Heading to Australia soon? You’re going to want to do the East Coast. It’s a popular backpacker route, that nearly every backpacker that has been in Australia has done. And there’s a reason why…it’s amazing! Having done it myself a couple of times, here’s some tips.
1. DO IT THE PROPER WAY, NOT THE CHEAP WAY
Australia is expensive. The East Coast is expensive. Have that in mind before you plan a trip here. If you want cheap, head to Asia, such as Thailand, Vietnam etc. If you want to see the East Coast properly, and enjoy your trip, and probably fall in love with Australia, you’re going to need to spend money. If you do it the cheap way, you’re not going to see half as much, and you’re going to have a pretty poor time. I know people that have chose to do it the cheap way, and they came back regretting it. They wished they’d saved for a bit longer and went and did it properly. And they usually have ended up having to do it again and do it properly.
2. HAVE PLENTY OF TIME
Australia is a pretty big country. There’s nothing worse than hearing someone in a hostel say they have 2/3 weeks to see the whole of the East Coast. It’s not possible, and goes back to point 1. Do it properly. Take your time. In all, I spent around 2 months going up the East Coast, and I did pretty much everything, minus a few things I wasn’t that fussed about. So bare that in mind when planning your trip!
3. PICK THE RIGHT TIME OF THE YEAR
Australia’s summer begins around November time, and starts cooling off again during March, depending whether you’re North or South. Because it is the warm season, it does get busy, therefore plan ahead, don’t leave booking hostels until last minute because you won’t get in. If you head around March time, you do risk catching the cyclone season, which is what I did. That being said it was still pretty humid, wasn’t freezing. But when it rained, it rained! If you want my advice, go between September – November. It’s still warm, but not too warm, it’s not the wet season and you don’t get the crowds. Prices are also a little cheaper.
4. IT’S OK TO HAVE A NIGHT OFF DRINKING
Many peoples mistake is that they go out drinking every night, and feel like they can’t have a night off. It’s expensive in Australia, drinking isn’t cheap! And the best night spots are always at the end of the coast, whichever way you go. Cairns and Melbourne are great night spots in my opinion, so save some money for those, whether you’re going South to North or North to South.
Anyone moving to Australia on a WHV, and wanting to travel around a bit, possibly do some farm work, get a Telstra Sim Card for your phone. It’s the only network that will work in remote places. Same if you’re just on a holiday. Wifi is so bad in Australia, and not every hostel has free wifi. Shocking, I know. Especially if you’ve just come from Asia. So Telstra is the way to go. Even remote spots along the East Coast, such as Fraser Island, Magnetic Island, people on Vodafone etc, were struggling to get signal.
6. DON’T BE PUSHED INTO THINGS
Everyone told me travelling up the East Coast that I had to do a skydive. I’m petrified of heights and feel sick and dizzy when I’m stood in tall buildings, so a skydive is just a no no for me. But how everyone reacted to me not doing a skydive was far worse. “You’re not doing the East Coast right.” “What’s the point of coming to Australia, and not doing a skydive!” There are plenty of things to do along the East Coast and not everything is everyones cup of tea. If you don’t want to do it, don’t. Save money, use it elsewhere. Don’t feel like you have to do something because everyone else does it.
7. GO OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
Premier and the Greyhound buses are popular options with backpackers for going up the East Coast. But they don’t go everywhere, and miss out a lot. Don’t be afraid to hire a car for the day, and go exploring. You’ll see a lot more, and like the East Coast a hell of a lot more too!