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11 Hidden Gems on Australia’s East Coast: Top Places to Visit

Best places to visit in Australia EAs far as tourist destinations go, Australia is one of the most amazing places on the planet that a discerning traveler can choose.

After all, the 6th largest country in the world takes up an entire continent and is brimming with natural beauty, exciting wildlife, impressive landscapes, diverse culture, and man-made wonders.

While the most popular tourist destinations on the continent are the Red Centre and Sydney, Australia has plenty more to offer.

Let’s explore some of the most beautiful destinations on the East Coast of Australia with our guest blogger Zara.

Disclaimer: This is an independent travel blog, where I publish stories of my trips and help you to plan yours. I might get a small commission if you book your trip using some of the links in this article at no cost for you. All opinions and recommendations are unbiased and only reflect my opinion (or opinion of a guest writer).

How to Plan a Trip to East Australia

Planning a trip to East Australia is easy.

There are over a dozen airports in the Eastern part of the country, so you can easily find the most suitable one for you. The best place to find convenient flights is  Skyscanner.

You can easily get to your hotel from the airport by ordering a transfer in advance. 

Travel around Eastern Australia with ease by renting a car.

You can find a suitable hotel in Australia on Booking.com (register using this link and get 15 euro back), or a nice apartment using Airbnb (register using this link and et 23 euro back).

To make your trip planning around Australia more simple, find suitable tours around the country and its neighbors.

When visiting particular cities or attractions, check a diverse choice of city tours here.

Also, don’t forget about the travel insurance for your adventurous trip.

If you’re traveling with kids, I recommend you reading this Sydney family guide.

Let’s start with the hidden gems on Australia East coast:

                        Rainbow Beach

If you find yourself in Queensland, don’t miss the chance to check out Rainbow Beach, just north of Brisbane. This gorgeous town on the Pacific coast has gorgeous beaches, but, unlike the rest of the East Coast, it also boasts huge, and surprisingly fun sand dunes. It might sound silly, but in reality, sliding down the sandy slopes is sheer, unadulterated joy.

                        Byron Bay

Sunset in Byron Bay, Australia

If you are a surfing enthusiast, or at least aspire to become one, you already know about Byron Bay. One of the most legendary surfing destinations on the entire planet, Byron Bay is an irresistible mix of glorious beaches, amazing surfing, and a laid-back vibe. While it has kept a lot of its original hippie charm, the constant growth has helped transform the place into one of East Coast’s favorites.

You can find amazing Byron Bay accommodation with a restaurant overlooking the rainforest and enjoy the irresistible combo of nature and luxury.

                        Hyams Beach

If you’re a fan of postcard-perfect beaches, complete with dazzling white sand and iridescent blue waters, Hyams Beach is an unmissable experience. This beach on the southern side of Jervis Bay officially has the whitest sand on the planet.

Don’t believe us?

It’s been confirmed by the Guinness Book of Records. The beach and its surroundings offer plenty of activities, such as diving, snorkeling, hiking, a marine park, as well as dolphin and whale watching.

                        Yamba

Angourie, places to visit in Eastern Australia

Nestled right at the mouth of Clarence River, Yamba is a gorgeous resort town, a longtime favorite of backpackers and families. Because of its unique position, the place is a paradise for fishing enthusiasts.

The waters surrounding the town are brimming with dolphins, and it’s not unusual to encounter them while swimming, even quite close to the shore. The period from May to October is whale watching season. The area around the town is known for its rich Aboriginal history and culture.

                        Fraser Island

Fraser island in East Australia

This UNESCO World Heritage-listed island off the coast of Queensland is a sight to behold. The largest sand island in the world, Fraser Island is a tropical paradise full of enchanting beaches, dramatic sand cliffs, and pristine, ancient rainforests.

With over 100 lakes, mangrove systems, and several rare or endangered species, the natural beauty of the island is hard to believe. Fraser Island is also a heaven for birdwatchers, with up to 40,000 migratory shorebirds.

                        Noosa

Noosa water beach

Noosa achieves a perfect balance between a high-end resort with luxe restaurants, designer boutiques and sophisticated accommodation on the one side, and untouched natural wonders on the other. Located right inside the Noosa Biosphere Reserve, it is the place to be if you want to cuddle with koalas or swim with humpback whales.

Noosa is a great destination for everyone who loves an active holiday. Popular activities include surfing, stand up paddle boarding, and canoeing. For seven days every year, Noosa becomes the place to be for surfers all over the world during the Noosa Longboard Pro festival.

                        Mission Beach

Mission Beach

If you’re not much into the general hubbub and party atmosphere of Cairns, or would like to try it without actually staying there, check out Mission Beach. This tiny northeastern town has some of the most stunning white-sand beaches in the area.

If just relaxing on the beach is not enough for you and you need a surge of adrenaline to make your vacation memorable, you can try skydiving or white water rafting on the Tully River.

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                        South West Rocks

If you’re doing a road trip on the east coast, about halfway from Brisbane to Sydney you’ll come across this charming village. With stellar beaches and several camping sites in the vicinity, South West Rocks is the ideal vacation spot for all nature lovers.

History buffs will love exploring the old Trial Bay Gaol complete with historic cells. Another unmissable local attraction is the Smoky Cape Lighthouse – a wonderful place for a walk and whale watching from May to November.

                        Magnetic Island

Magnetic island, East Coast Australia

If you’re making your way south from Cairns, this island off the northeastern coast is another excellent stop. Full of little bays with cozy beaches and clear, blue waters, Magnetic Island is the very definition of a tropical paradise.

The lush rainforests that cover the island are home to pretty impressive wildlife, and the visitors’ favorites are, by far, koalas. You even get to hold and cuddle them if you want!

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                        Squeaky Beach

If you happen to find yourself at the southernmost end of the east coast, don’t miss Wilson’s Promontory and its most gorgeous asset – Squeaky Beach. The name comes from the famous sand that makes up this gem of a beach.

Consisting partly of round grains of quartz, the sand of the beach makes a characteristic squeaky sound when you walk on it. The turquoise waters and perfect sand are complemented by huge orange granite boulders and pretty islands far out on the horizon, forming a truly breathtaking landscape.

                        Seventeen Seventy

First of all, this is obviously the Australian town with the strangest name. Named after the year when James Cook landed on the local shores, this unusually named town offers plenty of fun activities.

Uniquely situated, it is famous for being one of the rare places where you can watch the sun rise and set over the ocean. Once you’ve had your fill of local history, enjoy kayaking, surfing and mini motorbiking.

Whether you prefer packed resorts or little gems hidden off the beaten path, you’ll find the perfect place to spend your next holiday in Eastern Australia. Also, learn about the best places to visit in West Australia

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