4 Week Sydney To Cairns Explorer


Select Date and Passengers

Adult (18+)
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Airlie Beach + Island

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2-night 4WD Tour

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Reef + Rainforest

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Beach Campsite

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Social Vessel

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Great Barrier Reef

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Hostels + Cabins + Beach Camping

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Included In Tours

28 Day Sydney To Cairns Explorer


From the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge to the lush rainforests of Cairns, slow it down and truly experience the Aussie East Coast with the 28-Day Explorer Itinerary! Immerse yourself in some of the most incredible natural marvels in the world like the Great Barrier Reef, the Great Dividing Range and the Whitsunday Islands, with an array of unique and local experiences at your fingertips!

Surf the waves of Byron Bay, meet new mates in Gold Coast, take a dip in the Noosa fairy pools, cuddle a koala on Magnetic Island, dance the nights away in Brisbane city, 4WD down K’gari’s shores and sail into the Whitsunday Island sunset! With plenty of time to do your own thing as well as a multitude of award-winning tours, see all of the best corners of Australia like the true explorer you are!

  • Perfect for adventurous travellers with snorkelling, scuba diving, 4WDing, camping and sailing!
  • Embark on experiences perfect for backpackers with social atmospheres and excellent value for money.
  • Spend longer in each tropical destination with this extended itinerary designed to showcase the relaxed coastal lifestyle!
  • Chill out and focus on making memories with 24/7 support and all transport and accommodation sorted!

Your Sample Itinerary

Day 1 

Two people outside of Sydney Opera House

From Sydney to laid-back Byron Bay

Arrive in Sydney by your own means of transport before embarking on a relaxing overnight journey to the waves of Byron Bay! Or, if you're looking for some pre-tour fun in Sydney, check out our many tours and welcome packages to tick off icons like the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House!

hotel Your Stay

Overnight bus to Byron Bay

Trip Extension 


Day 2, 3 & 4

Surf beach in Byron Bay

Byron Bay vibin’!

Take it easy with three days in the bohemian beach wonderland of Byron Bay! Spend day two exploring the town at your own pace - we recommend a walk to the lighthouse, a swim at the beach and a delicious lunch at one of the many eateries in town! On day three, catch some waves with an included surf lesson, where your local teacher will have you shredding in no time! On day four, unwind and discover Byron like a local with another free day… a stunning beach sunset is a total must! 

hotel Your Stay

Byron Bay beachy hostel

Day 5 & 6

Gold Coast beach with two women walking along

Say g’day to the Gold Coast!

From the hippie paradise of Byron Bay to the lights of Surfers Paradise, hit this iconic backpacker beach city! Explore the marvellous beaches, vivid nightlife and fun and bubbly vibes. Take advantage of where the city meets beach life at your own pace, doing as much or as little as you want!

hotel Your Stay

Hostel in the heart of Surfers Paradise


Day 7 & 8

Brisbane city with ferry down the river

Discover Brisbane

Head north towards Brisbane, a city of relaxed vibes, culture and bustling things to do! Whether you’re cruising down the Brisbane River on a CityCat, picnicking in the Botanical Gardens, wandering the CBD or partying the nights away in Fortitude Valley, you’re bound to find your jam in this unique and backpacker-friendly city! 


hotel Your Stay

Central hostel in Brisbane

Day 9 & 10

Three people walking and pointing at surfers Noosa

Noosa waves & sunny days

Continue on to the Sunshine Coast, where you will be staying in the iconic and simply stunning Noosa! Home to glassy beaches, awesome waves, tranquil little surfy towns and funky cafes, you can’t miss a stop in Noosa on your East Coast adventure! Your time here is super flexible, so spend the whole time by the beach or book into a Noosa Everglades kayak tour… it’s up to you!

hotel Your Stay

Deluxe hostel in Noosa

Trip Upgrade

  • Noosa Everglades Kayak tour

Day 11 & 12

Woman looking at a sunset at the Rainbow Beach sandblow

Rainbow Beach adventuring!

Make your way to Rainbow Beach, named after the spectacular sandy hues visible at every shore! Spend your time soaking up the sun and natural marvels of this quirky town, full of cute cafes and spectacular beaches for days. Go for swims, check out the local sand blow or book into a dolphin kayak tour to rub shoulders with these friendly creatures!

hotel Your Stay

Rainbow Beach accommodation

Trip Upgrade

  • Dolphin kayak tour

Day 13, 14 & 15

Group of young people in front of Maheno Shipwreck

K’gari (Fraser Island) 4WD Camping Safari

Head over to K’gari, a hidden gem and backpacker paradise, where you will embark on the camping adventure of your dreams! Discover incredible swimming spots like Lake Wabby, Lake Mackenzie and Eli Creek, as well as iconic sights like the Maheno Shipwreck and towering ancient rainforests. This fully inclusive and lively tour will have you camping by the beach in the evenings, with campfires, great company and delicious dinners to adorn your nights! 

hotel Your Stay

Day 13 & 14 - beachside camping on K’gari

Day 15 - Rainbow Beach hostel

Day 16

Man in a bus with an iphone

Hit the road to Airlie Beach!

Depart Rainbow Beach with a tan and unforgettable memories of K’gari as you revel in a chill day of travel to Airlie Beach! Post your favourite shots to the socials, write in that travel journal, listen to music or just nap as you recover from your jam-packed adventures!

hotel Your Stay

Overnight bus to Airlie Beach

Day 17

Lagoon aerial shot Airlie Beach

Welcome to Airlie Beach

Wake up in paradise as you explore the stunning Airlie Beach. Renowned as a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and backpacker hub, spend your day discovering the many boutiques, restaurants and public facilities like the free lagoon!

hotel Your Stay

Central Airlie Beach hostel

Day 18, 19 & 20

New Horizon Vessel in the Whitsundays

Social sailing the Whitsunday Islands

Board your spacious and grand sailing vessel as you depart for the dazzling gems nestled in the Whitsunday Islands. The sun is beaming, the vibes are high and the natural marvels are abundant, so let’s dive in! Spend your days snorkelling through the Great Barrier Reef, relaxing on Whitehaven Beach and hidden islands, and trekking up to vantage points like Hill Inlet Lookout! All meals are included, and in the evenings, let the party start with music and awesome social atmospheres! Sail back into Airlie at mid-morning on day 20, and check back into your central hostel before freshening up and hitting the town! Your sail includes a VIP afterparty at the hottest club in town with the rest of your crew and new mates… it’s time to dance the night away!

hotel Your Stay

Day 18 & 19 - Shared cabin accommodation aboard your Whitsunday vessel

Day 20 - Central Airlie Beach hostel

Day 21

Airlie Beach "Heart of the Reef" sign

Airlie Beach chilling 

Your final day in Airlie Beach is completely up to you! Whether you’re hanging by the beach, lagoon, esplanade or just relaxing around your backpacker hostel, keep it cruisy and tropical! Or, if you’re seeking just a bit more adventure, book into a breathtaking scenic flight over Heart Reef or a thrilling skydive in paradise!

hotel Your Stay

Central Airlie Beach hostel

Trip Upgrade

  • Skydive
  • Scenic reef flight

Day 22 & 23

Woman reading a book on a beach

Relax on the shores of Magnetic Island

From Airlie Beach, make your way to Townsville, where an island ferry awaits! Arrive at Magnetic Island for the secluded chill session you certainly need by now! With some of the clearest waters you’ll ever see, grab a towel and relax beachside with your mates. Or, venture to the wildlife centre and check out the local koalas munching on some tasty gum leaves! It’s all beachy days and worry-free chilling on Maggie Island, so take time to really slow it down.

hotel Your Stay

Magnetic Island accommodation

Day 24

Two women taking a selfie in Cairns

Cairns, here we come! 

Arrive at Cairns in the afternoon and check into your central hostel. Hit the town and grab a delicious dinner and perhaps a cocktail as you immerse yourself in the bustling tropical hub that is Cairns… it really is where the rainforest and the reef meet! 

hotel Your Stay

Hostel in Cairns’ centre

Day 25

Two people snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef

Snorkel and scuba the Great Barrier Reef

Head out on a simply awestriking and jam-packed reef tour today as your local crew takes you to the finest spots of the Great Barrier Reef! Whether you’re a snorkeller or diver, or just want to try it out, dive in and explore the underwater wonderland that is this world-heritage ecosystem! Swim with numerous fish, majestic turtles, giant clams and corals of all shapes, colours and textures! Enjoy a complimentary lunch and snacks on your all-inclusive day trip so you can focus on the best bits of this marine adventure!

hotel Your Stay

Hostel in Cairns’ centre

Day 26, 27 & 28

Woman in the tea plantations in Cairns

Do Cairns your way!

To wrap up your journey through the sublime East Coast, explore Cairns your way with two ultimate free days in this tropical haven! Whether you’re keen to hang around in town wandering through markets and local live music, or want to head out on an additional Cape Tribulation & Daintree day trip, Cairns is your oyster! On day 28 of your dreamy itinerary, check out of your accommodation and say g’day to the next leg of your adventures!

hotel Your Stay

Day 27 - Hostel in Cairns’ centre

Trip Extension

Trip Upgrade

  • Cape Tribulation day trip
  • Waterfall day trip

What's Included?

  • Great Barrier Reef tour including 1 introductory dive
  • 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
  • All bus transport from Sydney to Cairns
  • 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
  • Cairns Waterfall 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

Terms and Conditions

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

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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