1 Week Brisbane To Cairns Budget


Select Date and Passengers

Adult (18+)
Whitsundays Icon | East Coast Tours Australia


Visit Whitehaven Beach Lookout

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K'gari 4WD Day Trip

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Island Day Trip

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Great Barrier Reef

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Aussie Animal Experiences

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Deluxe hostels + overnight bus

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Brisbane to Cairns Bus Pass

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3 Lunches

9 Day Cairns To Brisbane Highlights Map


Roam amongst natural wonders and experience the absolute highlights of the East Coast with our 1 Week Budget Itinerary! Venture from Cairns to Brisbane as you soak up island magic, camping adventures, idyllic coastlines and world-class reefs in just seven days!

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 a decadent island day trip
  • Explore the dazzling Great Barrier Reef with plenty of snorkelling opportunities.
  • Discover K’gari’s wonders on a 4WD Fraser adventure.
  • Keep the good vibes rolling and your journey worry-free on this inclusive, jam-packed itinerary! 

Your Sample Itinerary

Day 1 

Hello Brisbane!

Arrive in colourful meanjin (Brisbane) with its city lights and wicked backpacker scene. From here, you're en route to dazzling Rainbow Beach, where beachy days and sparkling saltwater await. Hop on the bus and check in to your beachy hostel digs in the afternoon. Welcome to the East Coast! 


Rainbow Beach hostel

Day 2

Embark on your 4WD K'gari 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 into your 4WD day trip and zoom down 75 Mile Beach as your K’gari adventure begins! Lunch, lake swims and local guidance are all included.


Overnight bus to Airlie Beach

Day 3 

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.


Airlie Beach central hostel

Day 4

Discover the Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven Beach

The marvels of Whitsunday Island await, so grab your swimmers and sense of adventure! A zooming day boat is bound to get you in the holiday mood. 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, snorkel 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! 


Hostel or apartment in central Airlie Beach

Day 5

Two blue cocktails under palm trees

En route to Cairns

Hop back on your bus and venture to sunny Cairns. Arrive in the hub of Far North Queensland in the afternoon, ready for your final leg of tropical adventuring! Mosey along the foreshore, grab a rooftop cocktail if you wish, and welcome the adventure!


Deluxe Cairns hostel

Day 6

Corals in the Great Barrier Reef

Scuba dive to the depths of the Great Barrier Reef

With flourishing reefs renowned for their unbeatable colours and marine life, Cairns is a real hub for lovers of the deep blue. So, don a scuba tank and embark on your intro to scuba diving, where experienced divers will train you in the very basics of scuba. Perfect for all knowledge levels, you will learn a new skill as well as get in and amongst some of the most breathtaking marine ecosystems in the southern hemisphere. Our best tip… don’t forget the GoPro to capture your Finding Nemo moments! 


Deluxe Cairns hostel

Day 7

Acai bowl held by a young backpacker

Cairns free day & farewell!

Wake up for a coffee and brunch in Cairns, before checking out of your hostel. The road is infinite and all yours as your Aussie East Coast itinerary comes to a close, so pave your own path. Or, for a few more days of rainforest adventuring, extend your time in Cairns! Whatever is next, we hope you've got awesome memories and a golden tan to remember your coastal journey!

What's Included?

  • Whitsundays sailing and snorkelling day trip
  • Guided 4WD tour of K’gari (Fraser Island)
  • Cairns Great Barrier Reef cruise
  • Exclusive VIP Airlie Beach afterparty + welcome drink
  • Free luggage storage in Airlie Beach
  • Local guides and environmental commentary
  • 5 nights of accommodation
  • 1 overnight bus
  • All bus transport from Brisbane to Cairns
  • 3 lunches
  • Guaranteed authentic adventures!

What's Extra?

Trip Extensions

  • Pre-tour accommodation in Cairns
  • Post-tour accommodation in Brisbane

Trip Upgrades

  • Van or rental car transport
  • Hostel dorm upgrades

Terms and Conditions

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


Who will I travel with?

This is not a group tour, so you only travel with whoever you book for. Whether that’s solo, with your partner, friend or group of your own choice, spend your downtime how you like and make memories with your tribe!

Whenever you embark on a tour during your itinerary (like your Whitsunday sailing trip or K'gari 4WD), rest assured that they will be fun, adventurous backpacker-style experiences.

Is this trip guided?

This is a semi-guided itinerary, meaning that professional skippers and tour guides lead any time spent on individual tours (like sailboats, 4WD camping tours, reef tours, and the likes). However, the in-between bits like travel days, downtime and free days are up to you.

That means nobody will be waking you up for your early bus or checking into hostels with you, however, it makes your time in Australia undeniably more personalised and flexible. Read more about our semi-guided itineraries in our FAQs or chat with a local travel agent to match you with your dream experience.

If you are looking to travel with a group of other backpackers and be guided through every leg of your journey by a local leader, check out our fully guided group itineraries.

Are meals included?

Three lunches are included in this itinerary, all of which are provided during your day trips. The rest of the meals are up to you, and you will have plenty of access to bars, restaurants, cafes and supermarkets along the East Coast.

Do I need travel insurance?

Yes, we strongly recommend that travellers purchase their own travel insurance before their East Coast trip. Travel insurance is not included in your package price, and East Coast Tours is not responsible for personal injury, operator cancellations or delays.

How much spending money do I need?

We recommend about $60 to $100 AUD spending money per day. This will cover you for a meal in a restaurant, a couple of beers and some supermarket supplies daily. For details on your daily spending budget in Australia, check out our budget travel guide!

Can I upgrade to private rooms rather than shared dorms?

Of course! If you prefer some privacy, you can absolutely upgrade to a private room. Please note that you will pay the difference from a shared dorm to a private room, and all accommodation is subject to availability. For a detailed estimate, chat with our friendly travel agents over live chat to secure your space.

What kind of transport is included?

Our itineraries include bus transport which is primarily a Greyhound Whimit Pass. Greyhound Busses are deluxe coaches with in-seat USB charging, wifi, reclining seats, air conditioning and onboard bathrooms. If you wish to upgrade your package, you can book a rental car or campervan through our friendly travel experts to go your own way!

Can I extend or add on activities to my trip?

Simply chat with our friendly travel agents to personalise your itinerary before you book. We wouldn't blame you for wanting longer in the Byron Bay surf or Airlie Beach sunshine!

Are the dates flexible?

Yes, the dates for this itinerary are flexible. Simply input your preferred arrival and departure dates before booking, or chat with our expert travel agents about your timeframe and we'll make it work for you!

Are flights included?

No, flights are not included in this itinerary. We recommend a flight comparison site to get the best deal for your tickets to Australia.

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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