East Coast Australia Road Trip

"Stunning Coastlines - the Perfect Road Trip"

The East Coast Australia is probably one of the most visited stretches of coastline and quite frankly, it deserves to be. There is something for everyone on this road trip.

Don’t try to do too much though. Cairns to Sydney is nearly 2500km and would take you 48 hours of straight driving down the east coast, australia. To do this entire stretch properly you’d need at least 3 weeks.

Much more manageable is Noosa to Sydney (900km). If you still think you want longer, you could add Sydney to Melbourne (another stretch of the east coast Australia) as another option. (another 850km)

When to come

The best time to visit the east coast australia is during the summer when the coast line is at its best - blue skies and lots of sunshine. But it is also the busiest time to come.

Try to avoid January (Australian school holidays) November, February and March would be quieter and cheaper but the weather may not be quite as good.

How long for

East coast Australia is VERY long. If you stick to my recommendations and do Noosa to Sydney then you can complete this in 10 days.

If you want to do more and include up to Cairns, you need 3 weeks.

Another alternative is to carry on from Sydney and take an extra 3-5 days to add in Sydney to Melbourne. The road hugs the coastline most of the way and there are some beautiful coastal towns, beaches and wildlife to explore.

The trip is definitely worth it and having Melbourne as a final destination is always a plus. The city has a lot to offer even if you have been there before, and you can find great hotels in Melbourne through Expedia.

Getting here

To road trip the east coast Australia, you can start at either end - Noosa or Sydney.

Getting to Noosa is easy. You can fly relatively cheaply from most cities. The nearest airport is Maroochydore, also known as the Sunshine Coast Airport. Check out Jetstar and Virgin Blue.

Getting Around

East Coast Australia is best done by hiring your own car. You don't need a 4 WD apart from a couple of days on Fraser Island.

I'd probably just hire the 4WD from Harvey Bay for a couple of days and keep your other car in Hervey Bay whilst you do the trip (or join an organised tour for this bit)

Friends of mine successfully did a road trip down the east coast Australia by bus. There are frequent buses from all major towns.

For a road map of Noosa to Sydney click here:

australian road maps

Where to stop/spend your time

Noosa, 3 days

Noosa or Noosa Heads is a fantastic seaside town with fabulous beaches, forest walks, boutique shopping, gourmet restaurants and some nightlife. This is a great place to relax for a few days and enjoy the sunshine on the east coast Australia Click here for more information on Noosa

Fraser Island - 2 full days

Probably one of my best weekends away. This is a must do. Fancy driving a 4WD car down miles and miles of pristine beaches or heading in land to drive the sandy trails in lush rainforests. Definitely worth a trip.

Click here for more information on Fraser Island australia

Gold Coast 1- 2 days

This is where beautiful beaches meets Vegas! The east coast Australia town is such good fun. It is a party town with something for everyone. Click here for more information on Gold Coast holidays

As an alternative to the Gold Coast I can recommend staying at Kingscliff Australia. This is a great place to come if you prefer quiet and some chill out time. Certainly not as commercial as the likes of the Gold Coast or Byron Bay. An undiscovered Australian gem.

Byron Bay - 2-3 days

This is where the Sydneysiders go along the east coast, Australia for a weekend away. Fab beaches, great bars, funky restaurants, hippy style shops, querky cake shops...you name it, they've got it. It’s a real place to escape. No surprise then that Byron is also well known for its spa and massage

  • Byron Bay is another place that’s great for relaxing on the beach, taking leisurely walks (you must do the walk around the lighthouse), browsing boutique shops, lazy long lunches and some marine life watching too.
  • For marine life, head to Julian Rocks Marine Reserve where you can snorkel with turtles. www.byronbaydivecentre.com.au. Or, why not Dolphin Kayak. www.dolphinkayaking.com.au
  • Go further afield to the Hinterland just outside Byron Bay, where you can walk or visit the Crystal Castle. Yes there’s displays of crystals but there’s also some nice walks.
  • Where to stay

    Accommodation in Byron is REALLY expensive. So you may decide to limit your time here if you are keeping to a budget. Try www.Stayz.com to see if you can find a suitable villa/apartment. There are also some good B&B’s around. Availability goes quickly for Byron so probably not best to wait til the last minute to book these. You will always find something on www.wotif.com though.

  • Rae’s at Wategos – THE place to stay in Byron if you can afford it! (from $500)
  • The Byron at Byron Resort $300
  • East on Byron $375
  • Victoria's at Wategos $300
  • Breakfree Eco Beach Resort $200
  • Budget:

  • Arts Factory Backpackers Lodge – a variety of funky accommodation. Good location only 5 mins walk to town from $40
  • Byron Bay holiday park – 5 min drive from Byron Town from $85
  • There really is lots of accommodation but none of it is that cheap. Try the search box below too for some other options:

    Byron Bay hotels

    2 further stop overs to break up journey back to Sydney

    It's then a 9 hour drive along the east coast australia, back to Sydney so it’s totally up to you how long you take to come back. The key places to stop off at or stay over are all fairly close together so don’t necessarily warrant a stop off to all of them.

    I’d choose between Coffs Harbour and South West Rocks, then stop off around one of the beaches near Taree.

    Stop off 1

    Coffs Harbour is about 175km from Byron Bay on the east coast Australia and is a rather large seaside town. It’s quite built up but the marina and beaches are nice. It’s great for diving, fishing and also famous for its bananas believe it or not. There are at least 10 beaches to explore and surfing here is also good. Click here for more information on

    Coffs Harbour

    Personally I’d stay in the smaller seaside town of South West Rocks which is about an hours drive further south on the east coast Australia. It’s smaller, less to do but serene and beautiful – a hidden gem of east coast Australia. Trial Bay Gaol is worth a visit.

    Fish Rock Cave is also here – a well known dive site just off the coast.

    Smoky Cape lighthouse at SW Rocks is a great place to stay. The view from up there is just amazing. The B&B or cottage with the four poster bed is much more comfortable than the others.


  • South West Rocks Tourist Park Cabins from $70
  • Trail Bay Eco Tourist Park
  • Seabreeze Beach Hotel from $40

  • Stop off 2 – Taree/Forster

    Try Seal Rocks, Boomerang Beach or Blueys Beach. You could book a holiday cottage or apartment which is more or less on the beach. Go to www.stayz.com.au to find the right one for you. (you can have a look for some of the below which look good)

  • Lot 3, Seal Rocks ($300 for 8 people)
  • Kurreki – 5 min walk to 5 beaches (10 people $150)
  • Azure Boomerang Beach ($275 for 6 people)
  • Ithaca, Blueys Beach

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