Australia is the ultimate backpacker destination. And, with great weather, quality beaches, and crazy parties, there’s little wonder why. The East Coast of Australia has long been a favorite hotspot for backpackers. Melbourne up to Cairns – or the other way round – is the iconic backpacking route. But, what makes it so good?
There are about a million things that make this route so amazing - but the most important? It's just plain fun. Every stop you make will boast something exciting to do.
Here are 12 activities on the East Coast of Australia that you definitely don't want to miss!
1. Skydiving Mission Beach
Looking for something that will get your adrenaline pumping? Look no further than Mission Beach. Home of Australia’s skydiving, if you’re going to jump out of a plane like a lunatic, it might as well be over a beach.
As you freefall through the air you’ll see some stunning views of beaches, forests and the tropical islands that pepper the sea. That is if you’re not too busy shitting your pants.
2. Cruise the Whitsunday Islands
The Whitsunday Islands are about as close to paradise as you can get. A boat trip around these islands gives you the chance to kick back in the sun while you admire the pristine white sand beaches all around you.
3. Ultimate Party in Cairns
Few people can resist the temptation of anything titled the “Ultimate Party” (unless you don’t like to party)! However, if you enjoy cracking open a cold one (or eight) and having a night out that you'll barely remember but never to forget, this is your jam.
Hop aboard the party bus in Cairns and let it take you to the hottest nightlife spots in the city.
4. Snorkel/Scuba the Great Barrier Reef
If you’ve ever snorkeled or dived before then you already know the pure serenity of leisurely swimming alongside spectacular marine life. Now imagine that in one of the world’s most famous diving spots: the Great Barrier Reef. Can't imagine it? Strap on an oxygen tank and do it for real.
5. 4WD on Fraser Island
Take a four-wheel-drive Jeep around Australia's largest sand island, Fraser Island. Nomads Fraser Island take you through the best parts of the island, from the bubbling Champagne Pools to Indian Head, where you can see humpback whales breaching in the water.
6. Sunset Walk on Magnetic Island
The best place to walk at sunset is The Forts – a rocky area of nature on Magnetic Island. Not only is it a lot cooler at sunset, but you also get to see a sunset. Win/win! Keep your eyes peeled for wild koalas are you walk around. Best of all, this walk is really easy so everyone can do it.
7. Watch the Sunrise
As you probably know, the sun rises in the East. So, where better to watch the world’s favorite natural phenomenon than Australia’s beautiful, sunny East Coast? Shack up on the beach in Brisbane or a lookout point on one of the islands to get the best views.
8. Rum Tour in Bundaberg
If you like rum then a visit to the rum distillery in Bundaberg is mandatory. You get to learn a bit about the history of rum in Australia (which is more interesting than it sounds) before getting to the important bit: tastings. You even get to blend your very own rum.
It makes the perfect day out.
9. Learn to Surf in Noosa
You cannot come to Australia without learning to surf! It doesn’t matter if you’ve never done it before—book yourself some lessons and let loose on the waves. There are several surfing spots around Noosa, each with its own "personality." Find a break that suits your skill level and enjoy.
10. Walk Cape Byron in Byron Bay
Byron Bay is predominantly visited by those desperate to surf. But, if you’d rather keep your feet on terra firma then why not go for a stroll along the rugged Cape Byron? You only need a couple of hours to make the most of the track and you’ll get to see some stunning coastal views.
11. Do a Foodie Tour in Melbourne
Melbourne is the home of hipster food joints so if you’re sick of ramen in hostel kitchens then spend some time here getting some solid nourishment. There are loads of different food tours that operate in the city and cater to all tastes. Whether you want Asian food, chocolate or alcohol, there’s a tour for every taste.
12. Drive the Great Ocean Road
One of the most popular activities on Australia's East Coast is road-tripping. To drive the entire stretch of the Great Ocean Road takes around 10 hours so it is best to take your time and cover it over the course of a few of days. Along the way, stop off at lookout points, seek out wildlife and go on mini-hikes.
The beauty of a road trip is the freedom to stop wherever you want!
Author: Jeremy Scott Foster writes for travelfreak.net, he’s an adrenaline junkie, culture vulture, and eater of dumplings. He’s been traveling and working around the world for seven years, jumping off bridges and climbing volcanoes.
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