Australia is the most popular country in the world for British expats, as well as gap year travellers, and it’s fairly easy to see why, even with a cursory glance. The climate, the scenery, the friendly people and fantastic culture; it’s all part and parcel of what makes the Land Down Under so endlessly appealing. For travellers, there is no better route to traverse than down the East Coast, from Cairns in the north to Syndey in the south, or vice versa. Between these two wonderful, but very different, cities, lies a wealth of things to see, do, and experience. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights.
Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge
OK, so this isn’t something you actually have to do, but it’s certainly one of the many, many things that Sydney has to offer. If you’re travelling the East Coast, leave yourself at least a few days in Sydney either at the beginning or the end of your trip. The bridge climb is a highlight if you can afford it, but there’s so much more to see and do. Highlights include the Sydney Zoo, taking a trip over to Manly Beach across Sydney Harbour, gazing at the Opera House or, if lucky, actually stepping inside of it for a rousing performance, visiting the world famous Bondi Beach, and so much more.
If you’re a keen wildlife enthusiast then you won’t want to miss Australia Zoo. It might not actually be as big as you’d expect, but it plays host to all of the weird and wonderful wildlife the country has to offer. If you really want to be entertained, make sure that you catch the crocodile show, there you’ll be able to witness the madness as a fully trained (and extremely gutsy) professional animal handler gets up close and personal with one of the world’s most fearsome predators. Seriously, it’s worth the price of admission alone.
Fraser Island and Hervey Bay
Keeping with the animal theme, you don’t want to miss out on a trip to Hervey Bay. At the right time of year during late summer and early autumn you’ll be able to witness some of the best whale watching in the world as humpback whales come cruising through the Bay on their annual migration. Combine this will a trip over to Fraser Island, a world heritage site, where you can explore the island at your leisure or take a structured tour. The island is completely made of sand, with a 70 km beach down one side and a host of beautiful lakes dotted within the interior, nestled in between thick forests. It is a spellbinding place, and not somewhere to miss out on.
At the tip of the Great Barrier Reef lies the Whitsunday Islands, and you simply must take a cruise around them, or ideally stay on one of them for a few days, if you can. A particular highlight here is Whitehaven Beach, often cited as one of the top 5 beaches in the world. It is simply spectacular, with soft white sand and warm blue waters stretching out into the calm sea beyond. If you can afford it, take a place ride over the islands and you’ll be able to see the beautiful archipelago from the air. It’s spectacular.
Dive the Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is a marvel, and you simply must dive or snorkel, at least once, somewhere along it. You can do this from multiple points, but it’s best to embark from Cairns, where you’ll also be able to explore the wonderful rainforests in the region.
This is merely scratching the surface of what’s on offer down the East Coast. When booking flights to Australia, allow for at least two weeks to make the most of your trip, and plan things as much as you can to ensure no time is wasted. Seriously, you’ll be gutted if you do!
About the author
Amelia Grieg is a freelance travel writer with a passion for overland travel.