My Itinerary for East Coast Australia

*I’ve updated this entry by adding recommendations from those who have travelled Australia. You can find their suggestions in italics.*

Exploring Australia has been at the very top of my bucket list for the past seven years. The idea of an entire year of nothing but sunshine, white sandy beaches, coastal hikes, and the Great Barrier Reef (just to name a few) gives me the butterflies just thinking about it! It’s hard to believe it’s taken me this long to pursue this dream of mine; having said that, I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. Although I don’t know the reason yet, but I know that I was always meant to take this trip in my mid 20’s. And now that it’s finally happening, I want to do it right!

Traveling the “right way” to me means getting to really explore a city. I consider myself lucky if I get to visit a place long enough to feel what it would be like to live there. I love walking around without any direction, following whatever catches my eye, and end up discovering a lot on the way. It’s so much fun getting lost when you’ve got nothing to do and nowhere to be.

Of course, I also do my research on the touristy must-see’s but what interests me the most are the secluded beaches, nature hikes, hidden cafes, and little gem of restaurants that tourists wouldn’t normally know about.

I figured the best way to go about this is to post my itinerary (AKA a very rough idea of the places I’d like to visit as I make my way down the East Coast) and see if you guys have any suggestions. I’m very open to any changes in the itinerary. I am flying into Cairns on November 2nd and will make my way down to Melbourne just in time for Christmas. I’d love to rent a camper van and hug the coast all the way down. I’m hoping to meet some awesome travel buddies at the beginning of my trip that I could share this experience with! Plan B is to buy a greyhound/rail hop-on hop-off pass (again, I’m open to new ideas!).

I’ve listed the places that stood out to me the most, by doing a simple Google search, nothing too extensive as I’d like to keep my options open. So ANY tips and/or recommendations on places to stay, things to do, ways to budget my trip or anything else you could think of would be much appreciated!

The top five things to do on my bucket list are…

  • Learn how to surf
  • Skydive
  • Visit green, luscious natural parks
  • Lots and lots of paddle boarding
  • Lots and lots of hikes *bonus if it takes me to an incredible viewpoint!


Cape Tribulation – Daintree National Park is one of my must-sees at the moment. It was love at first sight (of Google images)! Lush, gorgeous, green forests with tons of hiking trails. My Dilemma is that it’s 150km North of Cairns – those of you who have been, guide me! This is DEFINITELY happening now as so many people have recommended it!


Pictures of Daintree National Park from Google Images 

Cairns – I’m thinking of visiting Green island and Behana Gorge Waterfall.

Mission Beach – the reviews described this place as “a pretty, serene, isolated place” which is exactly what I’m going for. 🙂

Hinchinbrook Island

Magnetic IslandI’m unsure about this one. It looks incredible of course, but so does everywhere else in Australia. It had great reviews though which is why it is on my list. Definitely happening now! Too many good reviews to skip it. 😀 

Great Barrier Reef – I’m thinking about doing a flight or hot air balloon ride over the Great Barrier Reef.

Airlie Beach/Whitsunday Islands/Whitehaven Beach

*Airlie beach and Hervey Bay are almost 1000km apart – any midpoint suggestions?

Hervey Bay

Fraser Island/Lake Mckenzie/Sand dunes

Rainbow Beach – this is another place that looks absolutely gorgeous!

Noosa – researching Noosa was too much fun, this place is gorgeous! I found a few places that I’d love to visit while there and I’d love your insight on it!

  • Laguna Lookout
  • Lake Weyba
  • Noosa National Park
  • Peregian Beach
  • Hastings Street

Sunshine Coast

Brisbane – for the purpose of this trip, I’m not planning on staying in the big cities for too long unless I happen to fall in love with it. Just by looking online, I could tell Brisbane could be one of those cities! The places I look forward to visiting are…

  • City Botanic Gardens
  • South Bank
  • Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
  • Mt Coot-tha
  • Cabarita beach
  • Currumbin beach
  • New Farm Park to rent bikes and ride to South Bank 

Gold Coast

  • Surfer’s Paradise
  • Lamington National Park
  • Glow Worm Cave – my mind was blown when I stumbled on this gem! Has anyone done this before? Does it actually look like the photos they advertise!?!


Pictures of Glow Worm Cave from Google Images

Byron Bay – I’m really drawn to this place, everything about it sounds like a perfect place to spend a few months while working.

Sydney – Bondi Beach & Blue Mountain

Kiama – perfect little town to break the drive between Sydney and Melbourne 🙂 

Wilsons Promontory – recommended for camping, hiking, and surfing

Melbourne – Just in time for Christmas! My uncle who I haven’t seen in over 12 years lives in Melbourne and I’m SO excited for this reunion!

Mornington Peninsula 

Great Ocean Road – the national parks, scenic walks, and gorgeous waterfalls in this region are calling my name. I’d love to visit the Twelve Apostles, perhaps do a day hike that ends wit an awesome view of it!

This is most likely where my road trip will end – but the following recommendations had to be added to this post and I’ll definitely be visiting them while in Australia!

TASMANIA! – perfect for hiking! Yeeesssss

Perth – to visit Rottnest Island to meet the quokkas (Google it!). Also Perth old town and Margaret River for some wine and chocolate tasting!

And that’s all I have for now – I look forward to receiving all your tips and suggestions!


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