So you are planning to travel the East Coast of Australia?
Awesome! There is a lot of East Coast of Australia must do’s, and it is one of the most popular backpacker routes.
We spent a month travelling the East Coast of Australia and attempted to see everything it has to offer.
From pristine white sand beaches, lush rainforests, natural wonders to iconic sites and cosmopolitan cities, it is one of the best road trips anyone could do in Australia.
Here are the most important tips for travelling the East Coast of Australia
How long does it take driving 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!).
So how long is Australia’s East Coast???
The distance between Cairns and Sydney on the coastal route is almost 2 600 km which is about 30 hours of solid driving time.
SaveYou could easily drive the distance in a week, but you won’t be able to explore what the coast has to offer.
Ideally, you need a month or two to travel the East Coast of Australia and truly explore it.
If you are on a budget and have less time, two-three weeks will also be sufficient enough. It will just mean that you won’t be able to spend too much time sightseeing.
We highly recommend at least one month.
Best time to travel the East Coast of Australia:
The most popular time to travel the East Coast of Australia is during the summer (December-February), however, it is also the hottest and rainiest season in tropical Northern Queensland.
We recommend travelling in the offseason, spring (September-November) or fall (March-May), when there are fewer crowds, prices are lower, and the weather is still good along the coast.
Make an actual plan on where are you are 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 are short on time!
Ideally, you are looking at 48-72 hrs+ at each location.
How to travel the East Coast of Australia on a budget:
Well, you can make it as cheap as you want or splash out a stay at Airbnb’s and hotels. Keep in mind Australia is expensive so expect to pay top $.
Unless you seriously budget you are looking at 2-3k+(depending on how long you are travelling and where you are going to sleep).
Don’t worry we will talk about prices and give you an idea of how much everything costs further down.
Driving the East Coast of Australia:
The best and cheapest way to travel is in your own car or campervan.
If you don’t own any of the above, hiring a campervan in Australia.
There is a lot of budget-friendly campervan hire websites such as :
- Wicked campers
- Aussie campervans
- Vroom – they compare most websites for the best price and availability.
- Holiday Autos – comparison car rental website.
If you are very flexible, you can get a relocation deal where you hire a campervan for $1 a day. Here you usually get 5-7 days to travel from point A to B.
Keep in mind that there is usually $1000 deposit required and little to no fuel allowance.
If you want to know more about relocations read this guide.
Cost of fuel on the East Coast of Australia can be high. Expect to pay $500-700 for fuel depending on the length of your journey.
To find free and low-cost campsites make sure to download CampsAustraliawideApp and check CaravanTour.com.
Greyhound buses in Australia are another great option for the east coast of Australia. They do ‘hop on hop off’ passes.
Cairns to Sydney pass, for example, costs $455 and you have three months to travel.
If you have little time, we recommend looking into flights, they, however, tend to be expensive.
We always use Skyscanner to find the cheapest deals.
Don’t forget to join as many Facebook groups as you can; people constantly post spare seats there.
Accommodation options on the East Coast of Australia road trip:
The options are limitless, but if you want to stay within a budget, then hostels are your best bet.
Hostelworld.com and Tripadvisor are the most popular websites when it comes to finding a discounted place.
Hostel dorm prices start at $20-50 and up. Depending on the city and location, the prices may vary.
Keep in mind that Sydney is one of the most expensive places when it comes to accommodation, therefore expect to pay $50+ for a dorm room.
We usually book via AirBnB as the accommodation is not too expensive, in great locations and you get excellent advice from the locals..
If you are new to Airbnb use this link to get $55 off your first stay!
Or you can get your Airbnb coupon here.
Food cost on the East Coast of Australia road trip:
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 $70-150 a day!
Yes, we know that from our experience, again that’s for two people.
There is a lot of fast food places where you can get a burger for $5. When it comes to restaurants, they are more expensive, and a meal can cost anything from $15-30+ depending on what you want to order.
Here is a list of the best restaurants on the East Coast of Australia.
We recommend buying cheap drinks such as 3l of goon (boxed wine).
Connecting with other travelling the East Coast of Australia backpackers:
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.
The app helped us a lot, and you can meet cool people near you for a coffee, pint or just to hang out with.
Make sure to join Facebook groups to find travel mates.
What are the best places to visit on the East Coast?
Where to go: The perfect East Coast of Australia itinerary for 4 weeks holiday
Cairns – 4 day itinerary
The main reason most people travel to Cairns is to explore The Great Barrier Reef and pristine white sand beaches.
Cairns doesn’t have a beach, but there is the Cairns Lagoon where you can relax, go for a swim, have a picnic or BBQ.
It is a very lively backpacker town packed with great bars, restaurants, hotels and tour agencies.
There is a lot of travel desks offering cruises to the reef. We did a lot of research before decided on the company.
Here are the best Great Barrier Reef snorkelling or diving cruise companies:
- Silverswift ($216+ per person for cruise and snorkelling)
- Passions of Paradise ($159+ per person).
If you are thinking about a cheaper company, make sure that they are going to the outer reef as the waters are much clearer there.
Cairns also has an amazing Rainforest, and you can explore it via rail.
The Kuranda Village, located in the rainforest is accessible via the Kuranda Scenic Railway. On the way back, we decided to take a cable car called the Skyrail.
The price is about $112.50 per person for both experiences and a return transfer to your hotel, well worth it!.
In high season, book this tour in advance, as it gets fully booked.
In high season, book this tour in advance, as it gets fully booked.
Also, make sure to experience it in the order we did, as it’s the most amazing experience you will ever have!
While in Kuranda visit the markets, art galleries and the Butterfly Sanctuary.
While in Cairns, make a trip to Fitzroy Island.
You can take a ferry there for the day since is close to mainland or book overnight accommodation. It’s a lied back place, great for relaxing and getting a bit of tan on the beach.
Just make sure you won’t go there to experience the reef as you will be disappointed.
Originally seen here:https://sunsettravellers.com/east-coast-of-australia/
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