The Real East Coast Sydney to Cairns 14 Day Explorer Tour

14 days of personal travel, nature, local produce and unique accommodation up Australia's East Coast


If you love wildlife and nature then this is the tour for you. An active small group tour taking in some of the East Coasts must-see attractions along with plenty of opportunity for nature walks, snorkelling, swimming and diving, and lots of Australia's wildlife.

This small group 14 day tour makes it way from Sydney to all the East Coast hot spots such as Byron Bay, Fraser Island, the Great Barrier Reef, Airlie Beach and on to Cairns in the far north. Staying in a mix of 4 stay and boutique accommodation you will get to experience lots of locally-produced food and wine, and a variety of down-to-earth experiences. A real emphasis is put on visiting local cafes, restaurants and and food producers everyday.

Booking Conditions

Age Restriction: 18+ (Or 8+ years old if accompanied by adult)

Fitness Requirement: Low

What's included

  •  All transport (Private buses, flight, train and boat trips)
  • All accommodation
  • Small Group Tour (Min 4, Max 16 Guest)
  • Included free activities everyday: Nature walks, waterfalls, swimming, beaches, unique local experie
  • 10 breakfasts, 6 lunch experiences, 3 dinner experiences - We love showing off local produce, food &
  • Fraser Island 4wd adventure
  • Whitsundays Island Explorer day cruise
  • Local aboriginal experience in Tully
  • Great Barrier Reef day cruise including 2 reef sites, snorkelling, lunch on board and optional scuba
  • Australian animal conservation park (kangaroos, emus & more - personal ranger to guide us
  • Port Macquarie sunset cruise with snacks & drinks
  • Port Macquarie Koala Hospital
  • Hunter Valley wine & cheese tasting experience including gourmet lunch

What To Bring

  • All tours require comfortable walking shoes and weather-appropriate clothing
  • Sunscreen and a hat recommended on sunny & cloudy days
  • Swimmers and a towel



Day 1 : Sydney
We start in Australia's Harbour City, the glittering jewel in the east coast's crown. Check in at 2pm, then relax for the afternoon. At 6pm meet your guide in hotel reception for introductions and a multicultural welcome dinner.
Meals :Dinner

Day 2 : Sydney
Enjoy a local breakfast. We begin with a walking tour of Australia's most famous city. Watch how the sun glints on the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, and even the historic ferry we take to Watson’s Bay. Over fish ’n chips, we'll plot our next course: a walk along the east coast's towering cliffs – aboriginal rock carvings, ocean spray and stunning views. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and even the occasional whale. We're back in the heart of the city later for a multicultural welcome dinner, and the chance to sample Sydney’s funky nightlife. (B, L, D)
Meals :Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3 : Hunter Valley and Newcastle
We leave behind Sydney's skyscrapers and sidewalks for a wildlife park boasting an all-star cast of koalas, kangaroos, and more guided by our own personal wildlife ranger. We're in the heart of the Hunter Valley, so there's nothing better than to take a wine, cheese, chocolate and organic vodka tasting tour, complete with gourmet lunch. We'll also visit the sunny port city Newcastle, rounding an eclectic day off with local live music. (B, L)
Meals :Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4 : Port Macquarie via Forster
It's all about water today. After an amazing local breakfast, we hit the scenic Lakes Way for a coastal walk and lookout climb. Sunbathe on the sand or, if you're feeling more adventurous, dive into a stand-up paddle or kayak experience. Afterwards, we're off to Port Macquarie in time for a sunset cruise, with complimentary drinks and snacks to enjoy – if you're not distracted by the dolphins that frequently swim past. (B) Optional: Stand-up paddle board, kayak
Meals :Breakfast

Day 5 : Dorrigo National Park
We start by meeting the volunteers at a local koala hospital. If you're able to tear yourself away from the cuddly critters, you'll be rewarded with a stop at gorgeous Dorrigo National Park, known for its lush, sub-tropical rainforest and waterfalls. We finish the day in true Aussie style: a traditional pub where you can relax, order some grub, have a few drinks and even play some pool. (B)
Meals :Breakfast

Day 6 : Dorrigo National Park – Byron Bay
It's off to Dangar Falls for a refreshing dip in its cascading waters. Once dry, we're headed to Byron Bay, a laid-back surf paradise with boundless coastline, sand and friendly locals. We'll pop to an organic farm where we'll pick and prepare a healthy lunch before paying a visit to the local lighthouse for a unique photo opportunity and the chance for the eagle-eyed to spot dolphins, whales, and other marine life. (B, L)  
Meals :Breakfast

Day 7 : Byron Bay
Today we're talking relaxation, relaxation, and relaxation. This day is all yours. Spend the morning on the warm sand, shopping for bargains, or indulge in one of our optional activities: yoga, surfing, kayaking or get a relaxing massage. In the afternoon, put your feet up, head to a cosy bar, or watch the world go by from one of the local cafes. Optional: Yoga session, surf lesson, kayak experience or massage
Meals :None

Day 8 : Noosa
We're a week into our adventure and today sees a visit to sun-kissed Noosa (via one of Australia's top surf spots and home to some of our champion surfers). We're crossing into Queensland – the Sunshine State – which means koala-spotting in a national park followed by a magnificent sunset overlooking the Sunshine Coast hinterland from a coastal lookout. Rest up in the evening, or hit the bustling town for dinner and nightlife. (B)
Meals :Breakfast

Day 9 : Fraser Island & Noosa
Ready, steady, go, for a once-in-a-lifetime Fraser Island 4WD adventure today. You'll never want to leave, as we explore the largest sand island in the world, kick back at some of Queensland's most renowned lookouts, take a walk on the wild side, dive into a crystal-clear lake, and go dingo-discovering. The fun needn't stop there; after the tour feel free to enjoy Noosa's vibrant nightlife, or put your feet up in your accommodation. (L)
Meals :Lunch

Day 10 : Noosa to Airlie Beach (Via Brisbane)
It's up, up, and away, as we take the plane to Airlie beach, hub of the magnificent Whitsundays. You get the chance to take the reins today; whether you want to stroll through the town, find a cool bar, or explore the local swimming hole, the choice is all yours! (B)
Meals :Dinner

Day 11 : Whitsunday Islands Cruise and Airlie Beach
After breakfast, we're taking a leisurely day cruise through the postcard-perfect islands of the Whitsundays, including a stop at famed Whitehaven beach. Words can't do justice to the dazzling white sands, azure waters, and densely verdant vegetation of this incredible corner of the world. Get a closer look by snorkeling with colourful coral, and an array of playful fish and turtles. Afterwards, it's your chance to relax or seek out the town's best food and drink options. (B, L)  
Meals :Dinner

Day 12 : Tully
A change of scenery today as we head through undulating cane fields to historic Tully in a private vehicle. We'll meet an Aboriginal family who'll escort us to a secluded swimming hole in the rainforest. You'll also get the chance to try your hand at Aboriginal art, as we are guided by local Jirrbal Aboriginal Artists on traditional techniques after a tour of the Ingan Cultural Centre. We finish the session with a candid discussion on Aboriginal culture, history and contemporary life for Indigenous people in Australia, followed by a delicious barbecue. (D)
Meals :Dinner

Day 13 : Cairns via the Atherton Tablelands
Enjoy breakfast in a local café before we travel into the wet tropics of Far North Queensland. We'll discover a magnificent plunge waterfall nestled in dense tropical rainforest en-route to the Atherton Tablelands. Take a dip in the cool water before we head to Lake Eacham, a crater lake with crystal-clear water, and visit the massive ‘Curtain Fig Tree’. We'll finish the day in Cairns, one of Australia's most vibrant, tropical and energetic cities. (B)
Meals :Breakfast

Day 14 : Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef
It's one of the highlights of any trip to Australia: The Great Barrier Reef. Today, we take a cruise to the famed reef, where we'll go snorkeling and hear a marine conservation commentary. After an extraordinary day, we'll freshen up at the hotel before having our farewell dinner. It's a chance to compare memories, swap stories, and say farewell to your friends on the tour. (B, L, D) Optional: Scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef
Meals :Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Departure Time: Enjoy one-night accommodation before meeting guide the next morning at 8am

Main Departure Address: The Macley Hotel, 28 Macleay St, Elizabeth Bay NSW 2011

No additional pick up times/locations

Tour concludes: 14 days later in Cairns (Holiday Inn Cairns)

Optional Excursions

Optional Activities (Available to sign up on tour with your guide)

  • Nature
  • Walking Tours
  • Cruise

Available Extras

Optional Activities (Available to sign up on tour with your guide)

  1. Kayak Tour in Byron Bay: $64

  2. Learn to Surf Byron Bay: $70

  3. Yoga in Byron Bay: $70

  4. Scuba dive on the barrier reef from $70

Also bring enough money to cover all non-included meals, snacks and drinks.

No Credit Card or Booking Fees!!

Need More Information

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We love the down to earth nature of this tour staying in incredible family run boutique accommodation and a real focus on local wines and cuisine. This is a not a backpacker budget East Coast party tour but the tunes on the small bus make for a great vibe. Food, wine, beaches, walks, wildlife, and nature, and lots of time to relax make for the perfect two weeks of travel.

Recent Independent Reviews

  • Loved it!

    Would definitely recommend this! Had the most amazing time on the east coast.

    A must for everyone who likes to travel in small groups and likes to experience the real culture instead of just tourist attractions. 

    On Real Aussie Adventures

    Small groups allow for an intimate touring experience. We include ‘must-sees’ like Sydney, Byron Bay, Fraser Island and the Great Barrier Reef, but we also expose you to family-run hospitality, locally-produced food and wine, and a variety of down-to-earth experiences that can only be enjoyed in small groups.