An aerial view of famous Whitehaven Beach & the islands of the Whitsundays. Situated in the the Great Barrier Reef, Queenland, Australia(

Australia, East Coast

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Australia, East Coast

Overview Your full Wanderlust guide to Australia's East Coast

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. Click here to download our PDF guide to Victoria and Melbourne

  • Capital city: Canberra
  • Population: 22 million
  • Money: Australian Dollar
  • Int dialing code: + 61
  • Languages: English
  • Visas: UK citizens must apply for a tourist visa which is valid for 12 months after issue, which permits multiple visits; the maximum length of stay per visit is 90 days.
  • Voltage: 220 - 240V
  • Time: Three time zones: GMT+8 in Western Australia; GMT+9.5 in Northern Territory and South Australia; GMT+10 in Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and the ACT

Travel in East Coast Australia: vital statistics

Wanderlust recommends

  1. Party it up in Sydney! Check out the eye candy at famous Bondi Beach and head to the harbour for views of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.
  2. Take a tour of NSW’s Hunter Valley wine region. Pop into the numerous wineries and taste of some of the best plonk in Oz.
  3. Shop till you drop in Melbourne’s CBD. When your credit card is maxed, collapse in one of the hundreds of cafes for an out of this world coffee fix.
  4. Sail the azure waters of Queensland’s Whitsunday Islands and keep an eye out for the local green turtles.
  5. Go diving on the Great Barrier Reef and explore the dazzling array of colourful reef and fish.
  6. Surf in one of the hundreds of beaches up and down the East Coast. For the best waves head to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast or Byron Bay in NSW.
  7. Follow in the footsteps of the dinosaurs as you trek into the world’s oldest rainforest, the Daintree, Queensland

Wanderlust tips

Customs regulations are very strict. Declare ALL food, plant and animal materials when entering Australia. It is always best to check if you’re not sure. If you don’t declare good, the customs sniffer dogs will declare them for you

When to go to the East Coast of Australia

Summer (December-January) brings the warmest temperatures, 31°C in the north and 26°C in the south. In far north Queensland the cool dry season from April to November is the best time to visit, while in the south (NSW & VIC) October to March are the sunniest months. Winter (June-August) can get wet, but the temperature hardly goes below 12°C.

Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras takes place in early March; in Melbourne the Moomba Waterfest takes place later in March. For music, check out Byron Bay’s Blues and Roots Festival around Easter or Queensland’s Woodford Folk Festival at Christmas time.

Aussies love their sport and the Melbourne Cup horserace, the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and the Boxing Day International Test Match Cricket in Melbourne bring the nation to a halt each year.

International Airports

Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport (SYD), 8km from Sydney; Melbourne International Airport (MLB), 25km from Melbourne; Brisbane International Airport (BNE), 13km from Brisbane CBD; Cairns Airport (CNS), 4kms from Cairns CBD.


Getting around in East Coast of Australia

Domestic flights are numerous and many airlines offer discounted fares. Interstate railways connect all of the major cities from Melbourne to Cairns. Long-distance fares can be quite expensive and trains are slow by European standards. 

For comfort and flexibility hire a car. Distances are vast and petrol is pricey; be very aware of wildlife on the road – there’s a LOT of roadkill.

Buses are reasonably comfortable but often journeys are long and tiresome. Flying is often cheaper and faster. Greyhound Australia and Premier Motor Service both offer passes with unlimited stops.


East Coast of Australia accommodation

The East Coast of Australia has everything from dirt-cheap hostels to five-star extravagance. Campsites and caravan parks, farmstays, motels, B&Bs, pubs, stylish guesthouses and boutique hotels are all on offer.


East Coast of Australia food & drink

Thanks to immigration and a huge range of locally produced ingredients Aussies have an innovative and exciting cuisine, coined Modern Australian. On the East Coast seafood is in abundance and very good. Stereotypical Aussie fare including meat pies, lamingtons and vegemite on toast can always be found.

Wine is Australia is well known for its quality and inexpensive price tag, with the Hunter Valley in NSW producing some of the nicest plonk. Depending on which state you’re in will depend on which beer you should order. In Victoria order VB (Victoria Bitters), in NSW Tooheys and in Queensland ask for XXXX.

Health & safety in East Coast of Australia

Australia is incredibly safe, with few opportunities for getting sick. Venomous snakes and spiders are present but shy; bites are rare. Mosquitoes can be a pest in summer – take strong repellent – and leeches lurk in rainforests.

It pays to drive cautiously (or not at all) at night, when animals stray onto roads. Between November and May watch out for jellyfish before swimming in the waters off northern Queensland and may sound cliché, but always swim between the flags when at the beach. The lifeguards know their stuff!

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