This is the ultimate Sydney to Cairns Tour! This 22-day package includes more than any other East Coast tour. Not only will you visit the unmissable locations between Sydney and Cairns like Byron Bay, Fraser Island, Magnetic Island and the Whitsundays, you’ll also stay on two farms, visit three very different islands, four World Heritage National Parks and some secret spots in between.

This 22 day group experience is a fantastic mix of unique accommodation and incredible experiences. Go wine-tasting, hiking, kayaking, off-roading, horse-riding and surfing as well as visiting numerous beaches, experiencing indigenous culture, seeing the rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, wine-tasting and much more…

Traveling in a group of like-minded people you will explore the East Coast from Sydney to Cairns led by our team of professional, experienced guides to see the ‘real’ Australia and meet some true Aussie locals. This East Coast time saver and budget-conscious package takes in all the best bits of the most popular route in Australia, with your accommodation and activities all included.

Want to explore Outback Australia as well as the East Coast?
Check out our 30 Day East Coast and Outback Australia Tour!

22 Day Sydney to Cairns East Coast Tour Highlights:

  • Sydney
  • Byron Bay
  • Fraser Island
  • Magnetic Island
  • Whitsundays
  • Cairns
  • Snorkelling
  • Surfing
  • Hiking
  • Off-roading
  • Kayaking
  • Wine-Tasting
  • Rainforest
  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Beaches
  • Indigenous Culture
  • Wildlife
  • and more…

Check out the itinerary to get a better idea of everything you’ll get to see on this East Coast Tour between Sydney and Cairns, whilst getting to know a great bunch of new friends.

We leave Sydney every Tuesday heading north to Cairns.

Looking for work while you’re in Australia? Why not check out the 9 day Oz Intro Tour which includes help finding work and getting settled into Australia.

Sydney to Cairns East Coast Tour

22 Day Itinerary

Day 1 – Sydney to Barrington

Today we sample some local wines in the Hunter Valley, one of Australia’s most famous vineyards. We then head through the backcountry to our first overnight stop, a laid-back, secluded lodge overlooking the Karuah River. This afternoon, armed with our tubes, we take a journey down the Barrington River, through the World Heritage listed Barrington Tops National Park, float past kangaroos grazing on the banks, and over platypus who live in this river. We spend the evening relaxing around the campfire.
STAY: Lodge – Riverwood Downs

Day 2 – Barrington to Surf Camp

Enjoy breakfast with an amazing view before heading north to the Surf Camp. On the way we take a short break to visit a koala hospital to learn about their efforts in preserving Koalas, and at a nature reserve to spot wild kangaroos hopping along the incredible coastline. We then travel on to our waterfront accommodation, arriving in the early evening.
STAY: Spot X Surf Camp – quad share accommodation.

Day 3 – Surf Camp to River Retreat

This morning you can take part in the included group surf lesson or just relax on the beach. In the afternoon we travel to our River Retreat and go for a guided canoe trip, spotting wildlife along the way. In the evening have an Aussie BBQ, learn how to cook some damper and toast marshmallows around the campfire.
STAY: Shared Cabins.

Day 4 – River Retreat to Byron Bay

We leave our camp and head north towards Byron Bay, Australia’s famous surf and arts town. We stop in the picturesque town of Yamba along the way and go for a walk or a swim at the Angourie blue pools (weather dependent). We have an orientation drive on the way to Byron Bay to help you get your bearings.
STAY: Backpacker Resort Byron Bay

Day 5 – Free day in Byron Bay

Today it’s your choice; explore Byron Bay’s beaches, learn to surf, party, visit the alternative town of Nimbin (additional cost), or just relax and take in the laidback, hippy vibe. We recommend taking a walk to the lighthouse to view the Australian mainland’s most easterly point, especially good at sunrise or sunset.
STAY: Backpacker Resort in Byron Bay

Day 6 – Free Day in Byron Bay

Today is another free one for you to continue to enjoy this laidback little town.
STAY: Backpacker Resort in Byron Bay

Day 7 – Byron Bay (via Gold Coast & Brisbane) to Rainbow Beach

This morning we depart Byron Bay and cruise up to the New South Wales/Queensland border, before driving into the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Noosa before we continue onto Rainbow Beach for the night. We recommend taking a walk up to Carlo Sand Blow for sunset (weather permitting).
STAY: Frasers on Rainbow, 18 Spectrum St, Rainbow Beach.

Day 8 and 9 – Rainbow Beach to Fraser Island

Fraser Island (2 day / 1 night tour)
Get ready for two full days of exploring the World Heritage listed Fraser Island. After a short 10-minute ferry ride from Rainbow Beach you start your adventure of four-wheel-driving on the world’s largest sand island.During your trip on Fraser Island you’ll have the chance to spot wild dingoes, swim in crystal clear freshwater lakes and swimming holes, hike through world heritage rainforest and explore the diverse landscapes in this unique habitat.In the late afternoon on day 2, your guide will return you to your Rainbow Beach accommodation where we’ll have dinner together.
STAY: Eurong Beach Resort, Fraser Island
Frasers on Rainbow, Rainbow Beach

Day 10 – Rainbow Beach

You have the chance to witness some of the spectacular marine wildlife the Fraser Coast is famous for. You will be treated to a dolphin-watching kayak tour and Great Beach 4WD ride within the Great Sandy National Park.

On this three-hour tour you have the chance of seeing Bottlenose dolphins, Humpback whales (May to November), turtles, manta rays, sting rays, soldier crabs and an array of marine birdlife.

Make sure you bring along your swimsuit, towel, sunscreen, water, camera, a dry change of clothes and any snacks you may wish to eat.
STAY: Frasers on Rainbow, 18 Spectrum St, Rainbow Beach.

Day 11 – Rainbow Beach (via Noosa) to Emu Park

We travel by train from Cooroy to Rockhampton where we are met by a local bus, to take us to Emu’s Beach Resort. Once we are welcomed onto the resort, we find out more about preparing for our overnight stay on a working cattle station and farm tomorrow.
STAY: Emu’s Beach Resort, 92 Pattison Street, Emu Park.

Day 12 – Emu Park to Myella Farm Stay

We depart bright and early to travel to Rockhampton where a member of the Myella family will pick you up and share information about the farm and its history. Over breakfast you will hear more of what you can experience over the coming days.

Ride your horse through the wide open fields where you can ride very close to cattle and kangaroos, returning to enjoy a buffet style salad lunch. In the afternoon go on a 4WD tour of the farm or join the cow milking team and enjoy an outback sunset to finish the day around the campfire to relax with a home-made beer. Dinner is served in the outdoor dining area.
STAY: Myella Farm Stay.

Day 13 – Myella Farm Stay to Emu Park

Take an early morning walk to see the sunrise and wild kangaroos before joining the family for breakfast. Feed the chickens, help sort the milking cows and learn to feed and saddle your own horse. Today you will ride a different route over the 2600 acre farm.

After lunch take the 4WD farm tour or lasso and whip-cracking lessons. Chill in the pool in the afternoon heat before leaving around 4.30pm to make your way back to Rockhampton and Emu park.
STAY: Emu’s Beach Resort, 92 Pattison Street, Emu Park.

Day 14 – Free day Emu Park

After such a busy few days we take time to relax today, enjoy the accommodation facilities or have a go at Aussie lawn bowls or maybe visit the local crocodile farm (both extra cost).
STAY: Emus Beach Resort, Emu Park, 92 Pattison Street, Emu Park

Day 15 – Great Keppel Island and Overnight Train to Airlie Beach

This morning we head to a tropical paradise like nowhere else on our Treasure Island Adventure. Our destination Great Keppel Island is located on the southern of the Great Barrier Reef with untouched coral, turtles, reef fish and manta rays all straight off the beach. Relax or have a go at snorkeling or kayaking (additional cost) before exploring the island. We have dinner at Emu’s Beach Resort before we catch the train in the evening and travel overnight to Airlie Beach – the gateway to the beautiful Whitsunday Islands. where you will have time to store your luggage before your Whitsundays day trip.
STAY: Overnight train in reclining seats.

Day 16 – Whitsunday Islands, snorkeling, reef and Whitehaven Beach

Today provides an exhilarating ride to world famous Whitehaven Beach, pristine snorkeling reefs and guided Whitsunday Island National Park walks.

Visit the Northern and Southern ends of Whitehaven Beach, spending at least two hours relaxing or exploring the 7km of white silica sand.

Walk to the Southern Whitehaven lookout with breathtaking views of Pentecost Island, join the guided walks to Hill Inlet lookout and snorkel for an hour enjoying the amazing hard and soft corals of the fringing reefs. Upon completion of your Whitsundays day trip, you will have the night free to explore Airlie’s great nightlife and choice of restaurants.
Upon completion of your Whitsundays day trip, you will have the night free to explore Airlie’s great nightlife and choice of restaurants.
STAY: Backpacker Resort in Airlie Beach.

Day 17 – Free Day Airlie Beach

Today is a free day, time to relax and enjoy the large lagoon on the Esplanade, and the many cafes and restaurants in this quaint coastal town.
STAY: Backpacker Resort in Airlie Beach

Day 18 – Airlie Beach (via Townsville) to Magnetic Island

We have a very early start with a local bus to the train, a ferry out to tropical ‘Maggie Island’, and a local transfer to the accommodation. There is much to explore on the island, as nearly 50% of it is National Park with amazing beaches and abundant wildlife. Your guide will join you on a walk around the Island; otherwise you can do more exploring or just relax by the pool.
STAY: Bungalow Bay Koala Village, Magnetic Island

Day 19 – Free Day Magnetic Island

Today you are free to relax or explore as you wish. Maybe take a visit to the wildlife park at the resort (extra cost).
STAY: Bungalow Bay Koala Village, Magnetic Island

Day 20 – Magnetic Island to Tully Rainforest Experience

We travel back to the mainland on the ferry, travel by train to Tully – getting in at around lunchtime. We travel by bus into the amazing rainforest of Tully Gorge National Park. Cool off with a swim in a beautiful swimming hole, before a BBQ dinner and stories about the campfire.
STAY: Camping in tents in a campground in a World Heritage-listed rainforest.

Day 21 – Tully to Cairns

We wake early at our rainforest camp for breakfast and then have an interpretative walk through the forest, learning about the traditional indigenous use of the land. We then travel back to Tully to catch the train north, arriving into Cairns central train station at approximately 4.30pm. Make your own way to tonight’s accommodation.
STAY: Gilligan’s, 57-89 Grafton St, Cairns.

Day 22 – Great Barrier Reef day tour from Cairns

ReefQuest – This luxury vessel takes you to the Great Barrier Reef in only 90 minutes for a full day of snorkeling and/or the chance to do up to three dives (extra cost).

Enjoy exclusive moorings at various reefs and a variety of dive sites to ensure minimal environmental impact to the pristine coral formations we visit. Dive sites are frequented by a myriad of tropical and pelagic fish, rays, turtles, (friendly) sharks and the ever-popular Maori Wrasse. There are swim-throughs, wall and drift dives to appeal to every level of diver. Your tour includes a wetsuit or stinger suit, as well as floatation noodles. Crew keep a constant watch over the snorkelling sites, so you can enjoy the wonders of the reef in complete safety.
IMPORTANT NOTES: A direct payment of AU$20.00 Reef Tax and Fuel Levy is to be paid at check-in.

Return to Cairns where your East Coast adventure comes to an end.

What’s included in your 9 Day Oz Intro Tour?

  • Professional guides
  • Private bus and Queensland Rail transport
  • Accommodation and camping with all bedding
  • All sightseeing walks and meals as indicated
  • All national park fees and return ferries to Fraser Island, Great Keppel Island and Magnetic Island.
  • Activities including:
    • Hunter Valley wine tasting
    • River tubing on the scenic Barrington River
    • Koala hospital visit
    • A surf lesson at a remote surf camp
    • 2 day/1 night Fraser Island tour
    • Half day sea kayaking trip with dolphins
    • Great Keppel Island adventure
    • Horse riding on a cattle station
    • Whitsundays snorkeling
    • Whitehaven Beach boat ride
    • Tully Rainforest Experience
    • Great Barrier Reef Trip.

Flights, all other meals, drinks and travel insurance (compulsory) are not included.

This is an open-aged tour, however, most passengers are between the ages of 18 and 39.

This itinerary is subject to change due to cultural, operational or seasonal conditions. Accommodation included is a guide only and will be confirmed with a personalised itinerary seven days prior to departure.

**Although the group you are traveling with will not exceed 24 passengers (41 during peak periods), a number of the activities including the cruise in the Whitsundays, four-wheel-drive touring on Fraser Island, and rail journey are not exclusive to the group. You will travel with additional people and will have larger group sizes on those days. You will also travel with guides specific to those activities, rather than your Stray guide.

As this is a tour package, your guide and group will change throughout your journey. You will travel on Stray transport with Stray guides. While you will have a fixed pre-arranged itinerary, other Stray customers on a more flexible pass will hop on and off throughout the trip.

Female dorm customers will be placed in single-sex female dorms where possible.

Dietary requirements: Vegetarian diets are generally easily catered for by each of the operators in this tour package if informed before departure. It may not always be possible for more specific dietary needs to be catered for, particularly in more remote areas visited. It is recommended that passengers with specific dietary needs carry snacks and other food items that they are certain will be suitable, as Real Aussie Adventures and its partners cannot be responsible for the ingredients contained in meals provided.

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