Meet Mick. Like the beautiful Scandinavian at the hostel, Mick is our most popular pass.
An epic adventure taking in all the hot spots from Sydney to Cairns, as well as some local secrets that end up being the highlight of your trip to Australia. Whether you’re excited to party in Byron Bay, learn to surf in Spot X or get tropical in Magnetic Island – this trip ticks all those bucket list boxes and so much more.
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Scroll through the gallery below to see the kinds of the things you'll get up to!
Our mission is to get you off the beaten track amongst authentic local culture and our experienced crew has chosen some incredible destinations so you can see more and do more. 'Strademark' Places are the places you're less likely to find in the guide book but the ones you'll be talking about long after the adventure has ended.
"Great way to make your way up the east coast and easy as to make new travel mates while you’re at it! Saw some amazing sights and views, had some great encounters and a special shoutout to the guides as they were great!”
You’ll be guided the whole route by some of our fun, hilarious and knowledgeable local characters. Not only will these legends be your friends but they will also give you a hand in booking anything you want along the way.
You'll be travelling by bus and train up the coast, so there's no need to stress about how to get places. Just sit back and enjoy the ride.
- 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
- Bluff Point Walk, Emu Park
- Airlie Orientation Walk
- Return ferry to Magnetic Island
- Forts Walk, Magnetic Island
- Tully Gorge National Park Rainforest
If you want to book those bucket list adventures like The Whitsundays and Fraser Island, you can add on an activity through our Stray Mate app to book your spot in time for when you arrive. You can also use it to book all your accommodation as you travel.
Not included: The cost of your accommodation and activities is not included in a hop-on hop-off pass. You have the flexibility to choose what suits your budget and pay-as-you-go. These can be booked via the Stray Mate app or with your driver, often at an exclusive Stray price!
Have you seen our newest product, the Mick Freestyle Tour? It's just like the Mick Hop-On, Hop-Off Pass, but has the first night's accommodation and heaps of awesome activities included in addition to your transport between Sydney and Cairns. Its the best option for the backpacker looking to do it all and spend less time planning!
- Tuesday (Minimum 13 days, free day at Magnetic Island)
- Wednesday (January - March only. Minimum 14 days, free days at Airlie Beach & Tully)
- Friday (Minimum 13 days, free day at Magnetic Island)
- Sunday (Minimum 14 days, free days at Emu Park & Tully)
The itinerary below is for the current season. Given the nature of our trips and lack of control over weather, what we do each day might occasionally vary.
We depart the big city and head to the Hunter Valley wine area for a tasting at one of Australia’s most famous vineyards. We then travel through the backcountry to our stunning stop on the edge of Barrington Tops National Park (a World Heritage Listed Area). We stay in our own private lodge overlooking the Barrington River. You have the option to ride an inner tube down a scenic part of the river (additional cost), then in the evening have a few drinks and relax in the hot tub.
Wake up in Barrington and take some time to enjoy the scenic property. In the afternoon we head north, but not before stopping at a koala hospital to learn all about their efforts in preserving koalas. We'll also take a pit stop at a nature reserve to spot wild kangaroos hopping along the incredible coastline. We arrive at our waterfront accommodation at Spot X in the early evening where you'll have the chance to spend a day (or a few) learning how to surf.
We have a morning of leisure at Spot X. You can relax on the beach or we recommend taking part in a group surf lesson (additional cost) or hopping off to do a Surf and Stay. In the afternoon we travel to our River Retreat and go for a guided canoeing trip, spotting wildlife along the way. In the evening we learn how to cook some damper and toast marshmallows around the campfire. We sleep in the wilderness cabins or in swags under the stars.
We leave our camp early, hop in our bus and head up towards Byron Bay, Australia's famous surf and arts town. We stop in the picturesque town of Yamba along the way for lunch where you can have a walk around or a swim in the Angourie Blue Pool. We have an orientation drive on the way to Byron Bay to help you get your bearings.
Byron is a popular spot to hop off and spend some time soaking in the small beach town and all that it has to offer from great food and drink, surfing and fun day trips around the hinterland.
Explore, learn to surf, party, do a dolphin kayak trip, visit the alternative town of Nimbin (additional costs), or just relax and take in the laidback, hippy vibe. We recommend taking a walk to the lighthouse to view the Australian mainland’s most easterly point.
We depart Byron Bay and cruise up to the New South Wales/Queensland border and hop out at Danger Point to stretch our legs and check out the view of one of Australia’s best surf spots, Snapper Rock. We then drive into the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Noosa before we continue onto Rainbow Beach for the night.
We depart in the morning, heading to the train station to start our first Queensland Rail journey. We travel by train to Rockhampton and then are met by a private bus, which takes us to the Emu's Beach Resort. We are welcomed onto the resort and find out more about our options for the next day or so. We have an awesome Treasure Island Adventure option which includes accommodation, return ferry transfers to Great Keppel Island, treasure hunt, Bluff Point Turtle Walk and an evening meal on the second day. Or you can choose to go at it on your own and pay for accommodation and do your own thing.
For those that have the Treasure Island package, we depart early to head to the tropical paradise Great Keppel Island at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. Relax or have a go at snorkeling or kayaking (extra cost) before taking part in the famous Stray Treasure Hunt. Follow the clues to win the treasure! We head back to the mainland late afternoon with a quick stop to go on a walk to Bluff Point. Have dinner at Emus Beach Resort before we catch the train in the evening and travel overnight to Airlie Beach - the gateway to the beautiful Whitsunday Islands. We grab some brekky when we arrive and your guide will give you a brief walking orientation tour of Airlie.
Note: Depending which day you depart Noosa/Rainbow you may have an extra day at Emu Park and you can choose to spend your 2nd night on Great Keppel Island. If the weather is bad you can also choose to visit the local crocodile farm for an additional cost
We start early with a local bus to the train, a ferry out to the beautiful 'Maggie Island', and a local transfer to the accommodation. There is so much to explore on the island, as nearly 50% of it is national park with amazing beaches and abundant wildlife. Your guide will join you on a walk around the island; otherwise you can do more exploring or just relax by the pool. Depending on which day you depart, you may have a free day to spend on Magnetic Island.
We travel back to the mainland on the ferry, travel by train to Tully – getting in at around lunchtime. Today you have the option of taking part in Stray’s exclusive Rainforest Experience. We travel by bus into the amazing rainforest of Tully Gorge National Park. Cool off with a swim in a beautiful swimming hole, before a BBQ dinner and stories around the campfire.
Note: If you are not keen on camping you can express straight to Cairns on this day.
We wake early at our rainforest camp for breakfast and then embark on an interpretative walk through the forest, learning about the traditional indigenous usage of the land. We then head back to Tully and jump on the train to our final destination, Cairns. We arrive late afternoon, then get ready to party tonight to celebrate and farewell the end of your East Coast adventure. Cairns is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, one of the Seven Wonders of the World- a must see.
Note: Depending on which day you depart, you may have a free day/night to spend in Tully before heading to Cairns. We recommend doing one of the famous Tully rafting trips or going skydiving at Mission Beach on this day.
The days and times shown below are for the current season (1 Oct - 31 Dec 18). To see future timetables, please visit our Timetables page.
These are subject to change based on weather.
- Wednesday (from January - March only)
Sydney to Barrington Tops
|Barrington Tops (Arrive)||15:00||15:00||15:00||15:00|
Barrington Tops to Spot X Surf Camp
|Barrington Tops (Depart)||09:00||08:00||08:00||09:00|
|Spot X Surf Camp (Arrive)||17:00||15:00||15:00||17:00|
Spot X to River Retreat
|Spot X Surf Camp (Depart)||12:30||12:30||12:30||12:30|
|River Retreat (Arrive)||15:00||15:00||15:00||15:00|
River Retreat to Byron Bay
|River Retreat (Depart)||09:30||09:30||09:30||09:30|
|Byron Bay (Arrive)||15:00||15:00||15:00||15:00|
Free Day in Byron Bay
|Byron Bay (Free Day)||Free||Free||Free||Free||Free||Free||Free|
Byron Bay to Rainbow Beach
|Byron Bay (Depart)||07:30||07:30||07:30||07:30|
|Gold Coast (Depart)||08:30||08:30||08:30||08:30|
|Rainbow Beach (Arrive)||14:30||14:30||14:30||14:30|
Rainbow Beach to Emu Park
|Rainbow Beach (Depart)||10:00||10:00||10:00||10:00|
|Maryborough West (Depart)||14:40||14:40||14:40||14:40|
|Miriam Vale (Depart)||16:35||16:35||16:35||16:35|
|Emu Park (Arrive)||19:30||19:30||19:30||19:30|
Emu Park to Airlie Beach
|Emu Park (Depart)||21:30||21:30||21:30||21:30|
|Airlie Beach (Arrive)||07:20||07:20||07:20||07:20|
Airlie Beach to Magnetic Island
|Airlie Beach (Depart)||05:05||05:05||05:05||05:05|
|Townsville Train Station (Depart)||09:38||09:38||09:38||09:38|
|Townsville Ferry Terminal (Depart)||10:30||10:30||10:30||10:30|
|Magnetic Island (Arrive)||11:30||11:30||11:30||11:30|
Magnetic Island to Rainforest Experience
|Magnetic Island (Depart)||07:50||07:50||07:50||07:50|
|Magnetic Island Ferry Terminal (Depart)||08:20||08:20||08:20||08:20|
|Townsville Ferry Terminal (Depart)||08:50||08:50||08:50||08:50|
|Townsville Train Station (Depart)||09:53||09:53||09:53||09:53|
|Rainforest Experience (Arrive)||15:00||15:00||15:00||15:00|
Rainforest Experience to Cairns
|Rainforest Experience (Depart)||11:00||11:00||11:00||11:00|
|Tully Train Station (Depart)||13:57||13:57||13:57||13:57|
How It Works
Stray's operates a private transport network using comfortable air conditioned buses. The buses are driven by qualified, knowledgeable guides who will lead you on a true adventure around our carefully thought out route, offering the mix of iconic 'hot spots' and special 'off the beaten track' destinations we refer to as STRADEMARK places.
Best of all you have total freedom to hop on and off the bus at destinations along the way so you can spend more time in the places you love.
HOW DO YOU HOP ON AND OFF THE BUS/TRAINS?
‘Hop off’ the bus/trains anywhere along the route, even places in between the designated stops. Either plan to hop off in advance or do it spur of the moment – it’s up to you!
To hop back on, simply book your next travel date and pickup location through our Stray Mate app (you'll receive log in info after you've booked).
The buses run on a regular timetable with multiple departures a week so you can plan ahead too.
Your pass is valid for up to 12 months from your first day of travel, meaning you can hop on and off as often as you like for up to a year.
Please note: if you're heading to Magnetic Island your pass also includes ferry tickets
Short on time?
WHAT ABOUT ACCOMMODATION?
At all of Stray's overnight stops along the route, you'll have a dorm bed reserved at our preferred accommodation. Simply confirm with your guide each day and pay on arrival. Its that easy.If you choose to hop-off and stay a few nights, it is your responsibility to book those extra nights in. If you'd like a private room, ask your driver, but note, these are subject to availability on the day.
WHAT ACTIVITIES CAN I DO?There are over heaps activities on offer! Whether you are want to visit The Whitsundays, Fraser Island or five The Great Barrier Reef you can see our extra activities here or book an activity package with your pass.
WHO TRAVELS WITH STRAY?
Our travellers are an energetic outgoing crowd who share a common objective: to have a great time! Most are aged between 18 - 30 although we have no maximum age because we believe age doesn't matter - it's more about having a thirst for adventure! We get a wide range of nationalities from all over the world with the majority from UK, Europe and America. Plenty of our travellers are travelling solo and some travel as part of a couple or group of friends.