4 Week Brisbane to Cairns Ultimate


Select Date and Passengers

Adult (18+)
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Airlie Beach + Islands

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3-Day 4WD tour

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Rainforests + Waterfalls

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Beach Campsite

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Social Vessel

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Scuba Dive

Reef + Marine Life

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Mission Beach Landing

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Thrilling Social Tour

25 Day Brisbane to Cairns Ultimate


Action-packed and brimming with adventure from Brisbane to Cairns, the 28-Day Ultimate Itinerary combines iconic East Coast destinations and thrilling guided activities to create the perfect Aussie experience! Tick off bucket list dreams as you camp under the stars, sail amongst tropical islands, skydive above incredible reefs, meet renowned wildlife, learn to scuba dive and more!

Hit the road north and 4WD the sandy beaches of K’gari (Fraser Island), discover the post-card-perfect Whitsunday Islands, relax in paradise at Magnetic Island, experience the ancient Daintree Rainforest and dive deep into the Great Barrier Reef! Laden with exciting tours, flexible free days and bustling coastal destinations, ultimate stress-free travel is yours along Queensland’s East Coast!

  • Discover the vibrant backpacker scenes at Noosa, Rainbow Beach, Airlie Beach, Mission Beach and Cairns!
  • Explore sandy beaches and dazzling lakes on a K’gari 4WD camping adventure
  • Sail and snorkel amongst the pristine Whitsunday Islands with a social overnight tour
  • Scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef and chase ancient waterfalls of the north 

Your Sample Itinerary

Day 1 

Three people walking around Noosa Main Beach

Cruise to Noosa and begin the fun!

Begin your ultimate East Coast adventure by hopping aboard the bus from Brisbane to Noosa, home to dazzling Sunshine Coast beaches and stylish restaurants galore! Check in to your deluxe central hostel for the next four nights and head to Main Beach for a cheeky swim followed by a celebratory cocktail along Hastings Street. Fill your time with lush national park walks and beach sessions, there is an abundance of things to do in Noosa!


Deluxe hostel in Noosa


Trip Extension

  • Pre-tour accommodation and tours in Brisbane

Day 2

Canoeing through the Noosa Everglades with a cruise vessel in the background

Discover the Noosa Everglades by canoe

Cruise from the lively Noosa streets to the Noosa Everglades, a hidden gem boasting phenomenal biodiversity! Get comfy in your canoe as you set out to explore ancient waterways on an eco-friendly guided adventure of one of just two everglade systems in the world. Keep your eyes peeled for bird and aquatic wildlife, learn alongside new friends and take refreshing swims amongst the reflective waters. The untouched winding wetlands are a nature-lovers dream!


Deluxe hostel in Noosa

Day 3 

Four kangaroos relaxing on grass

Say g’day at Australia Zoo

Head to Australia Zoo, the home of late crocodile hunter Steve Irwin, for a day of getting up close and personal with Aussie wildlife! Grab a picture cuddling a furry koala, hand-feed spiky echidnas and kick back on the lawn with kangaroos. The wildlife doesn’t just end with Aussie icons, so make sure to check out the rhinos, meerkats, tigers, elephants, komodo dragons and more! Best of all, watch an action-packed crocodile feeding in the Crocoseum and learn all about these powerful Aussie reptiles - crikey!


Deluxe hostel in Noosa


Day 4

Woman on a green surf board in Noosa

Noosa Free Day!

Hit the waves and learn how to surf for the super keen, with an awesome lesson add-on. Or, catch up on some beachside reading, go for a National Park walk and relax at one of the many cafes and bars near your hostel during your free day in Noosa!


Deluxe hostel in Noosa


Trip Upgrade

Day 5 & 6

Two people at the top of a sand cliff on the Fraser Coast

Hello Rainbow Beach & Dolphin Kayak!

Within a blink of an eye, it’s time to say goodbye to Noosa and hello to Rainbow Beach! Reaching the charming coastal town within a few hours, you’re sure to feel at home amongst Rainbow Beach’s laid-back streets within minutes of checking into your accommodation. With two days to adventure at your own pace, discover marvellous sand cliffs, scenic walking trails and local dolphin pods with a Dolphin Kayak day trip. Your local guide will take you out to an ocean pocket renowned for local dolphins who will come and say g'day! The ultimate time to relax your shoulders and get salty with hostel mates!


Rainbow Beach central hostel

Trip Upgrade

  • Surf lesson

Day 7 & 8

People on pool toys in the Champagne Pools, K'gari (Fraser Island)

K’gari (Fraser Island) 4WD Camping Safari

Time to embark on three days of sun-drenched adventure on the largest sand island in the world! K’gari (Fraser Island) is an ancient paradise home to rich Australian biodiversity and untouched marvels such as freshwater lakes, tropical forests, sandy beaches and unique wildlife! Alongside expert guides and a crew of fellow adventurers, swim in Lake McKenzie, witness the scenic views at Indian Head, watch a sunset at Maheno Shipwreck, float down Eli Creek and try out four-wheel-driving on 75 Mile Beach. At night, relax by the campsite fire and get cosy under the stars!


Beach camping on K’gari with excellent facilities

Day 9

Group of five people at Maheno Shipwreck, K'gari (Fraser Island)

Cruise back to Rainbow Beach

After exploring K’gari’s pristine natural wonders over the last two days you’re sure to be absolutely captivated by island life! Make the most of your last morning by catching a mesmerising sunrise over the rolling ocean, enjoying a cuppa with lifelong mates and making a splash with a final ocean swim. Once you’ve arrived back at Rainbow Beach, feel free to cruise at your own pace!


Rainbow Beach central hostel

Day 10

Two people looking out at the coastline

Rainbow Beach to Airlie Beach travel day

Hop aboard the overnight bus from Rainbow Beach to Airlie Beach on your ninth East Coast day! Following days of Aussie sun and belly laughs, today is the ultimate chance to snooze, kick back with a movie and give your sunburn a well-earned rest. The journey is roughly 1000 kilometres north, so get comfy and excited for the next leg of your adventure!


Overnight bus to Airlie Beach

Day 11

Airlie Beach Lagoon, Whitsundays

Good morning Airlie Beach!

Welcome to Airlie Beach, the fabulous gateway to the Whitsunday Islands and vibrant East Coast hub where the backpacker scene is always bustling! The morning is young so stretch your legs with a stroll along the esplanade and a refreshing swim in the Airlie Beach Lagoon - you’re a local already! Don’t forget to check out the main strip come sunset for a slice of live music and great yarns at your pick of seaside pubs, clubs and bars!


Hostel accommodation in the heart of Airlie Beach

Trip Upgrade

  • Airlie Beach Scenic Skydive
  • Scenic Flight over the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday Islands

Day 12 & 13

Group of traveller at Hill Inlet Lookout, Whitsundays

Social sailing amongst the Whitsunday Islands!

Tropical islands are on the horizon fellow sailors! Step aboard your epic backpacker vessel for an action-packed two-day, two-night social sailing experience through the Whitsunday Islands. Relax along some of the whitest sands in the world at Whitehaven Beach, experience the phenomenal view at Hill Inlet Lookout and snorkel at fringing reef locations brimming with exotic marine species. Your overnight trip includes all meals, accommodation and extras like SUPs and waterslides! Kick back or learn the ropes, party with new friends and discover world-renowned destinations as you sail the glassy seas!


Cabin or shared space on your overnight vessel

Trip Upgrade

  • Private cabin on your overnight vessel

Day 14 & 15

Group of people on a social sailing tour, Whitsundays

Soak up the Airlie Beach bliss

Wake to the soft ocean lull and sail back to the Airlie Beach mainland after two packed days of fun under the sun. The party isn’t over yet though! Check back into your accommodation before hitting Airlie’s most popular club for an exclusive sailing afterparty with your fellow sailors. After boogying the night (and early morning) away, indulge in a flexible leisure day in the tropics. Shake off your hangover with a hike, road trip to the sensational Cedar Creek Falls, unwind with a seaside picnic or get your adrenaline pumping with a skydive over the islands! 


Hostel accommodation in the heart of Airlie Beach

Trip Upgrade

  • Airlie Beach Scenic Skydive
  • Scenic Flight over the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday Islands

Day 16, 17 & 18

Magnetic Island hire car

Discover Magnetic Island

Say hello to Magnetic Island, the ultimate relaxation destination along the Aussie East Coast! Indulge in seamless stress-free travel as you hop aboard the ferry from Townsville and cruise into the secluded white shores of Maggie Island (as the locals say). Revel in the opportunity to get off grid for the next three days as you swim amongst turquoise bays, hike to sensational scenic lookouts and spot rock wallabies in the wild. Between your island cruising, be sure to visit Maggie’s koala sanctuary for a furry cuddle!


Magnetic Island eco accommodation

Day 19

Women under palm trees, Tropical North Queensland

Mission Beach, here we come!

Board the ferry to the Aussie mainland once more and hop aboard the northbound bus to Mission Beach, a cruisy stretch of North Queensland coastline nestled off the popular tourist track! After checking into your central accommodation for the next three nights, explore the charming town with a stroll along South Mission Beach, hire a bike and cruise through Daintree Rainforest tracks, and catch a fiery sunset at Clump Point Jetty!


Rainforest hostel in Mission Beach

Day 20

Mission Beach skydive beach landing

Take a thrilling skydive over the reef!

Your ultimate East Coast itinerary is in full swing today! Get your adrenaline pumping 15,000 feet above the world’s largest reef system, the Great Barrier Reef! Alongside a qualified skydive expert, take a thrilling tandem jump above turquoise lagoons and flourishing coral reefs, one of the most scenic drop zones in the Southern Hemisphere. After landing peacefully on Mission Beach, celebrate with a drink and yarn at a local watering hole!


Rainforest hostel in Mission Beach

Day 21 & 22

Group of people white water rafting at Tully River, Mission Beach

White water raft at Tully River & Free Day

The aquatic action continues! Keep ticking off new experiences along the East Coast with an exhilarating white water rafting tour in the flowing Tully River. Slop on your sunscreen and sense of adventure because this day will have you rafting through downstream rapids, learning how to navigate the rushing waters for yourself and sharing a bucket load of laughs alongside your friendly guides and rafting crew! Kick your feet up and relax on day 22 with a Mission Beach free day - it's time to do a bit of laundry and catch up!


Rainforest hostel in Mission Beach

Day 23

Two backpackers taking a selfie at Rustys Markets, Cairns

Head to your final destination, Cairns!

Leave Mission Beach with a camera roll full of action-packed memories and head further north to Cairns, the final destination of your East Coast adventure! Check into your central CBD hostel, grab a bite to eat and hit the ground running with a free day to immerse yourself in the brimming Cairns backpacker scene. Hit Rustys Market, take a swim in the Cairns Lagoon and get the party pumping in your pick of seaside bars and clubs!


Hostel accommodation in the centre of Cairns

Day 24

Three people wearing scuba tanks on the Great Barrier Reef

Scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef

Board your state-of-the-art reef vessel for a day of underwater discovery on the Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven wonders of the natural world! Home to more than 9,000 species of unique marine life and 400 types of hard and soft coral, the biodiverse ecosystems of the reef are best explored with an unforgettable scuba dive. Grab a scuba tank and learn the basics of scuba from experienced instructors before making a splash. Glide alongside sea turtles and rub shoulders with technicolour reef fish at some of the best reef locations in the world!


Hostel accommodation in the centre of Cairns

Day 25

Millaa Millaa Waterfall, Cairns

Road trip and chase waterfalls!

After a day in the ocean, head off into the Atherton Tablelands to explore the freshwater highlights surrounding Cairns! Road trip with a social crew of fellow experience-seekers to the natural waterslides of Josephine Falls, the 18-metre tall Millaa Millaa Falls, the volcanic crater of Lake Eacham and more! Swim to your heart's content, capture fabulous pictures and learn the area's rich history from knowledgeable guides. And if you’re lucky, see a shy platypus in the wild, one of Australia’s icons!


Hostel accommodation in the centre of Cairns

Day 26

Two women wearing hats at Cape Tribulation

Adventure into the Daintree Rainforest

Did you know that Cairns is the only destination in the world where two World Heritage-listed destinations meet? Journey deep into the ancient brilliance of Cape Tribulation and the Daintree Rainforest on day 23 of your East Coast itinerary. Be amazed by the pristine depths and granite boulders of Mossman Gorge, leave the crowds behind at Cape Tribulation and cruise along the lush Daintree River, where you’ll be able to spot a wild crocodile or two! The radiant rainforest gullies never disappoint!


Hostel accommodation in the centre of Cairns


Day 27

Three people having cocktails at a rooftop bar, Cairns

Discover Cairns your way!

You’ve immersed yourself in Cairns’ most prized destinations over three adventure-laden days! Now is your chance to design your own day of fun in the colourful coastal hub. Put your backpack on and head out for another venture in the rainforest village of Kuranda or journey north to Port Douglas. If a cruisy Cairns day is on your mind, wander the Botanical Gardens and treat yourself to a seafood feast; there are plenty of things to do in Cairns for backpackers!


Hostel accommodation in the centre of Cairns

Day 28

Man standing in front of Walshs Pyramid, Cairns

Goodbye for now!

It’s time to say farewell to your ultimate East Coast itinerary as your 28-day venture comes to a close! Check out of your central Cairns hostel, head to a late brunch to recover from last night's boogie and continue the trip in Cairns. Whether you’re flying out to your next destination or planning on spending more time in the tropical city, your wanderlust is bound to be satisfied!

 Trip Extension

  • Post-tour accommodation and activities in Cairns

What's Included?

  • Australia Zoo day tour
  • Noosa Everglades day tour
  • 3-day, 2-night K’gari 4WD camping safari
  • Dolphin kayak day trip in Rainbow Beach
  • Return ferry to Magnetic Island from Townsville
  • 2-day, 2-night Whitsundays social sailing tour
  • Luggage storage Airlie Beach
  • Exclusive VIP Airlie Beach afterparty
  • 15,000ft Skydive with beach landing
  • White Water Rafting day tour
  • Great Barrier Reef tour including 1 introductory dive
  • Cairns Waterfalls day tour
  • Cairns Cape Tribulation day tour
  • Meals during your tours
  • All bus transport from Brisbane to Cairns
  • 27 nights of accommodation (hostels, overnight bus, sailing cabins and island camping)

What's Extra?

Optional extensions

  • Pre-tour accommodation and tours in Brisbane
  • Additional accommodation and tours in Noosa
  • 4-Day Open Water Diving Certification Course in Cairns
  • Post-tour accommodation and experiences in Cairns

Optional trip upgrades

  • Van or rental car transport 
  • Hostel dorm upgrades
  • Noosa surfing lesson
  • A private cabin on your Whitsunday sailing vessel
  • Whitsundays 1 hour reef and islands scenic flight
  • Award-winning Airlie Beach skydive

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 solo, with your partner, friend or group of your choice, spend your downtime how you like and make memories with your tribe!

When you embark on a tour during your itinerary (like your Whitsunday sailing trip or K'gari 4WD), rest assured they will be adventurous backpacker-style trips attracting similar travellers!

Is there a tour guide?

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?

5 breakfasts, 8 lunches, and 5 dinners are included in this itinerary package, all of which are provided during your tours. The rest of the meals are up to you, and you will have plenty of access to bars, restaurants 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. A highlight is definitely your Magnetic Island oceanview hostel! You will sleep in a shared cabin aboard your deluxe Whitsunday vessel. On your K'gari 4WD tour, you'll be spending two nights at your beachside campsite with hot showers and all gear supplied.

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. You will pay the difference from a shared dorm to a private room, and all accommodation is subject to availability. For detailed costs, chat with our friendly travel agents over live chat to secure your space.

What kind of transport is included?

This itinerary includes 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?

Simply chat with our friendly travel agents to personalise your itinerary before you book. We wouldn't blame you for wanting longer in the Noosa 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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