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Do you fancy to see some bits of the East Coast in Australia? Do you want to go there and get some travel tips? Let get inspired! Read my travel story and see photos.

Travel story from the camper van – the one where I travel Australia’s East Coast with a stranger

The East Coast in Australia is a popular travel destination for backpackers and travelers. It’s probably the most visited and touristic part of the country. Still, we are in Australia… even on the East Coast, empty roads and deserted beaches wait for you, nature lover! To give you a better idea of what you could see on the East Coast, I share photos and travel tips from the road – or the travel story of my road trip Brisbane-Cairns with a fellow backpacker!

  1. Travel story of a road trip – East Coast
  2. Travel tips and useful ressources

Brisbane, Australia, East Coast. After working 2 months on a lovely farm in remote Queensland, it’s time to return to my backpacking life. I’ll travel for 2 weeks with a Dutch travel mate and Florie, French backpacker, that I found through travel groups – more travel tips on finding travel mates here.After we met in person, I’ve a good feeling about the travel and we start the road trip by heading to the mythic Fraser Island on the East Coast.

How I drove on a highway made of sand and waves on Fraser island, East Coast

Fraser Island – The largest sand island of the world

Fraser Island is the first highlight while doing a road trip on the East Coast. Just after Noosa and near Rainbow Beach, it belongs to Great Sandy National Park. Fraser Island is described as the largest sand island in the world and is a World Heritage area. Huge sand dunes formed by the wind stand up proudly in the middle of the 120 km long island. It’s also home to the famous dingoes, wild dogs in Australia. I’m impressed with their fierce beauty when I see them on the sandy highway, walking without taking any notice of the passing cars.

A sandy highway on Fraser Island

I didn’t believe it before trying it … driving on a beach is awesome! My travel tips: if you go to Fraser Island, make sure that you get the opportunity to drive on the sandy highway. Fraser Island is accessible only by 4W4 because the road on the island is nothing else than the sandy highway called 75 Mile beach (120 km)! I just loved feeling like a rally pilot and splashing in the waves with the car – a truly special travel experience.

Travel story on Fraser Island– Lake McKenzie and Champagne pools

On a travel tour or on your own backpacking trip on Fraser Island you shouldn’t miss these 2 spots: the beautiful Lake McKenzie and the Champagne pools. To reach the lake McKenzie you’ll first have to survive the drive on the sandy road – another travel experience full of bumps. The pictures unfortunately don’t make honor to this beautiful natural gem. I’ve never seen before such a color scale of white sand, turquoise and then dark blue water. The Champagne pools give you a really cool point of view of one Fraser Island’scoastal line. We also saw whales from here, as they travel along the East Coast between June and November.

How we slept on Fraser Island

We camped just at random. The campsites on Fraser Island are either expensive or fully booked. We learned it at our expense while camping on an apparently deserted camp resort – and we got caught.

My travel tips: do it like a real backpacker. Park your car on free campsites (see travel tips and ressources below) near the shore and fall asleep listening to the waves. It’s just magical.

Why I loved traveling on the East Coast in a camper van – backpacking life and travel experience

Let’s be honest, I was not sure about living in a van before our trip on Australia’s East Coast. I’m not a diva but still, I was skeptical. And then came the Dutch travel mate and Lennon, his car – or Australia and the backpacking life. Lennon brings us from a beautiful beach to another one on the East Coast. It’s a backpacker 4W4 with a fridge, a bed and even curtains – perfect to travel with a total freedom. My favorite places are the campsites near the sea where you fall asleep at the sound of the waves Sometimes, you find neon frogs in the toilets of the campsites and yes, sometimes you don’t take any shower during a few days… we are on a backpacking trip or we are not!

How I found paradises on earth while backpacking on the East Coast – travel to Agnes Water, 1770, Airlie beach and Whitsundays

White boats, albatrosses, palm trees and clear water … all under a bright blue sky. Doesn’t it sound to you like paradise?  Definitely post card spots for travel pictures! And not crowded. Australia’s East Coast, even if more touristic than the West Coast, has a lot of nature to offer.

My travel tips and trip ressources

Road trip

  • Pass by Agnes Water and 1770, a surfers paradise on the East Coast.
  • Check the Whitsundays after 1770 and Agnès Water. Airlie Beach is the gate to the Whitsundays archipel. It was not my favorite backpacking trip on the East Coast because it’s way too touristic for me. White heaven beach is nice though but don’t spend too much money on excessively expensive East Coast backpacking tours. We spent a half day there. Better spend time on Magnetic Island.
  • Go to Blackdown Tableland and Carnarvon National Park if you can. It’s 3 hours away from Rockhampton and worth it – plenty of wild kangaroos and parrots. So far one of my favorite national parks in Australia.
  • If you still have time, go to Magnetic Island. The ferry is about 70$ AUD return from Townsville. I heard that it’s a really nice quiet spot with plenty of koalas.
  • Take a break at Mission Beach, further North on the East Coast. I really loved the calm of this spot and its lost-on-earth aspect.
  • Go for a skydive above the Whitsundays! One of the cheapest skydives on Australia’s East Coast  takes you from Bowen above the Whitsundays. The flight is already really worth it. The jump is just a travel experience that you have to try! I can’t really describe it with words because it was really intense.
  • Finish the road trip with the falls in the south of Cairns. Free hiking and nice swimming spots in Tully and Girringun National parks!

Useful apps

To find free campsites and things to do during the road trip on the East Coast
  • Wikicamps Australia > caravan parks, rest areas, free or paid campsites, touristic points of interest
  • Maps Me > Google maps to download and to use off line
  • Campermate > petrol stations, free and paid campsites, public toilets, dump points, points of interest in Australia and East Coast
  • Willy Weather > weather in Australia, sunset/sunrise times, moon phase calendar (for photographers for instance), UV, tides, even radars
  • Bushwalking: hike and trekking in Google play store > hiking trails in Australia and on the East Coast


2 to 3 weeks road trip between Brisbane and Cairns – some points of interest




Cairns Blackdown Tableland Wallaman falls, Girringun National Park

Have you done a road trip on the East Coast in Australia? You have more tips for us, leave a comment!

Travel tips – a guide to Cairns, East Coast Australia