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Australia itinerary in 4 weeks: see all the things to do in east coast Australia

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Australia is one of the best countries for solo female travellers. The country is welcoming, people are friendly, and it is very safe to travel in the city and everywhere in between.

If you have only a week or two of holiday and want to check out Australia, take a look at my 10-day itinerary for East Coast Australia. It is a compact itinerary that highlights the best of East Coast Australia. I included a lot of budget tips too!

But if you have a month to travel, then keep reading! Australia is a big country, and you can comfortably see the majority of the highlights on the east coast at a comfortable pace.

Hold on tight as I show you how you can spend 4 weeks in Australia and see the best of the East Coast Australia as a first-time traveller!

 

 

Before you fly to Australia

Before you go to Australia, take a look at my list of 17 things you need to know before travelling to Australia. I included useful information about Australia, including applying for ETA and other helpful information you might want to know.

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Accommodations in East Coast Australia

There are plenty of accommodations along the East Coast of Australia. However, prices tend to be high (if you are comparing to other budget countries). But there are still plenty of excellent budget options for solo travellers.

 

Hotels, Guesthouses, & Hostels

For hotels, guesthouses, and hostels, I like to book hotels with Agoda. I’ve used Agoda with bookings for many parts of the world, including Australia.

Moreover, Agoda has the most competitive prices compared to other booking websites. They have the best price guarantee, and they do not charge a booking fee. And if you write a review after your stay, Agoda will reward you Agoda dollars for future bookings.

Agoda has a huge database of accommodation available in Australia. Take a look at the website or browse through my Australia posts for specific hotel recommendations.

Airbnb

Airbnb is one of the best options for accommodations for solo travellers. You can choose affordable housing in Australia with Airbnb, including an entire apartment, private room or shared room. And if you are travelling for a whole month, it might be worthwhile to stay at an Airbnb.

Recently, Airbnb introduced Airbnb Plus, which is a higher-tier of Airbnb, where homes are verified. Generally, the Airbnb Plus homes are newly renovated, have better design and have better finishes and fixtures.

Searching and booking an Airbnb unit is simple and easy. Simply sign up and search with filters and dates. If you are not part of Airbnb yet, please use this code to claim your $35 Airbnb discount.

Related Post – How to save money by booking Airbnb

How to spend 1 month in Australia

Here is a quick summary of all the places you will visit in 4 weeks in Australia:

  • Day 1-3: Melbourne
  • Day 4: Great Ocean Road 
  • Day 5-8: Sydney
  • Day 9-10: Byron Bay
  • Day 11-14: Gold Coast
  • Day 15-17: Brisbane
  • Day 18: Noosa
  • Day 19: Hervey Bay
  • Day 20-21: Fraser Island
  • Day 22: Airlie Beach
  • Day 23-24: Whitsunday
  • Day 25: Airlie Beach
  • Day 26-28: Cairns
 
Your 1-month tour of East Coast Australia starts in Melbourne, Victoria.
Your 1-month tour of East Coast Australia starts in Melbourne, Victoria.

Day 1 – 3: Melbourne (3 days)

Start your 4 week itinerary in Australia by visiting one of the world’s most liveable cities, Melbourne. As the capital city of the state of Victoria, Melbourne has a buzzing city centre, with many cultural influences and a vibrant nightlife.

What to do in Melbourne

Here are some suggestions for things to do in Melbourne:

  • Meander through the laneways in Central Business District (CBD) including Hosier Lane, the most famous graffiti alley
  • Wine and dine at one of the restaurants along Chapel Street in South Yarra
  • See penguins and visit a city beach in St Kilda
  • Take Instagram photos with the Brighton Beach Boxes at Brighton Beach
  • Taste the best international cuisine at South Melbourne Market
 

Solo traveller tip: Exploring Melbourne

One of the best things about travelling within Melbourne CBD is the Free Tram Zone. If you are travelling only in the free zone, you don’t need to tap your Myki Card at all. Just hop on and enjoy your ride. Check the Free Tram Zone Map for the exact perimeter for the Free Tram Zone.

Get all the trip details for Melbourne here

Visiting the Great Ocean Road is a must for any Australia itinerary.
Visiting the Great Ocean Road is a must for any Australia itinerary.

Day 4: Great Ocean Road (1 day)

Taking a road trip to the Great Ocean Road has to be one of the best road trip adventures in Victoria. The journey takes only 3 hours from Melbourne to 12 Apostles.

What to do at Great Ocean Road

Here are some suggestions for things to do at Great Ocean Road:

  • See the famous 12 Apostles along the magnificent limestone coastline
  • Walk down 86 steps to the beaches of Gibson Steps and see the limestone cliff up close
  • Take in the panoramic view at Island Arch Lookout and find the secret beach at Loch Ard Gorge
  • Eat and stay in either Apollo Bay and Lorne, the cutest seaside towns
  • Swim and surf at the world-famous Bells Beach and Winkipop 

Solo traveller tip: Driving to Great Ocean Road

The best way to see the Great Ocean Road is by renting a car and taking a self-guided tour.

However, please remember to drive on the left side. There are many signs in the area to remind drivers to stay on the left. Since many tourists visit the Great Ocean Road, the roads are busy, and there have been many accidents because many overseas tourists drive on the right side in their home country.

And do not speed on the highway. There are many traffic cameras along the road, and they will snap a photo if you are speeding even a few kilometres over the limit.

 

Want more info about all the places along Great Ocean Road? Click here

See the most iconic landmarks in Australia, the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.
See the most iconic landmarks in Australia, the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Day 5 – 8: Sydney (4 days)

As Australia’s largest city, Sydney is one of the most visited cities in the southern hemisphere. With two of the most recognizable landmarks, the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge as the backdrop, it is no wonder that Sydney has one of the world’s most beautiful harbour.

What to do in Sydney

Here are some suggestions for things to do in Sydney:

  • Wander around Central Business District (CBD) and tour around The Rocks, one of the oldest area in Sydney
  • Visit both iconic landmarks, Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge in Circular Quay 
  • Enjoy contemporary art galleries in Chippendale including the White Rabbit Gallery and Galerie Pompon
  • Sunbathe and surf at one of the northern beaches including Manly Beach, Shelly Beach and Freshwater Beach
  • Hike the scenic Bondi to Coogee Walking Trail from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach

Solo traveller tip: Taking public transit with Opal Card on Sundays

Taking public transport on Sundays in Sydney with the Opal Card is the cheapest and easiest way to get around. The daily maximum is $2.70AUD! Take advantage of the price cap and visit as many places as possible. You can even take a trip to the Blue Mountains for just $2.70AUD!

There is so much to do in Sydney! Find out more by clicking here.

 
My East Coast Australia itinerary includes a visit to the most easterly point in Australia located in Byron Bay.
My East Coast Australia itinerary includes a visit to the most easterly point in Australia located in Byron Bay.

Day 9 – 10: Byron Bay (2 days)

One of the most highly sought after sun destinations for Australians and also international travellers is Byron Bay. The coastal town is known for the best waves for surfing, gorgeous beaches and the most easterly point in Australia.

What to do in Byron Bay

Here are some suggestions for things to do in Byron Bay:

  • Find the perfect wave for surfing at The Pass, The Wreck or Tallow Beach
  • Follow the Cape Byron Walking Track and hike up Cape Byron including a visit to the most easterly point of Australia mainland and Cape Byron Lighthouse
  • Hire a vintage bicycle and bike to The Farm Byron Bay for a farm-to-table meal
  • Enjoy a beautiful sunset at Byron Beach or Tallow Beach 
  • Visit a nearby hippie village, Nimbin

Solo traveller tip: Free bike rental at Wake Up Byron Bay

There are many places to rent bicycles in Byron Bay. But if you want to rent a cute vintage Jordaan Lekker bike, then stay at the charming hostel by the beach called Wake Up Byron Bay. The free bike rental is available for guests only.

Need more information on Byron Bay? Click here

Bask in the glorious sun at the beaches of the Gold Coast in Queensland.
Bask in the glorious sun at the beaches of the Gold Coast in Queensland.

Day 11 – 14: Gold Coast (4 days)

Known for its golden beaches, surfing, and rainforest, Gold Coast is one of the most visited cities in Queensland, Australia. While there are mountains, amusement parks and wildlife sanctuary in the Gold Coast, the best activities centre around the beach.

What to do in Gold Coast

Here are some suggestions for things to do in Gold Coast:

  • Learn to surf at one of the beaches along the coast including Surfers Paradise Beach, Duranbah Beach and Currumbin Alley
  • Enjoy a leisure afternoon with a standup paddleboard at Tallebudgera Creek
  • Hike up to Tumgun Lookout in Burleigh Head National Park
  • Take a dip in Snapper Rocks, a famous rock pool at Coolangatta
  • Enjoy miles and miles of golden sand from Coolangatta to Surfers Paradise Beach 
 

Solo traveller tip: Stay in Burleigh Heads

There are many towns along the Gold Coast, and each one is different and unique.

My absolute favourite spot has to be Burleigh Heads. The town has excellent accommodations, great cafes and restaurants, access to the best beaches for surfing, and proximity to a national park with various hiking paths. Burleigh Heads is where all the locals hang out; it is not touristy at all. Hands down one of the best places for solo travellers!

Want more info on the Gold Coast? Click here

Enjoy a balmy summer night at the base of Story Bridge in Brisbane.
Enjoy a balmy summer night at the base of Story Bridge in Brisbane.

Day 15 – 17: Brisbane (3 days)

Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, is Australia’s third-largest city. The city is often overlooked because most travellers visit Melbourne and Sydney. But you do not want to miss Brisbane – it is one of the friendliest cities in Australia!

What to do in Brisbane

Here are some suggestions for things to do in Brisbane:

  • Walk along many scenic paths in Brisbane including CBD to Teneriffe via City Reach Boardwalk and Riverwalk
  • Take a self-guided Brisbane River ferry tour with CityCat or CityHopper
  • Shop on Queen Street Mall in CBD and James Street Precinct in Fortitude Valley
  • Visit local markets around Brisbane including Jan Power Farmers Market at Powerhouse in New Farm
  • Cuddle with koalas at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
  • Jump on a short cruise in Brisbane and explore the surrounding area

Solo traveller tip: Rent a Lime Scooter and zip around Brisbane

Lime Scooter is an electric scooter sharing program in Brisbane. It costs $1AUD to unlock a scooter and 30 cents per minute. It is a fun way to zip around the city and see many sites if you are press for time.

Download the Lime app, locate a scooter and start scooting around the city. And make sure you wear a helmet.

Learn how you can see Brisbane as a solo traveller

 
Noosa is the perfect spot for sun, surf and adventure!
Noosa is the perfect spot for sun, surf and adventure!

Day 18: Noosa (1 day)

Noosa is Queensland’s most popular beach town on the Sunshine Coast in Australia. The town has some of the best beaches on the east coast where you can’t find anywhere else. And it has a national park with fantastic hiking trails, scenic viewpoints, and rock pools.

What to do in Noosa

Here are some suggestions for things to do in Noosa:

  • Find the Fairy Pools in Noosa National Park
  • Hike through various trekking paths in Noosa National Park and find Hell’s Gates, the highest viewpoint overlooking the steepest cliffs along the shore
  • Find the best waves at Noosa Heads Main Beach and Alexandria Bay 
  • Hike up to Laguna Lookout and see Noosa Heads from above and Glasshouse Mountains
  • Enjoy the sun and golden sand at Sunshine Beach

Solo traveller tip: Best time to visit Fairy Pools

The lower Fairy Pool is exposed during low tide and waves are not crashing into the pool. So if possible, visit the Fairy Pools during low tide so you can get the best experience. Check the tide level several days before visiting Noosa so you will not be disappointed.

Learn how you can find the Fairy Pools in Noosa

 

Day 19: Hervey Bay (1 day)

Hervey Bay is a small coastal town in Queensland that is known for observing humpback whales. And it is the town where most Fraser Island tour begins.

What to do in Hervey Bay

Here are some suggestions for things to do in Hervey Bay:

  • Watch humpback whales by joining an organized tour
  • Cruise around waters of Hervey Bay on an eco-tour

Solo traveller tip: Arrive late in Hervey Bay or join a tour

You can either spend most of your day in Noosa then make your way to Hervey Bay. The town isn’t that big and not too much to do. Or you can join one of the whale watching or eco-tour that is unique to Hervey Bay.

Visit the dunes around Lake Wabby, the deepest freshwater lake on Fraser Island
Visit the dunes around Lake Wabby, the deepest freshwater lake on Fraser Island

Day 20 – 21: Fraser Island (2 days)

Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world. The island is over 120km long with golden beaches, turquoise lakes, rainforests, mangrove forests and panoramic viewpoints.

What to do on Fraser Island

Here are some suggestions for things to do on Fraser Island:

  • See the SS Maheno shipwreck along the Seventy Five Mile Beach 
  • Visit the Hammerstone Sandblow dunes around the deepest freshwater lake, Lake Wabby
  • Cool off in the clear turquoise freshwater of Lake McKenzie 
  • Hike up Indian Head for a panoramic view of the island and ocean
  • Take a dip in Champagne Pools, a famous rock pool along the coast

Solo traveller tip: Join a Fraser Island Tour

Doing a self-drive tour of Fraser Island is an amazing experience. But if you don’t want to navigate on your own, join a 2 day 1 night tour. Most tours include transportation to all the best sites on the island.

Many visitors go to Airlie Beach to start their Whitsunday Islands tour.
Many visitors go to Airlie Beach to start their Whitsunday Islands tour.

Day 22: Airlie Beach (1 day)

Airlie Beach is a small resort town in Queensland. Most people visit Airlie Beach because it is the gateway for many tours around the Whitsunday Islands and visiting the Great Barrier Reef.

What to do in Airlie Beach

Here are some suggestions for things to do in Airlie Beach:

  • Swim in the man-made lagoon at Airlie Beach Lagoon
  • Walk along the Coastal Fringe Circuit in a lush rainforest in Conway National Park 
  • Shop at the Airlie Beach Market on Saturday mornings along the promenade
  • Enjoy the small-town vibes and nightlife of Airlie Beach
 

Solo traveller tip: Spend 1 day in Airlie Beach before and after your Whitsunday Islands tour

Airlie Beach is a small beach town with many budget accommodations and eateries. And it is one of the best spots to start your trip to the Whitsundays Islands.

However, you don’t need to spend more than a day before and after your tour.

There are many Whitsunday Islands tours to choose from. Either book ahead or book one in Airlie Beach.
There are many Whitsunday Islands tours to choose from. Either book ahead or book one in Airlie Beach.

Day 23 – 24: Whitsundays (2 days)

When you travel 4 weeks in Australia, you must include a once-in-a-lifetime sailing trip to the Whitsunday Islands. It is one of the most magical places I’ve ever been to. You can choose a budget one-day tour to multiple days on a luxury yacht. Ideally, you want to spend a few days on a boat.

What to do in Whitsundays

Here are some suggestions for things to do in Whitsundays:

  • Visit the powdery white sand of Whitehaven Beach, one of the best beaches in Queensland
  • Snorkel or dive in the clear waters of Great Barrier Reef to see the world’s most extensive coral reef system
  • Go island hopping with your tour group

Solo traveller tip: Book a Whitsunday Islands tour

I’m not a big fan of sailing, but sailing in the Whitsunday Islands was one of my favourite memories of Australia. Even though I have motion sickness, I powered through it and had the time of my life!

Join one of the many tours for the Whitsunday Islands. See more information below.

Day 25: Airlie Beach (1 day)

Return to Airlie Beach at the end of your Whitsunday Islands tour. Rest for the day and continue onto your journey the next day.

 

Day 26 – 28: Cairns (3 days)

Located at the northern Queensland, Cairns is the gateway to the world’s oldest tropical rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. Visitors to Cairns will enjoy a variety of activities around the beach, water and rainforest.

What to do in Cairns

Here are some suggestions for things to do in Cairns:

  • Ride the 7.5km Skyrail Rainforest Cableway into the world’s oldest tropical rainforest and explore Kuranda
  • See koalas, wallabies, dingoes and other wildlife at Rainforestation Nature Park 
  • Learn about the original Australian Indigenous culture at Tjapukai Cultural Centre
  • See ancient ferns and lush greenery at Daintree Rainforest, a world heritage site
  • Relax at the coastal village of Palm Cove

Solo traveller tip: Relax and unwind in Cairns

Cairns is the last stop on your 4 weeks Australia itinerary. Hopefully, you can take some time to relax and unwind before heading back home.

Don’t have a whole month? Spend 10 days in East Coast Australia

Are you ready to spend 4 weeks in Australia?

If you have one month to travel in Australia, make sure to check out all the attractions mentioned in this blog so you can check off your Australian travel bucket list. But if you only have a few weeks, take a look at my 10-day itinerary where I condense the best of East Coast Australia into 10 days.

 

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About Author

Hi, my name is Queenie, and I've been a solo traveller for 18+ years and currently based in Hong Kong. Follow me on my adventures through Instagram and my blog!

4 Comments

  • Gail
    February 26, 2020 at 8:18 am

    Hello … great information. I would be interested to know your mode of travel between cities … did you drive, bus, train, fly ? Thank you !

    Reply
    • queenie mak
      February 26, 2020 at 10:14 am

      Thanks so much, Gail! I took a train from Melbourne to Sydney and greyhound buses for the rest of the journey. I like train travel and also want to take long-distance buses to take the hassle of navigating on my own. Australia has a really good network of long-distance buses. I also have more detailed info for some of the transportation modes between Melbourne, Sydney, Byron Bay, Gold Coast and Brisbane in my 10-day Australia itinerary. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  • Maria
    March 26, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    Just last month we had a kid free 4-day vacation with our friends to Australia!! Love it there!!

    Reply
    • queenie mak
      March 27, 2020 at 11:48 am

      Australia is such a lovely country! Would love to go back soon! So happy you were able to enjoy a bit of “me” time 🙂

      Reply

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