15 Day Brisbane To Cairns Bucket List

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Airlie Beach + Island

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3-Day 4WD Tour

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Tropical Reef Tour

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Beach Camping

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Social Vessel

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Great Barrier Reef

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Aussie Animals

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15 Day Brisbane to Cairns Bucket List Map


It's time to stop dreaming, and start crossing off those gorgeous bucket list destinations! The East Coast is just waiting to be discovered so grab your swimmers and sunnies and let the adventure begin on this jam-packed, seamless itinerary.

Absolutely full of dazzling beaches, tropical rainforests, kaleidoscopic reefs and bustling cities, the East Coast will provide you with sun-soaked moments at spectacular natural marvels. Spend 15 days travelling from Brisbane to Cairns, stopping in Airlie Beach, the Great Barrier Reef, K’gari (Fraser Island) and the Sunshine Coast! With worry-free travel and good times ensured, it’s time to discover paradise down under!


  • Great Barrier Reef snorkelling through colourful corals and amazing marinelife.
  • An overnight sailing experience amongst the turquoise waters of the Whitsundays.
  • Jam-packed 4WD and camping adventure to K’gari’s spectacular lakes and rainforests. 
  • Hassle-free, seamless and flexible travel with a locally-designed, inclusive itinerary.


two girls in brisbane on the QUT bridge at sunset

Day 1

Welcome to Brisbane! 

The city lights of Brisbane are your departing destination as you begin the adventure of a lifetime. Embark on your journey to the Sunshine Coast, where rolling coastlines and gorgeous townships await. If you’re looking for more time in Brisbane, add on some pre-tour add-ons and accommodation in this buzzing city! 

hotel Your Stay

Hostel on the Sunshine Coast 

Trip Extension

  • Pre-tour accommodation and experiences in Brisbane

koala in a eucalyptus tree

Day 2

Coastal exploring or Australia Zoo Wildlife experience

Discover the Sunshine Coast at your own pace, with a free day in beachside paradise! Or, enjoy a famous wildlife experience with the optional choice to add a trip to Australia Zoo to your itinerary. Home to the renowned Crocodile Hunter, get a taste of the native Australian fauna such as koalas, kangaroos and more only found down under! 

hotel Your Stay

Hostel on the Sunshine Coast 

Trip Upgrade

  • Day at Australia Zoo Wildlife Experience

Trip Extension

  • Want to spend more time on the beach? Extend your adventure with additional nights and surf lessons in Noosa!

Woman in a hat driving across K'gari's sands

Day 3 

Hit the road

You’re northbound on the idyllic Fraser Coast region today, where vistas of dazzling oceans and golden sands adorn your trip. Brimming with lush rainforests, sapphire oceans, rolling farmscapes and native wildlife, this precious region is bound to impress and mesmerise!  

hotel Your Stay

Hostel in the pristine Fraser Coast Region

sunset over Eli Creek with a woman standing to the ocean

Day 4

Fraser Coast Region adventures

Spend a day enjoying the tranquil mainland, where the flourishing rainforest meets the beach. Whether you’re lounging on the sands, exploring surrounding hikes or adding a magical dolphin kayak tour to your list, it’s time to truly relax in paradise! 

hotel Your Stay

Hostel at Rainbow Beach

Trip Upgrade

  • Rainbow Beach Dolphin Kayak Tour

4wding down K'gari sands

Day 5

Discover K’gari (Fraser Island) on your 4WD adventure

Catch the barge over to the world’s largest sand island and dive into K’gari’s magic! With infinite possibilities, island life awaits and this special destination holds an abundance of natural marvels. Let your dreamy itinerary show you crystal-clear swims, cruisy beach days and exciting 4WD trips down abundant sandy stretches! 

hotel Your Stay

Starlit K’gari campsite with deluxe facilities

three people in white standing in front of the Maheno Shipwreck

Day 6

Discover the wonders of K’gari

Hop behind the wheel and make your own authentic island memories full of salt, sand and sunshine! Experience the renowned Central Station, Lake McKenzie, Eli Creek, Maheno Shipwreck and so much more. Keep an eye out for local wildlife like dingoes, humpback whales and dolphins, and experience island wonder on this deluxe, fully-inclusive adventure.

hotel Your Stay

Starlit K’gari campsite with deluxe facilities

Three women sitting on the dunes of Kgari

Day 7

K’gari Adventures & Return to Mainland

Take it slow and revel in your last day on K’gari. Wake up for a beachy island sunrise, enjoy a delicious breakfast and head back to the mainland. You’ll be richer in treasured memories on the way back compared to when you arrived! If you can’t tear yourself away from this hidden paradise, extend your adventure with one more day and night! 

hotel Your Stay

Hostel at Rainbow Beach

Trip Extension

  • More K'gari adventures with an additional day and night

Girl wandering through rainforest in a white hat

Day 8

Explore the Fraser Coast mainland 

With endless stretches of beach, marvellous dunes and idyllic rainforests, there are so many ways to spend your days roaming the coastal mainland. Whether you’re zooming down sandy highways with the windows down, hitting the beach for a chilled-out sesh or heading out to Double Island Point, lap up the exquisite environments around you! Then board your overnight bus as you continue north to Airlie Beach.

hotel Your Stay

Overnight bus to Airlie Beach

Woman walking along the bright blue waters of Airlie on a boardwalk

Day 9

Welcome to Airlie Beach

The charming seaside town of Airlie Beach welcomes you! A renowned backpacker hub, step into the good vibes, bustling nightlife and colourful local character. Spend your day hanging out by the lagoon, meandering down the esplanade, trying out the foodie scene or discovering some cruisy local music! Then, check into your accommodation, before heading back out for an afternoon filled with good company and cocktails! 

hotel Your Stay

Hostel or apartment in central Airlie Beach

Trip Upgrade

  • Private studio apartment with views of the Coral Sea
  • Hostel dorm upgrade

a girl on a sailing boat smiling holding a shakka up

Day 10

Sail the Whitsundays

Embark on the journey of a lifetime as you hit the sparkling Whitsunday Island waters on a fun, social sailing vessel! Whether you’re chasing those dazzling sunsets, up for an adventure or looking to chase the best snorkel spots in the Great Barrier, you’re bound to be living the try island life out here! 

hotel Your Stay

Cabin or shared space on your vessel

Trip Upgrade

  • Private Cabin


two girls in looking out at Hill Inlet from the lookout

Day 11

Explore the Whitsunday Islands

Today holds plentiful island marvels, so slap on some sunscreen and get amongst it! Cruise through exquisite panoramas and stop for swims, snorkels and an alfresco lunch! You will stop at Whitehaven Beach, home to the world’s whitest sand, and Hill Inlet Lookout where the famous swirling sands provide a stunning photo opportunity! Wind down with sunset drinks, nibbles and postcard-worthy views amongst new mates! 

hotel Your Stay

Cabin or shared space on your vessel

Trip Upgrade 

  • Scuba Diving 

People hiking through lush shrubbery, Airlie Beach

Day 12

Return to the Airlie Beach mainland

After one more breakfast accompanied by awesome island vistas, begin your gentle sail back to the mainland! Check back into your accommodation, freshen up and chill out, before hitting the town and making your way to an exclusive VIP vessel afterparty! We’re talking drink discounts, free entry and a flaming good time… just because you’re not sailing, doesn’t mean the party is over!  

hotel Your Stay

Hostel or apartment in central Airlie Beach

two girls in Cairns with blue skies and palm trees

Day 13

Cairns, here we come! 

Make your way to Cairns today, where tropical ecosystems, vibrant local atmospheres and impeccable reefs are nestled. Known as the gateway between the Great Barrier Reef and ancient rainforests, you won’t be disappointed by the marvels of Far North Queensland. Break up the trip with a stop at the incredible Magnetic Island, where you can experience a Koala & Wildlife tour adventure.

hotel Your Stay

Hostel in the heart of Cairns

Tour Extension

  • Wildlife & Koala Experience on Magnetic Island

Man snorkelling with a turtle in the Great Barrier Reed

Day 14

Great Barrier Reef Adventure

Dive in and explore the awestriking marinelife of the flourishing Great Barrier Reef! Here you will snorkel with sea turtles, tropical fish, dazzling corals and more as you delve into mystical underwater ecosystems! Either snorkel or scuba dive into the magnificent depths of ethereal underwater forests, fringing reefs and coral gardens.

hotel Your Stay

Hostel in the heart of Cairns

Trip Upgrade

  • Scuba diving

Trip Extension

  • Spend more time out on the water with an extended overnight Great Barrier Reef Tour.

Man in Cairns standing with arms outstretched

Day 15

Experience Cairns

Seize your leisure day and explore the marvels of the small, buzzing Cairns. Head inland with an optional Tropical Rainforest or Waterfall Tour add-on! And if you can’t choose between the flourishing Daintree Rainforest and the waterfalls of the Atherton Tablelands, extend your trip and see it all!

Trip Upgrade

  • Daintree Rainforest Guided Tour
  • Atherton Tablelands Waterfall Tour

Trip Extension

  • Ask us about spending longer in Cairns or continuing further north with post-tour experiences and accommodation! 

What's Included?

Tour Package Includes

  • Overnight Whitsundays sailing trip
  • Exclusive VIP Airlie Beach afterparty
  • Great Barrier Reef tour in Cairns
  • An overnight guided 4WD camping tour on K’gari
  • Meals during your ticketed tours
  • 4 nights' accommodation during tours 
  • Guaranteed authentic adventures!  

Full Package Also Includes

  • 10 nights of additional accommodation
  • All bus transport from Brisbane to Cairns
  • Overnight bus
  • Hostel breakfasts

What's Extra?

Optional Trip Extensions

  • Australia Zoo Wildlife experience 
  • Noosa Surf Experience and accommodation
  • Extended K’gari Tour 
  • Far North Waterfall / Rainforest Guided Tours
  • Rainbow Beach Dolphin Kayak 
  • Magnetic Island Wildlife Island adventure 
  • Overnight Cairns Great Barrier Reef Tour
  • Pre-tour Byron Bay, Gold Coast, Brisbane and more southbound experiences! 

Optional Trip Upgrades

  • Van or rental car transport 
  • A private cabin on your Whitsunday sailing vessel
  • Scuba diving 
  • Hostel dorm upgrades

Terms and Conditions

Please read our terms, conditions and cancellation policies before booking your East Coast itinerary package. 

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