East Coast Australia Road Trips
Typically used to describe the 2,420 kilometres between Sydney and Cairns, Australia’s East Coast is an unbeatable road trip destination.
Whether you’re taking on the whole route, exploring the New South Wales coastline between Sydney and Brisbane or Queensland’s Pacific Coast up to Cairns, stunning beaches, gorgeous National Parks and laid back seaside towns await.
Here are a few unmissable stops en route…
Sydney to Brisbane
- Sydney – Australia’s iconic, harbourside city. Will you enjoy drinks at The Rocks, walk the Bondi to Coogee Clifftop Trail or climb Sydney Harbour Bridge?
- Hunter Valley – wineries that arguably produce the finest vintage in New South Wales, with tours and tastings available. An hour inland from Newcastle
- Port Stephens – known for its 60 metre high sand dunes at Anna Bay, which you can hurtle down by sandboard or quad bike, or traverse by camel!
- Port Macquarie – home to the highest koala population on Australia’s East Coast, often spotted from the rainforest boardwalk in Sea Acres National Park
- Coffs Harbour – popular with families for its gentle coastal walks past cliff top grazing kangaroos, as well as the legendary Big Banana Fun Park!
- Bryon Bay – Australia’s most easterly point, famous for its stunning beaches and relaxed atmosphere. Stroll out to the iconic Cape Byron lighthouse
- Gold Coast – a collection of fun loving neighbourhoods, from Surfers Paradise to Coolangatta, with great theme parks, beaches, bars and restaurants
- Lamington National Park – just inland from the coastal towns of the Gold Coast, brimming with waterfalls, caves and other natural wonders
- Brisbane – Queensland’s capital, known for its café culture, roof top bars and shaded parks. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and Moreton Island, home to 600 bottlenose dolphins, are also nearby.
If you would like hotel recommendations or advice on driving distances for your road trip along East Coast Australia, our Travel Experts would be pleased to help. Just get in touch.
If you’re travelling from Sydney to Brisbane by motorhome you’ll find a wonderful selection of campsites en route; in coastal towns, by the beachside and surrounded by jungle. Pre-booking is recommended, especially during peak season. For the more adventurous there is free camping, with limited facilities, in many of New South Wales’ National Parks.
Brisbane to Cairns
- Noosa – a charming town on Australia’s Nature Coast, from where you can kayak through everglades, spot koalas in Noosa National Park, browse the boutique Eumundi Markets or just relax on Main Beach
- Glasshouse Mountains – 11 rocky peaks that rise from the Sunshine Coast hinterland, perfect for hiking and horse riding. Australia Zoo is also nearby.
- Fraser Island – the world’s largest sand island, where you can hurtle along 75 Mile Beach in a 4×4 or swim in the turquoise waters of Lake McKenzie
- Hervey Bay – one of the best places to spot humpback whales migrate along the Queensland coast. Book your Hervey Bay Whale Watching Cruise before you go.
- Capricorn Caves – incredible cave formations in a limestone ridge, with regular tours available, as well as darker and deeper subterranean adventures
- Whitsunday Islands – pure tropical paradise in the Coral Sea. Why not sail to the fabled Whitehaven beach or indulge in an overnight stay at the luxurious Qualia on Hamilton Island or private Daydream Island Resort?
- Townsville – home to Reef HQ, the world’s largest living coral reef aquarium. In the evening, take a stroll with the locals down The Stand, by the beachfront
- Mission Beach – stop for palm-fringed sands or to visit Dunk Island and climb to the top of Mount Kootaloo for panoramic views over the Queensland coast
- Cairns – North Queensland’s largest city and main gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation and tropical north
We’d suggest taking at least nine or ten days to drive between Brisbane and Cairns, such as on our East Coast Drive itinerary, though more if you would like to spend a night or two on Fraser Islands on in the Whitsundays.
If you’re travelling by motorhome from Brisbane to Cairns, there are plenty of beach and bushland campsites to choose from, though reserve a pitch ahead of time. Many of Queensland’s National Parks also have camping areas, though you must obtain a permit online prior to arrival.
Planning Your Road Trip
By booking your flights, hotels and car or campervan hire with a single tour operator, such as Freedom Destinations, you’ll benefit from ATOL protection on the whole package, as well as a single point of contact for all arrangements.
Our Aussie Specialists have all explored Australia’s East Coast and would be delighted to help you plan your road trip. Just get in touch to start your adventure!
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