Mick, marvellous Mick! Our most popular pass will take you from Sydney to Cairns. You’ll leave no stone uncovered, exploring cities, islands, rainforests and the rest! Click here to see the route.
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Flexible bus transport
Travel on comfortable buses and trains and hop-on hop-off anywhere along the route.
Local Tour Guide
Far more than just a guide! These guys are invaluable sources of local knowledge and support.
Have a bed reserved for you at every Stray overnight stop. Book and pay via our Stray Mate app.
12 month travel pass
Your pass is valid for 12 months from the first day of travel.
- 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
Not included: The cost of your accommodation and extra 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, often at an exclusive Stray price!
Is this trip right for you?
✓ Do you want to explore with a group of like-minded travellers?
✓ Do you want to take the pressure off, kick back relax and let someone else do the driving?
✓ Do you want to explore ALL of Australia's East Coast and visit some of those harder to reach, remote destinations?
✓ Do you want the freedom to hop-on and off along the route?
✓ Do you want exclusive Stray discounts on accommodation and activities?
✓ Do you want to start in Sydney and finish in Cairns?
The Mick Freestyle Pass is a beaut choice for you!
Want some accommodation, activities and meals included in the price? Check out the Mick Freestyle Tour.
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.
- Barrington Tops - Go tubing down the river and then relax in a giant hot tub on the edge of a national park with your fellow Stray Mates!
- River Retreat - Head out on canoes to spot wildlife, before cooking a group BBQ under the stars.
- Spot X - Shaka brah! There really is no better place to learn to surf and catch some waves along the East Coast.
- Emu Park - Snorkels at the ready... Emu Park is the gateway to the incredible Great Keppel Island, home to some of the most diverse marine wildlife on the East Coast.
- Tully Rainforest Experience - Get off the grid in the world heritage Tully National Park, chase waterfalls and tell stories around the campfire.
Get inspired and start planning your trip!
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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.
N.B. Hop off at Rainbow Beach or Noosa to visit Fraser Island and at Airlie Beach to visit the Whitsundays.
G’day mate, and welcome to your Stray adventure! We depart the big city of Sydney early this morning to make our way to the Hunter Valley wine region for a tasting at an award-winning vineyard. From there, we carry on through the backcountry to our first stunning Strademark stop right on the edge of the World Heritage-listed Barrington Tops National Park. At our Stray exclusive accommodation overlooking the Barrington River, you can choose to go river tubing on the mild rapids, or play table tennis, pool and darts at the lodge. Finish the day with a shared group dinner and a scenic soak in the massive hot tub.
We depart after breakfast and journey north through the remote countryside back torwards the coast. Our next stop is the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, where you can get a closer look at Australia’s laziest (and arguably cutest) marsupials. Check out the information centre to learn all about the hospital’s efforts to rehabilitate, protect and preserve the koalas. After this, we head to Emerald Beach, an iconic kangaroo hangout, where if you’re lucky you can spot them hopping along the beach. We arrive at our beachfront overnight stop Spot X in the early evening.
The morning at Spot X is all yours. Learn to surf in some of the best beginner waves in Australia, or for those who already know how to hang 10, rent a board and show us what you can do! If surfing isn’t your thing, you can swim and chill out on the beach, or sink into a hammock at the Camp. We depart around midday, grabbing a bite to eat in town before travelling to our relaxing, rural River Retreat. Spend the afternoon on a guided canoe trip down the Nymboida River to learn about the area, which is home to amazing birds, snakes, and the incredibly shy platypus, and unwind with a refreshing dip in the river. This evening, we’ll gather round a bonfire and sleep in wilderness cabins or tents beneath the stars.
Next up - Byron Bay, known as the most chilled out town in Australia! On the way there, we stop in the picturesque seaside town of Yamba for lunch. We'll also visit the Angourie Blue Pool, an old quarry that was accidentally (and awesomely) filled by an underground spring, meaning you can now cool off in an epic fresh water pool right on the beach! Upon arriving in Byron Bay, we’ll take you on an orientation drive around town, showing you the points of interest and the top spots for food and shopping.
You have a full free day in Byron Bay to “cheer up, slow down, and chill out” as the town’s famous welcome sign instructs. And there is plenty to do in this laidback hippy town: practice your surfing skills down at the beach, walk to mainland Australia’s most easterly point at the Cape Byron Lighthouse, search for dolphins and other marine life on a sea kayaking trip, visit the alternative town of Nimbin, or wander around town sampling the delicious food and beverages on offer. Tonight, get out to experience Byron’s eclectic nightlife – there is always something going on!
This morning we cross the border from New South Wales into Queensland. Our destination today is Rainbow Beach, but those with more time might want to hop off and explore touristy Surfer’s Paradise on the Gold Coast, Queensland's capital city of Brisbane, or the upmarket resort town of Noosa. After a big travel day, you'll welcome the chance to stretch your legs this evening with a walk to Carlo Sand Blow in Rainbow Beach to catch a gorgeous sunset.
After stopping briefly to pick up those who stayed in Noosa, we depart from Gympie on our first train journey of the trip. Kick back for a scenic train ride to Rockhampton, where we meet the bus and head to our next Strademark destination, Emu Park. While at Emu Park you’ll have the option to visit Great Keppel Island, snorkel with turtles and hike to some secluded white sand beaches (extra cost); or you can choose to do your own thing!
Please Note: Some trips may have an extra night at Emu Park.
Today we recommend opting to visit the highlight of the area, Great Keppel Island, a tropical island paradise at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. Catch the ferry for a day of snorkelling or kayaking (extra cost) before exploring the island itself in search of the perfect white sand beach for a little afternoon rest and relaxation. Tonight, we’ll gather together for dinner at Emu’s Beach Resort before we catch our first overnight train to Airlie Beach.
You have a full free day in Airlie Beach to soak up the tropical vibes. Join a multi-day sailing adventure around the famous Whitsunday Islands, jump out of a plane over the beautiful tropics, or just relax and spend your day discovering the local area. There are some beautiful rainforest hikes in the vicinity, and a splash in the lagoon is a must do on a hot afternoon.
Please Note: Some trips may have an extra night at Airlie Beach.
You'll be up with the parakeets this morning with a smorgasbord of transport to catch today. Travelling by bus, train and ferry we arrive at our destination of Magnetic Island in the late morning. Welcome to paradise! Nearly 50% of ‘Maggie Island’ is national park land, and it's chockfull of amazing beaches and abundant wildlife. Your guide will join you on a walk to the Forts Complex for incredible views of the island and the opportunity to see koalas in the wild. Otherwise you can do more exploring on your own, hire a 4x4 and cruise around the island or just relax by the pool.
Please Note: Some trips may have an extra night at Magnetic Island.
We catch the ferry back to the mainland in the morning, and travel by train to Tully, arriving at lunch time. From here you can join our Stray exclusive Rainforest Experience (additional cost) or continue on the train to Cairns. Those who have chosen the Rainforest Experience will travel by bus into the heart of the stunning Tully Gorge National Park. We’ll cool off in a beautiful swimming hole this afternoon, before heading to our camp for a BBQ dinner (included) and spend the evening sharing stories around the campfire.
This morning you’ll have the opportunity to go white water rafting on the mighty Tully River through World Heritage-listed rainforest or skydive at Mission Beach. Alternatively, you can take a guided walk through the forest and learn more about the wildlife and plants that inhabit it. In the afternoon, we jump on the train to our final destination, Cairns. We arrive by late afternoon so you'll have time to get ready to party tonight and mark the end of your epic East Coast adventure.
Please Note: Some trips may have an additional night in Tully. You can do the rafting adventure from here or jump out of a plane over Mission Beach!
The days and times shown below are for the current season. To see future timetables, please visit our Timetables page. N.B. These are subject to change based on weather.
- Tuesday (Minimum 13 days, free day at Magnetic Island)
- Friday (Minimum 13 days, free day at Magnetic Island)
- Sunday (Minimum 14 days, free days at Emu Park & Tully)
For trips departing after Oct 1 2019:
- Monday (Minimum 14 days, free day at Magnetic Island)
- Wednesday (Minimum 15 days, extra free day in Byron Bay, free day at Magnetic Island)
- Saturday (Minimum 15 days, extra free day at Emu Park, free day in Tully)
Sydney to Barrington Tops
|Barrington Tops (Arrive)||15:00||15:00||15:00|
Barrington Tops to Spot X Surf Camp
|Barrington Tops (Depart)||09:00||09:00||09:00|
|Spot X Surf Camp (Arrive)||17:00||17:00||17:00|
Spot X Surf Camp to River Retreat
|Spot X Surf Camp (Depart)||11:30||11:30||11:30|
|River Retreat (Arrive)||14:00||14:00||14:00|
River Retreat to Byron Bay
|River Retreat (Depart)||09:30||09:30||09:30|
|Byron Bay (Arrive)||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)||07:00||07:00||07:00|
|Gold Coast (Depart)||09:30||09:30||09:30|
|Rainbow Beach (Arrive)||15:30||15:30||15:30|
Rainbow Beach to Emu Park
|Rainbow Beach (Depart)||09:30||09:30||09:30|
|Maryborough West (Depart)||14:40||14:40||14:40|
|Miriam Vale (Depart)||16:35||16:35||16:35|
|Emu Park (Arrive)||19:30||19:30||19:30|
Emu Park to Airlie Beach (Overnight Train)
|Emu Park (Depart)||21:30||21:30||21:30|
|Airlie Beach (Arrive)||07:20||07:20||07:20|
Free Day in Airlie Beach
|Airlie Beach (Free Day)||Free||Free||Free||Free||Free||Free||Free|
Airlie Beach to Magnetic Island
|Airlie Beach (Depart)||05:05||05:05||05:05|
|Townsville Train Station (Depart)||09:38||09:38||09:38|
|Townsville Ferry Terminal (Depart)||10:30||10:30||10:30|
|Magnetic Island (Arrive)||11:30||11:30||11:30|
Maggie Island to Rainforest Experience (via Tully)
|Magnetic Island (Depart)||07:50||07:50||07:50|
|Magnetic Island Ferry Terminal (Depart)||08:20||08:20||08:20|
|Townsville Ferry Terminal (Depart)||08:50||08:50||08:50|
|Townsville Train Station (Depart)||09:53||09:53||09:53|
|Rainforest Experience (Arrive)||15:00||15:00||15:00|
Rainforest Experience to Cairns (via Tully)
|Rainforest Experience (Depart)||11:00||11:00||11:00|
|Tully Train Station (Depart)||13:57||13:57||13:57|
Need to Know
Some key details...
- Transport - Travel by bus, train and even ferry for those heading to Magnetic Island! All included in the price of your pass and organised by Stray.
- Guides - Your Stray guide is your go-to for entertaining commentary, interesting facts, crazy stories and travel advice. Between Sydney and Rainbow Beach, your Guide is also your Bus Driver. Between Rainbow Beach and Cairns, where we travel on the fast, comfortable trains, you'll have In-Location Guides who will meet you at the station and show you around.
- Validity - This Freestyle Pass is valid for 12 months from your first day of travel.
- Hopping on/off - Hop on and off as much as you like along the travel route. To hop back on, simply book your next travel date and pickup location through our Stray Mate app
- Minimum Days - You don't need to hop off if you're short on time - you can travel your pass in the "Minimum Days". There are non-travel days throughout the route so you will not be travelling everyday.
- Departures - Buses/trains run to a seasonal timetable with multiple departures per week.
- Booking Buses - Use the Stray Mate app to manage your trip - you'll receive log in details in your Booking Confirmation email. If you're on a short timeframe, we recommend booking all your buses in advance.
- Accommodation - Book Stray preferred accommodation as you go via the Stray Mate app - there will be a dorm bed allocated to you at each overnight stop providing you book via the app 24 hours before.
- Activities - Book activities as you go via the Stray Mate app.
- Stray Travellers - Our travellers are from all over the world, are energetic, adventurous and mainly aged between 20-35. 75% of our travellers are travelling solo.