Australia’s East Coast is known for its sun, sand and surf. Three things it does incredibly well. The downside is that it means everyone and their mum is heading to the beach for some summer action and a good time. So whether you are doing the whole east coast or only a part, there’s some great options off the beaten track so you can beat the crowds who are heading to the party beaches. Here are some options for a more unique, chilled out East Coast experience.
Image thanks to Endeavour Inn
If you happen to find yourself near the town of Yeppoon while travelling the East Coast, be sure to swing on over to Emu Park. The town is most famous for its Singing Ship monument and its remote, untouched beaches. Australia is famous for its insanely beautiful East Coast so it’s rare when you can find an area that isn’t packed to the rafters. If you want a quaint little town with great beaches and chill shops then head on over to Emu Park.
Lennox Head Lake Ainsworth
Image thanks to I.Ytimg
When you finally decide to take a break from all the day drinking and beach going throughout your trip, check out Lake Ainsworth in Lennox Head. It’s a Tea Tree enclosed, freshwater lake which you can swim in, hide from the sun for a bit, and just relax. Pack a lunch or plan a barbecue with some friends and have a day to relax and take it all in.
Image thanks to Namgolf
If you’re looking for some quick scenic day hikes and a surfing spot that is a little quieter than Spot X or Byron Bay you can’t go past Nambucca Heads. There’s loads of nice walks and hikes through the national park and along the beach. If you stroll by the V-Wall you can check out all the paintings on the rocks. If you’re feeling like a bit of a Picasso you can even paint your own!
Image thanks to Weekend Notes
If you’re headed to Brisbane and in need of a day trip try checking out Wynnum, one of Brisbane's suburbs. Wynnum is a unique stop on the East Coast if you are into nature. The Mangrove Boardwalk is truly stunning, lined with trees sprouting up from the water it looks like a forest coming from the sea. With all the hectic energy you will experience travelling through the East Coast, a stroll through the bush will be just what you need.
Image thanks to YHA
If you’re looking for some action in a stunning location, how about landing your skydive right on one of Australia’s best beaches. Mission Beach is one of the only places where you can fall 14,000ft, soaring over the rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef and then landing on golden sandy beaches. If skydiving is a passion or a bucket list check then make Mission Beach a priority.
Image thanks to Atlas Obscura
This spanish castle in the middle of North Queensland was the dream and lifelong work of it’s creator José Paronella. It features a picnic area by the Mena Creek Falls, tennis courts, bridges and a tunnel, all wrapped it up in an amazing range of 7,500 tropical plants and trees (almost all planted by José himself) which have now become a rainforest. José is now long gone, but his dream lives on. Mark and Judy Evans, who now own the park and have opened it to the public, maintain this work of art. If you’re looking for a break from the beach and something completely different on the East Coast, head over to Paronella park. Tours run both through the day and evening, tickets include a one nights stay at their caravan park.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Image thanks to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Everyone thinks about kangaroos when they think Australia but what about the Koalas? Even if you aren't a huge animal fan, a day with the koalas will warm your heart. Here you can hold koalas and snakes, and feed kangaroos. This is a true Aussie experience that will leave you feeling like a local no matter where you are from.
Walshs Pyramid Cairns
Images thanks to Cairns Lifestyle
Cairns is home to the world's largest free-standing pyramid. Walshs Pyramid is completely natural and perfectly shaped like a pyramid and has been attracting hikers and travellers for years. You can actually hike up it as it is 922 meters tall so you have to be fairly fit to do it, but if you think you can take on the challenge it will usually take about 3 hours. Hiking up the world's tallest pyramid surely gives you bragging rights so start your training at one of the East Coast’s outdoor fitness stations then go for gold.
Image thanks to Dive in Australia
Over 100 years ago the SS Yongala sank off the coast of Airlie Beach and is still there today on the ocean floor. It is now available as a dive site and you can go down to the old ship and explore the remains if you’re brave enough. There are a few tours that can take you out to the site for a day full of epic diving opportunities.
Image thanks to Jane Wong
They say that everything is bigger in Texas. It seems like nobody ever told Australia that. Australia’s obsession with bigger versions of things is almost patriotic. There’s an estimated 150 ‘big things’ dotted around Australia and the East Coast features almost half of them. Check out the: Big Mower, the Big Mango, the Big Banana, the Big Bunch of Bananas, the Big Crab, the Big Captain Cook, the Big Prawn, the Big Pineapple and the Big Meat Ant. That’s just to name a few. If you’re somewhere in east coast Australia, odds are you can find something big. There’s so many, you could even play big bingo with your friends while you’re on the lookout for big things.
Aside from these, there are loads of unique things to do on Australia's massive East Coast. Don't let the popularity of the trip sway you from getting out there and seeing why it is so amazing. Try a little bit of both, visit some off the beaten path stops and then head on over to The Whitsundays for some white beaches and some solid parties.
About The Author:
Ben is a traveller first and a writer second. He first caught the travel bug in his childhood, where once a year his family would travel to a new place so they could get closer together and explore the world. Since then he has dedicated the small budget he has to adventuring to new places. His goal in life is to visit every country there is, or at least as many as he can.