The East Coast of Australia is a popular destination for backpackers and has so much to offer. From great scenery to adrenaline filled adventures. I spent 6 weeks doing the east coast which was the perfect amount of time (minimum 4 weeks).
Budget: $5000 (I haven’t put individual prices as it changes all the time. Shop around for the best deals. Groupon was a surprisingly good!)
Mode of travel: Greyhound bus pass- Sydney to Cairns
Sydney- 7 Days
I flew to Sydney and spent my first week with the tour Ozintro. They were great for the solo backpacker as they helped set-up my Aussie bank account, Medicare card (similar to NHS for Brits), arranged accommodation and activities for the first week of being in oz. I stayed in Base hostel in the CBD with my tour group which is great for a short stay.
Day 1: City orientation and jet boating around Sydney harbour
Day 2: Taronga zoo
HeDay 3: Sydney Aquarium
Day 4: Bondi to Coogee costal walk and BBQ
Day 5: Blue Mountains trip
Day 6: Pub crawl around Sydney
Day 7: Dinner at the top of Sydney tower
Byron Bay- 4 Days
We stayed in the Art Factory in Byron bay. The atmosphere here was amazing with yoga lessons and free tribal drum lessons this hostel is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I booked a 3 day ‘surf and stay’ with Mojo surf. We got a free yoga lesson on the beach when someone reported a shark sighting in the middle of our lesson (which later turned out to be Dolphins). The fourth day we went hunting for more dolphins on a kayak. 4 days was too short in Byron a week would of been perfect.
Surfers Paradise- 2 Days
- We spent two days in surfers paradise at Budd’s (which offer free breakfast). Surfers has a holiday vibe similar to a party strip you might find in Spain. We went to Wet ‘N’ Wild on the first day which is a good day out and only 30 minutes away by bus (bring packed lunch food here is super expensive!) Despite its tacky feel we had a good night out here on The Hangover Crawl.
Brisbane- 2 Days
We stayed at Base backpackers uptown and spent our night at Down under bar which had some fun games for backpackers. Brisbane doesn’t have a beach instead it has a man made lagoon which is nice to spend an afternoon, after exploring the city and botanical gardens. The Steve Irwin zoo is easily the best zoo I’ve been too. It’s very interactive with shows all around the park including the famous Crocodile show (also a great place for a kangaroo selfie).
Noosa- 2 Days
We stayed at Nomads in Noosa Heads which has a lovely (long) costal walk, we sadly didn’t see any wildlife but were told to lookout for koalas. There are a lot of water sports near here we tried paddle boarding using a Groupon voucher.
Rainbow beach- 1Day
We stayed at rainbow beach for a night before our Fraser Island tour. There isn’t a lot to do but sand boarding down dunes, we just chilled at the beach which is supposedly rainbow coloured.
Fraser Island- 3 Days
We went with Dingos tag along tour and camped. Driving on the biggest sand island in the world was epic. (Going in the summer is preferred as the weather wasn’t great in August). However, we made the most of it, and got in lake Mackenzie and chilly Champagne pools seeing Maheno Shipwreck and Indian Head this place is filled with aboriginal stories and culture.
Agnes water/ 1770 – 2 Days
1770 is named so to mark the first western settlement in Australia discovered by Captain Cook, this is about as interesting as the town gets. We used Agnes Water to recharge and give our bank balance a rest. There are super cheap surf lessons here and a scooteroo tour. We were unfortunately here for Australia Day and ended up at the only pub in town which closed at midnight.
Airlie beach (Whitsundays)- 4 Days
We stayed at base Airlie beach the room have a holiday villa vibe which we loved. Airlie beach is good for a chilled evening or a big night out. We spent our first night at Magnums and then entered a beer pong tournament at Mama Africa. Day 1 we hired a car and visited some waterfalls and beaches in the area. The lagoon is also a nice place to chill or nurse a hangover.
My favourite place on the coast is the Whitsundays! (So good I did it twice) The first was a 3 day sailing adventure aboard The Broomstick. This one we stayed on the boat overnight. It was amazing watching the sunset in the middle of the ocean while drinking wine and falling asleep under the stars.
The second time I visited the Whitsundays I travelled on Ride to Paradise we stayed on a 5 star resort which was also amazing, having full access to the resorts facilities such as pool, tennis courts and paddle boards. However, there wasn’t enough time to really explore the resort with the trips around the islands. Different experiences but both tours were amazing!
The tours did the same snorkelling and island routes. Whitehaven beach is named the most beautiful beach in Australia and in the top 5 of the world. The sand is in fact so fine NASA were allowed to remove some sand to clean their Hubble telescope.
The highlight of the snorkelling was swimming with ‘stoned’ sea turtles (as they eat jellyfish to get high).
Magnetic island- 3 days
We stayed at base, which is right on the beachfront one of my favourite hostels on the east coast. This is definitely a party island with events on every night at the hostel (and full moon party). The main thing to do is hire a car and drive around the island finding wild koalas and wallabies. Many people hired a Barbie car which looks cool but you can only drive a 4×4 to the sunset lookout point, which was beautiful.
Mission beach- 1 Day
We stayed at mission beach for one night before our Skydive, there wasn’t a lot to do here so we had a wander and an early night. I was so nervous before my skydive. I was last on and first out of the plane! I think this was better as I didn’t have to watch anyone else fall out the plane. The free fall was epic like nothing I’ve ever experienced. When the parachute went up I was allowed to do some steering before landing on the beach. I’m glad I did it but don’t think I’ll do another one! My only regret is that I didn’t get the video.
Cairns- 7 Days
Cairns is known for being a party town and where most backpackers start or finish their trip. We stayed at Gilligan’s which has a nightclub attached. Another good popular club is the Woolshed.
We went on the Uncle Brian’s waterfall tour which was so fun! We went diving off rocks and sliding down natural water slides before recreating the herbal essence advert at the Milla Milla falls (also where Peter Andre filmed mysterious girl). Definitely a must!
I booked onto a certified dive of the Great Barrier Reef. Having done a few dives it was a bit disappointing and murky with not much in the way of wildlife. However, we saw a sea turtle and lots of fish.
These are the highlights from my 6 weeks up the East Coast. Needless to say I had a great time! Stay tuned for my West coast adventure! I hope you enjoyed my first blog to see more of the East and West coast of Australia follow toristravels93 on Instagram.