East Coast VS West Coast Australia

East Coast vs West Coast Australia Travel The East Coast (between Sydney and Cairns) and the West Coast (Perth to Broome)

If you’re considering a gap year and wondering how to explore all the incredible destinations Australia has to offer, you’re not alone. It’s a vast country, but with careful travel planning, you can make the most of your time between work and explore both the East and West coasts of Australia.

The East Coast, stretching from Sydney to Cairns, and the West Coast, from Perth to Broome (for the purpose of this blog), provide two distinct travel experiences. If you find yourself torn between the two, keep reading to help you decide which side of this expansive country you’d like to explore further.

Weather

The weather in Australia was one of the major factors that attracted me to this destination, and while Australia is known for its perpetual sunshine, it does have seasons like anywhere else. With careful planning, you can “follow” the sun and avoid the wet season in Oz as much as possible. In terms of weather, the West Coast takes the crown. That’s not to say the East Coast doesn’t have fantastic weather, but Western Australia is renowned for its incredible hot and sunny days.

The weather in Australia was (amongst many things) a big draw for me when deciding where I wanted to travel and whilst Australia is known for non-stop sun

Perth boasts the highest number of sunny days per year among all Australian capitals, making it an ideal destination for beach enthusiasts. With its stunning beaches, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to soak up the sun. On the other hand, the East coast of Australia in northern Queensland experiences a “wet season” from November to April. During this time, you can expect hot and humid days with heavy rainfall. This region is also prone to cyclones during the wet season, so it’s advisable to avoid it if possible and plan your travels accordingly. The best time to visit northern Queensland is from April to November, but don’t completely dismiss the idea of visiting during the wet season. Rainfall doesn’t occur every day, and when it does, it’s often followed by sunshine. It’s a remarkable place, and if your trip happens to fall during the wet season, you’ll have the opportunity to experience the magnificent Daintree Rainforest in all its splendor.

Also read: When Is The Best Time To Travel To Australia?

Timeframe

Australia is a massive country, and it’s often mind-boggling to realize that the entire continent can encompass the entirety of Europe or North America! Western Australia holds the title for being the largest state in the world, equivalent to half the size of Europe, while Queensland follows closely behind. Given the vastness of these regions, it’s recommended to allocate a good few weeks to explore either the East or West coast properly. If you plan to travel overland via bus, train, or self-driving, I would suggest setting aside approximately 4-6 weeks to cover the coast comprehensively. Allowing yourself a month or more ensures that you won’t feel rushed and can fully appreciate the abundance of incredible sights. This trip is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so it’s worth dedicating ample time to do it justice.

However, if you have limited time, organized group tours offer a fantastic alternative. These tours typically span around 14 days, allowing you to visit the major highlights while having an experienced guide accompanying you throughout the journey. It’s worth noting that some travelers have spent months exploring both the West and East coasts, incorporating work opportunities along the way. So, if you’re planning an extended trip, that’s certainly a viable option as well!

If you’re travelling overground on a bus, train or driving yourself, I’d suggest between 4-6 weeks to travel the East or West coast
The Australia East Coast Adventure package is a fully flexible 30-day package that can be extended if you’re planning to travel for a bit longer. Check it out here. We also have lots of amazing tours on offer and great deals on campers if you want to do a road trip instead so get in touch with our travel agents for help and advice!

What to do

In addition to enjoying the laid-back beach lifestyle, exploring national parks, and savoring beachside Aussie BBQs (tough life indeed!), there is an abundance of activities to experience on both the East and West coasts of Australia.

Western Australia (WA) is a perfect destination if you’re seeking a more off-the-beaten-track adventure. The Kimberley region, located in the northern part of WA, is the world’s largest wilderness area, spanning 423,000 square kilometers. With a population of only 30,000 people, you’ll truly immerse yourself in the Aussie outback. Along the coast, you’ll discover national parks for hiking and camping, picturesque beaches to relax on, and the incredible Ningaloo Reef. WA is renowned for its world-class surfing, particularly in Margaret River, where you can try out some of the famous waves. One of the most popular activities on the West Coast is swimming with whale sharks, the largest fish in the world. This thrilling experience is available during the Whale Shark season, which runs from April to June and is definitely a must-do for your bucket list. Additionally, there are opportunities for skydiving, water skiing, swimming with manta rays, sandboarding, diving, and even feeding wild dolphins at Monkey Mia, among many other exciting activities.

Also read: Top 10 Experiences on Australia’s East Coast

The East coast is brimming with captivating destinations and a wide range of activities. From Surf camps and Cattle station stays to Castaway Island and Hunter Valley wine region tours, there’s something for everyone. The region is also home to iconic destinations like the Whitsunday Islands and Fraser Island, both of which are must-sees on the East coast. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, you’ll be thrilled with Cairns, the adventure capital of Australia. Skydiving, bungee jumping, and white water rafting are just a few of the exhilarating activities on offer. Cairns is also the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, where you can dive or snorkel in the world’s largest coral reef system. Surrounding Cairns, you’ll find the breathtaking Daintree rainforest, the scenic Atherton Tablelands, and charming towns such as Kuranda and Port Douglas.

Both the East and West coasts of Australia offer a myriad of unforgettable experiences, ensuring there’s never a dull moment during your visit!

It’s safe to say that whether you travel the East or West coast, you won’t run out of things to do!
It’s safe to say that whether you travel the East or West coast, you won’t run out of things to do!

Wildlife

Who wouldn’t want to see kangaroos in the wild and cuddle a koala during their visit to Australia? While there is so much more to explore in this beautiful country, encountering Aussie wildlife is a unique and essential part of your journey down under. Fun fact: There are actually more kangaroos than people in Australia! Throughout the country, you’ll encounter a variety of Australian wildlife, some of them undeniably adorable, while others may not be as cuddly. In Queensland, you can fulfill your dream of cuddling a koala at a nature park (remember, it’s not advisable to do so in the wild!). For a special experience, visit the koala hospital in Port Macquarie on the East Coast. If you want to spot big red kangaroos in their natural habitat, head to the West Coast. Keep an eye out for the mesmerizing sight of fruit bats swarming over Cairns in the evening, and if you’re traveling at night, be cautious of wombats (they’re absolutely cute!) crossing the road. Australia’s wildlife will leave a lasting impression on your trip!

Who came to Australia to see kangaroos in the wild and cuddle a koala Whilst there is more to this beautiful country than cuddling cute little furry things

Also read: Cairns: The Ultimate Backpacker Destination In Australia?

Beaches

Australia boasts over 10,000 breathtaking beaches, and both the East and West coasts are home to some of the finest. If you’re a true beach lover, the West coast is calling your name. Western Australia (WA) has more beaches than any other state, offering an abundance of coastal wonders to explore. In Perth alone, you’ll discover 19 stunning beaches conveniently located near the city, making it the perfect destination for sun-seeking individuals. For an unforgettable beach experience, head to the Coral Coast, where you’ll find the magnificent Ningaloo Reef. Here, you can revel in the beauty of unspoiled, uncrowded, and pristine stretches of white sand. Whether you choose the East or West coast, Australia promises an endless array of beach adventures.

Australia is home to over 10,000 beaches and both the East coast and the West coast have some of the best. WA has more beaches than any other state

The East coast of Australia is no stranger to incredible beaches either! One of its crown jewels is the world-renowned Whitehaven Beach, nestled within the Whitsunday Islands. This pristine beach has garnered acclaim as one of the planet’s finest, boasting dazzling white sand so pure that it can be used for teeth cleaning! Traveling further south, you’ll encounter the Gold Coast, a coastal paradise just south of Brisbane. This vibrant region is renowned for its stunning beaches, world-class surfing, and abundant sunshine, making it a haven for beach enthusiasts and partygoers alike. As you venture north along the East coast, the number of off-mainland beaches decreases, and caution is advised as some may be unsuitable for swimming due to stingers or the occasional crocodile in far North Queensland. In Cairns, for instance, while there may be no natural beach, you can still enjoy a refreshing swim in the city’s expansive man-made lagoon, providing a delightful spot to cool off under the sun, free of charge.

Party Scene

If you’re seeking an epic party experience along a coastline, look no further than the vibrant East coast of Australia to fulfill all your partying desires! This lively stretch is renowned for hosting the iconic ‘Full Moon Party’ on Magnetic Island, as well as being the backpacker party capital of Cairns. And let’s not forget the legendary party cruises that sail through the stunning Whitsunday Islands.

On the other hand, Perth, situated on the West coast, may be a smaller city compared to its counterparts in Australia. While you’ll still find a variety of clubs and pubs to enjoy a night out in the city, the West coast may not offer the same wild, all-night party atmosphere with throngs of fellow backpackers like you’ll find along the East coast.

The East coast is home to the famous Full Moon Party on Magnetic Island, the backpacker party capital Cairns and lets not forget the party cruises that take place in the Whitsunday Islands

When it comes to choosing between the East coast and the West coast of Australia, it ultimately boils down to personal preference. Each coast offers unique experiences and adventures. The West coast is less frequented by travelers, making it an ideal choice for those seeking an Aussie outback adventure and a more off-the-beaten-path experience. On the other hand, the East coast is well-equipped to cater to the influx of backpackers every year, ensuring you’ll have plenty of opportunities to meet fellow travelers and immerse yourself in the buzzing atmosphere.

If you find it challenging to decide between the two, don’t worry! Our knowledgeable Travel Crew is here to assist you. They have firsthand experience traveling across Australia and can answer any questions you may have. They might even share some insider tips and hotspots to make your decision-making process easier!

If you’ve travelled Australia and have any help and advice for fellow backpackers, feel free to comment below!

Join our Facebook Group Australia Backpacker Guide to meet other fellow backpackers and travel tips in Australia.

Also read: These Places Should Be On Your Australia Bucket List

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