16 Day Cairns to Sydney East Coast Essentials

A fun and adventurous way to explore Australia’s east coast


Capture the essence of the East Coast of Australia, one of the best road trips in the world, on this 16-day adventure. Snorkelling the magnificent Great Barrier Reef, Fraser Island, stunning beaches, lush rainforest, from Cairns to Sydney - this is your adventure.

Capture the essence of the East Coast of Australia, one of the best road trips in the world, on this 16-day adventure. Snorkel the magnificent Great Barrier Reef, spending the night on the world’s largest sand island and visiting the islands and stunning beaches of the Whitsundays. Relax in Byron Bay and explore the Blue Mountains. From Cairns to Sydney – this is your adventure.


Booking Conditions

Age Restriction: 18-69

Fitness Requirement: Good level of fitness and sense of fun

What's included

  • Professional guides
  • Private bus and Queensland Rail transport
  • Accommodation 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 as specified

What To Bring

  • Hat and sunscreen
  • Walking shoes
  • Insect repellent
  • Water bottle
  • Swimsuit/towel
  • Flip flops/thongs
  • Camera


Day 1 : Carins - Cape Tribulation/Daintree - Cairns
The start of your journey will be a highlight for years to come. You will be collected by our World Heritage Rainforest operator, Jungle Tours to firstly travel to Port Douglas via the Great Barrier Reef Drive, one of Australia’s most scenic coastal drives. Upon arrival at Wildlife Habitat you will join a guided tour to see the endangered Cassowary and other wildlife before crossing the Daintree River on the cable-driven ferry, travelling along the rainforest-fringed Cape Tribulation Road through Daintree National Park, a magnificent wilderness region. We stop for a tropical lunch and to enjoy some free time for a swim in the pool at Cape Tribulation Beach House. You may also choose to walk along the spectacular Cape Tribulation Beach which has a boardwalk for a guided rainforest walk with great photo opportunities. On our return journey we stop at Alexandra Lookout for magnificent views before joining a Daintree River cruise in search for crocodiles, birds and other wildlife as you journey through the mangroves. Travel back Cairns arriving in the evening. IMPORTANT NOTES: Please note that your Stray guide won’t be present on the first two days of your package. You will be in the safe hands of the crew from Jungle Tours on day one and Deep Sea Divers Den on day two. Please note a $20 local payment for the Great Barrier Reef levy is due on checkin of your Great Barrier Reef Tour. It is recommended that you spend the night at Gilligan’s Backpacker Resort the night before your Stray/Real Adventure Group tour package starts so you can store your luggage there, as you will not be able to bring your main luggage on the Cape Tribulation trip, just a small day pack. (the Real Adventure Group can book this pre-tour night for you at additional cost). You will meet your Stray guide at pick up from Gilligan’s Backpacker Resort in the morning of Day 3.
Meals :Lunch

Day 2 : Great Barrier Reef
Today travel by luxury vessel to the Great Barrier Reef in only 90 minutes for a full day of snorkelling 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 include 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.
Meals :Lunch

Day 3 : Cairns (Via Townsville) to Magnetic island
We travel by train south to Townsville, getting in around mid-afternoon and then take the ferry out to tropical ‘Maggie Island’. There is much to explore on the island, as nearly 50% of it is National Park with amazing beaches and abundant wildlife.
Meals :None

Day 4 : Free Day Magnetic Island
Today you are free to relax or explore the island as you wish. Take a visit the wildlife park at the resort (extra cost).
Meals :None

Day 5 : Magnetic Island to Airlie Beach
This morning your guide will join you on the Forts walk, otherwise you can do some exploring, check out the local wildlife park or just relax by the pool. In the afternoon we travel back to the mainland on the ferry, then jump on the train to Proserpine, with a transfer to Airlie Beach
Meals :None

Day 6 : Whitsunday Islands, snorkelling 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. IMPORTANT NOTES: Please note that your Stray guide won’t be present today and you will be in the safe hands of the crew from Ocean Rafting. Upon completion of your Whitsundays day trip, you will have the night free to explore Airlie’s great nightlife and choice of restaurants.
Meals :Lunch

Day 7 : Airlie Beach to Rockhampton/Emu Park
Spend a relaxing day in Airlie Beach and meet your Stray guide in the early evening when we transfer to the train and travel to Rockhampton. We hop off the train with a quick transfer to the cool, little coastal town of Emu Park where we spend two nights.
Meals :None

Day 8 : Great Keppel Island
We have an awesome island day planned with return ferry transfers to Great Keppel Island and its 17 stunning beaches. We depart early to head to the tropical paradise Great Keppel Island. Relax or have a go at the optional water activities (snorkeling/kayaking etc). We head back to the mainland late afternoon with a quick stop to walk to Bluff Point before returning to the comfort of your accommodation for an evening meal.
Meals :Lunch, Dinner

Day 9 : Emu Park to Rainbow Beach
We begin the day with an early morning bus transfer to the train. We travel to Cooroy then jump on our own private bus to Rainbow Beach, the gateway to Fraser Island. Here you will be met and provided with an afternoon walk to the Carlo Sand Blow. Rainbow Beach gets its name from an Aboriginal legend that tells of Yiningie – the spirit of the Gods represented by a rainbow – who was killed in a fight over a woman. when he crashed into the cliffs his spirits created the coloured sands that are visible today.
Meals :Dinner

Day 10 : Rainbow Beach to Fraser Island
Get ready for two full days of exploring World Heritage Fraser Island. After a short 10-minute ferry ride from Rainbow Beach you start your adventure of four-wheel-driving on the roads of sand. During your stay on Fraser Island you will have the chance to spot dingoes in the wild, swim in crystal clear freshwater lakes and swimming holes and explore the diverse landscapes in this unique habitat. Before heading to bed don’t forget to look up to enjoy the millions of stars and maybe even spot the five stars on the Aussie flag – the Southern Cross. IMPORTANT NOTES: Your Stray guide won’t travel with you to Fraser Island, but you will be well-looked after by the team at Fraser Explorer
Meals :Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11 : Fraser Island to Rainbow Beach
In the late afternoon of day eleven your guide will return you to your Rainbow accommodation where you have dinner included.
Meals :Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12 : Rainbow Beach (via Noosa, Brisbane & Gold Coast) to Byron Bay
Your southbound journey continues today as we travel in our own Stray bus through Noosa, Brisbane and Gold Coast. We stop for a walk at the Queensland/NSW border crossing at Danger Point to stretch our legs and check out the view of one of Australia’s best surf spots Snapper Rocks, before heading onto our night stop at Australia’s coolest surf town, Byron Bay.
Meals :Breakfast

Day 13 : Kayaking at Byron Bay
Rise early to meet your Kayaking group, kayak from Clarks Beach and follow the coastline out to the Cape where we catch up with our dolphin friends at Wategos Beach. Stop at Wategos Beach for a morning tea. Surf the waves in your kayak while taking in the some of the best sights the East Coast has to offer. Learn about local history, aboriginal history, the lighthouse, dolphins, whales and turtles. See the Most Easterly Point of the Australian mainland. You will return to Byron Bay and have the afternoon free to explore or relax in this laidback town. IMPORTANT NOTES: Your Stray guide won’t be hanging out with you today, as he/she is getting a hard-earned rest. They will however be able to help you book any activities or give you some tips on restaurants etc, before you arrive in Byron on day 13
Meals :None

Day 14 : Free day in Byron Bay
Today is at your leisure, maybe take a surf lesson, take a trip to the alternative hippie town of Nimbin (all additional cost), or just chill out and take in the laidback vibe of Byron Bay.
Meals :None

Day 15 : Byron Bay to Sydney
Today is a big driving day as we travel all the way to Sydney, arriving in the evening. This magnificent coastal city is yours to explore over the coming days as our tour ends the following day with a trip to the Blue Mountains.
Meals :None

Day 16 : Blue Mountains World Heritage National Park
Enjoy a full day of exploration in the Blue Mountains. Experience Australia's most visited World Heritage National Park, including the Three Sisters rock formation and a two- hour walk with your Stray guide to Wentworth Falls. Upon return to Sydney your adventure down the East Coast of Australia sadly comes to an end. Be sure to stay a few extra nights in Sydney to allow time to do some more exploring. You will be dropped back at Wake Up, where the Real Adventure Group can arrange some extra nights for you at additional cost, alternatively, Central Station is a short walk across the road if you need to get to another location.
Meals :Lunch


Day 1: Pickup from outside Gilligan's Backpacker Resort Reception at 7:00am

Day 2: Make your own way to C Finger at Cairns Marlin Marina, check in directly on the vessel ReefQuest at 8:00am

Day 3: Pickup from outside Gilligan's Backpackers Resort Reception at 7:50am.  Your Stray guide will meet you and travel to the Cairns train station. 

Customers need to be waiting outside confirmed departure point 15 minutes prior to the departure time.

Times are subject to change and will be reconfirmed on your personalised itinerary before departure.

AUD $20
Some of our tours require a local fee for National Parks that need to be paid directly to your guide while on tour.

Optional Excursions

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

  • Adventure

Available Extras

Day 2:  A direct payment of AU$20.00 Reef Tax and Fuel Levy is to be paid at check in on this day

No Credit Card or Booking Fees!!

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