I recently completed my Australian East Coast trip and I’m dying to share my top tips with you on where to go! There are so many beaches, national parks, mountain ranges, creeks and mini cities that are absolute must see’s for when you get the chance to visit this beautiful country.
We booked our trip through a Peter Pans Agency in Byron Bay and found the prices to be lower than the rest of the agencies we had dealt with. After a few days of talking to the amazing reps Marc, Millie and Matt, who very kindly designed us a bespoke itinerary including accommodation and tours for the rest of our backpacking travels, we bagged ourselves a sweet deal and got everything booked which gave us huge peace of mind.
Now for the itinerary!
Week 1: Sydney and Bondi Beach
Start your trip in Sydney and visit the iconic Opera House, Botanical Gardens, Darling Harbour and Sydney Bridge. If you’re an adventure seeker, explore the Blue Mountains and the Figure of Eight Pools in Sydney National Park. A string of majestic coastlines line the East Coast and Bondi Beach is the best one to kickstart the experience. While you’re there, do the Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach walk and take a dip in the secluded beaches and pristine waters that will guide you along the way.
Week 2: Byron Bay and Surfer’s Paradise
Take surfing lessons in Byron Bay, go on a day trip to Nimbin (the smallest, most hippy town in the world) and dance your socks off in Cheeky Monkey’s nightclub. Continue to party it up in Surfer’s Paradise, otherwise known as the ‘Miami of Australia’ and catch an international DJ playing at one of the hotpot nightclubs. For some down time, relax on the stunning beach or put a shrimp on the barbie and have a BBQ at Cascade Gardens.
Week 3: Brisbane and Noosa
Top up your tan on Brisbane’s man-made beach in Southbank and get friendly with the Brissy locals – they understand the Irish banter! Head to Fortitude Valley for a whopper night out, the heart of Brisbane’s night life and you might even find Fatman Scoop playing at a street party. Pop up to Noosa and chill out for a few days after living it up in Brisbane. Go for a lovely walk through the National Park, explore the Noosa Everglades and take some more surf lessons on the beach.
Week 4: Rainbow Beach and 1770
Head off on a two-night Fraser Island 4×4 tour from Rainbow Beach and get ready for an experience of a lifetime. Fraser Island is where you can try your hand at off-road driving through jungles and rainforest while stopping at a tea tree lake for a quick dip. Sleep under the stars in the woods and make lifelong friends around a campfire. After the madness of Fraser, chill out in 1770 for a few days, also known as Agnes Water. The main attraction in 1770 is the exhilarating Scooteroo tour. Jump on a Harley Davidson scooter and fly around the town while spotting all kinds of wildlife, especially kangaroos!
Week 5: Airlie Beach and Magnetic Island
Airlie Beach is a vibrant town with music festivals and events on every day of the week. It is also from here that you can start your overnight Whitsundays boat trip and make a splash on Whitehaven Beach where the sand is so pure you can even brush your teeth with it! Next, get the ferry to Magnetic Island and immerse yourself in a tropical paradise – you won’t want to leave. Go on a hike to the WW2 fort and you’re guaranteed to spot koalas and wallabies along the way.
Week 6: Mission Beach and Cairns
Stay in the Jackaroo Treehouse Hostel in Mission Beach and immerse yourself in the wilderness of the Australian woods. Take the plunge and get ready to skydive from 15,000 feet and land on the beach. When you get to Cairns, rent a car and visit Cape Tribulation, the world’s oldest National Park, and drive to Millaa Millaa Falls, the majestic waterfall where the iconic Herbal Essences hair flick was filmed. Don’t leave Cairns without doing a day trip to the Great Barrier Reef and spot Nemo and Dori in the ocean.
All the above may sound like a lot to fit into six weeks but it’s completely possible if you follow this guide. The easiest form of transport along the East Coast is the Greyhound bus and a one-way pass won’t cost more than $400 per person (Sydney to Cairns). Accommodation is vast and varied and you can choose from a budget backpacker hostel for $30 per night or a private room in a hotel from $100.