As you probably already know, my 10-month Aussie adventure finished off with a long road trip down the East Coast in my beloved Jucy Crib, a koala named Bruno* and Mr Beard. And, after having gone through all the billion pictures and video I took on the East Coast, I’m here to share with you my favourite things to do if you are also planning to explore the same part of the world soon. Otherwise, feel free to bookmark this post to your wanderlust list for future reference. As always, please use the buttons below to share the love with your friends and family! <3
1 – Gelato, Sweet, Gelato at Gelocchio in Cairns
First and foremost: G E L A T O. All great road trip should start with a special kick, even better if this is a gelato snack. And I’m not talking about normal ice-cream here. I am talking about actual-home-made-Italian-gelato. Don’t get mistaken by the size of the little shop, they have a huge range of flavours, from the most classic like chocolate and pistachio to the more local and researched ones like macadamia and cashew nuts. How gorgeous!
Address: 9/93 Aplin Street (just off The Esplanade), Cairns, QLD 4870
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2 – Koalas, Fish and White Sand at Maggie’s
This castaway-like paradise filled with palm trees, national park reserves and gorgeous hiddenbays is just off the coast of Townsville, Queensland and it’s a popular tourist spot for both locals and foreign travellers. With only 2000 residents across its 52sqkm, Magnetic Island (locally know as Maggie Island) is the perfect getaway place for a relaxed week(end) away.
It’s an easy 20/40-minute ferry from Townsville and you can choose between Sealink (20$ with last minute discount) or Fantasea ($30 pp). You can also opt to bring your car to the island, but it’s quite expensive and unless you are going for an extended period, it would be more convenient to use the public transports on the island instead.
Whether you are on Magnetic Island for a day or for a month, there is enough to keep you busy. In fact, in such a tiny island there is so much to see and experience that I’m a little bit sad Mr Beard and I only spent a day there. Walking, snorkelling, wildlife spotting, swimming, hiking and beach hopping it’s all there for you. If you are dreaming of seeing koalas in the wild, then the Forts Walk is the one you want to do or if you wish to see some cute wallabys then Geoffrey’s Bay is the place to be. If you are more of an ocean baby, then dolphins, turtles, rays and sharks all love cruising around Maggie in various season. Remember to take your snorkelling gear! Additionally, if your tan needs a little top up, stunning Radical Bay, peaceful Rocky Bay and gorgeous Arthurs Bay are all there for the taking. Even if you are not a pro hiker, you should really wear your boots and hit the numerous trails: the gorgeous scenery, lookouts and wildlife, make up for the heat and steepness of (some of) the walks.
3 – The Whitest Beach in the World with Cruise Whitsundays
In early September, another dream of mine came true, as I stood at the Hill Hinlet Lookout looking across the spectacular view over the Whitsundays and Whitehaven beach. In front of me, the greatness of the nature in a million shades of blue was showing off. There are no right words to describe what I saw, I can only hope my pictures will you give an idea of its perfection. There are only a few places in the world where my consumed and well-travelled eyes have gone wet and this is one. Here, where the magnificent beauty of white sand and blue water has overtaken imagination. Thank you to Cruise Whitsundays to make my dream possible and thank you for your outstanding boats and crew.
Oh! And for the backpackers out there, you can also check out the tours on Awesome Whitsundays for huge discounts: I know what it means to travel on a budget, mate! 😃
4 – The heart of the world with GSL AVIATION
There are tons of tours and ways to see the glorious Whitsundays, but only a few offer such a spectacular view over this unique part of the world. Since the first time I saw a postcard of the Heart Reef, it’s been my dream and priority to make sure to witness its incredible beauty with my own eyes and it’s for this reason that we booked our scenic one-hour flight with GSL Aviation. The six seater plane is of most comforts, their pilots of incredible local knowledge and professionalism and well…the flight was simply incredible. Not only I got to tick yet another item off of my dreams list, but I also managed to see from above the gorgeous Whitehaven beach where I chilled a few days before and many other sights, all from up in the air.
5 – Test your Survival Skills on a Deserted Island with 1770 Castaways
Since watching the famous Tom Hanks movie, I always wanted to experience life as a survivor on a deserted island. Bruce, the founder and pilot, and his brilliant team have managed to recreate exactly that wild adventure just off the cute town of 1770 / Agnes Water. Ok, so the flight first. This wicked adventure starts of with a literally breath-taking flight to Middle Island which alone is worth the experience. My tip? hold on tight 😛 Once arrived at destination, a very basic camp has been set for us, modern castaways and from there you are left (almost) on your own. There are loads of activity to fill the three days on the island, like kayaking (who knew those things were so heavy!!!!), cave exploring, boating, fishing and sand dunes (so much fun!!!). We shared some very amazing moments during our days there and I can definitely reccommend adding 1770 Castaway to your East Coast adventure.
PS: the beef stew in the evening prepared by Luke is to die for! 😃
6 – Face to Face with Whales with Blue Dolphin
As the names suggests, Blue Dolphin Marine Tours offers more than a simple tour, it offers a once in a lifetime Experience. Aboard the luxury Sailing Catamaran, founder Peter Lynch will make you comfortable and go the extra mile to make sure all guests are lookedfv after and having the best time. Seeing the whales jumping and playing just a few meters away from the boat was simply incredible and one of the best way to see them in their natural environment. The super plus is Peter’s in depth knowledge of these cute giants since he spent 30 years working with them, 14 of them as a marine mammal trainer and the fact that he doesn’t keep it to himself as, helped with some whales toys, explains and describe the differences of the all on the way to them.
7 – Get Sandy on K’gari with Drop Bear Adventures
One of the highlights of my 10-month travel around Australia is definitely my trip to K’Gari with Drop Bear Adventure. K’Gari is most commonly known as Fraser Island – sign the petition here to give it back to its original name given to them by the Butchella people (aboriginals).
Mark and Hana, the founders, have managed to create a team of friendly, fun, funny and knowledgeable people who all love K’Gari in the same way, and share the love with the small group who visit the island with them.
During our tour we managed to see some pretty stunning sights and beautiful landscapes, while also having lots of fun 4WD driving along the beach and in some rough paths inland.
Accommodation is included in your tour and I was spoiled by Hana as I stayed at one of their double ensuite at the Beachcamp Eco Retreat, an awesome glamping camp. This amazing spot is perfect for couples but also for independent groups and families with their own or rented vehicle. The team here was again super knowledgeable, but also caring, warm and charming and loving and prepared some very delicious meals for us during our stay. If instead you are more interested in a wilder night on K’Gari 😛 you can choose between the Beach House Hostel and the Drop Bear Camp.
Also, if you want some real, honest and independent tips in the Australian jungle of travel agencies and promoters, have a look at Hana’stravel advice blog where you will not only find some very informative articles, but also some very honest tips and tricks about travelling down under.
8 – Slide Away on a Kayak with Kanu Kapers
Make sure to save some energy and time during your trip down (or up) the East Coast, for this incredible adventure in one of the least known and off the beaten track areas in Queensland. Kanu Kapers is eco-friendly and they provide a variety (1/2,1, 2, 3 day self-guided or guided) of kayaking tours in the unique Noosa Everglades, the gateway to the Great Sandy National Park and Fraser Island where a spectacular scenery mix with abundant wildlife, including 726 species of flowing plants and ferns. Another interesting fact is that these sustainable eco-tours are run by Vivienne Golding, former Australian Kayak Champion now MD of Kanu Kapers: could you be in safer hands than hers?
9 – Get Comfy in a Sexy Jucy van
There was no way for Mr Beard and I to do all these adventures on the East Coast if we didn’t have our own vehicle. Generally, I’m not a big fan of cars, but I can tell you that the comfort of having a van where we could eat, sleep and… off we go every day is what made out trip possible (and F U N ! ! ). Australia is made for road trips and camping so Jucy is the best option when it comes to travel down under. Make sure to check my road trip recipes here if you haven’t already! 😛
Thanks to all my sponsors for allowing me to allow me to take part to all these amazing adventures. Thanks to JUCY for helping me make this road trip possible. Find out more at www.jucyworld.com and follow them on social media @JUCYworld. I’ve travelled down the East Coast in a Jucy Crib – all views are my own.