Winter Sale on Now! Save up to $500 on your East Coast Australia road trip – Offer ends soon! Start Planning Now!

Winter Sale on Now! Save up to $500 on your East Coast Australia road trip – Offer ends soon! Start Planning Now!

Start your adventure

The East Coast of Australia is the ultimate destination for adventure travellers.

Our East Coast Australia tours are perfect for solo travellers or groups looking for a fun adventure. All of our packages are suited to meeting other travellers in Australia. Check out our most popular East Coast Australia packages we have on offer. You can choose to book our most popular packages with preferred start dates or you can choose an open dated flexible ticket valid for 12 months.

Start Planning

What You Need to Know

Firstly, if you didn’t already know, Australia is huge! The East Coast of Australia spans over 4,000km’s with Melbourne, Sydney and Cairns as the most popular start or end destinations. Australia is known for being the adventure capitol of the world and as one of the worlds safest countries, you can be sure to enjoy every moment as you make your way from beach to rainforest.

The most popular mode of transport for travellers is a Greyhound Australia Bus Pass. These Hop on Hop off buses give you freedom and flexibility with multiple departures each day. We recommend a bus pass for solo travellers or groups wanting to meet people and make friends. The Greyhound is the cheapest way to travel the East Coast and is best combined with Hostels. There are drop off and pick up points at all major and regional destinations so you won’t miss out on any spots along the way.

Another great way to travel Australia is to book a Campervan or Car – You can rent a vehicle and pick up in one destination and drop it off in another. A Campervan rental is ideal for travellers wanting to move to the beat of their own drum without being bound to a set itinerary. Campervans are generally a higher upfront cost than a bus pass. However, you save a lot of money on accommodation. Whilst freedom camping is not strictly legal in Australia, there are plenty of free campsites, National Parks, and budget-friendly campgrounds for you to stay at along the way.

How to plan your journey

Get your free custom made itinerary now

Step 1

Fill out the quick and easy custom package builder.

In just a few minutes you can craft your perfect East Coast adventure by selecting your preferred tours, accommodation and transport.

Step 2

Connect with one of our travel specialists.

Once you have filled out our free custom package builder, our experts will create you a travel itinerary, provide a quote and talk you through each step.

Step 3

Customize, revise & finalize your plan.

Once you are happy with your trip, we will send you everything you need to start your adventure. We take care of everything so you can have a stress free trip.

Step 4

Start your adventure by clicking ‘Let’s Start’ Below.

You are moments away from the start of your East Coast Australia adventure.

Why choose Happy Travels?

Australia’s East Coast is the ultimate backpacker adventure trail with epic activities such as Great Barrier Reef, K’gari (Fraser) Island & The Whitsundays. You can find everything you are looking for, whether it is a rugged adventure, a world-class beach or the ultimate party experience.

Happy Travels offer a free custom made itinerary and can help you plan everything from activities, group tours, bus passes and discount Campervan hire. We can recommend you the best hostels, experiences and destinations in Australia based on your travel needs. Due to our long standing partnerships with our suppliers, we get the very best deals making it cheaper for you than if you book direct!

At Happy Travels we have 25 years of experience, 5,000+ 5* reviews and 22 retail branches between Melbourne and Cairns. Our dedicated online travel team are available 7 days per week so if you have any questions along the way, we’re here to help. Our experienced team can give you all of the information you need to help you build your perfect adventure. Enquire now and we’ll help you meet people, make friends and create memories that last a lifetime.

Top 12 spots on Australia’s East Coast


Melbourne, the vibrant cultural capital of Australia, welcomes backpackers with open arms and an eclectic mix of experiences. Start your journey by exploring the iconic street art of Hosier Lane, where colorful murals and graffiti masterpieces decorate every surface, creating a dynamic outdoor gallery. Immerse yourself in the diverse neighborhoods, from the bohemian vibes of Fitzroy with its trendy cafes and vintage shops to the chic boutiques and street performers in the bustling Central Business District (CBD).

As you wander through the city’s maze of laneways, make sure to visit the Queen Victoria Market, a bustling hub of fresh produce, unique souvenirs, and mouth-watering street food. For a taste of Melbourne’s thriving coffee culture, head to Degraves Street or Hardware Lane, where cozy cafes offer the perfect setting to relax and watch the world go by. Don’t miss the chance to experience Melbourne’s renowned arts scene – catch a live performance at the historic Princess Theatre or explore the galleries at the National Gallery of Victoria. As night falls, dive into the lively nightlife in neighborhoods like Collingwood or St Kilda, where rooftop bars and live music venues keep the energy high.

Venture beyond the city limits to witness the stunning coastal scenery along the Great Ocean Road, a road trip that takes you past the iconic Twelve Apostles. Nature lovers can also explore the Royal Botanic Gardens or take a day trip to the Dandenong Ranges for lush rainforests and panoramic views of the city. Melbourne’s diverse and dynamic atmosphere ensures that every backpacker can find something to suit their taste and make the most of their Aussie adventure.


Sydney is the most popular starting point for the playground for the ultimate backpacking adventure. Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge for mind-blowing panoramic views that will make your Instagram followers jealous. And when the surf’s up at Bondi Beach – catch those waves like a true beach bum. Dive into the historic Rocks area, where cobblestone streets spill stories of the past at every turn.

If you want to start your trip with an adrenaline rush, take your adventure to new heights with a thrilling skydiving experience over Sydney’s mesmerizing landscapes. Feel the rush of wind as you freefall, creating memories that will last a lifetime. And when you’re ready for a change of scenery, escape to the breathtaking Blue Mountains, where hiking trails and stunning vistas await your exploration.

When the sun dips below the horizon, it’s time to trade your backpack for a night out. Feel the backpacker-friendly vibes at Scary Canaries or Sidebar, and don’t even think about missing the wild nightlife of Kings Cross – where the party never stops.

But wait, there’s more! Immerse yourself in Sydney’s culture by catching a show at the iconic Sydney Opera House. Take a ferry to Manly for some laid-back coastal vibes, and don’t forget to get lost in the lush Royal Botanic Garden. Sydney’s not just a city; it’s a backpacker’s dream come true, with thrills, chills, and memories waiting at every corner.

Spot X Surf Camp – Arrawarra

‘Spot X’ surf camp is a must see stop for anyone looking to learn to surf. This location is a bit of a hidden gem located on a small beach called ‘Arrawarra’ in NSW.  Arrawarran is located around along the Solitary Islands Marine Park, it is a wide, golden beach, offering fantastic surfing, and abundant wildlife. Getting here is easy. You can self-drive or take the Greyhound or Premier buses from Sydney, Byron, Gold Coast or Brisbane.

Mojo surf have built a surf camp, right next to the water, a stones throw from the ocean. Here you can wake up and check the waves before jumping into your wetsuit and taking part in some progressive surf lessons. We recommend stopping here if you are a beginner/intermediate surfer looking to immerse yourself in surf culture. You will literally, Eat, Sleep, Surf – Repeat. Surf camps include 1x surf lessons per day, all meals, accommodation and equipment.

The surf camp boasts all of the facilities including laundry, cooking area, a convenience store for your essential needs, an entertainment zone with internet access, an impressive sound system, comfortable bean bags, relaxing hammocks, a volleyball court, and a pool table. To find out more information you can click here. 

Byron Bay

Byron Bay is a popular destination for travellers, offering a laid-back beach town atmosphere. Byron Bay offers a range of accommodation options including hostels, budget guesthouses, and campgrounds. Popular backpacker hostels in the area include Nomads Byron Bay, Arts Factory Backpackers Lodge, and Cape Byron YHA.

The town is renowned for its stunning beaches. Main Beach is the most central, and The Pass is popular for surfing. Cape Byron Lighthouse is a must-visit spot with panoramic views. You can hike there from the town centre and takes around 40 mins – We highly recommend sunrise or sunset, just don’t forget to take a torch. The town is relatively small and walkable, but you can also rent bicycles for easier exploration. Public buses and shuttle services are available for longer distances.

Some popular activities in Byron Bay include Surf Lessons, Kayaking with Dolphins & Nimbin Day trips – Numbers on these tours are limited and it’s worth having these booked in advance, before you arrive.

Byron Bay famous markets occur on various days throughout the month, offering a range of local crafts, food, and live music. One thing that can be said about Byron Bay, is that it has a vibrant alternative culture. Visit Nimbin, a nearby town known for its counterculture and colorful atmosphere.

The food scene in Byron Bay is top notch. Explore local cafes and restaurants offering fresh and organic produce. Byron Bay is known for its diverse and health-conscious food scene.

A big reason to visit Byron is because it has a lively nightlife scene with numerous bars and clubs. Check out venues like The Beach Hotel, Backyard, Salties, The Rails, and Woody’s Surf Shack for a night out – Each place has something on each night of the week.

Some travellers look for temporary work while in Byron Bay. Job opportunities may include farm work, hospitality, or retail – Happy Travels offer jobs in Byron Bay too so if you are looking for a job in paradise, check it out.

Byron Bay has a mild and temperate climate. Summers (December to February) are warm, and winters (June to August) are mild. It’s a year-round destination.

Gold Coast

Gold Coast also known as ‘The Goldie’ spans 57 kilometers from point to point, at the southern extremity is the town of Coolangatta, situated on the border with New South Wales. To the north, the Gold Coast extends past Burleigh Heads up to Surf Paradise – A must see location along Australia’s East Coast.

Surfers Paradise has skyscrapers including hotels, nightclubs and casinos fringing the long golden beaches overlooking the surf. The q1 building is the most notable with incredible panoramic 360 degree views.

We recommend to stop in Surfers Paradise for a couple of days which is enough time to take in the sights, relax on the beach and fit in a visit to either Springbrook or Lamington National Parks or for a fun day out you can drop into Wet ‘N’ Wild or Movie World Theme Parks.


Brisbane is Australia’s third largest city and is the Queensland Capitol. This clean, friendly and inviting city will be your last ‘big city’ stop as you head north, or, if you are heading south, a welcome sight after spending much of your time in regional towns.

When exploring the galleries, cafe’s and museums along Brisbane’s river be sure to take your swimming stuff and sunscreen. Located in the heart of Southbank is a man-made lagoon, perfect for a dip in the sunshine.

If you want to do some epic activities, our number #1 recommendation is to check out Moreton Island on an day trip. This stunning island paradise offers visitors a unique blend of recreational activities, including snorkeling around the Tangalooma Wrecks, sandboarding down towering dunes, exploring the Blue Lagoon, and encountering the resident dolphins.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is worth a visit and is one of the world’s first and largest koala sanctuaries. It’s a great place to interact with Australian wildlife, including koalas, kangaroos, and platypuses. It is local to Brisbane city and easy to get to.

If you want to visit a zoo in Australia, then Australia Zoo, situated in Beerwah, Queensland, is a renowned wildlife conservation facility founded by the late Steve Irwin. Located just North of Brisbane and spanning 100 acres, the zoo is home to diverse Australian and international wildlife, offering close encounters with animals like kangaroos, koalas, and crocodiles. With a focus on conservation and education, Australia Zoo provides an engaging experience, inspiring visitors to appreciate and protect the world’s ecosystems.

Brisbane offers a variety of well-regarded hostels catering to different preferences and budgets. Brisbane City YHA stands out for its central location and rooftop pool with city views, while Bunk Brisbane in Fortitude Valley is popular for its lively atmosphere and proximity to nightlife. All Nations Brisbane Hostel, situated in the city center, provides a range of budget-friendly rooms and easy access to key attractions. Travelers are encouraged to check recent reviews and amenities to find the best fit for their needs or ask us which ones are most suited to you.

Brisbane has everything you could want from a city, exciting nightlife, plenty of fun activities and loads to see and do – We recommend approximately 2 to 4 days here for a 4-5 week East Coast trip. You can also find reasonably priced accommodation as well as plenty of work opportunities for travellers wanting to set up base for a while.


Noosa, located on Australia’s Sunshine Coast is the perfect beach town. Widely regarded as an ‘upmarket’ version of Byron Bay, this classy beach town is a holiday destinations for domestic and international tourists. The idyllic beaches and bars and restaurants along Hastings Street make this spot a must see for anyone looking to have a holiday.

If you are an adventure traveller then your first stop must be the Noosa National Park. Covering an area of approximately 4,000 hectares, the park is known for its diverse landscapes, picturesque beaches, and rich biodiversity. This world surfing reserve offers world-class beaches and one of Australia’s top coastal walks. Beautiful tea tree forests make it the perfect habitat for wild koalas and at the end of the walk, you can jump into the salty water rock pools known as Noosa ‘Fairy Pools’.

Surrounding Noosa are The Noosa Everglades. With just 2 everglade systems in the world, this unique and diverse ecosystem is characterised by it’s meandering waterways, lakes, and wetlands. The area is often referred to as the “River of Mirrors” due to the reflective surfaces of the water. One of the best ways to experience the Noosa Everglades is through guided or self-guided canoe and kayak trips. The serene waterways provide an opportunity to explore the diverse flora and fauna while enjoying the tranquility of the surroundings.

Due to the number of activities, amazing beaches and hostels in the area, Noosa has become one of the most popular start and end destination for K’Gari (Fraser) Island safari style tag-along tours. Located just 100km’s from Rainbow Beach (where you take the ferry to / from K’gari) it’s easy to get to and from the island so you can enjoy your time before and after your trips depart, relaxing by the beach or exploring The Everglades.

There are some incredible hostels in Noosa ranging from fun, social hostels like Nomads Noosa to boutique ‘flashpacker’ hostels like Bounce and Flashpackers – When planning your East Coast trip, Happy Travels can help recommend the most suitable accommodation based on your preferences and budget.

K’gari (Fraser) Island

K’gari, formerly known as Fraser Island is the world biggest sand island and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Without a doubt, this quintessential Australian experience is one of a kind and not one to miss on your travels.

Known for its pristine beaches, unique ecosystems, and crystal-clear freshwater lakes. Seventy-Five Mile Beach serves as a natural highway, featuring attractions like the Maheno Shipwreck and the Champagne Pools. Visitors can explore lush rainforests, swim in the iconic Lake McKenzie, and experience the island’s diverse landscapes, including sand dunes, rocky headlands, and expansive coastal heaths.

There are plenty of day trips and overnight tours. Adventure travellers aged 18-35 often choose to explore the island with an overnight, multi-day 4WD Tag Along Safari tour. Other travellers looking for a more rugged experience may want to hire a 4×4 and go alone . Caution – This is recommended for experienced travellers that have a good understanding of off-road driving and tides!

Access to Fraser Island is typically by ferry or barge, and depart from either Rainbow Beach or Hervey Bay. Many tour operators are based out of these two locations as well as Noosa.

The Island is 120kms long and 1,600sqm. Exploring the island is often done by four-wheel-drive vehicles due to the sandy terrain as there are no roads on the island so therefore 2WD cars are not permitted.

Happy Travels work with every tour company, vehicle rental service and ferry operator on K’gari and can give you the information you need to know before your trip. We recommend booking your K’Gari Fraser Island tour 4-8 weeks in advance if you want to have a few options to choose from.

1770 / Agnes Water

Is it 1770? Or Agnes Water? This place can often be confused as having two names for the same town, however, they are in fact neighbouring towns.

Agnes Water is known for its beautiful, unspoiled beaches. The main beach in Agnes Water is the northernmost surf beach on the east coast of Australia, offering ideal conditions for surfing and other water activities. It is also (one of) the cheapest surf lessons in Australia – Be mindful that the surf doesn’t always work so far up north and Agnes works best during big swells!

This little surf town has a very relaxed and laid-back atmosphere, making it a popular destination for those looking for a chilled stop off between K’gari Island and The Whitsundays. The main street features shops, cafes, and amenities catering to tourists. Think “Byron Bay…. 50 years ago..”

1770 was named after the year that Captain James Cook landed on the shores of Queensland, Seventeen Seventy holds historical significance as the second landing site of Cook in Australia. There is a monument in the town commemorating this event.

The Greyhound Bus can take you here, however, it is important to check the arrival times as because it is an off-the-beaten-track destination, the drop off times can sometimes be late at night and hostels may not offer late check-ins. If you need advice on how to get to 1770 or what to do in Agnes Water – Enquire now and speak with one of our travel specialists.

Airlie Beach & The Whitsundays

Airlie Beach is a vibrant coastal town situated in the Whitsunday Region of Queensland, Australia. Known as the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef, Airlie Beach attracts visitors with its tropical ambiance and access to some of the world’s most stunning islands and beaches.

Airlie Beach serves as the primary departure point for exploring the Whitsunday Islands, a group of 74 islands known for their white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and coral reefs. Day trips, sailing adventures, and scenic flights to iconic destinations like Whitehaven Beach are easily accessible from Airlie Beach.

Beyond the water-based activities, Airlie Beach is a base for various adventure pursuits. Visitors can go skydiving, take scenic flights, or explore the lush rainforest-covered hillsides on quad bike tours.

The main street of Airlie Beach is bustling with activity, offering a mix of food options, hostels/hotels, and vibrant nightlife. Airlie Beach comes alive after sunset, with a lively nightlife scene. The town offers a variety of bars, clubs, and live music venues, creating a vibrant atmosphere for those looking to socialize and enjoy the tropical evenings. Everyone visiting Airlie Beach tends to be in a good mood as they are either about to head to The Whitsundays, or they just returned!

Townsville & Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island is a picturesque tropical island located just offshore from Townsville, accessible by a short ferry ride. Known for its relaxed atmosphere and outdoor adventures.

The Island can be accessed via the Sealink Ferry which costs approx. $40 return. There are two top hostels on the island – Nomads & Selina. One overlooks the ocean and the other is home to a koala sanctuary! We book both of them and can help you get a great deal!

The best way to get around the island is by renting one of the little jeeps or insta-famous top-less Barbie ‘style’ cars. These convertible whips are great fun to get around the island on and can be rented on arrival – Subject to availability.

Did we mention the beaches? This island has 23 stunning beaches, some more accessible than other but fabulous non the less.

One thing you must not miss out on the island is the Forts Walk Lookout. A popular hiking trail leading to the historic WWII-era Forts complex, where visitors can enjoy scenic views and learn about the island’s history and epic panoramic views – Make sure you keep an eye out for Koalas and the Rock Wallabies (at sunset).

A great travellers-top-tip is to save some money and buy your food in Townsville prior to arriving to the island. The Greyhound bus drops you into Townsville, close to the ferry port and just a short walk from the supermarket. The ferry’s leave frequently, to and from the island, every day. We recommend 2 to 3 days here for a laidback, chilled, island experience.

Cairns & Surrounds

Cairns is a tropical city located in Far North Queensland.  Known for its tropical climate, access to the Great Barrier Reef, and proximity to lush rainforests it truly is the adventure capital of Australia.

In Cairns itself, there are plenty of great accommodation choices from party hostels such as the whopping 600 bed Gilligans, to more laid back or social hostels like Bounce or Mad Monkey. Cairns is home to an epic nightlife scene and when you are not on your daily adventures, there are plenty of great bars and nightclubs to check out.

Whilst Cairns is known for being a bit of a party town, there are plenty of amazing activities to see and do such as;

Great Barrier Reef, one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders. Numerous reef tours and cruises depart from Cairns, offering opportunities for snorkeling, scuba diving, and exploring the vibrant marine life and coral formations.

North of Cairns lies the Daintree Rainforest, the oldest continuously surviving tropical rainforest on Earth – over 135,000,000 years old. This UNESCO World Heritage-listed site is home to diverse plant and animal species, including unique wildlife like the cassowary. Cape Tribulation, where the rainforest meets the reef, is a highlight.

To the southwest of Cairns, the Atherton Tablelands offer a highland region with fertile landscapes, waterfalls, and agricultural activities. Visitors can explore the charming towns of Atherton and Yungaburra, visit crater lakes, and discover the Milla Milla Waterfall circuit.

If you are looking for an adrenaline adventure Cairns is Australia home of The Bungy Jump at over 50m high up in the canopy, there are not many better Bungy Jumps in the world. Skydiving and White Water rafting are popular excursions from Cairns too so take your pick – Which one will it be?

If you are looking to cruise around Cairns then The Esplanade is a popular waterfront area with parks, recreational facilities, and the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon—a large, man-made swimming pool overlooking the Coral Sea. It’s a hub for outdoor activities, picnics, and enjoying the tropical surroundings.

Cairns is a great place to start or end your journey. Home to an international and Domestic Airport, cheap flights go in and out of Cairns every day. You can also find the Greyhound Bus departs from here too most days. Cairns will serve as a great place to say goodbye to your friends, start your next journey or find work.

Popular East Coast packages

The East Coast of Australia

East Coast Ultimate Package

Our 30 Night East Coast Ultimate package is the best of the best. In this popular favourite you'll tick off every bucket list activity you can imagine.

The East Coast of Australia

14 Day East Coast Express Travel Package

Our customer favourite 14 day East Coast Express is our most popular travel package. Flexible, affordable & out-of-this-world adventure.

The East Coast of Australia

17 Day Sydney to Cairns Highlights Package

Our 17 day Sydney to Cairns East Coast Package can be booked either way. Start in Sydney, Byron or Cairns via Byron Bay, Fraser Island & The Barrier Reef.

The East Coast of Australia

East Coast Package Builder

Find yourself in amazing places with our custom East Coast Package Builder. Our most popular East Coast Package.

The East Coast of Australia

32 Day East Coast Adventure Tour

If you’re searching for a great East Coast Adventure Tour, then look no further than our 32 Day East Coast Ultimate Package!

The East Coast of Australia

21 Day East Coast Adventure Package

This 21 Day East Coast Adventure Package is a mega saver packed full of awesome adventures. Visit top spots like Cairns, Whitsundays & Fraser Island.

The East Coast of Australia

Travel Buddies 32 Day Sydney to Cairns Group Tour

Travel the East Coast on this 32-day semi self-guided group adventure tour including K'gari, Whitsundays, Cape Tribulation and more!

The East Coast of Australia

Budget Fraser Island & Whitsundays Combo Deal

Our Budget Fraser Island & Whitsundays includes two top quality products across multiple days. Food, guides, activities, transport & accommodation included.

The East Coast of Australia

The Happy Travels East Coast Essentials

Explore Australia's East Coast on a budget with our popular East Coast Essentials package. Enjoy discounted access to Fraser Island and The Whitsundays.