East Coast Australia Tours. Large turtle swimming towards the camera

20 Best East Coast Australia Tours You Need To Experience

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Australia is a HUGE country, and it can be overwhelming to decide exactly what to do and see, and how to organise your activities! The east coast is a great place to start if you’re stuck on what to do. We’ve rounded up 20 of the best east coast Australia tours that will smash your bucket list and kick off your love affair with ‘Straya!

You’ve saved well, you’ve booked your flight to Sydney and you’ve got your ultimate east coast road trip coming up. It’s literally the backpacker’s dream to be cruising along the coast, adventuring and exploring along the way. You might be taking a short holiday, on a gap year, sabbatical, in retirement or just seeing where life takes you – and either way, you’re going to have an incredible time.

Looking out over a sady bay with aqua ocean and green forest behind

The water is calling!

The only problem is – how do you decide where spend your hard-earned cash? It’s no secret that Australia is an expensive place to holiday, so you’ve likely got to be a little picky with the activities that you choose to do. Of course, there are plenty of things to do that are free or low-cost, but sometimes you’ll have to shell out for experiences of a lifetime.

Whether you’re driving your own car, you’ve rented a camper van or you’re hopping on and off the Greyhound, there will be a time when you need to book skip-the-line tickets, discount attraction passes or last-minute vouchers. 

If you already know what type of tour you want to take or where you want to go, then click here to book your tickets in advance!


The Best 20 East Coast Australia Tours

Booking a tour and spending money can be quite daunting without fully knowing what to expect.

We’ve picked the top activities you really can’t miss when you’re in Australia, and pulled together the highlights and important information so that you don’t have to spend hours trawling through the internet to find something fun to do.

The hard work has been done for you – now just choose your favourites and book!

Click here for accommodation options all along the east coast!

East Coast Australia Tours Large Maheno Shipwreck on Australian Beach

Photo Credit: Tourism Australia

#No. 1 Top Pick: Diving + Snorkelling The Great Barrier Reef!

Not only is this tour a certified and award-winning trip, it really is an incredible day filled with marine life, water activities and informative talks. You can either dive or snorkel two different parts of the Great Barrier Reef, and all of your equipment and lunch is all included in the price!

I think that if you can only do one of the east coast Australia tours that we recommend here, it should be this. 

This tour, in particular, is great value for money as it’s all day and you get to see more than one section of the Reef.

Click here for more information and prices of this tour.

Air view of a catamaran in the waters overs the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Photo Credit: Passions of Paradise

Diving the Great Barrier Reef has got to be one of the best and most popular things to do in Australia. However, not everyone can or wants to dive – I had a bad experience learning so I didn’t get my certificate but I was still able to explore the reef by snorkelling instead!

Make your way to the Cairns Reef Fleet Terminal (super easy to get to but here’s a map link anyway) and board the luxury catamaran.

The crew will give you some tips for your underwater adventures so don’t worry if you’re a little bit rusty.

When you reach the reef, don’t waste any time getting into the water and exploring the corals! It’s an AMAZING experience whether you’re diving or snorkelling. You’ll see some insanely colourful fish, and you might be lucky and spot turtles or even reef sharks!

Looking above at the underbelly of a turtle in blue waters

Photo Credit: Passions of Paradise

Pop back on board for your included buffet lunch and then you’ll be off to your next reef location. Honestly, a full day at sea goes so fast you’ll wonder why you didn’t book two trips!

If you’re on your own, then you’ll be encouraged to find a ‘buddy’ for when you’re in the water. Obviously there are staff and lifeguards trained to spot anyone in potential danger, but a buddy is still a good idea. You don’t have to literally be next to them the whole time, but just keep an eye out as to where they are, and they’ll do the same.

You might not be travelling on your own, but you might be doing the activity alone. When we went, Kev had already got his diving certificate and I hadn’t, so we needed to find new buddies. It was easy but if you don’t want to ask a stranger, just ask the staff and they’ll help out!

You can book this trip last minute too – you don’t need to print tickets. Just book and show your confirmation on your phone!

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 9 hours
  • Pick Up Included: No
  • Age Suitable For: Any
  • Need To Take: Diving certification
  • Extra Info: There’s a $20 reef levy
 

Click here to book your incredible Great Barrier Reef dive or snorkel adventure!

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Pro Tip

If you suffer from seasickness like I do, make sure you’re prepared because the last thing you want is to be throwing up  over the side of the boat in your wet suit whilst everyone else gears up to have fun in the water (guilty!!) There are a couple of ways to minimise seasickness:

Take tablets

You usually take these around an hour before you get on the boat, but remember that they usually cause drowsiness (seriously, they’ll knock you out if you aren’t used to it!). Talk to a pharmacist to get the right type and dosage.

Bands

These aren’t exactly fail-safe – some people think they are a Godsend and some people don’t feel any positive effects. You wear them on your wrists and they claim to relieve nausea by using certain pressure points in your arm. It can’t hurt to try as they are non-invasive and usually fairly cheap.

Natural remedies (ginger + peppermint)

These two plants are sometimes offered on boats in different forms –  maybe you’ll get sweets, capsules or tea – because they’re known to help with motion sickness. Again, they won’t work for everyone so it’s probably worth trying all of the above ideas!

It sounds terrible but if you do feel sick then I would recommend just letting your body do what it wants. Don’t try and restrain from vomiting – you will most likely feel better if there isn’t anything in your stomach!.


Airlie Beach Tandem Skydive

Calling all adrenaline junkies! You can skydive in many places but imagine the views when you’re floating over the incredible Great Barrier Reef, the soft sands of the Whitsundays and the gorgeous Airlie Beach.

Your flight will reach 15,000 feet and then you’ll be free-falling for up to 60 seconds – the rush is just insane!!

Click here for more information and prices of this tour

If you’re up to it, you can even steer the parachute yourself!

You’ll be picked up and dropped off at your accommodation so you don’t have to worry about transport on the day of the dive.

The staff will tell you everything you need to know to have a safe and enjoyable flight so even if this is your first time, you can relax (well, to  certain extent! It’s a pretty crazy thing to do!).

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 3 hours
  • Pick Up Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: 12+
  • Need To Take: Comfy clothes
  • Extra Info: $35 parachute levy
 

Click here to book your skydive experience now!

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Moreton Island Shipwreck, Sand Dune & Kayak 1-Day Adventure

Moreton Island is one of the lesser-known places in Australia, but it’s really not somewhere to skip! Just off the coast of Brisbane, the blissful island has perfect white beaches, fascinating shipwrecks and stunning sand dunes.

There are no sealed roads here which means you have to travel around in a 4WD!

Click here for more information and prices of this tour.

A man sandboarding on Moreton Island with a thumbs up to the camera

Photo Credit: Tourism Australia

This tour leaves from both Brisbane and the Gold Coast, but they are early departures so I would recommend making your way to Brisbane for a bit of an extra lie-in!

Enjoy a guided tour around the island and the best snorkelling areas. Then, jump in a transparent kayak to explore the area around Tangalooma Wrecks and see what marine life you can spot.

Once you’re back on dry land, it’s time to bump your way across the sand in your 4WD vehicle,  and then speed down the dunes at 40 mph on a bodyboard! A good idea is to take a bandanna or something similar to put in your mouth to avoid the sand flying in!

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: Whole day
  • Pick Up Included: From meeting point
  • Age Suitable For: 4+
  • Need To Take: Towel + sunscreen
  • Extra Info: $50 National Park fee
 

Click here to visit Moreton Island!

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Remote Fraser Island Tour from Hervey Bay

Fraser Island is the epitome of idyllic. It’s the world’s largest sand island and you’ll find everything from rainforests, sand dunes, lakes and an abundance of wildlife. 

This tour gives you a full day of exploring, snorkelling, kayaking and tube rides – as well as a buffet lunch and fun commentary from your knowledgeable guides!

Click here for more information and prices of this tour.

During the whale season (July to October), you’ll almost certainly spot a few humpback whales on your journey to and from the island!

The equipment, lunch, snacks and transport are all included in the price.

If you’d rather relax or take a beach walk, you can easily do that too. You have the advantage of the guides being able to give you local information on the island too.

2 blonde women in a pink kayak with clear blue water and small island with trees in the background

Photo Credit: Tasman Adventures

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: Whole day
  • Pick Up Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: All ages
  • Need To Take: Sunscreen + GoPro!
  • Extra Info: Guaranteed whales sightings in summer!
 

Click here to book your Fraser Island Adventure!

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Whitsundays Full-Day Catamaran Sailing Adventure

The Whitsunday Islands are a popular destination for those wanting to experience Australia’s number 1 beach! Whitehaven is famous for being so beautiful – you’d be mad not to want to visit!

Sail across to the Whitsundays on a catamaran, and once you reach the beach, you’ll be given a guided tour by the local Ngaro people so you can learn all about the history of the islands.

You’ve got time to snorkel (there’s a high chance you might spot a turtle or a stingray!) before enjoying a bbq lunch. On your way back, relax with a couple of beers or a few glasses of wine!

Click here for more information and prices of this tour.

White catamaran on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

Photo Credit: Cruise Whitsundays

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 10 hours
  • Pick Up Included: No
  • Age Suitable For: 4+
  • Need To Take: Towel + sunscreen
  • Extra Info: Alcohol is included!
 

Click here for your Whitsunday sailing adventure tickets!

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Fitzroy Island Full-Day Adventure Tour

Whether you want to search Fitzroy by yourself or be provided with everything you need to enjoy your day, this is the tour for you.

There are coral reefs to be explored, hiking trails to be tackled and beaches to be discovered.

Click here for more information and prices of this tour.

You can buy a transfer only package, which is good if you want to bring your own lunch and you already have snorkel equipment. You can simply be dropped off and picked up by the boat and discover the island at your own pace.

Or, you can buy the full trip package, which includes a choice of hot and cold  lunches, snorkel equipment, a glass-bottom boat tour and beach activity hire like paddle skis and ocean trampoline (check out the pictures!)

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 7 hours
  • Pick Up Included: No
  • Age Suitable For: Any – under 4s go free
  • Need To Take: Towel + sunscreen
  • Extra Info: $5 fuel levy
 

Click here to book your Fitzroy Island tour!

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Waterfall, Wildlife and Rainforest Tour from Cairns

Visit some incredible locations near Cairns, including the famous Herbal Essences waterfall!

You’ll be picked up from your accommodation and driven around the Atherton Tablelands area. Slip down the natural rock slides, swim behind an 18-metre high waterfall and then have lunch at a local pub.

You’ll then take a trip to Mount Hypipamee where you can wander through the rain forest. One last swim at a lake and you’ll be treated to afternoon tea!

Click here for more information and prices of this tour.

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 10 – 11 hours
  • Pick Up Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: Any
  • Need To Take: Warm jacket
  • Extra Info: Water shoes are a good idea
 

Click here to grab a spot on this tour!

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Byron Bay: Kayak with Dolphins Tour

Not only will you learn about the local history of the area, but you’ll also be able to manoeuvre your kayak to watch the playful dolphins, turtles and whales! You’ll be kitted out with all the necessary safety gear, and two of you can use one boat.

Click here for more information and prices of this tour.

4 people kayaking in 2 yellow boats and a turtle swimming underneath

Photo Credit: Cape Byron Kayaks

Don’t worry if you have never kayaked before – the tour guides will make sure that you feel safe and enjoy your experience! Morning or afternoon tea is also provided as a nice touch after your tour!

The company will also take plenty of photos for you to keep!

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 3 hours
  • Pick Up Included: No
  • Age Suitable For: Any
  • Need To Take: Swimsuit, towel and sunscreen
  • Extra Info: Next visit free if you don’t see dolphins
 

Click here to book your kayaking tour!

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From Airlie Beach: 1-Hour Whitsunday Islands Scenic Flight

Imagine being flown over the striking Whitsunday Islands for a whole hour, with an in-flight commentary from an experienced pilot! This tour is exactly that, and you won’t regret a single minute of it!

You’ll be flying for around an hour and will witness some truly spectacular views from your window seat.

Click here for more information and prices of this tour.

Perfect bluey green ocean meeting white sand with water winding into the forest

Photo Credit: Tourism Whitsundays

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 60 minutes
  • Pick Up Included: From Airlie Beach
  • Age Suitable For: Any – under 3s are free
  • Need To Take: Nothing!
  • Extra Info: Weight limit of 125kg
 

Click here to book your scenic flight!

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Barron River White Water Rafting

Crashing down the Barron River on the white water rapids is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon. Cruise along the water for two hours and be awed by the rain forest and mountains around you.

Click here for more information and prices of this tour.

White water rapids and grey rocks

Photo Credit: Foaming Fury

All safety equipment is included, but you are asked to wear shoes that have a back strap. I personally recommend wearing water shoes because there might be points where you will need to leave your raft and you don’t want to be uncomfortable!

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 3.5 hours
  • Pick Up Included: No
  • Age Suitable For: 12+
  • Need To Take: Swimsuit + secure shoes
  • Extra Info: River levy of $30
 

Click here to book your river tour now!

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Sydney Harbour BridgeClimb

This is definitely the most iconic tour on this list! Gear up and be guided up to the top of the bridge by way of ladders and catwalks. It’s an incredible experience that will give you breathtaking views and an amazing sense of accomplishment!

Click here for more information and prices of this tour.

You must be fit and healthy (over 75s and pregnant women might need a doctor’s note), and you cannot have an alcohol-blood reading below .05 so don’t go on a huge bender before your tour!

At least 60 people climbing up the metal on the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Photo Credit: BridgeClimb Sydney

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 1.5 – 3.5 hours
  • Pick Up Included: No
  • Age Suitable For: 8+
  • Need To Take: Comfortable shoes
  • Extra Info: No cameras allowed
 

Click here to book your Bridge Climb now!

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Daintree, Mossman Gorge & Cape Trib Tour with Cruise & Lunch

The Far North Queensland area is packed full of tropical rain forests, luxury beach towns, remote islands and fascinating reefs. This tour takes you along the Great Barrier Reef Drive, showing off the regions outstanding beauty, wildlife and culture.

Click here for more information and prices of this tour.

Green rainforest with sandy beach

Photo Credit: Cairns Adventure Group

You can swim at Mossman Gorge after being cleansed of evil spirits by the local Aboriginal landowners. You’ll have lunch (included in the price), and be given guided tours and talks about the area and the environment. 

After an ice cream stop and a couple of photo opportunities, you’ll enjoy a wildlife cruise along the Daintree River – see if you can spot a crocodile or two!

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 12 hours
  • Pick Up Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: Any
  • Need To Take: Comfortable shoes
  • Extra Info: National park fees included
 

Click here to book your Daintree adventure now!

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Sydney Harbour: 20-Minute Coast & Skyline Helicopter flight

It’s not every day that you get the chance to fly over the famous Sydney harbour – so make that day today!

The licensed pilot will give you a detailed commentary of the beautiful city underneath you, as you fly at 500 feet past the Sydney Opera House, Bondi Beach and the gorgeous skyline.

Click here for more information and prices of this tour.

You’ll be given a safety briefing, and then off you go! Despite being only 20 minutes long, the flight will take you to over many different beaches and along the coastline, giving you excellent views and photo opportunities.

Aerial shot of Sydney Opera House

Photo Credit: Cultural Attractions of Australia

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 20 minutes
  • Pick Up Included: Within CBD
  • Age Suitable For: Any
  • Need To Take: Camera!
  • Extra Info: Flights must have min. 2 passengers
 

Click here to book your Sydney flight now!

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Blue Mountains Afternoon and Sunset Tour

This afternoon tour to the Blue Mountains allows you to spend time discovering the region with fewer tourists around! Walk your way through, taking in the breathtaking landscapes and learning about the indigenous people and native animals and vegetation.

As the sun sets, enjoy the incredible views of the Three Sisters Lookout and many more vantage points, and keep an eye out for some cute wildlife too!

Click here for more information and prices of this tour.

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 9 hours
  • Pick Up Included: Yes (from central pickup point)
  • Age Suitable For: 8+
  • Need To Take: Comfortable shoes!
  • Extra Info: Wear warm clothes June – August
 

Click here to visit the Blue Mountains!

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Hunter Valley: Wineries, Vodka, Cheese & Chocolate

Wine, vodka, cheese and chocolate – could there BE a more perfect day!? In your small group, you’ll visit 3 wineries, and taste local red and white wine. There’s also the chance to try some interesting vodka, schnapps, gin and liqueur flavours! Don’t forget the cheeses and chocolate too!

Click here for more information and prices of this tour.

There is a relaxed vibe on this tour – no boring commentary or pointless information! Just enjoy the good music, food and company!

Chocolate and snacks on a white plate being held by a man

Photo Credit: Zepher Tours

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 11 hours
  • Pick Up Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: 18+
  • Need To Take: Nothing!
  • Extra Info: Not available Mon or Weds
 

Click here to book your wine tour now!

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Rainforests and Glow Worm Cave: Day Tour from Brisbane

The Gondwana rainforests are just outside of Brisbane, and are full of interesting natural wonders! On this tour, you’ll see waterfalls, glow worm caves and a natural bridge. Lunch is included and you’re highly likely to see some exciting wildlife too!

Click here for more information and prices of this tour.

Make your way to the meeting point in the city and you’ll be driven to the gorgeous national parks – only about a 50-minute drive away which is a super short drive in Australia! Your guided walks will teach you plenty about the natural environment, glow worms and local arts and crafts district. 

Lunch in a winery restaurant is provided, but you’ll have to purchase your own alcohol if you choose it!

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 8.5 hours
  • Pick Up Included: Yes (from central pickup point)
  • Age Suitable For: 3+
  • Need To Take: Comfortable shoes!
  • Extra Info: No luggage/wheelchairs/strollers on buses
 

Click here to book your Rainforests and Glow Worm tour!

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The Sydney Opera House Tour

You really can’t visit Australia without seeing the Sydney Opera House! Even if you don’t watch a show, wandering around inside and taking a peek behind the scenes of one of the most spectacular buildings in the world is still pretty cool!

You might even get a chance to catch a rehearsal performance, and you’ll be taken to parts of the building where usually the general public aren’t allowed!

Click here for more information and prices of this tour.

You’ll also be given a headset so that you can clearly hear everything the tour guide is saying (English, German, French and Spanish available) and you’ll learn everything there is to know about the Danish architect who designed the building, the 1000 rooms inside and the stories behind the productions!

Sydney Opera House from the Harbour

Photo Credit: Tourism Australia

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 1 hour
  • Pick Up Included: No
  • Age Suitable For: any
  • Need To Take: Comfortable shoes!
  • Extra Info: Accessibility friendly tours available
 

Click here to book your Sydney Opera House tour tickets now!

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Gold Coast: Natural Bridge and Springbrook Afternoon Tour

This tour is similar to the Rainforests and Glow Worm tour, but it’s smaller and more focused on finding waterfalls and amazing local fauna and flora! It’s also only 5 hours long which is perfect if you only have an afternoon to spare!

Click here for more information and prices of this tour.

During the tour, you’ll stop off at a lovely little restaurant for scones and tea!

White foamy waterfall from the cliffs surrounded by green trees

Photo Credit: Southern Cross Tours

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 5 hours
  • Pick Up Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: Any but no pushchairs
  • Need To Take: Comfortable closed toe shoes
  • Extra Info: National park fees included
 

Click here to book this tour!

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Cairns: Self-Guided Kuranda Day Trip, Scenic Rail & Skyrail

Karanda is a rainforest village. located high up in the mountains. This tour allows you to make the journey via the Kuranda Scenic Railway. Ride through the peaks, passing waterfalls and gorges on your way.

Once in the village, you can spend your time discovering the local markets, walking trails and restaurants before taking the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway back down, gliding through the canopies and spotting the indigenous animals nearby!

Click here for more information and prices of this tour.

The weather might have an effect on the running of the rail or cable car journeys so keep an eye out for any updates.

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: 7 hours
  • Pick Up Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: Any
  • Need To Take: Nothing
  • Extra Info: Wheelchair accessible
 

Click here to buy your tickets!

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Blue Mountains Hop on Hop off & Scenic World Rides Pass

This bestseller isn’t exactly a tour but it’s a good way to explore the Blue Mountain area without a guide or group tour. You get a skip-the-line ticket to Scenic World, which also gives you a pass for the world’s steepest railway and the cable car.

Hop on and off the bus whenever you please all day, and explore the region at your own pace.

Click here for more information and prices of this pass.

You also get discounts and freebies at certain restaurants and hotels throughout the Mountains with this pass.

Double decker red tour bus with Blue Mountains Explorer Bus written on the side

Photo Credit: Blue Mountains Explorer Bus

Key Information

  • Tour Duration: All day
  • Pick Up Included: No
  • Age Suitable For: Any
  • Need To Take: Nothing
  • Extra Info: Wheelchair accessible
 

Click here to buy your tickets!

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When Should You Take An East Coast Australia Tour?

It’s all well and good planning your tours in advance, but it’s really important that you know when the best time to go is. The east coast of Australia from Sydney to Cape Tribulation runs around 2500km so there are definitely climate, wildlife and popularity changes along the way!

Seasons

The east coast sits either in New South Wales or Queensland. The two states have very different climates, so make sure you take that into consideration when planning things to do. 

An important thing to remember is that Australia is in the southern hemisphere, which means its seasons run differently from us ‘up north’!

In New South Wales, there are four distinct seasons, like you’re probably used to. However, spring begins in around September and lasts until November. Summer is from December to February. The autumn months are March until May and then winter runs from June until August.

Sunny beach day with palm tree hanging over yellow sand and the sea in the background

Photo Credit: Tourism Australia

You might not see crazy low temperatures like you would in a Canadian winter for example, but there will be more rain, wind and colder weather in July.

In Queensland, however, winter is not really an issue. We began our trip in June and drove straight up to the Sunshine Coast where we were greeted with temperatures of at least 20 degrees Celsius – an average summer’s day back in the UK! The further north we moved, obviously the warmer it became.

It’s also a good idea to visit Queensland in the winter because the summer not only brings hot and humid temperatures but intense thunderstorms and rainfall.

There are usually fewer tourists around but we didn’t ever find anywhere in Queensland to be too busy at all in the winter anyway.

Some east coast Australia tours might not run in certain weather conditions, so check with the company before you book!

Animal Sightings

If you’re going to book one of the many east coast tours that involved looking for animals such as whales, then make sure you go at the right time of year. Obviously it’s not always possible to plan your trip around the animal seasons, but you should at least be informed so you aren’t disappointed!

If you’re near Sydney, the best time to spot whales is between May –  July or September – November.

Minke whales usually appear in Queensland around June/July, and humpbacks are often sighted in Hervey Bay from June – November.

Large whale breaching out of the blue waters

Imagine seeing this on your tour!!

If crocodiles are more your thing, then head on up to QLD. Crocs are more active during the wetter months, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t there in the winter!

Be careful around water in this part of the country (as well as further west towards the Northern Territory). From September to April is the breeding season so be aware that the female crocodiles are going to be much more aggressive if you do see one!

Rescheduling

It’s inevitable that some trips and tours won’t go to plan. This could be down to weather, illness or even a lack of dolphins on your dolphin-watching trip! Many tour companies offer you the chance to reschedule if something goes wrong, either for free or a small fee.

I would recommend booking your east coast Australia tours nearer to the beginning of your trip so that if you do have to change your dates or come back on a different day, then you have that option.

Sunset view of Surfer's Paradise with ocean on the right and beach on the left with city skyline in the background

Photo Credit: Tourism Australia

We see so many negative reviews giving companies a bad name because they had to cancel a flight tour due to bad weather, or the whale sightings weren’t good enough, and the travellers had to leave the area so couldn’t come back to enjoy a second tour.

If a tour is rescheduled because of bad weather conditions, that is for your own safety! It’s better to rearrange than to fly out and risk everyone’s lives, so if you have the flexibility to come back then all the better!

Meeting Friends

Another reason to book nearer the start of your trip is that going on tours is a good way to meet new people. If you’re travelling solo, you might want to find other like-minded people to rent a car with, or share the cost of an activity that asks for a minimum of two people.

By going on a tour early on, you can make friends and then plan the rest of your trip with them!

3 kangaroos stood in a group

Photo Credit: Tourism Australia

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Where To Stay On The East Coast

You might have a camper van, or you might prefer to sleep in hotels before or after your tour. Either way, you’ll need to know the best accommodation options along the east coast of Australia, so here’s a list of campgrounds, hostels and hotels. 

Each of these towns or cities have plenty of things to do, places to eat and more importantly, fun tours to take!

2 green bikes parked on the side of the road with the bright blue ocean in the background

Photo Credit: Tourism Australia


Airlie Beach/Whitsundays

Island Gateway Holiday Park

Just 5 minutes drive from the centre of town, this holiday park is perfect for all kinds of traveller. You can hire an unpowered or powered site if you’ve already got your home on wheels, but they also have spacious cabins, rooms and chalets.

There’s an outdoor swimming pool, a half-size tennis court and bbq facilities for everyone to use. 

Click here for room availability and prices.


Brisbane

Summer House Backpackers

We stayed here for a week and thought that the free pancake mornings, free dinner nights and movie evenings were a really nice touch! If you’re into social accommodation, then this is the place to stay.

You can spend time on the rooftop terrace or shared lounge, and there are easily accessible power points next to each bunk. The cheapest rooms are the 20-bed dormitories, but you can also choose a bed in a 4-person room with a private bathroom.

The hostel is close to the town centre, and the train station so you don’t have to go far once you arrive in Brisbane.

Click here for room availability and prices.


Soho Brisbane

This well-located hotel offers twin and queen bedrooms, with en suite bathrooms and free WiFi.

There’s a restaurant on-site, where you can eat breakfast and dinner, but if you’d prefer to eat out then it’s only a short 5-minute walk to the city centre.

Book here if you want the privacy of your own room but you are on a budget!

Click here for room availability and prices.


Byron Bay

Backpackers Inn On The Beach

This hostel is perfect if you’re looking for a chilled hostel near the beach with plenty of entertainment on-site!

You can use the free shuttle bus to get to and from the Greyhound bus stop, but the beach is only 1 minute away and there’s always something to do there.

There’s a swimming pool on-site, as well as a cool outdoor movie area!

Click here for room availability and prices.


Discovery Parks – Byron Bay

The holiday park chain is famous for a reason – high-quality accommodation, free activities and affordable options.

If you’ve got kids, the water park and jumping pillows are a great way to entertain them!

You can also use the two swimming pools, a tennis court or camp kitchen.

This Discovery Park is only around a mile from the centre of town and the beaches!

Click here for room availability and prices.



Cairns

Mumma’s Hostel Cairns

This is a great adults-only budget hostel with free breakfast. There’s a swimming pool, free WiFi and a shared lounge area + kitchen. 

Stay in a dormitory, or choose a private room if you have the budget.

It’s a great place to stay near the esplanade and night markets plus it’s not that far from the gorgeous Crystal Cascades waterfalls!

Click here for room availability and prices.


New Chalon

This resort is great for families and those looking for a more chilled type of accommodation.

You can use the saltwater pool, bbq and the on-site laundry facilities too.

There are restaurants nearby but you can also cook up your own meals in the kitchenettes provided.

Click here for room availability and prices.


Cape Tribulation

Daintree Rainforest Retreat Motel

Set in the middle of the rainforest, this motel is a great place to come and unwind away from the cities. Feel free to use the swimming pool, WiFi and bbq facilities.

If you do want to get out and about, you’re only a 25-minute drive from Cape Tribulation’s town centre, but there are plenty of shops and restaurants closer than that.

You can easily access the Daintree from here – just ask the friendly staff to help!

Click here for room availability and prices.


Fraser Island

Fraser Island Retreat

This gorgeous hotel resort is only a 2-minute walk from the beach, has a great on-site restaurant and a huge outdoor swimming pool.

There’s no WiFi but that’s the same across the whole of the island, so come here to switch off and take a break from the internet!

If you’d rather cook your own meals, there’s a bbq and also a shared kitchen available for you to use.

Click here for room availability and prices.


Gold Coast

Surf Inn Hostel

The Surf Inn offers dormitory rooms ranging from 4 beds all the way to 24! If you are looking to meet new people to enjoy your trip with, this is the place to stay!

You’ll find all of the usual amenities  – swimming pool, WiFi, bbq – but you also get a complimentary breakfast each morning too!

If you’ve been driving your own or rented car along the coast then you can park here for a good price too.

Click here for room availability and prices.


BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park

Whether you need a powered camping site or a queen cabin room, his holiday park has it all.

Not only is there an outdoor pool with a water slide, but there is also a spa too!

The park also organises events like free pancake mornings, so it’s a winner in our eyes!

It’s also located around 1km away from Movie World and Wet & Wild, and only 3km from Dreamworld and White Water World! Save money and buy your 3-day passes here.

Click here for room availability and prices.


Sydney

Blue Parrot Youth Hostel

This backpackers hostel does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s only a 5-minute walk from King’s Cross train station, and once you’ve arrived it’s a great place to socialise.

You can use their WiFi for free, spend time on the terrace and get your dirty laundry sorted!

Click here for room availability and prices.


Song Hotel Sydney

If you are looking for a decent private room in the city centre that doesn’t cost your monthly food budget, then the Song Hotel is a great choice.

There’s a free continental breakfast and both shared + en suite rooms, plus it’s less than 2km away from the heart of the city. 

The spacious rooms and clean bathrooms offer you a relaxing space to stay when you’re not out and about exploring!

Click here for room availability and prices.

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FAQs

Which is better to travel – the east or west coast of Australia?

This depends on your travel style really. If you want to be staying in hostels, meeting 20-somethings and partying, then the east coast is for you. It’s also better to travel here if you don’t have your own transport as the west coast is more remote. If you are happy driving long distances between towns, staying in campsites and lodges, and experiencing the incredible nature + landscapes that Australia has to offer, then go to the west!

How long will an east coast itinerary Australia take?

Again, this depends on whether you’re ready to move on every day, or you are more of a slow traveller, but I would say that 3 weeks to a month is a good enough amount of time to spend on the east coast. If you have more time, then definitely use it, but 3 weeks is the minimum I would suggest.

Do I need a car to travel the east coast of Australia?

Absolutely not. It’s better to have one, but if you don’t have a licence, aren’t comfortable driving in a foreign country or physically cannot drive, then don’t let that stop you from coming! There are easy to use Greyhound buses that travel all along the coast to the main tourist attractions.

You can take any one of these tours that I have mentioned without needing a car – if you need to make your way to a pickup point then public transport in Australia is usually quite affordable for short trips!

Do many people travel the east coast solo?

Yes, all the time!! If you don’t have a travel buddy, don’t worry because there are SO many people doing the same thing. We met a lot of groups who seemed like they had been friends for years, but it turned out that they had just got chatting in a hostel and decided to travel together! Even if you don’t want to stay in shared accommodation, tours like the ones above are a great way to spend a whole day making new friends!

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Are you planning on taking one of these recommended east coast Australia tours? Let us know if you have any questions!


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Australia is a HUGE country, and it can be overwhelming to decide exactly what to do and see, and how to organise your activities! The east coast is a great place to start if you're stuck on what to do. We've rounded up 20 of the best east coast Australia tours that will smash your bucket list and kick off your love affair with 'Straya! australia | road trip | tour guide | east coast | sydney | byron bay | gold coast | cairns | fraser island | airlie beach | whitundays | cape tribulation | brisbane

 

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  1. Pingback: 10 Tips For Students How To See Australia On A Budget | Lifeasabutterfly

    1. True – Australia can be an expensive place to travel!

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