Hi! So we're three girls working on the Mornington Peninsula at the moment, and planning on heading up the East Coast in about a month to visit all the sites.
We're flying in to Sydney, then looking to buy a car (advice?) because we're all under 25 so renting seems to be a bit more complicated. Then hitting all the east coast must-see spots. Anyone got any advice on places to see, good websites that help you map etcetc? Tents etc are going to be our way of sleeping to keep our costs down, and the odd hostel and shower here and there so we don't scare away the locals.
We would really appreciate helpful input while we're starting to set down our plans in stone.
Alright, i'm going to just list off some names of places that are on the way between Sydney and Cairns that are must do's if you have the time.
Newcastle/Hunter Valley - This is NSW's premier wine country. It's about 2 hours north of Sydney for Newcastle (Steel Town) and the wineries just go north from there. A cool little town not too far from Newcastle is Anna Bay and Nelsons Bay, I'd really recommend the stop.
Coffs Harbour - Home of the Big Banana and heaps of coastal towns with amazing Beaches.
Byron Bay - Another coastal town, bigger and more touristy than Coffs.
Nimben - An inland town near Byron Bay. Known as the marijuana capital of Australia. Heaps of communes and basically a town that capitalizes on law enforcement tolerating weed.
Salt - A beach area just south of the boarder of NSW/QLD
Gold Coast - Surfers paradise. So many things to see and do there.
Brisbane - Awesome city. A lot smaller than Sydney and not as pretentious as Sydney or Melbourne without being a country town. Try to go to Stradbroke Island while you're there.
The Sunshine Coast - Bribie Island, Noosa etc
1720 - Yes, the town is a year.
Mackay, Rockhampton, Townsville and then Cairns are the next major pitstops. The Whitsundays are also nice if you have the time and the funds.
In February, I did a road trip from Melbourne to Gold Coast, sleeping in the car along the way. There's plenty of rest stops for just that purpose, though an occasional shower will certainly help. Actually came across one rest stop that had a shower in the toilet block. Where was that the night before!?
Great suggestions above but I think it depends on your time. For us, we found Byron Bay a big disappointment. It is in fact a very small town in the mountains and there are truckloads of tourists. Granted this was in the middle of summer but it was hard to find anything nice about it. My friend (Byron Bay native) recently went back, hated it, and then remembered locals hang out in Ballina as a preference!
The Blue Mountains and Gold Coast are worth every moment but Nimbin is a waste of time. Unless that's what you're interested in.