Traveling the East Coast of Australia

If you are traveling down under it is hard to know which travel route to take, as there are so many! But one itinerary that is a stand-out for many, is traveling up the East Coast of Australia. Here are some tips on key stops when driving along the east coast …


Sydney is Australia’s most famous city due to its iconic bridge and Opera House that sit near each other in the Sydney Harbour. Sydney has a great range of activities for all ages: climb the Harbour Bridge for an incredible view of the city, attend performances at the Opera House, explore the history of colonial times around The Rocks and Darling Harbour or even head to the famous Bondi Beach for some fun by the sea.

Port Stephens

Once you’re done with the vibrant sights of Sydney, hire a car, van or jump on one of the many tours onto the Pacific Highway and up the coast.

Along the way you’ll drive through many towns with their own charm and character, as well as some of the most beautiful pristine beaches in the world.

Essential stops include Port Macquarie, Nambucca Heads and the idyllic Port Stephens, which is about a two and a half hour drive from Sydney – most of its beaches are untouched and it is a great place to go dolphin watching – in fact, it has been coined the dolphin capital of Australia.

Byron Bay

Heading up further north in the state of New South Wales, you’ll find the relaxed town of Byron Bay – it is located just off the Pacific Highway around 800kms from Sydney. Most travelers love this spot due to its great surf conditions, friendly locals and hippie vibes – there are plenty of activities; you can explore the arts and crafts stores, attend the local markets for fresh produce, visit the Cape Byron Lighthouse or explore the lush national parks.

Hervey Bay

After visiting the fun town of Byron Bay you’ll head back onto the highway and travel north into the state of Queensland – on your journey you’ll pass many small towns and beaches and depending on your time limit, you could spend weeks and even months exploring them all. You’ll pass Surfers Paradise, Brisbane, Noosa, and then find yourself at Hervey Bay. Hervey Bay is about 290km north of the city of Brisbane.

While Port Stephens may be the dolphin watching capital of Australia, Hervey Bay is definitely the whale watching capital down under.

It is the perfect place to hop aboard one of the many chartered boats with your camera, and take beautiful pictures of whales breaching. When passing Noosa we highly recommend you stop over for a night, the town has an awesome vibe, the beaches are beautiful and perfect for beginner surfers.

Whitsunday Islands and Cairns

The last stop (if you choose) on your East Coast of Australia itinerary is the 74 beautiful islands of the Whitsundays. The islands are located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Site and are the ideal location to snorkel and dive due to the abundance of marine life and underwater delights, such as tropical fish and incredible coral formations. You can also visit the nearby island resorts and the city of Cairns which is a great spot for bungee jumping or hiring a 4WD to explore the nearby rain forests. Once you have finished your adventure along the East Coast of Australia you’ll feel relaxed, invigorated and ready for more. Indeed, Australia is the idyllic location for any beach going adventurer.

(photo credit: 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5)