How To Spend Two Weeks In Australia

How To Spend Two Weeks In Australia Image | East Coast Tours Australia

With a sun-soaked wealth of unique marvels to see in Australia, a mere two weeks may seem overwhelmingly short for a holiday down under. However, with some handy local tips, a bucket list of some unmissable destinations and a map of the East Coast… you really can’t get it wrong. 

For a two-week holiday, our local travel experts recommend a Queensland Brisbane to Cairns road trip, with stops in Noosa, K’gari (Fraser Island), Airlie Beach and of course the Great Barrier Reef.

Stick to the golden sands, wander through tropical rainforests, sail through lush islands, spot kangaroos and swim in crystal-clear oceans on your unforgettable Aussie holiday in just 14 days with our two-week itinerary guide.

QLD East Coast Itinerary 

Brisbane - Cairns Roadtrip

20 hours of driving all up 

Day 1 


A vibrant and funky city, renowned for its visitor-friendly size, meandering river and awesome nightlife.

What to do in Brisbane for a day.

  • Grab breakfast in West End
  • E-scooter along the Brisbane River boardwalks
  • Wander through Queen St Mall
  • Check out the Gallery of Modern Art
  • Swim in the Southbank Street’s Beach
  • Picnic in the stunning Botanical Gardens
  • Go out dancing in “the Valley,” aka Fortitude Valley

Make the most of the city with our guide to Brisbane!

A woman in a tree at night with twinkle lights

Drive from Brisbane to Noosa (1.5 hours)

Day 2


A beach bum’s heaven-on-earth, Noosa is a coastal gem renowned amongst surfers, backpackers and avid brunchers alike! 

How to spend a day in Noosa

  • Pair a Hastings Street coffee with a Main Beach sunrise
  • Walk to Hell’s Gate through Noosa National Park
  • Surf the waves at Tea Tree Bay with a lesson
  • Sunbake and swim at Little Cove
  • Lunch or dinner at the Noosa Surf Life Saving Club
  • Hit KB’s in Noosa Junction for a beer
  • Or, check out the iconic Australia Zoo in Beerwah 

Discover our handy guide to the Sunshine Coast!

Woman in a red swimsuit surfing at Noosa

Drive from Noosa to Rainbow Beach (2 hours)

Day 3

Rainbow Beach

Rainbow Beach is so much more than just a gateway to K’gari (Fraser Island)! Discover local beaches, mesmerising sand formations and colourful boutiques in this holiday hotspot.

What to do in Rainbow Beach for the day

  • Grab a delicious breakfast and coffee at a local cafe
  • Hit the beach and swim in gorgeous waters
  • Head out on a dolphin kayak
  • Wander over to the Carlo Sand Blow

Woman in sand at the Carlo Sand Blow

Trip over to K’gari by Inskip Point ferry (20 mins)

Day 4, 5 & 6

K’gari (Fraser Island)

The world’s largest sand island and a natural cornucopia of gem-coloured lakes and rainforests, K’gari (Fraser Island) is an incredibly lush and breathtaking corner of Australia! 

On a 3-day, 2-night guided 4WD camping tour, you will:

  • Swim in Lake Mackenzie
  • 4WD down golden sand highways
  • Venture through ancient rainforests in Pile Valley
  • Take a dip in cool rock pools
  • Discover the charming Maheno Shipwreck
  • Camp under the stars
  • Spot dingoes and Aussie wildlife

Check out our guide to K’gari, and our awesome tours that will show you the hidden gems of this wonderland!

Aerial shot of blue waters, white sands and colourful canoes

Return trip from K'gari to Rainbow Beach by ferry (20 mins)

Day 7

Travel north

The biggest leg of your QLD road trip will be between Rainbow Beach and Airlie Beach, so buckle up, chuck on your favourite music and enjoy the journey on your way to tropical paradise!

Whether you're choosing van life, renting a car or catching the Greyhound bus, kick back and don't forget to take in the view! 

Woman on a bus in a hat with green trees

Drive from Rainbow Beach to Airlie Beach (11 hours)

Day 8

Airlie Beach

A gateway to the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef, Airlie Beach is a total travellers hub where there’s also a cocktail on the agenda and live music in the streets! 

How to spend a day in Airlie Beach:

  • Scenic flight over Heart Reef
  • Day trip to Hamilton Island
  • Relax and swim in the Airlie Beach lagoon
  • Eat a delicious seafood lunch at Northerlies
  • Unwind poolside at your accommodation
  • Dance the night away to live music

Airlie Beach pool with a view of the mountains

Day 9, 10 & 11

Whitsunday Islands

Your visit to Airlie Beach would not be complete without a visit to the Whitsunday Islands, where searene coves, exquisite views and abundant marine life await. All aboard and welcome those glam island vibes as you hit the water! 

On a 3-day, 2-night sailing tour, you will:

  • Snorkel with fish and turtles on the Great Barrier Reef
  • Walk on the world’s whitest sand at Whitehaven Beach 
  • Check out swirling views at Hill Inlet Lookout
  • Relax aboard a stylish vessel
  • Enjoy a fully-catered experience topped off with sunset nibbles every day! 
  • Venture to hidden beaches and quiet islands

Check out our favourite, jam-packed experiences in the Whitsundays.

Three people looking at the view at Hill Inlet Lookout

Drive from Airlie Beach to Cairns (8 hours)

Day 12


Cairns is the heart of Far North Queensland, a gorgeous tropical town with ethereal nature in every direction, from the Daintree Rainforest’s waterfalls to the Barrier Reef’s coral gardens! 

How to spend a day in Cairns:

  • Hit the lagoon and unwind
  • Head into the clouds on a scenic flight over the reef
  • Wander through Rusty’s Market
  • Go tubing through National Park
  • Spot a croc at Hartley’s Wildlife Park

Check out our guide of things to do in Cairns and have a blast in this tropical hub! 

Two women in Cairns at the lagoon

Day 13

Great Barrier Reef Tour

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s seven natural wonders, and the magic below is simply mesmerising! Dive in and rub shoulders with a kaleidoscope of corals, majestic sea turtles and oodles of fish.

On a day tour out to the reef from Cairns, you’ll get to:

  • Snorkel with sea creatures
  • Dive into quiet parts of the Great Barrier Reef
  • Try out scuba diving with an optional intro or certified courses
  • Enjoy free use of snorkel gear
  • Relax with all tutelage and catering provided
  • Learn about the magical, underwater world below!

Woman snorkelling next to orange coral with fins on

Day 14

Atherton Tablelands Waterfalls

Cairns is home to the Daintree Rainforest, an ancient ecosystem of towering trees, sprawling greenery and cascading waterfalls.

Whether you’re on a self-drive waterfall adventure or a guided tour, explore:

  • The iconic Millaa Millaa Falls
  • The dazzling Zillie Falls, Josephine Falls and Ellinjaa Falls
  • Lake Barrine in Crater Lake National Park
  • Yungaburra Village
  • Curtain Fig Tree
  • Kuranda Village

Woman in a white dress standing by a waterfall

How to get around on your Australian holiday

Renting a car in Australia

"The most glamorous option"

If you’re a traveller who values freedom and flexibility, renting a vehicle is the best option for you. Travel at your own pace, on your own time with your own playlist blasting as you wind down coastal roads. Stay at local accommodations every night and see the best of the East Coast! 

Check out our affordable and spacious car rental options.

Woman in the drivers seat of a silver ute

Renting a campervan in Australia

"The nomad option"

That’s right, this is your sign to van life along the East Coast! Combine accommodation and transport as you make your way along the coast, surfing, eating, sleeping and repeating! The perfect options for solo travellers and couples, make some unforgettable memories as you catch every sunrise and sunset and do your down-under trip outdoors!

Check out our campervan guide for the best tips and campsites, as well as our backpacker-friendly campervan rentals!

Woman in an orange dress walking to her Spaceship white campervan

Travelling Australia by bus

"The cheapest option"

For those budget backpackers, it is totally possible to traverse the East Coast by bus, and there are plenty of excellent coach services like Greyhound and Premier that will get you from A to B. Perfect for those wanting to take the passenger seat and save some dollars, get back to basics and catch the bus.

Check out our handy bus passes, or browse our itineraries which all come with coach transport included!

Premier Bus Coach with blue signage

Should I book an itinerary when I come to Australia?

Yes, you should book an itinerary when you visit Australia. More than anything, booking an itinerary means you're assured awesome experiences like sailing, diving and wildlife tours that you may otherwise miss out on. If you’re a fan of seamless travel, package deals and 24/7 on-the-ground support, booking an itinerary is a simple, easy and affordable way to travel the East Coast! 

Check out our pre-designed 14-day Brisbane to Cairns or reversed 14-day Cairns to Brisbane itineraries, or customise your trip with our handy itinerary-building tool! The magic of Australia beckons, so make your next overseas adventure full of the best experiences possible!

Woman in a hat on a boat with a can of XXXX beer in the sun

Need more travel tips while planning your East Coast adventure? Check out our handy blog, backpacker info or our locally-designed itineraries

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our local travel agents via live chat

East Coast Tours acknowledges all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Owners of Country and recognises their continuing connection to land, sea, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and extend that respect to all First Nations peoples.

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