The East Coast of Australia in 4 weeks or more

Aisling Barclay
Aug 15, 2018 · 23 min read

This is a collection of notes taken from my recent trip up the east coast of Australia, intending to offer a starting point for anyone planning on travelling this epic country. Tackling a road trip itinerary can be overwhelming so i’ve included details I wish I’d known beforehand, advice on booking tours without the headache (and judging when they are really necessary) as well as general guidance on fitting everything in to a 4 week timeframe or longer.

Furthermore I want to give guidelines whilst sharing minimal details on each location, as I believe these are things best left to discover yourself. You’ll also pick up plenty of ideas from locals or fellow travellers on the way which could change your route entirely! I found that the best experiences — the sincerely magical moments that we all look for when we travel, were stumbling upon those places that no one had told me beforehand were ‘must see spots’.

So, i’ll try and point you in the right direction without spoiling all the fun. The following is after all just my opinion — the beauty being that you will soon get to form your own.


How long do you need?

Remember, Australia is HUGE. The time taken to drive between Australian cities is equivalent to driving between European countries! That being said, here’s what you can expect to achieve in certain timeframes:

4 weeks (One way): The minimum you need to do the East Coast justice, this is an ideal amount of time to cover all the key stops without rushing too much.

More than 4 weeks: I recommend dedicating at least 6 weeks to this trip if you want to explore anywhere outside of the main stops. 5- 6 weeks is also necessary if you’re planning on doing a return trip back.

Less than 4 weeks: While it is possible to do this trip in 2–3 weeks, it will leave you rushed for time and needing to make heavy compromises. In this case I would choose half of the east coast to focus on (ie. Brisbane to Cairns.)

When should you go?

There isn’t really a bad time to do this trip, but it is good to be aware of the pro’s and con’s. I travelled in Winter (Jun - Aug) which was perfect in the North but chilly down South. For relatively good weather everywhere without it being too hot, try travelling in Spring or Autumn. In my opinion the only season I would avoid is Summer (Dec - Feb),the busiest, priciest and hottest.

Good to know:

  • Humpback Whales migrate along the east coast in Winter, you’ll have many chances to spot them at this time of year.
  • Marine stingers such as Box jellyfish are prevalent from Nov — May
  • During Summer (Dec - Feb) temperatures in northern, tropical and central Australia can skyrocket to the point where it is difficult to be active.

How should you travel?

Bus:

The Greyhound Bus is a popular option for backpackers as it can be the most reliable and quickest way to get around if you don’t have car. You can buy separate tickets (although this can get pricey) or a 90 day hop on hop off pass for $550 which will cover the whole east coast. You’ll get access to free wifi and USB chargers and the buses can cover long distances overnight, although you will be lucky to get goods night sleep.

The downsides are that the buses follow a strict schedule, which are not always at convenient times to catch a bus. The routes are also pre-determined and do cover the main stops, but if you want to explore anywhere off the beaten track you will need to find another means of getting there.

Another option is the slightly cheaper Premiere Bus which will give you a Sydney — Cairns hop on hop off pass for $360 (although this comes without the free wifi and USB chargers.)

Car:

By far my top choice for travelling the east coast! I found that a car gave me all the freedom and flexibility I needed without much hassle. Having a car gives complete control on when you leave/arrive at destinations, where you can go and how you get there. You can choose between sleeping in hostels or camping when you need to save money (and there is always the option of sleeping in the car if you get desperate!) A car also provides a secure place to store luggage without worrying about leaving your bags unattended. Finally, there is always have the possibility to advertise your journey on a car share app to earn a bit of petrol money back. (See below)

The downside is that while a one way rental is possible, it is often a lot more expensive. Returning the car in the same location will be cheaper but takes more time. You’ll also have to consider parking (although it’s usually always possible to find free parking.)

Compare rental prices here.

Campervan:

When everything goes right a Campervan can be perfect — a self contained mini-home where you drive, cook and sleep in the same place sounds great! However, that’s IF everything goes exactly to plan as a Campervan can come with lots unforeseen caveats and problems. In fact everyone I met travelling by van had at some point encountered issues along the way, which proved costly and frustrating. I also believe that this isn’t necessarily the most budget friendly option, bearing in mind you still have to pay for a spot in camping sites, parking, fuel (which adds up), and any repairs that might pop up.

If you do decide to choose this option then do your homework and don’t always go for the cheapest service, which will usually come with drawbacks such as leasing extremely old and fragile vehicles. Research the company and READ THEIR REVIEWS. Doing this could save you a lot of time and money and the last thing you want to do on holiday is worry about your vehicle.

Campervan Relocation Deals:

Not recommended as your primary method of travel as you will be rushed and restricted to an allocated amount of mileage. However it can be fun for a short journey if you want to experience a Campervan for only $1 per night.

Plane/Train:

I personally would not recommend either of these unless you are extremely strapped on time and flights are your only option. Only major cities have airports so you will still have to find other means of getting to smaller towns. It’s possible to get a good deal on flights if you are flexible and can find the cheapest day — check with sites like sky scanner to compare

As for trains, these are pretty much non-existent in Australia. Major cities like Sydney and Melbourne have subways, but in terms of cross-country train services, these are as expensive as they are infrequent.


The Route

This route can be done either way, starting in Sydney or Cairns. I’d adapt this depending on which season you are travelling, for example, I travelled in Winter and started in Sydney working up to Cairns which turned out fantastic as the weather just kept getting better and better. By the time I returned back south, the worst of the cold weather had passed.

Note: I am focusing on Sydney — Cairns in this East Coast itinerary as I don’t consider it feasible to comfortably include Melbourne in a 4 week trip. For those with more than 4 weeks I highly recommended visiting the artistic and cosmopolitan Melbourne as your first or final destination! Melbs is also a base for Phillipe Island, The Grampians, Snowy Mountains and The Great Ocean Road.

Now let’s get going.


Pristine view of Sydney harbour from the CBD

1. Sydney

Time needed: 3–5 days

Many people mistake Sydney as Australia’s capital (it’s actually Canberra), and it’s hard to blame them — Sydney is the largest city in Oz and the most populous. The city has earned its iconic reputation and really is nothing short of beautiful.

Note: You can spend an infinite amount of time in any of Australia’s cities and not get bored, however, if travelling in 4 weeks or less I wouldn’t recommend spending more than a couple days in the cities — save them for further up the coast!

A few things to do here:

  • Enjoy the Coogee to Bondi Beach walk, try and time it so you catch Bondi at sunset and can enjoy the surfers silhouettes against the pale pink sky.
  • Take the ferry across the harbour — go anywhere you like! You’ll be surprised at how different Sydney can be from different angles.
  • Check out Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge by day and night.
  • Check out the picturesque Darling Harbour (also home to one of Sydneys only electronic club nights on a Sunday - S.A.S.H)
  • Take a tour or self driven day trip to the Blue Mountains.
  • Spend an evening in Kings Cross and try any of the many bar/restaurants.
  • Go to Bare Grill, order any burger with extra raclette cheese…and enjoy.

Good to know:

  • Many people start their trip in Sydney, planning the exact same stops and staying in the same places along the coast. Meet some people here and you will find potential travel buddies to run into further down the road.
  • Don’t get caught out with fines here! Sydney has some strict policies (especially concerning drinking) so always read the signs and take them seriously — they will be enforced.
  • Hostels in Sydney are expensive, and in my opinion some are better value than others. I was impressed by the freebies at Mad Monkeys Kings Cross which gives you decent free hot breakfasts every day, free gym access, and free wifi (not always a give-in.) However, Wake Up! is a very social hostel with daily activities — a good option for finding potential travel buddies.

Drive from Sydney to Port Stephens: 3 hours

Note: The drive from Sydney to Byron Bay is 9 hours which I don’t recommend doing in one go. Not only is it tiring but risky to drive at night due to wandering wildlife. It’s also MUCH more fun to take it slow and explore a small town or two.

Sand dunes that stretch for miles

2. Port Stephens/ Nelson’s Bay

Time needed: 1 day

Nelson’s bay is a suburb of Port Stephens and a perfect place to stop and spend the night on route to Byron Bay. Half a day here is enough time to explore the beauty Port Stephens has to offer and is a great introduction to Aussie nature.

A few things to do here:

  • Walk along the largest Sand Dunes in Australia (try sand boarding along them if you’re up to it!)
  • Find a quiet spot for whale watching (in the winter months).
  • Spy wild kangaroos lounging on the golf courses.
  • Take a hike for beautiful panoramic coastal views (ask a local for tips).

Drive from Port Stephens to Byron Bay: 6–7 hours

Interesting stops in-between:

  • Port Maquarie
  • Coffs Harbour
  • Yamba
  • Ballina
Byron Bay sunsets of orange and pink

3. Byron Bay

Time needed: 3 days

Everyone has an opinion on Byron Bay, there’s something about this cute little town that will leave a lasting impression. It seems like the whole town is built for surfing and it’s hard not to get caught up in the atmosphere — lessons are good fun and reasonably priced here so there’s no problem getting involved.

A few things to do here:

  • Learn to surf or practice your skills at Clarkes beach or The Pass.
  • Walk to Byron Bay lighthouse or Easterly Point to enjoy sunrise or sunset.
  • Enjoy the beach town nightlife, whatever your music taste there will be something for everyone here.
  • Consider a day trip to the very unique hippy village Nimbin.
  • Drive around the beautiful hinterland and search for hidden waterfalls (there is a Japanese cafe called DOMO in the little town of Federal that is very popular with locals).
  • Relax, soak in the unique Byron atmosphere and all it’s hidden surprises.

Good to know:

  • Check if there are any festivals/music events on when you’re visiting. There are large festivals every year like Splendour in the Grass and Bluefest as well as smaller music & arts events. Bear in mind that around these dates prices of accommodation can double and book up very quickly.

Drive from Byron Bay to Gold Coast: 1 hour

Romantic entrance to BroadBeach

4. Gold Coast

Time needed: 1–3 days

While driving through Gold Coast you might believe that you’ve accidentally found yourself in Miami…perhaps it’s the view of shiny skyscrapers against golden beaches that create this illusion. Gold Coast and the backpacker hub ‘Surfers Paradise’ do attract divisive opinions so see for yourself what to make of the cities’ character. For those with limited time I wouldn’t linger too long and instead save your days for further up the coast as you will need them.

A few things to do here:

  • Drive through the hinterland and visit the nearby Springbrook National Park for some natural beauty away from the city.
  • Catch some panoramic views of the whole city up the SkyPoint.
  • Relax at the beach in Burleigh Heads and wait for sunset.
  • Partake in any of the many watersports here; surfing, kayaking and scuba diving to name a few.
  • Party until morning in Surfers paradise — home to many bars and clubs popular with backpackers.

Good to know:

  • The city is very spread out and if you don’t have a car you might find yourself limited to the Surfers Paradise area.

Drive from Gold Coast to Brisbane: 1 hour

Brisbane lagoon is the perfect respite from the heat

5. Brisbane

Time needed: 2–5 days

As the capital of Queensland, Brisbane is one of the biggest cities along the east coast and buzzing with life! There is an abundance of cafes, restaurants and nightlife and an unexpectedly large collection of art galleries and museums. A little more down to earth than Sydney and a little more corporate than Cairns, Brisbane finds a nice middle ground and won’t leave you bored.

A few things to do here:

  • Stroll along the Southbank, there are always many interesting little places to discover.
  • Visit the Museum of Queensland for amazing displays of the strange and wonderful animals of Australia, as well as occassional live insect displays.
  • Sunset at Kangaroo point makes a nice start to the evening.
  • Visit some of the trendy Brisbane Art galleries and museums featuring local artists and history.
  • Drive a short distance to the Australia Zoo (Also known as the Steve Irwin zoo) if you are interested in visiting one of the largest conservation centres in the world.

Good to know:

  • Taking the ferries along the river are a good way to get around the city (some are free too!)

Drive from Brisbane to Noosa: 2–3 hours

Sunset at the river split

6. Noosa

Time needed: 1–2 days

Noosa is an affluent beach town known for it’s great surf spots and being a bit of a foodie haven. It makes a nice stopover if you have time to enjoy some lovely coastal walks and chill on beautiful sunshine coast beaches, otherwise you won’t miss out on too much by skipping Noosa. You’ll find similar and more dramatic beauty further up the coast.

A few things to do here:

  • Catch come waves at one of Noosa’s beautiful beaches.
  • Admire the sea from above with a coastal walk along Noosa National Park.
  • Dip in the famous fairy pools along the coastal walk (they are a little hidden but not too hard to find).
  • Keep an eye out for wild Koalas in the Noosa National Park.
  • Watch the glowing sunset at the River Split.
  • Kayak along Noosa Everglades — one of only two everglades on Earth!

Good to know:

  • Noosa is quite an affluent beach town and a little expensive as a result, especially when it comes to eating out.
  • That being said, if you like Indian food, ‘Magic of India’ is by far the best Indian food I’ve had in Australia!

Drive from Noosa to Rainbow Beach: 2 hours

4x4 tracks along the Fraser Island beaches

7. Rainbow Beach / Fraser Island

Time needed: 2–5 days

As the largest existing sand island and world heritage listed, Fraser Island is considered one of the must do’s for the east coast — largely for the experience of exploring the mysterious island via 4x4 and having the opportunity to meet a group of like minded travellers. The island is home to beautiful hidden lakes, endless sandy coasts, and the wild resident Dingos.

Fraser island can only be explored via 4x4 and while it is possible to take your own vehicle, it’s very risky and not recommended for travellers. There are various guided tours on offer ranging from one day to several. Rainbow Beach and Hervey Bay are the two towns offering access to Fraser Island and most tour packages will include accommodation here before and after the trip.

Fraser Island Tour Options:

1) 3 Day/ 2 night 4x4 tag Along tours: $450 - $500
This is by far the most popular tour option and involves driving along the island in a group of 8 per car, to a total of 4 cars following a guide. Bear in mind these can attract a younger, boozier crowd (some operators specify an 18–35 age range). Generally operators will visit the same key spots (Lake Mackenzie, Eli Creek, The Shipwreck, Champagne Pools) so there wont be a huge difference in itinerary. The following operators all run this tour:

  • Dingos These are who I went with, and they are exactly as advertised. This is a great option if you want to be surrounded with like minded travellers and also don’t mind sleeping rough with the evening camping.
  • Pippies — Similar in style to Dingos, I’ve also heard good things!
  • Nomads — Nomads offer both camping and resort options for your overnight stay.
  • Drop BearDrop Bear have a reputation for putting a big focus on conservation and history of the island.

2) Fully Guided Tour: $510 - $545
If you would prefer a more guided tour you can also explore the island with a 4x4 tour bus. This might be a better option for you if you want a more laid back style of tour while learning about the island. Check out Cool Dingos.

3) Day Trip:
There are also plenty of day trips on offer if you are really short on time or don’t like the idea of staying overnight. You will find an abundance of these to suit every style.

Good to know:

  • Dingos roam the island and although they look like friendly dogs they are vicious and have been known to attack humans. Be respectful of them and keep your distance.
  • The sea is not considered safe to swim in due to strong currents, sharks and marine stingers.
  • If you decide to take a 3 day/2 night tour then you will be given the opportunity to order the alcohol for your group on the night before you leave. My recommendation is to order more than you think you need as you WILL go through more than you think.
  • If you do not have a driving license don’t worry! You only need one if you intend to drive which is not necessary, I personally don’t drive so could just sit back and enjoy the view.
  • Have a good Spotify playlist ready! If you are driving around the island you will want to blare out some tunes to make the drive that much more epic.

Drive from Rainbow Beach to 1770: 4 hours

Watch the sun set over the water in 1770

8. 1770 / Agnes Water

Time needed: 1–2 days

The town of 1770 has interesting historical significance, the name derives from the date Captain Cook discovered Australia and the location of the first European settlement. Nowadays it’s a small beach town which also happens to offer the cheapest surf lessons in Oz! Agnes Water is the larger adjacent town where I would recommend staying overnight as you’ll find more options in terms of camping/hostels. In my opinion 1770 is worth a quick visit but doesn’t warrant more than a full day here if sticking to a tight schedule.

A few things to do here:

  • Watch the sunset at 1770 as this is one of the only places on the east coast where you will be able to see the sun setting on the water.
  • Learn to surf at the cheapest surf school in Oz, Lazy Lizards!
  • Check out the unique Scooteroo tour (Look them up!)

Good to know:

  • If you are using any other phone operator than Telstra prepare to have absolutely no signal or reception here. Download the app WikiCamps which can be used offline if you intend on camping!

Drive from Agnes Water to Yeppoon: 2 hours

Tip of the reef off of Long Beach

9. Yeppoon/ Great Keppel Island

Time needed: 2–4 days

This was by far one of the highlights of my trip and if you want a taste of somewhere really off the beaten track i’d recommend Great Keppel Island. If you are following a 4 week schedule you may have to make a choice between here and another destination (like Magnetic Island), but if a secluded piece of island paradise without crowds interests you then this is an amazing choice.

Interestingly, Great Keppel Island was a popular tourist destination over 10 years ago before it was forgotten as a result of declining quality of resorts and cyclones damaging the island beaches. While the nature had recovered, the popularity never quite has. Make the most of it before it gets there again! Ferries depart from Rosslyn Bay but I recommend staying a night before and after in Yeppoon to give yourself time to rest.

A few things to do here:

  • Camp in the sand at one of the very chilled beach campsites (I stayed at Great Keppel Island Hideaway).
  • Stay at one of the island’s resorts for a bit more comfort, these are also where you will find the few bars and restaurants on the island.
  • Snorkel or scuba dive as the Keppel Islands are located on the southern part of the great barrier reef — look out for turtles and sting rays!
  • Walk along the many secluded beaches, and don’t miss Long Beach (pristine white sands and turquoise waters!)
  • Grab some wine and watch the glorious sunset on Fishermans Beach (another of the few spots where you can see the sun set over water in Oz).
  • Kayak or paddle board, indulge in all types of water sports here.
  • Island hop! There are over 17 islands to discover in the Keppels so if you have more time try out others like Pumpkin island or North Keppel.

Good to know:

  • Greyhound Buses wont stop in this area as they tend to only cover the well known cities/ towns along the east coast. If you want to visit here a car or Campervan is necessary, OR grab a lift from Agnes Water/ Airlie Beach.
  • Beaches aren’t patrolled and can be very isolated so when snorkelling be aware of currents and marine stingers in the summer months.

Drive from Yeppoon to Airlie Beach: 5–6 hours

10. Airlie Beach / The Whitsundays

Time needed: 3–5 days

No trip along the east coast is complete without visiting the Whitsundays, a majestic collection of 74 islands nested between the Queensland coast and Great Barrier Reef. With some of the whitest sand and bluest waters you will find they are the perfect spot for relaxation and adventure. They are generally only accessible through guided tour with day trips and overnight options available. Airlie Beach is the buzzing coastal town where most Whitsundays tours are based and the perfect pick up and drop off point.

Whitsundays Tour options:

1) 2 Day/2 Night Live aboard Sailing Trip: $400 – $500
This is the most popular option and a fantastic way to see as much of the islands as possible. There are many live-aboard boats to choose from and each one has a different ‘personality’, so take a look to compare which one would suit you best. The vibe of the boat can make a big difference to your trip depending on how you want to experience the islands so make sure to read reviews before you book. Here’s a boat comparison to start you off.

2) Day tours
If you don’t like the idea of spending a couple nights living on a boat there are many day trip options that include visiting the famous Whitehaven beach, snorkelling, scuba diving, ocean rafting and more.

What to do in Airlie Beach:

  • Party at any one of the numerous bars, clubs or casinos in the area.
  • Skydiving is popular here as you get that truly magnificent view of the whitsunday islands from the air!

Good to Know:

  • Most of the restaurants and cafes along the main strip can be a little expensive, if you have a car a short drive off of the strip can take you to some much better value restaurants.

Drive from Airlie Beach to Townsville: 4 hours

11. Townsville / Magnetic Island

Time needed: 3 days

Townsville a moderately sized coastal town and the most popular gateway to Magnetic Island — a 30 minute ferry ride away. Magnetic Island is a getaway popular for it’s abundant wildlife including a sizeable Koala population, hiking trails and beaches. I personally would recommend a night in Townsville, then catch the early ferry to Magnetic the following day and stay there for 2 days and 2 nights to make the most of the island.

A few things to do here:

  • Hunt for wild Koala’s — Magnetic Island houses a huge Koala population and this was personally one of my biggest draws for coming here! You won’t be disappointed if you do the Forts Walk and take some time to visit a secret little residential street called Wallaby Way…
  • Sit and wait for the rock wallabies to appear. If you visit Geoffrey Bay at around 4pm these little guys will start popping out from the rocks. You are allowed to feed the wallabies as long as it is only the proper foods: carrots; sweet potatoes; apple and wallaby pellets.
  • Drive rental ‘barbie cars’ or open top 4x4s (my top choice) around the island to discover as much as possible.
  • Watch the sunset at Horseshoe Bay, or West Point if you have a 4x4 car.

Good to know:

  • Access to the island is by ferry only so you will have to park your car in Townsville for your stay. Free parking exists but is a fair walk from the ferry terminal.
  • If you decide to rent a car to drive around the island, I highly recommend renting an open top 4x4. Other rental cars can only stick to main roads, whereas if you want to explore some off road tracks you will need a 4x4. The cost is also best split between 4 people as it’s quite pricey otherwise.

Drive from Townsville to Cairns: 4 hours

Interesting stops in-between:

  • Mission Beach — skydiving, cassowaries and all around nice vibes.
  • Tully — white water rafting and hiking galore.
  • Babinda — aboriginal history and the stunning Babinda Boulders.

12. Cairns

Time needed: 3–7 days

By now you are well and truly in the tropics! Fun and vibrant Cairns is a great place to start any East Coast trip, but in my opinion it is a PERFECT place to end it! There’s a reason so many backpackers want to stay here as long as possible, the city itself has a bit of everything and breathtaking nature is right at your doorstep. The city deserves as many days as you can give it and you won’t have any trouble filling them.

A few things to do here:

  • Scuba dive and Snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef! Cairns is the main access point to the GBR and there are so many tours to choose from. If you are a certified diver a live-aboard boat lasting multiple nights might be the best choice, otherwise there are plenty of day trips that include snorkelling and introductory dives. Something important to consider when choosing a diving trip is to ensure the boat is licensed to visit the outer reef and is eco certified. Sadly the GBR is dying, with coral bleaching rapidly taking effect as a result of rising water temperatures, pollution and human interference — we risk adding further damage if we don’t respect the reef we have left.
  • Visit Kuranda, the village in the rainforest if you fancy a scenic day trip. The village is accessed through the Kuranda Scenic Railway and then a Skyrail cable car for the way back. The actual village is very small but the Butterfly Sanctuary is a must-do when you’re there.
  • Drive through the Atherton Tablelands and stop off at a few waterfalls. Lots of day trips allow you to do this but my personal preference will always be for the self drive where you can take it at your own pace, and discover things as you go. If you drive past a Mango Wine seller, get some!
  • BBQ by the sea — I cannot recommend this enough! The east coast is full of free BBQ stations but eating homemade burgers on a warm Cairns evening was unbeatable. Just make sure to get to there early as they get very popular. Following with a bottle of wine or two is optional.
  • Party at any one of Cairns fine establishments. There are so many pubs to choose from, and some famous bar crawls such as the Cairns party bus. As Cairns really isn’t that big you’ll probably run into Gilligan’s at one point, an infamous party hostel with nightclub attached.
  • Take a day trip to Daintree Rainforest/Cape Tribulation if you’re short on time, otherwise self drive all the way! (More on this next)

Good to know:

  • Most cinemas will do special discounts for tourists/backpackers, making it an actually really affordable way to spend the afternoon. Two thumbs up.
  • Bavarian Beer House on the promenade will give you a 6 litre beer tower for $35 (in Oz this is an absolute bargain).

Drive from Cairns to Daintree: 2–3 hours

13. Daintree Rainforest / Cape Tribulation

Time needed: 1–3 days

Cape Tribulation is the intersection of two UNESCO listed World Heritage sights — the world’s oldest rainforest (Daintree) and the Great Barrier Reef, resulting in a cacophony of pristine, raw nature. Whilst it can be done in a day tour, if you have a car and want time to discover the secrets of this rainforest (including spotting a rare cassowary) a few days here is ideal!

A few things to do here:

  • Take a crocodile spotting tour along the Daintree River — I can really recommend the small and personal solar powered boat Soulwhisper.
  • Explore as many of Cape Trib’s beaches as possible — they are all fairly isolated, beautiful and perfect for picnics.
  • Swim without fear of crocodiles in a few special places, there are plenty but it would ruin all the fun if I listed them — ask a local ;)
  • Catch a glimpse of a Cassowary; The Daintree is one of the only places in the world where these ancient birds live, but they are very rare and hard to spot. You’re most likely to run into one while trekking through quiet, secluded trails in the rainforest, but always take caution. They are huge and although unlikely, perfectly capable of tearing us open with one strike.
  • Trek through the rainforest, there are numerous trails and some with boardwalks (Marrdja) if you want something a bit smoother. Night time treks are also available if you are staying longer.
  • Zip-line through the trees to see the forest from a new angle.

Good to know:

  • Remember that you are in crocodile country up here and they are a real threat if you don’t take care. Most beaches and creeks will have crocodile warnings and it is generally not a good idea to enter any water unless you know that the area is a safe swimming spot. The classic rule applies, smart people don’t get eaten by crocodiles!
  • Get ready for no signal or internet connection, hostels and bars will offer paid for wifi but otherwise it’s just you and nature!

What now?

Hopefully you will have had a fantastic time adventuring up (or down) the East Coast! The real problem with Australia is not finding what to do, but finding the time to do it all in.

If you do have just a little bit more time however, there are many ways to take your adventure that little bit further. From here there are many options:

  • Keeping heading up to explore the northern territories.
  • Head to the red centre to experience the magic of Alice Springs and Uluru.
  • Head back down to Sydney/Melbourne through the Queensland outback.

I personally chose the last option and had no regrets — trading in beaches and rainforests for endless stretches of desert road, vast blue skies, and tiny outback towns was pretty epic. I’ll definitely be covering this more in depth later, but for now I’m sure you’ll have fun figuring it out yourself. The East Coast of Australia is one of the most popular road trips in the world for good reason — there’s really nothing else quite like it.

Safe travels!

Aisling Barclay

Written by

Designer, explorer, dreamer

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade