The ULTIMATE East Coast of Australia bucket list: Places you cannot miss

 In Australia, Backpacking, Budget Travel, Get Inspired, New South Wales, Once In A Lifetime

Updated 17th January 2019

At least once in your life, I really do hope you make it to Australia.

Australia is without a shadow of a doubt up there in the top three destinations I’ve ever travelled to. Yup, for real.

Why, you ask? Why is it that you have to go to Australia?

Well, if it isn’t the golden beaches, health conscious cafes, outdoor living, relaxed culture or abundance of UNESCO World Heritage sites that draw you Down Under, then let it be the likes of Whitehaven Beach, the vineyards, the surfing or the endless road-trip possibilities.

I honestly just found it really hard to narrow down my choices in that last paragraph, which is an honest reflection of how many things, places and activities there are in Australia that I love… things I know you will love too.

So, straight up, where would I recommend? Where should you add to your bucket list for your Australian adventure?

The following spots are dotted specifically along the East Coast. It goes without saying that my suggestions only touch the surface of what’s on offer.

In terms of travelling along the East Coast, there are plenty of options. The hop on hop off buses all stop off at the must-see places, or you could rent a camper or a car. For more ideas about planning your travel in Australia, click here.

Top tip: RatPack Travel are the best in the business when it comes to trips, tours, transfers, activities and camper rentals in Australia and New Zealand. If you need advice, get in touch and Sammy can help you out! You also won’t find anyone cheaper! (Seriously). Use my code MOLLIE10 for an extra 10% off when you book with Sammy!

Here are my 14 places you cannot miss on the East Coast of Australia…

1. St. Kilda

There are not many destinations where I sit and think, ‘I could see myself here long term.’ But, with Melbourne I did, especially St. Kilda.

St. Kilda is a small seafront town located in Melbourne, just outside the city centre. Trams run every 20 minutes into the centre and you have the beach life right on your doorstep. You seriously have the best of both worlds. Combine that with the beach front bars and live music venues, and you have the dream set up.

See my complete guide to St Kilda here, and my complete guide to Melbourne here

East Coast Australia Bucket List

2. Fraser Island

This is one you simply cannot miss. Whether you join in with one of the many tours that run on this island or hire a 4X4 for yourself – you are going to fall in LOVE.

I have explored this island twice: once with Nomads Tag Along Tour (via RatPack) and once with Cool Dingos.

For a proper backpacker vibe check out  my experience with Nomads Tag Along Tour here. For a more laid back, couple-orientated and high-end accommodation experience, check out my experience with Cool Dingos here.

East Coast Australia Bucket List

3. Diving or Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef

A world heritage site, seen from space, 400 types of coral, 10% of the world’s fish species, and the largest coral reef system on Earth… Whose bucket list ISN’T this on???

Top tip: Unfortunately, largely due to global warming, the Great Barrier Reef has suffered extensive damage, and is said to have halved the amount of space it originally covered. Perhaps this is one to tick off your list sooner rather than later. Apparently you see less damaged areas if you dive, or if you really want to snorkel, then head south of Townsville, Queensland, where a lot of the coral has remained intact despite bleaching.

4. Road trip down the Great Ocean Road

I was so happy to tick this one off my bucket list in 2018. Grab a car or a van and a few friends and ride from Melbourne through to Adelaide. Pass The Apostles and cruise The Ocean Road with the music loud and the breeze running through your hair.


See my guide to planning your Great Ocean Road trip here.

  • Video: A Great Ocean Road road trip from Melbourne
  • The Great Ocean Road: A planning guide and 5-day itinerary
  • The Great Ocean Road: A planning guide and 5-day itinerary
  • The Great Ocean Road: A planning guide and 5-day itinerary

5. Sunrise hike up Mt. Warning

This is a stop off slightly less explored by backpackers, but a freaking amazing one. Even if you’re travelling on the Greyhound or some other hop-on-hop-off company, rent a car in Byron Bay and follow my epic road-trip itinerary. This hike requires an early start but the view is worth every sweat bead you release. It’s mind blowing.

See my complete guide to Byron Bay here.

East Coast Australia Bucket List

6. Noosa National Park

Noosa is a popular place to start the legendary Fraser Island tours. If you do find yourself here, make sure you leave a couple of days to enjoy this little surf town. There are some gorgeous eateries on the beach front and also the incredible Noosa National Park.

See my guide to Noosa, Sunshine Coast here.

Top tip: If you head out on one of the many walks on offer through the park, be sure to look up and out for some snoozy koalas hanging in the trees. Keep an eye out for the fairy pools and if you visit in migration season, watch out for the whales in the deep blue!

East Coast Australia Bucket List

7. Sydney

Do I need to give Sydney an introduction? Do I need to explain why this has to be on your bucket list? In fact, I’m pretty sure it already is. I’ve been 5 times now and simply cannot get enough of the outdoor lifestyle, beaches or energy that resides here. See my guides and experiences below for more.

  • The perfect 4-day itinerary in Sydney, Australia
  • 6 walks to go on in and around Sydney, Australia
  • 6 walks to go on in and around Sydney, Australia
  • The Coogee to Bondi coastal walk

8. Road trip to Hyams Beach

Take the Grand Pacific Drive down to some of the whitest sands in the world! See my road-trip from Sydney to Hyams beach here.

East Coast Australia Bucket List

9. Hot air ballooning and wine tasting, Gold Coast

Sunrise sessions and wine tasting before 9am makes for my kinda morning! Check out my experience here.

East Coast Australia Bucket List

10. Sail through the Whitsundays

It’s heaven on earth. The pictures do all the talking for this one: see all my pictures of the Whitsundays and Whitehaven beach here (the few I’ve selected below barely scratch the surface). I’ve done the Whitsundays three times now, so to help you decide…

– See my experience of the Whitsundays on board the Atlantic Clipper here.
– Experience my tour of the Whitsundays with Contiki here.
– Relive my trip to the Whitsundays on board the Condor here.

  • sailing-the-whitsundays-on-board-the-atlantic-clipper

11. Explore Blue Mountains National Park

With stunning views wherever you look., whether you go on an organised tour or by yourself, this isn’t one to miss – I’ve done it three times now!  See my self-guided experience of the Blue Mountains here

12. Skydive

One for the thrillseekers… imagine doing a skydive in such a beautiful place! There are so many places you could skydive: Mission Beach, Airlie Beach, Great Ocean Road, Sydney, Cairns, Noosa, Byron Bay… click here to find out more.

13. Hunter Valley day trip from Sydney

Cheese, chocolate, wine, wildlife… what more could a girl want?! See my trip here

A roadtrip from Sydney to Newcastle... Stockton Sand Dunes and Mount Tomaree | Where's Mollie? A travel and adventure lifestyle blog

14. Manly

Another one near Sydney, but this beach side district is one of my faves. See my guide to Manly here

  • 6 walks to go on in and around Sydney, Australia
  • A complete guide to Manly, Sydney
  • A complete guide to Manly, Sydney

What are you waiting for? Get planning!

Have you been to the East Coast of Australia?

What would you add to this bucket list? I’d love to know!

Love as always + happy adventuring,


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Top tip: Use my code MOLLIE10 for an extra 10% off when you book with Sammy at RatPack Travel!

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