10 Fun Adventure Activities on the East Coast of Australia
The stretch from Cairns in the north to Melbourne in the south part of Australia is home to fun adventure activities such as skydiving, scuba diving the globe’s largest reef, and surfing world-class waves. Add your swimsuit, hiking boots, and sense of adventure to your Australia packing list and get stuck into some of these amazing east coast Australian escapades.
1. Surfing in Byron Bay
Australia’s east coast is iconic for surfing; and there are lots of places south of the Great Barrier Reef where the waves are high and the surf is up. But where is the best place to partake in a spot of surfing? Byron Bay’s my personal favourite. The most easterly point of Australia, Byron Bay is known for a few things; its iconic lighthouse, alternative atmosphere, and its great surf.
Surfing is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Byron Bay—and there is always some great waves to be ridden in Byron, as it is home to various beaches that face the sea at different angles. Whether you are a novice or surfer pro, you will find an adrenalin rush as you ride the waves.
2. Scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef
Although admittedly, the underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef is not quite what it used to be, it is still an impressive dive spot that is well worth both novices and pros visiting. Cairns in particular is a great spot for beginner dives—many tour operators specialise in starter dives where the diver does not need an open water qualification—and live-aboards, where the divers stay on the boat for 2-7 nights and visit different areas of the reef.
But there are so many other spots to dive from other than Cairns: there is the SS Yongola, which is a famous wreck dive at Townsville, dive sites off the idyllic Magnetic Island and the turtles and tropical fish of the Whitsunday Islands. The Great Barrier Reef may not exactly be the real-life finding Nemo that it used to be, but there are still unspoilt parts of the reef that are well worth visiting.
3. 4WD through the Daintree Rainforest
The Daintree National Park is a spectacular spot, with breath-taking jungle scenes. Visitors with any car can enjoy the main park and its hiking trails, beaches and wildlife watching opportunities.
But for those with a 4WD car and a sense of adventure, why not take the Bloomfield Track that heads to Cooktown, which has spectacular coastal views? This track goes through the heart of the rainforest and gives drivers a real sense of isolation and pure wonder.
Look out for some native animals as you go—tropical north Queensland is the only place in the world where you can spot cassowaries, which are huge birds the size of a person—and saltwater crocodiles are present in this area as well. Just be sure to only admire them from afar!
4. Sail the Whitsunday Islands
A must-visit in Queensland, the Whitsunday Islands are a fantastic spot for snorkelling, diving, and living aboard a boat. Tours head to Whitehaven Beach, which is allegedly home to the whitest sand in the world, and where the sea is hundreds of different shades of blue.
Tours also encompass snorkelling opportunities with tropical fish, stingrays, reef sharks, and turtles, some beautiful scenery, and spectacular sunsets over the endless ocean. Some tours offer diving on this part of the reef as well.
Also see Amazing Walking Tours in Australia
5. Scooter tour around Agnes Water
Many people drive straight from Airlie Beach—gateway to the Whitsunday Islands—to Rainbow Beach or Hervey Bay—gateway to Fraser Island—in one go, but it is a very long way and you will be missing some great parts of the east coast if you do so. Enter: Agnes Water/ 1770.
These two connecting towns are chilled, with beachy, surfer vibes, and great national parks. There is not a huge amount to do here, but they are fantastic to kick back for a few days in.
One of Agnes Water’s best attractions is the Scooteroo tour. Amazing for both families and backpackers, this trip decks participants out in badass biker gear and takes them around on scooters, touring all the sights of the two towns.
Expect to see gorgeous beach views, a mesmerising sunset, and lots of kangaroos, while feeling the wind in your hair as you enjoy cruising around on your scooter.
6. Drive on the beach at Fraser Island
Fraser Island is a must-visit for all adrenalin seekers, and it can be enjoyed independently or on a tour, depending on your vehicle and confidence with driving. If you want to opt for the tag along tour, you will have the chance to drive one of the company’s 4WD vehicles on the beach and through rough tracks in the forest, with a tour leader in front of the convoy instructing.
If you opt for the self-drive option, you can take your own or a hire 4WD to the island. Just watch out; it is very expensive to be towed off the island if anything goes wrong, and it is pretty intense four-wheel driving, so be sure that you are confident in your car (and your driving ability!) before committing to driving it on Fraser Island. Either way, touring around Fraser Island is a must-do experience.
7. Skydive Australia’s Most Easterly Point
Skydiving is great at any spot on the east coast—but in Byron Bay, you can see the bush (which in Australian, means the dense forest just inland of the ocean) meeting the sea.
Byron Bay is Australia’s most easterly point—looking at a map of Australia from the sky. It is a really magical experience and definitely one of the world’s more scenic dive locations!
Other popular skydive spots include Mission Beach—where you can land right on the beach—and Cairns and Brisbane. All help you see the east coast’s raw natural beauty from a perspective that you otherwise would have not looked at.
8. Hike, Climb, and Abseil the Blue Mountains
Around three hours west of Sydney, the Blue Mountains National Park is a must-do for nature lovers and those who enjoy hikes with a difference. Named after their blue tinge which is a result of the eucalyptus forests adorning the mountainsides, the Blue Mountains offer a range of trails for all abilities.
You can see popular lookouts like that of the Three Sisters, or trek to spectacular vistas by doing some of the less-explored walks that are dotted throughout the park. Or, if you are after some real adventure, how about climbing and abseiling the Blue Mountains? The Blue Mountains Adventure Company offer tour packages for visitors, giving them the chance to see this national park from a completely unique viewpoint.
9. Kayak through Noosa Everglades
The Noosa Everglades are a unique part of the east coast of Australia; they are in the Cooloola section of the Great Sandy National Park, near Noosa town. They are one of only two of their kind; and the lush Noosa everglades are home to over 40% of Australia’s bird species.
Choose from a half-day, full day or overnight kayaking expedition, where you can enjoy this unique area with a knowledgeable guide. The canoeing is somewhat tiring—your arms will definitely ache the next day – but seeing this one of a kind natural phenomenon is an unforgettable experience.
10. Whitewater Rafting Down the Tully River
Near Mission Beach, you can go Xtreme White Water Rafting down the ferocious Tully River. The area has grade 3-4 level rapids through the rainforest, making it both an adrenalin boosting and beautiful destination.
Tour providers can pick you up from Cairns and Mission beach, and they often also include cliff jumping, swimming and raft surfing. It is an amazing day out in tropical north Queensland and is a must-do adventure activity on the east coast of Australia.
Do you have suggestions for other Adventure Activities on the East Coast of Australia?
Article by: Claire Martin is a British travel blogger and freelance writer. She blogs about eco-travel and overland adventures on her blog Claire’s Footsteps; she has drove around the entirety of Australia and is currently planning an overland trip through Asia.