East Coast Road Trip, Australia

Are you planning on travelling the east coast of Australia some time in the future? I’m just back from a glorious month-long trip.
I slept in a bed a handful of times throughout the journey. I pitched a tent in most places. Splurging here and there on some food and hoping every day our car wouldn’t konk out, I think I experienced the highlight of my entire Australian experience! Going from north to south; here’s my round-up, I hope it helps with organising your trip!

Cape Tribulation
First stop was ‘CapeTrib’ among the Daintree Rainforest! The only place in the world where two world heritages meet; The Great Barrier Reef and The DaintreeRainforst. Be sure to have cash for the ferry crossing and a camping permit if your daring enough to go amongst the wildlife! The only camping area is at Noah Beach which I highly recommend! Picture the movie Castaway; It’s really like having a private beach! Be sure to check out Masons Swimming Hole at Masons Cafe for an out of this world, only in a movie like swimming experience. If you have a4WD you can go further north of Cape Tribulation but it’s not recommended for2WD..

Noah Beach

Port Douglas
One of my favourite places, Port Douglas has that upmarket feel drawing in a more mature laid back crowd. I highly recommend to eat in 2Fish and Harrison’s Restaurant. Be sure to visit the market on Sunday mornings and watch out for snakes crossing the road!

Palm Cove
Break up your drive from Cairns to Port Douglas by stopping off in Palm Cove. A tropical tiny tourist town that has everything except a bank! It is very picturesque here, and there are many fine-looking resorts to stay in!

From Cairns I went out to the Great Barrier Reef. Crazy Cairns is notorious for its cheap alcohol available every night of the week. Packed full of pubs, if you’re a party night owl this is the place to be. Many travelling from South to North stop their travels here but I would strongly recommend not to! Keep going North, stretch your money it will be worth it. And honestly, the drive from Cairns northwards is every bit as good as the Great Ocean Road!

Mission Beach
I stayed in the council caravan park located practically on the beach for only $19 dollars a night. There is not much in Mission Beach itself but be sure not to miss out on Sky Diving onto the beach and White Water Rafting on the Tully river.

Airlie Beach
Airlie Beach is very much backpacker friendly. Great food deals in the town itself. From here I did the Whitsundays. I opted for a the day trip and visited three islands in total; Daydream, Hamilton and Whitehaven. Whitehaven beach blew me away, truly paradise! According to Trip Advisor (which I use a lot) It is the number one beach in Australia and voted fifth best beach in the world!

Rainbow Beach
Be sure to visit Carlo’s Sandblow. I’ve never seen a Sandblow before so I was swept away when I saw it! Rainbow beach is known for the many different colours throughout the sand. From here I went on a day trip to Fraser Island.

Fraser Island
What makes Fraser Island so unique is that it is the only island in the world that is 100% sand but has a rainforest growing on it! I again opted to go on a day trip. On a 4WD bus We visited 75-Mile Beach, Lake Mackenzie, Maheno Shipwreck, The Pinnacles and Eli Creek. A very popular tour on Fraser is the tag along three-day safari. On this trip you drive your own 4WD in a group with one tour guide as a leader, you camp and cook your own food! It sounds great but I guess it depends who’s in the jeep with you.. Also be weary of Dingoes!!

Lake MacKenzie

Noosa reminded of Port Douglas in many ways. Many designer label stores to shop in and every person seemed to be dressed ready for a night out! Be sure to go to Hastings Street at night-time to see all the trees twinkling in fairy lights and the beach by day is fabulous! The caravan parks are quite a drive from the main shopping area so it would be a good idea to look into alternative accommodation if you do not have your own transport.

Brisbane is not to be missed. One of Australia’s biggest cities has loads to offer! The city is laid out very well which makes it easy to navigate. Be sure to go shopping along the main strip, eat in China Town or on Brunswick Street and go for a long walk along South Bank.  I stayed in the Kookaurra Inn which is located close to everything and offers a very comfortable bed, something i hadn’t seen in a few weeks at this stage! I highly recommend eating in Fix Restaurant, one of the best meals i had on the East Coast.

Surfers Paradise
Surfers Paradise- Australia’s Theme Park Capitol. I stayed in Main Beach but spent most of my days getting butterflies and breathless in five different theme parks! The first day I went to Dreamworld and White Water World (which are conveniently joined together for ease of access).. the next day I went to Movie World and Wet’n’Wild (they aren’t too far from each other either) and on day three I went to Sea World! Phew! My head (or my stomach) wasn’t right for days! All five are definitely worth the visit.

Byron Bay
Are you a hippie? Then you should live in Byron! Or do you like fashion? Then you should live here too! It seems like a confused place.. There are lots of designer shops here, and a great choice of fine dining.. but there are hippies and street performers everywhere! So for that reason alone it is worth a visit- just to experience the vibes! There are beautiful walks to the lighthouse and all the way out to Australia’s Most Easterly Point! Here I spotted the first of the migrating whales flipping and diving through the sea! And not to mention the beach of course. All the beaches along the East Coast are amazing!

Your Ultimate Hippie Village. Tie-dye everywhere. Dreadlocks everywhere. There is also marijuana everywhere!! if your into smoking this stuff its worth a visit but don’t go here if you’re not into this stuff!! I didn’t like it here at all!!  Only stayed half a day, and couldn’t get the smell of weed out of my nose for the rest of the day! :(

Coffs Harbour
Gorgeous! I loved Coffs Harbour. Chilled out here for a couple of days. Went for  long walks and chilled out at the campsite soaking up the sun. Magnificent views. A must must must see is The Big Banana! The beginner and leader of all things ‘Big’ in Australia! I went on a day trip to Sawtell which was also a lovely spot.

Port Macquarie
Stopped off in Port Macquarie for one last night with the lovely tent! We only paid maybe $20 for this small two-man tent and we got great mileage out of it! Port Macquarie was the spot for watching a great sunset. Had some lovely sea food here too!

Decided to stay in Bondi for the last leg of the trip. I was so grateful the weather was amazing as the last time I was in Sydney it was torrential rain! Bondi is gorgeous. Go to Mongers for amazing fish and chips! I got to experience the Vivid Festival going on throughout Sydney and incorporated a concert in the Opera House. We went to see James Vincent McMorrow and he was brilliant!

This is where my holiday sadly ended. But don’t stop here! When I first arrived in Australia I went from Sydney to Melbourne along the coast by Batemans Bay, Lakes Entrance and Phillip Island and then onto do the Great Ocean Road! So much to see and do!

See more photos on my Instagram @anythingbutmarzipan or in the slideshow below.

Best Feed: Hastings Restaurant- Port Douglas
Best Theme Park Ride: Tower of Terror II- Dreamworld
Best Beach: Whitehaven- Whitsundays
Best Activity: Sky Diving
Best Campsite: Park Beach Holiday Park- Coffs Harbour
Most Helpful App: Wikicamps

I hope you enjoyed reading about my East Coast journey. If you are planning your own trip soon and you want any other information about any of the places mentioned above, don’t hesitate to contact me!

Lots of Love



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Check out these other super-awesome blog posts based on other travelers perspectives of Australia’s East Coast