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East Coast Escape

Sun, sea, surf and more!

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Three travellers watching the sunset in Sydney

Group Size: Max 30

Trip code: CTBR

Duration: 16 days

2 internal flights
Whitsundays & K’gari
Included activities

Want to explore the epic East Coast but short on time? Then this is the one for you. Hit all the highlights on this whirlwind group tour, from Sydney to Cairns. Hike into the misty Blue Mountains, cruise Sydney’s iconic harbour, snorkel on the Barrier Reef in the Whitsundays, get up close to adorable koalas and wallabies, live your hippy dreams in Byron Bay, stay in an amazing eco-lodge in the Noosa Everglades, and create your own Aussie masterpiece in an Aboriginal art class. With 16 unforgettable days jam-packed with fun, sun and laughs, and two internal flights to save time on travel, it’s all killer, no filler. 

Trip highlights

  • Cruise the Whitsundays’ turquoise waters and bliss out on dazzling Whitehaven Beach
  • Make like the locals with a surf lesson in boho Byron Bay
  • Explore the sand dunes and sparkling lakes of K’gari (formerly Fraser Island)
  • Meet the koalas and walk the Fort Trail on magical Magnetic Island
  • Discover Daintree rainforest with an indigenous guide and meet the local Kuku Yalanji people
  • Enjoy a mouth-watering chef-led bush food tutorial and dinner in Cairns
Gap 360 Trip Notes

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What's included
  • 15 nights’ accommodation
  • 9 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
  • Expert trip manager & local guides
  • All on-trip transport (inc 2 flights)
  • Blue Mountains day trip
  • Guided tour of Sydney
  • Bondi Beach
  • Byron Bay surf lesson
  • Eco-lodge stay in Noosa
  • K’gari day trip
  • Lake Mackenzie
  • Whitsundays overnight trip
  • Barrier reef snorkelling
  • Ferry to Magnetic Island
  • Hawking’s Point hike
  • Koala Village breakfast
  • Magnetic Island Fort walk
  • Meet rock wallabies
  • Bush tucker tutorial and dinner
  • Daintree Forest day trip
  • Aboriginal art class
  • 24 hour emergency support
What's not included
  • Visas
  • Flights
  • Airport transfers
  • Some meals
  • Optional activities
Further trip information

Day 1: Sydney and Blue Mountains. G’day mate! Take a day trip to the Blue Mountains where we’ll explore the beautiful landscapes, learn about the legend behind the Three Sisters, and discover Jamison Ridge. Head back to Sydney this evening, ready for a night out in the city’s backpacker pubs.

Day 2: Sydney tour. We’re exploring the city’s best bits today with a guided tour. Check out the iconic Opera House, take the ferry to Watson’s Bay, and spend the afternoon on beautiful Bondi. How about an optional climb of the Harbour Bridge too?

Day 3: Sydney free day. Sydney’s your oyster with a full free day. Grab some lunch in Darling Harbour, stroll through the Botanical Gardens, pick up some souvenirs at the Rocks Market, take a thrilling jet-boat ride round the harbour, or explore the city by bike. Then go out out tonight!

Day 4: Sydney to Byron Bay. See ya Sydney, you’ve been great! Hop on a plane to boho Byron today and head straight to the beach where we’ll make like the locals with an included surf lesson! Spend the rest of the afternoon living the beach life and practicing your new-found skills on the board.

Day 5: Byron Bay. Kick-start your morning with an optional sunrise trip to Byron Bay Lighthouse. Then spend the rest of the day enjoying Byron’s laid-back vibe at your own pace. Take a guided kayak adventure, go whale watching, or just kick back on the beach. And relaxxxxx.

Day 6: Byron Bay to Noosa. Get your Zen on before we leave Byron behind, with an optional morning yoga session. Our next destination is a watery wonderland where we’ll be staying in a special lakeside eco-lodge. Chill with the gang over dinner tonight in the bistro.

Day 7: K’Gari Island. Wake up with the dawn chorus before an unforgettable day on K’Gari (formerly Fraser Island). Cruise along the world’s longest sand highway, take a dip in the sparkling waters of Lake Mackenzie, and enjoy a delish lunch before heading back to the eco camp for a last night.

Day 8: Noosa Everglades to Airlie Beach. Round off your time in the Glades with an awesome optional canoe experience before hopping on a plane for the short flight to Airlie Beach. Grab a bite to eat this evening and party the night away in one of the backpacker bars.

Day 9: Whitsundays boat trip. A cluster of jewel-like islands with turquoise waters and blinding white sands, the Whitsundays is paradise found.  Snorkel over rainbow coloured reefs, take a castaway moment on Whitehaven Beach, and enjoy a yummy lunch and dinner on board the yacht.

Day 10: Whitsunday boat trip. More opportunity to swim, snorkel and soak up the sun as we cruise around the Whitsunday Islands on our yacht today. 

Day 11: Airlie Beach to Magnetic Island. Hop on the train to Townsville today before taking the ferry to magical Magnetic Island. Explore the island on foot looking for wild koalas, relax on the beach and climb up Hawking’s Point ready for sundown. Just amazing.

Day 12: Magnetic Island. Start your day with a chef-cooked breakfast at Bungalow Bay Koala Village, where you’ll meet some of the adorbs marsupials. Then strap on your walking boots for the Magnetic Island Fort trail. Later on, get to know the island’s resident rock wallabies – cuuute!

Day 13: Magnetic Island to Cairns. Thanks Magnetic Island, you’re the best! We’re headed back to the mainland on the ferry this morning and then jumping on a train to Cairns. This evening we’ve got a chef-led bush food tutorial and dinner (no witchetty grubs though, we promise!) on the menu.

Day 14: Cairns. We’ve got an amazing day lined up for you as we head into the oldest tropical rainforest in the world, Daintree. Explore your surroundings with an indigenous guide, meet the local Kuku Yalanji people, and create your own Aussie masterpiece in an art class led by Aboriginal artists.

Day 15: Cairns. It’s your last day in Cairns so we’ll leave it to you to decide how you want to spend it. We’d recommend diving on the outer Barrier Reef or taking a luxury catamaran snorkelling trip. Get together with your buddies over a few beers tonight and celebrate your amazing Aussie adventure.

Day 16: Trip end. All good things come to an end so it’s time to pack our bags and continue your travels. If you fancy a last blast of Cairns adventure, how about a bungy jump and jungle swing combo, one last skydive, or white-water rafting on the Barron River? Planning the next trip already? 

Real customer reviews
Australia Facebook Group Discussion

Hey, I’ve just booked onto East Coast Highlights in August! Has anyone else booked onto the same trip?x

Hey!! Anyone doing Australia East Coast Adventure around November?? ☀️☀️ Either the 6 or 5 week tour?

Is anyone going to Sydney in Jan 2024, which trips have people booked on for?

Booking options

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Call us on: 01892 527392
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Return Flights from £915

Cheapest flights between London and Sydney for the next 6 months

Cheapest: £915 May, 2023
Most expensive: £2,284 March, 2023
Arrival information

Arrive in Sydney the day before your trip or earlier as there’s a full programme of activities planned for day 1. You’ll need to make your own way to the trip start point (details provided after you’ve booked).

Your trip ends on day 16 in Cairns. You’ll need to arrange your own onward travel, but your travel advisor or tour guide can help with this. 

Accommodation & meals


15 nights’ accommodation are included. You’ll spend 11 nights in single sex room hostels and 2 nights in an eco-camp and 2 nights on board a yacht. Rooms are 4-6 people. Please note that nights on board the yacht in the Whitsundays are mixed-sex cabins.


11 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 6 dinners are included. You’ll have to buy the rest of your meals yourself. 

Minimum age & eligibility

You’ll need to be a minimum of 18 years old to take part in this trip.

British citizens need a visa to enter Australia. British citizens can usually get the following types of electronic visitor visa: eVisitor visa. There is no visa application charge or service fee. Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) via the iOS App or Android App. There is no visa application charge, but a service fee of $20 may apply.

Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay.

Please note: Visa rules are subject to change. Please check for the most up to date information before you travel.

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.