East Coast Australia Adventure


Start in Sydney, finish in Cairns and leave no stone unturned on this 19-day adventure along Australia’s diverse east coast. You’ll tour all the postcard-perfect spots – snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef and the corals of the Whitsundays, go on a 4WD drive adventure in K’gari (formerly Fraser Island) and immerse yourself in the ancient wonder of Daintree Rainforest. With stops at wineries in the Hunter Valley, the beachside vibes of Byron Bay, Mission Beach, Hervey Bay and more – this is a true-blue intro to everything Australia.

19 days, from

$5,516

per person

GROUP SIZE

16 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

3
Trip code: PZSVC
Style: Original
Theme: Explorer

Details

Countries Visited:  Australia
Accommodation: Hotel (9 nights), Cabins (6 nights), Overnight train (1 night), Holiday Apartments (2 nights)
Transportation: Private vehicle , Ferry , Overnight train , Boat , 4WD
Included Meals:

  • 8 breakfasts
  • 2 lunches
  • 2 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 16

  • Witness the expansive and iconic Great Barrier Reef on a snorkelling adventure and see colourful corals and tropical fish as you swim with turtles off the Daintree coast.

  • Take a 4WD adventure through the breathtaking landscape of K'gari (formerly Fraser Island). Ride across sand dunes and vast golden beaches in search of the iconic outback creature – the dingo.

  • Visit Daintree Rainforest – the oldest rainforest in the world – and Cape Tribulation on a stunning day that ticks off two UNESCO World Heritage areas (nature lovers rejoice!).

  • Soak up the beachside vibes of Byron Bay with a free day in this surfer’s haven. Go for a dip in the ocean, take a kayaking tour, listen to buskers by the beach, join a yoga class or just hang loose in a quirky café.

  • Embark on a full-day tour of the Whitsundays, where you’ll head out on a bushwalk to Hill Inlet Lookout, go snorkelling among giant tropical fish and corals and then relax on the 7 km stretch of Whitehaven Beach as the sun descends.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Sydney - Hunter Valley

Welcome to Sydney! Or Warrane, in the language of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, who are the Traditional Owners of the land on which Sydney is now located. Your adventure starts with a welcome meeting at 9 am at your hotel. After, you’ll head out for a walkabout around The Rocks with a local Aboriginal guide. Walk through Hicksons Reserve, Campbells Cove and Cumberland Walk as your guide teaches you about this area's history, land and water use, and spiritual connection with the First Nations peoples. You’ll have amazing views of the harbour along the way, including Sydney Harbour Bridge and the CBD across the water. After your journey into the Dreaming, grab some lunch before heading north to the famous winery region – the beautiful Hunter Valley. Tonight, you’ll visit a local distillery for a gin and vodka tasting and then head to an optional welcome dinner in Cessnock in the heart of the valley to get to know your fellow travellers.  

Day 2: Hunter Valley - Crowdy Bay NP - Port Macquarie

Today, you’ll continue your exploration of the Hunter Valley region with a visit to an organic winery for a guided tour and wine tasting. Time permitting, you’ll head to another nearby winery where you might like to grab lunch and opt for another tasting. Then, drive to your accommodation just outside of Port Macquarie along the scenic coastal route, stopping at Crowdy Bay National Park along the way to stretch your legs on a short hike – keep your eyes peeled for whales off the coast as you wind your way by secluded coves, beaches and mountains.

Day 3: Port Macquarie - Dorrigo NP - Coffs Harbour

This morning, you’ll visit the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie, where you’ll meet the volunteers who work there and take a self-guided walk through the conservation area, learning about how this organisation provides care and treatment for koalas needing rehabilitation. Then, drive to Bellingen, where you might like to grab lunch and enjoy some free time. Continue to Dorrigo National Park via the gorgeous Waterfall Way, known for its lush, sub-tropical rainforest – the last piece of the ancient subcontinent Gondwanaland. Few places on Earth contain so many plants and animals relatively unchanged from their ancestors. Pop into the Rainforest Centre in the park, take a stroll along the skywalk and explore the rainforest with your group. Then, if you have time, head to Dangar Falls and maybe take a refreshing dip in its cascading waters. 

Day 4: Coffs Harbour - Byron Bay

Next up is Byron Bay – a laid-back surf paradise with boundless coastline, sand and friendly locals. But first, you’ll start your day with a walking tour of Red Rock with a local First Nations guide. Learn about the culture of the Gumbaynggirr people through stories, songs and the uses of native plants. Walk alongside The Solitary Island Marine Park Waterways and connect with Country as you learn more about the Dreaming and sample some local bush food. After, you’ll stop in Yamba where you might like to grab some lunch, before visiting Byron Bay Lighthouse for a unique photo opportunity and the chance to spot some dolphins, whales and other marine life.

Day 5: Byron Bay

Get up early this morning if you want to catch the sunrise – they are pretty ace from Australia's most easterly point – but if you prefer, you can sleep in too! It’s a free day today, so maybe kick-start the morning with a swim in the ocean or hunt down the best cold-brew coffee from one of Byron’s quirky cafes. Maybe hit the water this afternoon and take a sea kayaking tour or learn how to ride the waves with a beginner’s surf lesson. Find your centre with a yoga class or just hang out on the beach. Tonight, why not grab a drink at one of the local pubs or bars?

Day 6: Byron Bay - Brunswick Heads - Brisbane

This morning, head to The Farm – a collection of micro-businesses on a working farm focusing on growing, feeding and educating through community farming. Maybe grab some breakfast here and pick up a few things to have for lunch later on. Continue to Brunswick Heads for a 2-hour rainforest river cruise – glide along Brunswick River and enjoy some refreshments as you learn about the environmental history of the area, hear some local bush stories and watch the still water pass you by. This afternoon, continue to Brisbane where you’ll spend the night, checking out the famous Surfers Paradise along the way for some beach time. Tonight, say goodbye to any group members who may be finishing their travels here in Brisbane.

Day 7: Brisbane - Noosa - Hervey Bay

The next part of your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 10 am where you will meet any new group members joining. Then drive to Noosa Heads – a serene town in Queensland by the sea – where you can grab some lunch, relax on the beach or go shopping in the cute boutique shops. If you’d like, maybe use your free time here to do part of the Noosa Coastal Walk and look out for local flora and fauna. This afternoon, you’ll hit the road again for the coastal city of Hervey Bay, where you’ll spend the night.

Day 8: K'gari - Hervey Bay

After breakfast this morning, you’ll head to the stunning K'gari (previously known as Fraser Island) by ferry for a day trip. The name change is a major milestone in a long-running campaign by the Butchulla people, whose original name for this place means ‘paradise’ – and you’ll soon see why. Set off on a 4WD adventure through the breathtaking landscape. Start off with an adventurous drive along 75 Mile Beach Road – one of the best coastal drives in the country. Take a refreshing dive into the crystal-clear water of Boorangoora (Lake McKenzie) – an island icon. The lake is world famous for its turquoise colours and delicate white, 92% pure silica sand. Take another dip, this time in the fresh waters of Eli Creek, then visit the Maheno shipwreck and the coloured sands of the pinnacles. From tropical dense rainforest to wild offshore waters, you’ll witness the contrasting fauna and terrain of this truly unique island as you venture across undulating dunes and vast golden beaches in search of the iconic outback creature – the dingo. Tonight, head back to Hervey Bay where you can rest and recharge. 

Day 9: Hervey Bay - Overnight train

Enjoy a free day in Hervey Bay today – one of the best sites for observing humpback whales during migration season. If the month is right, maybe spend the morning whale watching on the water, or rent a bike to cycle along the foreshore. Or you could take a leisurely stroll along the water’s edge, go kayaking or just enjoy one of the many gorgeous beaches nearby. Tonight, make sure you pick up some snacks for your overnight train. Drive to Maryborough West and take the train to Proserpine, just south of Airlie Beach.

Day 10: Airlie Beach

Your new leader will meet you at Proserpine train station early this morning. Head to their favourite sunrise spot as a group – the best way to start your day – and watch the land come alive. Then, you’ll head for an optional breakfast and caffeine hit at a local café in Airlie Beach. Your day is free to explore this coastal paradise dotted with palm trees. This hub town of the popular Whitsundays has beer gardens, trendy cafes and a lawn-fringed swimming lagoon. Maybe stroll around and explore, visit some local swimming spots for a refreshing dip or find a seat at one of the many bars and watch the sun sparkle on the water. Get to know your new leader tonight with an optional group dinner. 

Day 11: Great Barrier Reef - Whitehaven Beach - Airlie Beach

Today you’ll head out on a full-day tour of Whitehaven Beach, in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. Start with a guided walk to the spectacular Hill Inlet Lookout, where you can take photos of the sweeping ocean views. Then, hit the water and go snorkelling at Border Island, Dumbell Island or one of the secret spots your tour guide will show you. See coral reefs, colourful fish, turtles, clams and other marine life. Then, enjoy an included lunch and take a boat to the southern end of the 7 km stretch of Whitehaven Beach, taking the chance to kick back and relax in the sun after a day of outdoor adventures. Tonight, maybe head to one of the local bars for a cocktail (or two) and watch the sunset.

Day 12: Townsville - Paluma Range NP - Lucinda

This morning, you’ll hit the road again for a scenic road trip day to Townsville. Head to Castle Hill lookout when you arrive and take some photos of the gorgeous views of the town and ocean below. You’ll have some free time for lunch and to chill by the water. Carry on to Big Crystal Creek in the Paluma Range National Park, where you can take a stroll, swim in the creek or just relax among the sounds of local birdlife. This afternoon, you’ll head to Lucinda, where you’ll spend the night. Ask your leader for the best seaside spots for dinner and maybe enjoy a night walk to watch the sun go down.

Day 13: Mungalla Station - Mission Beach

This morning after breakfast, drive to Mungalla station, where you’ll meet the First Nations owners of the land – the Nywaigi people – and learn about their culture and history, including about the brutal conflicts with European settlers. The story you’ve been told will come to life as you visit an exhibition of pictures within the historic homestead. Then head out and explore the Mungalla wetlands in search of aquatic birdlife. Drive to Mission Beach this afternoon – a small coastal town with expansive beaches, palm trees and opportunities to explore the Great Barrier Reef. Stop in Tully along the way to stretch your legs, then ask your leader for the best way to spend your night. 

Day 14: Atherton Tablelands - Cairns

This morning after breakfast, drive to Millaa Millaa Falls for a nature walk and a quick swim in the cascades. Stop in Atherton for lunch at a local cafe Take the Curtain Fig boardwalk to see the iconic tree this park was named after – this park protects endangered mabi forest and a large green fig tree with extensive aerial roots that drop 15 m to the forest floor, forming a ‘curtain’. After, walk to Lake Eacham – the site of an old volcano and home to Australia’s largest python! Here, maybe take a swim (just keep an eye out for the resident freshwater crocodile) or continue your walk. This afternoon, you’ll drive to Cairns, where you you may say goodbye to some of the group who are finishing their travels here. Tonight meet any new travellers joining at a Welcome Meeting at 6pm.

Day 15: Cairns

This morning after breakfast, head out on a First Nations-guided eco-tour of Mandingal Bay. The traditional owners of this land will teach you about Country, where mountains are home to rainforests and vast wetlands are home to local birdlife. Walk to Hills Creek, where the sea meets the fresh water and attend a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony. Join your guide on a rainforest trail and learn about ancient Aboriginal traditions, customs and artefacts as you listen to the sounds of nature. After, you have a free afternoon in Cairns to grab some lunch, head to a local art gallery, explore the aquarium or just soak up some sun on the promenade.

Day 16: Kuranda - Mareeba

This morning, enjoy breakfast and then drive to Kuranda – perched at the top of a mountain. You’ll have some time to explore this charming rainforest town and its surroundings at your own pace. Maybe check out the famous Kuranda Markets, take the Skyrail, or relax at one of the town’s many restaurants and cafes, where outdoor dining is one of the joys of the cooler mountain climate. After, head to nearby Barron Falls and walk to the lookout for the best photo spots. Continue to Mareeba, where you’ll take a leader-led orientation walk. This afternoon, visit the Tolga Bat Hospital – Australia’s largest bat rehabilitation facility. Here you’ll learn about the facility's research, advocacy and community education and make some new upside-down friends. Tonight, you’ll head to the Mareeba Wetlands for an exciting wildlife spotting experience at sunset, hosted by Forever Wild – an organisation that creates community and nature-based solutions to the climate and biodiversity crises. After dark falls, head back to your accommodation for an included group dinner.

Day 17: Mareeba - Mossman Gorge - Daintree NP - Cape Tribulation

This morning, maybe head out bright and early for a unique birdwatching experience in the wetlands – the best time to witness the local birdlife in their natural habitat! Then, enjoy some breakfast and head to the idyllic Mossman Gorge for a refreshing morning swim and a nature walk. After, you’ll continue to not one but two UNESCO World Heritage areas – Cape Tribulation and Daintree Rainforest. Take the Jindalba circuit – Jindalba is the traditional Kuku Yalanji people's name for this area, meaning 'foot of the mountain'. Take the scenic boardwalk and immerse yourself in the sounds and smells of the rainforest, keeping your eye out for local birdlife. Daintree is over 135 million years old, making it the oldest rainforest in the world! This afternoon, continue exploring the area or kick back and relax at your accommodation.

Day 18: Great Barrier Reef - Cape Tribulation

After breakfast, head out on an early morning tour of the Great Barrier Reef, where you’ll swim with turtles and snorkel in the pristine waters off the Daintree Coast, visiting two different snorkel locations. What better way to spend a morning!? The rest of the day is free to relax on the beach, swim, take a hike or just find a good spot to sit and people-watch. This is a nature-lovers paradise, so there are plenty of activities and laidback options to choose from.

Day 19: Daintree National Park - Palm Cove - Cairns

This morning visit Kulki Lookout, where you can stroll along the boardwalk for some iconic views of Cape Tribulation and steep, rainforest-covered slopes that meet the sandy beaches below. Then, visit Mason’s Swimming Hole for a gorgeous tropical swim among lush flora and friendly fish and turtles. When you’re refreshed from a dip in the water, head to Madja boardwalk for the scenic circuit that takes you through dense lowland forests and mangrove-lined creeks. You'll then continue to Cairns via the idyllic Palm Cove, where you'll have time to explore and have lunch. On arrival in Cairns your trip will come to an end at around 4 pm. If you want to extend your stay and explore Cairns further, just speak to your booking agent.