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Best places to stop on the East Coast of Australia
The East Coast of Australia stretches from Melbourne in the south up to Cairns in the tropical north, a vast piece of coastline with so many hot spots to see.
Here we give you a rundown on the top destinations and places to visit. With our list of ‘Best places to stop on the East Coast of Australia’
The Australian East Coast is a beaten down track, travelled by many and loved by all. Australia is home to some of the best beaches in the world where you can ride waves on the epic surf, take a walk on the pristine silica or dive into the scintillating underwater world.
There’s a lot to see, so to make sure you don’t miss out on anything, here’s the hotspots and Must Sees of the East Coast of Australia.
Must See Cities on the East Coast of Australia
Melbourne is a city that encapsulates the creative arts and allows each person to express their individuality. From graffiti-tagged laneways to Australia’s best coffee, get lost in the midst of quirky coffee shops, beautiful gardens, and colorful beach huts! It’s been voted the most live-able city in the world so try not to get stuck here before you’ve seen what the rest of the Coast has to offer
From Melbourne, we have plenty of day tours for you to explore the region.
Check out our 1 Day Great Ocean Road tour, the most popular day trip from Melbourne.
Officially the beginning of the East Coast, this city is brimming with iconic landmarks and breathtaking Instagrammable moments. Make sure to spend time walking along the coast from Bondi to Coogee to breathe in the fresh salty air and spot the surfers doing their thing. If it’s an adventure you’re after, travel an hour out of Sydney to the Blue Mountains where there are hiking trails suited to different experience levels and views to make your eyes pop!
Best places to stop on the East Coast of Australia New South Wales
The authentic hippy town of Byron Bay immediately allows you to live life in slow motion. Nurture your love for the Earth as well as your love for surf.
If like me, you’re a total sunrise lover, then set your alarm for the early hours and hike to the top of the lighthouse. The sunrise floods in beautifully on the most Easterly point of Australia for that perfect postcard moment.
Spend the rest of your day shopping for handcrafted trinkets, visiting fortune tellers, practicing your yoga or chilling on the beach!
If you want a bit of a Byron Bay buzz…then jump out of a plane at 14,000 feet with a Skydive.
Best places to stop on the East Coast of Australia in Central Queensland
Noosa National Park
This stunning coastal city is a haven for surfers and boutique holidaymakers. Whilst Noosa is a little more expensive than other backpacker cities, the waves and chic atmosphere make it totally worth it. Make sure to pop your walking shoes on and explore the Coastal hiking trails, where you may be lucky enough to spot a dolphin or find the secret fairy pools! If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even kayak the Everglades and camp overnight under the stars!
This huge sand island is best explored in a 4X4. Whilst dodging dingoes, spiders, snakes and sharks; you can swim in champagne pools and float down a natural lazy river. Take a scenic flight above the sand dunes and clear blue lakes to see the beauty from an aerial perspective. By night, you can cook with your fellow campers and sneak in a few drinks under the stars before using your trusty goon bag as a camping pillow!
Fraser Island is a true Must See on the East Coast of Australia. Not to be missed!
Check out our deep dive on how to travel to Fraser Island and tours on offer here: Tours to Fraser Island
Agnes Water + 1770
So you’re kayaking on the sea, watching the sunset draw to a close. When all of a sudden a pod of dolphins bob in and out of the water giving you and your fellow kayakers a private show! Sounds like a dream, right? Yeah, you guessed it… Agnes Water and the town of 1770 provides you with an idyllic Aussie setting and helps you become one with nature. But if that isn’t your thing then fear no more! You could always surf the waves, skate down the clear sidewalk or lie horizontal all day in a hammock.
Airlie Beach (Whitsundays)
The Whitsundays are a group of islands found on the fringe of the Great Barrier Reef and arguably the greatest treasure of Queensland. What better way to waste away three days than to sail around a set of islands on a liveaboard? When you arrive at Whitehaven beach, the magical white sand will leave you gobsmacked. Lie on the beach and soak in the rays or chase lemon sharks and stingrays through the shallow waters!
Another absolute must-see on the East Coast of Australia.
Ah the Island of the Barbie Convertibles. The car you always said you’d never hire if you were to do the East Coast, but then get roped into just for the pure hilarity of it… Just me then? Well, I can confirm that it is hilarious, and cliché, but mostly hilarious.
When you’re in your bright pink convertible and you’re feeling like a boss, then you may as well take it for a spin to all the corners of the island. Park up at the fort and take the 2 hike to the fort, the highest point of the Island! Stunning views reward your climb, not to mention the cute koalas you’ll spot on the way!
If all of this sounds far too exciting and you need to let off a bit of steam, then head to Base Bar for an evening of alco-frolicking beach side.
Best places to stop on the East Coast of Australia in Tropical North Queensland
The most popular spot on the East Coast to face your fears and jump out of a perfectly functioning plane. The only skydive in Australia where you can land right on the beach! An exhilarating big fat tick off your bucket-list! Reward your adventurous efforts with a beach BBQ on one of the prettiest stretches of sand the Coast has to offer.
Cairns is a fantastic gateway to some pretty epic marine life in Australia. Whether you’re into diving, fishing or snorkelling, you’ll be sure to see some big stuff on the Great Barrier Reef.
Make sure you also check out the small but beautiful Fitzroy Island. Spend your day snorkelling in the search for marine life or visiting the sick turtles at the turtle rehabilitation centre. Paddleboards can be rented from a beachside kiosk and there’s a huge water trampoline so there’s no chance of getting bored!
Book your Great Barrier Reef day tour.
Fancy standing in the same spot as Peter Andre flexed his abs? How about flicking your hair in front of a waterfall as if you were in the Mysterious Girl video? Well, the Atherton Tablelands is home to Mila Mila Falls, where that very music video was shot! Bathe in the beautiful refreshing water to cool you down – well if it’s good enough for Peter Andre…
If you have a set of wheels then you should take time to explore the rest of the Tablelands, especially for a spot of camping at Lake Tinaroo. See if you can catch yourself a fresh Bream for dinner!
Visit the Atherton Tablelands.
Cape Tribulation/Daintree Rainforest
Some don’t make it this far as Cairns is often the finishing line for many travelers. If you have some spare time and want to immerse yourself in the dense beautiful rainforest that leads to a beautiful beach, then spend some time in Cape Trib. The Daintree Rainforest is a tropical haven and the oldest surviving rainforest in the world! Head down the Daintree River for some croc spotting – just make sure you don’t get too close. .
Book your Cape Tribulation adventure.
So many must-see destinations on the East Coast of Australia.
I hope you liked our list of the best places to stop on the East Coast of Australia. Did we miss anywhere? Let us know your hot spots and must-visits.
One of our most popular tours to get you to all the best places on the East Coast is the 21-Day Sydney to Cairns Tour.
Check out our articles for more East Coast info: