2 Week Cairns To Sydney Budget

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Reversible Itinerary

2 Week Sydney To Cairns Budget

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Adult (18+)
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Airlie Beach + Island

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K'gari Island Day Tour

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Tropical Reef Tour

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Social Vessel

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Great Barrier Reef

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Hand-picked Hostels

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Lessons In Byron Bay

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East Coast Bus Pass

2 Week Cairns To Sydney Budget


Get the good times rolling and the adventures flowing with our ever-popular 14-Day East Coast Cairns to Sydney Itinerary! Venture from the tropical town of Cairns to the bustling and iconic Sydney city stopping at idyllic gems along the way.

From the shores of K'gari (Fraser Island) to the magnificent islands of the Whitsundays, revel in this authentic, vibrant and most importantly, exciting tour designed specifically for backpackers. Make your next Aussie escape about both the journey and the destinations with your wonder-filled 2 Week East Coast Cairns to Sydney Itinerary!

  • Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef and spot colourful corals, glimmering fish and sea turtles! 
  • Zoom through the Whitsunday Islands on a fun and adventurous vessel in tropical paradise.
  • Immerse yourself in K'gari's wonders on an exciting 4WD island adventure.
  • Discover Noosa, Byron Bay, Cairns, Sydney, Brisbane, Airlie Beach and Rainbow Beach.
  • Focus on the fun parts with this worry-free, flexible and inclusive coastal journey out to Australia’s finest!

Your Sample Itinerary

Woman taking a photo of an emu road sign

Day 1 

Welcome to Cairns 

Arrive in Cairns, renowned as the tropical town where the rainforest meets the reef! A charming and vibrant hub for your Great Barrier Reef and Atherton Tableland adventures, enjoy a warm Cairns welcome and settle into your sunny East Coast adventure!


Hostel in the heart of Cairns

Man snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef holding a heart sign

Day 2

Great Barrier Reef Adventure

Today is all about diving in and exploring the wonders of the flourishing Great Barrier Reef! Let us know if you would prefer to scuba dive or just snorkel in advance so we can organise the perfect experience for you! Rub shoulders with sea turtles, tropical fish, dazzling corals and more as you delve into mystical underwater ecosystems! 


Hostel in the heart of Cairns

Girl in a tree with red flowers looking at the beach

Day 3

Journey to the Whitsundays

Get excited for tropical marvels during your travel day to Airlie Beach! And, if cuddling a koala is on your Aussie bucket list, you can’t miss a stop at the heavenly Magnetic Island. Just ask us to extend your tour with a tropical stop!


Hostel or apartment in central Airlie Beach

Trip Extension 

  • Include Magnetic Island Koala & Wildlife Experience

Whitsunday Island exploring two girls carrying snorkels

Day 4

Ahoy there Whitsunday sailor!

Glide through the turquoise waters of the pristine Whitsundays on a state-of-the-art vessel. Whether you’re all about that luxe island life, up for an adventure or both, head out on this sun-soaked day trip laden with coral reef snorkelling, a stop at Whitehaven Beach and lunch! When you return to the mainland, put on your finest outfit and head to your VIP boat afterparty with a free welcome drink!


Hostel or apartment in central Airlie Beach

Towering Satinays trees in a tropical rainforest

Day 5

Travel to the Fraser Coast Region

Head down the idyllic East Coast, where vistas of dazzling oceans and golden sands adorn your journey south. Your destination is Rainbow Beach, which is brimming with lush rainforests, turquoise oceans, rolling farmscapes and native wildlife. 


Overnight bus to Rainbow Beach

Group of walkers exploring the East Coast

Day 6

Rainbow Beach Leisure Day

Relax with your mates and get settled into paradise! Enjoy the beauty of the Fraser Coast Region, or choose to head out on an exciting, hands-on day tour where you can kayak amongst friendly and majestic dolphins!


Rainbow Beach hostel

Trip Upgrade

  • Rainbow Beach Dolphin Kayak Tour

Woman standing at Lake Mackenzie amongst two trees

Day 7

Your K’gari adventure begins! 

Embark on a journey to remember as you dive into K’gari’s wonders! With infinite possibilities, island life awaits. Your dreamy itinerary is subject to weather and tidal conditions, and holds crystal-clear swims, cruisy beach days and exciting 4x4 trips down abundant sandy stretches! Swim in Lake Mackenzie, snap a shot by Maheno Shipwreck and float away down Eli Creek... this is living! 


Rainbow Beach hostel

Kangaroo and a backpacker

Day 8 & 9

Noosa chilling or Australia Zoo wildlife experience

Explore the beautiful Sunshine Coast at your own pace, with a free day in this Noosa! Hit Main Beach, grab a coffee at sunrise, hike the National Park, catch a wave or go waterfall chasing: the possibilities are endless! Or, With the optional choice to add a trip to Australia Zoo to your itinerary, rub shoulders with extraordinary Aussie wildlife like never before. Home to the renowned Crocodile Hunter, get a taste of the native Australian marvels iconic to this slice of natural paradise! 


2 nights in a Noosa hostel

Trip Upgrade

  • Day at Australia Zoo Wildlife Experience

Two women sitting under a tree of twinkle lights in Brisbane city

Day 10

Journey to the vibrant Brisbane 

You’re southbound today, as you take in a dreamy drive to the ever-bustling streets of Brisbane! Go for an arvo swim at Street's Beach and walk along the Brisbane River for a killer sunset. Then, hit the town with a cocktail at Howard Smith Wharves and opt into a night of dancing and gallivanting through Fortitude Valley; the heart of Brisbane's nightlife. With a unique and vibrant city scene, enjoy the lights!


Central Brisbane hostel

A woman in red on a surf board

Day 11 & 12

Byron Bay surf lesson & beach chilling!

Continue south and hit Byron Bay for two dreamy days of surf, salt, sand and good vibes! Bask in a cruisy day, explore the main street, go for a swim and head to the pub for some live music to get a taste of the musical scene Byron is renowned for. On your second day in Byron, wake up for your surf lesson. With awesome teachers and perfect beginner waves, you'll be shredding in no time!


2 nights in a beachy Byron hostel

A woman in Sydney Harbour at the Opera House

Day 13 & 14

Sydney here we come! 

Your ultimate destination awaits, so make the journey to Sydney with an overnight bus trip departing Byron. When you arrive on day 14, the harbour is your oyster! Go your own way and explore the array of marvels at your fingertips in Sydney City!


Day 13 - Overnight bus to Sydney

What's Included?

  • Whitsundays sailing and snorkelling day trip
  • Guided 4WD tour of K’gari (Fraser Island)
  • Cairns Great Barrier Reef cruise
  • Half-day Byron Bay surf lesson
  • VIP Airlie Beach afterparty + welcome drink
  • Free luggage storage in Airlie Beach
  • Deluxe hostel accommodation
  • All bus transport from Cairns to Sydney
  • 3 lunches
  • Guaranteed authentic adventures!

What's Extra?

Optional Trip Add-ons

  • Australia Zoo Wildlife experience 
  • Rainbow Beach Dolphin Kayak 
  • Magnetic Island Wildlife Island adventure 

Optional Trip Upgrades

  • Van or rental car transport 
  • Private room upgrade

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 you will be on fun and adventurous backpacker-style tours.

Is this itinerary 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!

Where will I stay?

You will stay in a variety of beachfront, poolside and city-centre hostels on this trip including 11 nights in deluxe hostel dorms (Byron Bay, Brisbane, Noosa, Rainbow Beach, Airlie Beach & Cairns) and 2 overnight buses.

Can I upgrade to private rooms rather than shared dorms?

Of course! If you prefer some privacy, you can absolutely upgrade to private rooms. 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 personalise my itinerary?

Yes, 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!

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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