Getting around Travel East Coast in Australia

travel east coast in Australia

Getting around East Coast Australia is a pleasure. Need to know what your options are and the best way to do it? Read on…

Australia has six states and two territories, all of which are rather large. For instance some cattle stations in Western Australia are the size of some European countries!

Whether it be by air, car, train or bus be prepared to spends hours traveling! Don’t despair though East Coast Australia has some of the most breath taking scenery on the planet and from the Gold Coast to the south coast there spectacular coastal views.

Traveling by air

Travel east coast in Australia is serviced by 4 major airlines: Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Blue and newcomer Tiger Airways. Qantas is the major airline and the rest are what you would call budget carriers. Having used three of the four (haven’t used Tiger) I can personally vouch that they all comfortable and all have great fares depending on current specials (check their websites!).

As a rough guide here are some air travel times for getting around the major centres of East Coast Australia:

  • Sydney to Brisbane: 1.5 hours
  • Sydney to Melbourne: Just over an hour
  • Melbourne to Brisbane: 3 hours
  • Gold Coast to Sydney: 1-2 hours
  • Sydney to Cairns: 2.5-3 hours
  • Brisbane to Cairns: Just over 2 hours
  • Sydney to Gold Coast: 3 hours
  • Melbourne to Gold Coast: 2.25 hours
  • Brisbane to Gold Coast: Don’t bother just drive it
  • Sydney to Canberra: About 45 minutes

Traveling by car

travel east coast in Australia
travel east coast in Australia

Remember, as I said in the beginning Australia is a vast country so if you’re choosing to get around by car then expect long drives. Although East Coast Australia has good roads please make sure you stop, revive and rest after 3-4 hours of driving to avoid any incidents. Also be careful of kangaroos and wallabies on the open road, they can cause quite a lot of damage to vehicles. If you’re hiring a car and going to be on the open road a lot then consider reliable sturdy cars like Holden (Australian company), Ford and Toyota. A 4 cylinder car is just as good as a 6 cylinder theses days and cheaper on fuel. The Holden Commodore 6 cylinder has been around a long time and is built for Australian conditions but most car companies are producing quality cars these days.

Always make sure you have plenty of water with you on the off chance your car breaks down.

If on a budget consider getting around travel east coast in Australia in a van from Wicked or Britz (both available up and down East Coast Australia) which can be used as accommodation as well. Just do your safety checks on the car to ensure they are safe e.g. tyres, oil, lights etc. Here is a rough guide to driving times between the major centres of East Coast Australia:

  • Sydney to Brisbane: 9 hours
  • Sydney to Melbourne: 12 hours
  • Melbourne to Brisbane: 20 hours
  • Gold Coast to Sydney: 11 hours
  • Sydney to Cairns: 40 hours (better off flying!)
  • Brisbane to Cairns: 22 hours
  • Sydney to Gold Coast: 11 hours
  • Melbourne to Gold Coast: 23 hours
  • Brisbane to Gold Coast: 1 hour
  • Sydney to Canberra: 4 hours

Traveling by bus

I’ve done a lot of travel getting around travel east coast in Australia by bus and I find it relaxing. Modern coaches (as we call them) are very comfortable and safe. With cheap airfares, traveling by bus these days may work out more expensive then flying but then again not every destination is catered for by the airlines.

If you want to experience major regional centres like Toowoomba in Queensland or Armidale in New South Wales, or country towns then bus might be the best way to get around. The major bus company in Australia is: Greyhound, and they have a variety of packages to suit your travel plans. They also have affiliations with backpacker hostel providers: YHA and Nomads. Check out their website for more information. Hint most Australian websites end

Traveling by train

All Australian capital cities have a train network most of which runs very efficiently. While not of the London tube standard I have experienced trains in all capitals except Perth and they are safe, inexpensive and might I say fun to travel by. A tip though most capital cities expect you to use travel cards rather than cash e.g. in south east Queensland they now use the GoCard. Now if you want to travel long distances by train then that’s fine too. Here are the major routes and providers for long distance travel around Australia:

  • Sydney – Adelaide – Perth (The Indian Pacific)
  • Adelaide – Alice Springs – Darwin (The Ghan)
  • Melbourne – Adelaide (The Overland)
  • Sydney – Melbourne (CountryLink)
  • Sydney – Canberra (CountryLink)
  • Sydney – Brisbane (CountryLink)
  • Brisbane – Townsville – Cairns (Queensland Rail)
  • Rockhampton-Longreach & Cairns-Forsayth lines
  • Kalgoorlie – Perth (Transwa)

So that is a summary of options you have for getting around the Australian East Coast. My tip would be to combine them all so you get to experience the scenery but not blow the budget at the same time.