Sydney to Cairns Travel Pass
Hop along the Aussie East Coast with this flexible travel pass!
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Group Size: Avg 20
Trip code: AULO
Duration: 6-12 weeks
This extraordinary travel pass offers an exciting and original way to travel along Australia’s iconic East Coast, from Sydney to Cairns. Offering flexible travel for up to 12 months, plus incredible overnight experiences at set stop-off points, you can treat it as a tour and travel the route in a minimum of 13 days, or hop on and hop off and add in independent travel time – the choice is yours! With great local guides to show you the ropes, your East Coast travel pass will take you off the beaten track for authentic Aussie adventures. Book all your travel using an amazing app for a hassle-free way to make the most of the East Coast. Enjoy a travel pass trip of a lifetime Down Under!
- Travel along Australia’s East Coast at your own pace, seeing it all from Sydney to Cairns with this top travel pass, valid for 12 months
- Treat the route as a tour and complete it in a minimum time of 13 days, or hop on and off for independent travel and extra time in your favourite East Coast hotspots
- Stop overnight at set locations for unique adventures off the beaten track such as snorkelling, mountain hikes and a Magnetic Island getaway
- Manage your bookings and join the online community with an easy-to-use travel app
- Book our awesome Fraser Island and Whitsundays Add-on to max out the experience; go sailing around the Whitsundays and 4x4ing on Fraser Island!
This amazing travel pass route allows you to see the best of Australia’s East Coast by bus, train and ferry. The route can be completed in a minimum tour time of 13 days, or you can make the most of the 12 months validity on your travel pass and hop off to stay a little longer in any of the destinations en route. We recommend you allow at least 4-6 weeks to make the most of the East Coast, especially if you wish to add in other experiences, such as a fun tour on Fraser Island or sailing in the Whitsundays.
A unique way to travel along Australia’s East Coast from Sydney to Cairns
This extraordinary East Coast travel pass offers an amazing combination of experiences and is like no other ordinary tourist pass. Our unique travel pass offers:
Fantastic Freedom and Flexibility: This travel pass offers the ultimate in freedom and flexibility. The combination of bus and train travel equals fast travel times, so you can max out every moment! This East Coast route can be completed in a minimum of 13 days and treated as a guided tour-style experience, or if you wish to extend your East Coast stay, you have the freedom to hop on and off at your leisure for up to a total of 12 months and explore further at your own pace. It really is the best of both worlds!
Authentic Adventures off the Beaten Track: Head right off the beaten tourist track and get set for authentic adventures along the East Coast! The travel pass route includes overnight stop-offs at set locations, so you can have some awesome adventures and unique experiences. Stay in a National Park, swim at a tranquil river camp, spot incredible wildlife, hop across to magical Magnetic Island and enjoy a rainforest experience in Tully.
A Cutting-Edge Booking App: One of the best things about this brilliant travel passes is the ease of booking. The high-tech booking app can be installed easily onto your device so you can book departure times, accommodation and activities all at the touch of a button. The app is great for booking and uploading information as you go and also offers the facility to share great travel tips, evaluate your experience, connect with other East Coast travellers and add reviews. Alternatively you can access all information and booking directly through the website.
Great Guidance: One of the best ways to learn all about a destination is to benefit from the experience and advice of local guides. Guides give you information about everything from local culture, fun activities, tasty local meals, wonderful wildlife, and all the best things to see and do on the Aussie East Coast. If you choose to hop off and stay longer anywhere, you will be left to your own devices as the guides always stick with the programme, but the best thing is you don’t have to! Enjoy some independent travel and then hop back on the travel route and hook back up with a well-informed guide whenever you’re ready.
Sydney to Cairns Travel Pass Route
The full Sydney to Cairns Travel Pass route runs as below:
Sydney - Hunter Valley - Barrington Tops Farm - Port Macquarie - Surf Camp - Remote River Camp - Byron Bay - Brisbane – Noosa/Rainbow Beach (for Fraser Island) - Cooroy - Emu Park - Rockhampton - Airlie Beach (for the Whitsundays) – Townsville (for Magnetic Island) - Tully - Cairns
We have broken down the route into stages so you can see where you’ll be going and what you’ll be doing along the way:
Sydney - Barrington Tops: Depart Sydney at 8am and sip wine in the vineyards of the Hunter Valley. Overnight stay in stunning Barrington Tops National Park. Opt to go inner tubing (additional cost), or relax with some fishing and wildlife spotting.
Sleep: AUD60 (approx. £35) for a unique overnight stay including accommodation and meals.
Barrington Tops - Surf Camp: Explore beautiful Barrington Tops National Park and then stop off for a quick visit to a Koala Hospital to see these cute and iconic animals. Your next destination is surf camp - surf's up!
Sleep: AUD60 (approx. £35) for surf camp accommodation, dinner and breakfast.
Surf Camp - River Camp: Spend more time surfing (extra cost). Then go off the beaten track and swim in the stunning inlet of Solitary Islands Marine Park. Camp out in this remote and wonderful place!
Sleep: AUD50 (approx. £30) for a dorm bed or swag including dinner and breakfast at River Camp.
River Camp - Byron Bay: Make tracks for the legendary surfing and arts town of Byron Bay and enjoy the laid-back vibe in this coastal town. Byron Bay is a popular spot, so you might want to hop off here for a few more days by the sea.
Sleep: Choose your own Byron Bay accommodation with the help of our easy-to-use app.
Byron Bay – Brisbane – Noosa – Rainbow Beach: Explore the headlands at Danger Point and Snapper Rocks, before driving along the Gold Coast into Brisbane, ending up in the smart beach resort of Noosa. You can hop off here for the night, or head on to Rainbow Beach, gateway to famous Fraser Island.
Sleep: Choose your own Noosa or Rainbow Beach accommodation with the help of our easy-to-use app.
Rainbow Beach - Noosa - Emu Park: Travel to Emu Park and check into a beautiful beach resort. Try out our optional Treasure Island Overnight Experience, which includes transfers to Great Keppel Island, accommodation, dinner, treasure hunt and a turtle-spotting walk.
Sleep: AUD35 (approx. £20) just for accommodation, or AUD99 (approx. £58) for the optional Treasure Island Overnight Experience.
Please note: If you arrive in Emu Park on a Saturday, you will spend a minimum of 2 days and 2 nights here before the next bus departs.
Emu Park - Overnight Train - Airlie Beach: Relax on the beach or opt to visit a local crocodile park. Catch an overnight train to Airlie Beach, gateway to the Whitsunday Islands.
Sleep: Choose your own Airlie Beach accommodation with the help of our easy-to-use app.
Airlie Beach - Magnetic Island: Take a ferry to tropical Magnetic Island. Nearly 50% of Magnetic Island is National Park, and the island boasts amazing beaches and abundant wildlife. Enjoy a guided walk around the island.
Sleep: Choose your own Magnetic Island accommodation with the help of our easy-to-use app.
Magnetic Island – Tully: Head to Tully and enjoy a unique Rainforest Experience. Visit a swimming hole, spend the night in a historic country pub and enjoy a sunrise mountain hike and champagne breakfast. AUD57 extra cost. Alternatively, stay in a hostel in Tully at hostel rates.
Sleep: AUD120 (approx. £70) for the Rainforest Experience, which includes camping, transfers, dinner, breakfast, and activities. Or AUD35 (approx. £20) for basic hotel accommodation.
Tully – Cairns: Travel north by train from Tully to Cairns. If you fancy adding in amazing activities in Cairns, book our Cairns Adventure, which includes white water rafting, snorkelling, kayaking and a hot air balloon ride, or discover the gorgeous Great Barrier Reef on our Learn to Dive course.
Sleep: Choose your own Cairns accommodation with the help of our easy-to-use app.
Don't forget your travel pass is fully flexible, so if you fall in love with anywhere along the way you can hop off and spend more time in your favourite spots!
Please note that we will book the pass as open dated, so you can decide the date that you want to start the pass- please download the trip notes for more details.
Please note all activities, itineraries and routes are subject to change
Fraser Island and Whitsundays Add-On
Complete your Aussie experience with our awesome Fraser Island and Whitsundays Add-On. The pack includes a fantastic 3-day/2-night cruise around the Whitsundays and a tag-along 4x4 camping experience on Fraser Island and Rainbow Beach. Select the ‘+ Add-On’ option from the drop-down menu in the booking section to see correct pricing.
Make sure you save money by booking this add-on pack BEFORE you travel. Booking locally is a lot more expensive so get ahead of the crowd and secure your adventures early! (and spend the money you save on more fun and games in Oz!)
The experiences are open-dated and flexible. All you have to do is reconfirm your place when you are out there and your activity will be arranged. We recommend reconfirming your place a minimum of 7 days before you wish to begin the experience to guarantee your spot. Fraser Island trips are very popular so allow extra time to reconfirm this experience (we recommend a minimum of 10 days in advance).
1. Fraser Island 4x4 Camping
Jump on a 4x4 and explore beautiful Fraser Island with a group of like-minded travellers and a guide! Follow the lead driver as you drive your own 4x4 vehicle across the sands of Fraser Island. Explore the island at your leisure, camp out in stunning surroundings, and discover perfect beaches and hidden pools. Camping and cooking equipment are included as well as 2 nights in a hostel near Rainbow Beach.
Day 1: Rainbow Beach. Arrive at Rainbow beach and meet your group at a compulsory safety briefing at 4pm. Receive maps, itineraries and specialist training on how to drive over soft sand. You will stay at a fun hostel near Rainbow Beach with free pool and ping pong, a swimming pool, free Wi-Fi, cheap meals and nightly entertainment. Perfect!
Day 2: Rainbow Beach to Fraser Island. Pack your bags and camping equipment and climb aboard the 4x4! Transfer to Fraser Island and explore island highlights such as 75 Mile Beach and Lake McKenzie. Set up camp and whip up a delicious meal under the stars. Lunch and dinner included.
Day 3: Fraser Island. Have breakfast and head out for more exploration. Your guide will lead you to Eli Creek, the Maheno ship wreck, Indian Head and the Champagne Pools. Set up camp after another great day 4x4ing! Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Day 4: Fraser Island to Rainbow Beach. Today you’ll explore Rainbow Gorge or Lake Wabby. In the afternoon, you’ll return to Rainbow Beach and enjoy another night chilling out with your new mates. Breakfast and lunch included.
Day 5: Depart Rainbow Beach. 4x4 experience ends today. Time for more adventures in Australia!
2. Whitsundays Maxi Yacht sailing
Climb aboard a gorgeous maxi yacht and spend 3 days sailing around the Whitsundays (departing in the afternoon of day 1 and returning in the morning of day 3). Watch the landscapes glide by and slide into the cool turquoise waters for swimming and snorkelling. You will stop off at Whitehaven Beach, stroll along the white sand shores, and discover the gorgeous fringing coral reefs at the northern end of the Whitsundays. As the sun goes down, get out on deck and gaze at the stars with a few drinks. You will sleep in dorm style cabins, with on board showers and toilets.
- Beautiful Yacht. You will spend 2 nights on a gorgeous maxi yacht with open deck spaces for sunbathing and comfortable cabins to sleep in.
- Whitehaven Beach. Widely regarded as one of the best beaches in the world, this stunning stretch of white sands and turquoise waters has to be seen to be believed!
- Island Reefs. Snorkel around the fringing coral reefs and discover an underwater wonderland. Snorkel gear provided!
- Chill out time. Sit back, relax on deck and laze in the sun! Life doesn't get much better than this!
- Freshly Prepared On-board Meals. Dinner is included on day 1. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is included on day 2 and breakfast is included on day 3.
If you wish to book either of the adventures separately, please contact your travel advisor.
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You will need to arrange your own arrival into Sydney. Trips run at least three times a week and your travel pass will then be valid for 12 months from your departure date. As the trip departs early (8am) you should arrange your arrival for at least the day before the travel pass experience begins. We can advise you about accommodation options in Sydney: Just ask a travel advisor.
No accommodation is included as part of this flexible travel pass, but in each overnight location you will have accommodation reserved for you, so you don’t have to worry about where you will be staying. These will range from shared dorm rooms in hostels, at an average cost of AUD28 (approx £16) per person per night, to en suite twin or double rooms in motels, at an average cost of AUD100 (approx £57). Accommodation costs are to be paid locally.
Unique Scheduled Overnight Stays
This travel pass includes several compulsory, scheduled overnight stops in locations off the beaten track, complete with amazing and unique adventures and experiences.
Each of the following overnight stops are at extra cost to be made by local payment:
- Barrington Tops Overnight Stay (AUD 60): Stay on the edge of Barrington Tops National Park, in a private lodge overlooking the Barrington River.
- Surf Camp Overnight Stay (approx. AUD 60): Stay at a beautiful beachside location in a laid-back surf camp.
- Remote River Camp Overnight Stay (AUD 50): Journey to the Solitary Islands Marine Reserve and camp beside the river overnight.
- Treasure Island Overnight Stay (AUD99): Cruise across to Great Keppel Island and enjoy snorkelling, turtle spotting and a treasure hunt adventure.
- Tully Rainforest Experience (AUD120): Visit a swimming hole, spend the night in a historic country pub and enjoy a sunrise mountain hike and champagne breakfast.
In some locations you will be camping in remote campsites, but permanent toilets and shelter areas are provided.
You will also spend one night on an overnight train travelling from Rockhampton to Airlie Beach. The train does not have sleeper carriages but it is modern and comfortable, with reclining seats, a bar and a dining car.
Independent Travel Time
If you choose to hop on and off for independent travel time, you will be responsible for finding and paying for your own accommodation, although your helpful tour guides will be able to advise you of the best (and cheapest!) local options.
Meals are not included on this trip. Self-catering options are sometimes available, or the group often chooses to go out for a meal together. Australia is bursting with restaurants and cafes, so you’re never far from a good, cheap meal. Vegetarian and gluten-free options are readily available. In some unique overnight stays the package includes meals.
For this trip there is a minimum age requirement of 18.
All visitors to Australia (excepting those from New Zealand) will require a visa or Electronic Travel Authority (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 should suffice. Both visas can be applied for online.
Fraser Island Add-On: In order to drive a 4x4 on Fraser Island you must be aged 21 or over and have a full, clean, manual driving license. Otherwise, you can see the island from the passenger seat!