East Coast Australia Bucket List

East Coast Australia Bucket List Image | East Coast Tours Australia

Because Australia is so massive and so far from the rest of the world, many travellers only visit this incredible country once in their life. To really make the most of your time in Australia, it's a good idea to plan out an itinerary so you can stay organised while exploring this giant, diverse, and beautiful country.

We've created this ultimate East Coast Australia bucket list so readers can use it as inspiration for their own Australia trips! It can be overwhelming planning a trip to Australia because there are so many cool attractions scattered over a huge area. This list should help you narrow down your goals to just the absolute must-sees on the East Coast!

Sydney Harbour

East Coast Australia Bucket List

Though you could spend years and years exploring all of Australia's wonders, most travellers only have a few weeks or a month to travel around. To make your planning easier, our East Coast Australia bucket list narrows down the best sights and activities into one simple list. Use this as a guide when planning your adventures Down Under! From sailing, surfing, and snorkelling to four-wheel-driving on sand islands and road-tripping along the coast, here are the top attractions to add to your East Coast Australia bucket list. 

K'gari Rainforest

Snorkel Or Dive In The Great Barrier Reef

Visiting the Great Barrier Reef should be on everyone's East Coast Australia bucket list! This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the largest coral reef system on Earth, and it's a truly incredible place to snorkel or scuba dive. If you've never gone scuba diving before, the Great Barrier Reef is also the perfect place to learn. Whether you book a day trip, a learn-to-dive course, or an overnight liveaboard, you will leave the Great Barrier Reef with a newfound appreciation for the diverse underwater world!

Great Barrier Reef

Explore Sydney

Sydney is Australia's most famous city, and though it's not the capital as many might think, it is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Australia. Full of iconic landmarks like the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Bondi Beach, and more, there are endless things to do in Sydney. With a huge range of international flights at Sydney Airport, this is also a super convenient place to begin or end your East Coast Australia adventure. 


Drive A 4WD On K'gari (Fraser Island)

K'gari (Fraser Island) is a must-see in Australia for nature and adventure lovers. As the world's largest sand island, K'gari is rugged and wild, and it's only accessible by 4WD. There is no better place to get off the grid and immerse yourself in the wilderness. Swim in the crystal clear waters of Lake McKenzie, hike through the lush rainforests, see wild dingoes, and drive a 4WD across the iconic Sand Highway known as 75 Mile Beach!

75 Mile Beach K'gari

Sail Around The Whitsunday Islands

For the perfect combination of sand, sea, sun, adventure, and relaxation, head up to the Whitsunday Islands. This chain of tropical islands is located in the warm, turquoise waters of the Coral Sea right off the coast of Airlie Beach. A multi-day sailing tour around these idyllic islands should top every traveller's East Coast Australia bucket list!

A sailing trip through the Whitsundays allows you to snorkel or dive in colourful coral reefs, try water sports like paddleboarding and kayaking, lounge on the silica sands of Whitehaven Beach, and hike up to the stunning Hill Inlet Lookout. You'll also get to spend multiple days at sea, watching the sunrise over the ocean and creating lasting bonds with your fellow travellers. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience!


Tour The Australia Zoo

Located on the Sunshine Coast, the Australia Zoo is a world-renowned wildlife conservation centre and iconic attraction in Queensland. Founded by the legendary "Crocodile Hunter", Steve Irwin, and his family, the zoo celebrates his passion for the conservation of wildlife. So if you're dying to spot some classic Australian animals, like koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, and various fascinating reptiles and birds, the Australia Zoo is the place to be!

Australia zoo

Visit The World's Oldest Rainforest

Many people don't actually know that the world's oldest tropical rainforest is in Australia! But if you head about 3 hours north of Cairns in Tropical North Queensland, you'll find the 180-million-year-old Daintree Rainforest. Whether you visit the Daintree on a day trip or overnight tour from Cairns, or you rent a car and visit on your own, you won't regret visiting this magical place. 

Roam through ancient forests, stroll on secluded beaches, taste exotic fruits, and see unique rainforest animals like cassowaries and tree kangaroos. The Daintree Rainforest is full of wonders, and it's right next to the Great Barrier Reef, making it the only place in Australia where two World Heritage Sites meet!

Daintree Rainforest

Indulge In Melbourne's Coffee Scene

Melbourne is an eclectic, vibrant, cosmopolitan city that attracts international travellers and Aussie locals alike. As Victoria's capital city, Melbourne has all the classic attractions of many major city, such as markets, museums, parks, gardens, restaurants, shopping districts, street art, and more. Melbourne is also famous for its trendy coffee scene! Australians love their coffee, and you can experience Australia like a local by grabbing an excellent cappuccino or flat white in Melbourne's top cafes!


Learn To Surf In Byron Bay

One of the best places to visit on the East Coast of New South Wales is Byron Bay. This popular coastal city has a stunning coastline, an energetic town center, and an overall welcoming, laid-back vibe that is ideal for backpackers. One of the best things to do in Byron Bay is learn how to surf! Take a surf lesson with a local instructor so you can learn to ride the waves just like the Aussies. 


See Koalas On Magnetic Island

Just off the coast of Townsville in Queensland is the gorgeous Magnetic Island. Full of dazzling natural beauty, travellers will have a blast exploring the beaches, reefs, and bushwalks of Magnetic Island. A huge draw to the island is its resident koala population! Home to Northern Australia's largest population of wild koalas, Magnetic Island is a great place to try and spot these fuzzy marsupials in their natural habitat. 


Canoe Through The Noosa Everglades

Noosa is another one of the best places to visit on the East Coast. With a trendy town center full of cafes, nightlife, and boutiques, and plenty of incredible beaches, Noosa has everything you could expect in an East Coast Australia destination. But one of the best things to do in Noosa is explore the Everglades!

There are only two Everglades systems on the planet, one of them is in Florida and the other is in Noosa! Take a day trip from the city so you can paddle through the tranquil waterways of Noosa's wildlife-filled Everglades. This location is one of the best hidden gems of East Coast Australia, as many travellers visit Noosa but don't visit the Everglades. Nature lovers should absolutely add this to their bucket list!

Noosa Everglades

Go Wine Tasting In The Hunter Valley

Wine enthusiasts will have a blast exploring the wineries of the Hunter Valley! This lush wine region on the Central Coast of New South Wales makes an easy day trip or weekend trip from Sydney. Spend your time meandering through the quaint rural landscapes, touring vineyards and cellar doors, tasting local wines, and shopping at all the charming local boutiques and businesses. 

Hunter Valley

Go Skydiving

Skydiving has a place on the bucket lists of many, no matter where you are in the world! If you've been looking for an excuse to book that exhilarating jump, a visit to Australia is the perfect occasion! You can skydive all over Australia in places like Cairns, Airlie Beach, Whitehaven Beach, Mission Beach, Noosa, Byron Bay, Sydney, and more. This country has such a breathtaking and diverse landscape that you really can't go wrong with a skydiving adventure anywhere. So take the leap of faith and try skydiving while you're traveling East Coast Australia!

Skydive Australia

Explore Brisbane

Brisbane is another one of the must-see places on the East Coast of Australia. The capital city of Queensland truly has it all, from history, art, and culture to nightlife, cuisine, and more. Explore the Botanic Gardens, feast at the Eat Street Markets, take in the view at Kangaroo Point, climb the Story Bridge, or even take a day trip out to the surrounding islands and national parks. The options are endless in Brisbane!


Road Trip Along The Great Ocean Road

Australia is home to numerous world-class road trip routes, and the Great Ocean Road is one of the best! Those who love a good road trip should definitely add the Great Ocean Road to their East Coast Australia bucket list. Located in Victoria, not far from Melbourne, this route is packed with dramatic coastal scenery, cozy villages, forest hiking trails, beachside camping spots, and more. Make sure your cameras are fully charged because there are scenic lookouts galore on the Great Ocean Road

Great Ocean Road

Hit The Theme Parks In The Gold Coast

Another classic addition to any East Coast Australia bucket list is the Gold Coast's theme parks. This busy city is known for its golden beaches, awesome surf spots, pumping nightlife, and a variety of theme parks. From taking on massive water slides at Wet'N'Wild to meeting your favourite superheroes at Movie World, the theme parks are a highlight of the Gold Coast!

Gold Coast wet n wild

Swim In Waterfalls Outside Cairns

Last but not least on our list of the best East Coast Australia bucket list items is exploring the waterfalls outside Cairns. Though Cairns is most well known for its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, the rainforests that lie just inland of the city are worth a visit as well. 

Crystal Cascades, Fairy Falls, and Barron Falls are all within 30 minutes of Cairns. You can also book a tour or road trip out to the Atherton Tablelands, about an hour from Cairns, and explore even more incredible waterfalls. Josephine Falls, Millaa Millaa Falls, and Zillie Falls are among the best spots to escape the Queensland heat!

Millaa Millaa Falls

Ensure you hit all the best East Coast Australia bucket list items with our curated itineraries!

Live chat with our travel experts online if you have any questions!

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.

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