Best Road Trip Destinations on the East Coast of Australia

Australia’s east coast is known for its stunning beaches, national parks, and charming towns. Imagine cruising down the Pacific Highway, the warm sun shining through your campervan window, and the smell of saltwater in the air.

If you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, there’s something for everyone along Australia’s east coast. From the vibrant cities to the secluded beaches, this road trip is perfect for those who want to explore Australia’s natural beauty and experience its laid-back lifestyle. And after a long day of exploring, you’ll want to relax in style and comfort. Check out our “Kivik Sofa Review – Ikea Comfort and Style” for the perfect addition to your home or campervan.

Many people find that traveling in a campervan can provide a relaxed and laid-back vibe. With the ability to move at your own pace, stop whenever you like, and sleep in your own comfortable bed, campervan travel allows for a sense of freedom and flexibility that can be hard to find with other forms of travel.

Here are some of the best places to visit on a road trip from Sydney to Cairns, or in reverse. A campervan hire can be organised in either location, and one way campervan rental is available.

Port Stephens

Located just two and a half hours north of Sydney, Port Stephens is a hidden gem on the east coast. Known for its crystal-clear waters, sandy beaches, and abundance of marine life, it’s the perfect spot for water-based activities such as snorkelling, surfing, and fishing. You can also take a dolphin watching tour, visit the local wineries, or hike to the top of Tomaree Head for breathtaking views of the coastline.

Jervis Bay

Jervis Bay is a beautiful coastal town located in New South Wales. With its crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches, and abundant marine life, it’s the perfect spot for water-based activities such as kayaking, fishing, and snorkelling. You can also take a hike in the Booderee National Park or visit the historic Cape St. George Lighthouse.

Byron Bay

Byron Bay is a coastal town located in northern New South Wales, famous for its surf culture, hippie vibe, and stunning natural scenery. Whether you want to catch some waves, explore the rainforest, or simply relax on the beach, Byron Bay has it all. Be sure to visit the iconic lighthouse, hike to the top of Mount Warning, and indulge in the local organic food scene.

Port Macquarie

Port Macquarie is a coastal city located in New South Wales, known for its stunning beaches, picturesque coastline, and relaxed atmosphere. The city is home to the Koala Hospital, a popular attraction where visitors can see and learn about injured koalas, as well as the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre, which offers guided tours of the rainforest. You can also visit the historic Tacking Point Lighthouse, go surfing at Town Beach, or take a camel ride along the beach.

The Whitsunday Islands

The Whitsunday Islands are a group of 74 islands located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. With its white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and colourful coral reefs, it’s no wonder the Whitsundays are considered one of the world’s most beautiful destinations. You can go sailing, snorkelling, or scuba diving to explore the underwater world, or simply relax on the beach and soak up the sun.

Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour is a coastal city located in New South Wales, known for its beautiful beaches, scenic coastal drives, and vibrant community. The city is home to the iconic Big Banana, a popular tourist attraction, and also offers opportunities for whale watching, fishing, and surfing. You can explore the Solitary Islands Marine Park, hike to the top of Muttonbird Island, or visit the Coffs Harbour Butterfly House.

Fraser Island

Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island, located off the coast of Queensland. This UNESCO World Heritage site boasts 75 miles of unspoiled beaches, crystal-clear lakes, and lush rainforests. You can explore the island by 4WD, swim in the Champagne Pools, and spot wildlife such as dingoes and humpback whales.

Fraser Island

Cairns

Cairns is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest, making it a must-visit destination on your east coast road trip. With its tropical climate, buzzing nightlife, and abundance of adventure activities, Cairns has something for everyone. Be sure to take a scenic railway tour, visit the Kuranda markets, and explore the underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef.

Noosa

Noosa is a stylish coastal town located on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Known for its stunning beaches, lush national parks, and chic cafes, Noosa is a perfect spot for a relaxing holiday. You can take a surf lesson, explore the Noosa National Park, or simply relax on the beach and soak up the sun.

Little Cove in Noosa, Australia

Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island is a tropical paradise located off the coast of Queensland. With its pristine beaches, secluded bays, and abundant wildlife, Magnetic Island is the perfect spot for a secluded getaway. You can hike to the top of the Forts Walk, spot wild koalas, or relax on the beach and watch the sunset.

The Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains are a stunning mountain range located just a two-hour drive from Sydney. With its rugged cliffs, lush rainforests, and scenic hiking trails, the Blue Mountains are a perfect spot for nature lovers. You can visit the iconic Three Sisters rock formation, take a scenic railway tour, or hike to the stunning Wentworth Falls.

Airlie Beach

Airlie Beach is a vibrant coastal town located in the heart of the Whitsunday Islands. With its turquoise waters, stunning beaches, and buzzing nightlife, Airlie Beach is the perfect spot for a tropical getaway. You can take a sailing tour of the islands, go scuba diving or snorkelling, or simply relax and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere.

Fraser Coast

Fraser Coast is a stunning region located in Queensland. With its pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and abundant marine life, Fraser Coast is a perfect spot for nature lovers. You can go whale watching, swim with dolphins, or explore the iconic Fraser Island by 4WD.

Gold Coast

Gold Coast is a vibrant coastal city located in Queensland. With its stunning beaches, buzzing nightlife, and theme parks such as Dreamworld and Sea World, Gold Coast is a perfect spot for a family holiday or an action-packed adventure. You can take a surf lesson, visit the iconic Q1 Tower, or simply relax and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere. Additionally, for the utmost convenience in exploring the city and its attractions, consider options to rent a car in Gold Coast.

Stradbroke Island

Stradbroke Island, also known as Minjerribah, is a beautiful island located off the coast of Queensland. With its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and rugged coastline, Stradbroke Island is a great spot for surfing, fishing, and hiking. You can visit the North Gorge Walk, explore the Amity Point Fishing Village, or relax on the beaches of Point Lookout.

Riley Foster

Riley Foster, a graduate of Outdoor Education from Northern Arizona University, has been a trailblazer in outdoor recreation for over 18 years. His expertise includes guiding high-altitude treks and designing outdoor education programs. His experience includes managing national park services contributing to conservation research adding value to various outdoor activities. A key member of our team since 2021, Riley is also an accomplished landscape photographer and a certified wilderness first responder.

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