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Australia Itinerary 10 Days: Best of East Coast Australia

Are you planning a solo Australia itinerary? In 10 days, you can see the best of the best on the East Coast of Australia. There are metropolitan cities, scenic coastal towns, and numerous gorgeous beaches.

And if this is your first time going to Australia, then you will want to pack in all the activities and sites in just 10 days. I’ve compiled everything I know about Australia and put together the best 10 day in Australia itinerary.

Keep reading because I included a lot of budget tips and travel ideas for each city on this itinerary.

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Before you start your 10 days in Australia itinerary

Before spending 10 days in Australia, look at my list of 17 things you need to know before travelling to Australia. I included helpful information about Australia, including applying for ETA and other info you might want to know.

Here are additional travel tips that you may find useful for spending 10 days in Australia:

  • Australia is a safe country for solo female travellers.
  • Since you are travelling on a tight timeline, book your flight, bus and rail tickets as soon as you know your travel dates.
  • Don’t need to bring a lot of things especially when you are only travelling for 10 days. Learn how to pack like a minimalist by following my minimalist packing list template so you can pack less than 7kg.

10 Days in Australia: How to get around on your own

My 10 days in Australia itinerary maximizes your entire trip and you will experience the most efficient route on the east coast including an overnight train and long-distance buses.

One of my budget tips is to travel overnight, which means you save money on accommodation. While saving money, you can make the most of your 10 days in Australia by travelling at night versus day, where you can enjoy all the sites and attractions.

There are many low-cost carriers if you feel overnight transportation is not for you. However, I suggest booking something as soon as possible as airfares are cheapest when you book ahead of time.

Australia itinerary: 10 days on East Coast Australia

The best way to spend 10 days in Australia is by flying into one city, travelling by land between cities and flying home from another city.

First, the 10 day trip to Australia starts in Melbourne. Then travel up the coast to Sydney via an overnight train. Next, visit Byron Bay, the Gold Coast and end the trip to Brisbane, where you will fly home.

Here is a summary of all the places you will visit and the number of days you will spend in each city:

  • Day 1-3: Melbourne & Great Ocean Road (3 days)
  • Day 4-5: Sydney (2 days)
  • Day 6: Byron Bay (1 day)
  • Day 7-8: Gold Coast (2 days)
  • Day 9-10: Brisbane (2 days)

Australia Itinerary Day 1 – 3: Melbourne (3 days)

How to travel from Melbourne Airport to Melbourne: Once you arrive at Melbourne Airport, take the Skybus into the city. Skybus has six routes that will take you to different parts of the city. Purchase a ticket at the kiosk at the Skybus stop with your credit card and hop on the next scheduled bus. For more information about Skybus and different routes, click here.

Once you arrive in Melbourne, get a Myki Card to travel around the city. 

Also, take advantage of the Free Tram Zone. The zone is east of Docklands, north of Flinders Street, west of Spring Spring and south of Victoria Street. If you are travelling only in the free zone, you don’t need to tap your Myki Card.

As for all the activities around Melbourne, I took inspirations from my 5-day Melbourne itinerary and included highlights from two days on the Great Ocean Road.

Day 1: Melbourne

Central Business District

  • Visit Hosier Lane, the most famous graffiti alley in Melbourne. You can also find graffiti at Centre Place, AC/DC Lane, and Croft Alley. 
  • Look for Melbourne’s iconic laneway, Degraves Street while you are in CBD. The short pedestrian street has many al fresco restaurants and coffee shops.
  • Shopping on Bourke Street and Block Arcade.
  • See the Old Melbourne Gaol, close to the State Library of Victoria
  • Take a river cruise on the Yarra River

Carlton

  • Have dinner and drinks at one of the alfresco restaurants in Carlton, aka Little Italy. Lygon Street has many Italian eateries, old-school bars, gelaterias and dessert shops.

Day 2: Melbourne

South Yarra

  • Check out one-of-a-kind boutique stores on Chapel Street.
  • Have brunch at one of the trendy cafes in South Yarra.

St Kilda

  • See penguins hiding behind the rocks at St Kila Pier.
  • Visit St Kilda Beach, a city beach within walking distance of the pier.
  • Go on amusement park rides at Luna Park.
  • Stroll through Fitzroy Street, an eclectic pedestrian street full of boutique shops and restaurants.

Brighton Beach

  • See the Brighton Beach Boxes, colourful bathing boxes built over a century ago for seaside bathing. Each of the 82 bathing boxes is constructed from a timber frame and iron roof.
  • If timing and weather cooperate, catch a beautiful sunset on Brighton Beach.

Day 3: Great Ocean Road

  • Rent a car to do a self-drive tour or join a 1-day tour to Great Ocean Road and see the best of the most scenic route in Austarlia.
  • See the famous Twelve Apostles along the magnificant limestone coastline
  • Take in the panoraic view at Island Arch Lookout and find the secret beach at Loch Ard Gorge
  • Walk down 86 steps to the beaches of Gibson Steps

Where to stay in Melbourne

Ibis Melbourne Central Hotel

Stay two nights at the Ibis Melbourne Central Hotel. The room is small and compact but has everything you need for a short-term stay. The double bed is comfortable, and the hotel is newly renovated. I enjoyed the clean room and appreciated the convenient location.

Australia Itinerary Day 4 – 5: Sydney (2 days)

How to travel from Melbourne to Sydney: Take an overnight train at the end of the third day in Melbourne. The journey takes about 11 hours and the regional train departs at 7:50 pm at Southern Cross Station in Melbourne and arrives at 6:59 am the next day at the Central Train Station in Sydney. Buy the train ticket online or at the customer service counter at Southern Cross Station.

Get an Opal Card, a rechargeable smartcard for public transportation in New South Wales to make the most of the two full days in Sydney.

As for all the things to do in Sydney, I included all the highlights from my 3-day Sydney itinerary.

Day 4: Sydney

Central Business District

  • Explore Sydney’s Central Business District (CBD).
  • Visit the Sydney Opera House, the most famous 20th-century architectural wonder in Circular Quay. Then walk around Circular Quay and visit the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia to see displays of Australian art and modern Aboriginal art.
  • Meander the cobblestone laneways to see The Rocks, Sydney’s oldest area.
  • Experience the Sydney Harbour Bridge. There is a Bridge Climb if you want to climb to the top. Or you can walk across the bridge on the pedestrian walkway.

Surry Hills

  • Browse vintage second-hand stores and enjoy the beautiful Art Deco buildings.
  • Have dinner and drinks in the hip and stylish neighbourhood of Surry Hills

Day 5: Sydney

Manly

  • Take the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly Beach.
  • Follow the signs and find The Corso, the pedestrian street with surf shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants. Walk through The Corso promenade until you reach Manly Beach. You can rent a surfboard, spend some time in the water, or head to Shelly Beach for standup paddleboarding or snorkelling.

Bondi and Coogee

  • Visit the famous Bondi Beach.
  • Trek the Bondi to Coogee Walking trail. The trail is a very popular coastal hiking trail and can be done any time of the year. The walking trail meanders through different neighbourhoods and will take you to Tamarama Beach, Bronte BeachClovelly Beach, and Coogee Beach. The trail takes about 2 hours.

Where to stay in Sydney

Veriu Central

Stay one night at Veriu Central, which is right by the Central Train Station. You would want a comfortable bed for a good night’s rest, especially if you didn’t get proper sleep on a train the night before. Plus your next leg of your journey starts at Central Train Station.

Australia Itinerary Day 6: Byron Bay (1 day)

How to travel from Sydney to Byron Bay: Take an overnight Greyhound long-distance bus to Byron Bay. The journey starts at Central Train Station (Bay 5 & 6). Arrive half an hour early to put away your luggage and board the bus. The Greyhound bus leaves Sydney at 6:00 pm and arrives in Byron Bay at 6:30 am the next morning. There are several stops along the way for food and bathroom breaks. Book your ticket in advance so you will guarantee a seat.

Known as a surfing seaside destination, Byron Bay is a famous coastal town along the East Coast of Australia. Even if you don’t know how to surf, you can still enjoy the seaside town. You can enjoy several golden beaches, bike around town, do boutique shopping, or relax in Australia’s most charming coastal town.

Day 6: Byron Bay

Beaches of Byron Bay

  • Visit Byron Beach, the main beach for sun and fun. The best time to visit the beach is from early morning to after sunset.
  • Find The Pass, a favourite spot for more experienced surfers. And to the west of Byron Beach, The Wreck is just north of the public parking lot.
  • Visit Tallow Beach, which is on the southeast side of Byron Bay. Walk east along Lawson Street, and turn into Tallow Beach Road. The road will take you directly to Tallow Beach.

Cape Byron

  • Hike to the Cape Byron Lighthouse in Cape Byron by following the Cape Byron Walking Track signs.
  • Take a photo at the most easterly point of Australia’s mainland.
  • See a panoramic view of Tallow Beach from Cape Byron.

Where to stay in Byron Bay

Wake Up Byron Bay

Stay one night at Wake Up Byron Bay, opposite Belongli Beach just a little outside of the main part of Byron Bay. I like this hostel even though it is slightly out of town because of the free bike rentals. You can borrow one of their Jordaan Lekker bikes for free and easily bike into town in 15 minutes along the bike path. 

Australia Itinerary Day 7 – 8: Gold Coast (2 days)

How to travel from Byron Bay to Gold Coast: First, take a Greyhound long-distance bus from Byron Bay to Coolangatta. The bus stops at the old transit centre across from Coolangatta Bowls & Recreation Club near Griffith Street. Then walk over to Griffith Street and catch local bus 700 going north, heading to Burleigh Heads. Get off at the stop between Memorial Park and Mowbray Park, just next to Burleigh Heads Beach.

Gold Coast is a famous coastal city on the East Coast of Australia. While there are many things to do on Gold Coast, the golden beaches are the best attractions on the coast.

Get a Go Card while you are on Gold Coast. Having a Go Card when you take public transportation in Queensland is super helpful.

Day 7: Gold Coast

Coolangatta

  • Swim in Snapper Rocks during low tide.
  • Rent a surfboard and head over to Duranbah Beach. You can rent a surfboard from one of the places in Coolangatta including Inverted Bodyboarding Gold Coast and Coolangatta Board Store.
  • Check out the panoramic view from Point Danger.

Currumbin

  • Stroll through the boardwalk along Currumbin Creek. The path takes you through Tarrabora Reserve and Beree Badalla Reserve.

Tallebudgera Creek

  • Standup paddleboard on Tallebudgera Creek. Rent a board from All Coast Paddle Board Hire and enjoy paddling on the calm seawater for a few hours.

Day 8: Gold Coast

Surfers Paradise

  • Perhaps Surfers Paradise Beach is one of the most famous beaches on the Gold Coast; I think it is a bit over-rated as many other beaches and towns are much more attractive and not as busy. But it is still worthwhile to check out the area and see the hype.

Burleigh Heads

  • Visit Burleigh Heads National Park. Don’t miss Tumgun Lookout, the highest point in the park where you can see a panoramic view of the area.
  • See a panoramic view of the area at Mick Schamburg Park Lookout at North Burleigh.
  • Spend some time on James Street. There are many boutique stores, good eateries and excellent coffee shops.

Where to stay on Gold Coast

Outrigger Resort

Burleigh Heads has excellent options for accommodations, wonderful cafes and restaurants, access to the best beaches for surfing, proximity to a national park with various hiking paths, and so much more. I like the relaxing beach vibes of Burleigh Heads, and it is not touristy at all.

Stay two nights at Outrigger Resort in Burleigh Heads so you can be central to all the action.

Australia Itinerary Day 9-10: Brisbane (2 days)

How to travel from Gold Coast to Brisbane: Take the earliest public bus and train to Brisbane from Burleigh Heads. From Burleigh Heads, take a bus 765 or 753 to Varsity Lakes Station. From there, take the train on the Gold Coast Line to Brisbane and disembark at Fortitude Valley Station. Then walk to your hotel.

The 10 day in Australia itinerary ends in Brisbane, the capital of the Sunshine State. The city is often overlooked as most visitors would visit Melbourne and Sydney, but there are a lot of things to do in Brisbane and I packed all the best highlights in just two days.

If you haven’t already, get a Go Card, a rechargeable smartcard to take public transportation in Queensland. It is helpful to get around the city and also to the airport.

Day 9: Brisbane

Central Business District (CBD)

  • Shopping on Queen Street Mall and visiting a heritage-listed shopping arcade called Brisbane Arcade.
  • Take a walk around the perimeter of CBD. From Story Bridge, the City Reach Boardwalk walking path starts from the base of the bridge and wraps around CBD and to Brisbane City Botanic Gardens.
  • Try Moreton Bay Bug, a species of slipper lobster, at Jimmy’s on the Mall on Queen Street Mall
  • Catch a CityHopper ferry, a free inner city ferry that can take you from North Quay in CBD to Sydney Street in New Farm.

Howard Smith Wharves

  • Walk on the scenic walking path from CBD to Howard Smith Wharves.
  • Enjoy a beer at Felons Brewing Co., right underneath the Story Bridge.

Day 10: Brisbane

South Bank

  • Get cultured in South Bank by visiting the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) and Queensland Art Gallery (QAG). Both galleries display modern contemporary art with a focus on the art of Australia and Asia. The entrance to both galleries is free.
  • Visit the Pillars Project, which features outdoor murals by eight local graffiti artists. The outdoor gallery has seven-metre-tall murals on concrete pillars under the South Brisbane Underpass.
  • Get a scoop of gelato or two at Gelato Messina in South Bank.
  • Visit the River Quay Green South Bank for free music on Sunday afternoons and a view of Brisbane.

Where to stay in Brisbane

The Calile Hotel

Since you only have one night in Brisbane, go all out and splurge on one of the best design hotels in the world, The Calile Hotel. I love the hotel’s design and appreciate all the details in the guestroom, lobby and restaurant. Stay in the Urban Room and enjoy every bit of the resort-like atmosphere. 

How to travel from Brisbane to Brisbane Airport: The Airtrain takes about 35 minutes from Fortitude Valley Station to Brisbane Airport (BNE) which is 14 km from your accommodation. The ride costs $16.15AUD, and you can use your Go Card.

Are you inspired by my Australia 10 day itinerary?

If this is your first time travelling to Australia, you must visit all the places mentioned in this blog post to get the best of the best of East Coast Australia.

There are many other places to visit, but if you only have 10 days in Australia, take all the tips and advice from this post to make the most of your time in Australia.

Thank you for reading my Australia 10 days itinerary

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About Author

Hi, my name is Queenie, and I've been a solo traveller for 20+ years and currently based in Hong Kong. Follow me on my adventures through Instagram and my blog!

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