prices $249, a 15-day cross prices $319 and a 30-day cross prices $389. Once you buy a cross you’ve 12 months to start your journey and also you’re granted limitless journey in any route for as many days as your time permits.

Flight costs are usually cheaper flying into Sydney, so I’d recommend beginning in Sydney then ending in Cairns, which is the route I took. I then flew to Alice Springs to do a tour to Uluru and flew to Melbourne to drive the Great Ocean Road. From Melbourne I flew again to Sydney to finish my journey. 

A Final Word…

There are so many superior issues to do on the east coast of Australia that it’s best to permit loads of time to see all the things. 2 weeks is absolutely the minimal period of time you want to journey the east coast however I’d say give your self round 3-4 weeks to do all the things at a extra leisurely tempo. 

I had a lot enjoyable backpacking Australia and it was such a life altering expertise. I made lifelong buddies on that journey and had so many unbelievable experiences simply on that one journey. If you’re contemplating a visit to Oz however haven’t pulled the set off but, I can let you know it’s completely value it.

One of the largest obstacles to beat when planning a visit to the Land Down Under is the steep flight costs, so if you wish to lower your expenses in your ticket, take a look at my helpful information to getting low-cost flights to Australia.

Book Your Trip

Don’t overlook journey insurance coverage: Heymondo is the perfect journey insurance coverage firm and gives reasonably priced insurance policies. Safetywing is ideal for long-term vacationers and digital nomads.

Book your flights: Find low-cost flights utilizing Google Flights, Skyscanner or Kayak. To get journey offers despatched straight to your inbox, join Scott’s Cheap Flights or Jack’s Flight Club. Use the Hopper app for his or her AI powered value change predictions.

Booking your lodging: I take advantage of Booking.com to e-book all my motels. Their Genius loyalty program means that you can earn reward credit no bookings and 10%-20% off resort costs. You can even strive Google Hotels and TripAdvisor to look costs throughout a wide range of websites. Agoda is the perfect website for reserving motels in Asia.

Travel on a finances: Staying in hostels is an effective way to fulfill folks and is greatest if you happen to’re on a finances. You can discover loads of superior hostels with Hostelworld.

Find Tours: For day excursions and multi-day journeys I all the time use GetYourInformation and Viator.

Rental Cars: Search the perfect rental automobile offers on Rentalcars.com or Discover Cars.

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