I spent a total of three months in Australia, and I enjoyed every single day of it.
Naturally, there are some places that I liked better than others, so here are my itinerary and my personal highlights.
I came to Australia by myself so renting or buying a car was not option for me. The cost was simply too much and I could have only afforded it if I had found a travel mate. However, I really enjoy being myself and just having the option to spend time alone, so I didn’t even consider this.
That is why I decided to travel by Greyhound bus. The Greyhound routes cover almost all of Australia and it is the most popular way to travel the country amongst young people. I met a lot of great people on Greyhound, and the best thing is that you can always decide to travel a while together with them, but then also split up after a while – which is what I did.
On Greyhound, you can either pay for a specific route or for kilometres. I chose the 500km pass, and it was more than enough.
Tip: Make sure to ask your travel agency (if you have one) for discounts, or search online. I got my bus pass for almost half the price because of that.
Like most people, I spent Christmas and New Year’s in Sydney, and then started to make my way up North towards Byron Bay. I absolutely fell in love with Byron Bay, but I soon left for Surfers Paradise and then Brisbane. If you are afraid of spiders, better skip Brisbane because there are spiders literally everywhere.
After Brisbane, my friend and I made a stop in Noosa, Rainbow Beach, and then spent a couple of days in 1770/Agnes Water – where there was absolutely nothing to do except taking the cheapest surf lesson in all of Australia (which obviously I did).
After skipping a couple of stops, we finally made it to Airlie Beach (Whitsundays), spent one day in Townsville, went on to Mission Beach and finished the tour in Cairns.
I spent around 10 days in Cairns and then hopped on a plane to Adelaide. It took me around 4 days to finally find someone who also wanted to do the Great Ocean Road to Melbourne, but then we rented a van and had some great days on the road.
We saw all the typical Australian sights like the Twelve Apostles, and then made it to Melbourne. I was only supposed to spent a few days in Melbourne, but I absolutely fell in love and decided to wait for my friend to arrive from Adelaide as well. In total, I spent around 2.5 weeks in Melbourne before hopping on the Greyhound bus for a last time, driving to Canberra and then back to Sydney.
My Personal Highlights
And now to the part you’ve all been waiting for: my personal highlights. The most important word here is “personal” – these places are the spots I liked best and even fell in love with.
If you love the beach, surfing, snorkelling, and hippie vibes, Byron Bay is for you. The town itself is pretty small, the people are incredibly nice and down to earth, and everyone just seems so happy. The few shops in town mostly sell bracelets, necklaces, dream catchers, or utensils for smoking. And let’s not forget that an intense smell of weed will follow you wherever you go.
Info: Weed is illegal in Australia, however in Byron Bay no one really cares, including the police. You can buy it openly on the street and even smoke it there, but you should always be aware that there is still the possibility that the police will take action against you.
I really enjoyed Noosa, mostly because the town is so tiny and beautiful that there really is nothing to do except for the beach. But the true highlight is Noosa National Park. My friends and I got up at 5am in the morning and finished the entire coastal walkway by 9am – and it was the most beautiful thing. You walk along the beach; we saw the early surfers, some dolphins and a school of whales, and had incredible beaches all to ourselves. On the other end of the national park is another small town where you can enjoy breakfast or lunch.
Tip: We really wanted to swim in the Fairy Pools but forgot to check the tide times. Luckily, we still made it, but be sure to look them up beforehand.
To be fair, the true highlight here wasn’t Rainbow Beach itself, but the Carlo Sand Blow. It is only a 10 minute walk from the city center and the most insane thing you will ever see.
It is – surprise – a massive sand blow where you can see along the entire coast, and even sand board (or at least try).
Agnes Water really doesn’t have a lot to offer, but it is the perfect place to just chill for a couple of days. Agnes Water is home to a great surf school called Reef 2 Beach, which offers the cheapest surf lesson in all of Australia.
Their surf lesson is 3 hours long, it has several instructors and actually teaches you quite a bit. If you are an advanced surfer, you can book a different, equally cheap lesson, or tell the instructors – they will help you to make the most out of your lesson.
This place is probably on everyone’s list of favorites, because it is just magical. The weather up there is quite weird because it can change between sunshine and heavy rain in a matter of seconds. The town itself is quaint but beautiful. There is a big free pool in the city center, and the ocean’s water is the most incredible shade of turquoise, probably due to the fact that Airlie Beach is where the Great Barrier Reef begins.
From here, you can hop on a boat to the Whitsunday islands – make sure to book several weeks (if not months) in advance.
Do not miss out on Whitsundays! It is stunningly beautiful and Whitehaven Beach has the finest sand in the world.