Many people travel up (or down) the East Coast of Australia – it is a pretty cliche thing to do but for good reason; It’s awesome.
Here Is Some Advice on How to Plan for the East Coast of Australia.
Before organising our trip, I read a number of blogs and talked to a lot of people about how long you need on the coast, how much it costs etc. in order to prepare for my own adventure. 4-5 weeks is the recommended amount of time to fit in the best places to stop and all the activities.
As I had already lived in Sydney for so long, and also lived in Queensland whilst doing my farm work, I had seen a bit of the coast already. I decided I would travel from Byron Bay up to Fraser Island (plus the Whitsunday islands at the beginning – sounds bizarre but made sense at the time) and then make my way over to Bali. I had two and a half weeks to see everything in between Byron and Fraser and it was the perfect amount of time (for me). You’d need another 2 weeks [minimum] to get from Fraser Island to Cairns. Read on to find out how much the trip cost us overall.
TIP! When you’re travelling the East Coast of Australia, if you can hire a car, hire one! I cannot express enough how handy the car was to have. We travelled to our destinations in our own time, stopped off at places the buses don’t stop. We saved hours of travel time and were able to buy food to take with us on the trip.
I talked to a lot of people using the Greyhound or Premier buses who were spending a fortune on food and constantly eating out which subsequently meant the majority of what they were eating was unhealthy. The hassle of buying and carrying food alongside their luggage was too much for them. We, however, were able to buy cooler bags that we put in the car and had salads/fruit every day, saving us a lot of money and keeping our bodies happy. We did treat ourselves on occasion – who can resist an acai bowl?
If you’re in a group of 3 or more people, hiring a car becomes cheaper than using the buses too. There is a Facebook page called Australia Backpackers with thousands of people posting daily, looking for travel buddies if you’re up for a different adventure and want to make some new friends!
Book with a Travel Agent
Booking your hostels and activities through a Travel Agent works out cheaper and it saves you a lot of time. The more hostels you stay in the cheaper they become so you end up with some sort of discount by booking the whole thing through the same company. If you are unable to hire a car, you can also book your Greyhound or Premier Bus tickets through travel agents.
The travel agents tend to pick the popular/clean hostels too, so you don’t have to worry about missing out or staying in some run down room. We went through a company called Backpackers World Travel. There was only one hostel that we stayed in which we didn’t feel comfortable in and it was Surf n Sun Beachside Backpackers in Surfers Paradise. If you can, I’d avoid it.
There weren’t enough beds and they had no record of who was in which room, how long they had been there and when they were leaving. We met people who had been there for months and weren’t paying rent as the owners didn’t keep track of anything. There are no lockers in the rooms to keep your valuables in either which was a big No-No for me. Make sure you’re happy with any plan the Travel Agents come up with for you and if not just make amendments.
I would recommend not booking all your extra activities beforehand as you can get really good deals in the hostels you stay in down the coast.
So, on to another question that keeps popping up:
How Much Does It Cost?
Guys, Australia is an expensive country. Unless you’re working there, and everything becomes relative to living costs etc., visiting the country on a holiday basis is going to cost you a few bob. Here is how much it costs me and the girls to do our trip:
My friends went from Byron Bay up to Cairns and this was everything they paid for in advance:
– 29 nights of Accommodation (Good quality Accommodation, most of the time Ensuite, 4-6 and 8 share dorms)
– Dolphin Kayaking Tour in Byron Bay
– The Discovery Group: Noosa Everglades Bar-B-Canoe
– Dingos: 3 day/2 night Fraser Island ‘Tag-along’ camping Safari from Rainbow Beach ALL INCLUSIVE
– Ride to Paradise: 2 Day 2 Night Resort Stay Whitsundays
– Skydive Airlie Beach 14.000ft
– Return ferry for Magnetic Island
– Great Barrier Reef Trip with Ocean Freedom + 1 Introdive
– 11x breakfast, 6x lunch and 5x dinner
Normally the recommended Retail Price of everything is $2.662 AUD pp but our Travel Agent brought it down to $2.297 AUD pp.
Hiring the car cost on average $30 per day plus $19 for insurance through the actual car hire company. Once again, the Travel Agents do however have their ways of getting discounts that we all love so much and knocked off another $143 from our total. The car cost $1278 and we divided it between the 3 of us, costing a total of $426 with insurance, which is actually cheaper than the Greyhound!
All accommodation, transport and activities came to a total of $2723. Spending money on average was around $1000 for the whole month, which covered all meals, alcohol, petrol, extra activities and any other expenses (clothes shopping ehem!! ;))
TOTAL COST FOR THE EAST COAST TRIP FOR 1 MONTH = $3700 AUD ( around £2124/ €2405)