7 Incredibly Easy Ways To Travel East Coast Australia

7 Incredibly Easy Ways To Travel East Coast Australia
7 Incredibly Easy Ways To Travel East Coast Australia7 Incredibly Easy Ways To Travel East Coast AustraliaThere are many easy ways to travel the east coast of Australia to suit every budget and travel style. How will you travel in Australia? Read on to find out the kinds of travel methods you can choose from.

7 Incredibly Easy Ways To Travel East Coast Australia

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

Just looking at a map you will realise that Australia is a big country. The sixth largest country in the world, no less. So big, in fact, that the UK can fit into Australia 32 times.

With that in mind, planning your trip to Australia can feel like a daunting task. How are you going to fit in all that you want to see? More crucially, how are you going to get around? In this post, I’m here to share with you my favourite options for travelling East Coast Australia.

East Coast Australia

The East Coast of Australia is a backpacker’s mecca.

From Cairns up in Northern Queensland, through to Sydney in New South Wales and Melbourne down in Victoria, the east coast runs for thousands of kilometres. It takes roughly 30 hours of non-stop driving to travel the coastline between Sydney and Cairns – and that’s only a fraction! 

From climate to things to do, the diversity along the East Coast is staggering.

If you want to scuba dive, then the world famous Great Barrier Reef is an absolute must experience brimming with breathtaking coral and aquatic life that will leave you speechless. You can snorkel and scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef easily on a day trip from Cairns.

Byron Bay is the most easterly point in Australia and a surfer’s paradise.

If you’ve just arrived Down Under, check out my ideas for getting started on your working holiday visa, which includes setting up a bank account, mobile phone plan and tax number.

sydney-opera-house east coast australia


Best time of year to travel the East Coast of Australia

The best time of the year to visit runs roughly from October to April with the hottest months being December to February. During the height of the summer, northern Queensland can be hot and tropical but the further south you wander then daytime temperatures in cities like Melbourne are beautiful.

Best ways to travel the East Coast of Australia: Transport options

1. Greyhound Bus or Premier Bus

Probably one of the most popular ways to travel the East Coast is by bus. I say bus, but the Greyhound and the Premier are more like long distance coaches with a toilet, TV and wifi on board.

Your journey will be punctuated by little rest stops when you can get off the coach to stretch your legs and buy a coffee from a service station (the Aussie’s call these ‘servos’ or roadhouses).

Organising your bus travel couldn’t be easier.

Simply buy a Greyhound pass that enables you to travel either north or south along the East Coast. You can choose to travel the whole length, or just sections like Sydney to Cairns or Melbourne to Sydney.

All you need to remember is which way you’re heading! Your ticket will be valid for hop-on-hop-off travel along the coast as long as you follow the same direction.

  • Check out Premier Bus for lots of hop on hop off options for the East Coast of Australia.

If you’re a solo traveller, you’ll probably be looking for safe, reliable and convenient travel options that also mean you meet as many people as you can during your travels. You’ll find that backpacking the east coast by bus is an incredibly popular way of travelling Australia. You’ll bump into the faces you’ve already met before as people either travel north from Melbourne up to Cairns, or the other way around. Even if you are by yourself, I guarantee that after a few Greyhound rides you’ll have met some friendly faces that you will fall into step with.

east coast australia travel blue mountains

The Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains, NSW

2. Hire a campervan to drive the East Coast

For the ultimate road trip experience it has to be a camper van. There are many companies that hire camper vans to travellers of all budgets such as Hertz,  Apollo and Britz.

Slightly more budget friendly options may be Jucy and Spaceships Rentals. Camper vans are a great idea for you and a couple of friends as they give you greater flexibility of where to stay. Most camper vans come fully equipped with cooking and sometimes even sleeping equipment, but do check at the time of booking.

Try finding a relocation campervan, which is a camper that has started its journey at the other end of the country and needs to be relocated back again. For example, a camper that is registered in Queensland that has been driven down to Melbourne and left at the airport – these campervans may work out cheaper as a ‘relocation’ option back up north.

The campervan rental companies are often so keen to get their campervan back that they will throw in a free tank of fuel as well as a reduced rental rate, sometimes as low as $1 a day.

The biggest caveat with this choice is that relocation campervans often have a time limit or mileage limit placed on them. For example, the rental company will stipulate that they want the vehicle back in seven days or a certain number of miles. This means if you’re planning a leisurely drive or an epic meander along the coast, this option will restrict you. But, if you need to get from A to B quickly and on a budget, this option is definitely something to consider.

Check out:

3. Car Share

Hop on to social media and search for backpacker traveller groups in the city you are in or would like to visit. There are a ton of active Facebook groups out there full of like minded travellers all searching for travel partners. Some may have a car and are advertising their spare seats for a road-trip, others may be looking for people to hitch a ride with.

Some good Facebook groups to check out:

Other places you can find a car share for the East Coast of Australia is the notice boards in hostels. You’ll quickly notice these are littered with notices from other backpackers looking for travel companions.

Each note will typically let you know if they have a car and are offering seats, or are looking to jump in with someone and share their ride. They’ll explain where they want to travel from and to, give you an idea of their date of departure and how long they intend to travel for along the way.

The plus side of car sharing is that you’ll split the costs of your road trip. Costs like fuel and food can be divided by the number of passengers. Another perk is that you get ready made travel buddies to share your adventures with, which is a huge bonus for doing something like this.

Not quite the East Coast of Australia, but I found someone offering to go for a weekend road trip to Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory and jumped in with an international group of travellers for a fun adventure.

east coast australia fraser island

Fraser Island, Queensland

4. Flying

Whilst not usually the cheapest option, if you’re short on time then flying is a quick and easy way to get from place to place. Internal flights in Australia can sometimes be pricey, especially between the states, but for shorter journeys you can pick up some bargains.

Use websites such as Skyscanner to research your flight options and keep an eye out for Jet Star or Tiger Air as these are the budget, no-frills airlines.

Other considerations for flying the east coast of Australia is that airports can frequently be located out of town. This means that you’ll need to factor in the cost of a local bus, airport shuttle bus or a train to get you from the airport into the nearest city centre or town. Most airports will have a taxi rank too if you want to hire a cab to drive you to your destination.

Flying certainly has its appeal, but for me the biggest downside is flying over the very landscape that I am here to see. But if you’re short on time or need to cover a large distance (and let’s face it. Australia is large!) then you may want to factor in some flights to your East Coast Australia itinerary.

melbourne east coast australia


5. Travel the East Coast of Australia by train

I took the train for some of my journeys on the East Coast. I found it was a relaxing way to sit back and see the countryside.

I found the train was useful for some journeys such as travelling from Sydney to the Blue Mountains, but also for longer, inter-state trips like between NSW and Queensland.

There are several train passes available that allow you to cover massive distances at cheap prices. Take a look at Australian Railpasses for ideas. 

My top tips for travelling the east coast of Australia by train is to take snacks and water on board with you. Purchasing pricey train food will eat into your backpackers budget and you’ll thank yourself for stocking up on some supplies before you catch your train.

You can take bags and backpacks into the carriages with you. Oversized luggage may be placed in a separate compartment. Most train companies provide limited free Wifi.

6. Take a group tour

Australia’s diverse countryside, weather and attractions means that it’s the perfect place to travel in a tour. There’s simply tons to discover and if the thought of planning or driving all that way yourself is too daunting to take one, why not join one of the many organised tours Australia has to offer.

  • For a budget east cost tour option take a look at RTW Backpacker’s trip that covers snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, surfing in Byron Bay, Fraser Island and the Whitsundays.
east coast australia tours

Fraser Island, Queensland

7. Car Hire

There are a multitude of car hire companies out there to choose from. You may recognise many of the bigger international names such as Avis or Hertz.

Top tips are to make sure you have an English translation on your driver’s license, check whether you have unlimited mileage and whether your car is covered to drive on unsealed roads (if it is not 4WD then the answer is probably not!)

Don’t forget to check out car and campervan relocations for a cheaper, last minute option. Many companies need someone to drive a vehicle back to the point of origin and if you’re lucky you can score a top of the range campervan for the price of fuel. Just check the fine print because there is usually a time and distance limit to your journey, so perfect if you want to get from A to B quickly but not so great if you are planning a longer trip.

east coast australia twelve apostles

The Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road

Which Option Is Best For You?

If you’re still not sure and have more questions about which style of travel will suit you the best, hop on over to this post where I discuss the best way to travel.

I’ve also put some thought into the pros and cons of guided group travelIt surprised me to realise that the pros greatly overcame the cons.

Inspired to travel East Coast Australia? I’d love to hear from you! Have you already travelled the East Coast? What hints and tips would you share with your fellow travellers?

Know someone who’s planning a trip to Australia? Share this with them to give them some serious pre-trip inspiration!


Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.


Love it? Pin it! (Note: Image below is half sized. For a full sized image, click the Pin It button on my floating social media share menu.)

There are many easy ways to travel the east coast of Australia to suit every budget and travel style. How will you travel in Australia? Read on to find out the kinds of travel methods you can choose from.


  1. April 22, 2017 / 4:18 PM

    I never visited Australia and its on my bucket list!! Great post!

    • April 23, 2017 / 5:01 PM

      Thanks, Penelopi! You’ll love Australia. I hope you make it one day.

    • April 23, 2017 / 5:02 PM

      I’m sure you aced your trip, Allison! Thanks for reading!

  2. April 23, 2017 / 2:03 AM

    The East Coast of Australia is such a special place — such varied landscapes. Pity it’s so expensive though. I live in Melbourne at the moment and without a car it can be a pain to get out and explore so thanks for the tips 🙂

    • April 23, 2017 / 5:03 PM

      I love the trams in Melbourne, they make me so happy!

  3. April 23, 2017 / 2:54 AM

    Thank you for these tips! I loved how detailed the post was.

    • April 23, 2017 / 5:04 PM

      You’re welcome, Ranjni, glad you found it helpful.

  4. April 23, 2017 / 3:27 AM

    I did the grey hound bus from Sydney to Arlie Beach where we then had to fly from McKay back to Sydney for an emergency surgery. Eeeek. Once we his Byron Bay, Brisbane, Noosa, etc we had a great time. Our first few stops were kind of duds though.

    • April 23, 2017 / 5:10 PM

      Oh my goodness, emergency surgery is never an anticipated activity on a holiday! I hope it got resolved quickly and you got back to enjoying the rest of your trip!

  5. April 23, 2017 / 3:35 PM

    The car hire sounds like something I would consider. I’ll be sure to check the fine prints, you can never be too careful when it comes to hard earned travel money.

    • April 23, 2017 / 5:12 PM

      Having a car gives you so much freedom to explore on your own schedule so it’s definitely a great option!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


MeanderWithMeg is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.co.uk.