When we made the decision to explore Australia in 2018 I must admit I was incredibly excited about exploring some of the best beaches in the world! Coming from England in the United Kingdom it’s safe to say that we don’t do beaches like quite like Australia. Though Scotland and southern England are home to some gorgeous beaches, the weather is often not always in our favour. With at least 150 days of complete sunshine a year all over Australia, it’s safe to say that if it’s beach days you want, beach days you shall have! We’ve been lucky enough to explore some of the Best Beaches in Australia and I’m sharing my favourite beaches here.
Finding Beaches in Australia – Well that’s EASY.
Beaches are all over the place in the land down under. You never have to wander far and you’re stood on a great stretch of sand. I think the farthest away from the beach we ever got was when we lived in Brisbane. That said Brisbane is still only one hour by car to the Gold Coast. So naturally, when we took a road trip from Cairns to Sydney we got to enjoy some of the best beaches in Australia!
The east coast is jam-packed with amazing beaches all of which are completely different from one another! From feeling like you’ve been transported to Hawaii on Mission Beach, to the 98% silica sand Whitehaven Beach to a whole sand island on Fraser Island! Some of the best beaches in Australia live on the east coast. It’s the most popular destination for travellers visiting Australia and usually, people are dying to stretch out on these world-famous beaches.
Getting together a list of the best beaches on the Australian east coast was so hard. The beaches are all SO beautiful! But these are the beaches you just have to visit on your trip to Australia!
The Best Beaches in Australia on the East Coast
Whitehaven Beach – The Whitsundays
Now, no Australian bucket list of any sort would be complete without The Whitsunday’s and Whitehaven Beach! I think this is the only beach I’ve ever become speechless over! The beauty that this place oozes is incredible and it’s exactly like what you see on the pictures! Whitehaven Beach is, of course, famous for its magical swirls and bright white beach with sand made up of 98% silica – giving it its white glow! (100% is glass) This beach is literally like no other in the world!
Did you know: The Australian government in the past paid out millions of dollars to give away some of the sand on Whitehaven Beach! Why? Well, you don’t really come across 98% silica sand that often, it’s pretty unique! Researchers say that the sand drifted to Whitehaven Beach millions of years ago and has continued to form the unique swirls we now admire.
Whitehaven Beach is simply like heaven. The sand is as white as you see on those photo-shopped images and the water as clear as day. Because the sand is 98% silica the sand is extremely dense meaning that it’s cool beneath your feet! Yep, your feet aren’t going to burn on this paradise beachfront! Although the beach looks simply flawless and the ocean so inviting there are a few important things to note about Whitehaven Beach! Lurking in the water you’ll find marine stingers, baby yellow sharks and manta rays!
Swimming in the Waters of Whitehaven Beach
Don’t worry the sharks won’t hurt you and neither will the manta rays because the ones on Whitehaven Beach don’t have their barbs, therefore, cannot sting you. That said, be careful! The marine stingers will get you! Because we were with a tour company, True Blue Sailing, we weren’t allowed in the water without a stinger suit on! So make sure you listen to your tour guides because they are just looking out for your safety!
The only other downfall of Whitehaven Beach is that it’s only accessible via boat so you do have to pay a little to get there! Make sure you take a trip that goes to Hill Inlet as well as the beach! Hill Inlet is the lookout where you’ll get that sensational Instagram post!
I’d go as far as saying that Whitehaven Beach is the best of the best when it comes to the best beaches in Australia!
Mission Beach – Far North Queensland
Imagine blazing sunlight hitting golden sand making each grain sparkle. As the wind blows lightly and the ocean dances in the distance, we were stunned looking out over Mission Beach. I felt like I’d been transported to Hawaii just like that. Mission Beach is a far cry from any of the other beaches in Australia. Lined with palm trees and looking out to dozens of little islands in the ocean, Mission Beach is a tropical paradise! If tranquillity, peace and beauty are what you’re looking for then Mission Beach your place!
As for the other beachgoers and tourists? They were zero. I couldn’t quite believe it! Australia attracts tourists all year round and the majority of places we’ve been have been crawling with people! But Mission Beach surprised us with not one single another person on the beach we couldn’t believe our luck! We actually wondered if we were supposed to be there! – Cue two Brit’s running to their camper van to drive to a different section of beach! But when we arrived at South Mission Beach we were still the only two people!
You can easily spend a full day here or just a couple of hours! Grab your towel, a good book and relax! If you are staying for the day then pack a good picnic! They aren’t any shops on walking distance of the beach so bring lots of food and water! Maybe a beer if you fancy too! – We did! You’ll find a little hut renting surfboards, kayaks and canoes on South Mission Beach if water sports are your thing!
Swimming at Mission Beach One of the Best Beaches in Australia!
A word of warning though, the water is beautiful here and as clear as day! But be warned there are creatures lurking in these waters! Stingrays are all over the waters in Far North Queensland so take care when swimming! We actually saw two when looking in the water so stayed clear! There are warning signs up and down the beach with loads of information on peak seasons etc!
Wategos Beach in Byron Bay
The little surf town of Byron Bay stole my heart. From it’s beaches to its people, it really is the travellers capital of the Australian East Coast. Byron Bay has so many breathtaking beaches it’s painful trying to choose a favourite. From the busier vibes of the main beach to the more peaceful and quieter waters of Tallow Beach they all ooze beauty. But I have to say when it comes to the ultimate beach experience Wategos Beach is pretty special. I don’t know about you but I love beating the crowds and Wategos Beach is a lot smaller than any of the other beaches.
I’d actually call Wategos quite family-friendly, lined with BBQ areas and a little cafe it screams Aussie living exactly how you’d have imagined it! Chilled out sunbathers, happy children playing in the sand, friends getting together for a weekend BBQ! I’d say that this beach is more where the locals go rather than the backpackers! You can find this beach on the way to the lighthouse via the Cape Byron Lighthouse Walk – which by the way is a must-do! If you’re looking for a quiet stretch of sand to enjoy your latest holiday book then Wategos is a great choice!
Top Tip: Take a picnic or a BBQ and take in the gorgeous scenery around you! Be sure to pack your binoculars too! Byron was the place, not too far from Wategos Beach, where we spotted our first wild Koala!
I only discovered Milk Beach quite recently and boy am I glad that I did! Sydney is bursting with surprises but this beach is certainly one of my favourite parts about Sydney! Located in the beautiful suburb of Rose Bay you’ll find again, one of my favourite walks in Sydney, the Sydney Harbour National Park Hermitage Walk! This walk stretches over a mile long and gives you insane views of the Harbour Bridge, Opera House & City Skyline!
As you wander down the weaving path you’ll cross four beaches before you reach Milk Beach! They are all stunning so take your pick but I must admit Milk Beach has the best views of the Opera House and Bridge! That’s of course as long as there aren’t any fancy yachts parked up blocking the view! (I’m only jealous!). Head to Milk Beach with a friend or by yourself with plenty of food and water and a enjoy a day of pure relaxation! This is the beach I’d opt for over Bondi Beach because you can literally escape the mass of tourists and enjoy the beauty that Sydney has to offer! I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to visit Milk Beach!
Did You Know: Milk Beach and the beaches near Rose Bay and some of the only beaches in Sydney where you can see the Bridge and Opera House!
Bondi Beach – Sydney
Okay, even though Bondi Beach is extremely tourist heavy, all year round! You have to go and check it out. I won’t lie to you, no matter what time of year you head to Bondi Beach it will be packed, and the number of expats on their holidays will be soaring! I often joke around saying the whole population of England and Ireland has relocated to Bondi Beach! But don’t let put you off because the beach is absolutely stunning! After only ever seeing Bondi Beach on the hit TV programme Bondi Rescue I had no idea what to expect!
On the TV Bondi Beach looks huge! I imaged a long stretch of beach, a little like the gold coast, expanding for miles down the Sydney coastline. Turns out that couldn’t be further away from reality if it tried. The beaches that surround Bondi and it’s neighbouring suburbs are all small bays opposed to long stretches of sand. Bondi Beach is the biggest of the clan from Bondi to Coogee is Sydney’s most urban and chic beachfront! Lined with street art and filled with beautiful bodies Bondi Beach is the place to be to hang with your friends on the weekend and catch a wave or two.
There is Something for Everyone at Bondi!
From backpackers to millionaires, teenagers to retirees Bondi Beach attracts the likes of everyone! At only one kilometre in size, it lures in fitness addicts to take a jog on the beach front, families to that can enjoy a swim in the far freshwater pool and wannabe surfers taking lessons on the water! (The category we fall into for sure!) As well all the amenities on the front the surrounding area is full of things to do, cafes, shops, bars, play parks and a skate park – where you’ll always see world-class skateboards and roller bladders doing their thang! It really is a great place to kick back and relax, as long as you don’t mind doing so with the rest of Sydney!
Top Tip: If you want to take a surf lesson in Bondi, Let’s Go Surfing is the only company that do surf lessons here! So don’t waste your time trying to look for a cheaper deal, you won’t find one but I can tell you it’s worth the price! They are amazing!
75 Mile Beach – Fraser Island
Fraser Island, where do you even start? Everything about Fraser Island is fascinating and that doesn’t exclude its beaches! In fact, I think the main Fraser Island Coastline is the most unique of all the beaches in Australia! There was no way it wasn’t making it onto my Beast Beaches in Australia list! This famous coastline on the island stretches a whopping, yes you guessed it, 75 miles long! It’s hard to even imagine it without seeing it!
Though you’d think this beach would be perfect for sunbathing and swimming that is extremely far from the truth! Fraser Island is home to some of the most dangerous animals and sea life in the world. If a Dingo catches you off guard sunning yourself you can say goodbye to your leg! Sharks also lurk very close to the shore at Fraser Island so you’re not allowed in the waters! Although for some crazy reasons that doesn’t seem to stop everyone!
So what exactly is this beach used for? Well, this beach is the main highway on Fraser Island! Yes, you can drive up and down this beach to your heart’s content! It’s actually classed as a national highway, therefore, all the regular driving rules apply! Speed limits, indicators, safety when driving you’ve got to abide by it all! It’s definitely a once in a lifetime experience to drive along this amazing coastline!
Rainbow Beach – Queensland Australia’s Best Beaches
Now, I can’t imagine Rainbow Beach makes it onto many peoples Best Beaches in Australia lists! I don’t know why but it takes a far while off the beaten track to get there and the town is pretty average, sorry not sorry! But I personally found the beach quite special! It was pretty dead when we visited with only one or two others enjoying the beach! Rainbow Beach is surrounded by sand dunes which is why I found it so cool! I was not expecting the mountain of sand piled behind the beach! Apparently, you can even sand board down some of them, we could see a few people tackling the dunes in the distance! Other than this it’s simply a lovely beach! I imagine it gets busy in the summer months but it’s definitely worth a visit if you’ve got the time! I found it unique and beautiful!
As for the area, there isn’t much to do at Rainbow Beach. The beachfront is lined with a few bars, cafes and tourist shops! A lot of people go to Rainbow Beach as it’s where a lot of the Fraser Island day tours depart from! So if you heading to Fraser from Rainbow Beach make sure you take a visit to the beach!
Top Tip:You’ll also find this cool Rainbow stairway if you drop down onto the beach!
Manly Beach – Northern Beaches Sydney
If you haven’t guessed by all the beaches listed that Sydney hosts some of the best then you can’t have been reading properly! Sydney is full of beaches wherever you turn and I know there are some beautiful ones that I haven’t even explored yet like Palm Beach! But the town of Manly is what you expect when you think about living in Australia! It’s one of the most sought after areas to live in Australia and with its gorgeous beach and wharf, it’s no surprise why!
Manly is home to a few beaches but the most popular are Manly Beach and Shelley Beach! The boasts a lush stretch of pale golden sand met with aqua coloured water at the shore. You can also find some of the best waves for surfing in Sydney here at Many Beach. It sure attracts hundreds of surfers and beachgoers every day! Though Manly Beach is full of tourists you also get a lot more locals, unlike Bondi Beach where every local avoids! There are loads to do when visiting Manly Beach, you can hire a surf or body board, go for a walk along the beach front, sunbathe on the grass or enjoy one of the many cafes or bars that line the beach front.
Top Tip:Manly is located on the Northern Beaches in Sydney, therefore, can take a bit of a commute when coming from the city! The best way to reach Manly is via ferry! You can take the regular ferry taking 30-40 minutes from Circular Quay or the fast ferry taking about 20, also from Circular Quay. The ferry can be quite expensive so make sure you go on a Sunday when travel on transport is capped at $2.70.
Agnes Waters Beach – Agnes Water
I ummed and ahhed about where this last spot of my list of Best Beaches in Australia on the East Coast should go to! It was always going to be between Agnes Waters and Noosa! Even though the beach is gorgeous at Noosa it is very tourist heavy and it’s more the town I loved in Noosa rather than the beach! For that reason, I’m going with Agnes Water! I had no idea what to expect when we arrived in Agnes Water! I didn’t know much about it other than it was a surf town alongside 1770. Everybody I had spoken to and blog posts I had read said it was worth visiting!
It’s the Perfect Surfer Town…
The town of Agnes Water is Quaint and gorgeous! The beach is equally stunning and said to be home to Australia’s most northerly surf. What I liked about this beach is it reminded me of beaches in the UK! I know totally weird and probably not a huge compliment but the sand at Agnes Waters was a deep golden colour a lot like the beaches I used to play on as a child. It was filled with an array of visitors from surfers, backpackers and families.
The vibe here was total relaxation! Everyone walking around with nothing but their swimmers and maybe a surfboard in tow, it really felt like a haven away from the backpacking hustle and bustle you find on the Australian East Coast! That could’ve had something to do with the lack of phone signal too! – NIL. Sadly, I don’t seem to have photographs of Agnes Water (and I call myself Travel Blogger – HA) so if you have any please feel free to share!
Top Tip: Don’t expect to do anything that you need a mobile signal or internet connection for in Agnes Water! Unless you go searching for WIFI!
And there you have it! My Best Beaches in Australia! I loved every single one of these beaches and feel they all have something different to offer! So if you’re exploring the East Coast make sure you pop them into your itinerary! I hope you enjoyed thist post and if you did I would love it if you could share this post!
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Hidden deep in the hinterland of the Atherton Tablelands lay some of the most beautiful waterfalls on the East Coast of Australia. There’s something about waterfalls that gets my adrenaline kicking and the sudden to jump in and feel the water is strong. If chasing waterfalls in Australia is on your bucket list then Far North Queensland has you covered. From natural water slides at Josephine falls to the picture perfect Millaa Millaa, the Atherton Tablelands is the place to catch your next waterfall fix!
With over ten incredible waterfalls to experience and only 48 hours in the tablelands, it’s no surprise we didn’t manage to jump in them all! We did, however, create our own little self-drive waterfall tour that I’ll be sharing with you today! We managed to spend a fair length of time in each of these waterfalls in just one day! So this guide is perfect for those who don’t have a lot of time to spend in this gorgeous part of Australia.
Top Tip: Pencil in as much time up here as you can. The Atherton Tablelands scream’s natural beauty and peace, it’s a far cry away from the backpacking hustle over in Cairns and actually one of my favourite places we explored on our East Coast Road Trip! If true nature is what you’re looking for then look no further.
I like to call the Tablelands my hidden Queensland gem. Of course, it isn’t hidden at all and is popular with visitors to Far North Queensland. Despite my in-depth research into the Australian East Coast, I mean one-year planning and reading every blog post on Australia kind of research! I just didn’t seem to come across the Atherton Tablelands very much and I guess I completely forgot about it!
It wasn’t until one of my work colleagues in Brisbane was raving on about how much we have to go visit. As in ‘this place will literally change your life’ that I started looking into the Tablelands a little more. All I have to say is thank you, Vanessa, because we loved it! I can’t wait to share my ultimate guide on the Atherton Tablelands with you guys soon!
No time? Save this article for later!
But first back to stunning waterfalls! We visited three breathtaking waterfalls on our Atherton Tablelands self-drive waterfall Trail. It may not sound like much but if you’ve ever driven in Australia you’ll know how far apart everything is! Any more than three waterfalls on this day and we’d be rushing around, spending more time looking at the road in front of us rather than these natural splendours.
Atherton Tablelands Self-Drive Waterfall Trail
Before we get started if there’s one tip I can give it’s if you have a car or camper van then visits the waterfalls yourself! There are plenty of tours that offer waterfall tours from Cairns up to the Tablelands but there’s nothing like going at your own pace! We saw a couple of tours come in and out of the waterfalls and honestly? They really didn’t get much time to splash around and enjoy the water at all! They were in, took a few snaps, a quick dip and were off to the next place! I’m sure there are some brilliant tours out there but for us driving it ourselves gave us way more freedom and time to explore!
Atherton Tablelands Self-Drive Waterfall – Driving From Cairns
The Atherton Tables sits about an hour and a half inland from Cairns and about 50 miles or 80 kilometres. But obviously, you’re going to be taking a lot of detours to the falls. This round trip from Cairns to the waterfalls and back again will set you back almost 300 Kilometres so staying overnight after you finish the trail is by far your best option! Especially If you don’t want to be driving at night – which trust me in Australia you don’t! Besides, the Atherton Tablelands is home to some astounding lakeside camping that you’re going to want to check out!
First Stop, Josephine Falls
I remember this day and the feeling I got when we approached Josephine Falls like it was yesterday. The excitement that flowed through my veins was unimaginable. I had never seen anything like it. Both Dave and I were completely speechless, eyes wide opened staring at the beauty in front of us! Josephine falls is made of up three pure freshwater pools, the water is amazingly clear and I’ll warn you extremely cold! Located in Babinda it’s only around an hour from Cairns. See the map below for clear driving instructions!
Stop Off Point: As you drive out of the city and to the falls you will cross signs for ‘Babinda Boulders’ which is another great tourist spot that if you have time you should totally stop off at! We, unfortunately, didn’t have the time but when I got home and googled #babindaboulders on Instagram I was pretty gutted we didn’t get a glance!
Getting to Joesphine Falls
The walk up to Josephine Falls from the car park is a mere 700 metres which will take you through the rain forest. There is an easy path to follow which leads you up to the falls. The walk is actually lovely but watch out for those huge spider webs lurking in the trees! Once you arrive at the falls you’ll find three main lookout areas, for each stage of the waterfall! I recommend heading straight to the top, you get an overview of all the pools which are simply stunning. The best place to get your photographs is up here! Once you’re looking down from above you’ll probably be itching to join everyone else in the water! I literally couldn’t wait to get in!
Swimming in the Falls
Okay, so yes you are allowed to swim here at your own risk of course! There are no crocs so you’re not going to get eaten but I urge you to be very careful! Josephine Falls is made up of boulders which lay underneath the water surface. When these get wet they become very very slippery! You need to go extremely slowly when navigating around the falls! In the end, I found the best way to get around inside the falls was just to dunk right under and let the current take you!
Important: As much as I urge you to have fun in the falls you must read the warning signs! Josephine Falls is susceptible for flash flooding and when the waterfalls are flooded swimming is out of bounds. Over the years fourteen people have died because of going into the falls when they weren’t supposed to! So follow the signs and just be careful.
That said you’ll have an epic time swimming in these waters, I honestly had to pinch myself, I couldn’t how amazing this experience was! The top pool is extremely high and out of bounds for swimming but the bottom two are great to have a splash around in! There’s a small beach area where little ones can enjoy some shallow water! But the main attraction, drum roll, please…
Is the natural water slide! Granted this wasn’t built by nature intended to be an epic slide for us humans but that’s what it’s turned into. The last pool at the falls over the years has become famous for people taking to the small waterfall and you guessed it, sliding down! This was so much fun! You can see the video below for some hilarious video footage!
Don’t be fooled by how slow it looks on video – I was terrified!
Boring Bits! – Josephine Falls
Seen as the Atherton Tablelands is quite remote I thought it would be handy to let you know what facilities are at each of these waterfalls! Josephine Falls is really accessible with wheelchair access all the way to the viewing areas. It also has all the main facilities, toilets, water, picnic areas, and BBQ areas. Unfortunately, no camping is allowed in this National Park! See more on the facilities here!
Josephine Falls was 100% my favourite waterfall of the three that we visited! We spent almost three hours here, soaking up the sun and letting out our inner adventure! If you’ve been to Josephine Falls I would love to see your photos and if you’re going I would love to see them too! Make sure you subscribe to our mailing list in the footer and use the hashtag #aliciaoverseas on Instagram so I can see the fun you get up to here!
The next stop off on our waterfall chase was Millaa Millaa Falls, about an hour from Josephine Falls, 80 kilometres. You can find a map and clear driving instructions below. The walking route from the car park to the waterfall is easy but does involve stairs. If you are unable to negotiate stairs then follow the signs to the coach car park which takes you all the way down to the waterfall.
Now you may have heard of or in fact seen Millaa Millaa falls in a couple of places. On the television and all over Instagram. Millaa Millaa falls was where the famous Herbal Essences Advert came to life, you know the one where the drop gorgeous gals are flicking their hair in the waterfall like it’s the most natural thing to be doing! So yes, when you arrive you will be surrounded by Instagrammers trying to recreate the image! Lucky for you I don’t like to follow the world so I didn’t try my luck, instead, I went in the whole hog and swam right underneath the falls!
Swimming is also permitted at Millaa Millaa.
Again, a little like Josephine Falls the water is freezing and getting into the falls is quite difficult because of the slippery rocks at the surface! The water is also a lot less clear here and the place its self gives off a totally different vibe, think hidden in the tropical rainforest! In whole, Millaa Millaa was pretty beautiful.
Boring Bits! – Millaa Millaa Falls
Millaa Millaa has all the basic facilities that you would need. Including toilets, changing rooms, and picnic benches. Unfortunately, there is no fresh drinking water here so make sure you’re stocked up before arriving. Go here for more information on that!
Now the one thing that you simply cannot go without on this self-drive waterfall trail is an action camera! The big DSLR cameras are great for getting the ultimate nature shots here at the waterfalls but the real action happens in the water!
There is no other camera that I can suggest other than The GoPro! Waterproof and so compact it couldn’t be more perfect for adventure travel! We shoot all of our under and in water shots on our Go Pro Hero 5 Black! There are newer editions of the GoPro but why pay more when the 5 does everything you need and more? Click below to grab one for yourself!
I also highly recommend a selfie stick with a wrist strap! You do not want to lose this baby down the waterfalls!
Self-Drive Waterfall Trail Australia: The Crater and Dinner Falls
The final leg of our self-drive waterfalls trail took us over to Mount Hypipamee National Park, home to The Crater and Dinner Falls. This is your shortest journey as these landmarks sit only half an hour from Millaa Millaa, 30 kilometres or 19 miles. I guess this final stop is a little different to the others as you get to see the incredible Crater as well as Dinner Falls!
The waterfall at this gorgeous little spot is Dinner Falls which leads onto the Barron River. To get to Dinner Falls for the parking area it’s approx. a 1.2km walk where you can find a collection of three waterfalls. We didn’t spend too much time at Dinner falls because of the time we had and to be honest, the crater is way more impressive! We arrived near the end of our day and didn’t want to get all wet again, spoilsports I know, so we didn’t go swimming! You can do a loop walking circuit here on the Bitumen Path which will lead you to The Crater as well – go here and here for some more in-depth details on the walks!
The crater formed here at Mount Hypipamee National Park, which is a heritage listed wet tropics park, is like a volcanic pip way. The crate was created by heaps of pressure below the surface rocks which eventually exploded upwards sending volcanic bombs across the surrounding area. The crate is 61 metres wide and 82 metres deep, pretty impressive if you ask me! It’s one of the moments where what your looking at doesn’t even look real!
Again facilities are limited here with just toilets and picnic benches available!
After finishing exploring Mount Hypipamee National Park that was the end of our Atherton Tablelands Self-Drive Waterfall Trail! But don’t worry if you’ve got more time and want to smash out all of the waterfalls in the area then there are plenty more for you to choose from! It all depends on how long you want to spend at the falls! For us, we wanted to take it slow and just enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors. We spent a few hours at both Josephine and Millaa Millaa where if you wanted you could just take a quick photograph and move on – not our style!
If you want to drive back to Cairns then the drive from Mount Hypipamee National Park is about an hour and a half via the Gilles Highway see driving instructions below! A quick word of warning about the Gilles Highway, it is extremely windy! For me, I managed to drive it in a high top camper van and was fine! Don’t be put off by how windy it is as it’s manageable as long as you take your take and drive slowly!
Where to stay overnight after your Waterfall Tour
So if you’ve got some extra time to enjoy the beauty of the Tablelands then stay overnight! I recommend staying at Lake Tinaroo Holiday Park! Whether you’re in a camper van or are pitching up a tent this place is the perfect spot for the evening! This campsite offers lakeside camping with extraordinary views of Lake Tinaroo! One day we will 100% return for a couple of nights stay here! There are all sorts to get up to from hiring boats and kayaks to long walks around the lake! You can visit their website here for pricing and more details!
If you are heading to the East Coast of Australia soon then subscribe to our mailing list! Then you’ll be sure that you don’t miss any tips and tricks! You can also see my Cairns-Sydney post which goes through all the places we recommend visiting on the East Coast!
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The Australian east coast has dominated the world of travelling and travel blogging for some years now. So has this place already been written about too many times?Is it really worth all the hype to do the stereotypical camper van hire from Cairns to Sydney? The answer? Well, of course, that will be different depending on who you are because all of our experiences are different. I love travelling, even to hyped up places that seem to be on everyone’s bucket list because I know that my experience is going to be totally different from anybody else’s on this planet. This is why travel as a whole is empowering and extraordinary. So in answer to my own question is the Australian east coast worth all the hype?
Absolutely. The Australian East Coast is home to some of the most beautiful beaches and cities that I’ve visited so far. And let me tell you, hiring a camper van and living in it for over a month is the best life experience I’ve had so far. As a gal who usually enjoys relaxing in a five-star hotel, I threw all that out of the pram for this road trip. I was a little apprehensive, to say the least, but I’ve come out of the other side a changed woman! I’ve been converted to van life 100%.
So for this blog post, I’ve compiled some of my favourite destinations from our Australia east coast road trip! As I’m writing this I can’t call this post a ‘top 10, top 5, top 15’ because until I finish as I have no idea how many destinations I’m going to include because I could include everywhere we went! BUT just for this post, I’m going to try and whittle it down to the places I couldn’t imagine this journey without!
Sydney Australia – Home of the Legendary Opera House
Sydney Harbour Bridge view from Circular Quay.
I’m kicking off this post 100% mainstream with Sydney and let me tell you why. As we got closer to Sydney I knew that it was going to be a love or hate type of relationship. Before we left for Australia I had pre-conceptions of Sydney being just like London. Busy, overcrowded, traffic stalled in the streets with nowhere to turn. Now, as much I love visiting the UK’s capital for a weekend that’s more than enough time for me. So I was a little apprehensive about how I would take to Sydney. That said, as soon as we arrived in this vibrant city I fell hook, line and sinker for the place.
Sydney is one incredible city. There’s a different beach around the corner, a new bar opening up on every street, gorgeous views from every bay and some of the best beer we’ve tasted here in Australia. Sydney offers the best of both worlds. A busy city with connections to the rest of the world and a laid back beach lifestyle for everyone to enjoy. Don’t get me wrong parts a very touristy like Bondi and obviously Circular Quay. But you can find secluded beaches and bays at your fingertips like Camp Cove at Waston’s Bay and Milk Beach.
The Opera House is pretty special too I even wrote about it on my phone after the first time I ever saw it…
‘We’ve arrived in Sydney to feel like we’ve transported back 10,000 miles to the UK because it’s chucking it down! None the less we pulled on our rain macs and headed to see Sydney’s most iconic landmarks, The Sydney Harbour Bridge and The Sydney Opera House. I didn’t think I’d be overly bothered about the Opera House I’m not a huge performance goer and I knew I was just seeing it because of how famous it is. I don’t know why but the moment I saw it in the distance my face lit up with the biggest smile and it just wouldn’t go away. As we got nearer I felt such excitement as I saw the building take form and I was filled with such awe standing before it. My heart is so happy at this moment’
The Sydney Opera House, just in case you didn’t know…
My favourite view of The Opera House is from Milson’s Point!
If you’re about to embark on an Australian east coast road trip then you’ll probably have Sydney as either your start or end point. It was our last destination and boy that moment above just finished off our Australian east coast roadie perfectly. My advice to you? Don’t let your pre-judgements about this city take over, go and visit and then decide.
Top Tip: If you are heading to Sydney make sure you book earlier rather than later! Hotels and hostels get booked up pretty fast! Booking.com offer all sorts of deals on last-minute hotels and hostels. Click below to secure your accommodation! ‘Wake Up’ Hostel on Pitts Street has one of Sydney’s best reputations and even has a cheese and wine night!
The Whitsundays, wow wow wow! Where to start? I can hands down say this is our favourite experience we had on our road trip! I haven’t met a person yet who hasn’t loved every minute of their time on the Whitsundays! Whether it’s a day trip or an overnight sailing tour just make sure it’s high up on your Australian east coast bucket list!
Now, this was the most expensive trip we paid out for but it was well worth it! As we arrived in Airlie Beach, the moment we saw the aqua coloured water we knew we were in for a real treat. We set sail on board an old wooden sailing boat for two nights with thirty-two others, some of which were about to become friends for life, and headed out to sea! Three days of, snorkelling, star gazing, sunsets and Whitehaven Beach made for an incredible experience (& plenty of Goon too!).
The highlight of The Whitsunday Islands has got to be the incredible Whitehaven beach! If you’ve read anything about Australia then you’ll have heard of it for sure! If you haven’t then you’ve been reading in all the wrong places! Whitehaven beach is home to the purest sand in Australia. The white sand here is 92% silica. To put that into perspective, 100% is glass! This beach is honestly incredible. It’s one of the most Instagrammed beaches in the world and it doesn’t need any kind if filter! The definition of true beauty lays on Whitehaven beach. But don’t just take my word for it! Nope, Whitehaven beach has been nominated the second best beach in the whole world!
Because of the current and the density of the sand, the swirls at Whitehaven Beach change all the time. No two photographs taken here will ever be the same!
The sunsets were incredible!
The World’s Biggest Sand Island – Fraser Island
Fraser Island, also known as K’Gari to the aboriginal people, is one that a lot of people miss out during their Australian east coast trip. I urge you to not be one of those people. Fraser Island is listed as a world heritage site and is the worlds largest sand Island. Made up of 98% sand and 2% rock it’s one of a kind! We had an incredible few days here exploring all it had to offer!
This place was like something I imagined to be in a movie, we set off from the mainland on a forty-five-minute ferry journey and turned up with our luggage on an island with no phone reception what so ever! It was truly liberating! The highlight of Fraser Island is, of course, driving along that coastal beach highway at 80km/hour! The main beach that runs from one end of Fraser to the other is classed as a national highway where normal driving rules apply, it’s actually INSANE!
Another great thing about Fraser Island? It’s incredibly peaceful!
Lake McKenzie on Fraser Island is pretty impressive…
As well as driving along beaches, Fraser Island is packed with stunning lakes. Lake McKenzie is the most beautiful lake I’ve ever seen with a water PH of 4.3-5.2. Once you wet your hair in this water you’ll never want to return to the mainland again! As well as Lake McKenzie, Eli Creek is up there with my favourite lake on Fraser! Those lazy rivers you get at water parks? Imagine those but natural! Eli Creek is a natural lazy river where your tour guide, if they are as good as ours, will bring the rubber rings and you can float down with a beer in one hand and of course the Go Pro in the other!
As well as lakes Fraser Island is bustling with amazing bush walks where you’ll walk through the rain forests and learn more about the Aboriginal Tribes that live on Fraser. I say live in the present tense because two Butchulla elders remain living on Fraser Island now in 2018.
The history that this island has is incredible and not the mention it’s wildlife! We were lucky enough to a dingoe on our trip to Fraser Island! I could go on all day about Fraser Island but I won’t because there are so many other places on the Australian East Coast worth a mention in this post! But I am planning on doing a Fraser Island Guide in the New Year so make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss it!
Byron Bay – A little haven of paradise
Byron Bay was easily the destination that surprised me the most on our Australian east coast trip! If you’ve read my post from when we were on the road, East Coast Roadie: Part 2, then you’ll already know that Byron exceeded all of my expectations! I expected hippies galore, people preaching on the streets about being free and spiritual, people walking with no shoes on (actually pretty standard in Australia) and to be honest I thought it was all going to be a little bit over the top for me.
What I was actually found was a luxurious beach town that I never wanted to leave! Byron was the only place on the Australian east coast where we stayed longer than we had planned, by full two days! Now a place really has to impress me to change my plans because I’m a little bit of a perfectionist and my itinerary timings were very precise!
Call me mainstream here but we spent the most relaxing week in Byron, we walked, we ate pastries, we strolled along the gorgeous beaches hand in hand (making some pretty big life decisions might I add) and enjoyed the most beautiful sunrise. Byron Bay will forever be the place I go to when I’m looking for an escape from a busy life where we are all in a rush. I would go as far as to say there’s definitely some kind of magic in the waters near Byron Bay. The smile on my face hasn’t budged since I started thinking about it again. Also, Byron is the ONLY place so far where we’ve seen a wild Koala!
My favourite shot I took in Byron
The Great Barrier Reef
The second world heritage listed reserve featured on this post is, of course, The Great Barrier Reef, I’m sorry but whoever can go to Australia and not go to The Great Barrier Reef baffles me! Not only is it one of the most famous places in this land down under it’s home to the very lovable fish NEMO! What an amazing day we had out here on the reef!
The feeling you get whilst you’re surrounded by the tropical marine life is magical! I’ve never been so speechless, and I don’t just mean because of the snorkel, in my life. I’ve never been up close with fish or turtles so this was an experience I will treasure forever. My favourite part of this trip was the snorkelling because the reef is so shallow the fish congregate near the surface so there really is no need to dive if you don’t want to!
Don’t forget you’re the waterproof camera!
The best advice I can give anybody who is about to visit The Great Reef is don’t expect the coral to be colourful because unfortunately, it isn’t as everyone pictures it. BUT do expect to see hundreds of schools of fish in a vast array of colours! After all, it’s the fish we all want to see right? And if your like us and lucky you might even get to see a sea turtle! To get to the Great Barrier Reef you have to go to Cairns which is a great city full of people ready to explore Australia’s waters. The Great Barrier Reef is one of the few places I struggle to write about because you really can’t put into words how amazing it is to be swimming alongside some of the most beautiful sea life.
These fellas we’re not afraid to get close!
Now I’ve just realised that I lied above. THE BEST ADVICE that I can give you is to make sure you’ve got a good underwater camera! I recommend a Go Pro because they are the best in the business and we had such a great time using ours down the coast! We use the Hero GoPro 5 Black which you can buy here! We also used the underwater filters which allowed us to capture some amazing footage! If you do opt for a camera like the Hero 5 even though it’s already waterproof, make sure you buy a waterproof case as well, if not you’ll get blur on the screen (see in the picture of us snorkelling above!)
Please note that if you do choose to buy any of these products I may receive a tiny commission at no extra cost to you! So here’s me giving you massive thank you in advance!
My Two Hidden Gems of the East Coast
Okay so, I’ll be honest until I was doing a shift at work with a girl who’s sister lives out in the Tablelands I hadn’t really heard of them! The Tablelands is home to some of the most stunning lakes that I’ve seen here in Australia and it oozes beauty everywhere you look.
I would say that the Atherton Tablelands is one of my most memorable destinations on the Australian East Coast for how stripped back and beautiful it was. The drive into the Tablelands is about an hour or so inland from Cairns. As you drive you’re surrounded by the rain forest and drop backs that you only dream of! The Tablelands is pretty famous for its freshwater waterfalls, which yes I’m guilty of knowing nothing about!
“Atherton Tablelands – The most underrated place in Far North Queensland!”
All I can say is that I’m thrilled I found out about this place before it was too late! Having spent two days up in the Tablelands it just wasn’t enough and both Dave and I will definitely be back before we leave Australia!
See what I mean? True Beauty!
The highlight of this paradise for us was swimming in Josephine Falls and staying at Lake Tinaroo. The falls are crystal clear and in good weather, you can swim in and around the boulders that form this hidden tranquillity. There’s also a natural water slide that everyone slides down which is epic!
Lake Tinaroo was probably the most peaceful campsite we stayed it. Since it was the low season the site was pretty empty and we literally had the entire lake to ourselves, we saw a glorious sunset and spent the next morning taking in the breathtaking views! I have no idea how big this lake is but you certainly can’t walk around it!
Not to be mistaken with Port Macquarie, we stumbled upon this little gem on our way to Sydney. After a month on the road I’ll be honest on this day we were tired, fed up and just ready get to Sydney!
Other than Byron Bay we had been quite disappointed with the other places we’d stopped off at in New South Wales until we ended up here by total accident! This place was bustling with wildlife, I’m talking pelicans and black swans swimming literally 50 yards in front of our camper van. This place was exactly what we needed! The weather wasn’t on our side but it brought out the beauty in little lakeside town. We didn’t really venture from the campsite but we didn’t need to not with these views.
The view from the back of our van!
& for now, that’s a wrap…
This has by no means been an exhaustive list of the places we visited on the Australian east coast but they are a collection of my favourite’s! What I mean by this is if you or someone you know is visiting Australia then you don’t want to miss any of these places! I wrote this blog post in November 2018 and I have a feeling I’ll be updating it at some point as I explore more wonderful places in Australia!
Of course nowhere really disappointed us but these were, for me the highest of the high’s! These towns, cities and national parks hold such special memories and what I love about them the most? They are all so different! From Whitehaven Beach to the Tablelands, The Australian East Coast has literally something for everyone!
I’d love to hear if you’ve visited any of these destinations and if your experience differs from mine, you can leave a comment below or just shoot me an email and I would LOVE to chat all things Australian east coast! Don’t forget to subscribe and keep up to date with all my latest adventures AND keep checking this post for updates where in the world I’m going next!
Brisbane, the most up and coming city in Australia. Brisbane like most other smaller cities in Australia is often outcast by the bigger and, let’s face it more famous and popular cities that are Sydney and Melbourne. In 2018/19 we were lucky enough to live in this vibrant city for four months. Following the amazing time we had in Brisbane I’m making it my mission to give Brisbane the recognition it deserves! Starting with this Ultimate Guide to Brisbane. I’m hoping that this guide may just inspire you to add Brisbane to your Aussie bucket list! So why should you visit Brisbane?
Ultimate Guide to Brisbane – The Weather!
As we touched down on Aussie soil in June 2018, despite the temperature soaring 25 degrees (yes we are British) Australia was in the height of winter. So even though we knew it wasn’t going to be ‘cold’ anywhere we picked the city we knew would be the warmest in ‘winter’ Brisbane. Located in Queensland, nicknamed the sunshine state, Brisbane is one of the hottest places to hang out during winter in Australia. It’s also the best time of year to visit Brisbane. Because of its inland position, Brisbane reaches humidity levels over 90-100% during the summer months, if you do plan on visiting Brissy then do so in winter!
Temperatures in winter remain a comfortable 14-25 degrees but it rarely drops below 16 in the daytime during June-August. The humidity is low and the sun will shine probably every day! Brisbane experiences very little rainfall so the chances are you’ll have plenty of dry weather to enjoy all Brisbane has to offer. As a guide to Brisbane in the summer months expect a more sticky situation. The temperature rises to 30 degrees with, as I previously mentioned, humidity reaching 100% some days. Picture having a shower, going outside to put the bin out and feel like you need another shower – not nice!
It only took a week living in this sunny city for us to realise what a beauty it was! We’d soon become accustomed to taking long walks along the river, having coffee and brunch out almost every day and living our most relaxed out lives to date! When they talk about the standard of living in Australia is relaxed, they mean it! It’s hard to explain why. The vibe is just a lot slower, especially in Brisbane! So if you’re looking for a winter break with slow travel in mind then Brisbane could be exactly what you’re looking for!
Guide to Brisbane: Basics
Currency: Australian Dollar (AUD)
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Guide to Brisbane: How to Get There
So, you’ve just touched down in Australia and the excitement is flowing through your veins! The mistake you don’t want to make is not knowing how earth to get from the Airport to your accommodation! Sounds obvious right? Well, apparently not for us!
Quick Story Time
As we waltzed out of the airport we thought he had it covered! We had our air train ticket booked and headed for the station! Trouble was that’s all we had booked! We hadn’t booked a taxi or a coach from the station to our Air BnB or anything! I don’t know how we thought we were going to navigate our way to our accommodation with no idea where we were and no Wi-Fi!
Luckily, Brisbane is awesome and in the city, there are free Wi-Fi hotspots everywhere, we eventually made it to our Air BnB via BUS! Pretty impressive hey?
The Air Train service runs from the airport seven days a week, from 5 am – 11 pm. From the airport to Brisbane city centre it takes approximately 40-45minutes. Tickets are cheaper if bought online so book before you ride! $15 per person approximately (September 2018)
You can find the timetable and where to book tickets via the Air Train website here
There are taxis available from the airport if you don’t mind spending a little extra. Brisbane uses two taxi companies: Yellow Cabs and Black and White Cabs, both taxis are situated at the taxi ranks at both the international and domestic terminal. Do not use any other taxi company as these are only two that Brisbane Council recommends. Uber is big is Brisbane depending on your opinion of the service I’ll leave that up to you!
You’ll find taxi ranks located at both terminals: Domestic terminal: in front of the domestic terminal building centrally. International terminal: at the northern end of the terminal outside to the left.
In off-peak times it takes 20 minutes to drive to the airport costing $45-$55 (September 2018) Peak Times your looking at 30 minutes costing a little more but not much more. If it costs more than $60 you are being ripped off big time!
You can also choose between a council-run bus service and a shuttle run bus service to and from the airport. Brisbane recommends Con-x-Ion as its best shuttle bus service which will take you to a choice of destinations in and around the city, prices starting at $15!
The council’s bus service runs seven days a week from the Sky Gate Centre at both terminals! You can check the Translink website for more details on that!
My advice would be to get air-train as its cheap and convenient stopping at every suburb on the way into the city! Just make sure you know exactly where and how you’re going to get to your onward destination from there!
The beautiful city of Brisbane
Guide to Brisbane: Where to Stay
The city of Brisbane is small, and a lot of the hotels are in and around the CBD or on South bank/South Brisbane. But Brisbane is surrounded by beautiful suburbs with some amazing accommodation opportunities and by far my favourite option is always Air BnB.
New farm is one of my favourite suburbs in Brisbane just a 30-minute walk from the city centre! This suburb is a lovely and quite an affluent area of Brisbane bustling with amazing coffee shops, brunch spots, yoga studios and the famous New Farm River Walk. It’s the first place we stayed in Brisbane and gave us perfect first impressions of the city. New Farm has great transport links into the city that include, two ferries, one free and one paid service (paid service is quicker), bus or of course by your own two feet. I’d say New Farm is the best option if you’re not a traditional backpacker looking to be in the thick of it, travelling with a family, are a little bit older or in general, wanting to avoid the party scene. As a couple in our mid-twenties who love walking New Farm was perfect!
If you do end up staying in New Farm some of the top things to do are:
New Farm River Walk
Eat Brunch at The Moray Cafe
Grab a free comedy show at The Powerhouse every Friday at 5 pm
Relax with skyline views of the city in New Farm Park
Fortitude Valley is the home of the backpackers. Nicknamed ‘The Valley’ this is party central of the city where all the students, partiers and backpackers gather to let their hair down most nights of the week. Fortitude Valley is the home to most of the hostels in Brisbane, so if your down from the coast for a weekend then a hostel could be a great option for you!
The most popular hostel in the valley Bunk Brisbane Backpackers or otherwise known as Birdees located in the hub of the Valley!
Birdees is well known for its crazy pool parties in the summer months! Surrounded by shops, restaurants and bars and in a great location to get into the city! Bunk Brisbane is the ultimate go-to for backpackers and partiers alike! This hostel is full of everything you could need to host the ultimate backpacker party! Not only is this hostel in an epic location it has some of the best facilities around! Birdees comes equipped with three bars and a tiki-inspired rooftop! With plenty of dorms to choose from and the option for 4,6,10 and 20 shares I’m sure this hostel has exactly what you are looking for! & did I mention the pool? This hostel comes equipped with a heated pool open all year round! Because let’s face it, it always feels like summertime in Australia! Fortitude Valley is also the night-life queen of Brisbane which I’ll mention later on is this guide to Brisbane!
If you want to be in amongst the action but perhaps not so much in the clubbing scene then South Bank is an amazing option for you! South Bank runs parallel the Brisbane River and is the home to Streets Beach and plenty of restaurants and cafes to feed you for a year! You won’t find too many hostels on South Bank, but you will find plenty of hotels that line the streets.
An average night in a hotel on South Bank for two people will cost approx. $100-$200 per night so it isn’t your cheapest option but it’s probably the best one if you want to stay in a hotel! Everything you could possibly need is close by, including all the transport links to get around the city!
The Brisbane Wheel located on South Bank
Of course, you’ve also got the CBD which I wouldn’t recommend staying in unless you’re on a business trip or for some reason need to be in the city centre! There isn’t much going on in the CBD of Brisbane, most of the action happens on the river at South Bank or at Eagle Street Pier. There’s very little for the tourist to explore in the CBD but there are great shopping facilities! From Tiffany’s to H&M you’ll find a shop for you whatever your budget! So, if shopping is your thing then go for it, but you’re going to pay for it!
An average hotel night in the CBD will set you back $100-250 a night, on the plus side you will get some epic views of the river if you choose your hotel wisely! You can see where your hotel is in comparison to the river by using Google maps!
There are plenty of other suburbs that are amazing to stay in. However, if I list them all we will be here all day, literally, there are loads! West End, South Brisbane, Kangaroo Point, Morning Side the list goes on! But the ones mentioned above are my top picks for staying in Brisbane, having spent a lot of time in each of the above places I know you’ll have a blast staying there!
Please note this is an affiliate link so if you book via this link I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you! Thank You!
Guide to Brisbane: Things to Do
Cool off in the lagoon on South Bank
As a city, Brisbane boasts energy and vibrancy whilst being one of the most laid-back cities in Australia. Whilst a lot of the main tourist landmarks in Australia are located on the East Coast and in the bigger cities such as Sydney, I mean we’ve all heard of the opera house, right? Brisbane is still bursting with things to do and has so many places that you shouldn’t be missing out on when visiting the land down under!
Relax on South Bank
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again South Bank is the life and soul of the party. The entertainment hub of this city sits on the edge on the river dazzling with shops, bars, restaurants and even a man-made beach! Make sure you hit up South Bank as much as you can because there is always something going on!
Head down on a Sunday to enjoy Social on the Green a free event every Sunday hosting live music and drinks galore. South Bank is perfect for everyone whether you’re a family of four or a backpacking circle of friends you can enjoy what South Bank has to offer. There are also markets on at South Bank every Friday – Sunday for a spot of shopping promoting local small businesses!
Visit Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Not far from the city just a little journey down the river sits Fig Tree Pocket. The lovely little suburb of Fig Tree Pocket is home to a few furry Australians natives. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is one of Australia’s only koala sanctuary which helps sick and injured koalas. The sanctuary first opened it’s doors way back in the 1920s and continues to help these furry creatures today. As well as koalas you can roam around the huge open spaces with Kangaroos, Emus, Joey’s and Dingoes! But of course, that’s not all you’ll crocodiles and a very friendly platypus within the park too! You don’t want to miss taking a visit to the sanctuary during your visit to Brisbane!
On the other side of the river to the city lays Kangaroo Point, now Kangaroo Point is residential but right down by the river it has a great walk along with some brilliant activities! Take a stroll along the Kangaroo Cliffs Broad Walk, Climb and Abseil down the Cliffs with the River life centre!
Not as iconic as the Sydney Harbour Bridge but still pretty impressive and at the heart of the city. As you wander down the river walk you won’t be able to miss it. For the best views head of the Story Bridge make your way to Wilsons Outlook Reserve. A great place to watch the sunset and capture some amazing shots of the Story Bridge. If you’re looking for an adrenaline activity then you can also climb the bridge.
The Story Bridge
Hike up Mount Coot Tha
Hike up to the top of Moot Count Tha for some epic views of the city below. These views are amazing at any time of day but if you have a car go for sunrise or sunset for some amazing views that will stay with you forever! The hike to the top of Mount Coot Tha is fairly easy if you have a good level of fitness but there is a bus that runs right to the summit as well. There’s a restaurant at the top which is reasonably priced but I’d take a picnic and lay out on the grass – maybe treat yourself to ice cream?
Guide to Brisbane: Day Trips From Brisbane
Whale Watching from Redcliffe
In the months of June-November, the humpback whales migrate to the warm Australian waters. Luckily for us, we can take this opportunity to try and spot some of these magnificent creatures in their own habitat! Brisbane Whale Watching company runs various tours from the months of June to November where they guarantee sightings! After using this company, I wouldn’t want to use any other I cannot recommend them enough!
The quaint little seaside town of Shorncliffe is just thirty minutes away from Brisbane and well worth a visit if you have a chance! It’s an excellent place to go for a walk, fishing, a splash in the sea or enjoy some brilliant fish and chips!
Glass House Mountains National Park
The Glass House Mountains National Park is situated above Brisbane in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and gives some amazing views when you reach the top! Get outside and breathe some fresh air into your lungs as you hike upwards to the top of the glass house mountains!
Enjoying the scenic views at the summit!
For the low down on what’s happening in Brisbane bookmark these pages!
Brisbane is foodie central! If you’re into food markets, then Brisbane has got you covered! We haven’t even been able to scratch the surface when it comes to enjoying some of the culinary delights Brisbane has to offer, but here are our some of our favourites!
Eat Street Markets
I think I talk about this in every Brisbane related post! Think small food market with a few stalls, then multiply by a thousand! Eat Street is the place to be! With over a hundred different food stalls and every cuisine going you are spoilt for choice!
Eat? Okay if you insist!
The Moray Cafe
This perfect cafe in New Farm does the best brunch in the city! We ate here on our first morning in Brisbane and have gone back continuously!
Superbowl Chinese Restaurant
In need of a little updating from the outside but once inside this place will get your taste buds tingling! As always go where the locals go and they all go here!
Now more a casual dining experience come fast food option Zeus does the best Greek wraps in the city! Try the Hermes wrap if you like things a little spicy!
We became a little bit addicted to these noodles since we arrived! We just can’t resist a Pad Thai!
The Manhattan Line, Oxford Street, Bulimba
The best value for money when it comes to American dining! I’ll drop a picture below of all the food we ate here for just $50!
BBQ for yourself in the middle of your table! This amazing Korean BBQ restaurant brings out your meats raw and you cook yourself on the BBQ plate which we think is pretty cool! The food was delicious, and it brought a little bit of fun to our dinner too! Located in China Town & Queens Street Mall.
The Brunswick Project
One of our top picks for breakfast/brunch!
Night Noodle Markets
Now this will 100% depend on when you’re visiting Brisbane but if you’re lucky enough to be here in July, then hit the night noodle markets on South Bank for some amazing choice of Asian food from noodles to pork buns!
Top Tip – Fear Not! If you are visiting at a different time of year, then South Bank will have you covered you can follow @eatsouthbank on Instagram for the latest updates of amazing street food coming to Brisbane!
The Munich – Not the cheapest of options but if your looking for something close to a Sunday lunch then grab a German banger’s, mash and gravy from The Munich, you won’t go home hungry that’s for sure!
As well as some superb eatery’s Brisbane is also full of quaint and quirky cafes to feed those caffeine cravings! Some of our favourites: The Moray Cafe (yep again!), The Brunswick Project, Miss Jones, King Arthur Café, The Coffee Club (because the opening hours are great!), Who Shot the Barista and Jimmy’s on the Mall and the list again could go on and on!
Guide to Brisbane: Nightlife
Brisbane is a pretty family-friendly city but that doesn’t mean the nightlife isn’t just as good! Brisbane has some epic party spots for all round banger of a night out! And the majority will stay open until the sun rises!
Howard Smiths Wharf
New to Brisbane in 2018 Howard Smiths Wharf is located on the New Farm Riverwalk directly underneath the Story Bridge. Complete with a brewery, 2 sophisticated cocktail bars and private venue areas it’s the new place to be! With a perfect view out onto the river, it’s ideal for daytime or nighttime drinking! If you’re a Yoga fan you can also enjoy free beer and yoga on a Monday night from 5:30 pm.
Eagle Street Pier
This is one of the places to be for a sophisticated night out with cocktails by the river or to start off! The many bars look out onto the river making perfect scenery to start your night off! I recommend Riverbar and Kitchen and Riverland which are the two best bars to kick off your evening on the town.
This is where your party will end up if you want clubs and late bars this is your place. Usually most busy on a weekend but you can have a fun night out in the week too! The top places in the valley for dance are, The Woolly Mammoth, TBC, Cloud-land, RG Hotel and The Osborne!
For a chilled evening out with friends for a beer and a good conversation then you want to hit up South Bank with plenty of bars to choose from and live music every night of the week, it’s the perfect spot to catch up with friends or hang with fellow travellers.
Guide to Brisbane: Transport
Finally, I thought I’d give a very brief overview of how you can around the city because it’s super important, I think anyway!
Brisbane has great transport links including, bus, ferry and train being the easiest. The CityHopper is a free service along the river and The CityCat is paid, if you’re just visiting Brisbane and staying central then you can get everywhere you need to go via the CityHopper! If you are venturing out a little further one of the other options may be more suited! The trains and very regular as are the buses!
These cards will reduce your cost of travel, for example, single fare without GoCard $5 with GoCard $2, it’s well worth the $10 deposit (which you can get back if you hand your card back to a ticket office at the end of your trip!) Other than that Brisbane is quite small, and a full loop of the city would only take you a few hours to walk, and by your own two feet is a perfect way of exploring!
Sharing is Caring
So, I really hope you’re excited about your upcoming trip to Brisbane and if you’re not heading to this sunshine city then I hope you enjoyed learning a little about it! If you have visited or know Brissy well and think I’ve missed something super crucial, then I want to hear from you! Comment below or send me an email at [email protected]
If you’re heading to Australia you might enjoy some of my other Aussie posts too:
So what really is moving to Australia like? We are here update you three months in!
Australia is one of those countries that’s on most people’s bucket list right? It’s often a big one because, yes it’s so far away, from anywhere else, in the world! I can certainly say that it was probably my biggest country that I wanted to tick off the bucket list and even more make it my home for some time! This year in June 2018, just in case I’m lucky enough to have readers still reading this in a couple of years’ time, I managed to cross ‘moving to Australia’off the bucket list with a big fat marker pen. That in itself feels like an immense achievement!
And now we’ve been living down under for three whole months! As I write that sentence and say it out loud I can’t quite believe it’s already been that long, the time has flown like a quick bolt of lightning across the sky! It feels like two minutes since I was complaining about how long it was until we were moving to Australia!
I find myself so grateful for the fact that we have at least nine more months and hopefully another year after that to enjoy Australia Because we really having the time of our lives!
So what has living in another country been like? This is an update on our adventure so far so grab a cuppa and enjoy this tale of our life down under so far!
The beautiful city of Brisbane
‘It might not be what you think you’ll it be’ and ‘You might not like it’ and ‘I hope you’re not biggin’ it up in your head too much before you even get there’
These are all phrases that I heard way too many times in the months before we left for Australia. In true human fashion, we got a lot of these negative remarks opposed to the more positive like ‘you really are going to have the best time’ Of course the people who were plying us with this negativity got ignored big time but I couldn’t help myself from falling into the trap of wondering the same? What if I’d been imagining our life down under as this big break, as an amazing country where everything was going to fall into place? What if it didn’t? What if it all came crashing down and what if these people were right?
Well from the smiles on those faces I’m guessing you can see which way it went? These past three months have been some of the best in my life so far and I can feel that the best is still to come!
We decided to spend our first three months in Australia in the sunny state of Queensland. Arriving in June it meant we were landing just in time for the Aussie winter. By winter I mean sunshine most days, temperatures of up to 24 degrees and up to three days of rain. What I just defined doesn’t even come close the usual British summertime so it’s safe to say we were okay with arriving in winter. In our first year here we want to live in the big cities, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne so with Queensland having the best winters of the three, we headed for Brisbane.
Brisbane has been nothing but spectacular and I’ve written a load of posts with travel tips galore about Brisbane here and have loads more to come so make sure you subscribe! But this post isn’t about Brisbane it’s about our adventure here and what we’ve learnt from moving to the other side of the world, being away from family and friends and going from mostly grey days to constant sunshine!
Days off in Australia? WE EXPLORE!
So after a pretty turbulent twenty-nine hours of travelling door to door we finally landed in Brisbane. Now if you ask anyone I know then they’ll tell you I’m a major worrier! I wasn’t going to be happy until we had touched down on Australian soil until then something could go wrong until I had two feet firmly on the floor It wasn’t real. So you can imagine the anxiety flowing my veins when we landed and the captain announced:
‘Someone has been taken sick on this plane and Australian immigration need you all to stay in Quarantine on the plane until further notice’
Luckily we were all soon cleared and allowed off the plane. We’d made it and my Australian dream was finally underway! Now before any of us jet set off to Australia we know the flight time right? We know it takes a day to get there. But after that flight and as we wandered through the airport It hit me how far away from home we really were. It was night time here in Australia and the morning back in the UK. We’d jumped through so many different time zones we were excited, tired, nervous every emotion going!
So has it been worth it? Absolutely!
Living the Dream
When people move abroad and when researching into our move down under I had read some pretty grim horror stories about moving abroad. Cases getting lost, jobs falling through, finding nowhere to live, getting robbed, mugged and heading for the next flight home. Now even though I’m sure in true human nature you would all love to hear a horrendous hilarious story about our cases getting sent to Canada and being denied at passport control. But I’m sorry to disappoint because this story doesn’t quite go like that!
To our surprise, everything in Australia has just fallen into place and neither David or I can quite believe how easy it’s been! Now David calls it high maintenance but I call it being prepared, I had done so much planning prior to arriving which completely paid off! We stayed in an Air BnB for our first ten days and I’d already researched the suburbs around Brisbane and knew what area we wanted to live in! So the hunt began and we soon fixed up a room in a house share in Newstead, just a ten-minute walk from the public transport links and a twenty-minute walk into the city! AMAZING!
Living in a house share after you’ve lived on your own
On the topic of accommodation living in a share house after you’ve lived as a couple in your own space for the year before is hard work! Suddenly you need to watch everything you’re doing again, how loud your being in a morning, putting appropriate clothing attire on when wandering to the toilet in the middle of the night, I know you feel that one! And having to work out who bought the last packet of toilet roll. Along with fighting with your housemates over whether or not it’s appropriate to play music at 2 am and worse!
Moving back into a house share has been the hardest thing since arriving and its shown us that we would not be able to cope in a hostel, NOT IN A MILLION YEARS! Maybe that makes us posh backpackers? And I’ve never been called posh in my life so I’m rolling with it.
Backpacking with a Difference
Amazing views EVERYWHERE!
Our plan to see Australia is a little different to most! Most of you crazy backpackers just sling your life onto your back and head for on gap year, backpacking you’re way around the country! We are doing things a little different! We are spending two-three months living and working in the big cities taking holidays every few months to enjoy all the backpacking adventures Australia has on offer!
Before we came out here one of our big questions was will we be able to find jobs? Luckily I’m a nurse and could apply and secure a job out here from the UK which was incredible! Meaning we knew we could start earning as soon as we arrived if we needed to! (Having just spent the last almost two years saving for this adventure luckily we didn’t have too!) So I was going to be okay but would Dave find a job?
Is it easy for Brits in Australia to find work? Some people say yes and some say no. If you want my advice, if you aren’t fussy you’ll land a job! Dave managed to get offered two jobs in the space of a month! Some will say that’s luck but I say it’s going for what you get offered! If you come to Australia expecting to get the exact same pay and be in exactly the same position as in the UK then your going to be hit hard when arriving down under. Unless you have a job lined up before you come then you’ve got to be prepared to take what’s going when you arrive!
Come to Australia with that mindset and you’ll get on just fine! Besides with the amazing rate of payout here you can probably earn just as much if not more for a less senior position. Less responsibility = more time to explore this exotic land?
We’ve even made friends of the furry kind!
‘Australia is so expensive’ quote every person who has never lived or worked in Australia.
I ain’t gonna lie to you, Australia is expensive. As a tourist on holiday, you will be shocked at how expensive it is, beer will set you back $7 and that’s not even for a pint! Cocktails are $16 upwards, wine $12 for a small glass! Need I go on? If you’ve budgeted $100 a day for your travels you won’t get very far. BUT when you’re earning the wages Australia is just as expensive as anywhere else, the wages match the cost of living and we haven’t even put a dent into our savings that we came with which is pretty awesome! Meaning can spend more on seeing all the sights! If I could give you one piece of advice so far regarding money, it would become to Australia and work! Or at least double the savings you were planning on bringing!
The main reason we moved to Australia in the first place was to get an epic taste of their chilled out lifestyle. In the UK we are constantly on the go taking zero time for ourselves rushing to get almost anywhere! Here in Australia, you can instantly feel the vibe relax from the moment you step of the plane, and we haven’t even visited Byron Bay yet! The Aussie way of living is work to live not live to work. We love nothing more here than spending time outside cooking on a BBQ and relaxing in the sunshine!
So I’ve compiled a list of fun Aussie Lifestyle Facts that we’ve been learning about over the past three months:
BBQing isn’t just a clique – everyone here cooks their dinners outside, even on an evening just for the family of four!
Sunbathing is everyone’s past time – Yep no matter how long you’ve been living in the sunshine for everybody here loves heading to the coast for the weekend!
Getting up at 5 am is standard – There are no daylight savings in Queensland which means in the summer it gets light at 4:30 am! But nobody gets up that early right? Wrong Aussies rise with the sun and by the time you’re just rolling out of bed at 11 am everyone else has already, met friends for breakfast, been on a run and done the shopping.
Coffee shops shut at 3 pm (sometimes even 2 pm!) – We’ve got into the habit of getting up earlier and earlier to join the Aussie crowds. Which is just as well, especially if you want to explore a cute coffee shop because after 3 pm you’ve got no chance!
The Coffee Club will be your best friend – But don’t worry The Coffee Club is open until 10 pm and you will go here A LOT!
Australians are terrible Drivers – If you think Brits are bad wait until you hit the roads down under, the indicator may as well not exist!
Aussies drink A LOT – You know that feeling when it’s sunny outside and everybody flocks in force to the beer garden? Imagine that every day! Aussies love the beer and I’m putting it down to the awesome weather!
Your friends will have a better tan than you! – Don’t be surprised when you facetime home and realise your pal who’s just been all inclusive to Tenerife for a week has a better tan than you. You don’t sit outside all day everyday in Australia, it may be sunny but everyday life exists even in Australia and you will spend a lot of time inside!
You will get fed up of the sun – Constant sunshine is amazing! I’ve never felt so bright than what I do I now because the sky is always blue and the sun always blazing. However, the heat can get exhausting and you will get sick of it!
You will have the best time of your life – Ultimately the lifestyle here in Australia is amazing and anyone who’s thinking about coming for a taste of it, I urge you…
BOOK THOSE FLIGHTS NOW!
Australia has our hearts already and we are only just at the beginning! There is no reason why you shouldn’t come and take a gap year down under, it will honestly be the best time of your life!
Living our Best Lives Yet!
So all in all after three months down under I’ll say this. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we miss home, we miss friends and family which is the hardest thing of all. Australia is so far away and you don’t realise how far away It is until you’re here.
But we live in an amazing world…
And you don’t have to wait three weeks to get a letter anymore you can literally be seeing and chatting with your friends in minutes! Yeah, the time difference makes it tricky but it is no excuse not to keep in contact. Phone calls home to keep us happy and even though it’s not the same it helps you get over the homesickness for a little while! But as well as missing our loved ones back home we love our new friends down under and you will meet so many amazing people on your adventure!
Moving to Australia is better with friends!
So you want to know If I recommend Australia so far? What do you think! Book those tickets!
We’re Moving to Sydney!
Before you head off and start shouting from the rooftops ‘I’m moving to Australia!’ we’ve got big news, yes that’s right we are moving to Sydney! But not before we embark on an epic road trip down the East Coast! We are flying to Cairns in October and hiring a camper van (which I will not be able to drive!) and spending a month rolling our way down to Sydney! You can check out our Itinerary here!
So in another three months when I write our Six-month update I can guarantee so much that we are experiencing now will have changed! Our lives are about to change and we’ve got a great feeling about it!
If you are reading this from Australia then hit comment below and get in touch! Maybe we can be friends!
UK friends and family we love and miss you millions! But we won’t miss the winter this year!
After living in Brisbane Australia for six months I wouldn’t call myself an expert on the city but I’d say I’m pretty close. After a lot of exploring we quickly learnt that there’s a lot of things to great things to do in this city despite its ‘unpopularity’ score with a lot of backpackers in Australia. Brisbane is definitely one of the less famous cities down under. The majority of people visiting Australia head to the likes of Sydney or Melbourne, just passing through Brisbane perhaps on an East Coast road trip. Brisbane lives in the shadows of the bigger cities but I hope that I can convince more people to give Brisbane more of a chance starting with sharing The Ten Best Things to Do in Brisbane City!
Granted the city of Brisbane is somewhat smaller than those of Melbourne and Sydney but its got a lot going for it. I like to describe Brisbane as a cultural haven. If you’re into brunch, coffee shops, getting up early for walks along the river, food markets and live music then Brisbane is the city for you! There are also heaps of free things to do in this city, I have a whole other post dedicated to the best free things to do in Brisbane here.
The Ten Best Things to do in Brisbane City
1. Visit Streets Beach on South Bank
“Everyone’s favourite, South Bank” the words of the sailors as the free city hopper anchors on the end of the jetty.
South Bank is the entertainment hub of Brisbane with a buzz about the air no matter come day or night. South Bank is one of my favourite places in Brisbane. Lined with cafes, restaurants, shops, and bars it’s the social capital of the city. Its also home to Streets Beach.
The one thing that drags Brisbane down in comparison to other Australian cities is that it isn’t on the coast. Brisbane is located over one hour inland from the East Coast. Whilst you can easily get to the coast on public transport or by car the city decided to take matters into its own hands and build a man-made beach. This little beach is definitely on the best things to do in Brisbane city and is loved by so many.
Locals, travellers you name it those living or staying in Brissy for a little bit of time are in that lagoon cooling down come summertime!
2. Indulge at Eat Street Markets
Do you love food? Then Brisbane is your city! The ultimate favourite foodie haven in the city is Eat Street Markets! I actually think I could write a whole blog post on how amazing this place is! The Eat Street Markets sit at the end of the ferry route in Northshore Hamilton and is easily accessible by the City Cat ferry. Imagine all your favourite food cuisines in one place and I mean hundreds of different cuisines, all sat on the edge of the river in huge shipping containers!
You’ve got everything from starter to dessert and curry to fish and chips, there is something for everyone! But Eat Street Markets is more than just a place to go and eat it’s an experience. The market is only open Friday – Sunday but there’s a live stage with different acts performing every week. It’s mostly music but the atmosphere is amazing. Kids get up and dance on the grass whilst adults watch on and by late Saturday everyone is up singing and dancing after knocking back a few beverages!
3. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
What animals do you think of when you think of Australia? Kangaroos? Crocodiles? Koalas? Me too! And you can see all of these at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane! It’s hands down one of the best things to do in Brisbane city even though it’s about an hour away but I’m still counting it!! The sanctuary first opened its doors way back in 1927 to sick and injured Koalas. Although Koalas aren’t yet an endangered species in Australia they are hunted for their fur a lot in the wild and their future definitely isn’t 100% certain.
You can get up close and personal with these Australian natives and even hold a Koala if you would like to. I don’t personally agree with this practice because Koalas are a wild animal and not supposed to interact with humans. The sanctuary do say that they put practices in place to protect the Koalas whilst being held but it’s something you should research first. There are also a variety of other Aussie natives at the sanctuary including injured joeys, kangaroos and dingoes.
4. Walk or Cycle The New Farm River Walk
This walk comes up in most of my posts about Brisbane probably because it’s one of the nicest walks in the city! This walks runs from the suburb of New Farm back into the city centre suspended on a bridge above the water. The New Farm River Walk was rebuilt after the previous walkway was destroyed in the disastrous 2011 Brisbane floods! It’s just over a mile long and super easy. You’ll walk around the winding river taking in views of Kangaroo Point and the Story Bridge.
If you want to mix up a little then grab a city cycle and cycle instead of walking! Cycling is a popular option in Brisbane and you can literally hire city cycle bikes for free around every corner! Brisbane is quite flat so it’s easy to cycle around which is why I think people would say that cycling is one of the best things to do in Brisbane city.
5. Kangaroo Point Cliffs Broadwalk/ River Activities
Kangaroo Point is home to some great cliff edges and along the top, you can follow a Broadwalk which will take you along the top of the cliffs and then down to the waterfront. This walk is host to some of the best views of the city so make sure you have your camera in tow! Sunrise is the best time to go and watch the city come alive from the cliff tops. The sun will rise behind the Story Bridge so you get a gorgeous warm reflecting over the city.
As well as being one of the best places to capture great shots of the city Kangaroo point is home to River Life Adventure Centre where you can hire kayaks, climb and abseil down the cliffs. Again sunrise kayak will give you an amazing view of the city.
6. Cruise Brisbane River
Seen as Brisbane is built upon the river it would rude not to appreciate the natural wonder and cruise along! Brisbane has so many options when it comes to exploring the river! The City Hopper and City Cat are Brisbane’s public transport ferries that go up and down the river. The city hopper is free and only covers the main stops around the CBD. The city cat, however, stops for miles along the river and you can hop on-off for two hours without having to buy another ticket!
Brisbane also offers tonnes of private boats that you can enjoy on the river. The two most popular are the Seadeck, seen as Brisbane’s river party boat and the Kookaburra Showboat a more relaxed dine and cruise experience!
The Best Things to Do in Brisbane City!
7. Visit or Hike Mount Coot Tha
A mere twenty-five minutes bus journey out of Brisbane and across the city towards the suburb and mountain of Mount Coot Tha. Mount Coot Tha is a great lookout for the whole city! You can see the whole of Brisbane river, the CBD and you can even see Moreton Island and North Stradbroke Island in the distance! North Stradbroke Island is a wonderful island for a day if you have extra time in Brisbane, I wrote a post on that here! Make sure you head up on a clear day, which isn’t hard to get in Brisbane! There are two restaurants at the summit of Mount Coot Tha so you can enjoy a spot of lunch with a fantastic view!
8. Ride The Brisbane Wheel
This is the only thing that we haven’t actually done! I was sceptical as to whether I even include this or not. But even though I don’t share the same opinion people seem to love big wheels! Other than the London eye I haven’t really embarked on any big wheel experiences and when I did take a ride on the London eye I was massively disappointed! The prices of these things are silly! Sure the views are good from the top but I bet you can find a great rooftop bar with the same view and you get to enjoy a lovely cocktail or two! What could be better?
That said people who visit love the Brisbane Big Wheel so if you’re a fan of seeing some great views then apparently this is the place to be! It costs $21 so it’s not going to break the bank! The architecture of the wheel itself is brilliant! Its located on South Bank so you won’t miss it!
9. Free Yoga under The Story Bridge!
This is a fairly new addition to Brisbane but if you happen to be in the city on a Monday night you have to take advantage of a free yoga session! This yoga class isn’t just any class but a yoga and beer class! Hosted by Felons Brewery underneath the Story Bridge it’s a great thing to enjoy. Take your travel partner or go it solo and stretch off. The views are wonderful and the bonus is of course that it’s free.
The botanical gardens in Brisbane are beautiful. With lush green lawns and gorgeous water features, the botanical gardens are a great place to relax. It’s the perfect spot in Brisbane for a picnic or just a walk around. I recommend walking all the way around the botanical gardens to reach South Bank on the other side.
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I hope you enjoyed this post on the ten best things to do in Brisbane city! Don’t forget if you have any questions or need any more advice on Brisbane then leave a comment below! Or if you’d prefer to drop us an email at [email protected]
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