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Our tour of Australia’s coast is perfect for those wanting to indulge in aquatic adventures and meet some of the country’s most unique marine life up close. Our recommended itinerary takes 19 days, and comprises city, coastal and underwater explorations.
Begin your Coastal tour of Australia in Perth – the city that sees more sunny days than any other Australian capital – where you’ll get a feel for cosmopolitan Australia. Encounter numerous different colourful coral reefs over your three-week voyage, the first of which is Ningaloo. It’s here that you’ll have the chance to swim with whale sharks. The next few days are spent in nearby Coral Bay, which boasts an abundance of secret beaches which you can discover by boat or quad bike.
Then, it’s back to city life. The short stopover in Brisbane offers a chance to shop the international labels found on Queen’s Street, or taste local fare in one of the award winning South Bank restaurants. A road trip will take you deep into the Sunshine Coast’s bush, and presents a chance to meet native platypus, while your stay in laid back Noosa is an opportunity to enjoy a barbecue and cold Australian wine on the beach. Finally, explore rainforests, lakes and shipwrecks on Lady Elliot and Fraser Islands before catching your flight home from Brisbane.
- Visit the Great Barrier Reef
- Swim with manta rays
- Learn to snorkel
- Experience vibrant city life
Start your Journey
Begin your Australian coastal adventure in Perth, a buzzing city on Australia’s west coast. Meander round leafy Kings Park – the world’s largest city park – which is rich in Aboriginal history and exotic flora. Breathe in fresh air at Cottesloe Beach, before taking a dip in the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean. Having worked up an appetite, head to Freemantle’s ‘Cappuccino Strip’ to experience Italy’s influence. You’ll find plenty of pizza, pasta and the state’s best coffees.
Just 19km from Perth lies the unspoilt, car-free Rottnest Island. Here, you’ll meet the quokka, a friendly marsupial found only in Western Australia, as well as plenty of white sandy shores, walking trails and snorkelling spots.
After catching your morning flight north to Exmouth, pick up your car at the airport and drive to Mantarays Ningaloo Reef Resort. The gateway to the Ningaloo Reef, here your days will be filled with aquatic adventures.
Your thrilling trip out to the reef begins with an introductory paddle, before a breath-taking swim with the whale shark – the world’s biggest fish. Boasting over 500 other species of fish, as well as 250 species of coral, Ningaloo reef is the perfect place to admire majestic marine creatures in their natural habitat with minimal disruption. Turtles, reef sharks and even the shy, slow-moving dugongs might also be spotted by a keen eye.
Just an hour and a half from Exmouth lies Coral Bay, yet another reef boasting an abundance of awe inspiring marine life. Unlike other Australian reefs, this small but beautifully formed coral garden lies mere metres from pristine beaches, making exciting interactions with fish easily accessible for all.
Head to the reef each day for a different experience every time. Swim alongside the local manta rays or cruise the bay on a boat to see how many different species you can spot. Thrill seekers can even quad bike to secret beaches for more snorkelling opportunities, admiring epic sand dunes along the way.
Drive back to Exmouth Airport, being sure to soak up the vast landscapes before flying to cosmopolitan city Brisbane. Start at South Bank, the city’s cultural heart, where you’ll find award-winning restaurants and scenic river-side cycle routes. Then, head to Queen’s Street to shop the flagship stores and international labels.
Escape the lively chaos of the city with a day trip to neighbouring Moreton Island. Almost entirely sand, with no roads, the beaches and bays offer an unspoilt paradise. Hear the waves crash in to the sandy shore while you admire the huge sand dunes, wild forests and the one remote lighthouse. You won’t be the only life on this secluded haven though – the island is also home to wild dolphins.
Sunshine Coast, Hinterland
Continue your coastal adventure by collecting your car and making your way to the Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat. Yet more untouched nature awaits in Montville’s bushland. Escape into a spellbinding world of lush vegetation and cascading waterfalls on one of the area’s many bushwalks. Come face to face with another of Australia’s rare but infamous mammals, the platypus, by heading to the special sighting area.
Get a taste of local life by stopping at the quaint village of Yandina. Independent shops selling local wares line the historic little streets. Visit Nutworks to watch macadamia products being created or learn how ginger makes it from the paddock to the plate at The Ginger Factory.
Tropical everglades and freshwater pools await just an hour north in Noosa National Park. The laid-back town of Noosa is the perfect place to spend a blissful evening sipping on crisp Australian chardonnay whilst sampling the local fare – fresh seafood barbequed on the beach.
The Great Beach Drive day trip will take you on a tour of one of Australia’s most dramatic coastlines. Making your way from Noosa to the multi-coloured sands of Rainbow Beach, you’ll pass through idyllic National Parks, World Heritage listed areas and have the chance to spot kangaroos, whales, turtles, and dingoes. For a water-based adventure hop in a kayak. Just a short paddle off shore will find you surrounded by wild bottlenose dolphins.
Lady Elliot & Fraser Island
A short flight from Hervey Bay will land you on Lady Elliot Island, in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. There’s more of Australia’s magnificent marine life to discover amongst the animated coral reefs and turquoise waters. Amidst the colourful schools of fish you’ll catch sight of manta rays and humpback whales. Between November and March you may spot turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs, and between February and April is when the hatchlings will make their attempts to reach the sea.
Swap one beautiful island for another by heading to world-heritage listed Fraser Island. Famous for being the world’s largest sand island, here you can immerse yourself in a luscious paradise comprising bottle-green rainforests and freshwater lakes.
Back in Brisbane, the final night of your Australian coastal adventure offers a chance to dine at one of the city’s vibrant restaurants you didn’t quite have time to make it to a couple of weeks ago.
Although it’s time to check out of your accommodation and make your way to the airport, you can always speak to Hayes & Jarvis about extending your stay in Australia.
There’s no question too small. Start planning your dream trip by talking to our Destination Specialists.
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