Surely one of Australia’s must-see road trips, you will remember your road trip on the East Coast of Australia forever. In this article, I focus on the portion between Brisbane and Cairns, so the northeastern part of Australia. Here, you will find some of Australia’s most iconic places, such as the Great Barrier Reef or Fraser Island. Discover with me the 6 unmissable spots of the East Coast of Australia.
For more information and a more detailed itinerary, I’ll let you read this much more complete article.
The 6 best spots on the East Coast of Australia
Noosa National Park
From Brisbane, it will take you no more than two hours to reach the beautiful Sunshine Coast and the seaside town of Noosa Heads. If the city itself is not very interesting, since it is a typical seaside town with shops, restaurants and hotels, it is quite different concerning landscapes. Noosa National Park covers 40 km² and offers incredible scenery, as well as beautiful deserted beaches and protected wildlife. Stroll along the coastal walk and discover the Fairy Pools, Hell’s Gate or Alexandria Bay. You will also have a good chance of seeing some koalas, dolphins, turtles and whales.
If you continue to drive along the east coast in the north direction, you will arrive at Fraser Island after a 1h40 drive from Noosa Heads. If you’ve never heard of this little paradise, it’s time to fix it. Fraser Island is often quoted in the articles for being the most dangerous beach in the world. In truth, it is the world largest sand island with 128 km long. While there are sharks, snakes, jellyfish, extremely strong currents and even dingoes, it is above all a breathtaking natural beauty. Only 4×4 are allowed on the island, there is no road and only camps to sleep. This males the adventure even more crazy. Above all, do not miss McKenzie Lake, the wreck of the SS Maheno or the Champagne Pools, but most tours will take you to all these places. For practical information on Fraser Island, I let you go on my detailed article.
Are you ready to see the most beautiful beach in the world? Because, it is in the Whitsundays archipelago that you will find it. Airlie Beach is a must stop during your road trip on the East Coast. From this coastal city, you can board a catamaran or a boat to discover the Whitsundays and the famous Whitehaven Beach. This is a 7km long virgin beach with bright white sand, a real wonder.
From Airlie Beach, I also advise you to book a flight to fly over the Whitsundays, the coral reef and the famous coral heart. I’m usually not a fan of tourist activities, but I had a memorable time !
Just 25 minutes by ferry from Townsville and 3 hours north of Airlie Beach, welcome to the paradise of Magnetic Island. This 52 km² island is composed of a beautiful national park, incredible bays and beaches that reminded me directly of the Seychelles’s landscapes. I advise you to stay at least 2 nights in order to have the time to discover the beaches and hike to discover the bays. A hiking trail of approximately 5 kilometers will allow you to discover Radical Bay, Gowrie Bay, Florence Bay and Arthur Bay. Remember to bring your mask and snorkel as you can swim with multicolored fishes, rays and even small sharks.
I strongly advise against visiting the Bungalow Bay Koala Village, which boasts of being a Sanctuary, but which is only a zoo where each animal is handled by all visitors (koalas, turtles, lizards and snakes).
The city of Cairns itself is not very exciting, but it is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. It is usually from the largest city on the northeast coast of Australia that you book your diving or snorkeling trip to discover one of the seven natural wonders of the world. You can opt for a day trip or sleep on a boat over beautiful coral. To learn more about the different excursions, you can read this article.
Around Cairns, there are also many beautiful waterfalls to discover. Here is a non-exhaustive list of these :
- Crystal Cascades
- Josephine Falls
- Millaa Millaa Waterfall
- Stoney Creek Waterfall
- Emerald Creek Waterfall
- Ellinjaa Falls
The final step of your road trip on the east coast of Australia will take you to Cape Tribulation, which looks like the end of the world. You will need to take a ferry to reach a real rainforest. Here starts the territory of crocodiles and we remind you well on each beach. The Daintree Forest is a unique place in the world, as it is the only place where the rainforest meets the Coral Sea. Say goodbye to Internet, civilization and the modern world, you will feel cut off from everything if you decide to stay at Cape Tribulation.
For a detailed itinerary and practical information, especially about the budget, I let you read this article.
And you, what is your favorite place on the East Coast in Australia?