Your go-to guide for the East Coast of Australia

Planning on doing the East Coast? Well, that’s fabulous. Below is my advice on where to go and where to stay. You don’t need 6 weeks, in fact, I think 4 or 5 is perfect depending on if you’re a ‘get at it’ type of person or whether you’d rather take your time. It also depends on where you want to start and finish. We did 6 weeks from Sydney to Cairns, but if you want to do Melbourne as well you might need some extra time!

Full trip: 7 weeks from Melbourne to Cairns

Streamline trip: 5 weeks from Melbourne to Cairns (would recommend – we had a few days with nothing to do)

For hostels download Hostelworld and for campsites download WikiCamps – both on the app store and will save you!

Melbourne – 5 days/4 days

Hostels: There are so many in Melbourne. We stayed in the Nunnery in Fitzroy and it was nice. Stay in town for half of your time and St. Kilda the other half

Campsites: Not many near town. The Big4 Campsite has good reviews but I would suggest staying in a hostel or risking getting moved on in the night.

To do: National Gallery of Victoria, have a drink on the river, go out in the CBD, go to the beach in St. Kilda, go walking in the Grampians, Drive the Great Ocean Road, have dumplings in China Town, Walk around At. Albert Lake, Museum of Melbourne, have a drink at one of the many rooftop bars e.g. Naked for Satan, take the tram and go shopping on Brunswick street. There is so much fun stuff to do in Melbourne – read my two posts on the city to see what I got up to; Month One and Month Two.


Sydney – 5 days/4 days

Hostels: Bounce Sydney in Surry Hills – Great location, very near the centre of town. Bondi Backpackers – great hostel near Bondi Beach.

Campsites: Any campsite will do really. All depends on where you want to be in the City.

To do: Sydney Harbour, Sydney Oprah House, get the Ferry to Watsons Bay and get fish and chips, get the ferry to Manly – explore and chill on the beach, do the Manly to Spit walk, Bondi Beach – chill and do the Coogee to Bondi walk, go to Glebe Markets on a Saturday, go to the zoo and walk around the Botanic Gardens.


Newcastle – 1 day/skip

Hostels: Newcastle Beach YHA – closer to the beach, Backpackers Newcastle – closer to the centre of town

Campsites: Check WikiCamps or call hostels

To do: The Bogey hole, Newcastle beach, the docks/port & Blackbutt reserve

Coffs Harbour – 1 day/skip

Hostels: Only 3 hostels on Hostelworld, all look nice but just depends on where in town you want to be.

Campsites: Check WikiCamps or call hostels

To do: Beach

Byron Bay – 3 days/3 Days

Hostels: Arts Factory – for chilled stoner vibes, if that’s not your scene Byron has a lot of nicer hostels which are closer to town.

Campsites: Arts Factory – the only hostel that had a camper license. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy you’ll have to go to a campsite. Parking laws are super strict in Byron so don’t risk sleeping on the street, you will get a fine.

To do: Go to the beach, surf, shop, go for dinner & party.

Gold Coast – 2 Days in Coolangatta, 2 Days in Surfer’s Paradise/1 Day in each

Hostels: YHA Coolangatta, YHA Surfer’s

Campsites: Check WikiCamps or call hostels

To do: Go to the beach, surf & party (apparently!?)


Brisbane – 3 days/2 days

Hostels: Brisbane Backpackers Resort – great location & really cheap! There is also a YHA

Campsites: Brisbane Backpackers Resort – the only hostel with a camper license.

To do: Go to the man-made beach called Streets Beach, Botanic Gardens, walk over their many bridges, get the ferry, go to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Mt. Coo-Tah lookout & party!

Noosa – 3 days

Hostels: Halse Lodge Guest House (YHA) & Noosa Backpackers Resort. These are the two we stayed in but there are loads of nice ones in Noosa.

Campsites: Halse Lodge Guest House (YHA) & Noosa Backpackers Resort both have camper licences.

To do: Beach, shop, eat, & drink. Go to the fairy pools and walk around the national park.

Rainbow Beach – 1 day

Hostels: Dingos Resort

Campsites: Dingos Resort

To do: See the rainbow sand, party at Dingos & go sea kayaking

Fraser Island – 3 days

Hostels: Dingos 4WD tag-a-long tour

Campsites: Dingos 4WD tag-a-long tour

To do: You don’t need to plan a thing, they do it all for you! See my ‘Rainbow Beach and Fraser Island’ post to read about all the places they take you.

Hervey Bay – 1 day/skip

Hostels: Check Hostelworld

Campsites: Scarness Caravan Park – really decently priced and right on the beachfront. Great for a quick stop off.

To do: Beach & chill


Agnes Water/1770 – 1 day/skip

Hostels: Check Hostelworld

Campsites: Horizons Kangaroo Sanctuary

To do: Visit 1770 & go for a walk

Airlie Beach – 3 days

Hostels: Nomads/Base

Campsites: Nomads/Base

To do: Beach & party

Whitsundays – 3 days

Hostels: Ride to Paradise

Campsites: N/A

To do: They take you everywhere! See my ‘Airlie Beach and Whitsundays’ post for all the details.

Townsville – 1 day

Hostels: Rambutan

Campsites: Rambutan – we slept in the car park outside and it was fine (not exactly legal, however). Maybe check Wikicamps.

To do: Chill


Magnetic Island – 2 days

Hostels: Base Magnetic Island

Campsites: You can’t take your camper across

To do: Hire a 4×4 and visit: The Forts, Radical Bay, Horseshoe Bay, the Butterfly Forest & West Point. Party in the evenings! See my ‘Townsville and Magnetic Island’ post for all the info you need.


Mission Beach – 1 day/skip

Hostels: Jackaroo Treehouse Mission Beach in Bingle Bay & Mission Beach retreat in Mission Beach

Campsites: Bingle Bay Campground– can only find this on WikiCamps! Really cute and small campsite on the beachfront.

To do: Bicton Hill walk in Clump Mountain Nation Park & beach


Daintree Rainforest – 1 day

Hostels: Daintree Crocodylus Village

Campsites: Safari Lodge

To do: Cape Tributional Beach lookout, Dubuji and the Marrdji Boardwalks

Port Douglas – 1 day

Hostels: Port Douglas Backpackers & Dougies Backpackers Resort

Campsites: Douiges Backpacker Resort

To do: Tan & chill. There is also a good bit of shopping & some nice restaurants.

Port Douglas
Port Douglas

Cairns – 3 days/2 days

Hostels: Gilligans to party, Calypso to chill

Campsites: We parked outside Calypso with no issues, if not, go to a campsite or get rid of the van!

To do: Dive or snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef and party at Giligans.


So there you have it – all the tips I have accumulated during my 5 months in Australia. I have no doubt that I’ve probably missed something and everyone has different opinions but I had the absolute best time – I hope you do too!

If anyone has any questions, please drop me a message. Otherwise, as they say down-under ‘Too easy mate’.

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