The family guide to Australia’s East Coast

The Australian East Coast is vast and diverse, with something to offer for every member of the family, even the moody teenager. From Melbourne to Cape Tribulation, from Sydney to Cairns, the east coast is packed with exciting holiday destinations for the whole family. The best and most fun way to discover all there is on offer is by taking a road trip. This is the family guide to Australia’s east coast:

The big cities

Ask most people doing an Australian East Coast trip and they are bound to tell you they are visiting the three east coast capital cities: Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne. All unique and beautiful in their own way, these three cities are well worth the visit.

Take Brisbane, the smallest of the three. What Brisbane loses in size, it makes up for in charm. The pride and joy of the Sunshine State, Brisbane has plenty on offer for young and old families. Whether you’re taking a dip at Southbank, or doing some shopping in trendy West End, Brisbane will not disappoint.

Next on the list is family favourite, Sydney. Australia’s largest city features tourist attractions including the Sydney Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, Bondi Beach, and much more.

Then there´s Sydney´s eternal rival, Melbourne, it’s not just for hipsters! Melbourne has plenty on offer for families too! From spending the day at St. Kilda’s Luna Park, to strolling through the array of world-renowned art galleries and museums, there is always plenty to do in Melbourne. It is also extremely easy and cheap for the whole family to catch trams around the city.



Any Australian East Coast trip is guaranteed to involve lots of beach time. So which beaches are the best? Starting from the top, there’s the pristine resort town of Airlie Beach. Here you’ll have the chance to take the kids sailing, swimming, or just relax by the pool at your resort! Close by are the Whitsunday Islands. The Whitsundays provide the perfect opportunity for you to set sail on one of the many yacht tours that sail through the breathtaking group of islands, allowing you to spend a few days scuba diving and soaking up the sun.

Around Brisbane, you and the family will have plenty of opportunities to hit the surf. Take a ferry to Fraser Island and camp out in comfort, with excellent facilities at hand. Drive along the beach, throw some snags on the BBQ, go fishing, or take a dip in Lake McKenzie. Or, perhaps you’d prefer the Gold Coast? The Gold Coast, just an hour drive from Brisbane, is home to fantastic surfing and swimming beaches, as well as a handful of amusement parks that the kids are sure to love.

For a more relaxed vibe, drive down the coast to Byron Bay and take a yoga lesson, go sea kayaking, or simply relax with some fish and chips on the beach. Northern NSW and Sydney also have some excellent spots for surfing, or just enjoying the view.

What else?


So, now we’ve covered the big cities and the fantastic beaches of the Australian East Coast. But, that’s not all there is! Don’t forget the gorgeous country towns, valleys, and outback destinations scattered along the coast! For example, just outside Sydney you will find a charming little town called ‘Nundle’. Taking the family to Nundle Sheep Station for the night, you’ll have the opportunity to experience a shearing demonstration and learn about sheep farming from an expert shearer. You can even stay the night in the shearer’s quarters. Not far away, you can taste the wine of the Hunter Valley. For the kids, take a drive to Bingara, here you can try gold panning at a historic gold mine, go horseback riding, or take a swim in the local waterhole.

These are just a few of the highlights of the Australian East Coast. With hundreds of destinations and a million ways to do it, you’re sure to find an Australian East Coast holiday that will satisfy the whole family. So what are you waiting for? Book your flights and start planning for the road trip of a lifetime.

Photo credit: Cory LeopoldJodie Wilson and Ari Bakker.

About the author

Pit Stops for Kids Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler.