17 Day Sydney to Cairns East Coast Essentials Package

This is the ultimate Sydney to Cairns East Coast package

We have squeezed one of the best Fraser Island tours, an incredible Whitsundays sailing adventure, the Queensland rainforest, and Magnetic Island into one amazingly action-packed East Coast 17 day adventure tour!

Stopping off in Byron Bay and to our off the beaten track paradise of Great Keppel Island, this tour package is the ultimate way to see the East Coast of Australia! You will visit three very different islands, four World Heritage National Parks and some secret spots recommended by locals. You will enjoy a great mix of unique accommodation and experiences including wine tasting, wildlife, indigenous culture, beaches, hiking, rainforest, reef, off-roading, surfing, and kayaking. 

Traveling in a group of like-minded people you will explore 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 take in all the best bits of the most popular route in Australia, with your accommodation and activities included. 

You will travel on the bus from Sydney up to Barrington Tops National Park for an Aussie bushland experience. Crank up the tunes and get to know your fellow travellers as you wind past the Hunter Valley region. At Barrington Tops you get to relax in the hillside hot tub with your first beer of the tour and wonder why you ever spent time in an Australian city. You then hop on the train for a faster way to travel Brisbane to Cairns. The advantage of this is you can traverse the great distance of the East Coast a lot quicker, more time to spend doing the fun stuff! There is more leg room on the trains, a movie screen and the option to walk around. Heaps nicer than hours and hours on the Greyhound bus! 

You will spend two days on Fraser Island seeing the famous Lake Mckenzie, adventuring around this large sand island full of rainforest and lakes. On the Whitsunday Island boat, we take you to see Whitehaven Beach, another bucket list place on the East Coast of Oz. Plus have a snorkel on the reef and try to look for Nemo. Ferry over to Great Keppel Island to explore the southern Great Barrier Reef. Then it's off up to Magnetic Island to explore the National Park before finally the rainforest before finishing in tropical Cairns.

Check out our dates of departure, we leave Sydney every Monday heading north to Cairns.

Great for your first visit to Australia, see all the highlights from Sydney to Cairns whilst getting to know a great bunch of new friends. What could be better? 

Real Adventure Group Real People
Real Aussie Says:
Explore Australia's stunning East Coast stretching all the way from bustling Sydney to the sunny tropics of Cairns. Full of bucket list adventures, this travel package is designed to help you tick off all those once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Perfect for those 18-39 years old.

17 Day Sydney to Cairns East Coast Essentials Package
Tour itinerary - 17 Days

  • Day 1 Sydney to Barrington Tops
    Heading north today we stop in the Hunter Valley wine area where we have the opportunity to sample some local wines during the included tasting at 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 we enjoy an included river tubing experience. 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. This evening we warm up and relax around the campfire. STAY: Lodge – Riverwood Downs (D)
  • Day 2 Barrington Tops to Spot X Surf Camp
    Wake up in the morning and enjoy breakfast with an amazing view. We then head north, with a 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 at the Surf Camp, arriving in the early evening. (B and D)
  • Day 3 Spot X Surf Camp to River Retreat
    This morning you can take part in a group surf lesson or just relax on the beach. The surf lesson is included in the price of the tour package. In the afternoon we travel to our River Retreat and go for a guided canoeing trip or walk, 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 (B and D)
  • 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. (B)
  • Day 5 Free Day in Byron Bay
    Explore, 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.
  • Day 6 Free Day in Byron Bay
    Today is free for you to continue to enjoy this laidback little town STAY: Backpacker Resort in Byron Bay
  • Days 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, we then drive 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. (D)
  • Day 8 and 9 Rainbow Beach <> Fraser Island (2days/1night)
    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 you will have the chance to spot dingoes in the wild, swim in crystal clear freshwater lakes and swimming holes, hike through world heritage rainforest 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. In the late afternoon of day 9 your guide will return you to your Rainbow Beach accommodation where you have dinner included. STAY: Eurong Beach Resort, Fraser Island Frasers on Rainbow, Rainbow Beach (Day 1 – B, L and D and Day 2 - B, L and D
  • Day 10 Rainbow Beach
    Today you will 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. ( B and D)
  • Day 11 Rainbow Beach to Emu Park
    We then head to Cooroy where we start our train journey. Travel by train to Rockhampton where we are met by a local bus which takes us to Emu’s Beach Resort. We are welcomed onto the resort and find out more about our Stray Treasure Island Experience for the next day. STAY: Emu’s Beach Resort, 92 Pattison Street, Emu Park. (B)
  • Day 12 Great Keppel Island + Emu Park (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 (reclining seats) (L and D)
  • Day 13 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. STAY: Backpacker Resort in Airlie Beach. (L)
  • Day 14 Airlie Beach (via Townsville) to Magnetic Island
    We an early start today 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 15 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 16 Magnetic Island to Cairns
    Travel back to the mainland on the ferry, travel by train to Cairns arriving into Cairns central train station at approximately 4.30 pm. Please make your own way to your tonight’s accommodation. We stay at Gilligan’s Backpackers Resort and Hotel tonight.
  • Day 17 Atherton Tableland Day Tour
    Join us on a joyous musical journey through the stunning Atherton Tablelands and you’ll be walking and talking your way through rainforests, swimming in crystal clear waterfalls, rock sliding, singing, floating in a volcanic crater lake and all the time having Fun Fun Fun!! (L)
17 Day Sydney to Cairns East Coast Essentials Package Price information AUD per person

Tour code: SC17


Dorm. For travel from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021

Contact Us with your travel enquiries for our 17 Day Sydney to Cairns East Coast Essentials Package Now

We are open, and we are taking bookings. Due to the uncertain nature of Covid-19 however, we are not taking payment for any bookings until 90-days before departure when we can be certain of all travel #travellater #booknow

Departure information



Departs Sydney every Monday

Except for 23, 30 March, 6 April and 14, 21 and 28 Dec 2020.


More information

Important Notes

Things you need to know about this tour
  • 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 personalized itinerary seven days prior to departure.

    If a date doesn't suit we can tailor make you an East Coast package, so get in touch and let us plan your adventure!

    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 East Coast guide.

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

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

    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.

  • If traveling before September 30 please refer to the itinerary 16 Day Sydney to Cairns East Coast Essentials Package

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