Australia East Coast Travel Pass
Minimum travel time 14 days from $1,163
- Enjoy the flexibility of being able to travel when you like, but with the support of a guide
- Travel Australia's east coast at your own pace, stop off where you like, for as long as you like
- Visit awesome places like Byron Bay, Noosa, Airlie Beach, and Magnetic Island
- Enjoy independent hassle-free travel
- Travel with a group of likeminded people
Travel along Australia's incredible east coast and stop off at some of the country's most beautiful townscapes, well-known cities, and top surfer's beaches between Sydney and Cairns. Explore the spectacular Barrington Tops National Park, stay at surf camp and ride the waves at Spot X, go on a guided canoeing tour at River Retreat, join our treasure hunt on Great Keppel Island, camp under the stars in Tully National Park, and visit a whole host of other places in between.
With a flexible hop-on hop-off travel pass, you'll have the option to stop and stay at any destination along the route for as long or as short a time as you like*, you'll have all your transport arranged, as well as a knowledgeable tour guide to help you make the most of your trip. You'll even have some awesome activities to try out as well, including wine tasting in Hunter Valley, dolphin spotting on the coast, rainforest camping, and plenty more besides.
*Your pass is valid for twelve months, so you can spend an entire year travelling from Sydney to Cairns if you like. The minimum length for this trip is thirteen days, but we'd recommend spending between four and six weeks travelling this route to ensure you get the most out of your travel pass.
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Download more trip information and detailed itinerary
How Your Travel Pass Works
First things first, you'll have the option of starting your travels in Sydney or Cairns – depending on whether you fancy travelling south to north or vice versa, so have a think about which direction you'd prefer.
You can use your pass as a quick and simple way to tour Australia's east coast over two weeks, or you can travel for up to twelve months, using your pass as a convenient means of transport with some fun additional activities thrown into the mix as you hop on and hop off the bus as often or as little as you like. You'll have your own account on the travel pass app, which will making booking your seat on the next departure a synch, which means you'll be in complete control over your travel itinerary, no one else.
Essentially you'll be able to travel around beautiful Australia in whichever way suits you best. So if you're short on time, follow the quick two-week itinerary (below) and confirm your accommodation ahead or, if time isn't an issue for you, take the opportunity to explore independently and spend as long as you like in places that interest you, or take on work if you've got a Working Holiday Visa, before using your pass to take you further along the route – the choice is yours.
Please note that we will book the pass as open dated, so you can decide on a date you want to start the pass- please contact us for more details.
Sydney to Barrington Tops
Setting off at 8am, we'll make our way from Sydney to Barrington Tops with a pit stop at Hunter Valley, one of Australia's most famous vineyards, for a wine tasting session. On arrival at Barrington Tops, get to explore the World Heritage National Park, go river tubing (at an additional cost), or simply relax with a few drinks with your travel companions in the group's private lodge's hot tub.
For one nights' accommodation at the group's private lodge, including dinner and breakfast, budget around 60AUD/£35.
Barrington Tops to Spot X Surf Camp
Spend the morning mountain biking or walking the trails around your beautiful Barrington Tops surroundings before travelling further along the route and a quick stop to visit a koala hospital and nature reserve on the coast. Afterwards, we'll make our way to our waterside surf camp at Spot X.
For one nights' accommodation at Spot X, including dinner and breakfast, budget around 60AUD/£35.
Spot X Surf Camp to River Retreat
Chill out in the morning by lazing on the beach or taking part in a group surfing lesson (at an additional cost). Later on we'll travel to the River Retreat and enjoy an included guided canoeing trip, before sitting down in the evening around the campfire for a lesson in Aussie barbecue cooking.
For one nights' accommodation at the River Retreat in a wilderness cabin or swag under the stars, including dinner and breakfast, budget around 50AUD/£30.
River Retreat to Byron Bay
We'll make our way along the coast to the laidback surf town of Byron Bay, stopping first at the pretty town of Yamba for a spot of lunch and to stretch our legs – you'll even get a chance to dip your toes into the cool water of the Angourie Blue Pool. At Byron, take an orientation to get an idea of what to see and do while you're in the area. If you're following the two-week itinerary, you'll spend two nights in Byron with a day's free time to surf, party, go on a dolphin kayaking trip, or simply soak up some sunshine.
Food and accommodation is totally your choice while you're in Byron. Your tour guide can help you make arrangements if you need help.
Byron Bay to Noosa or Rainbow Beach
From New South Wales, we'll head further north stopping at a few locations on our way into Queensland. We'll hop out of the bus at Danger Point to watch the surfers at Snapper Rocks, head a little further up the road and jump off at Surfer's Paradise – a slick city shoreline rammed with equal amounts of specialist surf shops and swanky restaurants, travel further to see Brisbane, Queensland's capital set amid golden sands and botanic gardens. Then we'll head off to Noosa, for a bit of luxury beach time, where you can choose to stay put for the evening or travel a little further and stay at Rainbow beach – where the group will take a gentle stroll up to Carlo Sand Blow to watch the sunset. Both resorts are gateway towns to the beautiful Fraser Island, which you should definitely go and see during your trip.
Food and accommodation is totally your choice while you're in Noosa and Rainbow Beach. Your tour guide can help you make arrangements if you need help.
Noosa/Rainbow Beach to Emu Park
From Noosa or Rainbow Beach, we'll make our way to Tin Can Bay to catch sight of the wild dolphins playing in the ocean, then head back to Noosa for a bit of chilled out beach time. Later, we'll drive to Cooroy to take a train up to Rockhampton, where we'll be met by a private bus that'll take us to Emus Beach Resort. Choose to go on an optional Treasure Island tour of Great Keppel Island where the group will go on a treasure hunt, take a Bluff Point turtle walk, and enjoy and evening meal and included accommodation, or chill out and do your own thing.
If you'd like to go on the optional Treasure Island tour with accommodation, budget around 99AUD/£58, or if you just want to pay for accommodation for the night 35AUD/£20.
Emu Park to Airlie Beach
Spend the majority of the day at Emus Beach Resort and grab an evening meal before catching an overnight train to Airlie Beach, a gorgeous tropical shoreline and gateway to the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef – absolute must-visits while you're there. Go on a rainforest hike, with amazing views of Airlie & the Whitsunday Islands, then dive straight into an abundance of awesome optional activities.
Food and accommodation is totally your choice while you're in Airlie Beach. Your tour guide can help you make arrangements if you need help.
Airlie Beach to Magnetic Island
An early start sees the group travelling by bus, train, and ferry to the stunning Magnetic Island, a beautiful mountainous isle almost half claimed by National Park. Walk around the island with your tour guide or spend some time relaxing beside the pool.
Food and accommodation is totally your choice while you're on Magnetic Island. Your tour guide can help you make arrangements if you need help.
Magnetic Island to Tully
Heading back to the mainland, we'll make the journey, by train, to Tully (just in time for lunch!). You'll have a choice of staying in one of Tully's historic pubs, or camping out in Tully Gorge National Park with a Rainforest Experience add on where you'll get to cool off in a beautiful swimming hole, enjoy a barbecue dinner and stories around the campfire at night, and the next day taking a walk through the forest to learn about the indigenous plants, animal species, and traditional land uses in the area. For those not taking part in the Rainforest Experience, there's plenty to do in Tully, from skydiving at Mission Beach, to rafting.
If you'd like to go on the optional Rainforest Experience with camping, budget around 120AUD/£70, or if you'd prefer to stay at the historic pub for the night 35AUD/£20.
Tully to Cairns
Our final stretch of the journey will be by train from Tully to Cairns. We'll arrive late afternoon where you'll have a chance to go and look around the city before getting ready for a farewell party to mark the end of your epic east coast adventure.
Food and accommodation is totally your choice while you're in Cairns. Your tour guide can help you make arrangements if you need help.
Please note all activities, itineraries and routes are subject to change
- Flexible hop-on hop-off Sydney to Cairns travel pass for up to 12 months' travel
- All transport including the Stray bus between Sydney and Rainbow Beach/Cooroy, fast trains between Cooroy and Cairns, local transfers and return Magnetic Island ferry
- Guidance from local guide and access to Stray web app
- Wine tasting Hunter Valley
- Barrington Tops National Park
- Koala hospital visit, Port Macquarie
- Kangaroo spotting, Emerald Beach
- Canoeing experience, River Retreat
- Angourie Blue Pools, Yamba
- Byron Bay orientation drive
- Danger Point Border Crossing walk
- Carlo Sand Blow Walk, Rainbow Beach
- Dolphin Centre entry, Tin Can Bay
- Bluff Point walk at Emu Park
- Airlie Beach Rainforest hike
- Forts Walk at Magnetic Island
- Tully Gorge National Park Rainforest
- Help arranging accommodation
- 24/7 emergency support
- Flights to and from Australia
- Airport transfers
- Meals and refreshments
- Optional activities
Your tour guide or driver will reserve accommodation along the route for you at our trusted hostels and guesthouses, unless you decide to book accommodation independently. The cost of which will need to be paid locally.
The best thing about travelling on a hop-on hop-off pass is that you're in charge of where you stay (and for how long); so if you fancy staying in a hostel one night and a luxury boutique hotel the next, you can! We can help you arrange accommodation in Sydney and Cairns before you travel, but while you're travelling, the best thing to do if you're unsure is ask your guide to recommend and help you book ongoing accommodation.
The same goes for food – join in with a group barbecue and melt marshmallows around a campfire, treat yourself to a slap up dinner at a decent restaurant, or bag yourself a happy meal when you spot those golden arches – your travel, your choice.
There are, however, some unique overnight stays on route that we would highly recommend. They include:
A night in a private lodge set on the edge of Barrington's national park with river views and its own hot tub, dinner and breakfast included – 60AUD/£35pp.
A night in beautiful beachside accommodation at Spot X Surf Camp, dinner and breakfast included – 60AUD/£35pp.
A night beside the river in a wilderness cabin or swag under the stars, including dinner and breakfast – 50AUD/£30.
Great Keppel Treasure Island
Go on a tour of Great Keppel Island, take part in a fun treasure hunt, go on a Bluff Point turtle walk, and enjoy and evening meal before bedding down for the night – 99AUD/£58.
Enjoy a night's camping in Tully Gorge National Park and get to cool off in a beautiful swimming hole, enjoy a barbecue dinner and stories around the campfire as well as a hike through the forest to learn about the indigenous plants and animal species – 120AUD/£70.
You can choose to start your east coast journey from either Sydney (SYD) or Cairns (CNS), but do allow yourself a bit of time to explore the city you start in before boarding the bus for the first leg of your travels – as you won’t be able to double back.
The minimum age for this trip is 18 years.
All visitors to Australia (except New Zealand residents) require a visa or Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) to enter: these must be obtained before departing. If you're planning on taking paid work whilst in Australia you'll need a Working Holiday Visa. Both types of visa can be applied for online. Please feel free to contact us if you need any more information.
Which Towns Will The Bus Stop At Between Sydney And Cairns?
There are departure and arrival points at the following towns on this route: Sydney, Barrington Tops, Port Macquarie, Spot X, River Retreat, Yamba, Byron Bay, Surfers Paradise, Brisbane, Noosa, Rainbow Beach, Cooroy, Maryborough West (Hervey Bay), Bundaberg, Miriam Vale, Emu Park, Rockhampton, Airlie Beach, Magnetic Island, Townsville, Tully, and Cairns.
When Does My Pass Expire?
Your first day of travel needs to be within twelve months of booking your pass, once your pass has been registered on your first day of travel, you’ll have twelve months to complete your journey before the pass expires.
Can I Miss Out A Section Of Travel On The Pass?
Of course you can! But do bear in mind that if you've booked a departure and decide not to travel that leg without letting our team know, your place will be forfeited for that part of the journey, so you won't be able to travel that section and will need to make your own way to the next pick up station.
Are There Meal Breaks On The Way, Or Is Food Provided?
Food isn’t available on the bus, but meal breaks are scheduled on a number of routes, where you’ll be able to purchase your own food.
Are There Any Items I Can’t Bring With Me On The Bus?
There is a strict ban on any dangerous or illegal items on the bus, cartage of fruit and vegetables between some states is prohibited under state quarantine laws – please check with the driver if you are unsure. Large items such as bikes and surf boards are allowed, subject to space, but will incur an additional charge.
Due to Covid-19, many of our partners and suppliers across the globe are putting in place new procedures and policies regarding health and safety in response to the outbreak. These new measures will adapt and change as the state of travel evolves, and the policies and procedures will vary depending on each trip. Some changes that you may experience on our trips are:
Updated safety & hygiene procedures
Health and safety measures will be adapted by our partners and suppliers, dependent on local laws and restrictions.
Different transport & accommodation
You may find yourself on transport or in accommodation that would not typically be used, such as hostels that are more secluded, or on more private transport. This may vary by trip, or even by individual departure dates.
Most trips include a meeting on arrival with the guide or local team to discuss the trip, and this is an opportunity for you to ask any questions. You should arrive in time to attend these briefings.
Emergency support 24/7
We have a UK based 24/7 emergency phone line if you have a genuine urgent matter that you need attending.
Knowledgeable & Trained Staff
We can help answer any questions or concerns you may have before you depart. Whilst travelling the guide or local team on our trips are there to help, and to ensure the smooth running of our trips.
Should you require medical assistance whilst travelling, the local team or guide will be able to help you get to a point of care. Medical facilities and standards can vary across the glove, so you should ensure you have adequate travel insurance in place.
Varying group sizes
To begin with, many trips will run with amended group sizes, so you may find smaller groups than would be typical. This may vary by trip, or even by individual departure dates.
Whilst there may be changes on our trips, it is vital that you make travelling safer for yourself, your travel companions, the local staff and guides, and the people of the country you are visiting. You should follow all local laws and restrictions, and follow the guidance of the local team. In addition, you can help make travel safer by bringing and using your own face coverings/masks and hand sanitiser, social distance where appropriate, wash your hands frequently, and cover your face when coughing or sneezing.