4 Week Melbourne to Cairns Explorer


Select Date and Passengers

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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31 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 Melbourne to Cairns Explorer


  • Relax with a little longer in each destination on this extended, semi-guided East Coast adventure.
  • Snorkel, scuba dive, sail, 4WD, camp, surf and hike on this active and hands-on itinerary bound to show you incredible natural ecosystems and friendly Aussie animals.
  • From coastal paradises to secluded islands to the towering skyscrapers of Aussie cities, revel in a diverse and immersive itinerary.
  • With all transport, accommodation and 24/7 local support included, focus on the good stuff and make those memories!

Winding roads, turquoise waters, surf beaches and bustling coastal towns are yours on the 4-Week Explorer Itinerary! From the city lights of Melbourne to the reefs of Cairns, you are bound to experience the best of natural wonders and vibrant culture on this jam-packed and inclusive itinerary. 

Swim with turtles in the Great Barrier Reef, splash around in Atherton Tableland waterfalls, sail the Whitsunday Islands, relax on Magnetic Island, surf in Byron Bay, check out the sights in Sydney, beach-bum around in Noosa, 4WD through K’gari (Fraser Island), hike the beautiful Blue Mountains. You’re bound to make memories to last a lifetime on this extended itinerary designed to experience the local wonder of each destination and stay that little bit longer!

Your Sample Itinerary

Day 1 

Woman looking at the Harbour bridge with a glass of champagne

From Melbourne to Sydney

Your adventure begins in Melbourne, a hub of culture, nightlife and fabulous coffee! From here, make the journey to Sydney where you’re in for a visit full of city exploring, mountain hiking and jam-packed days!


Overnight bus to Sydney 


Day 2

Two people walking through the beach

Blue Mountain treks

Today’s adventure is set in the stunning Blue Mountains, where vast canyons, native flora and cascading waterfalls adorn your sights! Embark on an intimate bushwalk guided by a local, where the Indigenous history and incredible biodiversity of this world-heritage-listed rainforest will be illuminated! Revel in this hands-on and nature-filled experience where you can connect with this incredible landscape at the very beginning of your Aussie road trip!


Central Sydney hostel

Day 3 & 4

Woman sitting looking at the cityline and opera house

Explore Sydney’s iconic beaches & landmarks

With two free days in this iconic capital city, plan your days around bustling city hubs, picture-perfect attractions and sunny beaches! Snap some photos at the Sydney Harbour Bridge, wander around the Opera House, have a swim at Bondi Beach, have a day a Luna Park or do one of the many free things to do in Sydney!


Central Sydney hostel


Day 5

Group of friends relaxing in Byron Bay

Heading up to Byron Bay

Your Byron Bay dreams await, so continue north towards this beachside bohemian paradise! Post your fun Sydney pics to Instagram, pop your headphones in and relax as you take in the rolling East Coast scenery! 


Overnight bus to Byron Bay

Day 6, 7 & 8

Byron bay beach at sunset

Byron surfing lessons & dolphin kayaking

Be welcomed by the quirky streets, trendy cafes and stunning beaches of Byron Bay as you settle into a true coastal haven. Where fun meets relaxation, this renowned little town has it all! On day 7, embark on your half day surfing lessons to do as the locals do and catch some waves! On day 8, head out in the morning on an ocean kayak adventure. The rest of the time is up to you, so hit the lighthouse, wander the farmer’s markets, catch some light music, enjoy a foodie holiday or simply lay on the beach in this backpacker wonderland!


Central beachy hostel in Byron Bay

Day 9 & 10

Three people walking through Noosa boardwalk forest

Noosa dreaming!

Grace the streets of the Sunshine Coast as you’re delivered into the heart of Noosa; a beach bum's dream! With ample leisure time here, slow it down and get into the local groove of beach-swim-eat-sleep-repeat! Hire a board and get amongst the surf again, check out a coastal walk around the headland and enjoy the many free backpacker activities in this sunny beach town! 


Deluxe hostel in Noosa

Trip Upgrade

  • Noosa Everglades kayak tour 

Day 11 & 12

Two people at the Carlo Sandblow in the sun

Rainbow Beach exploring

Known as the gateway from the mainland to K’gari (Fraser Island), Rainbow Beach is a quieter beachy hidden gem… the perfect spot for some R&R! Enjoy some light hikes, discover the local sand blow, swim in the crystal-clear beaches, enjoy coffee and treats from the local cafes and soak up the vitamin D in this friendly, quiet township.


Hostel in the heart of Rainbow Beach

Trip Upgrade

  • Dolphin kayak tour 

Day 13, 14 & 15

Group of people jumping at the beach Lake Mackenzie

K’gari (Fraser Island) 4WD & camping experience

Wake up bright and early for your ferry across to the world’s largest sand island: K’gari! Literally meaning “paradise” in the Indigenous Butchulla language, K’gari is home to lush rainforests, idyllic freshwater lakes, beautiful flora and the iconic Aussie dingo. 4WD to Lake Mackenzie, Maheno Shipwreck, Champagne Pools, Eli Creek, Lake Wabby and Pile Valley as you experience beachy havens, abundant rainforest, crystal swimming holes and unique sand formations. Wind down at night in your beachfront campsite where fireside conversations and softly crashing waves accompany your starlit evenings!


Day 13 & 14 - Beachside K’gari campsite with excellent facilities

Day 15 - Rainbow Beach hostel

Day 16

Person at the port of Airlie looking at a sign for directions

Say g'day to Airlie Beach

Hit the road northbound towards the tropical wonders of Airlie Beach! This backpacker hub in the heart of the Whitsunday Coast region is a backpacker favourite, renowned for its fabulous live music scene and sunshiney island magic. Settle into the drive and relax before you touch down.


Overnight bus to Airlie Beach

Day 17

Two cocktails in Airlie Beach

Airlie Beach leisure day

Dive into the tropical vibes and laid-back atmosphere with a free day in Airlie Beach. Whether you’re kicking back by the Airlie Beach lagoon, moseying through the boutique, taking a walk by the esplanade, treating yourself to a cocktail or even getting up in the air for a scenic flight over the reef, take it all in!


Hostel in the centre of Airlie Beach

Trip Upgrade

  • Scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef

Day 18, 19 & 20

Sailing vessel in the Whitsunday Islands with a slide

Overnight Whitsunday sailing experience

Ahoy there sailor, it’s time to switch over to island time as you venture out to the Whitsunday Islands! Your social, overnight sail will cruise through the magnificent rolling islands to breathtaking destinations like Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet, where some of the whitest sands and bluest waters in the world await! Dive into the Great Barrier Reef to snorkel with turtles, fish and rainbow corals at some of the best spots in and amongst the island. Your lively boat boasts nightly entertainment, so wind down with some drinks and great conversation with like-minded travellers! When you arrive back into Airlie Beach, check back into your hostel and throw on your finest threads for a VIP sailing afterparty at the hottest club in Airlie with your crew and newly-made friends!


Day 18 & 19 - Shared accommodation on your sailing vessel

Day 20 - Central Airlie Beach hostel

Day 21

Woman in a white hat standing by the Airlie Beach sign

Airlie Beach frolicking! 

Nurse your sunburn and reminisce of fantastical island memories as you spend a final day in Airlie Beach. Hang out with new mates, head off on a local bush hike or just perch up by the beach for an authentic Aussie day in this vibrant backpacker town.


Hostel in the centre of Airlie Beach

Day 22 & 23

Woman sunbaking on Magnetic Island beach

Stay & play on Magnetic Island

Make your way up to Townsville and then across on the return ferry where palm-tree havens and secluded bays await. A tropical island-lovers dream, relax on sandy shores, walk through gorgeous rainforests and even take a trip to the island’s koala sanctuary, where these cute critters are usually snoozing in eucalyptus trees!


Magnetic Island accommodation

Day 24

Man standing in a tea plantation field

Welcome to Cairns

Make your way to the tropical hub and your ultimate destination: Cairns! Renowned for its palm-lined esplanade, awesome markets, great pubs and as a gateway to the reef and rainforest, explore this charming tropical town at your own pace for an afternoon!


Deluxe hostel in the heart of Cairns

Day 25

Coral Great Barrier Reef snorkelling

Great Barrier Reef snorkelling & diving

The wonders of the Great Barrier Reef beckon, so dive into a jam-packed day tour out to this world wonder. Explore the magnificent underwater world full of glimmering fish, colourful corals, majestic turtles and more unique creatures as you get a true idea of the reef’s biodiversity! Lunch, all gear and even an introductory dive are included, so your local crew have everything covered while you immerse yourself in the magic of the reef!


Deluxe hostel in the heart of Cairns


Day 26

Woman sitting on a rock at a waterfall

Atherton Tablelands waterfalls & swims

From the reef to the rainforest, venture inland for a truly mesmerising day of secret spots and hidden gems! Your local guide will take you to the dazzling Millaa Millaa Falls, where grand cascades and stunning views await. Then venture to lesser-known falls like Josephine Falls, as well as Lake Echam and the Curtain Fig Tree! Learn about local history and kick back with all transport and your guided itinerary taken care of! 


Deluxe hostel in the heart of Cairns


Day 27 & 28

Palm trees in the Daintree

Cairns your way!

As you come to the end of your itinerary, wrap up your incredible journey with some leisure time in Cairns. Choose to add on a trip out to the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation, or simply unwind in this bustling tropical hub! Lounge by the lagoon, hang out with your new travel buddies or embark on some stunning hikes of the glorious Cairns region! Then on day 28, check out of your hostel and go your own way… it’s been a blast! 


Day 27 - Deluxe hostel in the heart of Cairns

 Trip Upgrade

  • Cape Tribulation & Daintree tour

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

  • Post-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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