By : our ambassador, Claudia Matteau (from the blog Claudia la Roadtrippeuse)
With almost 24 million inhabitants and an area almost as large as Canada, Australia seems to be a favorite among backpackers. While the west part of the country and its outback is very attractive, I decided to discover the east coast, which appealed to my inner beach bum and was much more inline with my personality.
1. CAIRNSCairns is without a doubt a mandatory stop, since its port is one of the main entry points to the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. Although it has been affected by the large number of visitors that flock to its side, the reef remains an unparalleled jewel of the Australian east coast.
2. WHITSUNDAY ISLANDSThe Whitsunday Islands (photo above) are the closest thing I’ve seen to paradise! It’s what movies are made of, but it’s real! You have to spend a considerable amount of money to reach Whitehaven Beach, but I promise you - every dollar invested is worth it. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world!
3. FRASER ISLAND
Fraser Island is full of lush nature and wild landscapes. This virtually uninhabited island is truly stunning. Its deserted beaches and crystal clear waters will forever transform your vision of Australia. Make a point of stopping at McKenzie Lake for a swim. Its water is the second purest in the world! Also, watch out for dingoes, wild dogs that live on the island. It is best to admire them from afar!
4. BYRON BAYByron Bay is the place to go for the most coveted sport in the world: farniente! Travelling on the Australian coast can be exhausting and the small town of Byron Bay is strategically located between Cairns and Sydney, some of the countries main attractions. It is the perfect place to relax for a few days. It allows you to completely disconnect, to see the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets, to shop and even learn to surf on gentle, slow waves overlooking neverending beaches.
5. ANNA BAY
Anna Bay (below) is not as popular as some of the destinations mentioned above, but it deserves to be on this list! It is located on a small peninsula a few hours from Sydney, and is highly popular with Sydney locals for weekend getaways. Being less known, the place offers spectacular views and activities, without being overflowing with tourists. Its main points of interest? The desert of Port Stephens and its famous sand dunes, as well as the incredible beach of Stockton.
When you set foot in Australia, you never want to leave! It is a friendly and welcoming place. It doesn’t take long to feel a sense of belonging, as if suddenly, at the other end of the globe, you've found little pieces of home.
• Language: English, with a very charming accent!
• Best time to go: Fall for them, spring for us Canadians!
• Accommodation Suggestion: YHA Australia Youth Hostels
• In my suitcase: The HIP dress for beach days and city walks, the TUC tunic as a beach cover-up, and the LOX tunic – which is so versatile, I can wear it as a top or a tunic. Last but not least, my silky soft PAI top for plane or bus travel.