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Welcome to the ultimate 2-week East Coast adventure, an essential read for any traveller exploring Australia! This Australia itinerary blog is your go-to guide for maximising your 14-day journey, ensuring you experience the best of what the East Coast has to offer. From iconic landmarks to hidden gems, we’ve crafted a detailed route filled with must-visit destinations and insider tips.

East Coast Australia is the TOP destination for travellers. It pretty much has something for everyone. A 2 week backpacking trip may not seem like a long time, but let us tell you, you can fit in A LOT of experiences and activities in this time frame. It’s gonna be jam-packed and it’s gonna be epic.

We are gonna show you exactly how and share our tips on:

  • How to fit in those epic bucketlist destinations
  • Where to go to visit Fraser Island and the Whitsundays
  • How long to spend in each spot between Sydney and Cairns
  • And most importantly… how we can save you money $$$

From sky diving, to snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef to spending the night on a remote island, the East Coast has it allllll – it is winning with it’s list of insane trips and tours.

A little spontaneity and going with the flow is sweet, but when it comes to ticking off those bucket list experiences in just a 2 week holiday to Australia, life is made so much easier if you jump on a tour and book some activities – which we can help you with!

The route we’re about to chat about starts in Sydney (ideally, we recommend starting in a campervan) and takes you all the way up to Cairns.

Let’s goooooooo….

Click images to see more.

Getting around

The big ol’ question – to travel by Greyhound coach or camper van?

Now this TOTALLY depends on your style of travel, vibe, budget and if you are travel solo or with a crew…

Greyhound 15 Day Whimit pass

The Whimit pass is ideal if you’re travelling for a shorter period of time as you can cover more ground. You can pop all over the place without being tied down to a certain route. So more time adventuring and less time planning.

Camper van

The benefits of travelling by camper are endless – complete and utter freedom to zoom around the insane ocean roads of Aussie, no late night awakenings from noisy hostel goers, and the ability to do what you want, when you want.

But, if you’re on a two week trip, grabbing a bus pass or a Sydney camper would BOTH be epic options depending on your vibe and travel style… Choose the bus pass if you are a solo traveller on a backpacking trip, as you can just hop on and off as you please and go directly from place to place without having to factor in time for finding lifts or getting to and from the airport. Or choose to travel via camper if you are travelling with a crew or the other half and fancy a bit of time to yourself and hitting the open road (just make sure you take into consideration how long the journeys are!)

Where to stay

The best bet, if you’re travelling by Greyhound, is to stay in hostels.

As you know how long you’ll be travelling, we’d recommend pre-booking the whole 2 weeks of travel so that you don’t have to worry about finding a bed on the night.

Plus, mapping out your 14 day Australia itinerary means you’re making the most of every single day you have down under!

Check out our fave East Coast hostels here.

If you travel via campervan then you will be spoilt for choice with the amount of paid and free camping spots on the East Coast! If you are travelling over a busy period such as Easter or Christmas then we recommend to prebook. The app Wikicamps is super handy for finding campsites and seeing where they are on the map..

The route

As Australia itineraries go for your trip, this is a pretty good one…

Stop 1: Sydney

2 days in Sydney

What to do here: You’ve got to see those iconic sites. Head to Circular Quay to see the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Stroll around the Rocks and the Botanic Gardens and get a great view of the harbour from Mrs Maquarie’s Chair. Jump on the ferries or buses and check out Bondi Beach, Manly Beach, Watsons Bay and Coogee Beach – the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk is a great option if you want to take in those gorgeous sea views.

What to eat: Head to Surry Hills to find hipster cafes and lush brunches.

Where to stay: Sydney Harbour YHA Hostel

Then, hop on an overnight bus to Byron Bay or hit the road. It’s a long ride via bus (about 13 hours), so be sure to get a night journey. You don’t want to waste a day with travel.

If you have time for a little detour on your trip to Canberra (Australia’s capital city) it’s about a 3 hour drive from Sydney!

Stop 2: Byron Bay

2 days in Byron Bay

The HOME of RatPack Travel, when you are in the Bay shoot us a WhatsApp and come and have some bants with the crew!

What to do here: Head to the beach, these beaches are like NO other.. Our faves are Main beach, Belongil, The Pass and Wategos. Enjoy the music scene, there are buskers everywhere on everyday, the legend that is Tones and I (Dance Monkey) used to busk regulary in the bay and the cre would watch her! Now is your chance to tick the big sky dive off your bucket list. And what better place to do it then the home of RatPack yewwwwww. You can also give surfing a go, head to the hippie town of Nimbin, Kayak with Dolphins and do the epic hike up to the Lighthouse. For those seeking unforgettable backpacking trips, Byron Bay offers a diverse range of experiences, from beach adventures to vibrant cultural explorations.

What to eat: The town is full of cute little eateries and healthy cafes but some of our favourites are Main Street Burgers, Bang Bang, Combi, Dip Cafe, The Treehouse and the unreal sushi!

Where to stay: Backpackers Inn, Cape Byron YHA or Wake Up Hostel

Stop 3: Gold Coast

1 day in Gold Coast

What to do here: Head to the sky scraper lined beach at Surfers Paradise for a bit of chill out time or head over to Burleigh Heads for some epic city views and a dip in the lagoon. Fan of theme parks? Head to Movie World or Dream World to get your rollercoaster fix.

What to eat: Gold coast is known for its nightlife, so grab some goon and head out on the town for some food and drinks. You’ll find lots of good foodie deals here as there are alot chains and join a pub crawl for a true Surfers Paradise night out.

Where to stay: Bunk Hostel

 

Stop 4: Brisbane

1 day in Brisbane

What to do here: Stroll around the city, do a spot of shopping (or window shopping) and head over to South Bank to take a dip at the man-made beach. Jump on the FREE ferry and cruise up and down the river. Go to Australia Zoo. Check out the sunset from Mount Cootha

What to eat: There are loads of backpacker and happy hour foodie deals in Brisbane, or Brisvegas as it’s known. Pop over to the Eagle Street for some dinner under the city lights at the harbour, Southbank for pubs or head to Eat Street for Food truck central! If you are keen for a night out, head to Fortitude Valley where you will find plenty of clubs and bars…

Where to stay: Wake Up Hostel

Stop 5: Noosa

1 day in Noosa

What to do here: Take the National Park walk and if you’re lucky you might spot a wild koala. Get a sick shot at the Fairy Pools or try your hand at surfing. If you’ve got time, head to Noosa Spit which is essentially a natural lazy river.

Where to eat: You’ve gotta try Betty’s Burgers – they’re to die for! There are some awesome restaurants on Hastings Street, a little on the expensive side but worth it..

Where to stay: Flashpackers Noosa (Say hello to the crew for us they are legends!)

 

Stop 6: K’gari (Fraser Island)

Head to Rainbow Beach before setting off for 3 days on K’gari on a tour

What to do here: The question is, what isn’t there to do here!? K’gari is awesome! Lake Mckenzie is beaut, Lake Wabby is super cool. There’s an old ship wreck aka the Maheno, a natural lazy river, dingos and wildlife roaming around, driving on the beach and through the jungle, camp under the stars- the list is endless.

What to eat: You don’t need to worry about that (mainly because there are no restaurants on the island) You’ll get meals included in the tour, expect to pitch in and help with the cooking as part of the experience.

Where to stay: Again, camping accommodation is included on the tour. There is even the option to upgrade to a glamping experience on the epic Drop Bear tour!

Hop on the overnight bus to Airlie Beach. Again, it is a long one.

 

Stop 7: The Whitsundays

Head to Airlie Beach before setting off for 3 days on the Whitsundays.

What to do here: Feast your eyes (and your feet) on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world AKA Whitehaven Beach. Sail around the Southern Great Barrier Reef (a UNESCO World Heritage Site!) and catch an epic view at Hill Inlet look out. Snorkel on the reef during the tour and check out the unreal wildlife!

What to eat: Food will be included in the tour and even better, the crew cook it for you.

Where to stay: Get this… You’ll be staying on the ocean, on the boat, an experience like NO other…

 

Stop 8: Magnetic Island

Head to Townsville before setting off on the ferry to spend 3 days on Magnetic Island.

What to do here: Spot wild koalas along Forts Walk, get a 360 view of the island from the view points, hire a topless 4wd and cruise around the island, feed wild wallabies at sunset and visit all of the beaut beaches.

What to eat: Head to the hostel bar for happy hour and some epic food, the breakfast here is the ultimate hangover cure!

Where to stay: Base Hostel

 

The Final Stop: Cairns

3 days in Cairns

What to do here: The moment you’ve been waiting for – it’s Great Barrier Reef time, learn how to scuba dive or head on a snorkel tour of the reef. You can also visit the Atherton Tablelands which is full of waterfalls or head up to Cape Tribulation and check out the Daintree Rainforest and spot the crocs on the Daintree River. if you’ve always fancied skydiving and landing on the beach then this is the spot, Mission Beach is just a short drive from Cairns. Fancy a bungy jump overlooking the rainforest? You can do that here too!

What to eat: Cairns is TOTAL backpacker central, so if you’re running low on cash at this point there’s a load of backpacker friendly bars and restaurants to pick from, make the most of the food deals in your hostel too!

Where to stay: Mad Monkey

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About the Author: Sammy
You can never EVER forget where your from – In my case Manchester, UK. But for now and for...

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