The east coast of Australia is perfect for those who want to have the whole backpacking experience but maybe are a bit nervous about travelling alone. You will meet so many people along your travels and you will end up bumping into each other along the trip which makes the whole experience perfect for those who are anxious about travelling. Greyhound bus passes are a perfect way to travel the east coast, and you’ll find most hostels will pick you up from the bus stops so you can really relax and not worry about where you need to go.
There is something for everyone in Australia, beaches, shopping, outdoor activities, walks, nature and animals the list goes on. Here are my top 10 stops you must do when backpacking Australia and a brief description of what you can expect to find at each place. I hope you enjoy reading!
The first stop we did on our Australian adventure was Adelaide, and its perfect place to start your trip and really see what Australia is about. The beaches in the south of Australia are so perfect and untouched, in fact we didn’t see anyone at all on most of the beaches. You can also visit some of the more commercial beaches such as Henley Beach but they are still just as beautiful and perfect to conveniently grab some chips followed by ice cream. It would be a great idea to rent a car and go exploring into the Barossa too where you can visit the giant rocking horse and the whispering wall. You can also tick of some bucket list items here by doing a dolphin swim in the sea and cuddling koalas in a more ethical environment at The Gorge Wildlife Park.
THE GORGE WILDLIFE PARK
Onto the next stop which is Melbourne, you can actually drive the great ocean road from Adelaide to Melbourne, if we went back this is definitely something we would do. We drove half of the great ocean road and the stops we loved the most were the 12 apostles and the pancake rocks but the whole drive is very scenic and there are so many smaller stops that are beautiful. Once you are back in Melbourne there are an abundance of events happening and its a really lively place to visit. This is a great place to really go out and explore and meet new people. For the nature lovers this place isn’t as great as the later stops on the east coast but you may spot the penguins off the jetty in the evening. Its also a great idea to do your skydive here overlooking the great ocean road, as seen by Dave >
PENGUINS ON THE PIER
THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD
Now off to the city of Sydney, of course there are so many touristy things to do here but your Australian adventure wouldn’t be perfect without taking phots outside the Sydney opera house. There is so much shopping here so be sure to resist so you don't end up living off noodles for the remainder of your trip. There are lots of free things to do here such as sightseeing and the botanical gardens. Its a little more expensive to stay here so I would try to limit your time staying in the city or opt for an air b’n’b just outside Sydney.
Bondi to Coogee walk
Bondi beach was one of my favourite places in Australia, it was a everything I thought it would be, lots of surf shops and cafes and a real sort of surf backpacking vibe mixed with instagramable spots. And how can I not mention icebergs pool, the perfect place to get that luxurious instagram shot moments before you get taken out by a huge ice cold wave!
If you’re feeling a bit energetic then the Bondi to Coogee walk is very picturesque and well worth the walk. I would recommend taking suncream and some water as well, and there are water refill points along the walk too.
BONDI TO COOGEE WALK
BONDI TO COOGEE WALK
Welcome to Neverland! So alongside Bondi, this place was also one of my favourite stops in Australia. It is a place you can well and truly get lost in and its no wonder that so many people go there and never leave. I will admit now, I spent about 1/4 of my misc spending money here whoops! I couldn't resists all the bohemian shops with the printed dresses. The atmosphere on the beach in the evening is brilliant, there is musicians in one direction then people doing yoga in the other. People grabbing a bite to eat whilst drying off from a day surfing in the sea. Oh talking about this all now makes me really want to go back! ‘Erm hello Dave? Yeah, so can we cancel the wedding and go back to Byron Bay?’
Brisbane was a great city and somewhere I could really have seen myself living. There is a really cool artificial beach in the middle of the city which is great for sunbathing, cooling off, followed by BBQ facilities right along side the pool. There are also some free botanical gardens which are great to take a packed lunch. You can also book your trip to Australia Zoo here which was a great shout.
One of the highlights of the whole trip was camping on Fraser island, we booked a 3 day self drive trip with Dingoe’s Hostel and I would 100% recommend this company to anyone wanting to do this trip. The guys who ran the tour were so adventure driven but also had a great attention to safety and knew the way around the island like the back of their hand. The scenery here is indescribable, you will get to visit lakes, dunes, rivers, beaches and even shipwrecks. The whole experience was perfect and a great way to really experience the outdoors and camping. Tip: Bring the bug spray!
TEA TREE LAKE
NATURAL LAZY RIVER
We did a 1 night boat trip to the Whitsundays, sleeping on a boat was an experience in its self! Other than the odd nights sleep the whole trip was beautiful. We got to snorkel in the fringe of the great barrier reef as well as some walks on land to some beautiful view points. I would recommend looking on trip advisor for the best reviewed tours as there are different styles or boat trips, theres party boats, small private tours, ones focused on island hopping and others on snorkelling. But this trip is something you should definitely not miss.
WAKING UP ON THE BOAT
SAILING THE WHITSUNDAYS
A short ferry ride and we arrived onto the tropical paradise that is Magnetic Island. The scenery here is a lot more natural and overgrown but its perfect as you feel like nature had kind of taken over. One of the days we did a 6 hour trek which took us to 4 of the bays each of which made you feel like you were on a deserted island, we even spotted an abandoned piano. I would recommend 3 days here as the island is so small you can do a lot in one day. P.s Bring comfortable walking sandals or shoes.
SUNSET OVER THE ISLAND
Cairns city isn’t really all that much to shout about however the main focus of out stay here was to drive towards Cape Tribulation. First stop on our drive was the crystal cascades, followed by Palm Cove and finally Port Douglas which was a great little road trip. We then got to Cape Tribulation however we couldn’t walk much around as it was flooded so a lot of the beaches were off limits. This area would be much better in a more drier season giving you options to explore.
Places we didn’t go but are with a mention are Kangaroo Island and Tasmania, we heard some great things about these places but due to our budget we weren’t able to go. It would have also been nice if we could have headed over to Perth, maybe next time.
I hope you have enjoyed reading and this post helps you plan your stops when you visit Australia. If you have any questions feel free to comment them down below.