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East Coast Luxury
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Discover the best of Australia’s East Coast on this stunning self-drive Journey. You’ll start in Brisbane and make your way south along the coast, stopping off at spots like Byron Bay, Sydney and Mornington Peninsula as you go. Take in rugged coastline, endless beaches, epic countryside and wineries that stretch on for miles, with opportunities for wine tasting and wildlife watching along the way.
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Your Example Itinerary
Fly from the UK to Brisbane
Arrive into Brisbane and pick up your car, ready to explore this buzzing city – one of Australia’s largest. Brisbane gets plenty of sunshine, so you’ll likely want to hit up a beach – Suttons Beach and Redcliffe are beautiful – or perhaps explore the city’s pretty South Bank area and its public lawns, gardens and swimming pool. Animal lovers should be sure to visit the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary for a chance to get up close and personal with these cuddly creatures. The following evening, you’ll get the chance to witness a traditional Aboriginal theatre show complete with song, dance and storytelling, enjoyed alongside a hearty Australian-style chargrilled buffet.
5* Spicers Peak Lodge
Lamington National Park
Start your road trip with a drive down to Lamington National Park in southeast Queensland, known for its ancient Gondwana Rainforests, home to the rare Albert’s lyrebird (a rare songbird endemic to Australia’s subtropical rainforests). Explore the park’s two main trails, Binna Burra and Green Mountains, and traverse the McPherson Range to take in spectacular mountain views. Don’t miss the cascading Morans Falls which can be viewed from the Python Rock lookout.
3.5* O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat
The next morning you’ll be heading to the stunning Byron Bay, tucked away in the northeast corner of sunny New South Wales. You’ll get the chance to experience some of the most breathtaking beaches, rugged hinterland and coastal bush landscapes that have long been attracting gatherings of people. The town itself, meanwhile, is home to a number of independent boutiques, homeware and gift stores as well as excellent local restaurants and bars, so is well worth exploring.
Drive on to the picturesque Coffs Harbour, a city on the north coast of New South Wales, perhaps best known for its glorious beaches and big banana monument (we recommend taking a fun selfie souvenir here). Why not try rafting in Dorrigo National Park, camping at Nambucca Heads or fishing at Macksville? What’s more, Coffs Harbour is home to Solitary Islands Marine Park where you can discover an abundance of wildlife including whales and coral reefs teeming with fish.
4* Breakfree Aanuka Beach Resort
Today, you’ll be off to the majestic Hunter Valley where you’ll have the opportunity to visit the many vineyards, sampling some of Australia’s best wine as you go. It’s not all about the wines though, there’s also plenty in the way of gourmet food to try; think ice cream, chocolates, cheeses and craft beer. After all that food and drink sampling, you’ll no doubt appreciate walking it off – head to the Hunter Valley Gardens for a stroll or take a ride on the miniature train.
4.5* Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley
Continue on to Sydney – sure to be a highlight of your trip. Explore The Rocks, a historic district with its quirky shops and bars, and enjoy stunning views across the harbour to the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. You can’t visit Sydney without experiencing some of its famous beaches – head to Bondi Beach for people-watching or soak up the laid-back atmosphere of Manly. On your second evening here, take in spectacular views of Sydney by night aboard the MV Sydney 2000 cruise ship whilst you indulge in a three-course dinner with live music and dancing.
4.5* Parkroyal Darling Harbour Sydney
As you continue along the east coast, stop for a day at Batemans Bay, lauded for its rugged coastline and bathwater warm seas. There’s plenty to see and do here, particularly if you’re a fan of the great outdoors. Learn to surf on one of the beaches, and don’t miss the Clyde River National Park which boasts six miles of river and forest ideal for kayaking, fishing and hiking. In the town itself you can explore the Old Courthouse Museum, and browse the markets for local arts, crafts and gifts.
3* Sunseeker Motor Inn
Translating as ‘two lakes’, your next stop is the beautiful Merimbula, where you can enjoy a serene balance of lake and seaside. Enjoy a lazy afternoon on the golden-sand beach, or stroll the two-mile boardwalk around Merimbula Lake, where you can also try stand-up paddleboarding, fishing or boating. Whilst you’re here, be sure to try some of the top-notch seafood, including oysters, crayfish, prawns and mussels.
Situated where the Gippsland Lake flows out into the sea, much like Merimbula, Lakes Entrance is another scenic spot where lake and ocean experiences combine. There’s plenty of wildlife around the beach and lakes here, including kangaroos, pelicans and dolphins, while The Griffiths Sea Shell Museum features exhibits on marine life and coral reefs. Why not take a cruise to the quaint town of Metung and the popular Wyanga Park Winery, which offers complimentary wine tastings?
Continue your journey down to Mornington Peninsula, a land of glorious beaches as well as endless fruit fields and vineyards. Spend your days here lazing by the beach, cooling off in the sea or enjoying a coastal hike – you might even spot wombats, koalas and kangaroos! While here, it’d be remiss not to sample some of the delectable local wines during a winery tour, and don’t miss Sorrento, a historic seaside town filled with galleries, boutiques and crafts shops. You’ll also be taken on a tour of the beautiful Peninsula Hot Springs, where you can bathe in the thermal pools, ride on the Arthurs Seat Eagle gondola, and enjoy lunch at a local eatery.
4.5* Flinders Hotel
You’ll spend the final two days of your Aussie adventure in the buzzy metropolis that is Melbourne. There’s plenty to see and do in Melbourne, and Flinders Square is a great place to start. Wander the lively laneways, grab a coffee (Melbourne is famous for it) and admire the incredible local street art. On hot days, ride the tram down to the seaside suburb of St Kilda and enjoy a day at the beach or, if travelling with family, spend a day at Luna Park on the rides.
5* The Langham Melbourne
Depart Melboure and return to the UK
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