The east coast of Australia is a well-trodden path for travellers of all descriptions and it’s not difficult to see why, with its hundreds of miles of beaches and exhilarating coastal routes such as the Great Ocean Road and the Pacific Highway. There are so many beautiful vineyards, rainforests and mountains along the way – not to mention the Great Barrier Reef and the major cities of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. However, if you’re keen for an Australian holiday somewhere ‘off-the-beaten-track’ rather than on busy Bondi Beach, you can escape the masses and still enjoy the quieter side of Australia, without having to escape to the outback!
The Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast and the world Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef beyond, are just some of the enticing places and beach-filled coastlines to see on an Australian road trip from Melbourne to Cairns. However, if you want to avoid the tourist traps, it’s best to bypass the well-known hotspots such as Surfer’s Paradise and head to some of the lesser-known towns and beaches along the way. These include:
The small coastal settlement of Seals Rocks in New South Wales, 171 miles north of Sydney, which is famous for its many premier surfing beaches and was named after the Australian fur seals that were often seen on the rocks near the picturesque Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse. At last count, its population was just 131 people, so it’s certainly a hotspot worth keeping stum about!
The year-round sunny town of Noosa, which is located close to Brisbane. Noosa is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘place of many trees,’ and its national parks are a must-do, with hidden beaches, breathtaking lookouts and secluded bays. You can of course visit the nearby and much-frequented Fraser Island from here – just don’t forget to explore Noosa first!
Further into the tropical north and close to Cairns, the underrated gem of Mission Beach, which offers great snorkelling, diving, skydiving and rainforest walks. It’s also a great place to chill out before the hedonistic city draws you in, or before you set off to the Great Barrier Reef – which is the main reason people go to Cairns.
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