Australia has been one of my favourite countries so far. It is safe and easy to travel around, the people are laid back, funny and friendly and the nature is just mind-blowing. I’ve traveled along the east coast and listed you some places you cannot miss with a lot of photos on the way.
Enjoy the ride through Australia and get inspired to come and visit one of the nicest places on earth.
P R I C E S
Australia is VERY expensive. If you plan to travel without working on the way, bring enough money to pay for food and accommodation. You can easily pay $8 for toasted bread or 5$ for a single bell pepper. Hostel rooms cost around 25-35$ per night and you share the room with 6-10 people. WiFi is NOT free in most public areas including hostels. You often have to sign up for a 24 hour plan that costs you around 6-8$ for 24 hours. Most hostels offer computers though, where you can use the internet for free. The worldwide free internet spots are Starbucks, McDonald’s and Burger King. While you stink like a rotten piece of shit when you leave the last two, Starbucks seems to be the most comfortable option and also provides good coffee. Prices to fly around Australia’s East Coast are about 50-60$ one way.
H O W T O G E T A R O U N D?
Get a Greyhound Bus ticket. This is the easiest way to get around Australia. There are various options, including a ticket where you pay once and can stop wherever you want on the way. This comes in pretty handy when you travel up Australia’s east coast: start at Melbourne and work your way up to Cairns, as it is getting better and better up north.
W H E R E T O S T A Y?
As I’ve mentioned before, hostels are the best deal. There are so many, it is hard to choose. Just visit hostelworld.com or type “cheap hostel, name of city” into google. This has always worked out for me. When you’re traveling on your own, as I always do, it is very easy to find fellow backpackers to hang out with. In Australia you find friends as easy as crabs on the beach.
Another option to stay in Australia for free is to sign up for couchsurfing! I’ve been traveling around the world with couchsurfing and never had one single bad experience. Plus you get to know the locals, get to visit some secret spots in every country and you pay nothing! Yes, it indeed doesn’t cost one single penny. The only thing you give back is the time you invest to get to know your host, maybe help out in the kitchen or just make this nice person who lets you stay for free feel entertained and happy.
H O W T O E A T C H E A P?
Share with people in the hostels. Ask around who’s hungry (everybody always is!), then cook together. Pancakes always work out well and it is also a great way to make friends fast. Get some food colouring and bake them in blue or pink and hand them out to people you feel good vibes with. Trust me I made a lot of friends with pancakes, haha.
Another great way to eat cheap is to prepare some wraps. Add anything you like, add some pesto as a base, then some vegetables, a little bit of salad, maybe bacon and you’re set. Cut them in half and snack on the way. Fruit and vegetables also fill you up pretty cheaply.
When I have to save money I always buy bananas and peanut butter. This fills you up VERY quickly and doesn’t cost much!
W H A T T O P A C K ?
I’m starting to travel hand luggage only and trust me, packing for three or four days only is totally fine, you can always wash your stuff and don’t need to carry around your whole house.
I’ve been there and I can tell you: You can travel faster, easier and happier. Plus your back will thank you, once you’ve reached the critical age, hahaha. (Click the picture on the left to read more about what to pack)
W H E R E T O G O ?
Now that you know about the basics, I guess you’re ready to see how awesome Australia is! In this article I’l start in Melbourne and work my way up to Cairns. I haven’t travelled this way as I was visiting friends in between and had also bought some plane tickets to save some time. But starting south and heading up north is definitely the best way to get around.
1. M E L B O U R N E
I simply LOVE this city! It is a little bit like Berlin, but the people are friendlier, haha. Melbourne has a beautiful river, nice rooftop bars, a lot of outdoor festivals and interesting little bars in Collingwood. I had a couchsurfer who lived in this amazing apartment. He was a DJ and played some pretty good beats.
VISIT A ROOFTOP BAR
A great way to end a sunny day is to go up to a rooftop bar. Enjoy the skyline and sip on your drink whilst you smile at some nice dark red sunsets.
Some rooftop bars worth checking out: The Corner Hotel Rooftop Bar, Nineteenforty, Upside Rooftop Bar.
Check out more rooftop bars with pictures on this article published by “TimeOut Melbourne”.
GO TO A SILENT DISCO
Silent Discos are so much fun and this is how it works: At the entry you’ll get some Bluetooth headphones, on which you can choose your favourite type of music. Put them on and dance to your tunes. Once you remove them you’ll see a bunch of people dancing to silence 😉 The coloured light on your headphones also shows you who is listening to the same music. Try it out – it’s so much fun!
VISIT COLLINGWOOD & FITZROY!
Collingwood and Fitzroy are some of the artsy, bohemian areas in Melbourne. Check out some bars or just walk around the streets and get inspired by interesting people or artsy locations. Make sure to eat some tapas and drinks a fancy beer with it!
CHECK OUT THE SIDE LANES
The side lanes in Melbourne display some of Melbourne’s best street art. Artists can legally spray here. Want to see an original Banksy? Melbourne is the place to go!
A list of side lanes to choose from can be found here.
2. B Y R O N B A Y
Byron Bay – the Number one Hippie Paradise! Do you want to slow down, hang out at the beach, surf a bit or do nothing at all? Byron Bay ist the place to be. Did you know that no house is allowed to be taller than the highest tree?
Enjoy some healthy juices near the beach or hang out at the beach and watch the sun set. Byron Bay has it all. Make sure to take your time as you do not want to leave anytime soon. Trust me, everyone gets stuck here!
Make sure to plan a day trip to Nimbim, a little village where old women sell you weed cookies on the streets. You are actually brought there with a rainbow bus that plays 70s music and is driven by an old Australian dude with long grey hair – not kidding!
For some reason I forgot to take pictures whilst I was there 😉
VISIT THE LIGHTHOUSE
The lighthouse is one of the places you need to walk up to. Depending on the month, you can also see dolphins swim in the ocean. (ask for the sunken shipwreck and walk there in the morning and you’ll be able to swim with some dolphins. But be careful, the fins are sometimes shark fins 😉 )
Dolphins always swim around early morning – if you want to see some, get up early!
But back to the lighthouse: you can see the dolphins from up there as well and enjoy the nice view above the ocean.
STAY AT THE ARTS FACTORY LODGE
This pace is the best. You are surrounded by art, can choose a treehouse to sleep in, have a pool to jump inside, a small lake in the middle (daaaaamn those mosquitos!) and some iguanas will be walking up to you. The people are friendly and laid back and happy if you share some art with them. See more pictures and make your booking here
3. S U R F E R S P A R A D I S E
YES, that’s the name of a city! A city with skyscrapers at the beach, and a pretty river that flows through it. Make sure to bring your skateboard when you come here- the roads are just made to cruise around!
4. B R I S B A N E
I went to Brisbane to visit one of my best friends. The city is not as relaxed at Melbourne and people dress up massively when they head out to a bar. You can have interesting conversations with the locals and sometimes you also hear stuff like that:
“Ya wanna go to Ayer’s Rock? Duuuude why, you wanna see a rock?”
You know, that this is one of the most famous “rocks” in Australia?
“It’s a ROCK Bruh”
I personally found the city a bit superficial, but had a lot of fun with my friends there though. Definitely make sure to try out some dumplings there!
Check out the possums in the tress! I LOVE those!!
… and watch out for MASSIVE toads. They are poisonous and I guess those are the ones you can lick and get high. But I wouldn’t recommend doing that actually! By the way: they’re an invasive species in Australia and considered a plague now.
5. N O O S A
My friend’s family had a holiday house in Noosa, which we visited one day. You can see wild koalas hanging out in the trees. That’s what they do actually, chew on eukalyptus and chill out all day. They’re proper Australians (kidding).
After hiking in stormy heights, make sure to walk down in time to enjoy a “bloody noooooice” sunset at the beach!
6. R A I N B O W B E A C H
Another one of those Australian cities with a pretty nice name. I was visiting another friend there and slept in a caravan in front of the house. In the morning kangaroos were hopping around. Make sure to walk along the beach, collect some seashells and chase after running crabs.
“Uh ehm, hey there… what? What’s up human?”
There’s also a red river you can cool down in. But watch out for spiders and don’t wear flip-flops!
If I remember it right, you can feed dolphins on Sundays. They are wild but swim to the beach to get some stinky extra fishies.
7. G R E A T B A R R I E R R E E F
Once in Australia there is no way around snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef. Follow some parrot fish underwater and hear them chew on corals. Swim with some massive fish in the ocean and spot some turtles.
But don’t step on the corals! They’ll die once you touch them.
HANG OUT AT AIRLIE BEACH
Spend some time with your travel mates and hang out at Airlie Beach. Get a “coldie” (cold beer) and watch the sunset.
8. W H I T S U N D A Y I S L A N D S
Alright. This one is definitely one of my favourites! The Whitsunday Islands are just drop dead beautiful. These islands are not inhabited and can only be reached by boat. You are dropped off the shore and walk around a sandy landscape, then hike up a hill to have the best view ever, then get some lunch on the boat and head back. Enjoy this day, as you will still be talking about it, once you’re old, wobbling around in a rocking chair.
9. M A G N E T I C I S L A N D
Do you want to cuddle with a koala, touch an alligator, see kangaroos in the morning and have parrots land on your hands? Travel to Magnetic Island and enjoy Australia’s wildlife.
GET BITCH SLAPPED BY A KOALA!
NO, seriously, don’t! Once you hold them up and cuddle them (don’t!) they kind of wake up and get grumpy! And yes you’ve been told that before and yes they stink like hell, and yes you do not have any intention to cuddle them… but then … these koalas are so damn soft you just want to…
Nope human! Forget it!
Once you’ve coped with being rejected by a cute koala, you head on to parrots, snakes and alligators! And wow you can even see a wombat close up! It’s even fluffier than the koala by the way 😉
Once you’ve encountered the wildlife, make sure to hike up some trails and see the island from above! Bring a LOT of water as the sun just keeps burning down on you. On the way there are a lot of lizards hiding in the bushes – as well as there are snakes. Watch your footsteps and you’re set!
Remember NO FLIP-FLOPS!
10. C A I R N S
Last but not least: Cairns! This beautiful tropical paradise can be reached by either plane or car. I would recommend to get a car and start or end your road trip there to cruise around Australia’s East Coast. I’ve met two nice guys who took me along on their road trip and have to say I had the best time! On our way we stopped at several beaches south of Cairns, that looked like that:
By the way: Cairns is packed with crocodiles! Avoid the water if possible! There are some free swimming pools in the city if it gets to hot!
HIKE THROUGH THE JUNGLE
One thing you need to do is to hike through the jungle! Grab some water, put your hiking shoes on (NO flip-flops! There are snakes, remember) and hop on a bus that brings you directly to a jungle trail.
I would recommend you to stay on the trail and not to climb waterfalls, because you will encounter massive spiders and awesome snakes rattling around your feet! Don’t get too close to the animals when you take a picture of them and be aware that you can slip on those waterfalls, you should not hike up on.
EAT A GREEN ANT
WAIT WHAT? Yes! Once you’re in the jungle you can definitely eat one of those green ants. They actually taste like sour lime juice! Make sure to kill it gently and only eat the body. If you chew on them directly, they will (and I totally understand them) heavily bite themselves into your tongue. I kind of feel bad about it, but they taste really interesting, so make sure to try one (!) and don’t make it suffer too much!
JETSKI IN THE MANGROVES WHERE THE CROCODILES ARE
Just do NOT… I repeat DO NOT fall off the jetski! Keep in mind that those crocodiles are most likely scared away by the sound of your jetski, but who knows whether you run into the hungry one!
Buy yourself a skateboard (I got a small one and brought it to Vietnam) and cruise around Cairns. The weather is amazing and so are the streets. Hop onto your board and enjoy Cairns with your new skateboard.
SEE THE FLYING FOXES
Those massive bats start to fly around Cairns every single night at 6pm. When you hear the parrots up in the sky, the flying foxes are not far away! Get out and watch this dooming spectacle of the setting sun and hundreds of monsters flying above your head!
Take an umbrella to avoid being pooped on!
I hope you enjoyed the TOP 10 places to visit on Australia’s east coast. What other spots can you recommend? Feel free to comment in the section below 🙂