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My Australian East Coast Itinerary Recommendations

When traveling down the Australian East Coast it is important to have a game plan with where you want to stop.  There are tons of options and I found many of them to be amazing, while some were just a waste of time.  I’ve listed the stops I made on my trip from Cairns to Byron Bay and how I felt about each place.  If the city/town was worth writing more about- I proceeded with a more detailed article!  I hope you all find this useful and enjoy! :)  Also feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns about stops along the coast!

Stops Along the Way

After finishing up work in Cairns (Click to read my fabulous article about it!:) my Norwegian co-worker Sabine and I set off on our East Coast adventure.  Our itinerary was as follows:

  • Mission Beach– Located about 2 hours south of Cairns by bus.  Mission Beach is the perfect place to relax without a worry in the world.  We stayed at a cute hostel called Scotty’s Beach House right across from Wongaling Beach, which was one of my favorite hostels due to the friendly staff, helpful transportation and cleanliness of the rooms.  There is not much to do in this small town but the beach is definitely a must see with minimal visitors.  Skydiving in Mission Beach is very popular and I had many friends who had a great experience with Skydive Mission Beach.
Mission Beach

Gorgeous Mission Beach with no one in sight! :)

  • Townsville– Another few hours south of Mission beach.  Townsville itself doesn’t have much to offer but its where you take the ferry to Magnetic Island.  I stayed here for a 3 days at Base Magnetic Island while enjoying the beach and parties at the hostel.  Be sure to rent a car and explore the island and all of the gorgeous beaches the island has to offer.
Magnetic Island

One of the many beaches on Magnetic Island

  • Airlie Beach & The Whitsundays– Airlie Beach is where most Whitsundays cruises leave from.  There is unfortunately no beach in Airlie, only a lagoon, but some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world are just a short boat trip away in the Whitsundays.  Read my blog “The Whitsundays: The Atlantic Clipper and Airlie Beach” for more information about the gorgeous area.
The Whitsundays

The gorgeous waters in The Whitsundays

  • 1770– To be honest I would not recommend wasting your time stopping because its so small and nothing to do.  The main appeal is that this is the farthest north you can surf on the east coast and they have cheap lessons.  There is a beach and a small town area with a few restaurants, but that’s about it.  The best reason to stop here is to break up your trip down the coast.  Also many friends enjoyed a tour of the town on minibikes with a company called ScooteRoo, but due to weather we unfortunately weren’t able to go.
1770 Beach

Just enjoying the beach in 1770

  • Hervey Bay- Fraser Island

Hervey Bay is a smaller city where a lot of the Fraser Island tours depart from.  We stayed at Nomad’s Hervey Bay, which wasn’t one of my favorites but it made it easy to get sorted for the trip to Fraser Island.  Read more about how amazing my 4X4 trip on Fraser Island in my article “Fraser Island: Australia’s Nature at it’s Finest.”

Fraser Island

On top of the sand dunes on Fraser Island

  • Noosa

Noosa is a nice little town on the Sunshine Coast.  It is quite upscale and has lots of lovely shops and restaurants in town.  We unfortunately didn’t get to experience the beach due to the weather but they’re suppose to be great and have good surf as well.  We stayed at Nomad’s Noosa and it was great minus our drunken English roommates who managed to take a piss all over my travel partners bag! :/ Not ok but hey what a story right?


Sabine and I enjoying snakebites @ Nomad's Noosa!

  • Surfers Paradise

What to say about Surfers Paradise?  To put it simply it’s kind of like a cheesy, touristy Miami Beach.  It definitely isn’t like any other city in Australia and lacks any charm and simplicity that most coastal towns offer.  With that said- the beach is nice, as long as there aren’t any Schoolies- and there is a good going out scene!  Oh and there is good shopping!

Surfers Paradise

My travel partner Sabine and I in Surfers Paradise

  • Byron Bay

Byron Bay is an absolute must on the East Coast.  It’s one of my favorite places I saw in Australia and had an amazing time there.  Read more about it in my blog that’s coming soon! 😉

Byron Bay

View of Wategos Beach in Byron Bay

Australia’s East Coast is absolutely gorgeous and I hope these recommendations helped map out a future trip for you travelers! :) Email me with any questions or your personal tips! :)

1 Comment

  1. On October 9, 2011 @ 6:43 pm Australia Backpacking and East Coast Traveling Tips | World Travel Insider said

    […] lot of my trip- Damn Australia and your crazy rains!!  For tips on where to go check out my blog: “Australia’s East Coast Itinerary Recommendations.” Flying is an option but can be […]

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