From water slides to goon filled drinking games here are our favourite Whitsundays party boats so you can crack a cold one in paradise and enjoy the chaos!
The Best Whitsunday Tour Party Boats!
1. Atlantic Clipper
The infamous Atlantic Clipper is THE whitsunday party boat and has been providing heaps of fun for backpackers for years and is one of the most popular Whitsunday tours out there.
At 34 metres long the Atlantic Clipper boats an on board spa, spacious lounge and bar area and even a water slide – it’s safe to say it has everything you need for an epic Whitsundays party boat experience!
It has a max capacity of 53 across 21 cabins and is frequently fully booked out, so if you fancy jumping on the Clipper we’d suggest getting it locked kin early to avoid missing out.
And of course if you want a break from partying you can soak up the beautiful surroundings, explore the coral reef and there’s even scuba diving available on board too.
The sister ship of the Atlantic Clipper, New Horizon is another one of our most popular Whitsunday tours and is most definitely a party boat!
With up to 32 backpackers on board she’s one of the only party boats to boats A/C cabins – which on a hangover in the Aussie heat is certainly welcome!
Complete with SUPs and even. diving board (greta fun for making your friends walk the plank in true pirate style!) New Horizon packs in heaps of fun whilst still ticking off the Whitsundays must do destinations.
If you want a super stylish Whitsunday tour then joining the party boat Avatar is what you need to do!
The only tour offering trimaran in the Whitsundays, Avatar offer plenty of space on the netting to kick back with some cold beers with your newly found backpacker buddies.
With up to 26 guests on board you’ll sail around the Whitsundays in style as it’s also one of the fastest vessels in the Whitsundays too – allowing you to hit up spots other overnight tours can’t reach.
The worlds largest sand island is one of the best adventures between Sydney and Cairns – where you can visit dense rainforest, hike along sprawling sand dunes, swim in crystal clear lakes and of course drive along the beach!
So if you’re busy planning your Fraser Island tour here’s 7 handy things to know, before you go…
7 Things You Need To Know Before Your Fraser Island Tour
You Can Drive A 4×4
One of our favourite experiences about Fraser Island is the opportunity to drive a 4×4 during your Fraser Island tour!
Admittedly not every trip offer this – all our favourite like Pippies, Dingos and Nomads Fraser do -but if you’re over 21, with a valid international license you’ll get the opportunity to cruise along beach highways and through more challenging rainforest tracks during your trip which is heaps of fun.
But Not On The Day Trips
Unfortunately though if you only have the time or budget for a day trip you wont get this chance – as these are done with 4×4 tour buses.
The Local Name For The Island Is K’Gari
Fraser Island has long been home to Aboriginals who have lived off the land and natural resources for thousands of years.
And because of that there’s heaps of incredible history, culture and dreamtime stories to learn during your trip.
If you really want to discover more about the real K’Gari we highly recommend checking out the Dropbear Adventures Tour where you’re knowledgable guides will teach you more about this side of the island.
Camping Is The Most Fun Option
Seriously, if you’re looking of the most fun Fraser Island tour then the camping options are our teams favourite option!
I mean how many times do you have the opportunity to camp on the worlds largest sand island and gaze at the stars from the door of your tent!
Embrace the adventure and check out Pippies, Dingos or Dropbear for some camping goodness
…But You Can Do A Dorm If You Prefer!
If you want a more comfortable nights sleep there are also dorm options too – with Nomads Fraser Island being the most popular as it still offers the opportunity to drive the 4×4.
In fact Nomads offer both a dorm and camping option on the same trip so you wont miss out on any of the fun!
You Can Leave Your Luggage At The Start Destination
Pretty much all hostels in Rainbow Beach, Noosa or Hervey Bay offer luggage lock up facilities for those heading out to Fraser Island.
This means you can slim your stuff down to a small weekend bag and not have to lug it all around the island!
Just take the essentials (inc a jumper for the evening in the winter months) and embrace the island vibes!
Most Tours Are BYO
Most Fraser Island tours are BYO – which is ideal for backpackers looking to save some money on bar tabs whilst still having heaps of fun!
The overnight camping trips are great for an awesome fireside party, so bring along some cold beers or a couple of boxed of goon to get things started!
…or have a few in the back of the 4×4 if you’re not driving that day!
The main exception to this rule is the Nomads Fraser Island tour, which has a licensed bar on site.
Not sure whether to travel Sydney to Cairns or Cairns to Sydney? We run through how to decide which way to travel East Coast Australia is best for you!
Not sure whether to travel Sydney to Cairns or Cairns to Sydney? It can be a tough call trying to decide which way to travel East Coast Australia is best for you!
No worries though – we run through the main factors you’ll need to keep in mind to decide which Australia plan will be the best option…
Sydney to Cairns or Carins To Sydney? The Best Way To Travel East Coast Australia
Best Spots to Visit On The East Coast
First off lets put everything into perspective. The Sydney to Cairns route is over 2,900km so you’ve got a lot of distance to cover! If you want to tick off the main stops these are our personal favourites;
…and if you want to do the whole thing Melbourne is a great addition too!
The Time Of Year
The time of year you’re heading to Australia is something you should definitely something you should keep in mind when travelling to Australia – as believe it or not Australia does actually have a winter season!
And weather in Sydney and Melbourne can vary A LOT during the winter – yes, Australia can get cold and rainy! In fact winter weather in Melbourne can be as low as 6 degrees with frosty night times!
Summer = December to February
Autumn = March to May
Winter = June to August
Spring = September and November
November to April also marks the monsoon season in Queensland (with the northern part of it being the most affected) so also take this into account when planning your route too. Chances are you’re going to hit some rainy season up towards Cairns – but perhaps start there and move south towards the better weather, or spend more time between Sydney and Rainbow Beach.
Another starting point for planning your trip are any key events you want to hit up on the way – such as Xmas and New Year in Sydney, Bluesfest in Byron Bay or the Australian Open in Melbourne.
As we’ve said before, Australia is HUGE place and unless you’re looking at getting internal flights these events could dictate where you’ll need to start!
For example if you land in Australia 10th December and want to do Sydney for xmas you wont want to be starting in Cairns, you simply wont have enough time to travel down the coast without rushing through it heaps!
I know we’re trying to help you figure out Australia right now, but it’s also worth keeping in mind your onwards travel plans too!
If you’re flying internationally sometimes finishing in Sydney works out better for flight routes and prices, or for stops like New Zealand flying out of Cairns is really easy to do.
It’s not a huge deciding factor but certainly something to keep in mind.
Again – you can use internal flights to connect the dots in your travel plans, but make sure you price everything up as well so you know all your options!
The Best Way To Travel
Along with everything else you also need to keep in mind how you’re going to be travelling too! Greyhound Passes are the most popular, but you’ll need to know which way around you’re going for the point to point passes (so don’t change your mind!) whereas the WHIMit Passes dont have any restriction on route (only length of time) so you can mix things up with those!
Campervans are also fixed with the route once you’ve reserved one and the prices do vary on length of time but also the route as well – so you may find out it’s much cheaper to go with a different starting point – and this may well have a huge impact on your decision.
Which Way Does Everyone Else Travel?
So do most people travel Cairns to Sydney or Sydney to Cairns?
Yes we deal with a lot of travellers plans and yes people do both routes.
We have to say though most people do tend to opt for the Sydney to Cairns option – which is usually because there are better flights into Australia via Sydney or even Melbourne.
However, dont let this put you off doing it the other way – you’ll still meet heaps of people and it may well work out the best option for you.
Again – the internal flight option is there if you price it all up and realise you need to start in Cairns, but flights into Sydney are heaps lower.
So What’s Best For YOU?
So there you have it – the main things that will help you decide whether to travel Sydney to Cairns or Cairns to Sydney during your Australia trip.
Ultimately though it’s totally down to you – and if you keep the above points in mind you’re not going to go wrong with either direction!
And if you’re still super stuck just chat to our Aussie experts and we’d be happy to help you plan your perfect trip.
Well here’s 8 reasons Fraser Island should be on your bucket list…
8 Reasons Fraser Island Should Be On Your Bucket List
1. Lake Mackenzie
This is easily our favourite reason to visit Fraser Island – this rainfall fed, freshwater lake is surrounded by lush rainforest and even the drive to get here is stunning!
It’s the perfect place to cool off in the Aussie heat and the sand here is silicon rich – making it great for exfoliating your skin or even polishing up your jewellery!
2. Eli Creek
Kick back, relax and enjoy a slower pace of life floating down Eli Creek. This shallow, fresh water stream winds its way through the vegetation and spills out onto the beach. Grab an inflatable, maybe a cold beer and enjoy.
3. Beach Driving
If there’s one stand out reason that you should visit Fraser Island it’s to cruise along the beach highways! If you’re jumping on a Fraser Island 4×4 tag along tour you’ll get the chance to drive on the beach and through the rainforest – with your guide taking care of things like tidal times so you can just enjoy the ride.
4. Maheno Shipwreck
The iconic Maheno Shipwreck ran aground on Fraser Island in 1935 and the remains of it are still embedded in the sand today. It’s a great spot to explore, grab some pics and learn more about the history of this famous wreck.
Fraser Island is home to the most pure population of Dingos in the world and they can be found all over the island, so keep an eye out for them. If you’re camping make sure you keep all your food locked up and in your t4ruck to avoid unwanted attention and if you do encounter them on foot stay calm!
With little in the way of light pollution on the island make sure you head outside at night and look up – you’ll be rewarded with some of the bets stars capes you’ll see anywhere in Australia, just remember to make a wish if you see a shooting star!
7. Champagne Pools
Another amazing place to cool off and escape the Queensland heat the famous Champagne Pools get their name from the bubbles created as waves crash over the rocks at high tide. Great for some GoPro selfies and the perfect spot to up your tan.
8. Indian Head Lookout
Take in the epic views across the coast of Fraser Island from Indian Head lookout. It’s only a short, easy stroll to the top so make sure you take the time to check it out. When the sea is calm keep an eye out for turtles, manta rays and sharks cruising below the cliffs.
Trying to find the best surf camp Australia has to offer? Here are our favourite spots to hit the waves and learn to surf in Australia!
Thinking of heading to a surf camp in Australia? Good choice! Crystal clear water, epic waves, and the chance to share them with dolphins, are just a few reasons why we love surfing here.
But with so many spots around the country, where should you base yourself?
Here, we recommend three of the best surf camp locations, plus a couple of extra options if you don’t have the time, or budget, for a full camp.
Surf Camp Australia – Where to Hit the Waves Down Under!
The surf camp advantage
It’s no secret that Australia is up there as one of the best places on earth to surf. But that’s the problem; it’s no secret. The masses of surfers upon surfers fighting for waves at the country’s most popular spots, take the word crowded to a whole new level.
You should definitely get in amongst it at least once on your trip (gotta tick surfing Bondi or Snapper Rocks off the bucket list, right?). But whether you’re heading to Australia to learn to surf, or to catch the best waves of your life, having a bit of local knowledge goes a lonnnng way.
That’s where surf camps come into their own; they eliminate the stress of wondering where to surf, or wasted time heading to the wrong places. You get the benefit of local knowledge from experienced surf coaches who will search out the best spots on the day based on crowds and surf conditions. Plus the added bonus that everything else is taken care of for you; just relax and throw yourself into surf life. Sweet!
Most camps will provide all meals and accommodation, as well as transport to and from the waves. Equipment can also be provided so you don’t have to worry about travelling with a board.
It doesn’t matter what level you’re at either. Whether you’re a total beginner or you’ve been shredding your whole life, a camp will make sure you get something to suit you, and give you the coaching that will push your surfing to the next level.
3 of the best surf camp locations in Australia
There are thousands of surf spots around the country, so where should you hit the waves? To help you narrow it down, here are three of our favourite surf camp locations, and the reasons why we love them:
It’s been hailed as one of the best places on earth to live and surf. Famed for its stunning beaches, warm water, consistent waves, and buzzing nightlife, what really makes Bryon special for us, is its laid back vibe and epic choice of surf breaks.
Main Beach and Clarkes Beach are perfect for beginners, while more advanced surfers will love The Pass, one of the best surf spots in Australia, and nearby Lennox Point; the world famous point break.
Check out Mojosurf who offer a range of options starting from 2 days all inclusive, right through to multi-location camps where you can hit up several areas on the same trip.
Set off the beaten track between Sydney and Byron Bay in one of the country’s most beautiful national marine parks, Spot X is dedicated to the surfer lifestyle. Its secluded location means that days in the sun and nights by the camp fire are the ultimate way to immerse yourself in the surf lifestyle.
What really sets it apart from other surf camp locations, is that the accommodation is right on the beachfront. Wake up to the sound of the ocean, roll out of bed, and hit the waves. Life doesn’t get much better.
Awesome waves and variety of breaks means that Spot X is perfect for both beginners and intermediate to advanced surfers.
Mojosurf include Spot X in their Sydney to Byron surf adventures. Options start from 5 days and are all inclusive.
About an hour and a half south of Byron, you’ll find Yamba; another stunning, super-chilled Aussie beach town with heaps of awesome surf breaks.
What we love about surfing here is that it’s probably one of the least crowded spots on the East Coast. It’s also one of the areas where you’ll have the best chance of scoring a session with dolphins swimming through the lineup.
Surf Camp Down Under offer a 3 night surf and stay package which includes the essentials of accommodation and surf tuition.
Alternatives to a surf camp
Depending on your travel plans, and how your budget is looking, a surf camp may not be the right choice for you. Here are a couple of other options to get you enjoying some perfect Aussie waves, without having to figure it out alone.
Take a full or half day trip with one of the local surf schools and hit the road to find the spot with the best conditions on the day. You’ll benefit from a coached session with an experienced, qualified instructor, plus all the equipment you need. Some even take a photographer along to capture the fun.
Trying to figure what to do in Byron Bay? It's an incredible town - so from whale watching to surfing here are our top things to do in Byron Bay!
Byron Bay is one of the most popular stops on the East Coast trail, and when you get there, you’ll see why. Stunning beaches, laid back people, and the barefoot hippie vibes are just a few of the things about Byron that will make you want to stick around.
There’s also a whole heap of awesome ways to spend your time. So whether you’re staying for a few days or a few months, check out our favourite things to do in Byron Bay, and make the most of your time in this epic little town.
Byron Bay is well known as one of the oldest and best surf towns in the world. Whether you’ve never surfed before, or shred with the best of them, paddling out here is a must-do.
Crystal clear water and perfect waves all year round make the surf spots in Byron a playground for everyone from complete beginners, to pro surfers. If you want to learn to surf in Byron Bay there’s a great choice of surf schools in town where an experienced surf instructor can help you get you up and riding in a day, plus loads more surf shops for board and wetsuit hire if you already know what you’re doing.
You can’t miss that Byron has a cool, hippie vibe going on, but Nimbin takes it to a whole new level. About an hour and 45 minutes outside of Byron, Nimbin is a village full of quirky, colourful shops, funky cafes, and some other plant based activities! Lots of it! It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re into the alternative scene, it’s worth a visit. It’s also a good opportunity to explore the beautiful Byron Bay Hinterland on the drive out and a day trip to Nimbin will include some amazing scenic stop offs.
Cape Byron Marine Park is made up of a selection of reefs, Julian Rocks, and the coastline that runs the eastern side of Byron Bay. Protected from the rough waters of the open ocean, Byron plays host to a rich and diverse selection of marine life, including its own resident pod of dolphins. Getting out on the water in a sea kayak is one of the best ways to get a close up view of these incredible animals. Depending on the time of year, you might also be lucky enough to have close encounters with humpback whales, turtles, and manta rays.
4. Check out the local markets
The perfect way to start a lazy Sunday, grab a coffee and wander around Byron’s Community Market. Take your time to explore the huge collection of artworks, handcrafted goods, and locally-grown produce, while listening to live music and enjoying some of the best food and drink from the Byronshire area. The market is held at Butler Street reserve on the 1st Sunday of every month from 8am.
As well as the monthly market, you can also munch your way around the weekly farmers market in the same location, every Thursday morning from 8am. You’ll find organic and locally grown fruits and vegetables, alongside local specialities like honey, olives, artisan bread, macadamia nuts, and freshly squeezed cane juice. Our advice: go with a full wallet and an empty stomach!
5. Scuba dive (or snorkel) at Julian Rocks
Byron Bay is located where the warm waters of the north, meet the cooler waters of the south, making it home to a vast array of both tropical and cold water marine life. Julian Rocks, five minutes off the coast of Byron, is renowned as one of the top dive sites in Australia and a scuba dive at Julian Rocks is well worth doing.
At different times of year, you’ll find leopard sharks, manta rays, turtles, and the endangered grey nurse shark, as well as an abundance of colourful tropical fish. If you’re not into diving, the site is also incredible for a snorkelling adventure.
6. Hit the town!
For a relatively small town, Byron isn’t short of places to have a drink! Whether you prefer a beer overlooking the ocean, sipping on fancy cocktails, or a night of live music, you’ll find something that hits the spot.
The Railway Hotel (or ‘the Rails’ as it’s affectionately known) is located in Byron’s now defunct train station and has live music most nights of the week.
The Great Northern Hotel (‘the Northern’) is the home of Stone & Wood, Byron’s local brew, and is another great place for live music. They often host some big name bands too so keep an eye on what’s coming up.
The Beach Hotel (‘the Beachie’) has a prime spot right on the seafront and is a great place to grab a sunset beer, plus they also have live music on a Sunday.
If you want to party into the early hours, check out Woody’s Surf Shack for a vintage surf vibe, and Cheeky Monkeys, the home of Byron’s backpacker party scene.
7. Watch the sunrise (or set) from Byron Bay lighthouse
Whether you’re a morning person or not, make sure you get up to Cape Byron Lighthouse to see the sunrise at least once during your trip. Cape Byron is the most easterly point in Australia and sunrise from here is pretty spectacular.
Watch the sun come straight up out of the ocean, as the surrounding landscape gradually catches the light. Between May and November you might even have some humpback whales for company.
8. Get into beach life
It’s hard not to become a beach bum when you’re surrounded by so many beautiful beaches in and around Byron. Main Beach is, unsurprisingly, the main beach in town and is a great place to watch the sunset. In the next bay south is Wategos; smaller but sheltered and a popular hangout for dolphins. Then to the south again is Tallows; a huge, wild expanse of sand and ocean. You definitely aren’t short of spots to lay your beach towel!
For the very best views of Byron, try jumping out of a plane at 15,000 feet. Ok, this one might not be for everyone! But for those who dare, you’ll be rewarded with the spectacular image of lush, green jungle sprawling out to meet Byron’s famous beaches, and the vast turquoise ocean beyond.
You might have gathered by now that Byron Bay is a pretty good location to spot whales. Between the months of May and November, humpback whales can be spotted off the coast of Byron as they make their way north from Antarctica, to their breeding grounds in the subtropics, and then again as they return with their young – making whale watching in Byron Bay one of the best spots in the country.
You can often catch a glimpse of these amazing creatures from the shore, but for a closer encounter, take a whale watching tour. Some boats even have a hydrophone on board so you can listen to the whale song.
What are your favourite Byron Bay activities?
So that’s our top 10, but of course there are heaps more things to do in Byron Bay. Share the love and let us know what your favourites are in the comments below! For more inspiration, check out our Byron Bay Tours and Day Trips and start planning your adventure now.
Loka Travel has now become Stray Australia! Check out their amazing range of hop on, hop off Australia bus passes covering Sydney to Cairns!
We’re stoked to introduce you to Australias newest hop on, hop off bus network – Stray Australia!
If you’ve been doing your research on the best way to travel around Australia we’re sure you’ve heard of Loka Travel by now – their range of flexible, semi guided bus passes covering Sydney to Cairns have been a huge hit and their unique stops make it the perfect option for those looking to explore off the beaten track.
And they’re now getting even bigger and better – merging with Stray Travel (who have a range of epic travel passes in New Zealand and South East Asia) to become Stray Australia!
So here’s the lowdown on what’s going on…
Stray Australia – New Name, Same Epic Australia Travel Passes
For the moment the only major change is the name and as of 1st October 2018 Loka Travel will officially become Stray Australia.
That means all the amazing passes will stay the same – including all their amazing unique stops like Barrington Tops and Great Keppel Island.
Basically they will still have all the amazing things we love about Loka, just with a shiny new logo!
Discover Australia for even less with the Greyhound WHIMit and accommodation packages! Bundle your unlimited travel with up to 28 nights at YHA Australia, Base or Nomads Hostels!
It seems everyone has been super stoked with the Greyhound WHIMit passes (they’re certainly our customers bus pass of choice in Australia now!) so we’re excited to announce that Greyhound have now launched two WHIMit package deals!
These package together the flexible hop on, hop off bus passes (with unlimited travel across the Greyhound network) with up to 28 nights of accommodation at YHA Australia, Base or Nomads hostels – making them incredible value for money!
Introducing the new Greyhound WHIMit and Accomodation package deals!
WHIMit + YHA Australia
With over 70 hostels all across Australia from amazing views over Sydney Opera House or the epic vibes of YHA Yamba to the rugged red dirt of Alice Springs in the out backor Darwin in the Northern Territory – YHA Australia is the perfect option for those who want something a bit more chilled, clean and comfortable.
All the YHA hostels are geared up with kitchens, wifi, common room and some even come with pools to chill out in.
We’d recommend these to anyone who wants something a little more flashpacker and chilled.
If you’re looking for a more social and party orientated hostel experience in Australia then the Base and Nomads hostel packages `re the way to go!
With epic central locations across all the top destinations on the East Coast trail you’ll meet plenty of backpacker buddies from across the globe at these hostels – including the famous Arts Factory in Byron Bay, as seen on the Inbetweens 2 Movie!
The added bonus of the Base and Nomads packages is an uncapped amount of nights at each hostel – so you can use your discounted bed hopper pass to its full potential.
Travelling to Australia and looking for a good place to start? Here's our mini guide to Melbourne - one of the most liveable cities in the world! Discover why it's such a popular spot to start your working holiday visa!
The southern parts of Australia have a temperate climate, so Melbourne weather remains fairly pleasant throughout the year. The hottest it can get is around 70°F (or 21°C) in January, while temperatures drop to 50°F (10°C) in the winter (July).
You might, however, want to avoid the peak seasons, such as Christmas break, as accommodation prices go up and availability goes down. Sporting fans also fill up hotels during the Australian Open Grand Slam every January and the famous Formula 1 Australia Grand Prix in March.
Where’s the best place to stay in Melbourne?
If you’re looking to stay in a hotel, a double room for 2 begins at 120 AUD per night and many offer free breakfast during your stay. In the centre of the city, you’ll find doubles starting at around 200 AUD per night.
With Airbnb, you could find a shared room in a home for around 30 AUD. Whole apartments may cost around 100 AUD, but you’ll get the comfort of space and privacy.
There are also plenty of hostels to choose from in Melbourne. Dorms housing 8-10 people may cost around 25 AUD, which is great if you’re on a budget trip. Here are some of the best hostels in Melbourne:
Base St. Kilda in Melbourne
If you can’t afford it, you can ask to work for your bed. Many hostels allow travellers to pay for their bed by spending a few hours a day cleaning. Keep this in mind should you find yourself in a tight spot.
You could also try Couchsurf, which connects you to more than 57,000 trusted hosts willing to house you for your stay. This would also be a great chance to interact with locals and have them show you around.
How do I get around Melbourne?
From the get-go, you’ll need around 36 AUD to get to and from the airport via Skybus.
If you plan on exploring around the inner-city area or the Central Business District, you can take the free city circle tram, which runs from 10AM to 4PM.
For trains, you’ll need to get a Myki card that costs 6 AUD to get around. A Myki trip costs around 2.70 to 4 AUD and gives you unlimited travel within a particular zone for 2 hours.
And of course, there’s Uber, which is much cheaper than taking a cab.
What’s there to do in Melbourne?
Explore the hidden gems of Melbourne
Melbourne has a multitude of hidden alleyways with antique coffee shops, galleries, arcades and boutiques, all waiting to be explored.
Hosier Lane is a well-loved alleyway famous for its vibrant and colourful graffiti art. If you’re a fan of the 19th century, then head to Degraves Street where you’ll find elegant cafes and arcades.
Along the General Post Office by Elizabeth Street, you’ll also find plenty of talented musicians busking and performing for free.
Grab a coffee
Melbourne is well-known for its obsession with coffee, so be sure to try as many cups of joe as you can while you’re there. They say Degraves Street is where you can find the best coffee in the city.
Get a taste of Melbourne by joining a free walking tour
In just a few hours, you could get years’ worth of knowledge about the essential must-sees of Melbourne for free. How? Join I’m Free Walking Tours’ daily tours around the city.
Their walking tour will take you through Federation Square, State Library of Victoria, the Carlton Gardens, Chinatown and so much more. And should a certain place strike your fancy, you could always return to explore more afterwards.
Indulge the artist in you
You could honestly spend a whole week in Melbourne just visiting their museums and galleries.
Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) – For fans of film and the visual arts
National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) – Australia’s most visited art museum
Ian Potter Centre – Australian history and Aboriginal art
Explore the public markets
Visit the Queen Victoria Market and have fun trying local and international delicacies. You could also visit Chelsea Market which offers everything from fresh produce to handmade products.
Take a nature break at the Royal Botanical Gardens
Escape the urban jungle and find refuge at the Royal Botanical Gardens. This haven within the city is the perfect place to take a stroll and watch the world go by.
Watch the sunset at the beach
Just 20 minutes from the city, St. Kilda is the perfect spot to watch the sunset. You can also take a refreshing dip in the water. And if you’re looking for Melbourne’s nightlife, St. Kilda is definitely where it’s at.
Start your working holiday visa
With so much to see and do it’s now wonder why starting your working holiday visa in Melbourne is so popular! With a range of jobs, plenty of suburbs to live in and flight connection all over Australia and the world it’s a great base to kickstart your Aussie trip. And if you want to get off to the best possible start check out our Melbourne working holiday visa packages!
Eating out in Australia is actually quite expensive, but lucky for you, Melbourne is the best city to find good and cheap food in the country. You can find good take-out food for 8 AUD, while sit-down restaurants will cost you less than 14 AUD.
If you prefer eating at home, a week’s worth of groceries may range from 65 AUD to 100 AUD.
Broadsheet and Timeout have listed down the best cheap eats you can find in the city.
Any must-know information before visiting Australia?
Currency: Australian Dollar (AUD)
Exchange Rate: 1 AUD = 0.74 USD
Electric socket: Type 1 (3 prongs, V-shaped)
Know some Australian slang.
Wear sunblock as Australia’s sun is particularly harsh.
Be careful where you light your cigarette as smoking is banned in most indoor and public spaces.
Internet isn’t available everywhere, so get your own hotspot.
Cars drive on the left side of the road.
Rentals are listed as $ per week not month.
It isn’t customary to tip service workers.
Melbourne isn’t called the ‘world’s most liveable city’ for nothing. With a thriving art scene, wide variety of cuisines, vibrant nightlife, never-ending list of things to do, and of course, its welcoming residents, Melbourne is the kind of city you’ll never want to leave.
Greyhound Bus Passes are the most popular option for travelling around Australia - especially the East Coast of Australia. From the hop on, hop off bus passes covering Sydney to Cairns and other popular routes to the flexible KM passes their comfortable buses (which also include USB charging ports for your phone and wifi) and multiple daily departures the Greyhound bus is the most convenient way to explore Australia. So we’re super stoked to introduce the latest Greyhound bus pass option - the WHIMit bus pass! WHIMit Bus Pass - Unlimited Travel In Australia The Greyhound WHIMit bus passes are designed for travellers who want the ultimate in flexibility for their Australia travel plans - which is why they all included unlimited travel in Australia! Yup, you heard that right - the WHIMit bus passes included UNLIMITED travel across the whole Greyhound Bus network - which includes the East Coast and even the Red Centre! And yes that also includes backtracking too! So if you loved your stay in Byron Bay and have headed north and realised you dont like Brisbane so much you can bounce back to Byron on the same pass no worries. It also means you can fly between destinations and pickup continue your travel overland on the same pass too The only restriction is your time frame - and the passes range from 7 days to a whole year so there’s plenty of options for people hitting tup Australia for a quick trip or a full working holiday visa. WHIMit Bus Passses - The Cost And Options So what are the new options with the Greyhound WHIMit Passes? As you can see there's a good variety of options to choose from and the 45 Day option is actually now the most cost effective
From the hop on, hop off bus passes covering Sydney to Cairns and other popular routes to the flexible KM passes their comfortable buses (which also include USB charging ports for your phone and wifi) and multiple daily departures the Greyhound bus is the most convenient way to explore Australia.
So if you loved your stay in Byron Bay and have headed north and realised you dont like Brisbane so much you can bounce back to Byron on the same pass no worries.
It also means you can fly between destinations and pickup continue your travel overland on the same pass too
The only restriction is your time frame – and the passes range from 7 days to a whole year so there’s plenty of options for people hitting tup Australia for a quick trip or a full working holiday visa.
WHIMit Bus Passses – The Cost And Options
So what are the new options with the Greyhound WHIMit Passes?
As you can see there’s a good variety of options to choose from and the 45 Day option is actually now the most cost effective add on to most of our East Coast Package Deals – just $5 more than the standard hop on, hop off pass but with the added advantage of being able to backtrack, ideal for those on tour only packages.
Want to learn to surf in Australia? Check out our top destinations, surf camps surf schools for all the best waves Australia has to offer!
If you’re spending any time in Australia, learning to surf should definitely be high on your bucket list! Over 30,000 miles of coastline means thousands of surf spots, world class waves, and plenty of beach breaks perfect for beginners to get their first taste of pure stoke.
In this guide, we take a quick look at the different ways to learn, share our favourite Aussie surf spots that are perfect for catching your first waves, and round up our team’s pick of the best learn to surf packages available.
Should you go it alone, book a lesson or stay with a surf camp?
Ah the killer question!
There’s actually more to it than just time and money, so let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of each:
Board hire only
If you’ve surfed before, know what you’re doing, and feel confident in the ocean, renting a board and hitting the waves solo may work well for you. It’s also the cheapest option, happy days!
Book a lesson
If you’ve never surfed before, don’t be tempted to just rent a board and go; surfing is deceptively hard! Spend a few more dollars and get a proper lesson. You’ll have way more fun, be safer, and you’re also much more likely to nail that Instagram shot of you riding your first waves like a pro!
A good surf school will pick out the best spot for the conditions on the day, show you everything you need to know to get you up and riding, plus teach you a little about ocean safety.
A lesson is also perfect if you don’t have long, or want the flexibility of choosing as many or as few days as you need. It’s more expensive than board hire alone, but usually all equipment is included in the price which eases the blow a bit.
Stay at a surf camp
It’s a simple truth that the more you surf, the better you get. If you want to improve beyond getting up on your first white water waves, soak up the surf lifestyle, and make new friends, you can’t beat the experience of a surf camp.
It might be the most expensive option, but you get all the benefits of multiple lessons, plus everything, including meals and accommodation, is taken care of for you. All you need to think about is surfing and chilling!
The best surf spots in Australia for beginners
As a beginner, the best place to learn is at a beach break where you can catch broken waves in waist deep water, with no strong currents. Australia has a mind blowing amount of surf spots and loads that are perfect for beginners. Here are five of our favourites:
Situated in Northern New South Wales, picturesque Yamba is another classic Aussie beach town. Beginners have a couple of options here with Turners Beach and Main Beach both offering gentle waves, as well as breaks for more advanced surfers.
Spot X Surf Camp, New South Wales
Situated off the beaten track in Solitary Marine Park between Sydney and Byron Bay, Spot X Surf Camp is a dream location. You’ll find amazing waves with breaks suitable for absolute beginners right through to intermediate and advanced surfers.
What really sets Spot X apart from other locations though, is that it’s one of the few places where you can stay right on the beach. The perfect place to immerse yourself in Aussie surf life.
If you’re hitting up Perth on the West Coast, you’ll still find plenty of opportunities to get some waves. The beginner breaks close to the city such as Cottesloe Beach, can get super crowded so you may find a little road trip pays off.
Lancelin Back Beach, just over an hour away, is beautiful and is usually uncrowded. For the best waves, try straight in front of the car park.
The best learn to surf packages in Australia
It’s not easy choosing between all the different options out there, so to help, we asked the experts (most of our team are die hard surfers!) for their top picks.
A surf camp with a twist, the beauty of this package is that you can use it to travel from Sydney to Byron (or vice-versa), as well as soaking up the surf life in the epic locations of Spot X and Byron Bay.
Spot X’s secluded location means you’ll eat, sleep, and breathe surf. With accommodation right on the beach, you can enjoy long days in the sun and nights around the camp fire with good company. You’ll also have the opportunity to add other activities, like surf rafting, river kayaking or kangaroo golf.
After Spot X, it’s on to the surfing mecca of Byron Bay for more lessons and after-surf fun with your new buddies.
Each package includes your surf lessons and equipment, transport, accommodation, plus all meals while you’re at the camp.
If a few days stop over in Spot X en route to Byron Bay isn’t enough to get your stoke going then why not take it a step further with the Mojo Surf Academy and spend 4 to 8 weeks enjoying the eat, sleep, surf repeat lifestyle?
You’ll have heaps of time to practice your skills and take your surfing to the next level before heading further up the coast!
Or for those who want to turn the beach into their office the zero to hero Mojo Surf Instructor Course is the way to go. This epic 3 month programme takes you from all the basics of popping and paddling right through to gaining your surf instructor certification – it’s the ideal way to turn your passion into a career even if you don’t have heaps of surf experience!
If you’re short on time or funds, a half day adventure with Stoked Surf School could be the answer.
Stoked will take you on a fun road trip to find the least crowded spot with the best conditions on the day. They’ll then run you through some theory on the beach, before (hopefully!) getting you up and riding the waves.
Group sizes are deliberately kept small to make sure you receive enough attention from one of their qualified, experienced instructors, and a photographer comes along on every lesson to capture your best (and worst) moments.
So to help you plan your trip to Australia we’ve decided to compare two of the most popular options for travelling the East Coast – Premier Bus Passes and Greyhound Bus Passes – so you can decide which is the best fit for you…
Premier Bus Pass Australia or Greyhound Bus Pass Australia – Which Is Better?
Both Premierand Greyhound offer the popular hop on, hop off bus passes which are the most affordable and flexible ways to travel along the East Coast of Australia – allowing you to plan your trip online, change bus dates if needed and have all your bus travel sorted in one easy pass.
The only thing you need to keep in mind through is these passes is that you can only travel in a single direction (so no backtracking) however Greyhound also offer a KM Pass which is slightly pricier but does allow you to backtrack if needed.
Valid For; 3 months (Hop On, Hop Off Passes) but extendable to 6 months or 12 months for KM Passes
So What’s The Difference Between Premier Bus and Greyhound Bus?
Apart form the price the main difference between Premier and Greyhound is the departures. Premier only offer a single departure per day whereas on most routes the Greyhound Bus Pass will have multiple options to choose from.
For those travelling in low season this wont be a huge deal but in peak season (especially xmas and new year) the multiple options on Greyhound can be a huge lifesaver, especially for those less organised and booking last minute!
Generally speaking the Greyhound Buses are much newer and even boast phone charging points and free wifi (although it’s limited to signal strength and is pretty slow!) – so if you’re looking for comfort then Greyhound often wins out.
The other key things to keep in mind is that Premier only run Sydney to Cairns (or the other way around) whereas Greyhound also runs from/to Melbourne as well. Sure you can also bolt a single Greyhound bus from Sydney to Melbourne onto a Premier Pass, but for convenience it’s something to keep in mind
Which Is Better – Premier Bus Pass or Greyhound Bus Pass?
For Budget – If budget is your main concern then the Premier Bus Pass is the cheapest way to cover the East Coast
For Ease Of Use – both options are easily managed online and you can change your travel dates through this system.
For Flexibility – Greyhound is more flexible, with multiple departure per day and the Greyhound KM Passes also allow you to backtrack and is also well worth checking out if you’re grabbing internal flights too.
All based on personal experience and our own recommendations we’ve pulled out the best suppliers, the most fun hostels and the most budget friendly options so that you can enjoy everything that Australia has to offer at a discounted price.
Because lets face it – you’re a backpacker and backpackers love to save money, it’s half the fun of the lifestyle!
So here are our best Sydney to Cairns Tour Packages – so you have a bit more cash in your pocket but still a camera packed full of incredible memories…
Our Guide To The Best Sydney To Cairns Tour Packages For All Budgets And Styles
And of course all the below can also be booked in reverse from Cairns to Sydney or extended to include Melbourne too!
The Ultimate Sydney To Cairns Tour Packages
For those who want to make the most of the East Coast on a month long trip and want to include pretty much everything you’d want to do our Ultimate East Coast Package combines all the best hostels, day trips and tours;
By including a day trip to the Whitsundays and Fraser Island instead of overnight tours the overall price is brought right down – giving you more budget towards other activities, food, or of course partying!
And of course you can book it all open dated or add in accommodation as well.
We then recommend opting for the Premier Bus Pass add on if you’re looking for the most budget friendly transport option to pair with it.
If you want to keep your Australia travel plans as flexible as possible then it’s still possible to get al the benefits of a discounted package deal, but without having to lock in your dates.
Booking your main trips and tours open dated and in one package allows you to save heaps, but still allows you to stay fluid with your travel plans.
Whether you choose to just combine the main bucket list items like Fraser Island, The Whitsundays and The Great Barrier Reef of bundle in other extra trips like surf lessons, Cape Tribulation or dolphin kayaking kayaking is up to you – but the more you combine the better the savings will be.
The main thing to keep in mind with open dates tours though is everything is subject to availability – so you’ll want to lock in your dates at least 7-14 days in advance, especially during high season. Fraser Island and the Whitsundays are the most important ones to lock in ASAP.
If you don’t want to go fully open dated and have a rough idea of your plans you could also just pick a few key tours to lock in the dates for. Excluding accommodation then allows you to make changes to your plans, but still use your main dates as a way of structuring out your East Coast travels.
Simply select your travel dates, destinations and the main activities and tours you’d like to include and we’ll do all the hard work piecing it together. And of course if there are any specific hostels, Whitsundays Boats or day trips you’d like to include let us know and we’ll make it happen!
We love our travel blogger buddies – and who better to put together an epic East Coast Package than award winning blogger Chris from Backpacker Banter?
He’s travelled all over Australia, lived in Byron Bay for a few years and knows the East Coast like the back of his hand – so we asked him how he’d spend a perfect month in Oz and this is what he put together;
3 nights at Wake Up Sydney
2 nights at Yamba YHA
Shanes Famous Yamba Tour
3 nights at Aquarius Backpackers in Byron Bay
Half day surf lesson in Byron Bay with Mojo Surf
Dolphin kayaking in Byron Bay
2 nights at Nomads Central in Brisbane
2 nights at Nomads in Noosa
2 nights at Pippies in Rainbow Beach
3 Day/2 Night Fraser Island tag along tour with Pippies on Fraser (All Inclusive)
3 nights at Beaches in Airlie Beach
2 Day/2 Night Whitsundays Sailing Adventure on Tongarra
2 Night Magnetic Island Escape with Base Magnetic Island (inc return ferry transfers)
Found an awesome Sydney to Cairns tour package elsewhere? Seen a special offer which works out cheaper?
Well forward the details and itinerary through to email@example.com and our team will happily beat the price for you!
We want to make sure you have the best time possible on the East Coast of Australia and know how valuable every dollar saved can be (it all goes into the goon fund after all!) so we’ll go out of our way to get the perfect package for you at the bets possible price.
And of course if you guys have any questions about any of our packages, general travel advice or tips get in touch and our travel experts will be happy to help.
Have you travelled the East Coast of Australia?
What would be your recommendations for a Sydney to Cairns tour package?
What’s The Best Way To Experience The Great Barrier Reef?
Best Great Barrier Reef Day Trips
By far the most popular way to experience the reef is a Great Barrier Reef day trip – which run out of Cairns daily (weather permitting!) and these are the best choice for those on a limited time frame but also those looking for a budget friendly way to check out the barrier reef too.
Our personal favourite for is a Great Barrier Reef day trip with the Deep Sea Divers Den – with their snorkel package coming in at $120AUD, which is great value for money. You’ll kick back on their beautiful and spacious boat, enjoy unlimited snorkelling at a variety of dive sites and feast on their lunchtime buffet.
For anyone interested in scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef holds heaps of appeal. For experienced divers it’s a huge bucket list tick and it’s also the ideal place to try scuba diving for the first time with an introductory scuba dive.
Again our pick of the bunch is with Deep Sea Divers Den who have a great range of dive moorings to choose from, a friendly crew and even an underwater photographer who’ll help snap your next Facebook profile picture next to Nemo!
Their dive trips include all gear, however we strongly recommend paying the extra for a dive guide – you’ll get even more out of your time underwater.
For those looking for an introductory scuba dive their crew of experienced and certified instructors will teach you all the basics needed to be safe under the ocean and guide you around. With a max depth of 12m it’s the perfect way to test out if scuba diving is for you and discover some of the amazing marine life that calls this part of Australia home.
Learn To Scuba Dive On The Great Barrier Reef & Cairns
Either way you’ll work your way through the theory lessons, written exam and pool skills before putting your knowledge into practice with the open water modules – on successful completion you’ll be a fully certified open water scuba diver with a world recognised certification!
Liveaboard On The Great Barrier Reef
For those already certified scuba divers and wanting to make the most of their time in Cairns a Great Barrier Reef Dive Liveaboard is the ultimate option – allowing you to squeeze in even more dives and even some night diving too.
Trust us, jumping into the water with a torch and surrounded by reef sharks is something you’ll never forget for all the right reasons!
If you’re really serious about diving and have the budget then a longer trip out to the Cod Hole and Ribbon Reefs is well worth the splash (pun intended!) where you’ll discover pristine dive sites, less crowds and a whole array of incredible marine life – including the famous Giant Potato Cod.
Scenic Flight Over The Great Barrier Reef
Don’t fancy getting wet or want to check out the Great Barrier Reef from a different perspective? Well a scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef will pack your camera full of incredible photos and give you a whole new appreciation of the vast size of this natural wonder.
From a quick scenic helicopter flight to a a longer scenic aeroplane flight there are a number of options for all time frames and budgets.
Keep your eyes peeled for manta rays cruising along the currents, turtles chilling on the reefs and of course the annual whale migration too.
Skydive Over The Great Barrier Reef
If you like your day trips with a bit more adrenaline then why not take in views across the reef from a skydive at Mission Beach?
Available as a day trip from Cairns or of course from Mission Beach itself, it’s the most popular jump zone in Australia for a reason!
With a guaranteed beach landing and stunning views across the coastline, ocean and reef this is certainly one of our favourite bucket list items that the East Coast has to offer!
How are you planning to experience the Great Barrier Reef?
As an added bonus if you book any Oz Experience Strewth, Bruce Cobber or Skippy package we’ll also bundle in a FREE Great Barrier Reef snorkel trip – once of Australias top bucket list items!
Jumping on board the amazing Evolution Boat you’ll swim in clear, warm waters, check out the stunning coral gardens and even have the opportunity to go and find Nemo – it’s one of the top activities in Australia for a reason!
To score this added upgrade you need to make sure you book before 31st August and use the code OZSEP17.
One of the most under rated stops on the East Coast, Magnetic Island is somewhere that should easily make your East Coast Australia must do list. Situated just off the coast of Townsville this amazing little island is best explored by “Barbie Car or Mote” and it’s only around 30 mins from one side of the island to the other!
Snorkel amazing beaches, take in sunset from epic lookout points, spot wild koalas or even party at the monthly Full Moon Party.
For those on a budget the snorkel trips are the best value for ticking the Barrier Reef off your bucket list – but it’s also the perfect place for an Introductory Scuba dive or you can even complete your full open water dive course in Cairns too!
And of course there are a huge array of dive sites and locations for those more experienced scuba divers as well.
Our two favourite spots for scuba diving have to be Byron Bay and The Great Barrier Reef though – with both locations offers heaps of marine life for all levels of diver.
Kayak with Dolphins
Everyone loves dolphins right?! Well why not hit the water and kayak alongside them in Byron Bay? This is one of the top spots in Australia for dolphin spotting and combined with a picturesque paddle around the stunning beaches of the area and an ocean view of the famous lighthouse this is certainly an East Coast Australia must do – and best of all it wont break your budget either!
Whale Watching (June – October)
If you’re travelling the East Coast of Australia during June to October you’ll be lucky enough to have the chance to witness the annual Humpback whale migration – with these gentle giants giving amazing displays all along the coastline.
Hervey Bay and Byron Bay are the best bets for a memorable day whale watching though – but if you’re lucky you’ll also catch them on the Barrier Reef, Whitsundays and Fraser Island too.
The Great Ocean Road
If you love a good road trip then the Great Ocean Road is certainly and East Coast Australia must do – the stretch of road from Melbourne to Adelaide is one of the best coastal drives in the world!
No trip to Australia would be complete without a visit to the world famous Sydney Opera House and this global icon is selfie heaven!
Wander around Circular Quay for some alternative views or grab the ferry across to Manly Beach and grab some snaps from the water.
Of course if you want to splash out and treat yourself you can also check it out from the Sydney Harbour Bridget Climb too!
Sunsrise Or Sunset At Byron Lighthouse
Byron Bay is the most Easterly Point of Australia and the lighthouse walk is one of the best free actives that the East Coast has to offer.
Wander long the coastal path past famous surf spots like The Pass and Wategos Beach keeping an eye out for dolphins surfing in the waves along the way.
But for the best experience make sure you make it to the Byron Bay lighthouse for sunrise or sunset – it’s well worth the effort!
If you want to really get your adrenaline going there’s not much that can beat jumping out of a perfectly good plane and ticking skydiving off your bucket list!
Australia has some epic skydive locations too – with Mission Beach, Airlie Beach and Byron Bay being the top pics, although skydiving Mission Beach is the most popular with amazing views along the coast and a beach landing.
Chill In The Forest At Cape Tribulation
The only place in the world where two world heritage sites meet – Cape Tribulation is home to the incredible Daintree Rainforest AND the Great Barrier Reef!
Wander through the forests, spot wild crocodiles and laze around on stunning beaches – whether you choose a Cape Tribulation day trip form Cairns or opt to spend a few nights up there exploring a bit more and indulging in activities like kayaking or jungle surfing it’s worth heading that bit further north for.
Swim In A Waterfall
Nothing quite says tropical holiday like a picture swimming in a waterfall does it?!
Well luckily Australia has heaps to choose from and you’ll be spoilt for choice all along the East Coast.
If you want to go all out though a Cairns Waterfall tour through the Atherton Tablelands visits some of the best – including the famous Milla Milla Waterfall which featured in the herbal essences hair flick advert and was even the backdrop for Peter Andres “Mysterious Girl” music video!
Meet The Locals
If you travel Australia and don’t take the time to chill with some of the local wildlife you’re doing something wrong – who doesn’t want to kick back with a kangaroo, come eye to eye with a crocodile, kayak with dolphins or cuddle a koala?
Tick them all off the list with a trip to the famous Australia Zoo, or visit less crowded options like Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary or Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary for an up close and personal experience with some of Australia fluffy or scaly residents!
By far the most popular ways to travel around New Zealand are the Kiwi Experience and Stray NZ buses – both of which offer a variety of hop on, hop off bus passes covering the North Island, South Island or whole country.
Whether you want a short loop around the highlights of Waitomo, Taupo and Rotorua in the North, fancy exploring the famous Queenstown or Milford Sound in the South or want to spend a few months packing in as much NZ goodness as possible there’s something for everyone.
But despite their similarities the Kiwi Experience and Stray NZ boast much different personalities – so which is the best way to travel around New Zealand for you?
Kiwi Experience Or Stray NZ – What’s The Best Way To Travel Around New Zealand?
The Kiwi Experience is arguably the most famous of the two backpacker hop on, hop off bus options in New Zealand and their iconic green buses have helped hundreds of thousands of travellers explore NZ.
With heaps of passes to choose from – including north island only, south island only and whole country passes it’s easy to find one that suits your time frame, start location and budget.
Hitting up all the major destinations including the likes of Queenstown, Rotorua, Taupo and Franz Josef you’ll get to discover the best of what NZ has to offer.
Best of all is the fact you have 12 months to begin your pass from the date of purchase and then 12 month to complete your route from the first day of travel – so whether you’re heading there for a few weeks or a working holiday visa it’s ideal.
Their full country passes also offer unlimited loops – so you can go again!
Kiwi don’t offer any accommodation inclusive passes (which Stray do) but you’ll benefit from heaps of accommodation deals and a guaranteed bed in each spot.
The Kiwi Experience offers some awesome party vibes throughout – so it’s the perfect option if you want to meet heaps of fellow travellers and enjoy the epic New Zealand night life in each destination…so if you’re looking for a more chilled vibe or are slightly older (25+) then maybe Stray is the better option!
In terms of setup Stray NZ is very similar to Kiwi Experience – it’s a hop on, hop off format, the passes are valid for 12 months and there are a variety of passes to choose from.
For those who want a more tour like experience Stray NZ also offer a range of Stray Journey Passes which are set travel times and also include accommodation and tours.
For us though the best thing about Stray NZ is they offer some passes covering some more off the beaten track destinations like Whakahora and Te Kaha – allowing you to discover even more of New Zealand.
They also hit up the amazing surf town of Raglan – which is one of our teams favourite places for some chilled vibes and waves.
And of course you won’t miss out on favourites like Kaikoura, Queenstown, Franz Josef and Wanaka either!
Compared to Kiwi Experience Stray NZ offers a more relaxed vibe (don’t worry there’s a good dose of party thrown in!) but it’s certainly more about exploring and experiencing New Zealand that doing shots.
Onboard tour discounts? Yes
Party centric? No (but you’ll still have heaps of fun!)
Best For: early 20’s + who want a more relaxed experience or those looking to discover more alternative destinations.
Whichever option you choose – both Kiwi Experience and Stray New Zealand have some epic sales from time to time, so keep an eye out on our travel deals section for the latest offers and save even more on your New Zealand adventure!
Have you travelled New Zealand with Kiwi Experience or Stray NZ?
Trying to figure out the distances between top destinations on the East Coast of Australia? Our interactive map makes it quick and simple to plan!
Travelling around Australia can be a huge task to organise – Australia is HUGE!
In fact you can fit the whole of Europe inside of it!
And one things we’ve noticed with helping people plan their East Coast Australia trip is that a lot of people underestimate how big Australia actually is and how long it can take to get from place to place.
And with so many awesome places to visit it can become pretty confusing where they all are and how to get between them!
But don’t worry – we’ve put together a handy map which shows all the top destinations in Australia and we’ve even added in the bus travel times to/from the next/previous stop – making it super simple for you to get your bearings and put together your perfect East Coast adventure!
Travelling Australia – Distances Between Top Destinations
Here’s our East Coast Australia map covering all the most popular stops between Melbourne and Cairns – including the likes of Byron Bay, Sydney, Rainbow Beach (for Fraser Island) and Airlie Beach (for the Whitsundays).
Just click on the pin to bring up the travel info for the next location up and down the coast – easy as!
East Coast Australia Package Deals
If you’re busy planning your backpacking trip to Australia and not sure whee to start check out our East Coast Australia Package Deals for some inspiration and our top travel itineraries!
If you already know where you want to go and what you want to do put all the details in our East Coast Custom Package Creator and our travel experts will put everything together for you and hook you up with some epic discounts!
Trying to figure out whats the best Fraser Island Tour? Here’s our guide to all the options and best companies to use, from day trips to overnight camping
Finding the best Fraser Island tour can be a tough decision – there are so many to choose from with a whole heap of options to suit every style and of course budget!
So to make things a bit easier for you we’ve put together a quick breakdown of the best Fraser Island tours – so you can find the one that’s perfect for you!
What’s The Best Fraser Island Tour?
Fraser Island Camping Tours
One of the most popular ways to see Fraser Island is an overnight camping tour. These tag along 4×4 tours allow you to get behind the wheel and drive around this awesome island, which makes them the best Fraser Island tour for adventure!
After a fun day of exploring everything that Fraser Island has to offer you’ll head to the permanent campsites on the island, kick back around the BBQ, sip a cold beer (or most likely some glasses of goon!) and enjoy the incredible night sky.
If you want the all out Fraser Island camping tour our top pick would be Pippies, with its awesome vibes and great location – however it departs Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri and Sat so you’ll need to make sure that fits into your time schedule.
Dingos on the other hand offers a very similar style tour, but does add the extra flexibility of daily (except December 23rd/25th/30th and 1st Jan). Group sizes are slightly bigger, which is great for availability too.
Both Pippies and Dingos start in Rainbow Beach and you can easily tag on some pre and post trip accommodation at their associated hostels their too.
Nomads Fraser Island offer a bit more flashpacker camping luxury at their legendary tipi campsite within Eurong Beach Resort. More comfortable than the other camping options it also means you have access to all the facilities of the Beach Resort – including the on site bar.
The Nomads trip departs from Noosa, which makes it the perfect option for anyone looking for a short Fraser Island Package (you can fly into Brisbane, get a bus to Noosa and then head back to Brisbane).
Drop Bear Adventures on the other hand is for those who really want to delve more into the nature and local history of Fraser Island – with their passionate and knowledgable guides keen to show you the Aboriginal heritage and importance of the island.
…plus they certainly have the best menu of all the Fraser Island tours!
Grab $40 off all our 3 day Fraser Island tours using the code FRA40 at checkout!
Fraser Island Hostel Tours
If camping isn’t your thing and you want a more comfortable Fraser Island experience then there are a couple of options to choose from too.
Departing from Rainbow Beach or Hervey Bay the overnight Fraser Explorer hostel options are a 2 day/1 night option, however unlike the camping tours these aren’t tag along 4×4 format – instead you’re driven around in an epic all terrain tour bus.
Great if you want to kick back and just enjoy the ride but it does lack the adventure the other options offer.
However with all the day trips you’ll be in a 4×4 tour bus rather than tag along tour format, so you lack some of the adventure.
These day trips are a great back up option if availability is full on the overnight options (especially for peak season or last minute bookings!) departing from Rainbow Beach, Noosa and Hervey Bay everyday.
Best Value Fraser Island Tour
So out of all the options which is the best Fraser Island tour when it comes to value for money?
Obviously if budget is the key thing the day trips are the cheapest at around $185, however if you’re wanting the full adventure experience our pick would be the overnight options, especially if you add in the discounted pre and post tour accommodation packages.
Pippies is the best value and comes in at just $460, or $510 with 1 night pre and post tour accommodation – which includes food, tent, 4×4, guide and pretty much everything you need. However if you aren’t travelling with a sleeping bag it an extra $10 to hire one for the trip.
Hopefully our mini guide will help you choose the best Fraser Island tour for your style and budget – have an awesome time!
Not sure where to stop off on your East Coast Australia trip? Check out some of the top destinations between Melbourne and Cairns!
The East Coast of Australia is one of the most popular travel routes on the planet – with heaps of backpackers and travellers travelling between Sydney and Cairns…or from Melbourne too!
But what are the must see destinations that you should stop off at along the East Coast route?
Well we’ve put together our East Coast Mini Guide which runs through some of the top spots and why you should pencil them into your travel plans!
This cafe culture city is a hub for big international events – including the Melbourne Cup, Australian Tennis Open and F1 Championship. But when you’re not busy watching on the big screen in Fed Square take the time to explore the amazing street art, tram lines and St Kilda Beach. For those looking for even more to keen themselves busy a day trip to Philip Islands Penguin Parade or a road trip along the Great Ocean Road is a must!
Often confused as the capital of Australia (that’s Canberra incase you didn’t know!) Sydney has some of the most icon destinations in Oz. Wander around Circular Quay and get your snaps of the stunning views over the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, hit the beach at Bondi or escape the city to the Blue Mountains.
Yamba is one of the bets kept travel secrets in Australia and this sleepy little surf town is a great additional stop of you have some more time to play with! Wit pumping surf, amazing beaches and some incredible beach walks it’s the ideal place for some downtime. Make sure you head to Yamba YHA and say hi to Shane to owner…he’s a total legend!
Byron is all about the laid back beach lifestyle, so get ready to kick off your shoes and enjoy everything ocean based! Whale watching, dolphin kayaking, surf lessons and scuba diving are all great ways to spend your days in the Bay or for those who want a bit more adrenaline skydiving over Australias most Easterly Point is incredible!
And of course you can slow the pace down even more with a day trip to Nimbin 😉
The Gold Coast
Often referred to as the Miami of Australia spots like Surfers Paradise on the Goldie are full of all the glitz and glam of city life with skyscraper lining the beach front.If shopping isn’t your thing then the range of theme parks here has something for everyone!
Brissie is a popular spot for those looking to stop off and find some work midway up the East Coast and the capital of Queensland proximity to spots like the Gold Coast, Byron and Noosa make it a great base. If you’re spending some time here make sure you head out and see the ship wrecks on Moreton Island, one of the best snorkelling sites in Australia!
Incredible beaches, more laid back surfer vibes – Noosa is another stop which takes full advantage of the Aussie beach life! Get in amongst nature and explore the Noosa Everglades on a canoe tour and witness some spectacular sunsets over the estuary.
One of the must do bucket list items in Australia, Fraser Island is the worlds largest sand island – so what better way to explore it than cruising around in a 4×4 through the rainforest and beach? Spots like Lake Mackenzie, Champagne Pools, and the Maheno Wreck will pack your camera full of awesome pics!
As the departure point for the Whitsunday Island Airlie Beach boasts and incredible nightlife! If you’re relaxing pre or post sailing adventure a scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef or day kayaking around the bay is the way to go, or just chill out by the free lagoon swimming pool with your travel buddies!
Another one of the big bucket list items in Australia, The Whitsunday Islands are all about finding a tropical paradise! With heaps of sailing adventures to choose from – from party boats to scuba diving – you’ll check out spots like Whitehaven Beach, Hill Inlet Lookout and snorkel some incredible spots on the Southern Great Barrier Reef.
Just off the coast of Townsville is Magnetic Island and with its abundance of wild koalas and friendly rock wallabies it’s a great spot to relax and meet some of the unique wildlife that calls Australia home!
If you’re looking to skydive in Australia then Mission Beach is the perfect place to do it! With views across the Great Barrier Reef and Australis only beach landing it’s not hard to see why! If you’re staying longer take a trip to Dunk Island for some epic snorkelling or hit the Tully River for some White Water Rafting!
As the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef Cairns is one of the biggest dive spots in Australia! So if you’re looking to complete your Open Water Dive Course or and Introductory Dive this is the spot! For those who want some non diving fun get your adrenaline on the go with a bungy jump or head north to explore Cape Tribulation for the day. Or if you’ve had a big night out at the Woolshed or Gilligans maybe just relax by the waterfront lagoon pool and have a BBQ!
No trip to Oz is complete without checking out the Great Barrier Reef – one of the natural wonders of the world! Join a snorkel day trip, give scuba diving a go with an intro dive or go all out with an overnight dive boat in search of Nemo! Get into the big blue and find explore some more of he underwater world.
Just north of Cairns lies Cape Tribulation – unique in the fact it’s where two world heritage sites meet, The Daintree Rainforest and The Great Barrier Reef. Enjoy the waterfalls, join a crocodile river cruise or go for a scenic walk through the rainforest – it’s a stunning part of Australia!
Trying to figure out where to complete your open water dive course? We'll here's our quick guide to help you figure out where to get under the water!
Learning to scuba dive is an amazing bucket list item to tick off on your travels – the world is over 70% water after all!
So if you’re trying to decide where in the world to complete your open water course or next dive certification we’ve put together this quick guide to help you figure out which location is best for you…
Best For Budget – Koh Tao
Without a doubt Koh Tao in Thailand is the cheapest place to complete your PADI or SSI Open Water Dive Course.
Packages are range from £180-200 depending and often include accommodation too – even more of a bargain!
This famous Thai island is a popular spot with backpackers due to this – with a variety of dive centres to choose from offering a full range of courses up to divemaster and instructor.
When you’re not busy diving there’s a wide range of activities to do – whether you fancy kayaking, island hopping or just kicking back at a beach bar with a cold beer!
Best For Experience – Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard
If you’re looking for our personal recommendation on where and how to complete your open water dive course you can’t get much better than completing it on a Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard!
Based out of Cairns you’ll complete your theory and pool modules on the mainland before heading out to the Great Barrier Reef for a min of 2 days and 1 night to complete your open water dives. So not only will you complete your dive course and become certified but you’ll also get the opportunity to sleep overnight on the Great Barrier Reef – an amazing experience in itself!
It comes with a bit of a higher price tag than just completing it as day trips (around $705AUD all in) but it’s well worth the extra cash and then that also covers your meal and accommodation on the boat too.
For those who want to learn to scuba dive as they head up the East Coast our other favourite is Byron Bay. This amazing beachside town is full of barefoot living and good vibes – and the scuba diving here is incredible too!
You’ll complete your course out at Julian Rocks Marine Reserve and depending on the season you’ll have the opportunity to swim alongside Grey Nurse Sharks, Manta Rays and Leopard sharks along with the array of other awesome marine life that calls this spot home.
The Bryon Bay Dive Courses also allow you to complete your theory work online before arriving, so the whole thing only takes 3 days instead of 4 – ideal for those who want more time to explore Byron (an amazing spot for learning to surf) or who don’t have heaps of time to travel around Australia.
Everything you need to know about working on your working holiday visa in Australia!
So you’ve decided to start your adventure in Australia: amazing! Australia has an abundance of opportunities when it comes to travel, adventure, finding friends, finding yourself and earning some money!
As our inhouse Aussie Oceana is well placed for any advice you might need when heading down under (no innuendo intended!) and she's done her fair share of travelling around her home country as well as abroad. So we asked her to share he personal Top 5 Aussie Stop Offs to help you out with planning a trip to Australia.. 1) Cairns What’s not to love about Cairns? This tiny Australian town is a backpacker haven, and heaven! It’s packed to the brim with awesome hostels and backpacker bars with all the cheapest drink deals. Everything is super close making the vibe of Cairns is 100% backpacker friendly. Cairns is not a town where the working holiday travelers come looking for work, so it’s full of people who have money and are looking for a party. This means that every night there’s something going on, a willing group of people looking for an adventure and a whole lot of madness just waiting to happen. 2) Sydney Ah Sydney, the crown of Australia. Not the capital city but close enough as far as most backpackers are concerned. This is the place most people start, and it’s also often where they finish. Good news for Sydney’s vibe because the working holiday types are totally evened out by those looking to make a good start, and those heading out of Australia with a bang. The city has a whole lot of great hostels, some wicked backpacker bars and enough entertainment to keep anyone going. As big cities go, Sydney is a pretty great place all over, with sunny days, great beaches and lots of opportunities to soak up the Australian lifestyle. 3) Darwin Australia’s northern most capital city, Darwin certainly doesn’t look like much compared to Sydney. It’s not a massive
As our inhouse Aussie Oceana is well placed for any advice you might need when heading down under (no innuendo intended!) and she’s done her fair share of travelling around her home country as well as abroad.
So we asked her to share he personal Top 5 Aussie Stop Offs to help you out with planning a trip to Australia..
What’s not to love about Cairns? This tiny Australian town is a backpacker haven, and heaven! It’s packed to the brim with awesome hostels and backpacker bars with all the cheapest drink deals. Everything is super close making the vibe of Cairns is 100% backpacker friendly. Cairns is not a town where the working holiday travelers come looking for work, so it’s full of people who have money and are looking for a party. This means that every night there’s something going on, a willing group of people looking for an adventure and a whole lot of madness just waiting to happen.
Ah Sydney, the crown of Australia. Not the capital city but close enough as far as most backpackers are concerned. This is the place most people start, and it’s also often where they finish. Good news for Sydney’s vibe because the working holiday types are totally evened out by those looking to make a good start, and those heading out of Australia with a bang. The city has a whole lot of great hostels, some wicked backpacker bars and enough entertainment to keep anyone going. As big cities go, Sydney is a pretty great place all over, with sunny days, great beaches and lots of opportunities to soak up the Australian lifestyle.
Australia’s northern most capital city, Darwin certainly doesn’t look like much compared to Sydney. It’s not a massive backpacker town all year, although in the Dry Season (May-October) they do flood in looking for work. But there’s something about Darwin that really sets is apart. Closer to Asia than to most southern Australian cities (Timor is less than 1 hour flight) it has a uniquely tropical Asian atmosphere that’s unrivaled. Equal parts great Australian outback, and tropical northern gem Darwin boasts Asian markets, beautiful beaches and fantastic weather (as long as you like it hot!).
4) Byron Bay
Now, there’s probably not a backpacker out on the Australian (and perhaps international circuit) who doesn’t know about Byron Bay. Hardly the tiny hippy hub that once made it famous, Byron Bay is still a great place to be. Surfing hub and alternative cultural vibes abound, Byron also has an awesome hostel scene and some unbelievable backpacker bars that just must be visited. The surrounding area is flawless, and although it’s sometimes better in the off-peak season, peak definitely guarantees lots of crazy people to keep the party pumping all night long!
Australia’s culture capital? Well, I’m not going to start any wars here, but there is definitely a lot to see and do in Melbourne. Melbourne definitely holds the upper hand when it comes to street art with almost every available public wall canvassed with graffiti creations. The same could probably be said for the competitive coffee war, easily the best in coffee in Australia and at some of the cheapest prices. Melbourne is full of great entertainment venues and things to see, some more expensive than others. But even without the dollars, the backpacker scene is very much alive, and everyone knows where to go for the cheapest bars, and the free gigs. They might lead you down winding alleys to hole-in-the-wall bars, but that’s what makes Melbourne magical.
What would be your Top 5 Aussie Spots? Care to share them and why?!
Speaking Australian; pretty simple, right? Wrong! Beverley gives on how NOT to confuse your snag with your stubbie!
Yeah I know what you’re thinking; Australian people speak English, I speak English, you speak English, what more could there be to learn, really?!
Spend just a few days in Australia and it becomes clear that language barriers do exist….you just have to know how to get round them!
It all starts with a visit to the pub, of course., or hotels as they’re sometimes called in Australia. You’re ready to order a pint of whatever it is you’re drinking and suddenly notice something rather alarming;
Wait, those aren’t pint glasses!
No, they’re schooner glasses and it’s basically the norm in Australia for a lager or ale to be served in one. A schooner is 425ml, about 3/4 of a pint. A friend told me a few weeks ago that beers are served this way as, if you were to sit in the Australian sun with a pint you’d probably get halfway through and find yourself drinking warm beer (never good) but I also sense it’s something to do with the stricter alcohol rules which Australia also has in place.
There are some pubs where you can buy a pint but you can also ask for something called a pot which holds 285ml – you’ll often find that you’ll get a free pot of beer with a meal in some pubs as a meal deal.
The above applies to Queensland and Victoria but in New South Wales for some reason a pot is called a middie.
In South Australia and pot is a schooner.
In Western Australia a pot measures 575ml which, being slightly more than a pint, is usually just called a pint by all the English people living there.
Maybe it’s time for a lie down……but not on the duvet. Nope, in Australia a duvet is called a doona.
Maybe you wanted to drink at your hostel though instead of at the pub? For this you’d need to go to the Bottle-O or bottle shop, generally an off license where you can buy 24 bottles or cans in a carton called a slab, a few stubbies (small, 375ml bottle of beer) or a tallie (a long-necked bottle of beer.)
Ooooh and don’t forget the goon; yes, it’s a gross cheap wine in a bag but it’s cheaper this way to get blotto, loose or magotted!
At some point you’re going to have to eat though right?
In Australia a pepper is a capsicum and an aubergine is an eggplant.
A courgette is a zucchini and if you want a toasted sandwich you need to ask for a jaffle.
A chicken is a chook and a lolly is what we’d probably refer to as sweets or candy.
tasty cheese is cheddar cheese and cheddar cheese is that plastic cheese normally reserved for barbeques and kids lunch boxes.
Want a sausage from the barbeque? Ask for a snag and if you’re having it in between two pieces of bread it’s a sanger.
Many of the food names though are just shortened versions of the original. If a word can be shortened you can guarantee that it will be in Australia:
Avocados are avos
Brecky is breakfast
Throw another shrimp (read prawn) on the barbie and get a stubbie from the Esky – an esky is an insulated container for food and drinks, usually taken to the beach to keep your beers cold!
That famous Australian dessert, the pavlova? Call it a pav.
Need to pop to the corner shop? Here it’s a milk bar.
And there’s no need to waste your breath asking for a cappuccino, that’s far too much effort, just call it a cap!
And these are just a few of the many ‘Australianisms’ I’ve come across! Can you think of any more?
The East Coast of Australia, from Melbourne to Sydney (oh and Canberra.....) and finally up to Cape Tribulation in the far North of Queensland, is probably the most popular and most visited part of Australia and with a huge amount of exciting cities and beautiful beaches to explore we can see why. But how can you travel Australia's East Coast and see everything it has to offer? 1. Take a flight There are two main budget airlines for domestic flights in australia are Jetstar and Virgin Australia (formerly Virgin Blue), both will get you pretty much anywhere on the East Coast, providing you're not fussy about having to get a bus or taxi from the airport. How about flying from Sydney or Melbourne to Ballina where, after a 30 minute bus journey you could be exploring Byron Bay or fly from Brisbane to Prosperine where you can sail, dive and snorkel your way around The Whitsunday Islands? You can easily plan your trip to Gold Coast with Expedia and try your hand (or feet!) at surfing in Surfers Paradise, touch down at Cairns airport to explore the Great Barrier Reef, stick around Sydney to find the perfect balance between beach and city-living and while away your time in Melbourne with coffee and cake in one of its many cafes. Flying isn't always the cheapest option but if you're looking to get somewhere quickly and conveniently then it's definitely the way to go. 2. Book a bus journey Greyhound Australia and Oz Experience both have different packages you can use to travel Australia's entire East Coast in one go or, if you're planning on working in Australia or just staying longer in places you like, you can opt for a 12 month pass - just use the calculator on their website to work out how many kilometres
The East Coast of Australia, from Melbourne to Sydney (oh and Canberra…..) and finally up to Cape Tribulation in the far North of Queensland, is probably the most popular and most visited part of Australia and with a huge amount of exciting cities and beautiful beaches to explore we can see why.
But how can you travel Australia’s East Coast and see everything it has to offer?
1. Take a flight
There are two main budget airlines for domestic flights in australia are Jetstar and Virgin Australia (formerly Virgin Blue), both will get you pretty much anywhere on the East Coast, providing you’re not fussy about having to get a bus or taxi from the airport.
How about flying from Sydney or Melbourne to Ballina where, after a 30 minute bus journey you could be exploring Byron Bay or fly from Brisbane to Prosperine where you can sail, dive and snorkel your way around The Whitsunday Islands?
You can easily plan your trip to Gold Coast with Expedia and try your hand (or feet!) at surfing in Surfers Paradise, touch down at Cairns airport to explore the Great Barrier Reef, stick around Sydney to find the perfect balance between beach and city-living and while away your time in Melbourne with coffee and cake in one of its many cafes.
Flying isn’t always the cheapest option but if you’re looking to get somewhere quickly and conveniently then it’s definitely the way to go.
2. Book a bus journey
Greyhound Australia and Oz Experience both have different packages you can use to travel Australia’s entire East Coast in one go or, if you’re planning on working in Australia or just staying longer in places you like, you can opt for a 12 month pass – just use the calculator on their website to work out how many kilometres you’ll need over the year and you’re away!
The great thing about travelling by bus is that it actually stops at the most popular destinations – you can see the entire East Coast by bus easily without the hassle of airport transfers and departure lounges and you’ll easily make friends along the way. Prepare for a bumpy ride though!
3. Hire a Campervan
Ah the traveller’s dream! Riding around the country in a campervan, getting back to nature, cooking on a camping stove, beers on the beach – perfect. Thankfully there are a huge amount of companies in Australia who want to make this dream come true, for a price of course.
The most popular choices are Jucy, Wicked Campers and Spaceships but there are smaller companies as well. This is when your negotiation skills come in handy as your try and play one of against the other in a bid to get the best deal: to be honest, it works!
You can also check to see if there are any relocation deals available too – this means that, usually for something ridiculous like $1/day, you can ‘relocate’ a campervan to a specific depot in a certain amount of time.
Campervanning is the ultimate adventure and ensures that you get to see, stay and do whatever you want in your own time frame.
4. Hitch a Ride Part 1
This one takes a bit of courage but once you’ve stuck your thumb out a few times you’ll get used to it. Obviously hitchhiking your way up the East Coast isn’t the most conventional way to travel and so you’re going to have to get used to being flexible. There won’t always be someone driving where you want to go and you’ll have to change plans – it could be the best thing you ever did though; meeting new people and living one day to the next without any plans can be exciting!
Obviously if you’re going to hitchhike it goes without saying that you need to be careful and stay safe especially if you’re travelling alone. Stay in contact with friends or family via text, keep your wits about you and don’t try and hitch a ride in the dark.
5. Hitch a ride Part 2
Wait, didn’t we already cover this? Well, no. Scour the noticeboards in any Australian hostel or even just pop onto Gumtree and you’ll find heaps of people already driving somewhere who want a road trip buddy or are willing to take a passenger, usually just for the cost of petrol money.
Again, this requires a lot more planning and a flexible approach but it’s definitely a fun way to meet people, have an adventure and catch a cheap ride!