The Land of Vegemite - My 5 East Coast Top Spots

by Emily Millar April. 23, 2020 3600 views

So here I am.

Trying to condense my time in Australia into 30 photos is more challenging than it seems. I'm not gonna lie, the land down under was kinda crazy and filled with the most amazing memories, people, and challenges.

My friend Holly and I booked onto the Contiki Reefs and Rainforest with Sailing. We started in Sydney and traveled up the East Coast of Australia to the Daintree Rainforest over 15 days. I cannot recommend this company enough! You get an amazing tour guide, all transportation, 15 nights accommodation, 21 meals, and 34 included activities with the chance to add extras on! Such good value for money!

I've narrowed the trip down to my 5 favorite locations along the East Coast and I think the photos do most of the talking here.

5. Cairns 16.9186° S, 145.7781° E

The tropical North was everything and more. We stayed in Gilligans Hostel (party central) in Cairns, otherwise known as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Our Contiki trip gave us a full day trip out on the water where we stopped at 2 locations to snorkel (and had the option of scuba diving). This was such a surreal experience and I even got to swim with a turtle.

A shout out is in order to the team at AJ Hackett for my Bungy jump. This is undoubtedly the scariest thing I have ever done ( and probably will never do again) but everyone needs to try it at least once on their life!

Snorkeling, Great Barrier Reef.

Snorkeling, Great Barrier Reef.

AJ Hackett Bungy Jump, Cairns.

AJ Hackett Bungy Jump, Cairns.

A Sand Bar, Great Barrier Reef.

A Sand Bar, Great Barrier Reef.

Turtle, Great Barrier Reef.

Turtle, Great Barrier Reef.

4.Sydney 33.8688° S, 151.2093° E

I've heard a lot of mixed reviews about Sydney as a city. Personally, I loved it. Right from the start when a double-decker train pulled up at the airport train station.

We explored the Blue Mountains (it gets the name from the blue haze expelled by the eucalyptus forests) and gazed on the 3 sisters whilst listening to some legends from our tour guide.

A sunset boat cruise around Sydney harbor is the perfect way to wind down after a long day on the sun and take in some of the sites like the Opera house and Harbour Bridge.

If your a fan of Bondi rescue like I am, then Bondi Beach will be for you. I only got to visit Bondi for the afternoon in which it was overcast and drizzle resembling Portstewart Promenade. But there are so many good coffee spots and places to eat.

Blue Mountains, Sydney.

Blue Mountains, Sydney.

Skyline, Sydney.

Skyline, Sydney.

Sydney Harbour

Sydney Harbour

Bondi Icebergs, Sydney.

Bondi Icebergs, Sydney.

Sydney Harbour Sunset Boast Cruise, Sydney.

Sydney Harbour Sunset Boast Cruise, Sydney.

3.Byron Bay 28.6474° S, 153.6020° E

Byron Bay was a dream. We stayed in the WAKE UP! Byron hostel ( they also have hostels in Sydney and Bondi) which is opposite the beach and only 20 mins from the town. We flew into Ballina at 6am and it wasn't long before we were in our wetsuits and ready to take on some waves. This was my first surf lesson and there really was no better place to have it and no better company to experience it with.

Byron is very chilled and there's loads of edgy bars and restaurants. Our Contiki tour brought us to a Stone and Wood brewery tasting sesh which was quite the experience ( my fave is The Gatherer: a beer with notes of mint, cucumber, and watermelon). Another must do is to get up at 4am and walk to the Cape Byron lighthouse to view the sunrise!

Byron Bay ft Holly and Myself.

Byron Bay ft Holly and Myself.

Byron Bay ft Holly and Myself.

Byron Bay ft Holly and Myself.

Myself failing to surf, Byron Bay.

Myself failing to surf, Byron Bay.

Byron Bay. ft Holly

Byron Bay. ft Holly

Byron Bay.

Byron Bay.

Cape Byron Lighthouse Sunrise, Byron Bay.

Cape Byron Lighthouse Sunrise, Byron Bay.

2. Fraser Island 25.2398° S, 153.1325° E

If you love a bit of adventure and exploring then I'd highly recommend getting on one of the Aussie islands. We were staying at an Eco Camp near Noosa where we had kangaroos and wallabies on our doorstep in the morning.

We took a day trip to Fraser Island via Rainbow beach on a mega 4x4/mosterbus/wagon vehicle type thing. We drove through the rainforest and had the opportunity to do a rainforest trail before stopping off at Lake Mckenzie for a dip.

Lake Mckenzie, Fraser Island.

Lake Mckenzie, Fraser Island.

Rainbow Beach, Ferry Crossing to Fraser Island.

Rainbow Beach, Ferry Crossing to Fraser Island.

4WD, Fraser Island.

4WD, Fraser Island.

Fraser Island.

Fraser Island.

Lake Mckenzie, Fraser Island.

Lake Mckenzie, Fraser Island.

Lake Mckenzie ft myself, a stranger, and a stranger's leg.

Lake Mckenzie ft myself, a stranger, and a stranger's leg.

Lake Mckenzie ft Holly and myself.

Lake Mckenzie ft Holly and myself.

Lake Mckenzie ft Duck.

Lake Mckenzie ft Duck.

Lake Mckenzie ft the Contiki Family. (Photo credit to Suitcase and I)

Lake Mckenzie ft the Contiki Family. (Photo credit to Suitcase and I)

  1. The Whitsundays 20° 17' 59.9964'' S 148° 56' 0.0024'' N

The Whitsundays. My absolute favorite part of my time in Australia. We boarded a sailing boat at Airlie beach and spent 2 nights sailing the Whitsunday Islands. The crew supplied us with food ( the best nachos) and dropped us off at snorkeling spots and to the outstanding Whitehaven beach (one of the world's top beaches). Just sailing on the waves, with the vivid colours of the sunset reflecting off the ocean, a can in my hand, and the beats in the background, pure bliss. The crew even gave us the opportunity to sleep on deck at night under the starry skies and dared us to jump into the shark-infested waters. It's also given me a 'sailing bug' and I can't stop looking at all the other Contiki sailing trips. Croatia Sailing anyone?

EM

Viewpoint at Whitehaven Beach.

Viewpoint at Whitehaven Beach.

Sailing the Whitsundays.

Sailing the Whitsundays.

Sailing the Whitsundays.

Sailing the Whitsundays.

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays.

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays.

Sailing the Whitsundays ft The Contiki Family.

Sailing the Whitsundays ft The Contiki Family.

A Contiki Pyramid failure, Whitehaven Beach.

A Contiki Pyramid failure, Whitehaven Beach.

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There are 2 comments , add yours!
Thomas Thompson 1 year, 4 months ago

Looks like there was lot of fun to be had , fantastic photos the ocean scenes  look so inviting

1 year, 4 months ago Edited
Camellia Staab 1 year, 5 months ago

Loved your post for many reasons. First it brought back tons of memories from my trip to Australia. Second the shots of water and beaches are just gorgeous. Third more power to you for cutting down your trip photos to just 30. I spent a month traveling the country, last October,  with my high school friend and there was no way I could post just 30 photos, so I ended up with many many posts. Thank you for sharing and putting  a smile on my face smile

1 year, 5 months ago Edited
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