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Backpacker's guide to the east coast

Backpacker's guide to the east coast

How to enjoy the delights of Australia’s east coast on a budget

The ultimate backpacker bucket list: 14 of the best experiences between Melbourne and Cairns and beyond.

By Jessica Wilkinson & Lee Atkinson

Wildlife, world-famous road trips, wonderful beaches, island getaways and fabulous nightlife – there's so much to see and do on the east coast of Australia that it can be hard to know where to start. We've put together the ultimate backpacker's bucket list of things to do between Melbourne and Cairns. Don’t go home without ticking off as many as you can.

Drive the Great Ocean Road like a Boss

12 Apostles, Great Ocean Road, VIC.

What: Great Ocean Road
Why: It's one of the best seaside road trips in the world and it’s got great bragging rights.
More: Book your Great Ocean Road tour


See Some Cute AF Penguins on Phillip Island

Phillip Island, Victoria

What: Phillip Island penguin parade
Why: Penguins! So many cute penguins!!
More: Book a tour to see the penguins


Walk the Koala Trail on Raymond Island Because, Australia

Koala Trail, Raymond Island, Gippsland, Victoria

What: Raymond Island
Why: 300 koalas live in the treetops on this tiny island and they’re just waiting for you to visit.
More: Find the latest ferry times to Raymond Island


Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney, New South Wales

What: BridgeClimb
Why: It’s a bit of a splurge (AUD$248), but totally worth it to climb one of Australia’s most iconic… icons. For a more budget friendly option, you can climb to the top of one of the bridge's sandstone pillars, the Pylon Lookout for AUD$13.
More: Read more about the pylon lookout


Partyyyyy on the Gold Coast

Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland

What: Big Night Out
Why: Nowhere knows how to party like Queensland's glittering Gold Coast. Get your party pants on and join the Gold Coast Backpackers Big Night Out. It's on every Wednesday and Saturday night, and costs AUD$30 including party bus, free drinks and VIP entry into four clubs.
More: Read more about the Big Night Out


Sail The Whitsundays, But Not For Like $1 Million

Whitsunday Islands, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

What: Sailing the Whitsunday Islands
Why: Sailing is usually reserved for the fanciest of rich people but not heerrrre. Sailing trips start at about AUD$100.
More: Explore the Whitsunday Islands' sailing trips


Full Moon Party on Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island, Townsville, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

What: Full Moon Party
Why: It’s a party, on an island, at full moon, ‘nuff said, right?
More: Read more about the Full Moon Party


Spend a Night in the Rainforest

Mossman Gorge, Daintree Rainforest, Cairns region, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

What: World Heritage Daintree
Why: This is pretty much Jurassic Park without the scary AF dinosaurs.
More: Choose your Daintree hostel

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