East Coast

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East Coast

Cairns

Day 7-13: Cairns

Cairns is considered the gateway to the great barrier reef and is also one of the access points to the Daintree Rainforest and to many waterfalls in the area. As it is situated right at the sea it offers some great seafood restaurants, like the Prawn Star, where you enjoy your prawns while sitting on a ship in the harbor. As it is also a magnet for many backpackers it offers some good party opportunities like The Woolshed.


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East Coast

Daintree Rainforest

Day 14: Port Douglas
Day 15: Cape Tribulation
Day 16: Kurunda & Palm Cove
Day 17: Mission Beach

The coastline from Cairns all the way up to Cape Tribulation is full of pristine beaches, beautiful rain forest and impressive waterfalls. Mossman Gorge with its well-prepared boardwalk and the impressive Barren Falls and Josephine falls are just three activities to mention. Keep in mind that there is no bridge and you therefore have to take a car ferry to reach the cape.

East Coast

Townsville & Magnetic Island

Day 18-19: Townsville & Magnetic Island

Magnetic island is easily reachable by ferry from Townsville and an absolute unique place to visit. About half of the island is part of a national park and full of wildlife including Koalas, Agile Wallabies and Rock Wallabies. The best way to explore the island is by rental car but there is also a bus operating in between the main spots.

East Coast

Airlie Beach & Whitsundays

Day 20-22: Airlie Beach & Whitsundays

In Airlie Beach a trip to the Whitsundays is the obvious choice. Its famous Whitehaven Beach is considered the most beautiful in the world and the view from the Hill Inlet lookout is simply mind blowing. Another great thing to do is to dive or snorkel the outer Great Barrier Reef, as it is said to be in better shape than in the Cairns area.

East Coast

Cape Hillsborough

Day 23: Cape Hillborough

At Cape Hillsborough you can literally have breakfast with a Wallaby. They are everywhere on the campsite and there is also a lazy Kangaroo hanging around. At sunrise they all gather at the beach because then one of the rangers is providing them with a supplement they are craving for.

East Coast

Bundaberg

Day 24: Emu Park
Day 25: Bundaberg

Emu park is an interesting place when you are into flying foxes as there are literally hundreds of them around. And once a year there is a wind festival where there are all sorts of kite competitions going on.

The Bundaberg distillery offers not only a museum but also an excellent tour where you learn a lot about the history and the production process and get to taste two rums of your choice.

East Coast

Fraser Island

Day 26-28: Fraser Island

Fraser Island is a must see when in Australia. It is a place like no other and one day is barely enough to explore it all. There is famous Lake McKenzie, probably the bluest lake ever, the picturesque Maheno Shipwreck, Eli’s Creek, the colored sands and so much more.

East Coast

Noosa Heads

Day 28-30: Noosa Heads

Noosa Heads offers some of the loneliest beaches a touristy spot can offer. On most of them nobody is swimming and only a few surfers are waiting on their boards for the next wave to catch. You can see those beaches when doing the coastal walk and when you are really lucky you can also spot a Koala up in the trees.

East Coast

Brisbane

Day 31-32: Brisbane


Day 33-35: Mooloolaba

Brisbane is a perfect city to live in. The weather is mostly nice and warm and there is an artificial lagoon in the middle of the city free for everyone to use. And there is a big pedestrian area with restaurants, shops and bars. And in case you want to learn and see a bit more of the city, a river cruise is a perfect way to do that.

East Coast

Surfers Paradise

Day 36-41: Surfers Paradise

Surfers Paradise is the beach suburb of Gold Coast and quite unique with its high rising buildings right at a beautiful beach. It also offers some of the best nightlife of Australia.

Close by North Stradbroke Island is kind of an insider as it is not as famous as its big brother Fraser Island. It is easy to reach by ferry and moving on the island by bus is super convenient. If offers some great coastal walks, there are Koalas in the trees and in season lots of whales to spot at the coast.

East Coast

Stradbroke Island

Day 40: Daytrip to Straddie

This sand island is kind of an insider and animal paradise. As it is not as famous as its big brother Fraser Island. It’s easy to reach by ferry and moving around on the island by bus is super convenient. It offers some great coastel walks, there are koalas in the trees and in season lots of whales to spot from the coast. In the evening the dolphins say hello at the pier and thousands of lorikeet birds swirld around.

East Coast

Byron Bay

Day 42-44: Byron Bay

Byron Bay is pure surfing. Everyone in this little beach town seems to surf and probably is. Therefore it is a great place to go surfing but also partying. Cheeky Monkey’s, Woody’s Surf Shack and the Railway Friendly Bar are just a few to mention. In addition, there are some cool shops, cafes and sometimes even life music at the beach. And if you are into walking there is a nice circular walk to the lighthouse to be done.

East Coast

Nimbin

Day 45-46: Nimbin

When you are in Byron Bay a visit to Nimbin is a must. This place is unique. It is the paradise for every hippie as for some strange reasons the police does not care about drug dealing and consumption. At the main street there are many small stores with all sorts of funny and weird things to buy and the people you meet there are not much different.

East Coast

Port Macquarie

Day 47-48: Coffs Harbour
Day 49-50: Port Macquarie

The area around Koffs Harbour and Port Macquary offers some beautiful beaches like Whitesbeach or Saphire beach to name only two. And there is a Swiss bakery in Bellingen, which is a must visit for every Swiss. But the highlight is the Koala Hospital in Port Macquary. There they take care of ill and insured Koalas and if possible, return them into the wild.

East Coast

Nelson Bay

Day 51-54: Nelson Bay

Nelson Bay is an absolute gem. There are several beautiful beaches to relax at, Murray’s Brewery where you can chat the afternoon away with locals and Tomaree Head offers a lookout more stunning than any other lookout on the mainland of east coast Australia.

East Coast

Hunter Valley

Day 55-56: Hunter Valley

The hunter valley is probably the best wine valley on the east coast of Australia. There are so many excellent wineries to visit, that it doesn’t make sense to name them all. And one of the great features of those is, that the tastings are either free or their cost is less than a glass of wine in a bar. And if you are willing to buy a bottle of wine after tasting about ten of them you don’t pay the tasting at all.

East Coast

Sydney

Day 1-6: Sydney

Explore the Highlights of Sydney!

Watch the Opera House and Harbor Bridge from a special angle

The obvious pick, but to get a truly good view you have to be at the right spot at sunset (or sunrise in case you are a morning person). The best view you get from the Rocks or from Mrs Macquarie’s Chair in the Royal Botanic Gardens. And the gardens itself is of course also worth a visit.

Listen to the stories of the Rocks

The Rocks is the place of the first settlement in Sydney. And because those first settlers were criminals sent over from Great Britain there are many stories to tell about those early days. The best way to listen to them is by joining the free walking tour a 6pm.

Walk from Bondi to Coogee Beach

The best way to explore those two beaches and all the beaches in between is by walking from Bondi to Coogee. It is a beautiful 2h coastal walk with steep cliffs and sandy beaches. And when we reached Coogee Beach at the end, the place where I had lived for many weeks, we had to go to my favorite bar, the Coogee Bay Hotel.

Explore Manly Beach

Manly feels like a beach village but is actually a suburb of Sydney. There are many shops, restaurants and takeaways and at the beach you can practice beachvolley or surfing. The most comfortable way to reach it is by ferry from Circular Quay, but you can also take the exhausting way and walk there from Split. It is a scenic walk but also a bit long on a sunny day.

Visit Victoria Shopping Center and Windham Subway Station

It is a shopping center full of history. Not only is it situated in a beautiful building which is dedicated to Queen Victoria it is also full of explanations about the early days of Sydney. And of course, it is also a shopping center full of many small stores.

Windham Subway Station on the other hand is relatively new but contains a piece of art that gives a possible answer to what happens, when an escalator goes nuts.

Watch the yachts at Darling Harbour

Darling Harbour is right in the heart of the central business district and a great place to have lunch and watch the yachts passing by. But be careful when crossing the pedestrian bridge as it opens up, every time one of the taller boats is passing.

Eat Thai Food and go out in Newtown

Newtown is the suburb of my university and also the place where I lived during the first half of the semester. And probably because of its proximity to the university it is full of bars and reasonable priced Thai restaurants. It is a suburb with a great atmosphere and definitely worth a visit.

Why we skipped the Blue Mountains, Taronga Zoo and Sea Life

Because we only had a limited amount of time we decided to do the blue mountains when we are crossing the Sydney region with our camper van, so these info will follow later. We also skipped Taronga Zoo and Sea Life even though they must be spectacular, as we prefer to see the animals in wild life while travelling Australia.

East Coast

Blue Mountains

Day 57-58: Katoomba

The blue mountains are wonderful. When you arrive in Katoomba you don’t expect much, but as soon as you take a few steps you get views into the canyon that let you speechless. But there is not only Katoomba with its famous three sisters, there are many great walks like the Grand Canyon walk and lots and lots of great lookouts. There are the Katoomba falls, Evan’s lookout, Govetts leap, Pulpit Rock lookout, Kahil’s lookout, Bore’s head and the Princes Rock lookout to see the Wentworth Falls, to name just a few.

East Coast

Kangaroo Valley

Day 59-60: Bendeela Recreation Area

Kangaroo Valley is famous, as its name indicates, for Kangaroos but also for Wombats. And when spending the night on the free campsite “Bendeela Recreational area” you will for sure spot many of those beautiful creatures in the evening.

East Coast

Wildlife outside of Melbourne

Day 61-62: Wilsons Prom NP

Wilsons Prom is a beautiful national park full of unique beaches and wildlife. There is the chance to spot Wombats, Emus, Kangaroos and Wallabies. And there are countless hikes and beaches to explore. There is for example Mt. Bishop which offers a unique view over Squeaky Beach and Whiskey Bay. Squeaky Beach btw. does actually squeak when the sand is dry.

East Coast

Melbourne

Day 63-67: Melbourne

Explore the Highlights of Melbourne!

Watch the Brighton Bathing Boxes
They can’t be used for anything else than storage and hanging out. They don’t have power and you’re not allowed to cook or sleep in them. But they are quite expensive and rarely on the market. Maybe it’s the one thing you buy when you already have everything else.
They all got a similar shape and size and are beautifully painted. And they are a major Instagram attraction. We haven’t seen that many Asian Instagram tourists as we’ve seen in Brighton but we still liked it very much there.

Do a free cultural walking tour
As mentioned earlier, Melbourne does not offer spectacular sights, but outstanding street art. And that is why we decided for the cultural tour. We walked through many narrow lanes and learned about the art on it’s walls, the artists who produced them and the city itself. There is even a little Banksy hidden somewhere.

Eat and Drink in Melbourne’s Bars, Pubs, Cafés and little Restaurants
Besides the street art, they are the main items that define the unique vibe of Melbourne. We’ve already been to some cafés and pubs on our own but with Konrad and Rosalind we made an entire pub crawl. We had met them on our trip into the jungle of Borneo and this time they showed us the way through the jungle of Melbourne. Amongst other bars we’ve been to Section 8 and Troika Bar and had the most amazing and cheapest dumplings you can imagine at Empress of China.

Watch the Penguins in Saint Kilda
Saint Kilda is not only a nice neighborhood with a picturesque Luna Park and a little beach, they also have penguins. There lives a colony of small penguins at the pier and every evening after sundown they return from fishing to spend the night there.

Eat and shop at the Queen Victoria Market
This market exists since the 19th century and is the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere. You can spend hours there buying all sorts of food and you can eat all sorts of delicacies at the little food stands.

Watch a game at the MCG
Chris, who I was living with in Sydney, is a big sports fan and so he invited us to an AFL game at the MCG. AFL stands for Australian Football League and is a mix of Rugby, Football and even includes some Basketball elements. It was invented to keep the cricket players fit in winter and as we travelled Melbourne in winter this sport was on.
And luckily there was a big game happening this weekend. Richmond was playing against Essedon and despite heavy rain the massive Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) was almost 80% filled. It was a wonderful night including beers before, during and after the game.

Enjoy the view at Vue du Monde
An alternative to the Eureka tower where you pay AUD 21 pp is the bar Vue du Monde. It is almost as high and there is no charge to go up. The view from the bar at night is simply breathtaking and even tough drinks are on the pricier side it is so worth the visit.

Have brunch
Because there are many cafés in Melbourne, there are also many places to have an excellent brunch. We had brunch with Jaye and Erin, which we had met years ago on a two-day cruise into the Halong Bay in Vietnam. It was amazing to see them again after all this time and they even brought their kids which hadn’t been around when we last met them

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