5 mins

The Wanderlust Guide to the best of east coast Australia

The east coast of Australia is a traveller's dream – 18,000km of surf-bashed beach, wildlife-rich rainforest, colossal coral reef and cool cities. Here's your guide to making the most of all it offers

Heron Island turtle (Wanderlust)

Vast and varied, the east coast of Australia covers 17,996km of coastline and boasts some of the country’s most iconic scenery, from the Sydney Opera House to the Whitsunday Islands.

Home to some of the world’s most dazzling beaches, you can surf, dive or tan your way up the coast from Bondi Beach to the remote white sands of Whitehaven Beach in north Queensland. Spot frolicking humpback whales at Hervey Bay, feed wild dolphins at Tangalooma and discover the underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef.

Away from the coast, explore the lush wilderness of the Daintree rainforest or head into Australia’s quintessential bush land of the Blue Mountains. If you’re after the party lifestyle of Sydney, the café culture of Melbourne or just looking to escape, the east coast of Australia has it all.

Barrier Reef (Wanderlust)

Looking for inspiration?

Get an in-depth guide to the world's largest and most spectacular coral reef with Monty Halls. From rainforest to reef, Monty offers a mix of insider tips and practical advice to ensure you enjoy all that this natural wonder has to offer.

Jon Sparks takes to the ocean aboard the Peer Gynt II, and offers a different perspective on Australia's coastline – from the outside, looking in.

Adrian Phillips visits Heron Island where the loggerhead turtles nest and visitors are treated to one of nature's truly glorious sights – new hatched turtles making a dash across the sand for the sea.

If cities are more your thing, Lara Brunt reports on the Sydney Festival, where the locals in Australia's most hedonistic city really let their hair down.

More information

The complete guide to the Great Barrier Reef | Monty Halls

A life on the ocean wave: sailing Australia | Jon Sparks

Turtle power on Heron Island | Adrian Phillips

The most vivid festival in Sydney's history | Lara Brunt

Sydney Opera House (Lara Brunt)

East coast Australia's secrets revealed

You might remember Ben Southall as the young Brit who won the 'Best Job in the World' competition run by the Queensland tourist board. He had the enviable task of living on the Great Barrier Reef as a caretaker and took time out from his 'busy schedule' to compile a list of the reef's top 10 secrets for us.

Brad Farmer, on the other hand, risked the wrath of surfers up and down the east coast by revealing Australia's top 5 secret surf spots.

With the Australian dollar trading at at historic highs, the country is not quite the bargain destination it used to be. Fear not. Jonny Blair has put together a guide to travelling Australia on the cheap. (You might also want to check out our list of 7 things to do for free in Sydney.) If your funds are critically low, then Katherine Price's guide to getting a working holiday visa is essential reading.

More information

Great Barrier Reef: Top 10 secrets | Ben Southall

Australia's Top 5 Secret surf spots | Brad Farmer

How to travel Australia on the cheap | Jonny Blair

7 things to do for free in Sydney

6 ways to get your working visas | Katherine Price

Ben Southall

Capturing it all on film

With 17,996km of coastline in front of you, chances are your photos are going to have water in them. Follow Steve Davey's tips for taking photos above and below the water and your images will be as spectacular as the the views before you.

More information

Photography tips: Ways with water | Steve Davey

Underwater photography | Steve Davey

Readers' Photos

Rainforest path (Wanderlust)

Everything you need to know

Ready to start planning your trip? Our East Coast Australia guide is the perfect place to start. Make sure you check out the essential info page for East Coast Australia too, and Nick Boulos’s guide to your first 24 hours in Sydney.

If you have a particular question, pop over to the myWanderlust forum where our knowledgeable community is ready to spring into action and share all that they know. Or check out the questions people have already asked about east coast Australia. The answer to yours might already be there.

More information

Australia East Coast Travel Guide | Wanderlust Team

Australia East Coast essential info | Wanderlust Team

First 24 hours Sydney | Nick Boulos

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Ready to go?

Here’s a selection of fantastic tours offered by our partners. From Sydney and Melbourne city trips to intense wildlife and cultural encounters, there’s something for every taste and budget. You'll find the full list of tours available here.

More information

Trip Finder can help you find adventures on the east coast of Australia

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