Select Page
19 Fun Things to Do in Agnes Water & 1770 – Don’t Skip These Towns in Australia!

19 Fun Things to Do in Agnes Water & 1770 – Don’t Skip These Towns in Australia!

Agnes Water and the town of 1770 are located in Central Queensland not far from the Southern Great Barrier Reef. These two sleepy coastal towns brought us calm and beauty during our east coast road trip. I’d read awesome things about Agnes Water so made sure I included it in our road trip itinerary and I’m so glad.  Road trips in Australia are epic but also exhausting. Drives are long with not much to look at in-between destinations. We’d driven for 8 hours to reach Agnes Water from Airlie Beach, which FYI I do not recommend doing, and we were welcomed by a charming town with a heavy sense of relaxation in the atmosphere. We spent two perfect days in these towns so I’m sharing the best things to do in Agnes Water in this post. 

Where is Agnes Water?

Agnes Water is found in Central Queensland on the coast about 80 kilometres from the Bruce Highway. If you’re driving the east coast of Australia then you’ll get to know the Bruce Highway very well. Basically, two-way traffic for miles and miles and miles and miles, get the picture? The easiest way to get to Agnes Water is to drive. In fact, the best way to see the east coast is to self drive the whole thing. We rented a campervan for 6 weeks to drive from Cairns and Sydney the experience was epic, it was our first experience of van life and not one I’ll ever forget. The nearest cities from Agnes Water are Bundaberg a little further south and Gladstone/Rockhampton slightly north. 

If you don’t drive then the Grey Hound coach does stop in Agnes Water. The Grey Hound coach is a popular way that travellers backpack around Australia. It’s popular with those looking to save some $ on accommodation as they have a lot of services running through the night. For more information on the Grey Hound experience take a look at this post. Unfortunately, I can’t comment as I’ve never been on board!

Why Visit Agnes Water and 1770?

These two coastal gems are a beautiful getaway from the busy tourist areas of the Australian east coast. Don’t get me wrong, these places can be busy and are still popular with tourists however, a lot of travellers tend to skip past these beauties. Don’t be one of them because there are plenty of fun things to do in Agnes Water. If you enjoy relaxing, wildlife spotting, markets, beach days, surfing, cute cafes, then Agnes Water and 1770 will be worth popping your Australian bucket list.

I also found it a great spot to regather myself during our road trip too. Since arriving in Cairns our road trip was epic and we did amazing activity after amazing activity. Swam the Great Barrier Reef,  Explored the Daintree Rainforest, Sailed The Whitsundays and drove over 1000 kilometres. Though we were having the time of our lives it was a weekend of a slower pace which was essential. It’s a great stopping point after the Whitsundays and before the likes of Fraser Island and Noosa. 

Things to Know Before Visiting Agnes Water

Okay, this is just one thing to note but I think it’s pretty important there is ZERO mobile. phone reception. It’ll depend on what network you are within Australia but we were with Vodafone, a popular network and we got nothing. Nada, zilch. Which was wonderful and meant we could totally switch off and have a present weekend! But I just thought I’d mention so that of you planning on working or need a mobile phone reception, you can do some research before visiting Agnes Water. 

19 Things to Do in Agnes Water 

So what is there to do in Agnes Water? Well, from relaxing on the beach, bushwalking and sailing to fishing and explore boutique shops, there is something for everyone to enjoy! It’s also a great little spot for families wanting to enjoy a weekend on the coast. Agnes Water is a popular holiday spot for local Aussies as well as tourists.

1. Relax on the Beach!

Agnes Water has a great main beach which is perfect to spend an afternoon in the sun on. The sand is golden brown and actually reminded of the UK beaches for a little moment. Most of the beaches in Queensland we’d seen so far were bright white giving them that tropical feel. Australia has some of the best beaches in the world and the beach at Agnes Water is definitely a lovely way to spend the afternoon.

hire a surf board at agnes water one of the best things to do in agnes water
Definitely not a beginner board..

2. Hire a Surfboard

Hire a board and go into the waves. Agnes Water is the most northerly surf in Australia where the water is considered ‘safe’ for surfers. Make sure you check the weather report before deciding to hire a surfboard if you’re surfing on your own out there. But for those experienced surfers, Agnes Water has some epic breaks to enjoy. It’s also great fun to watch the surfers on the waves. Imagine a row of campers with surfers walking around surfboard under the arm and wispy hair flowing – honestly, I’m not being stereotypical there were so many blond Aussie surfers around!

You can hire surfboards from various spots in Agnes Water and 1770:

Lazy Lizard
Surfy Nomads
Reef 2 Beach

3. Take a Surf Lesson

If you’re not a pro surfer then why not. Join in any way and take a surfing lesson! The shops I mentioned above all run surf lessons too! We didn’t learn to surf in Agnes Water but we did on Bondi Beach and it was a great experience! I’m a little scared of deep water and I HATE saltwater in my eyes but surfing has completed wiped those fears! It’s so much fun and I can’t explain how awesome I felt about myself once I stood up on that board!

Learning to surf is one of the best things to do in Agnes Water especially if you’re travelling on a budget. Surfing isn’t a cheap experience and on Bondi Beach, we definitely paid for it at just under $100 each for a couple of hours! At Agnes Water, you can learn to surf for just $25 for three hours with Reef 2 Surf – big sigh from me as I type that! Expect whichever lessons you take to start from $25 and be as expensive at $100 depending on what kind of surf lessons you opt for. 

me surfing on bondi beach
This is my first ever surf lesson – it is on Bondi Beach but I just had to share cause it lights me up!!!

4. Visit 1770

1770 is a small town just minutes along the coast from Agnes Water. It will literally take 15 minutes by car. The walk is about 1.5 hours so doable if you do want to visit 1770. 1770 is actually written as Seventeen Seventy in the town not in number form so I guess I’m writing it all completely wrong on here but it’s a lot easier in my opinion! I always see it written like ‘1770’ online too – perhaps it’s the lazy internet age taking over? 

5. Grab a Morning Coffee and Cookie at the Marina Cafe

The Marina Cafe in 1770 is the perfect spot for a morning coffee. We sat outside and it just felt so local and authentic. We had a giant cookie which was delightful but honestly, the breakfasts looked so good too! We had to fight it not to order – budget travels and all that! 

6. Take a trip on the LARC!

LARC tours are a unique thing to do whilst in Agnes Water and 1770! Imagine gliding through the waves on a big pink boat and you’re halfway there! The crew at LARC run various around the southern reef. Choose from a full day tour or. Just an afternoon cruise with lunch included. The tours aren’t cheap starting at around $140 per person. But still one of the most fun things to do in Agnes Water! 

7. Visit Horizons Kangaroo Sanctuary

This was my favourite part of Agnes Water. Horizons Kangaroo Sanctuary is run by Agnes Water locals at their beautiful home on the top of a pretty impressive hill. Kangaroos are everywhere around these coastal towns. If you’re driving at night or even walk I can guarantee you’ll see some bopping around. Horizons Kangaroo Sanctuary takes in orphaned and injured joeys and nurse them back to health before realising them back out into the wild. It’s so beautiful.

We actually stayed at the campsite at the sanctuary which they run in their back garden to help fund the work they do for the joeys. It really is heartwarming and waking up with joeys was just incredible. I can’t recommend this place more if you’re camping or in a camper van! 

horizons kangaroo sanctuary
What cuties to wake up to!

8. Enjoy the Boutique Shops

Agnes Water has plenty of cute boutique shops to enjoy during your visit. the fancy clothes shops are of which are way out of my travelling price range, is one of my fave things to do in a new town! The shops in Australia are all super gorgeous especially the boohoo chic style you find in the coastal towns. Bondi Beach in Sydney is HEAVEN for any fashion/accessories shopaholic out there! 

9. Take a Trip to Lady Musgrave Island

Lady Musgrave Island is just a short boat ride away from Ages Water. Lady Musgrave Island is one of the only islands in the Great Barrier Reef where you can snorkel and then sleep overnight onboard vessel in the same spot! 

10. Dive on Lady Musgrave Island

Always wanted to dive on an Australian drop-off? Well, Lady Musgrave Island might be just your place then! Personally, I’m too much of a chicken too dive but if I wasn’t and one day when I decide to conquer my fear of being in deep deep water with only an oxygen tank to save me, I’d go all out and visit the Musgrave Drop-off! The drop-off on Lady Musgrave Island sounds incredible. The reef drops from 10 metres to 25 forming a beautiful wall of coral life.

A bonus about visiting this spot as opposed to the Great Barrier Reef for diving? Well, do I really need to go into it? The Great Barrier Reef is amazing. The marine life, the coral and the tours are fantastic but it gets so much traffic, and by traffic I mean other tourists who want in on the action, myself included! We spent a full day on the Great Barrier Reef departing from Cairns and we loved it, I was amazed at the sight of the coral and I thought it was sparkling despite what people may say.

It wasn’t until we sailed the Whitsundays and snorkelled a little further down the coast that I realised just how much traffic the reef nearer to Cairns gets. My previous definition of a ‘sparkling’ reef has been outshone massively by. What I got to experience in the Whitsundays! What I’m trying to say is here, sorry about all the ramble, is that less visited reefs are the better to enjoy! For memories, experience and of course the impact that we humans have on the coral life. I honestly think parts of the reef need shutting down to tourists for a while.

12. Butterly Walk in 1770

The Butterfly Walk in 1770 is perfect for the nature lovers amongst us. Starting at the Captain Cook Monument this walk follows the. Headland around to spectacular views of the ocean and coastal bays. The walk is fairly easy at just 1.2 km in distance but the main attraction is the blue tiger butterflies who visit seventeen seventy during their migration. 

13. Paperbark Trail Agnes Water

This trail is also a fairly easy walk and one of the most interesting! It’s only 400 metres but you’ll enjoy stepping stones and broad walks. Along the way! Again, keep your eyes peeled above and on the ground for Aussie natives hanging around! 

14. Red Rock Walking Trail 

If the hiker in you is literally bursting at the seams then tackle the Red Rock walking trail! You’ll need an afternoon to complete the track and maybe even longer in the summer heat. It’s only 2.5 kilometres but does cover some difficult terrain. That compared with hot Aussie days and this trail might just take. A little longer than your average 2.5-kilometre stroll. 

15. Kayak the Ocean 

Kayaking is also very popular in 1770 and Agnes water and you can even take a kayak tour if you wish. There are multiple companies that hire and run kayak tours including a sunset tour! I actually wished we’d had enough time to do t his on our trip to Agnes Water! The tours aren’t too expensive either starting at $30 per person depending on which tour you select. For more information on hiring a kayak or taking a tour then check out this website and tour company.

If you do plan on taking a kayak tour make sure you check the weather before hitting Agnes Water because sometimes they. Won’t run if the weather isn’t up to scratch! 

16. Visit the Agnes Water Museum

I wouldn’t get too excited about this one but if you’re a history buff or maritime fanatic then you might want to check out the Agnes Water Museum. The museum pays tribute to the rich aboriginal past at Agnes Water and the Discovery Coast. Agnes Water museum has been collecting maritime pieces since 1952 and even includes a copy of Captain Cooks log book. It costs just $3 per adult and children go free!

sunset from Horizons kangaroo sanctuary
Another reason to visit Horizons Kangaroo Sanctuary – epic sunset views!

17. Take a Scooteroo Motorcycle Tour

During our weekend in Agnes Water on both days, we watched what felt like hundreds of motorcycles whizz around on the roads. At first, I presumed it was a bike club enjoying the open coastal road after all the views of the Queensland coast are awe-inspiring. Turns out you can actually take a motorcycle tour around Agnes Water and 1770! Starting at $85 a day I can’t think of a much better way to enjoy the views than with a bit of adrenaline pumping through your veins too!

18. Cycle Hire

If you don’t have a car then hiring a bicycle in Agnes Water could be perfect to go between the main beach and seventeen seventy. Hiring a bike starts at $20 for 4 hours and just $30 for all-day which I don’t think is too bad for Aussie prices!

19. Eurimbula National Park

Just a short 14 kilometre drives from the main towns is Eurimbula National Park. Find more sublime beaches and bushwalks in the national park. If you’re flash and have your own boat then you can take it out from the national park if you fish. Canoeing, kayaking and fishing are also allowed inside the park. But make sure you proceed with care because there are crocodiles in the water and marine stingers so make sure you do your research first and check this website for any wildlife alerts!

Where to Stay in Agnes Water

There are plenty of accommodation options to choose from in both 1770 and Agnes Water. When choosing accommodation to think about the things to do in Agnes Water and how close to the beach you want to be. We stayed at Horizons Kangaroo Sanctuary which was about a 15-minute drive from the beach which was perfect for us. But if it’s likely you’ll want an ice-cold beer after a long day in the Queensland sunshine then perhaps somewhere a little more central might be better!

Agnes Water Hostels $

There are plenty of hostels to choose from even for such a small coastal town! You’ll find your usual YHA is very popular with travellers as is, Cool Bananas and Backpackers at 1770. The prices for different rooms vary as always. For a bunk in a dorm, you’re looking at $23 upwards per night.

Booking.com

Camp Sites $

There are a few campsites around for those enjoying the Australian east coast by campervan too! The only one I can recommend if Horizons Kangaroo Sanctuary because it’s the only campsite we stayed it. It costs just $20 which was one of the cheapest sites we stayed on in Australia. Staying there also helps the owns keep their joey rehabilitation programme going which is so important!

Hotels and Air BnB $$

If you’ve got a little bit more cash to play around with then there are plenty of hotels, bed and breakfasts and Air BnB options available here too! I find you always get a more local authentic experience with Air BnB hosts especially if they have useful tips on the area! But if I don’t book with Air BnB then I always book with Booking.com to get the best deal and they often have a handy cancellation free of charge up to 24 hours before. Having travelled for the past 15 months I know how quickly and unexpectedly travel plans can change!

Sharing is Caring

19 Fun Things to Do in Agnes Water! Agnes Water and the town of 1770 may be small coastal towns but both are beautiful! We spent the most relaxing weekend in Agnes Water. It was filled with beaches, surf boards, kangaroos and baby joeys being rehabilitated! It was a haven away from the madness on the East Australia Coast! I've put together 19 awesome things to do in Agnes Water that you just don't want to miss! #agneswater #australia #travel #travelguide #eastcoastaustralia

I hope you enjoyed this guide on fun things to do in Agnes Water! I really hope you don’t skip out on these two gorgeous coastal towns – you won’t regret spending some time here I promise! If you’re just starting to plan your Australian adventure then check out some more of my posts on Australia here and for my full itinerary driving from Cairns to Sydney go here! If you did enjoy this post I would be so grateful if you could share it with your friends!

Happy Travels!

Alicia

The Best Day Trips from Cairns Australia

The Best Day Trips from Cairns Australia

Cairns Australia is one beautiful place and you can take some amazing day trips from Cairns! I had no idea what to expect when we touched down at the teeny tiny airport ready to commence our Australian east coast road trip! I’d heard that Cairns gets the big thumbs up from a lot of backpackers because of its insane nightlife. Now call me a granny but my clubbing days are well and truly behind me so I was sceptical to whether we would really enjoy Cairns, given we wouldn’t be participating in staying out until 3 am.

Luckily, Cairns exceeded all of our expectations set the bar high for our road trip! As well as spending two days in the city of Cairns, one day on the Great Barrier Reef we also took two-day trips from cairns. In this post, I’ll be giving you low down on the best day trips from Cairns! If you love chasing waterfalls and jumping in lakes then these day trips will be right up your alley! 

The Gateway to the Ocean and Rainforest

Cairns is the city where the rainforest meets the reef. You’ve got. The Daintree rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef both easily accessible from Cairns, which is what makes this city so popular! Both the Daintree and Great Barrier Reef are incredible places and I urge you to visit both! Snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef is one of the most fabulous experiences I’ve ever had. In fact, I think it was easily as epic as sailing the Whitsundays and our weekend on Fraser Island! The reef may not be as colourful as it once was but it still blew my mind! The views as you’re sailing out into the middle of the ocean when the reef comes into view is like nothing I’ve seen before. If you’re planning to visit Australia then the Great Barrier Reef has to be on your Australian Bucket List! 

Cairns Lagoon
Cairns Lagoon – Get ready for plenty more water selfies like this throughout this post!

Even though the reef maybe what made Cairns so popular it’s not the only amazing sight to see! The day trips we took from Cairns were so much fun! We spent a full day exploring waterfalls and another one jumping into lakes in the Atherton Tablelands.

The Best Day Trip from Cairns – Places to Go

  • Atherton Tablelands
  • Yungaburra
  • Lake Eacham
  • Lake Barrine
  • Curtain Fig Tree National Park
  • Lake Tinaroo
  • Josephine Falls
  • Millaa Millaa Falls
  • Diner Falls and Crater

These are some of the best destinations to visit near Cairns. I’ve gone into details about each of these places below and it’s safe to say I recommend them all!

Driving into the Backcountry 

Before I get into some of the best day trips from Cairns in Australia a few things about the drives! The places mentioned in this post are located in the Atherton Tablelands. To get there the main highway is called the. Gillies Range and it is very windy with steep drop-offs! We managed to avoid on the way there but braved it on the way back. I must admit, although it was fine, it was a little scary! Just be sure to go very slowly around the bends especially in a campervan, those drops are big as! There are other routes so just take a look on your navigation device before you set off.

The backcountry is also very rural and there’s only a few gas station so just make sure you fill up before you go and at anywhere you pass. Don’t try to be savvy and wait until you pass a cheaper station and you just might not find one before having to push and nobody wants that on vacation do they?! 

Day Trips from Cairns – Lake Eacham and Lake Tinaroo 

Nestled into the Atherton Tablelands are three beautiful lakes which are 100% worth a visit. I actually didn’t know much about these lakes but they turned out to be awesome! The Atherton Tablelands is gorgeous the countryside is stunning. The hills roll for miles. It’s so refreshing to be back into the countryside and leave the coast behind for a day. Hopping between lakes in the Atherton Tablelands is a great day trip from Cairns, pack your swimmers and bring the kayak if you’ve got one! 

Lake Eacham 

The best lake in the Atherton Tablelands in undoubtedly Lake Eacham it was my favourite part about this day trip from Cairns. This crystal clear lake is situated in the Crater Lakes National Park. The lake is surrounded by lush green rainforest and if you could see if from above it literally looks like a crater in the middle of the rainforest which is pretty cool! The lake was created by a volcanic explosion many years ago, over the years the crater filled with water creating Lake Eacham. 

Lake Eacham
The gorgeous Lake Eacham!

Swimming in Lake Eacham 

Swimming is allowed in Lake Eacham, there were even people diving in the lake during our visit. The lake is deep but there’s also a ramp down to the water so you can even have a little paddle if you’re not a confident swimmer. If you do swim in the lake then make sure you bring some goggles! We didn’t have any and I was so gutted as there are so many fish in this lake. There are also turtles and we saw 3 baby turtles swimming around which was magical! 

baby turtle in lake eacham
Cutie???

Crocodiles in Lake Eacham 

Before visiting Lake Eacham it’s handy to be aware of the crocodile that lives in the lake! Yes, you can swim in the lake with Lake Eacham’s very own freshwater crocodile! It wasn’t until we got out that we heard some other travellers talking about it! It turns out that this crocodile has lived in the lake for years. This particular croc is known to be timid and never attacked any swimmers. As a rule, freshwater water crocodiles are very tame compared to the saltwater croc – you don’t want to meet one of those guys whilst swimming!

Be aware that there are plenty of saltwater crocodiles in the lakes of Far North Queensland so just be careful and only swim where swimming is permitted! 

Other Things to Do at Lake Eacham 

If you don’t fancy swimming on this day trip from Cairns then there are plenty of walks to enjoy at Lake Eacham. The Lake Circuit Track is a great walk to enjoy that’s accessible for all. This 3 km walk follows around the lake and is a great spot for spotting wildlife and enjoying views of the lake. Make sure you do stick to the track though because there are some prohibited areas which are clearly signposted! For more information on the walk take a look at this website. 

couple swimming in lake eacham
Just swimming with a freshwater croc..

Day Trips from Cairns – Lake Tinaroo 

Even though we spent just one day visit all three of the lakes you could easily spend a whole day at Lake Tinaroo. Lake Tinaroo is huge stretching over 3000 hectares! As well as being a beautiful landscape to enjoy the lake also supplied water to some of the neighbouring rural towns. Lake Tinaroo is a popular place enjoyed by locals and travellers. You can swim, kayak and enjoy various walking tracks around the lake. We actually stayed overnight at Lake Tinaroo and only had a few hours left of the day to enjoy the lake. I recommend having at least a whole afternoon to enjoy the beauty! The Lake Tinaroo Holiday Park is located upon the lake where you can rent boats and kayaks, they also sell gas if you end up running low! 

Lake Tinaroo
Lake Tinaroo!

Day Trips from Cairns – Yungaburra, Lake Barrine and Curtain Fig Tree 

Yungaburra

Yungaburra is a tiny village nestled in the heart of the Atherton Tablelands! The village may be small but it’s quaint and runs a market every weekend which has the locals from Cairns flocking in! Stroll around the streets enjoying the old feel of the village. You can also explore the Avenue of Honour a memorial honouring those who fought for Australia and New Zealand in the War.  

Lake Barrine 

Lake Barrine is another gorgeous lake! If someone told me how much I would love walking around and having lunch beside a lake when I was younger I’d have a lot more attention to the places my mum used to take me 😉 anyone else? Anyway, Lake Barrine is stunning. They have a cafe with a veranda that looks out onto the water and their cheese toasties are one of the best I’ve ever had (and I’m a toastie snob)! You can also take out a glass-bottom boat on the lake which you can find more information about here. 

Curtain Fig Tree National Park

the curtain fig tree in australia
The impressive Curtain Fig Tree!

The Curtain Fig tree is worth seeing on one of these day trips from Cairns! It’s only a short distance away from Lake Barrine. It’s one of those natural wonders you could just stare at for hours. This Curtain Fig Tree is huge! The fig tree has been around for over 500 years and started out as a single tree! Several branches then grow out of the tree’s branches and back into the ground and new trees then grew into it! You can see it’s quite impressive! 

Day Trips from Cairns – Waterfalls in the Atherton Tablelands 

We spent one of our day trips exploring three of the best waterfalls around Cairns. This actually wasn’t something we had planned which made our day trip even better! We actually saw heaps of leaflets advertising waterfall trails from Cairns. Most of them were included in tours but we decided to take a look at the waterfalls online and drive ourselves if they looked fun! As soon we started researching we were literally on our way into the backcountry of Cairns hunting down waterfalls. The three waterfalls we visited were: 

  • Josephine Falls 
  • Millaa Millaa Falls 
  • Crater Lake 
  • Diner Falls

    
        Booking.com

There are plenty more hidden waterfalls near Cairns but we knew that you could swim in these so thought if we stick to just a few we’ll have plenty of time. Travelling slowly is what Dave and I love! I’m so over rushing around places just to fit everything in. If we see less but enjoy the places we do see more then it’s totally worth it! So if you are thinking of taking a day trip from Cairns to chase waterfalls and want to fit more in then take a look at this post about the best waterfalls near Cairns! 

waterfall in cairns
Millaa Millaa Falls!

But if you decide just to visit these waterfalls then you certainly aren’t missing out. It actually took us all day to get around each of these falls. And no, it isn’t because I’m a slow driver. I recommend starting at Josephine Falls and ending at Diner Falls. You can swim in both Josephine and Millaa Millaa but not the Crater or Diner falls so it makes sense to visiting this last when it starts cooler and you start losing some light. 

I’m not going to go into too much detail about this day trip chasing waterfalls because I actually wrote a whole other post on it here!

But it’s honestly one of the best things to do near Cairns. Josephine Falls has an epic natural slide where you can throw yourself down and land in another section of the waterfall. Don’t be fooled as you watch kids throw themselves down, it’s actually scary as hell, you can tell by my terrified face on the footage below!

Millaa Millaa is a little more mellow but the water if gorgeous to swim into. Millaa Millaa was actually used for the Herbal Essence advert broadcast all over the world so expect to see people trying to get the perfect Instagram shot of them whipping their hair back! It’s pretty funny when the boys attempt it though! 

Sharing is Caring

Cairns is surrounded by an epic landscape so it’s worth taking one of these day trips to experience all that the region has to offer. We loved every moment of these trips as you can see by the photographs and hilarious videos! It’s also great to escape the coast. Being from the countryside myself I love being amongst country fields and the land. So many travellers come to Australia and explore only the coast but Australia is just as beautiful inland too! I hope you enjoyed this post on day trips from Cairns! If you did enjoy it I would love it if you could share it with your friends! 

For more of my posts about Australia then take a look here! Also make sure you subscribe to my monthly newsletter where I send out life updates, a round-up of blog posts and general travel tips/information! AND if you’re a fellow nurse like me then you might like these posts about travel nursing! 

Happy Travels!

Alicia 

Australian Bucket List – 71 Places You Have to See/Experience!

Australian Bucket List – 71 Places You Have to See/Experience!

The great big Australian bucket list, everyone has one right? I sure did when we left the UK for a year in the sun. There was so much I wanted to see in Australia and there still is. One thing I found out is that one year is not enough time to see it all! What I also discovered a year later was that both Dave and I had managed to make our Aussie dreams come true and seen so much of this beautiful country!

In this post, I’m sharing the parts of Australia we loved and the parts we are still yet to see! I hope you enjoy it!

New South Wales – Australian Bucket List 

Sydney Opera House

No visit to Australia is complete without a visit to the Sydney Opera House. You can go right up to the Opera House for free or take a tour inside for a cost. Grab some food and drinks at Opera Bar for the best views in the city.

The Sydney Opera House must be on everyones australian bucket list
Seeing this building is such an experience!

2. The Sydney Harbour Bridge

You can see the Harbour Bridge from anywhere in Circular Quay but the best way to experience it fully is to walk or climb over it!

3. Bondi Beach

Sunbathe and swim in the sea on Bondi Beach just watch out for the sharks!

4. Walk from Bondi – Coogee

The most famous coastal walk in Sydney and for good reason it pretty spectacular. But if you don’t want to follow the crowds then there are plenty more gorgeous walks in Sydney which you can check out here! 

the views along the bondi to coogee walk
The spectacular views are endless from Bondi-Sydney!

5. Drink in the Pubs at The Rocks

Find Sydney’s oldest pub in The Rocks and feel like you’ve been transported to the UK as you sup a pint.

6. Spend an Afternoon on Milk Beach

For calm waters which make it swimming spot and gorgeous views of the city in the distance!

7. Explore Manly 

Manly is my favourite part of the Northern Beaches in Sydney. The Northern side of Sydney is beautiful and Manly is one of the most popular spots in the city. Manly will be busy but the beaches are worth it! Walk from Manly Beach round to Shelley Bay which is a great swimming spot in the summer

women sitting in the beach in manly australia
Taking a little break on the way to Shelley Beach!

8. Vissla Surfing Competition – Manly

I mean visiting Australia and not watching a surfing competition? They are so crazy to watch and so inspiring. I have no idea how they get so good but it’s pretty incredible! Take a look at the competition schedule in Sydney here!

9. Visit Watsons Bay

A cute bay with plenty of beaches, coastal walks, fish and chips and nude sunbathing if that’s what you’re into! 

10. Learn to Surf on Bondi Beach

Another experience you’ve got to have whilst in Australia. It’s mesmerising watching the professionals in the water but so much more fun trying to stand up yourself! We took our lessons with Let’s Go Surfing and I couldn’t recommend then more!

11. Hike in the Blue Mountains

Go hiking or photographing in the Blue Mountains one of the biggest UNESCO Heritage Sites in Australia spreading itself over 1 million hectares.

12. Spend the Weekend in Byron Bay

Hands down my favourite surfer town in Australia! Byron Bay gives off nothing but good vibes. Learn to surf, go hiking, watch dolphins or just relax on the beach! There are so many things to do in Byron Bay! Check out this post for more details on the best things to do in the bay!

13. Cape Byron Lighthouse Walk

If sunbathing on the beach in Byron is all you want to do then that’s great but make sure you at least do this hike too! It’s beautiful and you’re 99.9% likely to see dolphins on route!

14. Take a Day Trip to Nimbin

Nimbin is hard to explain. If you thought that Byron Bay was the hippy capital of the East Coast then you’re wrong it’s certainly Nimbin. You may get asked to buy ‘cookies’ on every corner so be prepared!

nimbin australia
One of the many rainbows in Nimbin!

15. Cafe Hop in Byron Bay

As well as the beaches, hikes and great day trips Byron Bay is also full of all these amazing cafes! There’s every cuisine you can imagine in Byron Bay so dig right in!

16. Day Trip to Lake Macquarie

This Lake is beautiful and so scenic! Wildlife watch and just enjoy a day full of nature! In summertime its great time to try your hand at paddleboarding.

17. Go to Newcastle for the Day

A smaller city just a couple of hours north of Sydney. Swim in the natural pool and enjoy a quieter New South Wales city.

18. Wine Tasting in the Hunter Valley

We took the iHop tour which was amazing value for money! We definitely left the tour with full stomachs and a little tipsy!

iHop wine tasting tour wine and lunch
One of the stops in the iHop Hunter Valley Wine Tasting tour .. yum!

19. Experience Sydney on New Year’s Eve

What an experience! New Year’s Eve in Sydney is one of a kind! Even though we sat in torrential rain for those fireworks it was 100% worth the time and money – I’d do it all again in a heartbeat!

20. Enjoy the View from Sealy Lookout in Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour is a great place to stop off on the way to Sydney. But if you do anything in Coffs Harbour drive up to Sealy Lookout and enjoy the view!

sealy lookout in coffs harbour
Sealy Lookout!

21. Visit Jervis Bay

Jervis bay is a popular weekend travel spot for those looking the escape the big city for a few days!

22. Visit the Queen Victoria Building

Australia is all about the beaches, we all know that! But there are a few good looking buildings around. The QVB in Sydney is beautiful inside and out!

New yers eve fireworks in sydney 2018
The photo doesn’t do how amazing these fireworks were justice!

23. Visit the Northern Beaches in Sydney

Sydney’s Northern Beaches are incredible! The best ones I recommend visiting are, Narrabeen, Manly, Dee Why and Palm Beach! Sydney has so much to offer other than the obvious Opera House and Harbour Bridge – make sure you add some time in the Northern Beaches to your Australian Bucket List.

Queensland – Australian Bucket List

24. Sail the Whitsundays

The best experience of my entire existence so far! Sailing the Whitsundays is one hell of an experience everyone needs to try in Australia! Find out more about our time sailing the waters here!

Whitehaven Beach a must do on any auatralian bucket list
The incredible swirls of Whitehaven Beach

25. Swim the Great Barrier Reef

Whilst it’s still got its colour and plenty of marine life to watch.

26. Explore Fraser Island

A trip to Fraser Island, the worlds biggest sand island, is another once in a lifetime experience I urge everyone to enjoy at least once! Take a tour so you don’t have to drive on the crazy sand tracks and enjoy some Australian history, perfect beaches and pristine lakes.

sunset on fraser island
Sunsets on Fraser Island are nothing short of incredible!

27. Lake Hop in the Tablelands, Cairns

The Tablelands in Cairns has some beautiful lakes to go swimming in! Visit Lake Eacham and swim with a crocodile (nope I’m not joking), kayak and paddleboard on Lake Tinaroo and enjoy lunch on the water at Lake Barrine. 

lake eacham national park
Pre-swimming in Lake Eacham!

28. Self Drive Waterfall Trail in Cairns

Cairns is full of incredible waterfalls and the best ones are just an hours drive away in the Tablelands. Take a look at this post for all the details!

29. Visit the Daintree Rainforest

Cairns is called the city where the rainforest meets the reef. So it would be rude not to visit one without the other!

30. Find the Curtain Fig Tree

It’s one huge tree that’s worth stopping at to be amazed at!

the curtain fig tree in australia
The impressive Curtain Fig Tree!

31. Sky Dive onto Mission Beach 

Mission Beach is the only beach in the world where you can land on the actual beach! We didn’t actually skydive but we did enjoy being the only people on the beach! Mission Beach is one of the most relaxing places on the East Coast! We enjoyed sunbathing and hanging off the trees a little like the monkey you see in the photograph below! Be careful when going in the ocean on Mission Beach. Marine stingers are found in the water and their sting can kill you – best not to risk it!

Mission Beach Australia
Hanging out on Mission Beach 😉

32. Visit Australia Zoo

Ran by the legend Steve Irwin’s family find some giant crocodiles and have the chance to cuddle a koala.

33. Camp with Kangaroos in Agnes Water 

Our favourite campsite in Queensland was Horizons Kangaroo Sanctuary. The owners rehabilitate orphaned and injured joeys before releasing them. They have created a small camping area with powered and non-powered sites to help fund the sanctuary.

34. Visit Noosa

Enjoy the coastal town of Noosa. Perfect for sunbathing, surfing, swimming in the Fairy Pools and shopping! 

Take a look at this post for everything you need to know about the Fairy Pools in Noosa!

35. Kayak the Noosa Everglades

The Noosa Everglades are beautiful so why not rent a kayak and enjoy them from the water!

36. Visit the Quiet Town of 1770

The second landing point of James Cook when he discovered Australia. There isn’t a lot in 1770 but it’s certainly a nice town for a walk. It’s just down the road from Agnes Water so you can do both in one day or over two days.

37. Sand Board on Rainbow Beach

Take a sandboarding lesson on Rainbow Beach or just take in the gorgeous views! Rainbow Beach is located about 30 km off the main highway down the East Coast but it’s certainly worth putting into your Australian bucket list!

38. Visit Brisbane

One of Australias most underrated cities. We lived for over 6 months, take a look at all my other Brisbane posts here!

39. Take a Day Trip to North Stradbroke Island 

North Straddie is the perfect day trip from Brisbane. Catch the ferry from Cleveland and enjoy gorgeous beaches, the gorge walk and in the winter go whale spotting! I have a full guide on how to spend one day on North Stradbroke Island here!

Cylinder Beach on North Stradbroke Island
Cylinder Beach on North Stradbroke Island

40. Eat at Eat Streets Markets in Brisbane 

Eat Street Markets is my favourite place to eat in Brisbane! Make sure that you plan your trip to the city on a weekend so you don’t miss out, the market is open Friday-Sunday every week.

41. Climb Mount Coot Tha in Brisbane 

One of Brisbane’s best hikes with amazing views of the city when you reach the summit! If you’re not up to hiking then don’t worry there’s a bus that will take you to the very top!

42. Take a Day Trip to Shorncliffe

Shorncliffe is a charming fishing town about an hour from Brisbane. The sunset from the edge of the jetty is beautiful! Wander the beachfront enjoying the views and maybe treat yourselves to some fish and chips! Shorncliffe is beautiful peaceful getaway from the busier Queensland cities.

43. Go Whale Watching from Brisbane

From June to November the humpback whales make their migration through Australian waters. We were so lucky to see a number of whales during our whale watching tour in Brisbane. 

This is the company we chose to go on our Whale Watching tour with and I would recommend them to anyone! We saw so many whales, they use a unique vessel to keep the whales safe and the food was great!

44. Visit the Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is home to some beautiful beaches. If you only have a short period of time to visit the Gold Coast then skip surfers paradise – there are far nicer beaches on the Goldie to enjoy! Some of the places to go on the Gold Coast are Greenmount, Nobby Beach and Burleigh Heads!

45. Go Up the Sky Point Observation Deck in Surfers Paradise

If you do visit Surfers Paradise then make sure you go up the Sky Point at sunset and watch the sun go down over the strip. Sunset is the perfect time to visit because you get to see the aerial view of Surfers Paradise in the daylight, at sunset and all lit up on an evening!

Book your tickets here!

46. Rent a Barbie Car on Magnetic Island 

Ever wanted to ride around an island looking out for Koalas in a barbie car? Well, now you can! If you have no idea what I’m talking about here then take a look at this website!

Victoria Bucket List!

47. Drive The Great Ocean Road

Did you know that the Great Ocean Road drive is actually a memorial to those who fought in the wars? It’s the biggest memorial in Australia and lined with incredible views. The sea cliff formations that mother nature has calved over the years is mind-blowing. 

48. Lunch in Port Campbell

Port Campbell is one of the most picturesque spots on the Great Ocean Road. The beach is divine and although a popular spot with tourists the town is actually pretty quiet. Simply enjoy – if you’re in a campervan full right round to the beach and park directly across from the sand. 

49. Find Melbourne’s Street Art

Melbourne is famous for incredible street art and you don’t have to go far to find it. ACDC and Hosier Lane are two of the most popular spots. 

> One Day in Melbourne Itinerary <

50. Shop or Eat in the Melbourne Laneways 

Grab a bite to eat in the cute laneways that give Melbourne its urban chic vibe. The only trouble is deciding where to eat!

51. Take a Day Trip to St. Kilda

St Kilda is a cute beach town just 10 minutes from Melbourne. Walk along the beach or hire a bike and explore a little more than just the beachfront.

> One Day in St. Kilda <

52. Watch the Penguins from St.Kilda Pier 

Every night at sunset Little Penguins come home to nest on the pier in St Kilda. We saw hundreds coming back from their fishing trip and it was such an honour to watch. This experience is free but please read all of the rules on this website before visiting!

53. Visit Phillip Island 

Phillip Island showcases a different side of Australia.  It actually reminded me a lot of Scotland and parts of the UK. Maybe its the lush greenery and choppy waters but Phillip Island was one of my favourite destinations we explored down under! 

> Unique Things to Do on Phillip Island <

54. Watch the Pelican Feeding in San Remo 

Ready for another Aussie wildlife encounter? Every day at 12 pm in San Remo the fishermen feed the Pelicans, it’s so mesmerising to watch and I’m telling you these Pelicans are feisty little buggers!

55. Watch The Penguin Parade on Phillip Island

Unlike watching the Penguins in St Kilda it is expensive to watch the Penguin Parade. That said it’s certainly a more ethical way to watch the Penguins coming home to their nests. We saw over 200 little guys make their way up the beach!

56. Spend a Weekend Hiking in The Grampians 

The Grampians is our favourite national park in Australia. It’s full of hikes and wildlife which are two of our favourite things to do whilst travelling! Check out my three-day itinerary to The Grampians here.

57. Visit the Surfer Town of Lorne 

Lorne is a surfing town at the end or beginning of The Great Ocean Road. It’s a sleepy town but if you want to live there then get ready to pay millions of dollars!

58. Visit Wilsons Promontory National Park

Wilsons Prom is a great place to stop off to explore on a road trip from Melbourne to Sydney. The scenery is beautiful and you can find both Kangaroos and Koalas in the park!

59. Find the Brighton Beach Boxes 

Brighton has some of the cutest beach boxes in Australia and probably the southern hemisphere! Though they are super fun to enjoy it has become a little bit of a tourist trap!

brighton bathing boxes
Our favourite box by far – if you’re new here Dave and I L O V E van life!

Australian Capital Territory Bucket List

We both ‘ummed and ahhed’ about visiting the ACT during our time in Australia. Canberra was somewhere we hadn’t really thought about visiting. Not because I didn’t want to see the Australian capital but because I wasn’t sure what there was to do there! Anyway, we made the decision to go and I’m so glad we did! It was actually a family we stayed with in Sydney who persuaded us to go and we were not disappointed!

60. Visit the Australian Parliament in Canberra

t would be rude to visit Australia and not pay a trip to the countries capital! Did you know Canberra was made the capital because the country couldn’t decide whether to choose Melbourne or Sydney as the capital!

61. Hike Up Mount Ainslie Lookout for Sunset 

Mount Ainslie towers over Canberra and it’s honestly one of the best sunsets we saw in Australia! You’ll also get to spot some kangaroos too!

62. Visit the National War Memorial in Canberra 

Pay your respects to those fallen at the National War Memorial and the building is pretty epic too!

All of the things on this Australian bucket list os far we have done! I can’t believe we’ve managed to enjoy all of these experiences. Creating this blog post has made me feel so damn lucky! But I must admit we are far from done with Australia yet. We only scraped the surface during our first year in the country.

So, below are the experiences that remain on our Australian bucket list! I can’t wait to return one day to see more of the land of down under but I don’t think it would matter how long you spent in Australia you could never see it all! 

The Rest of Our Australian Bucket List 

63. Visit Uluru

Known as ‘Ayres Rock’ or the ‘Red Rock’ situated in Australias Northern Territory. This was always pretty high on our Australian Bucket List but time just ran away with us and we didn’t make it!

ayres rock in uluru an experience on the top of my australian bucket list
Impressive right? Photo by Holger Link on Unsplash

64. Visit Perth

We visited 3/4 of Australia’s main cities with just Perth left and I’ve heard amazing things! I’d also like to visit Darwin too!

65. Perth to Broome Road Trip 

Photographs and blog posts that I’ve read about this road trip look amazing! In fact, the whole of Western Australia looks out of the world!

66. Visit Alice Springs

I would love to visit this remote town in the middle of the outback! It seems so far away from anywhere that I’d call ‘normal’ I think it would be so interesting to see how the locals live!

67. Wine Tasting in Adelaide

The Adelaide Hills are famous for the wine and I would love to get a tour around the best wineries! 

waterfall in cairns
Waterfall Chasing in Cairns!

68. Visit Adelaide

The City of Adelaide looks gorgeous too it reminds me of small cities in the UK from the photographs I’ve seen!

69. Tasmania Hikes

Basically visit Tasmania and hike everything in sight! 

70. Train Ride through The Red Centre 

I’m not a huge train fan but this journey looks incredible. Find out what I’m talking about here if you have no idea!

71. Visit Rottnest Island 

We all want that cheeky selfie with the Quokka! 

So at 71, I decided to wrap this post up. Australia is high up on most travellers bucket list and then all the experiences you can enjoy in Australia need a separate bucket list themselves! All of these adventures we had in Australia were some of the best I’ve ever experienced. I’ve conquered the fear of snorkelling (I was not a fan of deep water until Australia), I learnt that you can enjoy the many hikes and national parks without getting eaten by a shark, I learnt of flipping surf – the proudest moment of my life was when I stood up on that board!

Australia catapulted me out of my comfort zone on more occasions than one which is why I LOVE IT. Travel is about discovering new places, meeting new people, having new experiences and maybe even learning a little bit more about yourself along the way!

If you plan on visiting Australia then start making it happen and plan that Australian Bucket List! To help here are the rest of my Australia posts!

Happy Travels,

Alicia

A Guide to the Best Hikes in Australia: For All Abilities

A Guide to the Best Hikes in Australia: For All Abilities

The best hikes in Australia

Australia is a great country for taking long walks and hikes into the countryside or along the many beaches. The best hikes in Australia are some of the best in the world! I personally have a love-hate relationship with hiking in Australia. Told like a true Brit sometimes the thought of hiking in Australia makes me sweat just thinking about it. Hikes in the heat of summer down aren’t that much fun! As much as we love exploring nature and hiking we found ourselves doing a lot more hiking in the wintertime. Of course, we did enjoy some walks in the summer but we kept to easier tracks and all the coastal walks so we could run into the ocean to cool down!

Despite the not so co-operative heat at times Australia has some great walking routes. Whether it’s multi-day hiking or just an afternoon there’s something for all abilities. In this post, I’ve put together a guide to some of the best hikes in Australia across 3 states, Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. This list is my no means exhaustive but are these some of my favourite hikes in Australia. 

The Best Hikes in Australia – Queensland 

If you’ve followed my blog for a while now then you’ll know I kind of have a soft spot for Queensland. Home to the beautiful east coast of Australia and the state I called home for 7 months out of 12. Some of the best hikes in Australia are found in Queensland. We completed all of these hikes in winter, not summer. I do not advocate hiking in Queensland in the summer months. Unless you’re used to it of course. But coming from a much cooler, and wetter, British climate I am definitely not used to doing anything with a humidity of 90%! Even in winter, Queensland is hot. The average temperature in Queensland in winter is 24 degrees celsius in the day time. 

Whichever of these hikes you decide to give a go make sure you go prepared. This goes for all the hikes in this post. Plenty of food, water, suncream and a hat is essential whilst hiking in Australia. I’d also take a first aid kit wherever you hike. Some tracks are quite rural and even though we never saw one, snakes do live in Australia. Make sure you’re prepared for all possibilities after all the Australian countryside can be unpredictable. I’d also recommend telling someone where you’re going, you know just in case! 

Some of The Best Hikes in Queensland 

  1. The Glass House Mountains – Mount Ngugun
  2. Gorge Walk – North Stradbroke Island
  3. The Fraser Island Great Walk
  4. Mount Bartle Frere
  5. Mount Coot Tha Brisbane

The Glass House Mountains – Mount Ngungun

Facts

  • Distance: 2.6 km 
  • Difficulty: Easy-Medium 
  • Time: 2 hours return 
  • Advisories: Steep, Stairs, Straight Drop-offs, Cliff Edges 

This hike comes in at one of my favourites during our time in Australia. All of these hikes are brilliant but this one is extra special. Mount Ngungun is found deep in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast. As you reach the summit the views of the Sunshine Coast are incredible.  The countryside stretches for miles and in the distance, on a clear day, you can see the coast too.

This is a great hike for beginners in Australia. Though the walk to the summit is steep it’s fairly short with lots of rest areas along the way – you’ll want to stop to enjoy the view anyway. It’s also a great option if you’re solo hiking in Australia too as it doesn’t take long so no overnight planning or anything is required. Time-wise keep 2 hours minimum available for the hike up Mount Ngungun. In reality, it probably won’t take you that long especially if you’re an experienced hiker. Take a picnic and enjoy the panoramic views as you eat. I’m also told that this is a brilliant sunset hike too so if you’ve got a vehicle that’s also a great option. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to do this because of the train times back to the city which I’ll go over below. 

Getting to the Glass House Mountains 

The 70 km drive from Brisbane is straight forward around under one hour. It’s the same from the coast but the time depends on where about on the coast you are. The Glass House Mountains are  87 km from Noosa so it’s not much of a difference. There’s free parking at the base of the Mountains and it’s signposted once you reach the town.

Trains run from both the sunshine coast and Brisbane. The train runs hourly from Brisbane and is direct so no need to change. Take the green line from the city straight out to the Glass House Mountains. It does take 1.5 hours via the train but the hike and views along the way are totally worth it. 

For a more detailed post on this hike click here

Gorge Walk – North Stradbroke Island 

Facts 

  • Distance: 1.5 km 
  • Time: 1 hour 
  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Advisories: Small inclines and a couple of steps 

North Stradbroke Island is the perfect day trip from Brisbane. This island is popular with Aussie locals but often missed by travellers. That’s not a bad thing of course because this island is a beautiful quiet escape from the mainland. North Straddie is a haven for wildlife and marine life spotting which is one of the reasons I love the Gorge Walk. Again, we completed this walk in winter but it could easily be done in summer. This is definitely one of the easier walks on the list.

The gorge walk on Stradbroke Island
The Gorge Walk on North Stradbroke Island

Short in distance with paved tracks all the way around dit’s accessible for everyone. There are a couple of steps and small inclines but you can definitely take a stroller if you carry it up a few of the steps. Though this walk would be easy in summer I still recommend it in winter. During June-November the humpback whales are making their migration from Antartica to Australia for the warmer waters and you undoubtedly be able to spot some from the Gorge Walk.

Pack a pair of binoculars and I’m sure you’ll see whales dancing in the distance. We were lucky enough to spot whales, dolphins and turtles during this walk. It truly is magical and shouldn’t be missed. There’s also plenty of kangaroos to be spotted on North Stradbroke Island too!

Check out this post for more information on taking a day trip to North Straddie! 

The Fraser Island Great Walk – Voted One of the Best Hikes in Australia

Fraser Island also known as K’Gari is an island that can only be described as paradise just off the Australian East Coast. It’ll most likely be quite high up on your Australian bucket-list and with good reason. Stunning beaches sweep the coastline, crystal clear lakes occupy so much of the land and the whole island is made up of 98% sand and 2% rock. Fraser Island is actually the biggest sand islands in the world and one of Australias UNESCO world heritage parks. 

Facts 

  • Distance: 90 km 
  • Time: 5-7 days 
  • Difficulty: Hard (long distance)
  • Advisories: Long distance, inclines, animals, take caution with planning and packing. 

Tackling the Fraser Island Great Walk or Great Sandy Walk will be tough. At 90 km in total its hike only for those who enjoy hiking and taking their time doing so. But what a brilliant way to see the island. Take a week to just explore Fraser Island on your two feet and experience all that it has to offer. Planning is crucial when deciding to embark on this adventure as Fraser Island is full of all the dangerous creatures everyone fears down under, Dingos, poisonous snakes, spiders you name it they live on Fraser! Take a look at these guides/downloads available from the QLD government to plan your great walk on Fraser Island. I really recommend not doing this walk in the summertime as Fraser Island can get some serious heat and humidity but in winter it would be a fantastic experience. 

For more on Things to Do at Fraser Island and which spots you need to see on your walk take a look at this post!

Mount Bartle Fere 

Facts 

  • Distance: 15 km
  • Time: 12 hours 
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Advisories: Elevation 1622 metres 

Nestled in the wet tropics of Far North Queensland sits Mount Bartle Frere otherwise known as Australias highest mountain. For panoramic views across the rainforest and wet tropics then this hike will provide the goods but again a lot of planning is required. This hike is for the more experienced hiker who has embarked on similar excursions and is used to scrambling. There are different tracks to hike this towering beauty but the most direct by starting Josephine Falls. The distance from the falls is 15 km in total taking approximately 12 hours so it’s an early start kind of hiking day. As soon as that Queensland sun rises you want to have made tracks. 

There is the option to camp overnight during this hike! You can find more information about the campsites and facilities on this website! This one is definitely one of the best hikes in Australia but also one of the hardest, plan well and enjoy hiking the highest mountain down under! The summit is usually only exposed 5-10% of the year so if you want those views to plan carefully, the rest of the time it’s hidden underneath the clouds. 

Mount Coot Tha Brisbane 

Facts 

  • Distance:
  • Time: 1-2 hours one way 
  • Difficulty: Easy-Medium 
  • Advisories: Steep incline to the summit 

Mount Coot Tha is one of the best lookouts in Brisbane. The hike up to the summit is well worth enjoying. There is a bus which reaches the summit but where’s the fun in that. This is one of the most reward hikes in Brisbane when you reach the summit the views of the city are beautiful. On a clear day, you can also see North Stradbroke Island and Moreton Island in the distance, it really is beautiful. Mount Coot Tha is hands-down one of the best walks in Brisbane. If you’re an early riser then hike to the summit just before sunrise and watch the city wake up beneath you. 

Mount Coot Tha Hike in Brisbane
Hiking to the Summit of Mount Coot Tha
The view of Brisbane from the summit of Mount Coot Tha - one of the best hikes in Australia
The view of Brisbane from the Mount Coot Tha Summit!

Some of the Best Hikes in New South Wales 

  1. Cape Byron Lighthouse Walk
  2. The Undercliff Track – The Blue Mountains
  3. Katoomba Falls – The Blue Mountains
  4. National Pass – The Blue Mountains
  5. Bondi-Coogee – Sydney
  6. Rosey Bay to Watsons Bay – Sydney

Cape Byron Lighthouse Walk 

Byron Bay is one of my favourite towns on the Australian east coast. It has something for every kind of traveller. Sunbathing, shopping, eating, walking, hiking, swimming, it has it all! This town has breathtaking views around every corner you turn. It’s also the home to the most easterly point on mainland Australia which can be found on the Cape Byron lighthouse walk. Cape Byron lighthouse overlooks the ocean and rest of the bay. It’s my favourite spot in the whole of Australia to watch dolphins playing in their home. During our time in Australia, we visited Byron a number of times during summer, winter and spring. Each visit we saw hundreds of dolphins from the lighthouse, it really is such a special place. 

If you’ve been following my blog or mainly my Instagram stories for a while you’ll know that I love being outdoors and more specifically walking/hiking in search for wonderful places and spectacular views. Byron Bay is no different. Sure you can have a great time on the beaches and enjoying the endless amounts of cafes, bars and yoga studios. But there are plenty of walks too. The lighthouse is probably the most popular but it’s also probably the best! 

Facts 

  • Distance: 3.7 km 
  • Time: 3 hours return (including photography time)
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Advisories: Steep inclines and steps 
  • If you cannot walk for whatever reason then you can drive up to the lighthouse to see the amazing views!

This walk winds in and out of the bushland, over cliff tops and past gorgeous secluded beaches. Keep looking up every now and again as Byron Bay is home to plenty of Koala’s high in the tree-tops! As you reach the summit look back on the bay in the distance whilst keeping your eyes on the ocean for those playful dolphins. The most easterly point in Australis is quite near the top so keep on climbing – you won’t miss it because everyone will be there waiting to get their photograph snapped in this iconic spot. The cafe at the top does a very nice ice cream which is a great treat after all that walking! 

Byron Bay Lighthouse
The lighthouse on the Cape Byron Lighthouse walk – it’s worth the sweat!

Wentworth – The Blue Mountains 

The Blue Mountains National Park, a rugged landscape just a few hours west of Sydney. It’s a far cry from the madness that lies within the city. The Blue Mountains are a welcome getaway for those looking to reconnect with nature. We spent three days in the Blue Mountains during our time in Sydney and spend each day hiking our way in and out of the hills.

The next three walks listed in this post are all in the Blue Mountains but each one is so different. The Blue Mountains stretch for miles and miles so no two walks are the same. As well the unique landscape the Blue Mountains gets its name because of the haze that sits above the land. Especially on a foggy day, the air that covers the hills looks blue. It’s quite majestic and really hard to explain if you haven’t been and seen it for yourself. 

The only downside to the Blue Mountains is that it’s quite built up. There are villages and towns right up to the edges of the park. Whilst it would be a stunning place to wake up each morning I often think it takes some of the authenticity of just being in the mountains away – but what do I know! 

One of the main towns in the Blue Mountains is Wentworth with a population of 6,000. Wentworth Falls are worth a visit as it’s one of the most impressive waterfalls in the national park. The way they cascade down the mountains is mesmerising. 

Undercliff Walk – Wentworth Falls 

The Undercliff walk is a great walk to see the falls from a variety of different angles. I was so happy strolling in and out of the mountains as well as over and under the cliff tops. My camera was stuck firmly in my palm the whole day. Unlucky for them and me those photos will never get to see the light of day because just as I exported them onto my old laptop I got the blue screen of death. Every photo from the Blue Mountains was wiped! My heart was truly broken for a good few hours! You’ll just have to take my word that this track is beautiful with views across the range that you can only dream of. 

Facts 

  • Distance: 3.5 km return (with the option to merge onto another track)
  • Time: 1-2 hours (2-4 hours if you continue on)
  • Difficulty: Medium 
  • Advisories: Steep inclines, exposed cliff edges. 

Make sure you take plenty of food and water on this walk because you’ll probably continue onto the next track (can’t remember what that one is called/cannot find it online but we definitely continued on for at least another hour and this track looped back around the main carpark). 

National Pass – Wentworth Falls 

The national pass hikes cascades in and out of the mountains, up and down past Wentworth Falls and past an array of panoramic viewpoints. This walk is a little harder than the Undercliff Walk but it starts in the same place. Park at the main carpark for the Wentworth Falls lookout and follow the signs. Both walking tracks are clearly marked. In fact, all of the walks in the Blue Mountains are really well marked out so it’s easy to get around. Be mindful if you plan on hiking the National Pass as some sections are often closed for maintenance and closed in bad weather so always check beforehand. There’s minimal mobile reception throughout the Blue Mountains national park so a map is always handy to have. 

Facts 

  • Distance: 4.5 km return 
  • Time: 2-4 hours 
  • Difficulty: Medium-Hard 
  • Advisories: Steep inclines, exposed cliffs, slippery walking surfaces due to spray from the waterfall

Katoomba Falls Round Walk – The Blue Mountains

Katoomba is another town in the Blue Mountains nestled in between Echo Point and Scenic World. Scenic World is where you can ride a cable car across the blue mountains. It looks like fun but not something that we pay for on our travels. For more information about Scenic World go here. Katoomba Falls is one of the great waterfalls in the Blue Mountains and though I personally didn’t find it as impressive it’s definitely very pretty. The waterfall surges down into the Jamison Valley for over 150 metres. The Katoomba Falls round walk is an easy 2 km walk that shows off Katoomba Falls from different vantage points. Sometimes I enjoy the easy visually pleasing walks just as much as I love the more exhilarating hikes. 

Facts 

  • Distance: 2 km 
  • Time: 1 – 1.5 hours 
  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Advisories: some slippery area but other than it’s a flat paved track throughout.

Bondi to Coogee – Sydney 

Facts 

  • Distance: 6 km
  • Time: 3 – 5 hours 
  • Difficulty: Easy-Medium 
  • Advisories: Inclines, cliff edges and a lot of stairs! 

This post wouldn’t be complete without adding one of the most popular walks in the country, the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk in Sydney. I’m often dubious when places are known to be touristy. I’m quite good at preparing my mind for what I might be presented with. A lot of people and cameras everywhere. The Bondi – Coogee walk was certainly no exception to the rule. Even in winter, this coastal walk is full of people, locals, tourists you name it they are there. But I have to be honest this doesn’t take away from the beauty of this walk one bit.

The coastline between these two popular Sydney suburbs is simply awe-inspiring. Views of the oceans, beaches at every turn, gorgeous views of the mainland honestly this will quickly become of the best hikes in Australia you do. I know it’s still one of my highlights from living in Sydney. I loved waking up on a weekend and enjoying this walk. 

Beating the Crowds..

It is possible to beat the crowds by waking up very early and getting a head start of everyone else. The sun rises to the left of Bondi Beach and really is special first thing in a morning. There often aren’t many people around but you won’t be alone. Surfers start heading for the beach to catch the morning waves and the swim club has often beaten most of them to it. There’s yoga classes and fitness classes on Bondi Beach every morning. This famous walk begins at the Bondi Iceberg pool which you’ll not be able to miss and weaves in and out of the coastline passing, Tamarama, Bronte, Clovelly and Coogee. Each has their own beach unique from the rest. 

Bondi-Coogee Walk in Sydney one of the best hikes in Australia
One of the many stunning beaches along the way …

My best advice for this walk is to plan to have a whole day if not at least 5 hours to enjoy the coast. Pack some swimmers and take a deep in the ocean at each suburb or just take a moment to sit on the beach and take it all in. It’s beautiful with so many scenic points you won’t feel like your moving anywhere half of the time! On arrival to Coogee enjoy a cold beverage from the Pavilion – the food there is pretty good too!

Rosey Bay to Watsons Bay 

The second Sydney coastal walk I’m including in this post rounding up some of the best hikes in Australia comes on par with the Bondi to Coogee walk. It’s just as beautiful but at the other side of the city. The views along the way look onto the harbour rather than out into the abyss. What makes this walk special is the views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge that are constantly in view. 

Facts 

  • Distance: 8 km one way 
  • Time: 4-5 hours 
  • Difficulty: Medium-Hard 
  • Advisories: Long distance with some medium gradient hills. 

At 8 km (one way) it’s not the shortest city walk but by far the best way to see both bays. I’d take a full day out for this walk to enjoy the beaches, cafes and lighthouses on the way. Starting in Rose Bay take the Hermitage Foreshore Track along the coastline. The best thing about this section of the walk is the secluded bays that line the shore. As you walk along the water with the iconic Sydney landmarks way in the distance strip off and take a dip in each of the bays. My favourite beach along the way is Milk Beach, the water is calm and the beach is so much quieter than the likes of Bondi or Manly. It’s perfect for a mid-walk swim. 

Once you reach Watson’s bay there’s an array of restaurants, bars, ice-cream carts, beaches and ocean views. If your legs can carry you a little further then head to camp-cove beach for gorgeous water and yet more insane views of Sydney. Pass the beach and follow the track round to Watsons Bay Lighthouse where you can see all the way to Manly. There’s also a nude beach on the way round called Lady Bay Beach if you fancy.  

For more great walks in Sydney check out this post!

Some of the Best Hikes in Victoria 

  • The Pinnacles Hike – The Grampians
  • Mackenzie Falls Base Hike – The Grampians
  • The Great Ocean Road Walk
  • Melbourne City Street Art Walk

The Pinnacles Hike – The Grampians 

The Grampians is my favourite national park in Australia. Get ready to immerse yourself in nature, adventure and the outdoors at The Grampians. Unlike the Blue Mountains, the Grampians isn’t half as built up and you can walk/drive miles without seeing another soul. It’s also nowhere near as touristy which makes it feel even more like an authentic bush experience! Though they may not be as many people you’ll be guaranteed to see some other native Australians. We walked amongst kangaroos, joeys, emus and koalas it was a surreal experience. 

photograph of is and a kangaroo
Hey there little guy …

The Pinnacle hike is certainly one of the more exhilarating walks in the national park but it can also be completed in stages. The hikes starts in Halls Gap, also a great area to stay which I go into detail about here. And weaves in and out of the national park. Climb peaks tackle stairs and rock formations. Pass water-walls and wander of lots of bridges. It’s a unique hike with stunning views across Halls Gap and the rest of the park at the summit. Though I couldn’t recommend this hike more it certainly requires a certain level of fitness. The hike to the summit is long and steep with narrow passes and a lot of stairs. As I said you can do it in stages which you can find out more about here. 

The Pinnacle Hike Facts 

  • Distance: 9 km 
  • Time: 6-7 hours return including breaks 
  • Difficulty: Hard 
  • Advisories: Up-hill the majority of the way, stairs and uneven surfaces throughout.

Mackenzie Falls Base Walk 

As well as breath-taking views, inspiring hikes there are also some magnificent waterfalls and Mackenzie Falls is the one you want to see! It’s one mighty waterfall crashing against the land but somehow still manages to remain elegant. The hike to get to the waterfall is a breeze. Simply follow the steps and enjoy the leisurely stroll but don’t forget what goes down must come up! It’s a 2 km round trip but the walk to the base won’t take very long it’s the walk back up them that will take a little time with frequent stops if you’re anything like us!

Facts

  • Distance: 2 km 
  • Time: 1-1.5 hours return 
  • Difficulty: Medium 
  • Advisories: Lot and lots of stairs!

The Great Ocean Road Walk

Facts

  • Distance: 100 km
  • Time: 7 days 
  • Ability: Hard (long distance)
  • Advisories: Multi-day hiking experience advantageous

Confession time! We actually haven’t walked The Great Ocean Road we, like most sensible people out there (or boring depending on how you look at it), drove it instead but you can walk if you wish. It isn’t for the fainthearted but it is rated as one of Australias best multi-day hikes. I can vouch that it would be a beautiful place to enjoy on two feet. The Great Ocean Road is beautiful despite being on foot or in a car you can’t escape the beauty. For those wanting to tackle the multiway hike, some experience of long-distance hiking will be necessary for the total distance is just over 100 km. 

This hike takes 7 days to complete and booking for the hiker’s accommodation is required. This website has some really great information on this epic 7-day hike. You can, of course, tackle shorter parts of the walk which may be beneficial to those with little hiking experience. Though it will be tough what and adventure and immense achievement to conquer this hike. The Great Ocean is a beautiful spot enchanted by sea cliff formations, stunning bays and views out into the ocean. Check out my highlights here!

For you more sane people check out my 2 Day Self Drive Itinerary here!

The Best Hikes in Australia Extra: Street Art Walk Melbourne City Centre 

As much as I love hiking through awe-inspiring landscapes and along Australia’s beautiful coastline I also love a good urban walk. You simply cannot visit Melbourne without walking around the city centre enjoying the street art that the city has to offer. You can probably just walk aimlessly all day and you’d come across so many awesome murals.

There are various walking tours in Melbourne some of which are free so these can be cool to go on especially if you get a good guide who knows lots about the history! From Hosier Lane to ACDC there is some street art for everyone in Melbourne. We used this website to plan our walk and it was so helpful and lead us to some really interesting art that we otherwise wouldn’t have found. The great thing about a self-guided city walks Is that you can make them as long or as short as you like! 

Sharing is Caring – A Guide to the Best Hikes in Australia

I hope you enjoyed this post about some of the best hikes in Australia. Walking is great way to explore a new country and it’s usually free which is also amazing. If you’re an avid hiker then make sure you check out my New Zealand posts as there will be lots of walking adventures in there! If you did enjoy this post I would be so grateful if you could share with your friends! 

Happy and Safe Travels 

Alicia 

North Stradbroke Island Day Trip – Your Ultimate Guide!

North Stradbroke Island Day Trip – Your Ultimate Guide!

Brisbane is the gateway to some of the best authentic Australian day trips. The Australian east coast is lined with islands. Fraser Island, Moreton Island, the Whitsunday Islands and of course, North and South Stradbroke Island. All within such short distance away from the sunshine city it would’ve been considered silly to not visit these islands whilst living in Brisbane. One of my favourite trips in Australia was intact this North Stradbroke Island day trip otherwise known as north ‘Straddie’. Straddie, though popular with the locals is often missed amongst travellers to the east coast. I get it. It’s competing with the likes of the Whitsundays and Fraser Island but the beauty on this island is just as magnificent. It’s the perfect island for an easy and pretty cheap day trip. In this guide to a north Stradbroke Island day trip, I’m showing off the best that this island has on offer. 

How to Get to North Stradbroke Island 

Getting to North Stradbroke Island is super easy from Brisbane. There are both passenger ferries and transport ferries that run daily from Cleveland. Cleveland is a suburb just 50 minutes drive east of Brisbane towards the coast. It’s also easy to get to on public transport with a straight train running from the city to Cleveland. The train runs from Central Station in Brisbane all the way to Cleveland no changing required. Just make sure you’re on the blue line towards Cleveland. The ferry terminal is then literally a couple of minutes walk away, it’s really easy!

The Ferry

The ferry across to North Stradbroke Island takes just under an hour making it a perfect day trip destination! For a passenger ticket across the water, tickets start at just $10 for a vehicle if will be considerably more. We took a large 4WD across and it cost $150 return for the ferry. Considering we split between four it wasn’t bad at all. If you plan on taking a car across get a group together to lower the cost. You can use this website to book your ferry across to North Stradbroke Island.

Once on the ferry, the amenities are brilliant. Get out of the car and take a look at the vast ocean views from the upper deck. Depending on the time of year you may get to see some sea life too! During our trip to Straddie in June, we saw whales, dolphins and turtles in the waters so keep those eyes peeled! There’s also toilets and a cafe upstairs in the ferries as well and I must say, they do a rather delightful hot chocolate (yes, even in Brisbane they still drink hot chocolate)! 

Brisbane is the gateway to some amazing day trips. North Stradbroke Island is one of my favourites. From beaches to sandboarding it's the ultimate Aussie day trip. Click the pin to find out exactly how to make the most out of your day on North Stradbroke Island! | North Stradbroke Island Day Trip | #northstradbroke #queensland #queenslanddaytrips #discoverqueensland #australia #exploreaustralia #backpackaustralia #discoverthesunshinecoast
No time? Save this post for later!

Getting Around North Stradbroke Island during a Day Trip 

There are a couple of ways to get around the island once the ferry has docked. The easiest option and by far the most popular is to drive yourself. The island isn’t that big but it is large enough that you need some sort of transportation other than as your legs. There are also some cool sand tracks to get stuck into if you have a 4WD. But don’t despair if you don’t have a car. North Stradbroke Island also runs a bus service all around the island and its excellent value for money! Get a daily bus pass for as little as $10 to enjoy all the main sights on the island. The bus terminal is located just as you leave the ferry. Check out more details about the bus service on North Stradbroke Island here. 

Four-Wheel Driving on North Stradbroke Island 

Firstly, to be clear there is no NEED for a 4WD on NorthStraddie. The roads are tarmac and any old car can drive around the island. However, if you do have a 4WD and want to drive on the sand then you can. There are various sand bush tracks and beaches where 4WD driving is permitted. The majority of the bush tracks don’t require a permit just a 4WD.

That said if you want to drive on the beaches then a beach permit is required. The prices for these start at around $40 for driving on Main Beach and Flinders Beach which are the only beaches that allow four-wheel driving on. There are rules that driving isn’t permitted 1 hour and 15 minutes prior to high tide so check the tide times if you want to fit it into your North Stradbroke Island day trip! For more information on permits and driving on North Stradbroke Island take a look at this website.

The Best Time of Year to Visit North Stradbroke Island

Time of year to visit North Straddie will depend on personal preference but winter in Queensland is so fabulous! The temperatures in Queensland don’t particular soar in the summertime staying consistent at around 28-32 degrees but what does soar is the humidity. Queensland can see days as humid as 90%+ in the summertime. If you talk to most Queenslanders they’ll tell you that they stay indoors in summer and outdoors in winter! Autumn – winter time in Queensland is like most peoples summers, temperatures vary between 20-26 degrees with constant sunshine and very little rain/cloud! Another awesome reason to take a North Stradbroke Island day trip in the months of June-November is to do some sea-life spotting! This is the seasons when the humpback whales migrate up the Australian Coast and you will be able to see them from the island! 

Booking.com

How to Spend Your Day Trip on North Stradbroke Island

For a fairly small Island, there is a lot to get stuck into on North Straddie. From fabulous walks, shimmering lakes, pristine beaches, sandboarding, fishing, four-wheel driving and eating ice cream there is something for everyone to enjoy. During our day trip to North Stradbroke Island, we crammed a lot in and this could easily be split over two days if you wanted to stay longer than just one day. 

North Gorge Walk 

Kick off the North Stradbroke Island day trip by heading straight to enjoy the Gorge Walk. At 1.5 km in distance, it’s a fairly easy walk combined with paved tracks, broad walks and some small inclines. From bushland to beaches this walk showcases some wonderful views of the oceans and Straddie coastline. The Gorge Walk is a paradise for any bird or marine lovers out there. We visited North Stradbroke Island in late June and couldn’t believe how much marine life we spotted.

The views from the Gorge Walk on North Stradbroke Island
The Gorge Walk views – beautiful right?

As we followed the Gorge Walk we saw not only humpback whales but dolphins, turtles and array of seabirds in the distance. It was incredible to see whales dancing together as they make their migration and turtles swimming with the current. The water is so clear close to the coast so the turtles were so easy to spot as they were pretty close to the land! The only thing I wish I had taken along was a pair of binoculars!

Spend the morning immersed the beautiful views along the coastline, divine views across Main Beach, the North Stradbroke Island blowhole (look out for turtles in this area) and point lookout! The Gorge Walk is an easy walk for most abilities with just a few stairs and a couple of inclines. The area is shaded intermittently by trees but remains in the open for the majority of the walk. You could spend hours just wandering along the Gorge Walk but if you do want to squeeze everything into your day trip on North Stradbroke Island then I recommend spending around 1.5 – 2 hours exploring this area of the island. 

Park at Point Lookout Before The Gorge Walk 

There’s free parking all around the island but I recommend parking up by Point Lookout surf club to get to the start of the walk. From the parking bays at this spot, you can explore the Main beach before beginning the Gorge Walk. Main Beach is one of the beaches that permits 4WD driving on North Stradbroke Island. To drive on this beach you’ll need a permit starting at $40 so check that out before arriving. Main Beach is a beautiful stretch of sand to talk a walk across too, follow the steps that lead onto the shore and enjoy the beauty. 

Ice Cream at Oceanic Gelati

There’s no better way to cool down after a walk then with ice cream, especially when it’s to die for! Head to Mooloomba Road after the Gorge Walk for ice cream and enjoy a few of the indy shops that line the street. The ice cream at Oceanic Gelati was gorgeous there was four of us and everyone definitely enjoyed my flavour of Raspberry the most – creamy but fruity it certainly hit the spot! There are also a few cafes along the road too if you need a pick me up.  

Explore Cylinder Beach – The Best Beach on North Stradbroke Island 

A short drive away from Point Lookout is Cylinder Beach hands down my favourite beach on the island! In fact, this beach could easily be one of my favourites in Australia. The waters are pristine and the beach was wonderfully empty when we visited in June. I imagine it’ll be a lot busier in the summertime but it was nothing other than tranquil during our visit. It’s the perfect way to round off the morning.

Cylinder beach - the best beach to visit during a north stradbroke island day trip
Enjoying a dip in the waters of Cylinder Beach

Take out those swimmers, stand up paddleboards, surfboards whatever you like and get into that water. It’s also a lovely spot for lunch. There’s a campsite on the beach which also has some public toilets and BBQ areas for public use. If you want to stay on North Stradbroke Island longer than just a day then this campsite would be a great overnight location. You can take a look at the facilities on this website. 

Visit the small town of Amity Point 

Amity Point is the most Northerly tip on North Stradbroke Island. There honestly isn’t much there but there is a wonderful jetty which is a popular fishing spot as well as the swimming area on the beach. The swimming area in Amity Point has a shark net around some of the water. Sharks are known to roam the waters in Queensland so you just never know when and where they could be lurking (not to scare anybody) so remember this spot for some extra safe swimming! 

North Stradbroke Island Day Trip – Afternoon 

After a jam-packed morning spend the afternoon exploring some of the National Parks and stunning lakes on the island. We visited both Blue Lake National Park and Brown Lake during our North Stradbroke Island day trip. But before we made it to the lakes we took the scenic route via one of the sand tracks! Driving on sand is a lot of fun in a 4WD but does require some experience beforehand.

Even though you don’t need a permit to drive some of the sand tracks I highly recommend taking some lessons before trying it out on Straddie. Though not as bad as the sand tracks on Fraser Island (those sand tracks are CRAZY) there is still a lot of hills with some steep drop-offs. The time on the sand took up the first hour of our afternoon so if you don’t want to go driving you could definitely fit something else into this day trip on North Stradbroke Island. At the end of the post, I’ll list some more options of things to do on this beautiful island. 

a view of cylinder beach
Another spectacular view of Cylinder beach!

Blue Lake National Park

Blue Lake National Park is the perfect destination on the island for walkers and avid hikers! As big outdoor enthusiasts we couldn’t wait to head on another walk for the afternoon and there’s so many to choose from at Blue Lake National Park all which end up at the Blue Lake/‘Karooba’ eventually. The easiest hike is 5.2 km to the lake one way so it’s a fair distance taking a couple of hours. The Blue Lake is sacred to Quandamooka people of North Stradbroke. Legend says that the Blue Lake is home to a huge carpet snake. It has big cultural significance to the Quandamooka people and therefore swimming isn’t allowed. 

The walk to the lake from the car park is relatively easy bushland with some small inclines. It does take a couple of hours there and back so be prepared with your time. We probably should’ve gone earlier in the day but we somehow managed to get back to the car before sunset and head next door to Brown Lake. 

Brown Lake 

Brown Lake is the hidden gem of North Stradbroke Island! Though we arrived late in the day I’m so glad we did! We were running a little short on time after our walk in the Blue Lake National Park and got to the Brown Lake just before the sunset. What a magical time of day sunset is at there. Though the sun does not directly set above the lake the red hue that filled the sky was nothing but dreamy. Again we were the only ones at the Brown Lake and the water was so still and the reflections, magical. I highly recommend giving Brown Lake a visit during the golden hours! 

Sunset at Brown Lake on North Stradbroke Island
The dreamy colours and reflections at sunset over the Brown Lake!

But this lake is also a favourite for swimming and water sports in the summer! A great place to get steady on a stand-up paddleboard or enjoy a tranquil swim in calming waters. The lake is surrounded by bushland and trees which are actually tea-trees. We were pretty intrigued to see whether or not the lake smelt like tea-tree and it certainly did! It wasn’t overpowering but the smell was definitely there. I’d say the Brown Lake and Gorge Walk were my two favourite things we did during our North Stradbroke Island day trip! 

Watch the Sunset at the Ferry Terminal 

From Brown Lake, the ferry terminal is only a short distance away and the sunset over the ocean is incredible. Watch the sky as it lights up in reds and oranges mimicking fire sparkling over the horizon. It was a beautiful end to a beautiful day. I honestly felt like I’d seen the majority of beauty on the east coast of Australia but as we left Stradbroke Island it had become one of my favourite places in the country. 

The sunset on North Stradbroke Island
The sunset in the horizon, it sets right next to the ferry terminal

Of course, this guide to a North Stradbroke Island day trip is just how we spent our day and although it was a great one, there is so much more to do on North Stradbroke Island! So here are a few other things you can enjoy.

Other Things to do on North Stradbroke Island during a Day trip:

  • Take a dip in the freshwater at Myora Springs in Dunwich 
  • Find your wild sand and sandboard on Straddie! 
  • 4WD on Main Beach and Flinders Beach 
  • Explore Flinders Beach 
  • Go Fishing 
  • Cycle the island 
  • Beach Yoga is held during the summer months! 

How ever you choose to spend your day trip on North Stradbroke Island I can guarantee it will be one to remember! I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope it’s given you some inspiration to visit this part of Australia. If you love to explore islands then Fraser Island is a must-visit on the East coast of Australia and I’ve explained exactly what makes it so amazing and unique in this post! If you did enjoy this post then I would be so thankful if you could share it with your friends! 

Brisbane is the gateway to some amazing day trips. North Stradbroke Island is one of my favourites. From beaches to sandboarding it's the ultimate Aussie day trip. Click the pin to find out exactly how to make the most out of your day on North Stradbroke Island! | North Stradbroke Island Day Trip | #northstradbroke #queensland #queenslanddaytrips #discoverqueensland #australia #exploreaustralia #backpackaustralia #discoverthesunshinecoast
Share this post!

Happy and Healthy Travels!

Alicia 

Unforgettable Things to Do on Fraser Island

Unforgettable Things to Do on Fraser Island

Fraser Island or ‘K’Gari’ will always be one of the most memorable experiences in my travelling life. Not only is visiting Fraser Island a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience. Fraser Island is also the worlds BIGGEST sand island. It’s also one of the most stunning locations in the world. Now, that may just be one traveller’s opinion but others who have stepped onto this island would also agree. Fraser Island is one of the most popular places to explore in Australia especially for those travelling the East Coast. The island is also hugely popular with locals which speaks volumes for itself. From fishing to driving along the 75-mile highway the things to do on Fraser Island are endless and each experience is so unique to the island. There are things to do on Fraser Island that you literally can’t do anywhere else in the world. 

Why Visit Fraser Island? 

Fraser Island is one of Australias UNESCO world heritage sights. Fraser Island has been as a world heritage site since 1992 because of sheer beauty and incredible nature. The Island is home to some fascinating natural elements which continue to evolve year after year. As the worlds largest sand island Fraser Island is constantly changing with the movement of the sand. A variety of unique landscapes can be seen on Fraser Island from sand dunes surrounding the lakes. Freshwater lakes, sacred forests, swamp heaths, coloured sands and fast-flowing freshwater creeks are just some of the other elements that make up the land on the island. 

There’s also plenty of life on Fraser Island. Fraser Island is home to an array of different wildlife species including mammals, reptiles and sea-life. The Dingo is the most famous animal on Fraser but not the friendliest of predators. It’s not uncommon to see a Dingo roaming the beaches in packs or solo. We saw a solo Dingo on our very last day on the Island which was amazing but I’m glad I was watching him from a coach window. There are over 350 types of bird and 19 species of snakes can also be found on the island as well as lots of different sea life in the ocean. We were lucky enough to see turtles, dolphins and a shark off the coast of Fraser.

From nature to wildlife there is so much to see on Fraser Island. What also makes Fraser Island unique is that it’s made up of 98% sand and 2% rock. This island is one of a kind and with so many things to do on Fraser Island you simply don’t want to miss it on your trip to Australia. 

Fraser island sunsets another one of the best things to do on fraser island
The Sunsets are to die for!

How To Visit Fraser Island 

Fraser Island is located just a 45-minute ferry journey off the Sunshine Coast in Australia’s sunshine state, Queensland. It’s easy to get to and ferries depart from Hervey Bay, Rainbow Beach and Noosa. You can visit Fraser Island as part of a tour group or solo but I really recommend going with a group. The only vehicles allowed into the national park are those that have a 4WD.

That said, even if you do have a 4WD I’d only recommend taking your own car if you have a lot of sand driving experience. The tracks on Fraser Island are rough and not for the faint-hearted. The first track into the Great Sandy National Park the first stretch of track is called ‘the rollercoaster’ so I’ll let you work that one out for yourself. 

Group Tours on Fraser Island

The most popular way for travellers to explore Fraser Island is via a group tour. There are heaps of different tours to choose from. For a list of tours that run on Fraser Island check out this website. Choose from large tours or more intimate, coach or 4WD, be driven around the island, go on a piggyback tour where you can drive the 4WD behind the leader, go on a private tour there are just so many.

When we visited Fraser Island in 2018 we decided on a group coach tour with the tour company Cool Dingo. I’d read about this tour online and it had a lot of great reviews. Our tour is aimed specifically at ages 18-35 which was perfect for us. The tour included all the epic things to do on Fraser Island that I’d read about before arriving. For more information about the Cool Dingo tour click here

There are also two big resorts on Fraser Island. The Kingfisher Bay Resort and Eurong Beach Resort both which have rooms and tours that activities that depart from the resorts themselves. 

How Much Does it Cost to Visit Fraser Island

Budgeting Fraser Island can be tricky which why it’s a lot easier to book a group tour where everything is inclusive in the price. Our 3 night 2-day tour cost just under $500 per person or 250 GBP. But that included all meals and snacks, ferry crossing, accommodation and all the activities we enjoyed on Fraser Island. It may be expensive but I guarantee that it’s worth it. Fraser Island is incredible and I would hands down pay the exact same if I were to visit the island again which I definitely hope to do! 

Best Time of Year to Visit Fraser Island 

The Sunshine Coast is lucky enough to get a lot of sunny days all year round. The winters are mild and the temperature rarely drops below 20 degrees in the daytime hours. That said, Queensland does experience a lot of tropical storms as well. We visited Fraser Island in October which was perfect because it wasn’t too hot yet. I’m the height of summer the Island can reach staggering temperatures. October was also fairly quiet as well. There were lots of other tours but I didn’t feel like we were crossing them a lot. Most of the time it was just our group and possibly one other at the different locations throughout the island. 

Fraser Island is full of unique things to do. Being the worlds biggest sand island it's an icon in itself. Taking a weekend on Fraser Island gives you the chance to live the ultimate Aussie lifestyle. Kick back relax and enjoy the sand, sea and lakes on this picturesque island. The sunsets are to die for and lakes sublime for swimming. Click the pin to find out exactly the best things to do on Fraser Island! | Unforgettable Things to Do on Fraser Island | #fraserisland #australia #travelaustralia #traveldownunder #exploreaustralia #eastcoastaustralia
No time? Save this post for later!

Unforgettable Things to Do on Fraser Island 

Whether you decide to visit this amazing island alone or on a tour, there are so many things to do on Fraser Island. If you do book a tour I recommend going to Fraser for 3 days and 2 nights so you can fit all the exciting things to do into your visit. Here’s a list of incredible unforgettable things to do on Fraser Island. 

Swim in Lake Mackenzie

Lake Mackenzie was one of my Fraser Island highlights. Lake Mackenzie is awe-inspiring. The beauty of this lake will blow you away and what’s more incredible is that it’s a perched lake. A perched lake essentially means that the water you see if rainwater only. No groundwater, stream or path that leads to the ocean. The water contains high levels of acidity making the conditions unsuitable for most plant and sea life making the water extremely pure. 

Girl swimming in Lake Mackenzie
Taking a swim in Lake Mackenzie..

Make sure you wet your hair in the water as it drys out so soft. The sand surrounding the lake is also extremely pure made up mostly of Silica but not quite as pure as that found on Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays. Another great tip when swimming in Lake Mackenzie is to rub the sand all over your body and wash it off in the lake for a nature exfoliation! Take a float and relax in the tranquil waters.  We stayed for hours in Lake Mackenzie and it was so peaceful. 

There are facilities for picnics, toilets, changing rooms and cold showers near the lake. Read more about Lake Mackenzie.

Rainforest Walk – Wanggoolba Creek

Wanggoolba Creek is a vital component here on Fraser Island and sacred to the aboriginal people of the land. The Butchella people were the traditional owners of K’gari and this creek is sacred to their people. This creek would be where the women of the tribe would come and give birth to their children. The creek is still sacred to Butchella people and even now Butchella men won’t go down to the creek.

The trees that tower above Fraser Island are incredible. The walk through this part of the island is tranquil. This track is easy to follow and our tour guide left us to walk it whilst he drove the coach to the other side. The only thing to watch out whilst walking around on Fraser Island is, of course, snakes and spiders but luckily for us, we saw neither! 

Cruise Down 75 Mile Beach Highway 

Driving high speed down a beach sounds like a lot of fun and I can tell you it certainly is! The main beach that runs down the coast of Fraser is also known as the 75-mile beach highway. Driving along the beach is insane being so close to the water is just a crazy experience. What’s also crazy is that this beach is classed as a national highway on Fraser Island.

That means that normal road rule applies. Speed limits, wearing seat belts, using an indicator, it all applies on the highway. There are even police that patrols the highway and other areas of Fraser Island to ensure everyone is playing by the rules. Of course, since it is a beach there are pedestrians to look out for and fishing rods! Cruising down the beach in a 4WD is definitely one of the best things to do on Fraser Island. 

Swim in the Champagne Pools

There’s a lot of swimming to be had on Fraser Island so swimmers are essential! The Champagne pools on Fraser Island are natural ocean rock pools created when the waves come crashing in over the rocks. They kind of create a natural hot tub! We all got taken out a fair few times when a big wave came tumbling over the edge. These pools are a lot of fun and there’s plenty of room for sunbathing too in case getting soaked by freezing cold ocean water isn’t your thing. The views around the champagne pools are awesome too. The walk from the car park is about 10 minutes so not long but the views are insane, everywhere you look on Fraser Island is just BEAUTIFUL. 

Swimming with friends in Fraser Island Champagne Pools
Swimming with friends in Fraser Island Champagne Pools!

Laze away in Eli Creek

Eli Creek is one of the many freshwater creeks on Fraser Island. This was actually one of the best afternoons we spent on the island. Our tour guide had brought rubber rings which we blew up so we could float down the river. We were even allowed to take a beer with us. Albeit that may slightly ruin the scenery but boy was it relaxing.

You can just relax in your float whilst the river takes you away. It actually flows at a decent speed too. If you book a tour on Fraser Island then Eli Creek is a must-have on the itinerary. One thing I will say about Eli Creek is that it will be crowded. Most of the time during our tour I didn’t feel like we’re swamped with other tourists but Eli Creek was definitely one of the more popular areas on the island. That said it still didn’t ruin the atmosphere and a lot of fun was had! 

Hike over Sand Dunes to reach Lake Wabby

Fraser Island is full of ever-changing sand dunes. Because of the wind and ocean tides, the dunes on are constantly changing and Lake Wabby is nestled in the middle of some great sand dunes. In fact, the sand dunes are getting nearer and nearer to the lake that in a few years time the lake won’t even exist anymore. The sand dune that surrounds the lake is called the Hammerstone Sandblow. This freshwater lake is green colour and unlike the rest of the freshwater lakes on the island, this one houses 13 different species of fish including catfish and rainbow fish. 

Lake Wabby one of the best lakes on Fraser Island surrounded by sand dunes. One of the best things to do on Fraser Island
Lake Wabby – you can see how close the sand dunes are getting to the lake!

If you visit Fraser Island over the next few years then Lake Wabby is a great place to visit as I mentioned above in a few years time it will completely disappear under the sand dunes. A little word of warning is that this lake does take some strenuous walking up and over the dunes to get to and get away from so allow plenty of time! 

Watch out for Marine Life from Indian Head

Indian Head is one of the peaks along the coast of Fraser Island. During our trip, we were amazed to spot two sea turtles, a shark and some dolphins off the coast. The views of the pristine beaches are magnificent and the views out to the ocean are gorgeous. The ocean is so clear and sea life is pretty easy to spot! The only thing about the ocean that surrounds Fraser Island is that it attracts a lot of sharks, therefore, swimming is not advised. That said we did see a surfer on the same day that we saw the shark in the water – very scary. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting between June – October you might even see some humpback whales! 

It is a bit of scramble to get up to and back down from Indian Head through a lot of long grass so keep an eye for snakes. Apparently, a couple of girls in front of us did see a snake but luckily I didn’t catch a glimpse –  it would’ve freaked me out! 

Awesome Things to Do on Fraser Island – The Pinnacle Coloured Sands

The Pinnacles on the east coast of Fraser Island are also an impressive element to this beautiful island. The pinnacles sand cliffs have developed over thousands of years by being exposed to the elements. The layers make up over 72 different colours making them pretty special. The pinnacles are also sacred to the Butchella women – read the story here. Though the pinnacles were quite impressive they are quite far out of the way. We drove for almost 2 hours to reach them and I must admit I was a little underwhelmed. 

Fraser Island sand pinnacles.
Pinnacle coloured sands..as I said a little underwhelming

Keep Your Eye Out for a Dingo 

Dingoes on Fraser Island are a native wild animal. They look a little like a cross between a fox and a dog. These animals are wild and not like domesticated dogs. Though they are great to study and watch they can be dangerous. There have been numerous attacks on children and adults by Dingoes over the years.

These animals are a vital part of the ecosystem on the island and are protected by the Queensland Government. It is really cool to keep your eyes peeled for dingoes on the island as they are so cool to see. But make sure you follow the advice of your tour leader at all times to ensure you can stay safe in the presence of a Dingo.

Explore the Maheno Shipwreck 

The Maheno Shipwreck is one of the coolest thins to do on Fraser Island. The story of this ship dates all the way back to 1915 where it was first called into duty. The Maheno Ship was first used in the first world war as a hospital ship. The ship worked on the shores on Australia taking casualties back and forth between Melbourne and Sydney before working on the English Channel.

After the Maheno had served the war the ship was sold to a Japanese company but as they towed the ship they got hit by a Cyclone as wash up on the shores of Fraser Island where it remains to this day. There is a still a decent amount of wreckage that you can explore around on the island which is fascinating but it is unsafe. The wreckage is so old now that visitors are urged to keep a safe distance away and not touch the vessel. It’s pretty cool to see. 

Fraser Island Shipwreck with a view of the 75-mile long beach in the background
Can you see the Shipwreck in the distance? You can get close but I thought this was a cool shot and yes this bit of shrapnel is part of the wreck!

Paddle Board on Lake Garawongera

The final lake that we got to swim in was Lake Garawongera. This lake was again another beautiful addition to this island. Paddle Boarding is one of the best things to do on Fraser Island especially if you aren’t very good! Honestly, the waters are so clear that the only thing there is to be afraid of is your fellow travellers! The lakes are so still that no waves are going to push you off balance but I’m sure your fellow travellers on the tour might! Lake Garawongera is super chilled and one of the less popular lakes on the island making it a scenic retreat for those that visit. 

Take a Scenic Flight

Fraser Island also offers Scenic Flights above the island. We didn’t take this opportunity because it was quite expensive but the guys who did it – loved it! I can only imagine how spectacular the sand island looks from above. In the right seasons being in the sky is also a great way to try spot some of those humpback whales!

A Few Other Things to Know Before Visiting Fraser Island 

  • Swimming in the ocean is not advised – lots of sharks 
  • Every species of poisonous snake in Australia is found on Fraser Island 
  • The fines for feeding Dingoe can be more than $10,000
  • Never turn your back on a Dingo and always walk around the island in groups in case you come across one. 
  • Always take all litter with you and don’t leave any food around thus not to attract a Dingo
  • There are no koalas on Fraser Island as it does not have all 7 types of eucalyptus koalas need to survive. 

Fraser Island is honestly one of the most fabulous places in Australia. There are so many awesome things to do on Fraser Island that you just can’t do anywhere else in the world. If you’re visiting Australia then it just has to make your itinerary. The best way to see the east coast of Australia is by taking one big road trip! Check out my Cairns to Sydney itinerary in this post for all the things you need to know about driving the east coast of Australia! I hope enjoyed this post all about the best things to do on Fraser Island! 

If you did enjoy this post then I would love it if you could share it with your friends! You might also enjoy my other blog posts on Sailing the Whitsundays and if you do hire a camper-van for this road trip then my Ultimate List of East Coast Campsites will also come in handy!

Fraser Island is one of the most unique places in the world. It's the worlds biggest sand island and offers some amazing experiences. From swimming in perched fresh water lakes to driving down the 75-mile beach Fraser Island is full of brilliant Things to Do! In this post you'll learn exactly what kind of Unforgettable Things to Do on Fraser Island that you can get up to! | Things to Do on Fraser Island | #travelguide #australiatravel #fraserisland #australiaeastcoast #backpackaustralia
Save this article to Pinterest!

Wishing you happy and healthy travels!

Alicia