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Australia East Coast Adventure

5-6 weeks on the beautiful East Coast of Australia!

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Group Size: Avg - 10-20

Trip code: AECA

Duration: 5-6 weeks

Guided group tour from Sydney to Cairns
Fantastic included activities
Swim in the Great Barrier Reef!

Australia’s East Coast is a truly spectacular part of the world, full of dreamy beaches, stunning islands and epic cities. Unlike many whistle-stop tours, this 5 week adventure from Sydney to Cairns travels at a steady pace, allowing you plenty of time to explore each of the stunning stop-offs on the route, including Byron Bay, Brisbane, Noosa, Airlie Beach, & more! You’ll also enjoy a huge range of awesome included activities, including a 2 night cruise around the Whitsundays, a surf lesson in Byron, a K'gari (formerly Fraser Island) camping experience, and a snorkelling boat trip to the Great Barrier Reef! Plus, to supercharge your adventure you can book our 6 week option and enjoy extra time in and around Sydney! It’s the ultimate introduction to this backpacker paradise!

Trip highlights

  • Take in the best backpacker destinations on the Aussie East Coast, including Sydney, Byron Bay, Brisbane and Cairns
  • Spend 2 nights camping and exploring on K'gari (formerly Fraser Island)
  • Sail around the gorgeous Whitsundays on a live-aboard maxi yacht!
  • Discover the dramatic Atherton Tablelands and the spectacular Great Barrier Reef!
  • Book the 6 week option and enjoy an extra week in and around Sydney before your tour begins. Includes a harbour cruise, a 2 day Bondi Beach escape, & more!
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What's included
  • Arrival airport transfer
  • 33 or 40 nights’ accommodation + 2 overnight buses
  • All transport between included destinations
  • Byron Bay Surf Lesson
  • Morning Yoga in Byron Bay
  • Dolphin encounter
  • 2-night Whitsunday Island Cruise
  • Magnetic Island Forts Walk
  • K'gari 4x4 Island Driving
  • Atherton Tablelands Excursion
  • Great Barrier Reef snorkelling
  • Wine and Cheese Night
  • Brisbane City Tour and Beach visit
  • Noosa Beach time
  • Headland Coastal Walk
  • Rainbow Beach Sand Blow Hike
  • Beach Camping
  • 6-week option only: Sydney harbour cruise, Bondi Beach yoga, Sydney party night, Blue Mountains day tour, Coogee to Bondi Coastal Walk.
  • Dedicated Tour Guide
  • Some meals
  • 24-hour emergency support
What's not included
  • Flights
  • Visa
  • Travel Insurance
  • Most meals, snacks and drinks
  • Return airport transfer
  • Local taxes: K'gari levy ($20) & Great Barrier Reef levy ($20) - subject to change
  • Optional Activities
Further trip information

This trip has two options:

  • 5 week itinerary (36 days)
  • 6 week itinerary including Sydney intro week (43 days)

6-week Itinerary: 7-day Sydney Intro Week

The 5 week tour only includes 1 day in Sydney. If you fancy extending your time here, book our 6 week option and enjoy an additional 7 days in and around Sydney before your East Coast tour begins! Enjoy a city tour, a trip around Sydney harbour on board a private catamaran, a 2 day getaway on Bondi Beach, a Sydney bar crawl and a walk from Coogee to Bondi, one of the world’s most beautiful coastal walks. You also join a day trip to the spectacular Blue Mountains too!

On day 8, you’ll join the 5 week trip and follow the itinerary below.

Choose the 6-week option from the drop-down menu in the booking section to see trip dates and prices.

5-week Itinerary

Day 1: Sydney. If you book the 5 week option, your awesome East Coast adventure kicks off today in Sydney. Meet your guide and the rest of your group and head out into the city for a guided tour, taking in Sydney’s biggest and best sights. Then, board an overnight bus that’ll take you up the coast to Byron Bay.

Please note: You will meet the rest of your group and guide at around 11am this morning. Due to this early start time, we recommend you arrive into Australia the day before and book an extra night of accommodation in Sydney. An airport transfer is included. Please speak to a travel advisor for more information. If you have booked the 6-week tour, you will have today free and then meet the rest of the group at around 4:30pm for the welcome meal.

Day 2-5: Byron Bay. Spend your days here relaxing on the perfect golden beaches and cooling off in the gorgeous aquamarine waters. Enjoy an included surfing lesson, explore the coast, visit the Byron lighthouse, relax with a morning yoga session on the beach, and live the high life with a wine & cheese night!

Days 6-8: Surfers Paradise. This stunning city is legendary for its epic waves and buzzing nightlife. Put your new surfing skills to the test, or simply lay back and soak up the sun. After a few days of relaxing, swimming, surfing and partying, get together with the group for an Aussie tradition: a sausage sizzle and a couple of cold ones!

Days 9-10: Brisbane. Another day, another epic East Coast stop-off! Today, you’ll discover Brisbane, a glistening city of towering skyscrapers and vast rivers. Enjoy a guided tour of the city, and check out the man-made Streets Beach, the perfect place for a cooling dip on a hot day!

Days 11-12: Noosa. Get away from the skyscrapers as you venture into the lush landscapes of Noosa. Surrounded by thick green forests and stunning sandy shores, this east coast gem is simply gorgeous. Enjoy a hike along the coast, bask in beautiful panoramic views, or chill by the beach and watch an out-of-this-world sunset. Bliss.

Days 13-14: Rainbow Beach. This exquisite stretch of coast is pure paradise. Enjoy a hike along the beach and watch the sunset over K'gari (formerly known as Fraser Island and your next East Coast stop!). The next day, you’ll hit the water on a dolphin encounter! You’ll never forget an up-close encounter with these wonderful creatures!

Days 15-17: K'gari. Today, you’ll leave the mainland behind and transfer across to beautiful K'gari. On the island, you’ll drive across the sand in a 4x4, stopping off for a swim in the crystal-clear waters of Lake McKenzie, and taking a dip in the incredible champagne pools. You’ll also enjoy the views from the Indian Heads Lookout before making camp on the beach with your group, and watching the stars appear overhead.

Days 18-20: Town of 1770. Discover the sleepy town of 1770, with its untouched beaches and beautiful sea-views. Your days here are an opportunity to relax and unwind, as well as take a break on the journey up the east coast! Sunbathe and splash by the pool, and wander the coastal trails. On day 20, you’ll board an overnight bus to Airlie Beach.

Days 21-23: Whitsunday Islands Cruise. Arrive into Airlie Beach this morning and enjoy a refreshing swim in the harbour-front lagoon. The next morning, you’ll board a spectacular sailing yacht and cruise around the dreamy Whitsunday Islands. Your yacht will take you past stunning islands and beaches, stopping off for snorkelling and swimming in some gorgeous surroundings. This is the ultimate in relaxation and adventure!

Days 24-25: Airlie Beach. Enjoy a post-island party night with your group and explore the gorgeous national park that surrounds Airlie Beach. If you want to max out on adventure, opt to see the Whitsundays from above in a helicopter (extra cost)!

Days 26-28: Magnetic Island. See some famous Aussie critters up close today as you explore Magnetic Island. Wander the island and enjoy its beautiful beaches. Snorkel in the shallows, enjoy a guided Forts Walk that takes in some of the best viewpoints on the Island, and relax at your accommodation.

Days 29-30: Mission Beach. Your penultimate stop is Mission Beach, a tropical paradise where golden sands and green palm trees fringe an ever-perfect blue sea. While here, you’ll explore the neighbouring National Park, home to the Djiru Aboriginal people.

Days 31-35: Cairns. The final stop on this epic East Coast Tour! You’ll spend 5 full days here to make the most of this fantastic backpacker destination. Enjoy awesome included activities, including a day-trip to the dramatic Atherton Tablelands, and a snorkelling boat trip to the Great Barrier Reef, where you can see turtles, stingrays, nemo fish and more!  Your final two days are a chance to relax, sunbathe, party and enjoy your final moments on this epic tour.

Day 36: Tour ends. Your tour ends this morning in Cairns! Say goodbye to your group and guide and either head to the airport or stick around for more independent travel adventures!

Free Time

On this trip you will have some free time to explore on your own or with others in your group. During your free time, you decide how to spend your time. Some travellers like to go out in the evenings for a meal and then carry on the party but there is no expectation to do so. If you prefer to chill and wake up with a clear head, then there are plenty of great options too!

Please note that itineraries and inclusions are subject to change.

Booking options

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Arrival information

For both the 5 week and 6 week options, your tour begins at around 11am on day 1 in Sydney. Due to this early start time, we recommend you arrive into Australia the day before and book an extra night of accommodation in Sydney. Please speak to a travel advisor for more information and assistance in booking this. An airport transfer is included. 

If you are on the 6 week tour and you do not arrive in time for the 11am meeting, you can meet your group at 7pm that day instead. However this is not possible for those on the 5 week trip as you will be taking the overnight bus out of Sydney that evening.

You will need to go to a pre-set meeting point at Sydney airport and a greeter will direct you to the shuttle bus which will take you directly to your hostel to begin your first week of fun and adventure!

If you want to arrive a few days earlier into Sydney, we will be happy to help you organise any additional accommodation you may need (at extra cost). Please contact us for further details.

On your end date the tour will finish in the morning in Cairns. A return airport transfer is not included but is easy to arrange locally.

Accommodation & meals

35 or 42 nights of accommodation are included on this group tour depending on which option you choose. This will mainly be in mixed hostel dorms, sleeping between 4 and 12 people. Two nights will be spent on overnight transport. Two nights will be spent camping on K'gari, and two nights will be spent on board a maxi yacht. Private room upgrades are available at extra cost. Please contact us for more details.

The majority of the journeys on the tour will be by coach. The coaches used are modern and comfortable, with USB sockets, wifi (connection dependant) and reclining seats. The overnight coaches also have even more legroom (more than most airlines!), as well as reclining seats, so you'll get a great nights sleep.

9 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 6 dinners are included in the 6 week tour. You will need to purchase the majority of meals yourself. Each stop will have a great range of restaurants and backpacker bars where you can find tasty meals. Alternatively, you could prepare meals in the hostel kitchens. Preparing your own meals is a great way to save money. We recommend budgeting around AUD30-50 per day for food and drink.

Minimum age & eligibility

The minimum age to join this trip is 18. This trip is designed for travellers aged 18-35 years old.

All visitors to Australia (excepting those from New Zealand) will require a visa or e-visa/ETA to enter. These must be applied for before departure, and if you’re planning on working in Australia whilst you’re out here you’ll need a Working Holiday Visa. If you are just heading to Australia for fun however, an ETA will suffice. Both visas can be applied for online. Please feel free to contact us if you need any more information.

Visa rules and regulations are subject to change. Please check the relevant embassy websites for up to date information.

Covid safety

This trip is designed with your safety and wellbeing in mind. As a result of Covid-19, many of our suppliers and partners around the world are introducing new policies and procedures surrounding health and safety in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. As the state of travel is evolving these new safety measures will adapt over time, and will be different for each trip. Here are some of the changes you may see on your trip:

Arrival safety meetings
Most trips have an arrival meeting on the first day where the guide or local team will run through the trip, the safety protocols, and to answer any questions you may have. Now more than ever it is important you arrive in time for these meetings.

Proof of vaccination or negative covid test
For the safety of all travellers, at the start of some trips you may be required to show evidence that you are fully vaccinated (14 days after your second dose) and/or show evidence of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of the tour start date in order to join the programme.

Updated hygiene and safety procedures
Our suppliers and partners have health and safety procedures in place on all of our trips. These protocols will be updated and adapted as a response to the Coronavirus outbreak, dependent on local restrictions and laws.

Transport and accommodation choices
Our suppliers and partners choose the accommodation and transport on our trips very carefully, and you may see a change to what would normally be used as a response to the outbreak. This may involve such changes as enhanced use of private transport or quieter accommodation.

Trained and knowledgeable staff
Our staff in the UK are trained to help you with your trip before you depart and answer any questions you may have. In addition, the local team and guides on our trips are there to help with any health and safety concerns and to ensure our trips run safely and smoothly.

Reduced group sizes
Some trips will run with reduced group sizes to start with. You may find that trips are more intimate and chilled, whilst still being packed with fun and adventure.

Your guide or the local team will be on hand to help you seek medical attention should you require it during your trip. As medical facilities and standards can vary around the world, you should ensure you have adequate travel insurance in place before you depart to cover you for any medical emergencies.

24/7 emergency support
We operate an emergency phone line for our travellers abroad. This is operated by a UK based member of staff 24/7 if you have a genuine emergency or urgent matter that you need attending.

It is important that you take measures to make travelling safer for yourself and others around you. Ensure you frequently wash your hands, cover your face when you sneeze and cough, bring and use your own hand sanitiser and facial coverings/masks, and enable social distancing where necessary. You should also ensure you listen to the instructions and guidance of the local team at all times, and follow all local laws and restrictions.