Just looking at a map you will realise that Australia is a big country. The sixth largest country in the world, no less. So big, in fact, that the UK can fit into Australia 32 times.
With that in mind, planning your trip to Australia can feel like a daunting task. How are you going to fit in all that you want to see? More crucially, how are you going to get around? In this post, I’m here to share with you my favourite options for travelling East Coast Australia.
East Coast Australia
The East Coast of Australia is a backpacker’s mecca. From Cairns up in Northern Queensland, through to Sydney in New South Wales and Melbourne down in Victoria, the east coast runs for thousands of kilometres. From climate to things to do, the diversity along the East Coast is staggering.
If you’ve just arrived Down Under, check out my ideas for getting started on your working holiday visa, which includes setting up a bank account, mobile phone plan and tax number.
The best time of the year to visit runs roughly from October to April with the hottest months being December to February. During the height of the summer, northern Queensland can be hot and tropical but the further south you wander then daytime temperatures in cities like Melbourne are beautiful.
Probably one of the most popular ways to travel the East Coast is by bus. I say bus, but the Greyhound are more like long distance coaches with a toilet, TV and wifi on board. Your journey will be punctuated by little rest stops when you can get off the coach to stretch your legs and buy a coffee from a service station (the Aussie’s call these ‘servos’ or roadhouses).
Organising your Greyhound Travel couldn’t be easier. You would probably be best to buy a pass that enables you to travel either north or south along the East Coast. Your ticket will be valid for hop-on-hop-off travel along the coast as long as you follow the same direction.
For the ultimate road trip experience it has to be a campervan. There are many companies that hire campervans to travellers of all budgets such as Hertz, Apollo and Britz. Slightly more budget friendly options may be Hippie Campers, Wicked and Spaceships Rentals. Campervans are a great idea for you and a couple of friends as they give you greater flexibility of where to stay. Most campervans come fully equipped with cooking and sometimes even sleeping equipment, but do check at the time of booking.
Hop on to social media and search for backpacker traveller groups in the city you are in or would like to visit. There are a ton of active Facebook groups out there full of likeminded travellers all searching for travel partners. Some may have a car and are advertising their spare seats for a road-trip, others may be looking for people to hitch a ride with.
Whilst not usually the cheapest option, if you’re short on time then flying is a quick and easy way to get from place to place. Internal flights in Australia can sometimes be pricey, especially between the states, but for shorter journeys you can pick up some bargains. Use websites such as Skyscanner to research your flight options and keep an eye out for Jet Star or Tiger Air as these are the budget, no-frills airlines.
I took the train for some of my journeys on the East Coast. I found it was a relaxing way to sit back and see the countryside. I found the train was useful for some journeys such as travelling from Sydney to the Blue Mountains, but also for longer, inter-state trips like between NSW and Queensland. There are several train passes available that allow you to cover massive distances at cheap prices. Take a look at Australian Railpasses for ideas.
Australia’s diverse countryside, weather and attractions means that it’s the perfect place to travel in a tour. There’s simply tons to discover and if the thought of planning or driving all that way yourself is too daunting to take one, why not join one of the many organised tours Australia has to offer. I can recommend Intrepid Travel for awesome group tours as I’ve used them over on the West Coast of Australia. Other travel companies to check out are Top Deck, OZ Experience and Adventure Travel Bugs.
There are a multitude of car hire companies out there to choose from. You may recognise many of the bigger international names such as Avis or Hertz. Top tips are to make sure you have an English translation on your driver’s license, check whether you have unlimited mileage and whether your car is covered to drive on unsealed roads (if it is not 4WD then the answer is probably not!)
Don’t forget to check out car and campervan relocations for a cheaper, last minute option. Many companies need someone to drive a vehicle back to the point of origin and if you’re lucky you can score a top of the range campervan for the price of fuel. Just check the fine print because there is usually a time and distance limit to your journey, so perfect if you want to get from A to B quickly but not so great if you are planning a longer trip.
Which Option Is Best For You?
If you’re still not sure and have more questions about which style of travel will suit you the best, hop on over to this post where I discuss the best way to travel.
I’ve also put some thought into the pros and cons of guided group travel. It surprised me to realise that the pros greatly overcame the cons.
Inspired to travel East Coast Australia? I’d love to hear from you! Have you already travelled the East Coast? What hints and tips would you share with your fellow travellers?
Know someone who’s planning a trip to Australia? Share this with them to give them some serious pre-trip inspiration!
Several images in this post thanks to Pixabay.
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