Australia is big. Huge and 7,692,000 km² to be precise. When planning your holiday, it can be difficult to decide where exactly to go. Both the west coast and the east coast have a lot to offer. Unless you can take a few months off to travel the continent, the itinerary should be optimally planned to make the most of the short time.
In the following, I have put together a perfect route along the east coast for 2 weeks for you. This was the route of my first trip to Australia and it was absolutely perfect for me, that’s why I would like to share it with you. I didn’t have much time, 2 weeks were really short and that should be the minimum, not only because of the long flight. You will need a car for this trip, but I think most people get one anyway when visiting Australia – the distances are too big and Australia has to be explored by car, right? 🙂
Since my partner already lived in Melbourne at the time of my trip as well as his family in Brisbane, we had a base at both places. Therefore my travel route can either just be an inspiration for you, or you can of course copy it and simply book appropriate accommodations in both cities.
By the way, I have included a few unedited holiday pictures to give you the most authentic impression possible.
Day of arrival:
I arrived in Melbourne late at night
Day 1: Great Ocean Road
Day trip with the car along the Great Ocean Road. To the 12 Apostles, to Torquay and to Lorne. There are also great waterfalls around Lorne or a little further in Otway National Park. Google can straight give you several good recommendations. I love the Great Ocean Road. The nature around there is just so beautiful and spacious.
Day 2: Melbourne
Sightseeing in Melbourne is on the agenda. I can recommend the following spots: Royal Botanical Garden, St Kilda Beach, Shrine of Remembrance, the CBD (Central Business District), NGV (National Gallery of Victoria), Queen Victoria Night Market, Chapel Street in South Yarra, the streets of Fitzroy.
Day 3: Brisbane
Flight to Brisbane. In Melbourne you can simply take a bus from the CBD (Southern Cross Station) that goes directly to the airport. When you arrive in Brisbane, you can either explore the city center, go to the boat pool at the river, or walk along the Brisbane River and then have a barbecue. There are numerous public barbecue facilities (just don’t forget to clean the grill afterwards) with a wonderful view. With having the tropical climate in Queensland, everything is fun anyway! 😉
Day 4: Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Visit of the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Here you can hold koalas in your arms, feed and pet kangaroos, see the Tasmanian Devil in action and many more. Animal lovers will definitely have fun here.
Day 5-7: Byron Bay
Today we drive to Lennox Head/Byron Bay. We stayed there for two nights in a super cute Airbnb accommodation with a breathtaking view (this is the accommodation). The host is a very nice Swiss man who emigrated to Australia many years ago. You can explore the beautiful countryside in this area, or you can go to Byron Bay, where it’s busy in high season but the vibe speaks for itself. In Byron Bay is definitely the time to go to the beach and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. It’s definitely worth a visit.
Day 7: Brisbane
We went back to the family in Brisbane for one night. With just under three and a half hours drive from Byron Bay to Noosa, it would have been possible even without a stopover.
Day 8-10: Noosa
We got from Brisbane to Noosa in approx. an hour and forty minutes. We stayed there for two nights (unfortunately I could no longer access our accommodation), actually in an Airbnb at Marcus Beach. We spent the 9th day at Marcus Beach and in the evening drove to Noosa for a cocktail (approx. 15 minutes drive). It’s said that Noosa is more of a posh town. It is not very big and the beach is not particularly wide, but I think that the place is ideal especially for families with children and it’s definitely beautiful there. I personally liked it very much as well as the atmosphere.
Day 10: Chatsworth
On day 10, we drove almost an hour from Noosa towards the heart of the country, to Chatsworth. We stayed for one night in a really cute Airbnb accommodation, which was my personal highlight. The hosts have converted a former dairy into a super cozy cottage. The view is breathtaking, there is a campfire that the hosts are happy to light up for you and, if you like, join you for a glass of wine. There are so many cute sitting areas and the property definitely has that cottage feeling. As we didn’t have much time there, we cooked something delicious in the evening and then enjoyed the wonderful view around the campfire and breakfast on the veranda the next morning.
Day 11: Rainbow Beach
For our last stop outside, we drove another hour from Chatsworth to Cooloola Cove/Rainbow Beach. There we spent one night in this Airbnb, which I can also highly recommend. Although it’s not a private accommodation, it’s a very cozy room with a private bathroom in a very friendly couple’s house. We spent the rest of the day exploring the area and arranging tickets for Fraser Island for the next day.
Day 12: Fraser Island
Off to Fraser Island! The largest sand island in the world. We started early and spent the day with a tour guide. That was more convenient in the short period of time than it would be with renting a four-wheel drive, exploring the island by yourself and risking to get stuck with the car ;-). We saw dingoes, spent time at Lake McKenzie, did a scenic flight, hiked through the rainforest and drove to Eli Creek, which was very refreshing. This was the perfect tour for one day and gave us a very good overview of the island.
When we got back from Fraser Island to Rainbow Beach in the evening, we went back to Brisbane within three hours.
Day 13: Goodbye
And then the two weeks were already over, unbelievable. I had to pack my bags and say goodbye Australia in the evening again.
As mentioned at the beginning, this route was ideal for me for a short period of two weeks. We had a lot of stations, but this allowed me to see a lot of the east coast. In addition, the trips with the car gave me a better impression of Australia and we could stop whenever we wanted.
On my second holiday in Australia, I mainly spent time in Victoria, but also visited Sydney and the Gold Coast/Surfers Paradise. Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast could also be an option for your route. Sydney, on the other hand, is a little further away, which would only be doable with a flight.
I’m happy if I could make you tempted to book your next holiday in Australia! If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch, or share recommendations from your trip with me and others in the comments. Perhaps you have a few insider tips at hand ;-).
Have you read my last post about the Australian immigration card? To be perfectly prepared for your arrival in Australia, just have a look here.