Can You Do East Coast Australia In 2 weeks?

Can You Do East Coast Australia In 2 weeks? Image | East Coast Tours Australia

Yes, you can absolutely do the East Coast of Australia in 2 weeks! If you plan your journey carefully, you can travel from Sydney to Cairns, stopping at iconic destinations like Byron Bay, Brisbane, Noosa, Gold Coast, Airlie Beach and K’gari!

The most popular route for backpackers is to travel from Melbourne up to Cairns - with plenty of must-see stops along the way - but the beauty of East Coast travel is that you can create an itinerary that best suits your time, budget, and bucket list destinations.

If you’re in need of some inspiration, check out our jam-packed guide on how to spend 2 weeks in Australia!

A group of backpackers kayaking on Rainbow Beach

Starting Your 2-Week East Coast Trip

The key to squeezing the best of the East Coast into 2 weeks is to pick out the top destinations you want to visit during your trip, and deciding how many days you’re willing to dedicate to each spot. Take a look at our top recommendations for the best spots along Australia’s East Coast if you’re not sure where you’d like to go.

If you’re hoping to travel from south to north, your best course of action is to begin from a city like Sydney or Melbourne. Alternatively, you could work your way down to Sydney and Melbourne by starting up north in Cairns and kicking off your tour by exploring the Great Barrier Reef! Why not take a flick through our handy guide designed to help you pick where best to start your Australia trip according to your travel plans?

Need more information? We’ve got the answers to all of your East Coast Tour queries, from how much money you’ll need to the best time to backpack Australia.

Map of the East Coast of Australia

Where to go on the East Coast

There’s so much waiting to be discovered along the East Coast of Australia, from sun-soaked beaches and colourful coral reefs to jaw-dropping rainforests and tropical islands. 

Backpackers relaxing on Bondi Beach in Sydney

Uncover Australia’s cities

Lively cities with international airports like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane are popular spots to kick off your East Coast tour.

Backpacker in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Dive into the Great Barrier Reef

Snorkelling or diving in the Great Barrier Reef is typically at the top of every East Coast backpacker’s bucket list. Spot turtles, manta rays, sea anemones, coral, and even whales during your dive! Explore the colourful world that lies beneath the ocean’s surface, which promises to be an experience you’ll never forget. 

  • Carve out some time on your schedule to see Cairns if you want to take in the best views of the Great Barrier Reef. While you’re there, why not tick some more thrill-seeking activities off your bucket list? From sky-diving to white water rafting, Cairns is an adventurer’s paradise.
  • Just a little further down from Cairns, you'll find the dreamy Whitsunday Islands where you can try your hand at some water sports like stand-up paddle-boarding and kayaking while you’re soaking up stunning tropical island views. 

A backpacker on a boat in the Whitsundays

Catch a wave in the East Coast’s best surfing towns

Immerse yourself in the laid-back surfer life in spots like Byron Bay and Surfers Paradise. Chill out on the gorgeous golden beaches, make the most of the beachside nightlife and learn how to surf just like a local!

  • Enjoy laid-back beach town vibes in Byron Bay, either uncovering local treasures in their boutiques or catching a perfect wave.
  • Dive into lush blue waters or kick back on the beach in Surfers Paradise, located right in the heart of the Gold Coast. 

Girl surfing in Noosa

Go wild on flourishing natural islands

Most backpackers who are lucky enough to set off on an East Coast tour do their best to make stops at K’gari (Fraser Island) and Magnetic Island. Get up close and personal with all sorts of Aussie wildlife, trek through lush green rainforests, and take a dip in pristine blue creeks and lakes! 

We’ve compiled a detailed list of our top 12 stops along Australia’s East Coast to help you narrow down your options.

Backpackers exploring the rainforest in K'gari (Fraser Island)

How To Travel the East Coast in 2 Weeks

There are lots of different ways to travel along the East Coast, whether you want to go solo or hit the road with a group of friends.

How long does it take to drive the East Coast of Australia?

The drive from Melbourne to Cairns is approximately 3,700km. That's about 45 hours of non-stop driving!

To make sure you get to see the best spots along the East Coast, you'll need to give yourself an absolute minimum of two weeks - with lots of planning!

Backpackers in a rental car

Hire a car to travel the East Coast

Want to make your own way up or down the East Coast? Enjoy the freedom and flexibility to go where you want, and when you want with a hire car. Build your road trip playlist, get your travel buddies together, and pack up the car with as many suitcases as you can fit, and hit the road!

That being said, if you're not familiar with Australian roads, it's worth taking a look through our Driving in Australia Handbook. The last thing you want to do is come home from your tour to a driving fine!

Backpackers using a rental car

Hire a campervan to travel the East Coast

Go one step further and hire a full campervan! Take the pressure and the price out of trying to find somewhere to stay for the night by driving your accommodation with you all the way up the East Coast. There are so many campervans to choose from - so if you're overwhelmed by the choice, why not get in touch with our expert local agents, who can help you find the best campervan quote for your trip.

Backpacker driving a campervan

Travel the East Coast by bus

If you're travelling the East Coast on a budget, going by by bus with companies like Greyhound or Premier is your best bet.

Book a bus pass to get you from point A to point B or, if you're going to be hitting up a few different spots, invest in a flexi-pass for unlimited bus journeys! Kick up your feet and let someone else do the driving while you enjoy free Wifi, onboard toilets, in-seat charging stations, and air conditioning. Ah, the luxury!

Backpackers getting on a Greyhound bus to their next location

Best East Coast tour itineraries

Is booking your dream two-week tour starting to feel a little bit overwhelming? Want to take the stress out of squeezing everything into 2 weeks? Well you’ve come to the right place! We’ve got some action-packed East Coast Tour itineraries designed for every type of traveller. Let us organise your transport and accommodation - and book you into the best activities in each location - so that all you have to do is enjoy the ride!

Backpackers posing in a circle in the water at K'gari (Fraser Island)

Sydney to Cairns tours

Set out on our 2 Week Sydney To Cairns Budget tour, or reverse the itinerary and book the 2 Week Cairns To Sydney Budget tour!

Designed specifically for backpackers who are short on time, this tour will take you to the top bucket list destinations along the East Coast in exactly 2 weeks! Stop off for a sail around the Whitsundays, a trip through K’gari’s tropical rainforests, some surf lessons in Byron Bay, and kayak with dolphins on Rainbow beach - with lots more exciting stops along the way!

Backpackers at a surf lesson along the East Coast

Byron to Cairns tour

Or, skip Sydney and begin your tour in hippy paradise Byron Bay before heading up to Cairns on our 15 Day Guided Sydney To Cairns Reefs & Beaches Tour!

Make stops at the top spots along the coast, including Magnetic Island, Airlie Beach, the Gold Coast, and more - with accommodation, guides, transport, and a range of meals included! Let a local, expert guide take you diving in the Great Barrier Reef, surfing in Noosa, and camping in K’gari, with plenty of time left over to chill out on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world along the way - as well as options to extend or upgrade your itinerary if you just can’t get enough!

Backpackers scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns

Cairns to Brisbane Express Tour

Are you more interested in exploring the upper half of the East Coast? Spend more time uncovering the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, thrill-seeking in Cairns, sailing around the Whitsundays, and camping in K’gari (Fraser) with plenty of space in your itinerary to chill out on the beach with our 2 Weeks Cairns to Brisbane Express tour. Transport and accommodation are included in the price of your tour, with options to personalise, extend, or upgrade your itinerary as you please.

Backpackers at Daintree Rainforest in Cairns, Queensland

Are you ready to book a 2-week itinerary and get cracking on your East Coast tour of Australia?

Have a try of our handy DIY itinerary planner or chat with one of our friendly travel agents, who can help you design your dream East Coast Tour!

East Coast Tours acknowledges all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Owners of Country and recognises their continuing connection to land, sea, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and extend that respect to all First Nations peoples.

Powered By

Copyright 2024 East Coast Tours | All Rights Reserved

Version: 2.2.3

Payment Method - Visa | East Coast Tours AustraliaPayment Method - Mastercard | East Coast Tours Australia