There is so much more to Australia than the east coast trail, that well-trodden route that most travellers take. Whether it starts in Sydney or Melbourne, it takes in both cities (they’re a short flight apart), then involves the long drive up the east coast of NSW to the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, and then up the Queensland coast to the Great Barrier Reef and Cairns.
Backpackers with time on their hands do it in a Wicked Camper, older travellers opt for a Britz or Maui camper van, while cash-rich time-poor travellers fly between the main destinations. It’s a fine trip but it’s by no means the best Australia has to offer, yet it’s the route everyone seems to want to take.
Just this week Jean commented on my post Best time to visit Australia?: “We are planning a trip and are trying to figure out the best time of year for our journey to Australia. In a perfect world of 3 weeks of traveling, we would like to see the Barrier Reef, Sydney, Melbourne (and New Zealand), and spots in between and along the way.”
Last week we met a traveller in Victoria saving money for the same kind of trip while Vicky Baker wrote in response to my last post: “When I left uni, I went backpacking in Oz. I was definitely doing things I felt I *should* do then, the East Coast trail etc. I didn’t want to “miss out” by varying off the route. Funnily enough I don’t regret it, because I needed this experience to find out what I wanted from travel.”
Vicky makes some great points. But I still don’t understand why the East Coast trail became that route in the first place.
Because, as an Australian born and bred in Sydney (a gorgeous city) who spent every school holiday at some east coast seaside town (Umina, Forster, Yamba, Coffs, Mollymook, you name it; all charming places); spent five years travelling the country in a caravan with family as a teen; lived on the Sunshine Coast in my late teens (including one too many visits to Brisbane); re-visited Melbourne myriad times as an adult (all good fun); in recent years travelled the length and breadth of Western Australia (to write LP’s Perth and WA), returning many times to visit family (now in Perth); and more recently travelled through four states (Northern Territory, South Australia, WA and Victoria) over four months doing research for books for Rough Guides and DK… (now they’re pretty good Australia-wide qualifications, right?)… I still don’t get it.
Admittedly I’ve lived in the UAE since 1998, so I am a little disconnected and have a different perspective, so will someone please tell me why the east coast trail remains the most popular travel route when there are so many more spectacular routes in this country to take?
Pictured? A beach at Augusta on Western Australia’s southern coast.