How To Travel The East Coast Of Australia In 10 Easy Steps(What not to miss!)

So you are planning to travel the East Coast of Australia?

Awesome! The East Coast of Australia is on everyone’s bucket list; it was most certainly ours!

Well, first of all, you need to decide where are you going to start from Sydney or Cairns.

If you already have an idea of where are you starting from then you need to consider the following:

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Step 1. How much time do you have to go up the east coast of Australia:

As I’m sure you know, Australia is huge so make sure you plan out how much time you have(sounds obvious but it can be a lot bigger than you think!).

Trust us we made that mistake!

Ideally, you are looking at month or two of travelling the east coast of Australia to really to check out each spot, but you can also squeeze your holidays into two weeks if you have a good plan.

Travel The East Coast Of Australia In 10 Easy Steps(What not to miss!)

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We recommend at least one month.


Step 2. Make your plan for the east coast of Australia:

Make an actual plan on where are you going to make your stops, what you want to see, how much you wish to spend in each place.

Travelling up or down the east coast of Australia can be a nightmare if you run out of time!

Step 3. What is your budget for the east coast of Australia:

Well, you can make it as cheap as your want or splash out a bit, but this is going to be one of the most expensive holidays you ever had.

Unless you seriously budget. Don’t worry we will talk about prices and give you idea how much everything costs a bit further in the article.

Step 4. How are you going to get around the East Coast:

Well, as we all know the best option is a road trip if you do have a car and month or two to spare.

You can rent a campervan if you Google, you will find some great relocation deals like from Coseats where you can get the state of the art camper for $1 a day! (just watch out for the fuel bills may ruin you).

We came across this article that convinced us to use them.Nice campervan!

Greyhound buses are another great option for the east coast of Australia and do hop on hop off passes or other deals on the most important stops.


Cairns to Sydney from $419 and you can travel within three months.

Flying is the last and least option as it’s quite expensive, and it will only get you to central cities, so you still have to rent a car or get a bus.

If you have only two weeks or less, then combine all these options and guarantee you will find a good deal on each!

We did fly from Airlie Beach to Sunshine Coast as the deal was $80 per person, but rarely it happens.

Step 5. Where are you going to stay while travelling the East coast of Australia?:Relaxing all day on the East coast

The options are limitless but if you want to stay within budget then hostels are recommended, and you can find prices on

We often used AirBnB as the accommodation is awesome, not too expensive, and you get excellent advice from locals! Use this link to get $20 off your first stay! Yay

Also, check out LivingSocial for some deals before your travels.

Expect to pay cheapest $70 on average for a double room. 

If you are a solo traveller, then expect to pay $30 – $50 it makes way more sense if you are a couple to get a double room.

Unless you don’t mind bunking in with eight other people.

We used BookMe for one or two deals when we got to Cairns some epic deals(they are like LivingSocial but more targeted to the East coast).


Step 6. What food are you going to eat:

If you are staying in hostels or self-contained accommodation, then it’s easy(well besides the cooking part).

Food is expensive, and if you add parties to it then it is easy to spend $150 – 500 a day!

Yes, we know that from our experience, again that’s for two people.

A good tip is to look out for happy hours that typically start at 3 or 4 pm to 6 or 7 pm.

Many pizza places or other restaurants have 2 for one deal after lunch time.

Before dinner or simply get $5 pizza from Dominos (which we did very often), just don’t mix up days the deal is on lol.

Tip 7. Don’t forget to ask:

There is a great app called Backpackr that can help you chat with others like minded backpackers and get good advice on where to go, what to see or where to eat.

We met Matt, who co-founded it in Cairns who helped us to get the best option on a cruise.

It helped us a lot, and you can meet cool people near you for a coffee, pint or just to hang out.

Step 8. Stops you want to consider (North to South):

Port Douglas – Cairns – Fitzroy Island – Townsville – Magnetic Island – Airlie Beach – The Whitsundays – Rainbow Beach – Fraser Island – Noosa – Sunshine Coast – Brisbane – Gold Coast – Byron Bay – Sydney

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Step 9. What activities do you want to do:

Port Douglas and Cairns:


The main reason I believe most people travel the East Coast is to explore The Great Barrier Reef and all stretches of incredible white sand beaches.

Make sure you ask around and get the best deal.

Best cruises do Silverswift ($220+ per person)or Passion of Paradise ($159+ per person).

We shopped around for really long before making any decision and were recommended these two (awesome snorkelling!).

Sunset Tip: Make sure that the company you are booking with is going to the outer reef as the water is much clearer there, and the reef is more alive.

Cairns also has amazing Rainforest, and you can explore it via rail.

We went to Kuranda Village located in the rainforest.

To get there, we took Kuranda Scenic Railway, which was going through the rainforest and on the way back the Skyrail

Rainforest Cableway took us back down(amazing experience!).

The price is about $120 per person for both experiences and transfers to hotel but is so worth it!.

Sunset Tip: In high season book in advance, as it gets busy.

Also, make sure to experience it in the order we did as it’s the most amazing experience you will ever have!

Also, while in Kuranda check out the Butterfly Sanctuary.


Fitzroy Island:

You can take a ferry there for the day or book overnight accommodation. It’s a very relaxed and lied back place for relaxing and getting a bit of tan on a lovely beach. Just make sure you won’t go there to experience the reef as you will be disappointed.

Townsville and Magnetic Island:

Unfortunately, we haven’t had the chance to explore it, so there isn’t much to say, but every tour guide did recommend the Magnetic Island for walks and the National Park supposed to be exquisite.

If you get a chance, please check it out for us! Tag us in any photos on Instagram @SunsetTravellers

Airlie Beach and The Whitsundays:

We all heard about Whitehaven Beach and can tell you that it is here like in heaven! So we stayed in Airlie Beach as the islands accommodation was far out of the topic (too expensive!) and got few AirBnB deals. When at Airlie we took the coastal walk that is gorgeous.

Sunset Tip: Half way through the walk there is a small restaurant by the water called Sorrento Restaurant & Bar serving amazing pizzas! (They do 2vfor1 between 3 and 5 pm if you ask)

We did a day cruise with Cruise Whitsundays, for all day package including breakfast on Daydream Island, lunch on Hamilton Island and all afternoon at Whitehaven Beach we paid $200 each. Unreal!

If you have more time book sailing cruise in advance ( does some deals) or just do Whitehaven Beach one day and other islands separately. You can get Hop on Hop off the ferry for $90 a day too.

Rainbow Beach:

Another stop that we missed out on L But look what we did instead J

Fraser Island:

Great place for 4X4 rides. All I can say is sand, dunes, sand, sand… just amazing!


Noosa Heads is relaxing and nice if you been to Sunshine Coast it’s quite similar but with the more elegant vibe. Worth experiencing.

Sunshine Coast:

We just love Sunshine Coast!!! Close to beach and mountains just feel like it has it all, and it does!

Make sure to not only explore the long stretches of sand but wonder in and explore Glasshouse Mountains and Blackhall Range.

Sunset Tip: While in here make sure to journey into the Kondalilla National Park, it has incredible views and waterfalls, and there is no one around!

You will also find around Sunshine Coast Steve Erwin’s Zoo, and highway called after him.


We didn’t check it out as took the train straight from Glasshouse Mountains to Gold Coast. The train ride takes less than 2 hrs and would save you loads of $$$ if you on a budget.

Gold Coast:

Well, check it for yourself with surf, sun and party. Surfers Paradise, theme parks and endless walking/cycling tracks.

Make sure to rent out a bike for a day and explore it as its easier and you can go all the way to posh Miami and through to Burleigh Heads.


We spent here over a week so got to know it quite well.

The hostel we stayed at in city centre close to The Wharf was $70 per room per night.

While here check out the biggest in the world IMAX Cinema screen, take Hop on Hop off the bus for the day that is especially useful if you want to get to Bondi Beach or explore each area.

Also, don’t miss out on exploring Sydney Opera House and Sydney Bridge.

Make sure visit Manly Beach; It’s area outside Sydney and best to get there by ferry (about $15 each).

Again we got AirBnB for two nights, and it was awesome!

And if your time stretches, even more, go to the Blue Mountains.


Only 2 hours outside of Sydney and easily accessible by train (less than $20 one way).

Check out Three Sisters and breathtaking views.

Also, if you walk down the mountains, you can take the steepest rail track up, and it’s impressive (better hold on to your camera!).

Sunset Tip: If you want to take an excellent picture of Opera House and Bridge at sunset, go through to park by Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. You don’t have to take a boat tour to get excellent pictures.

If you are going to Manly by ferry, it will take you straight to Opera House so you will be able to take few selfies. Last, for Manly Hotel Steyne in Seaside Bistro, does 2 for one meal Monday night, just make sure to come earlier as it gets packed.


Step 10(Final Step for travelling the East Coast of Australia. See everything you can:

See as much as you can and spend some time in each place so that you will never regret in the future that you missed something!

Safe Travels,

Steve And Sabina

The Original Sunset Travellers!

How To Travel The East Coast Of Australia In 10 Easy Steps(What not to miss!

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Sunset Travellers

Steve and Sabina are couple travel bloggers who have been travelling the world for the past 4 years. Having moved from Ireland -> Australia -> Ireland -> Canada we have had a great few years on working holiday visas in Australia and Canada. Find us everywhere @SunsetTravellers Thanks for stopping by our website. Have a great day!

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