Where To Start Your Australia Trip

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Can't decide where to start your Australia trip? Sydney is the most popular and convenient place for international travellers to begin an Australian adventure. But the best starting place will depend on where you plan to go and how long you have for your travels! This article will explore some potential starting places for an Australia trip, as well as provide expert advice and tips for planning your adventure. 

sailboat cruising over the ocean at sunset

Where Is The Best Place To Start Travelling Australia?

Many travellers choose Sydney as the best place to start an Australia trip, simply because it's the most accessible city for international travellers. As the capital city of New South Wales, the most populated city in Australia, and the most famous city in Australia, Sydney is a convenient place for beginning an Australian adventure. Sydney's International Airport has the highest volume of flights to and from destinations around the world, meaning you can most likely find a decently-priced flight to Sydney from your home country. 

Once you arrive in Sydney, this iconic metropolis has everything you need to kick off an unforgettable adventure Down Under. Sydney is well-connected to other Australian cities, towns, and national parks via domestic flights, trains, and Greyhound buses. Sydney also has a huge variety of hostels, hotels, shops, and activities to keep you accommodated while you're exploring the city. From Sydney, you can easily embark on an incredibly scenic journey up or down the East Coast to other Australian destinations as well!

Check out our East Coast itineraries from Sydney, New South Wales!

girls posing in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Other Convenient Places To Start Your Australia Trip

Though Sydney is the most popular place to start an Australia trip, there are a few other cities that make a convenient first stop as well. Big cities make the best starting points because they have the most connections and amenities in terms of transport, accommodation, and campervan or car rental. We'll touch on these important Australia trip planning factors later, but first we'll quickly run through some other popular places to begin an Australian adventure!

Melbourne, Victoria

Victoria's vibrant and eclectic capital city is another great place to start an Australia trip. Though Melbourne doesn't offer as many international flights as Sydney, there are still plenty of affordable options from places in Asia, New Zealand, and the Americas. If you plan to see as much of the East Coast as possible, Melbourne is the perfect place to start. You can venture out to the Great Ocean Road or down to Tasmania before heading north and covering the entire coast of New South Wales and Queensland if you have the time!

Check out our East Coast itineraries from Melbourne!

Great Ocean Road coastal cliffs

Cairns, Queensland

Cairns is a great alternative to Sydney or Melbourne if you want to begin your East Coast adventure in the north and travel south. If you're arriving in Australia in winter, starting your trip in Cairns is perfect because you can enjoy the pleasant, warm weather of the tropics before making your way south for summertime. Not many people travel further north than Cairns and the Daintree Rainforest because the roads get significantly rougher and you need a 4WD. So spend a week or so in Cairns visiting the Great Barrier Reef and the rainforest before continuing your East Coast journey south!

Check out our East Coast itineraries from Cairns!

guy standing next to a waterfall in the rainforest

Brisbane, Queensland

Brisbane is located pretty close to the middle of Australia's East Coast. It's the capital city of Queensland and also has lots of options for flights, transport, accommodation, and tours. If you only have a short time to explore Australia's East Coast, Brisbane is a convenient place to start.

You can choose to spend your time journeying north to Cairns and stopping in places like K'gari (Fraser Island), Noosa, Airlie Beach, and the Whitsundays. Or you can head south towards Sydney or Melbourne, stopping in places like the Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Newcastle, and the NSW South Coast. Brisbane is the perfect place to start for a short Australia trip that is only 1 or 2 weeks. 

Check out our East Coast itineraries from Brisbane!

girls sitting at a tree filled with lights in Brisbane

Perth, Western Australia

Perth is the best place to begin a journey on Australia's West Coast. Though the East Coast is much more popular among travellers, the West Coast offers remote, rugged landscapes and pristine beaches ideal for adventurers who want to get off the beaten path. Perth is the only major city on Australia's West Coast, so this is the best place to find international flights and organise transport for the rest of your trip. You can find decently priced flights to Perth from popular destinations in Asia and Europe!

girl walking on a white sand beach with rocks

Darwin, Northern Territory

Darwin is the best place to begin an Australia trip to the Outback! The Northern Territory is also a very remote part of Australia where attractions and amenities are few and far between. To drive from Darwin to Uluru, the highlight of the Outback and the NT, it's over 20 hours! Or you can choose a flight from Darwin to Alice Springs which takes about 2 hours. So if you're exploring the Northern Territory you'll need to plan for some huge travel days, but Darwin is still the most convenient place to begin your trip. From here you can visit iconic national parks and hikes including Kakadu National Park, Kings Canyon, and more. 

people hiking in the forest in Australia

Things To Consider When Planning Your Australia Trip

Once you've chosen your starting destination, you can plan the rest of your Australia trip! Planning a trip can be a blast for some people, and it can be a headache for others. Our team at East Coast Tours is here to make your Australia trip planning as seamless as possible through our itinerary planner, campervan rentals, 24/7 support, and travel tips

Here is a quick rundown of some things you'll need to consider when planning your Australian adventure. 


No matter where you are flying into for your Australia trip, you can find great flights with a bit of research! Save money on flights to Australia by travelling during the off-season, which is generally June, July, and August. You can also find cheap flights on budget airlines like Jetstar, and by having flexible travel dates. Most flights to Australia are long-haul, so try to book them around 3-6 months in advance before the most affordable flights sell out. 

girls posing in front of a welcome sign at Cairns Airport


Everyone needs a visa to enter Australia! Luckily, the Australian Immigration website makes it easy to apply for visas online. The two most popular visas to get for travelling in Australia are a tourist visa and a Working Holiday Visa. A tourist visa is for those who just want to travel for leisure. A WHV allows you to spend longer in Australia and work while you're here!

Make sure you apply for your visa online before you arrive, as you won't be allowed to enter the country without a visa. On most visas, you have one year to enter Australia from the date that the visa is approved. 

Check out our complete collection of Working Holiday articles for more tips!

couple snorkelling in the Whitsundays


Packing for Australia is relatively straightforward. Just bring your essentials and make sure you prioritise comfort! The best way to enjoy Australian culture is by spending lots of time outside, whether you're hiking, surfing, sailing, snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking, or just strolling around in the sunshine. Sun protection is key, as is preparing for the elements. Australia is huge and each area has a different climate, so just research the places you plan to visit and pack accordingly. You may also want to pack light to save yourself money on extra baggage fees!

girl canoeing through the Noosa Everglades


You'll also need to think about how you plan to travel around Australia. Flights, trains, and buses are plentiful for those who wish to travel by public transport. This is a cheap, social, and hassle-free way to get from place to place. Car or campervan rental is another incredible way to get around Australia, particularly for remote places where public transport is more limited. This allows you a bit more freedom, flexibility, and adventure. 

girl posing in front of a campervan in Australia

Itinerary, Accommodation, and Activities

Once you've planned all the logistics, it's time for the fun part! Planning your destinations, itinerary, and accommodation for Australia is a blast because there is so much to see and do!

There is no right or wrong way to plan your trip, but the most important thing to remember is to fully enjoy each activity or destination without rushing too much. Australia is a massive country, and it's common for visitors to try and cram lots of places in a short time. Remember that there are large distances between destinations, so don't try to do too much and be sure to set aside some downtime for relaxing in each place. 

Our itineraries are designed to give you the optimal Australian adventure, with the appropriate amount of time in each place. Transport and accommodation are covered, making it easy to plan your trip. Whether you book an itinerary or plan your own trip, your Australian adventure is sure to be the trip of a lifetime!

girl posing at a scenic tropical lookout

Check out our full list of East Coast Australia itineraries for more ideas and inspiration! Or test out our handy Itinerary Planner

Feel free to live chat with our local travel experts with any questions as well. We're available 24/7!

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