I was in Sydney for 2 weeks, of course I saw a lot of the city, but I also stayed for a bit to sort all of my things out to be able to work after a while. Like most new to Australia backpackers, I went on surf camp. Even though I had lack of talent, I still had an awesome time. After surf camp all my new made friends went up the East Coast. And me? I just bought the ugliest and unsafest van in the world! Sounds like I was ready for a road trip. There was only one problem. I had never driven a van before and I had also never driven on the left side of the road. As you understand, leaving Sydney was a bit of a struggle. I can still hear the honking cars around me (really like 6 at the same time) and I never forget how I managed to get a massive scratch on the side of my beautiful van because I sucked at stirring in a parking lot. Anyways, I figured it went quite well as no one got hurt and the van was (relatively) okay!
Off we went!
I genuinely think the outback and the west coast are nicer than the east coast, eventhough almost every backpacker I met did only travelled the east coast. Therefore I made a list for people who still wanna go to OZ with only the highlights of the east coast. Yes, you miss out on a few things, but it's not worth spending all your money on this side of the country, I promise.
1. The Blue Mountains. How long you have to stay depends on how lost you get, cause there are many different walks and that can be confusing. Besides that, it's amazing, rugged, and it's quite easy to avoid the touringcars full of Chinese people when you don't go to the Three Sisters at prime time. Many waterfalls, many views and many steps. Don't miss it when you're there.
2. Wollomombi National Park. It's an amazing first stop if you want to be alone in nature.
3. Coffs harbor. Because it's nice and quiet and I really loved the Aussitel hostel cause I could park my van so I didn't have to sleep in a bunkbed but I could still use the facilities (and I loved it because I won the pingpong tournament).
4. Byron Bay. Because it's bloody Byron Bay! There's something for everyone there. I attended a wet t-shirt night in a bar called cheeky monkey which was horrible (for obvious reasons), so I left after the first act (but many people seemed to love it... also for obvious reasons). But! In my hostel I jammed with many strangers out of the blue for a whole night because someone saw me playing guitar and invited me to a secret place with many other musicians. Byron Bay is a place almost too cool for me. It's a very chilled out spot and I don't know anyone who hates this place. It's possible to surf, eat, drink, swim, tan, stroll and when you go to the beach at night everyone would be there playing music, hanging out, do yoga, or just dance (with or without music).
5. Nimbin. It's a weird place. It's one street where everyone is stoned, sells stuff to get stoned from, or both. When I walked into a gallery the first thing a lady asked was if I wanted to buy cookies..? Funny for just an afternoon!
6. Springbrook National park. Amazing nature, with many waterfalls and cool hikes!
7. Climb mt. Warning. It's steep and rugged and that name was accurate. I survived, and I loved it!
8. Gold coast/surfers paradise. Awesome if you're into drinking. For me awesome to leave asap. I think I was in Surfers paradise for 1 hour. I took that photo of the high buildings next to the beach (see pic above) and drove off.
9. Brisbane. You either hate it or love it, they say. I thought it was just fine for a few days. The citybeach is awesome and the ferry is for free (winning!). Also possible to go to Moreton Island which is supposed to be beautiful but very expensive.
10. Glasshouse Mountains national park. Again, amazing nature!
11. Fraser Island. The biggest sand island of the world. Funny to be racing around on the beach in a 4x4 but less funny when there's an untalented German driver in your group who almost kills everybody.(yes, that happened and it was scary). Apart from that, really sweet. I did drink a lot of beer here though, cause it's kinda part of the fun!
12. Noosa. Very chilled little town with a nice beach, lovely people and a nice park to hike in with amazing views. Stay here for a few days to recover from your hangovers or to get new ones.
13. Airlie beach. It's also a very chilled town and the gateway to the biggest highlight of the East coast:
14. Whitsundays. Just fantastic. The greatest views, bluest water, awesome snorkeling and just a lot of awesomeness. Do a 3 day tour on a sailboat. Or when you run out of time or money like I did; do a one day tour on a speedboat. Still one of the best days in my life.
15. Magnetic Island: The one thing I missed out on and actually regret. It's supposed to be lovely and you can cuddle with koalas so there's your reason to go.
16. Cairns: It's a bit of a boring town. You can choose between stoner friends or party friends and I didn't really fit in with both. I still had a good time with some friends I made in Sydney and it's close to the great barrier reef which is an awesome place for snorkeling, but unfortunately the reef if dying very fast (cause of ignorant tourists). In the middle of Cairns there's the lagoon which is a huge free swimming pool so everyone is always there as there's not much else to do in town. Go for day trips to Cape tribulation and the Tablelands for amazing waterfalls and some Australian jungle! (watch out for crocs if you want to swim somewhere, no joke..)
After this road trip from Sydney up the east coast to Cairns I went roadtripping into the Australian Outback for some adventure and and to find a job. Stay tuned!
ps. if you made it this far down; good on ya and thanks for reading!