Are you thinking about going on a road trip along Australias East Coast? Sounds awesome!
Australia is a great country and is perfect for road trips! The land is surrounded by the most beautiful beaches and several places there are small paradise islands, which has also made road trips along the coast so popular. Because Australia is such a big country, it also takes a long time to drive from one place to another (as for several hours!). Often recommended when setting a minimum of a few weeks for a trip down the east coast.
When you choose to go on a road trip, there are many things you need to be aware of. There are specific ‘timezones’ where it’s not allowed to drive in a rented car or camper van, which is why it is always a good idea to check available campsites for overnight stays. In Australia it is not allowed to park your car in the forest and then stay there overnight, and due to the rules of not driving at night, you need to find a campsite or book a room.
Road trip – Bus or car?
There are several ways to get from Cairns to Sydney (or vice versa). One of the ways is to take the Greyhound bus, which stops most places down the east coast. You buy a ‘Hop on hop off’ bus pass called fx. Cairns to Sydney, so you have the opportunity to book a seat in the bus each time you have to move on to the next city on the route. The good thing about a road trip with the Greyhound buses is that you can often choose a bus late in the evening and thus just sleep in the bus – you save money and do not have to think about having to find a campsite when the darkness falls on. Since in most buses there is a toilet, wifi and sockets, it is an easy way to get from A to B if you do not want to drive the entire route yourself.
Another way to do a road trip along Australias East Coast is to rent a car or campervan. In this way you get more freedom to decide the route yourself and when you want to go. The good thing about a camper van is among other things that you can sleep and eat in the car. In this way, you save money on food, as restaurant visits in Australia can be quite expensive and you do not have to pay for hotel rooms. However, instead you have to pay for gasoline and for a place at a campsite at night – and of course for renting the car and insurance.
Cairns – Great Barrier Reef
A perfect way to start your road trip is a trip to the Great Barrier Reef. Here you can both take a diving certificate, snorkel or just enjoy the view from the boat. Below the sea is the most beautiful coral reef with lots of colorful fish, so there is plenty to look at. There are many different trips to the Great Barrier Reef, so there is a good chance to find a trip that fits into the program, whether you want to be at sea just one or more days.
Athertons Tablelands 💦
If you love beautiful scenery then a trip to the waterfalls in Athertons Tablelands is the right choice. The easiest way to explore all the beautiful natural wonders is by either driving by car or by booking a guided minibus tour (which I recommend). Here you get good opportunity to bathe in the icy water from waterfalls, climb around the large slippery rocks and try several of nature’s water slides.
Townsville – Magnetic Island ⛵
The town of Townsville itself is a reasonably boring city, but it nevertheless manages to attract a lot of attention because of the beautiful island not far away. After a small boat trip from the harbor you arrive at Magnetic Island, which is a pure paradise. The island is very small and does not look like Australia at all, as the pace here is significantly reduced. A good idea would be to rent a mini car or scooters if you want to explore the island. I would recommend people visiting Magnetic Island to stay at the X-base hostel. It doesn’t even resemble a hostel, but more of a small resort that just holds some wild parties! The place is filled with young people and every night there are various competitions and events, followed by party until well into the night. And then the view is just amazing!
Airlie Beach – Nightlife & Whitsundays 🍸
The next important stop on the road is Airlie Beach. Here you get both the wild city life in the evening and the beautiful sandy beaches during the day. The city feels a bit like the ‘capital of backpackers’ and you will also find that several of the people you have so far met on your way are also here! The main road in Airlie Beach includes everything from restaurants and night clubs, to shopping and more shopping. By day, most are out on trips to Whitsundays, which is a must on this strike, or walk around and shop or eat hangover at McDonald’s or Macca’s as they call it.
Hervey Bay – Fraser Island 👙
Just outside Hervey Bay is Fraser Island, which is the island that has the most to offer. From sandy ‘bumpy roads’ that throw you in every imaginable direction, to the most beautiful beaches and ‘champagne pools’, sunset over the sea and forests with wild dingoes. It is recommended to take a minimum of 2 days here, as it takes some time to get around the island because of the very sandy roads – which is part of the experience!
Brisbane is yet another of Australia’s best known cities, known for its laid-back atmosphere and wonderful weather. Visit the animals in the Lone Pine Sanctuary, take a rest at the South Bank (an artificial beach with cozy cafes) or crawl up on the Story Bridge in true James Bond style.
Gold Coast / Surfers Paradise
If you are good at surfing, you will surely like beaching around the Gold Coast. Here you will find huge waves, beautiful beaches, water sports and restaurants and night clubs as far as the eye can see. Also visit the Lamington National Park which has more than 500 waterfalls!
What makes Byron Bay special is not only the beautiful beaches that are found in countless places along the east coast, but the laid-back atmosphere you are greeted with. Here are party people, backpackers, hippies and surferdudes, who are all here to relax, enjoy life, surf and party together.
A road trip to Australia’s east coast is not complete until you have been to magical Sydney. The city has both urban life and beautiful nature, so there should be something for everyone. Here you can shop, eat delicious (and expensive) food, watch fireworks over Darling Harbor, visit the Sydney Opera, go to a wildlife park and feed animals and much more. A great place to end a road trip or just take a few days before the trip continues.
I hope you have got a lot of good ideas for your maybe upcoming road trip along Australias East Coast. If you have other good tips for the route, please write them in a comment!