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10 Not So Secret Places To Visit On The East Coast Of Australia

After three months down under, I can say without any doubt that Australia is the number one destination for backpackers that want to live the typical road trip experience. Considering that Australia is the same size of continental USA, there’s a lot of things to see and unless you’re planning to drive around for a year, you’ll have to make some choices. It definitely wasn’t an easy task for me to decide my road trip itinerary since every part of Australia is really unique and for a good reason; everything is so far away. Finally, I decided that the east coast drive was the best introduction to Australia without leaving too many things behind.

Once everything was planned, me, my mate and our car had 25 days to get from Melbourne to Cairns and make the most of this road trip. The number one key to a great road trip is to be well prepared and organised, but to be open minded and impulsive at the same time. Obviously, after talking to the travel agency or fellow travelers, our itinerary was pretty much the same as every other backpackers in Australia and that meant touristic, crowded, and sadly some overrated places. Fortunately, we stopped at many towns and national parks without really knowing what to expect and it turned out pretty well.

After driving up the coast for more than three weeks and discovering beautiful places off the beathen track, don’t expect me to talk to you about Byron bay, Surfers Paradise and Fraser Island. Don’t get me wrong, these places are  beautiful and worth visiting, but there’s so much more to Australia. Here is my top 10 favourite places to see on the east coast:

     1. Port Fairy, Griffiths island – Great Ocean Road

     2. Mt Abrupt – Grampians National Park

     3. Dunphys camping area, Megalong valley – Blue Mountains

Well well, this is definitely one of my favorite place in Australia so far and without any doubt my favorite campsite. The Blue mountains are well known for the Three sisters, the Scenic railway and Wentworth falls but as you can guess already, these places are crowded. If you’re looking for a free campsite close to the Blue mountains or even just to go deep in the canyon, Megalong valley will suit you perfectly. To get to the campsite, you’ll have to drive a good 45 minutes out of the main road, but the drive is simply beautiful as you go all the way down the canyon. Plus, the campsite is home to dozens of wild kangaroos jumping around and enjoying the view like you will.

4. Seals rocks bay 

Halfway from Newcastle and Port Macquarie, Seals rocks bay is a charming little beach at the end of Myall lakes national park. Even though it’s a little drive from the highway, it’s still the best place to stop for a picnic and a walk on the beach before keeping on driving north.

    5. Hat head national park 

North of Port Macquarie, Hat head national park is the perfect place to stop for the night. You must know that I almost never paid for a campsite during this road trip and had to pay for camping in Hat head since it is a national park ($7 per person) but it was totally worth it. The campsite is right next to the dunes and if you can find your way to the beach, you’ll understand why it is simply the best place to see the sunset. Also, there is a beautiful coastal walk to do and some amazing rock pools to share with fish, crabs and dolphins.

    6. Purlingbrook falls – Springbrook National Park 

Only a 40 minutes drive from famous Surfers Paradise, Springbrook national park is the place to be if you like chasing waterfalls. Countless trails through the lushy rainforest are perfect for day hikes to escape the city. Purlingbrook falls trail is an easy 45 minutes walk each way to get to the bottom of the falls and it’s the perfect trail if you’d like to get up close to a 109 meter high waterfall.

    7. Sunshine and Castaway beach – Noosa

On the sunshine coast, Noosa is probably the most popular place to visit. Known for its beautiful national park, its amazing surf beaches and its trendy little coffee shops on Hastings street, Noosa is the perfect beach town! And guess what? I got lucky enough and Noosa is now my home. Even though I love most of the beaches in Noosa, Sunshine and Castaway beaches are still my favorite places to hang around in the area.

    8. Sunset in 1770 

1770 is pretty much halfway from Noosa to Airlie beach and is well known as the place in Australia that offers the cheapest surf lessons ( starting at 17$). I haven’t taken surf lessons in 1770 but I stayed for the sunset and this is definitely one of the nicest places to watch it on the east coast.

    9. Wallaman falls – Girringun National Park 

An hour south of Cairns, Wallaman fall is pretty deep into the national park and is to often skipped by backpackers. This magnificient fall is the highest in Australia and the area is also a really good place to spot some cassowaries, the most dangerous bird on the planet.

    10. Ellis beach –  North of Cairns

6000 km later, we made it to Cairns with the feeling of having lived one of the best adventure of our life. The east coast of Australia was simply amazing and this roadtrip just made me look forward to exploring Western Australia, the Red center and Tasmania.


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