East Coast Encompassed: Sydney to Cairns

18-to-Thirtysomethings, Sydney to Cairns
Image by G Adventures

Information from G Adventures

Tour description

Now's the time to explore Australia on your terms with this tour that's affordable for young travellers. Rugged landscapes, crashing surf, and Indigenous culture stretching back through time — Australia’s East Coast possesses a truly otherworldly allure. This trip offers you a comprehensive, authentic, and bank account-friendly experience in one of the country’s most popular regions. Raw thrills and refined pleasures abound out here. In the space of a few days, you’ll sample wines in the Hunter Valley, snorkel the Whitsundays, and catch a few waves. When people back home ask what you did on your trip, just tell ‘em: “Everything."

What's included

  • Your G for Good Moment: Reef Ecologic Coral Restoration, Whitsunday Islands Your Welcome Moment: Meet Your CEO and Group Your First Night Out Moment: Connect With New Friends Your Hands-On Moment: Surfing Lesson, Spot X Your Discover Moment: Byron Bay Your Discover Moment: Cairns Your Big Night Out Moment: Cairns
  • Sydney orientation walk
  • Fraser Island 4x4 excursion
  • Entrance fees to Cooloola Recreation Area and Fraser Island in Great Sandy National Park
  • Noosa Everglades overnight experience
  • Noosa Everglades canoeing excursion
  • Whitsunday Islands sailing excursion (3 days)
  • Whitehaven Beach visit
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Highlights

  • Island hop by yacht through the whitsunday islands
  • Zip over dunes in a 4x4 on a remote sand island
  • Sleep on the banks of the noosa river

Itinerary

Day 1: Sydney Arrive at any time. There's nothing quite like a night out to get people comfortable with one another. Hit up Side Bar, connected to where you will be staying at the Wake Up Hostel in Sydney. This is the liveliest bar around, sporting a huge young and local crowd. There’s always non-stop action with the entertainment so get ready to have a few drinks, let your hair down, and dance until you drop!

Day 2: Sydney Immerse yourself in all things Sydney with a free day to explore the oldest and biggest Australian city. Glide along the harbour on a ferry and gaze at the white sails of the Opera House gleaming in the sun. Get lost as you wander the narrow, cobbled laneways and take in Sydney’s fabled history. Catch some rays on the sand at Bondi Beach or duck out of your comfort zone and surf the green-barrel breaks just off shore, and perhaps treat yourself to a scenic flyover tour of the city. The choice is yours so get as adventurous as you like in the "Land Down Under"!

Day 3: Sydney/Arrawarra Wave goodbye to Sydney as the group travels to Spot X Surf Camp, hidden away in beautiful Arrawarra along the North Coast. Get ready for cuteness overload because you’ll be stopping at the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie on the way to learn all about the conservation efforts being made to protect this unique native Australian animal. Snap a couple photos for the 'gram' and enjoy the coastal scenery that awaits.

Day 4: Arrawarra As the sun rises along the ocean hit the beach for an included surf lesson with Spot X. Located in one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the country they are completely devoted to the surf lifestyle. Spend some time in the sun and laughing in the waves with your travel tribe before heading out on a kangaroo trek. Then it’s time for a free afternoon to enjoy your surroundings. Soak up views of Solitary Islands Marine Park, embark on a rockpool scramble to look for fish traps and sea creatures, or wander over to Mullawarra beach for a picnic. Your only real job today is to have fun!

Day 5: Arrawarra/Byron Bay Adventure through lush national parks, stunning beaches, rolling green hills, and small but vibrant towns full of charm and authentic Australian culture as the group drives from Arrawarra to Byron Bay. Make a stop at Cape Byron Lighthouse to see the easternmost point in the country. If luck is on your side you may glimpse migrating whales and pods of resident dolphins. Grab lunch where you wish before arriving in the surf and arts town of Byron Bay.

Day 6: Byron Bay Welcome to Byron Bay… the city of surfing and sunbathing! The day is yours to explore; walk along hidden beaches, play in the surf, grab a massage, or simply hang out at the Byron Bay Brewery and people watch. Want to get your adrenaline pumping? Go skydiving, try sea kayaking, or go on a dolphin watch. There’s so much to see and do from lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and rolling hills to small unique villages totally stuck in the ‘60s like Nimbin and local markets teeming with creativity. At the end of it all hop on that surfboard for one last ride because as the locals say, “You haven’t surfed until you’ve surfed Byron Man!"

Day 7: Byron Bay/Brisbane Venture north with your group to the capital of Queensland; Brisbane. Pass by national parks, mountains, surfy enclaves, and endless stretches of sand bordering brilliant blue water. Feeling hungry? Grab a delicious pastry creation from the famous Yatala Pie shop, serving hungry patrons for 130 years. Word of advice… make sure those cameras are charged and ready. Experience a night out with the group in Queensland's capital.

Day 8: Brisbane/Noosa Everglades Escape the city as you journey north up the coast to the Noosa Everglades. Get ready for an evening surrounded by stunning wilderness in one of the most pristine wetlands in the world. Relax as you cruise along this "river of mirrors" and chow down with a delicious Aussie BBQ lunch before further exploring your surroundings. Grab a kayak to get up and personal with the dark, tranquil waters as you paddle through ancient landscapes and sub-tropical rainforest. Then relax around the lake or hike one of the trails to further appreciate the serenity that seeps from this unique landscape.

Day 9: Noosa Everglades/Fraser Island On your mark...get set.... go! Travel by private vehicle and ferry with your group to reach Fraser Island; for a true Aussie experience. Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world and the only known place where rainforest grows on sand. Think pure paradise; with striking blue lakes, crystal clear creeks, giant dunes, and dense rainforests in a place truly unlike any other. Once on the island the group will go for a 4x4 tour, driving along over 100km of beach to get a sense of your surroundings. Then take a swim in Lake Mckenzie, or be on the lookout for wild Dingoes (this is one of the few places in Australia where you are able to see them).

Day 10: Fraser Island/Airlie Beach Your second day on Fraser Island comes with more free time to enjoy this paradise. In the morning continue exploring by 4x4 along wide stretches of pearly white beach and then duck into the shade of the forest to really appreciate the peaceful solitude that surrounds you. In the afternoon board an overnight train (get ready to post some ‘grams) north to Airlie Beach, where more sand, sun, and fun await you.

Day 11: Airlie Beach/Whitsunday Islands Awake as the train pulls to a stop in your next destination. Hop out, stretch those legs, and head out for brunch with the group in Airlie Beach; home to the Whitsunday Islands and located on the Great Barrier Reef. Then head to the marina and embark on a maxi yacht which will be your home for the next two nights. Set sail to a secluded cove (we’re so excited for you) in the Whitsunday islands where you will drop anchor for the night. Our only advice; try not to pinch yourself too many times because no, this is not a dream, it is reality and we want you to experience it as best you can!

Day 12: Whitsunday Islands Remember those stranded-on-a-deserted island fantasies that we all had growing up? (no, just us?) Either way get ready to relive that castaway dream as you hike to an island lookout over Whitehaven Beach (one of the most famous beaches in the world) and enjoy the views of powdery sand and the Coral Sea’s azure waters. You probably won’t ever want to leave. And you haven’t even gone below the surface yet! After some free time on the beach basking in the sun you’ll spend time as a group learning about the community efforts to protect and restore coral in the Great Barrier Reef before heading out to snorkel; over a Planeterra-supported coral garden. Then it’s off to another secluded tropical island spot where the group will anchor for the night. (Skinny dipping anyone?)

Day 13: Whitsunday Islands/Airlie Beach Expected forecast today is; peace, serenity, paradise, and lots of gorgeous views. You may want to pull out your phone or camera every chance you get, but try to refrain and simply enjoy the moment as you and the group continue sailing through the picturesque backdrop of the Whitsunday Islands. Swim, snorkel, or lounge on the boat deck before sailing to the resort town of Airlie Beach for a night on the town with your best adventure buds! Live it up because let’s face it, how often are you really in this kind of paradise?

Day 14: Airlie Beach/Cairns With an early morning departure, admire the scenery on the train ride north to Cairns.

Day 15: Cairns Cairns is quite the place to visit if you love warm weather (it would be headline news for the city’s temperature to drop much below 20°C (68°F)) and want to visit the Great Barrier Reef. Take advantage of a free day to book one of the many optional activities that will get you out in nature’s playground. Snorkel or dive in the Great Barrier Reef, get that adrenaline pumping by whitewater rafting, skydiving, or bungee jumping and cap it all off on a Big Night Out In Cairns with your travel tribe. Drinks all around are well deserved after spending the day escaping your comfort zones.

Day 16: Cape Tribulation Today, let the scenery guide you to some new adventures. Wave “see ya later” to Cairns before heading north to Cape Tribulation. Along the way; hop out, stretch those legs, and explore Mossman Gorge — home to the oldest continuously surviving rainforest on earth. Then follow an Indigenous guide through the Daintree Rainforest on an interpretive walk to better understand the lasting relationship of the Kuku Yalanju people with their natural environment.

Day 17: Cape Tribulation/Yungaburra There’s more to discover in Cape Tribulation today! Explore more of the rainforest or chill out poolside and catch some rays in the place where the Daintree Rainforest meets the Great Barrier Reef. Canter along the beach on horseback, trek to Mason’s secret (croc-free) swimming hole, or reward that sweet tooth craving with some exotic fruit ice cream from Daintree Ice Cream Company. Then it’s time to move on to Yungaburra in the Atherton Tablelands for the night. Think boho-boutiques, farm-to-table cafes, and eerie volcanic lakes as set off on foot to get to know this historical place.

Day 18: Yungaburra/Cairns Today is full of possibilities! Stop at Lake Eacham, a volcanic crater lake (make sure you have those swimmers packed to take a dip), before continuing the adventure as you visit some of the best waterfalls in the Atherton Tablelands; Josephine Falls and Millaa Millaa Falls. Later on, go for a swim with your pals in the waters of Babinda Boulders. Grab a photo with the group, have a few laughs, plot your move to this gorgeous oasis, and then get ready to travel back to Cairns. Tour ends upon arrival.