4 Week Cairns To Melbourne Explorer


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Adult (18+)
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Multiday K'gari 4WD

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Whitsundays Social Sailing

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Great Barrier Reef

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27 Nights Included

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Byron Bay Lesson

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Scuba Dive

Intro Dive Included

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Cairns Waterfall Tour

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East Coast Bus Pass

32 Day Cairns To Melbourne Explorer


  • Scuba dive, snorkel and sail through unforgettable tropical paradises like Cairns, the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef! 
  • Spend longer in hidden gems to get a feel for the laidback local lifestyle and make unique memories. 
  • Rest assured your whole trip is covered, with our travel experts here to help you out 24/7, even while you’re on the road! 
  • All accommodation, transport and good vibes included… all you need to do is pack a bag and let the good times roll! 

From the tropical reefs of Cairns to the trendy streets of Melbourne, don’t miss a thing on our backpacker-favourite 4-Week Explorer Itinerary! An extended and immersive East Coast adventure designed to show you the very best of Australia’s icons, as well as hidden gems such as secret waterfalls, local surf spots and charming beach towns! 

Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, surf the waves of Byron Bay, chase waterfalls in Cairns, sail the Whitsunday Islands, party in Airlie Beach, 4WD down the beaches of K’gari (Fraser Island), wander through Sydney Harbour, explore Noosa, hike the Blue Mountains and so much more with this jam-packed itinerary. With ample time in each location, inclusive accommodation and transport, unpack, unwind and let the Aussie adventure begin!

Your Sample Itinerary

Day 1 

Cairns restaurants, two women eating food and sipping cocktails

Welcome the adventures in Cairns!

Your itinerary begins in tropical Cairns, where your first port of call is to check in to your central accommodation! Then, spend the rest of your afternoon exploring the heart of tropical north QLD!


Deluxe central hostel in Cairns


Day 2

Two people snorkelling with a jellyfish

Great Barrier Reef snorkel & diving

Head out to the Great Barrier Reef today for a sun-soaked underwater adventure! You’re in for a jam-packed trip through some of Australia’s most stunning ecosystems. Whether you’re an avid snorkeller, keen to try scuba diving or are a pro already, dive in head first into the dazzling world-heritage listed natural ecosystem below! Swim with turtles, fish, giant clams, mantarays and luminescent corals abundant in this marvellous, biodiverse region!


Deluxe central hostel in Cairns

Day 3 

Waterfall in Cairns with three people smiling in front of it

Atherton Tablelands waterfall experience

Today, head out to the verdant Atherton Tablelands! Your guided experience is brimming with dazzling cascades, lush rainforests and quirky local gems! Tick Millaa Millaa Falls, Josephine Falls, Lake Echam and the iconic Curtain Fig Tree off your bucket list, as you’re immersed in the tranquil magic of north QLD. Swim, walk, explore and enjoy this incredible part of nature!


Deluxe central hostel in Cairns


Day 4

Group of friends relaxing in Port Douglas

Explore Cairns at your own pace!

Whether you’re cooling off in the local lagoon, exploring charming local towns or adding a Cape Tribulation & Daintree day tour to your itinerary, Cairns is yours to enjoy! Unwind at your own pace after a chock-a-block few days before continuing your journey south for more East Coast magic.


Deluxe central hostel in Cairns

Trip Upgrade

  • Cape Tribulation & Daintree day tour

Day 5 & 6

Koala climbing on a tree trunk with leaves

Magnetic Island dreaming

The palm-lined shores of Magnetic Island await, so hop on the ferry from Townsville and let the good times roll! Spend your time lapping up the sunshine on the white shores of this dreamy secluded island gem. Make sure you take time to visit the island’s koala sanctuary to grab an iconic photo with these cuddly Aussie critters!


Magnetic Island accommodation

Day 7

Airlie Beach Sunset

On the road to Airlie Beach

Head to the beautiful sunshiney Airlie Beach today with a chill day of travel! Pop your headphones in, gaze at the striking Aussie scenery out the window and wake up in the backpacker hub known as Airlie Beach!


Overnight bus to Airlie Beach

Trip Upgrade

  • Scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef

Day 8

Group of young people at the Airlie Beach lagoon

Discover Airlie Beach

Get out and amongst the buzzing township of Airlie Beach with a free day in the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands! Renowned as a backpackers paradise, check out a local hike, swim in the lagoon, check out some of the quintessential live music or bask in a foodie holiday as you unwind in this lively haven!


Hostel in the heart of Airlie Beach

Trip Upgrade

  • Scenic flight over Heart Reef

Day 9, 10 & 11

Atlantic Clipper boat with a jetski and slide

Sail the Whitsunday Islands

Discover the rolling islands, turquoise waters and abundant reefs of the Whitsunday Islands with a two-day, two-night social sailing experience! Explore the Great Barrier Reef as you snorkel and swim, rubbing shoulders with fish, coral gardens and even turtles! Wander the bright white shores of Whitehaven Beach, catch the stunning views of Hill Inlet Lookout and sail in style on this lively vessel! Enjoy some beverages, music and great company in the evenings as you party on with your fully inclusive, naturally wonderful adventure!


Day 9 & 10 - Shared cabin accommodation aboard your vessel

Day 11 - Hostel in the heart of Airlie Beach

Day 12

Two people at the Carlo Sandblow in the sun

Rainbow Beach, here we come!

Hit the road again as you continue southbound to the charming township of Rainbow Beach.  A local favourite and coastal beachy town, enjoy the ride as you make your way to another tropical utopia!


Overnight bus to Rainbow Beach

Day 13 & 14

Dolphins swimming through blue water

Rainbow Beach exploring!

With an array of exquisite beaches and spectacular natural wonders, your time in Rainbow Beach will be well spent! Chill out by the beach, grab a bite to eat from the many cafes, embark on a local hike, venture to the stunning sand blow or book into an optional dolphin kayak tour.


Central Rainbow Beach hostel

Tour Upgrade

  • Dolphin kayak tour

Day 15, 16 & 17

K'gari Lake Mackenzie with three people swimming and relaxing

K’gari (Fraser Island) 4WD camping adventure

The shores of K’gari await, so hop on the ferry bright and early and venture over to the world’s largest sand island! The next three days are bound to be filled with towering rainforests, gem-coloured lakes, secluded beaches and golden sandy highways! Dive into the sapphire Lake Mackenzie, learn about the beguiling Maheno Shipwreck, have a go at 4WDing and wander through the lush Central Station! In the evenings, unwind in your beachside campsite with your new mates with delicious healthy meals on this social and island-inclusive experience!


Day 15 & 16 - starlit beach campsite on K’gari

Day 17 - Hostel in Rainbow Beach 

Day 18 & 19

Two women smiling by Noosa beach

Soak up in sun in Noosa

It’s time to hit the waves of this beachy paradise as you make your way to the beautiful Sunshine Coast Region! Check in to your central hostel, and hit the beach for a charming sunset. On day 19 of your itinerary, enjoy a whole free day in Noosa where paradise is all yours! Hang out by the beach, embark on a headland hike, catch some waves or add a Noosa Everglades kayak tour to your itinerary for a day at your own pace!


Deluxe Sunshine Beach hostel 

Trip Upgrade

  • Noosa Everglades kayak tour

Day 20, 21 & 22

Byron Bay Lighthouse at Dusk

Byron Bay surf lessons & dolphin kayak!

Arrive to the quirky, iconic streets of Byron Bay which are laden with trendy cafes, cute boutiques and rolling beaches! Fall into the chilled-out, hippy vibes of this surfer’s oasis with ample time to yourself. On day 21, head off to your included half-day surf lesson to do as the locals do and shred! On day 22, head out on a guided dolphin kayak! Whether you’re hiking up to the lighthouse, partying the nights away, catching some more waves, indulging in some scrumptious food, checking out Mullumbimby, exploring local waterfalls or simply hanging out by the beach, do Byron your way!


Bohemian Byron Bay hostel

Day 23

Woman looking out of a bus window

Sydney lights abound!

Depart Byron Bay for the glow of Sydney! Settle in for the journey ahead of you as you post some of those beachy pics and write in your travel journal!


Overnight bus to Sydney

Day 24

Couple hiking through the Blue Mountains

Trek through the Blue Mountains 

The vast expanses and incredible wilderness of the Blue Mountains will blow you away, so lace up your boots and embark on a guided tour. Stop at the Three Sisters, an iconic destination with an amazing view of the Jamison Valley, and spot native wildlife and birdlife! Learn about the rich biodiversity, Indigenous culture and local gems of this paradise as you reconnect with nature on a day to remember.


Hostel in central Sydney


Day 25 & 26

A platter of seafoods, two champagne glasses cheersing and the Sydney harbour bridge

Wander Sydney City!

With two free days in the most iconic city in Australia, get a true taste of the charm, fun and colour found in every corner! There really are so many things to do, so don’t miss a stop at the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, Opera House and Circular Quay! Venture to the infamous Bondi Beach, wander Darling Harbour and stop at the famous fish market. Whatever you’re style is, see the sights and live it up in Sydney! 


Hostel in central Sydney


Day 27 & 28

Person in a jacket standing in front of street art

Melbourne marvels!

Jet off on the last leg of your jam-packed itinerary with a journey to Melbourne! Arrive in this buzzing city, renowned for its culture, things to do, community and excellent coffee! Check out the street art, indulge in the many cuisines and mosey through the many markets. Your long, winding East Coast adventure ends here, leaving you in a vibrant city with a tan and a million awesome Aussie memories!


Day 27 - Overnight bus trip to Melbourne


What's Included?

  • Great Barrier Reef tour including 1 introductory dive
  • Cairns waterfall day tour
  • Return ferry to Magnetic Island from Townsville
  • 2-day 2-night Whitsundays social sailing adventure
  • Luggage storage Airlie Beach
  • 3-day 2-night K'gari tag-along camping safari
  • Half-day Byron Bay surf lesson
  • Dolphin kayak tour in Byron Bay
  • Blue Mountains guided hike
  • All bus transport from Cairns to Melbourne
  • Meals during your tours
  • 27 nights of accommodation (hostels, overnight buses, sailing cabins and island camping)

What's Extra?

Trip Upgrade

  • Cape Tribulation day tour
  • Scenic Heart Reef Flight 
  • Airlie Beach Skydive
  • Rainbow Beach Dolphin kayak
  • Noosa Everglade Kayak
  • Van or rental car transport
  • Private hostel accommodation

Trip Extension

  • Pre-itinerary accommodation and tours in Cairns

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!

Whenever 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, so you will be joined by like-minded travellers.

Is this a guided trip?

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?

This itinerary includes 4 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 4 dinners (15 meals in total) all during your guided tours. 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 central hostels on this trip including 15 nights in shared hostel dorms (Sydney, Byron Bay, Rainbow Beach, Noosa, Airlie Beach, Magnetic Island and Cairns), 2 nights in a Whitsunday sailing vessel, 2 nights in a deluxe K'gari (Fraser Island) campsite with your tent and gear included, along with 3 overnight buses.

Can I upgrade to private accommodation?

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 is the transport like?

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, shorten or personalise my trip?

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 K'gari rainforests 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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