9 Day Cairns To Brisbane Highlights

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Visit Whitehaven Beach Lookout

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3 Day Self-drive 4WD Tour

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Exclusive Beach Campsite

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2 Day 1 Night Racing Yacht

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Great Barrier Reef

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Aussie Animal Experiences

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Brisbane to Cairns Bus Pass

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3 Breakfast 5 Lunch 3 Dinner

9 Day Cairns To Brisbane Highlights Map


Roam amongst natural wonders and experience the absolute highlights of the East Coast! Venture from Cairns to Brisbane as you soak up island magic, camping adventures, idyllic coastlines and world-class reefs. 

The perfect East Coast itinerary for backpackers and young explorers on both a time and money budget, this is an awesome yet affordable way to spend your next Aussie adventure. From exploring the bustling cities of Cairns, Brisbane and Airlie Beach, to 4WDing down the endless golden stretches of tropical K’gari (Fraser Island) and sailing the turquoise waters of the Whitsundays, you’re bound to make unforgettable memories down under! 


  • Dive into pristine Whitsunday Island landscapes on an overnight sailing experience
  • Explore the dazzling Great Barrier Reef with plenty of snorkelling opportunities.
  • Discover K’gari’s wonders on a multiday 4WD camping adventure.
  • Keep the good vibes rolling and your journey worry-free on this inclusive, jam-packed itinerary! 


Day 1 

It all begins in tropical Cairns! 

Your adventure departs from the flourishing tropics of Cairns. Hit the ground running and embark on your journey to Airlie Beach; the heart of the Whitsundays. Or, if you haven't already explored Cairns, a vibrant town where the rainforest and reef meet, take advantage of the surrounding waterfalls, ancient forest treks and incredible Great Barrier Reef seascapes with a pre-tour trip extension. On your way, choose to break up your trip with a Magnetic Island Koala & Wildlife experience! 

hotel Your Stay

Hostel or apartment in central Airlie Beach

Trip Extension

  • Stay longer in Cairns with pre-tour accommodation and reef tours!
  • Stop at Magnetic Island for a Koala & Wildlife experience

Day 2

A big Airlie Beach welcome 

Wake up to Airlie Beach’s rolling beaches, coastal views and bustling town centre! Renowned as a backpacker hub and a gateway to the Whitsundays, spend your day lounging by the Airlie Beach lagoon, delving into the fresh foodie scene or on a local hike! We recommend winding your day down with a beer accompanied by some quintessential live music in the Airlie main strip! 

hotel Your Stay

Hostel or apartment in central Airlie Beach

Trip Upgrade 

  • Hostel room upgrade
  • A private studio apartment with views of the coral sea

Day 3 

Embark on your Whitsunday sailing tour

You’re en route to the pristine Whitsunday Islands, budding with tropical adventures, beautiful hidden bays and blossoming fringing reefs. Board your state-of-the-art backpacker boat, where new mates, social sailing and island fun are on the horizon! So, kick your feet up, grab a cold beverage and enjoy your first Whitsunday sunset! 

hotel Your Stay

Cabin or shared space on your vessel

Trip Upgrade

  • Extend your island time with a longer Whitsunday sail
  • A private onboard cabin 

Day 4

Discover the Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven Beach

The marvels of Whitsunday Island await, so grab your swimmers and sense of adventure! Enjoy a bushwalk up to Hill Inlet Lookout and gaze out at the mosaic of swirling sands, before relaxing on one of the world’s best beaches: Whitehaven Beach! Then, dive into the warm waters of the Great Barrier Reef as colourful coral beds, with sparkling fish and majestic sea turtles swirl around you. Return to the mainland, freshen up and head out on a night of dancing and utter fun with access to an exclusive afterparty included in your vessel ticket! We’re talking discounted drinks and free entry into one of Airlie Beach’s favourite clubs. Let’s boogy! 

hotel Your Stay

Hostel or apartment in central Airlie Beach

Trip Upgrade

  • Scuba dive 

Day 5

Explore Airlie Beach

The day is all yours today, so discover the charm and tropical fun of Airlie Beach! Whether you're ticking off all of the free things to do in Airlie Beach or catching up on some laundry and downtime, enjoy a day in paradise that's completely up to you! Or, if you can't get enough of the ethereal Whitsunday Islands, add an action-packed day tour onto your itinerary, and see the Whitsundays from the sky, sea or sand! 

hotel Your Stay

Hostel or apartment in central Airlie Beach

Trip Upgrade

  • Scenic Flight over the Great Barrier Reef
  • Award-winning Sky Dive over Airlie Beach 
  • Whitsunday Jet Ski Tour
  • Deluxe Hamilton Island day trip

Day 6

Fraser Coast Region, here we come! 

Today is all about getting from Airlie Beach to the stunning Fraser Coast region. Gaze out the window at the gorgeous coastal sceneries and Aussie flora along the way! The astonishment at the magic of the East Coast is sure to be instilled in you by now, so you can spend the drive posting your favourite Whitsunday snaps or journaling about your nature-filled adventures so far! 

hotel Your Stay

Overnight bus to Rainbow Beach

Trip Extension

  • Australia Zoo Wildlife experience
  • Noosa surfing lessons and accommodation
  • Rainbow Beach Dolphin Kayak tour 

Day 7

Embark on your multiday 4WD camping experience

The world’s largest sand island, K’gari (Fraser Island), is blossoming with some of the most beautiful marvels we’ve ever witnessed! From jewel-coloured freshwater lakes to sparkling beaches and tropical rainforests, this island holds both natural and historical magic. So, jump behind the wheel of a 4WD and zoom down 75 Mile Beach as your K’gari adventure begins!

hotel Your Stay

Starlit K’gari campsite with deluxe facilities

Day 8

Venture to the very best of K’gari 

With a jam-packed itinerary dependent on the weather and tides, let your knowledgeable local guides show you the very best of this dreamy island! Explore the Maheno Shipwreck, Lake McKenzie, Eli Creek, the K’gari rainforest and more, before rugging up by a campfire at night, stars illuminating your evening and conversations! This truly is the magic of Australia.

hotel Your Stay

Starlit K’gari campsite with deluxe facilities

Trip Extension 

  • Want longer on K’gari? Extend your camping adventure with one more day and night. 

Day 9

Brisbane, here we come!

Wake up to breakfast on K’gari (accompanied by a glorious beach sunrise if you just unzip your tent) before heading back to the barge and disembarking K’gari to the mainland. You’re en route to the colourful Brisbane with its city lights and wicked backpacker scene. Can’t get enough of your East Coast adventures? Extend your itinerary with more time in Brisbane, from which you can even continue the adventure further south to the Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Sydney and Melbourne! 

Trip Extension

  • Extend your stay with accommodation in Brisbane.
  • Continue south along the East Coast with accommodation in Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Sydney and even Melbourne!

What's Included?

Tour Package Includes

  • Two-day, one-night Whitsundays sailing trip
  • Exclusive VIP Airlie Beach afterparty
  • Overnight, guided 4WD camping tour on K’gari
  • 3 nights' accommodation during tours 
  • Meals during your ticketed tours
  • Local guides and environmental commentary 
  • Guaranteed authentic adventures!  

Full Package Also Includes

  • 5 nights of additional accommodation
  • All bus transport from Cairns to Brisbane
  • 1 overnight bus 
  • Hostel breakfasts

What's Extra?

Trip Extensions

  • Australia Zoo Wildlife experience 
  • Noosa Surf Experience
  • Extended K’gari Tour 
  • Magnetic Island Koala & Wildlife Island adventure 
  • Scenic Flight over the Great Barrier Reef
  • Award-winning Sky Dive over Airlie Beach 
  • Whitsunday Jet Ski Tour
  • Deluxe Hamilton Island day trip
  • Rainbow Beach Dolphin Kayak tour 
  • Cairns pre-tour accommodation
  • Great Barrier reef tour from Cairns (dive or snorkel)
  • Extended Whitsundays Sailing Experience - up to 3 nights

Trip Upgrades

  • Van or rental car transport
  • Whitsunday Yacht Upgrade
  • Scuba diving in the Whitsundays 
  • Hostel room upgrades

Terms and Conditions

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

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