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The East Coast of Australia, My Backpacking Mini Guide

The East Coast of Australia, My Backpacking Mini Guide


The East Coast of Australia is one of the most iconic places to go backpacking. The stretch from Melbourne to Cairns is filled with everything a traveller could want – from the chaotic nightlife of Surfer Paradise, the amazing surf breaks of Byron Bay and the arty haven of Mlebourne through to many iconic sites – like the Sydney Opera House, Whitehaven Inlet or the Great Barrier Reef.

I’ve travelled up the east coast twice now and I enjoyed every moment of it. So to help you guys plan your backpacking adventure to Australia I thought I’d pass on my East Coast Australia Mini Guide – something I passed on to my passengers at STA Travel and a heap of travel buddies that they said helped them out, so I think it’s time I gave it to all you guys too!

It’s by no means exhaustive – you’ve got to leave some surprised along the way – but it’s a quick run through of places I’ve stopped off at and some key activities in each spot to get you started!

Get a map and start planning your adventure!





Cairns is the party town of the East Coast where most backpackers start or finish their trip. The general consensus is laze around the town’s lagoon pool during the day and party away the night in the infamous bars; The Woolshed and Gilligans being the main venues. It’s also the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef so if you’re looking to snorkel, SCUBA or go all out with a PADI dive course this is the place to do it.

In fact if you’re going to dive in Cairns check out my other site – Epic Gap Year – for dive courses in Cairns and Great Barrier Reef day trips.

For those looking to explore a bit more why not spend a day at the Crystal Cascades water falls or hire a car and drive through the landscape of the Atherton Tablelands. If you have a bit more time on your hands do an overnight trip to Cape Tribulation where the two world heritage sites of the rainforest and reef meet together over a bed of golden sands.


Mission Beach

This spot is an underestimated stop on the East Coast and many backpackers will simply bypass it – don’t make the same mistake! A couple nights here will reload you after party chaos in Cairns and you can get your adrenaline fix skydiving (which offer gorgeous panoramas of the barrier reef and a beach landing) or "White Water Rafting On The Tully River" "" white water rafting the Tully River. Sure you can do both from Cairns but you’ll find yourself with 4 hours of bus time as both trips operate from Mission Beach! Be a savvy traveller and add the stop in


Chris Stevens, 27, Male
Blog Details;
Unique Monthly Visitors; 50,000+
Time Travelling Last Year;

…I’ve been on the road since 2011! Last year I covered Ecuador, Peru, Iceland, Germany, Portugal, South Africa, Thailand, Indonesia and The Philippines!
Preferred Activities

I’m up for anything really! 
Ocean based activities (such as scuba diving, freediving, surfing etc) are of key personal interest to me but I’m game to jump out of planes, hike mountains, trek jungles, snowboard, or simply explore some more of nature - I love experiencing new things and there’s very little I wouldn’t be keen to try….except heights, I hate heights!haha!
Regional Preference

I’m in Oz and NZ mainly for the next year although I plan to resist Asia too. Depending on the opportunity I’m open to experience worldwide as I have no fixed location.