All about the Kat Pass - Byron Bay To Cairns
Are you looking to travel the East Coast Byron Bay to Cairns? This is the guided transport option with the ability to take your time, meet new people and experience the BEST of the East Coast!
Hop on hop off means you can choose your own adventure on the East Coast. You can be flexible and stop and stay in towns or destinations for a few days or weeks. Then get back on the tour and go a bit further. You do not have to complete the pass in a fixed time limit or with the same group of people the whole trip.
It's up to you how long you take to do this East Coast trip maybe 3 weeks maybe 3 months. This trip takes in the whole East Coast from Sydney to Cairns so book your pass....start it and then see what happens. Have no plans and just go with the flow. You'll travel with fun, like-minded people, and meet our amazing drivers and guides. It's your choice, your way. Our Byron Bay to Cairns tour departs often with a great mixture of international travellers on board. A perfect chance to make friends, see the East Coast of Australia and take your time to travel. We work with local operators and communities to create sustainable, authentic experiences with positive change for all. You can change your plans and itinerary. You can hop off in and stay longer at any of our stops along the way as you want for up to 12 months.
You will meet local Australians and other travellers, be part of our traveller community on and offline. We are continually hunting out and creating our own authentic, off the beaten track, stop-overs and activities that aren’t in the guidebooks or on TripAdvisor. Get the most out of your travels through local guides and Loka’s groundbreaking technology. Our fun and enthusiastic guides get involved with your travel experiences, and our unique technology provides destination info, activity/accommodation booking service, reviews from other travellers and the ability to book yourself on and off the Stray Australia bus/transport.
Smaller group sizes on the East Coast mean it’s easier to meet other travellers, you don’t feed herded around and it allows us to include connections to off the beaten track things which can’t be accessed by individuals travelling on public transport or with mainstream travel companies.
Kat Pass - Byron Bay To Cairns
Tour itinerary - 8/9 Days
Byron Bay to Rainbow Beach
G’day mate and welcome to your Stray adventure! This morning we cross the border from New South Wales into Queensland. Our destination today is Rainbow Beach, but those with more time might want to hop off and explore tourist hot spot Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, Queensland's capital city of Brisbane, or the upmarket resort town of Noosa. After a big travel day, you'll welcome the chance to stretch your legs this evening with a walk to Carlo Sand Blow in Rainbow Beach to catch a gorgeous sunset. If you want to visit fantastic Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world, you can depart from Noosa or Rainbow Beach.
Accommodation: Your choice in either Noosa or Rainbow Beach
Optional Paid Activities: Fraser Island tours - available from both Noosa & Rainbow Beach
Activities Included: Walk to Carlo Sand Blow
Rainbow Beach to Emu Park
After stopping briefly to pick up those who stayed in Noosa, we depart from Cooroy on our first train journey of the trip. Kick back for a scenic train ride to Rockhampton, where we meet the bus and your Stray Guide to head to our next Strademark destination, Emu Park. While at Emu Park you’ll have the option to visit stunning Great Keppel Island, snorkel with turtles and hike to some secluded white sand beaches (extra cost); or you can choose to do your own thing!
Please Note: Some trips may have an extra night at Emu Park.
Accommodation: Emu’s Beach Resort
Emu Park to Airlie Beach (Overnight Train)
Today we recommend opting to visit the highlight of the area, Great Keppel Island, a tropical island paradise at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. Catch the ferry for a day of snorkeling or kayaking (extra cost) before exploring the island itself in search of the perfect white sand beach for a little afternoon rest and relaxation. Tonight, we’ll gather together for dinner at Emu’s Beach Resort before we catch our first overnight train to Airlie Beach.
Accommodation: Overnight train (included)
Optional Paid Activities: Great Keppel Island, snorkeling or kayaking, lawn bowls
Free Activities: Relax on the beach, swim, go for a walk
The train arrives in Prosperine early in the morning. Your Airlie-based Stray Guide will meet you at the train and accompany you on the bus into Airlie Beach. They'll help you store your bags, and then grab breakfast (extra cost) and give you a brief orientation of the town to help you get your bearings. You'll have the rest of your day free in Airlie Beach to do as you please. Airlie Beach is the gateway to the famous Whitsunday Islands, another backpacker favourite. Many people choose to hop off here and do a multi-day sailing trip, but it is also possible to do a day tour. You can also choose to join your guide for a hike in the rainforest to see amazing almost 360-degree views of Airlie and the Whitsunday Islands.
Accommodation: Your choice of central hostel
Activities Included: Orientation walk, guided hike in the rainforest
Optional Paid Activities: Whitsunday Islands tours, skydiving
Free Activities: Swim in the lagoon
Airlie Beach to Magnetic Island
You'll be up with the parakeets this morning with a medley of transport to catch today. Travelling by bus, train and ferry (oh my!) we arrive at our destination of Magnetic Island in the late morning. Nearly 50% of ‘Maggie Island’ is national park land, and it's chock-full of amazing beaches and abundant wildlife. Your legendary local guide will meet you at the train station and then join you on a scenic walk to either the beautiful Radical Bay beach or the historic Forts Complex for incredible views and amazing photo opportunities. Join in the group pizza dinner tonight (extra cost).
Please Note: Some trips may have an extra night at Magnetic Island.
Accommodation: Your choice of hostel near the beach
Activities Included: Fort Complex walk and/or Radical Bay walking tour
Optional Paid Activities: Snorkelling, hire a 4WD, rent a kayak
Free Activities: Swim, explore the island
Magnetic Island to Rainforest Experience
We catch the ferry back to the mainland in the morning, and travel by train to Tully, arriving at lunch time. From here you can join our Stray exclusive Rainforest Experience (additional cost) or continue on the train to Cairns. Those who choose the Rainforest Experience will travel by bus into the heart of the stunning Tully Gorge National Park. We’ll cool off in a beautiful swimming hole this afternoon, before heading to our camp for a BBQ dinner (included) and spend the evening sharing stories around the campfire.
Accommodation: Camping at Rainforest Experience, or hostel in Cairns
Optional Paid Activities: Rainforest Experience - includes dinner, breakfast, camping and activities
Rainforest Experience to Cairns (via Tully)
This morning you can take a guided walk through the forest to learn about the traditional indigenous usage of the land. In the afternoon, we jump on the train to our final destination, Cairns. We arrive by late afternoon, so you'll have time to get ready to celebrate the final night of your epic East Coast adventure. There's heaps to do in Cairns so check out your Stray Mate app for all the best options.
Accommodation: Central hostel in Cairns
Optional Paid Activities: White water rafting, skydiving, bungy jumping, Great Barrier Reef trips
Book between 31 December and 14 January to receive $120 OFF!
Trip departs Byron Bay
Wednesday - Minimum 8 days (Free day at Magnetic Island)
Friday - Minimum 9 days (Free days at Emu Park & Tully)
Sunday - Minimum 8 days (Free day at Magnetic Island)
Important NotesThings you need to know about this tour
- You can break your journey at any of the stops through any of the travel days and just connect with a later Loka bus or rail departure (guided or unguided). You can book your own accommodation or your guide will book it for you, you will usually get a bed-only option (averaging $28 per person per night), a twin/double option (averaging $100 per room) or where, due to remoteness a package price is set up for bed, meals and activities where applicable.
- Travel passes are valid for travel in one direction over a route with each travel sector only being able to be used once.
- Passes are valid for the person whose name they were originally issued in and are non-transferrable.
- Passes are valid for twelve months from the date of your departure.
- Travel is in 24 seat mini coaches between Byron Bay and Noosa, and local bus and train (plus ferry to Magnetic Island) between Noosa and Cairns.
- Guides travel on all routes on the set departure days – but you can travel on the train on other days without a guide.
- You can only access the unique transfers and activities when travelling with the guide.
- There is a minimum of three departures per week over all routes.
- For specific departure days and times please see the Stray Australia timetable on the pass pages.
- Accommodation and meals are not included in the pass price.