My TOP 13 adventures on the east coast of Australia:
- Diving with sharks, turtles, parrot fish and more at the Great Barrier Reef. I can highly recommend TUSA5 in Cairns with its amazingly fun crew which was very well organized. We went to an exclusive spot named Flynn Reef in the Outer Reef and enjoyed 3 dives in the 29°C water. Due to the danger of box jellyfish which are deadly, you will have to wear full-body wetsuits. Expect to pay around USD $200 if you own a diving license.
- Rent a 4×4 and drive up to the Daintree Nationalpark to explore the rain forest and its unique animals. Be careful, there are often crocodile sightings and the beaches are too dangerous to swim due to the sting rays. Also stop at Mossman Gorge and take a plunge there!
- Take a boat trip to Magnetic Island and hike between the eucalyptus trees to find some koala bears and wallabies. Have a picnic at Horseshoe Bay in the North of the island before heading back to Townsville.
- Go on a sailing trip at the Whitsundays which consist of over 70 islands, and enjoy the white, sandy beaches, deep-blue water and toast with champagne at sunset.
- Learn how to surf at 1770, yes that’s the name of a town not a surf shop! It’s an idyllic place, just one small bay, very few hostels and perfect to surf beginner waves! And who doesn’t want to live in a town with that name!
- Rent a 4×4 and hit the Fraser Island, the biggest sand island on which you can find a rain forest, by yourself instead of a packaged tour! Way more adventure and independence. Check out the 125km beach including the ship wreck Maheno, which sits there since 1935. Camp at one of the many lakes between sand dunes and rain forest but watch out for the dingos!
- Visit the Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane and pet koalas, box with kangaroos and see other unique Australian animals.
- Surfers shouldn’t miss Surfer’s paradise and Byron Bay, two of the most favorite surf spots of the east coast. The towns are lovely, a lot of bars and restaurants and a good amount of hostels to choose from.
- Visit the beautiful wineries and sample wines, liquors and champagne at Hunter Valley near Newcastle. You can spend hours, touring from vineyard to vineyard taking in the beautiful scenery.
- Fun is guaranteed with a 4-wheel safari at Redhead Beach where you cruise up and down the sand dunes, through rivers and occasionally stop to jump in the ocean to cool off!
- There is no better spot for New Year’s Eve than Sydney! Get ready in the morning or latest by lunch time and reserve your spot at one of the many parks around the harbour. Seriously! You need to be early if you want to have a (good) spot. We chose Mortbay Park, one of the view areas where food and alcohol is allowed to bring. At 9pm the family fireworks take place and 3h later the bombastic USD $5 million fireworks lightens up the harbour. For exactly 12 minutes. If you are lucky or rich, the best view is guaranteed from one of the many yachts though.
- Hike to the “Three Sisters” in the Blue Mountains and spend a day away from the city wandering through eucalyptus trees, around cliffs and waterfalls. It’s the haze which the eucalyptus trees produce at hot weather that make the mountains appear to be bluish.
- Not to be missed – The “12 Apostels” of the Great Ocean Road. Rent a car from Melbourne and head west along the coast for breathtaking views. The “12 Apostels” are impressive rocks just in front of the coastal cliffs. Go down to the beach and get closer if you like.
What else I want to mention:
I had my best couchsurfing experiences in Australia! Australians are like no other, the most friendly and hospitable people I’ve met. So give couchsurfing a shot and experience OZ the local way!
What did I miss? What would you add?