australia east coast

Sydney Opera House

Australia East Coast - Sydney to Cairns Road Trip

While you sit at home, you may be dreaming like So many people of doing that East Coast Sydney to Cairns road trip. Or the ‘East Coast Trail’ as it is called. It refers to the long stretch of road that follows Australia’s east coastline between Sydney and Cairns.

From the pristine beaches, ancient rainforests, beautiful cities, rugged national parks, islands and wildlife – the Sydney to Cairns coastline does offer a bit of everything and has enough activities to satisfy everyone even you the biggest adrenaline junkie around.

In this blog, I want to show the six best places to go along the coast from driving a 4×4 along Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island, to sailing the Whitsundays Islands to scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef.

I spent four weeks touring the East Coast of Australia; so here’s my route up the coast from Sydney to Cairns. Enjoy!!!


When is the best time to tour the East Coast of Australia

 In North Queensland, where the weather is tropical, the summers are hot and humid, and the winters are dry and mild. The summer months can convey robust monsoon rains, that you’ll probably want to avoid.

 While the weather can be best within the north of Australia for the duration of the iciness months, it can be a piece cold in Australia’s south – temperatures can drop to 7 Celsius in Sydney throughout this time.

 Which means that in case you need appropriate weather in the course of your journey, you’ll probably need to strike a stability. I travelled in November when the temperature is a little cooler, and the crowds are few and far between.

 How long does it take to road experience the East Coast of Australia?

 Many people don’t appear to realize how vast Australia is. The space between Sydney and Cairns is over 2,800km, which is about 36 hours of uninterrupted riding time.

Given how significant the distances are, you’ll need to offer yourself sufficient time to look and do things alongside the way – without feeling like you probably did nothing but tour! Travel between locations regularly takes longer than it can appear at the map, so be sure to permit yourself enough time.

 I might propose an absolute minimum of 2 weeks in case you’re strapped for time, but four-six weeks is right. You may tick off the primary sights in 2 weeks, but travelling extra slowly and taking the time to discover places well will let you have a much higher experience.

Now enjoy your Sydney to Cairns road trip and explore the incredible East coast.


Coastal Walk in Sydney

The route: Sydney to Cairns Road trip


Begin your east coast journey in Sydney – Australia’s most iconic town. I propose spending at least five days here, however higher if you could! It’s a handy blend of each urban and seaside lifestyles, where global-renowned landmarks meet world-magnificence beaches.

 Manifestly, you’ll want to check out the Sydney Opera Residence and Harbour Bridge. Head to Circular Quay, where you’ll be capable of spending some time photographing those iconic landmarks.

Just a few minutes stroll far from round Quay; you’ll locate the Royal Botanic lawn. A verdant oasis within the coronary heart of Sydney, spend some time exploring the garden and possibly convey a picnic to experience.

 No visit to Sydney could be whole without trekking the enduring Bondi to Coogee Coastal stroll – a fantastically scenic 6km course so that you can take you to some of the best beaches along with the Japanese suburbs of Sydney.

 I also advocate you’re taking the ferry throughout to Manly seashore for a day, a suburb regarded for its scenic coastal walks and fantastic snorkelling. The short ferry from Circular Quay to Manly beach only takes just under a half-hour, so it’s well worth the trip up there.

Stuff to do in Sydney

  • Visit the Sydney Opera House
  • Hike the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk
  • Visit Manly Beach
  • Surf in Bondi Beach
  • Walk around the Royal Botanic Gardens

Byron Bay

It’s easy to understand why it’s one of Austrailia’s most popular spots on the east coast. I can’t think of anyone who hasn’t fallen in love with Byron’s allure – the vibe is chilled, the people pleasant, and the beaches blessed with surprising splendour.

 There are masses of seashores, bars, and restaurants to revel in Byron, and I highly recommend a day of relaxation at Wategos beach, where it’s no longer unusual to see dolphins at play.

 One of the popular sports in Byron Bay is to hike to the Byron Bay Lighthouse at dawn. Start your walk from the seaside resort, a famous pub on Bay road. The view from the lighthouse is incredible, and I promise you the early morning wake up call is well worth it!

 At the same time as you’re in Byron, I also suggest taking an afternoon journey to Nimbin. Nimbin is an exciting place to explore, decorated with stores selling psychedelic apparel, spiritual wares, and cafes where you can relax.

 For the duration of my time in Byron Bay, I stayed in a hostel known as Arts manufacturing facility motel, which occurred to be the very hostel. It becomes very social, served suitable meals and kindly offered a trip bus into a metropolis – tremendously recommend.

Things to do in Byron Bay

  • Walk to the Byron Bay Lighthouse
  • Take a surfing lesson
  • Spot dolphins at Wategos beach
  • Visit Nimbin
  • Relax on the beach
Byron Bay at Sunset



For enthusiasts of the awesome outdoors, Noosa is one of the best stops. It has the Noosa Heads National Park. Noosa turned into truly one of my preferred places alongside the East Coast of Australia.


 The national park accommodates of over nine,800 acres of rainforest and heathland, and there are five exact on foot tracks to choose from.


The park is somewhat on hand, too; surely stroll up the hill from Noosa main beach closer to the Noosa National Park car park, from in which 15 kilometres of trekking trails thread via the desert.


It starts at Noosa Heads and ends at Sunshine seaside, passing via lots of lovely bays, the so-known as Fairy swimming pools and lots of flora and fauna recognizing opportunities.


 Noosa metropolis itself is also a pleasing region to go exploring. Make sure to test out Hastings road, the heart of Noosa Heads, that is domestic to lots of restaurants, cafes, artwork galleries, boutiques and designer shops.


 There is also a great beach where you can surf if you want to relax on the waves for the morning or afternoon. Noosa is a quieter hub than Byron, but it makes up for it in charm. 


Noosa primary seashore, a fabulous crescent of golden sand, best for relaxing and enjoying the views. There has been a surf festival on at the same time as I was there, so the seaside town turned into quite the buzz! Sunshine coast, on the other facet of Noosa Heads, is likewise extraordinary.


Noosa is likewise home to considered one of only two Everglade systems in the world and kayaking down them is a popular pastime. I recommend an afternoon journey, or maybe a single day ride, to head kayaking on the Everglades. It’s lovely.


Things to do in Noosa

  • Go hiking in Noosa Heads National Park
  • Relax and Surf at Noosa Main Beach and Sunshine Beach
  • Go kayaking in the Noosa Everglades
Surfing in Noosa

Fraser Island

Fraser Island was one of the highlights if not the best thing I did from my time in Australia, and if you may only have the funds for one big-price ticket attraction to your east coast of Australia road journey, make sure it’s this! 

 Stretching 122km, and ample in rainforests, dunes and freshwater lakes, Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the global.

 Fraser Island can be accessed from Harvey Bay or Rainbow seaside, both of that have ferry crossings to the island. 

 You can rent a four×four and power your self across the island, or you could join a guided excursion. However, in my view, chose to enrol in a guided tour and signed up for a multi-day tenting and 4×4 journey bundle, which became one of the quality things we did in Australia. We drove a 4X4 along the seashore, swam in secluded lakes, discovered shipwrecks, and camped underneath the moon and stars chatting away.

I used Palace Adventures for our trip

 On Fraser Island, you’ll discover The Maheno Shipwreck, left deserted on Fraser Island ever since.

 Different highlights consist of Eli Creek, a meandering circulation in which you could sit down on an inflatable tube and go with the flow gently alongside its waters. Climb as much as Indian Head Lookout, where you’ll be graced with a sensational view of the island.

Or, take a dip inside the Champagne swimming pools, a beautiful swimming hollow regarded for its pools of fizzy water.

 The closing highlight, although, is Lake McKenzie. Likely the maximum visited website on the island; its waters encompass pure rainwater and its shore of natural silica sand. Spend a few hours swimming in Lake McKenzie’s best pools, and enjoy the impossible herbal beauty of Fraser Island.

Things to do on Fraser Island

  • Drive along Fraser’s “sandy highway” in a 4×4
  • Swim in clear Lake Mackenzie
  • Visit the magnificent Maheno shipwreck
  • Go tubing in Eli Creek



Whitsunday Islands


From Rainbow beach, head south towards Airlie seashore– the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands. The Whitsundays are a marvellous group of seventy-four islands, characterized with the aid of dense rainforest and snow-white shores. It’s no surprise it’s one of the most famous cruising destinations in the world.


 There are all forms of sailing trips to pick from – speedy-paced day trips, loopy birthday party excursions, journey cruises, family cruises, and the entirety in between. Make sure to book onto one ideal to you!


 I opted for the sailing boat, which was two days cruising around the stunning Whitsundays with fantastic food and crew on board.

 In case you’re seeking out a more chilled-out vibe, opt for a Whitsundays cruise with New Horizon as an alternative. 


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 Your cruising adventure will possibly take you to Whitehaven seashore; an impossibly white stretch of sand that’s so tender, it’ll squeak beneath your feet.


Make sure to stroll as much as the Hill Inlet perspective, where you’ll be graced with a mesmerizing landscape which includes blue and white swirls, in which the transferring tide causes the sand and ocean to curve collectively.


What to do in Whitsunday Islands

  • Visit the stunning Whitehaven Beach
  • rub yourself with the most beautiful sand in the world
  • Sunbathe on the deck of your yacht
  • Go snorkelling
Whitsunday Islands
Relaxing on the Boat


Thought of like the adventure capital of Australia, Cairns is a suitable place to finish your east coast Sydney to Cairns road trip. Cairns lies nicely between the Daintree Rainforest and of course the world-famous superb Great Barrier Reef.


It’s an energetic backpacker city, with quite a number adrenaline sports on provide – which include bungee jumping, skydiving, and white water rafting.


 Whilst Cairns itself doesn’t, in reality, have a beach, it does have a stunning human-made lagoon within the centre of town. Here, you may swim, loosen up, have a picnic, and get away from the stifling warmth of tropical north Queensland.


 Make sure to make a journey to the Daintree Rainforest, too; it’s the oldest tropical rainforest within the international, wherein you’ll discover beautiful waterfalls, beaches, and wildlife.


 It really would now not be a journey to Australia without touring the world-famous high-quality Great Barrier Reef. There aren’t any shortage of businesses prepared to take you scuba diving or snorkelling. Choose a day experience with SeaQuest, wherein you’ll be whisked away to the outer reef for an afternoon of sun, sea, snorkelling and scuba. Assume to look colourful coral, rainbow fish, and perhaps even a sea turtle.


 If you’re looking for a laugh region to live in Cairns, I suggest Gilligan’s. Famous with each local and visitors, Gillie’s is reasonably-priced and friendly, with a wild nightclub attached to the premises.


In case you’re hoping to capture up on your splendour sleep, you’ll likely need to pass a life at Gilligan’s, however it’s worth visiting for a night of partying.


Top things to do in Cairns

  • Go scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef
  • Relax at Cairns Lagoon
  • Visit the Daintree Rainforest
  • Go bungee jumping, skydiving, or white-water rafting
  • Party at Gilligans


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