Australia’s East Coast: By train to Grafton (out of desperation)

After Brisbane, Byron Bay was actually on our plan. But nothing came of it. The reason: the accommodations there are abhorrently expensive – especially on weekends and especially if you want to find something at relatively short notice, as we did.

Because we didn't want to pay more than 250 AUS dollars per night for a normal room (without breakfast, mind you), we looked around for alternative destinations. But all the places on the east coast (Port Stephens, Port Macqarie, Coffs Harbour) are just disproportionately expensive on weekends.

Jacaranda trees in Grafton

Sometime around midnight (after hours of hotel, train, and Airbnb checks) we somehow got to Grafton. Out of sheer desperation. And lo and behold, according to Wikitravel, Grafton is one of the most beautiful small towns in Australia. We can only confirm this.

The place is u.a. known for its beautiful jacaranda trees, whose full bloom we just missed. Nevertheless, the cityscape with the remaining blossoms was very pretty. We even found a very cute cafe that sells good coffee and delicious smoothies (Heart& Soul Café).


Jacaranda trees



The Clarence River Bridge

There are beautiful houses, churches and parks to see as well as the Clarence River Bridge. The two-storey bridge was opened in July 1932 and is one of the most important railroad bridges in New South Wales.

The Clarence River Bridge

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The Heart & Soul Cafe

Keep Australia beautiful

Last but not least: Grafton has won the “Tidy Towns Competition” in 1983 – awarded by the Keep Australia Beautiful Council NWS.

By train along the east coast

By the way, here on the east coast we move from place to place by train. A rental car would have been much too expensive for the (long) distance from Brisbane to Melbourne.

So we paid 232 AUS dollars per person for the Discovery Pass (NSW Train Link). With this we can use all possible trains that run between Brisbane and Melbourne for 2 weeks.

The trains are not the fastest, but there is free water on board and the staff is very friendly. Also, we can check in our large backpacks at the counter and then not have to worry about those until we arrive (even if we change trains).

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