Driving the Australian East Coast

Port macquarie -> Coffs Harbour -> Byron Bay and Nimbin -> Coolangatta -> Surfers Paradise -> Brisbane -> Noosa -> Fraser Island -> Bundaberg -> Rockhampton -> Airlie Beach -> Whitsunday Islands -> Cairns -> Cape Tribulation and Daintree Rainforest -> Port Douglas -> Atherton Tablelands


Australia is a beautiful and diverse country. From the white sandy beaches of the Whitsunday Islands, dense tropical rainforest in Cape Tribulation, kitchy Surrey Hills in the heart of Sydney, to the red sands of the Northern Territory. I was fortunate enough to spend 7 months in this crazy, wild country in a time when I wasn’t sure who I wanted to be or where I wanted to go. If you are ever lost in life, I recommend you do the same.

Two friends and I decided to rent a camper-van in Sydney and drive up the East Coast of Australia over 6 weeks. Heaps of people do this, it’s a really fun and flexible way of travelling. Two French boys we met in Sydney bought a second hand van that broke down before they had even driven down the road, so we decided to rent. We went for a ‘Jucy Campervan’, they are bright green and purple, and they seem to be the backpackers van of choice.

The 6 weeks passed in a whirlwind blur, here are my observations.

1) Atherton Tablelands

This was my #1 spot on our entire trip. Atherton Tablelands is the highland region of Northern Queensland. The area is an eclectic mix of rainforest, wetland and savanna. There are countless waterfalls and rock pools to swim in. We took the ‘Uncle Brians’ day trip, it was just so much fun.


Atherton Tablelands is also home to Millaa Millaa Falls, the incredible waterfall from Peter Andre’s 90’s music video ‘Mysterious Girl’. Swimming in Millaa Millaa makes you feel like a Herbal Essences model.



2) Fraser Island

Fraser Island is a massive sand island off the eastern coast of Queensland. We took a 2 night camping tour of the island. The island is most famous for being inhabited by dingoes. The classic ‘Dingo ate my baby’ island.


We rented four-wheel drives, and rode over the sand dunes and coast line. There is also a really impressive shipwreck you can explore.


We camped, we danced, we drank, we sat by a bonfire, we met new people, we swam in the clearest water and my friend made out with a swedish boy then fell down a sand dune. Life long memories made.

3) Byron Bay

Byron Bay is just crazy fun. We parked our van in a hostel called the ‘Art Factory Lodge’. Imagine dreadlocks, parachute pants and weed. A reggae band played every night and a Canadian chap drew caricatures for food. 13480262_10209261681882198_935791100_n

We had terrible weather almost every day in Byron, the one day it was sunny we had forgotten our swim suits. So we ran into the ocean in our underwear and laughed until our stomachs hurt.

4) Port Douglas

Port Douglas is a seaside town on the Coral sea, north of Cairns. Not many backpackers make the drive up to Port Douglas, but I believe its worth the drive. Its a beautiful and quiet strip of beach which is needed after the craziness of Cairns.


People started building these little structures made of stone on the shoreline. I’ll never know what it was in aid off, but it sure was pretty.

5) The Whitsunday Islands

Home to Whitehaven, regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. We took a 3 day boat trip around the islands. This was my first experience of snorkelling, and I loved it.


It rained, so we drank lots of wine.

6. Noosa


Noosa is beautiful seaside town on the sunshine coast. The beach and National parks are incredible. There’s also an amazing beachside walkway where you can walk the entire coastline. The Noosa Farmers markets run every Sunday morning. It’s full of kitschy stalls, crockery, food and drink. I had an outrageous amount of free samples. Is there anything better than free samples of delicious cheese?

Travelling the East Coast was an unforgettable experience. The girls I travelled with made everyday an adventure. Those two beautiful girls have gone on to do amazing things; grad schools, Masters programs, living in New York and Vancouver, travelling all across Europe. But the three of us will remember each other as the ones who said ‘screw it!’ and ran into the ocean in our underwear.

This post was featured on The Wild Co. Find it here on http://wildbook.co


One Comment Add yours

  1. I just love the East Coast – so many adventures to be had! Fraser Island is one of my favourites!


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