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Home. Our Trips » Tours » SYDNEY TO CAIRNS - 21 Days


Got a few weeks but want to experience the best of The East Coast? This epic Sydney to Cairns East Coast package is perfect.

We’ve taken our 16-day tour package and expanded it to include even more fun. Not only have we included all the essential stops such as an incredible Whitsundays sailing adventure, the fun-filled hippy town of Byron Bay, and the Queensland rainforest, but we’ve also added a few bonus spots to make this tour even better.  The addition of stops like Myella Farm Stay and the Great Barrier Reef will make this extraordinary 21 day East Coast Tour the trip of a lifetime.

Travelling in a group of like-minded people, you will explore Sydney to Cairns led by our team of professional, experienced guides to see the ‘real’ Australia and meet some true Aussie locals.

This East Coast time saver and budget-conscious package takes in all the best bits of the most popular route in Australia, with your accommodation and activities included along the way.

Tours depart Sydney every Tuesday (except 9 July). If you plan to travel after 30 September 2019, see the new season itinerary here. 


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!”
Maggie Stoker

Read more reviews on our Facebook page



You’ll be guided the whole route by some of our fun, hilarious and knowledgable 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.

  • 20 nights accommodation (including one night on a train)
  • 2 Day/1 Night Fraser Island
  • 1 Day Whitsundays Ocean Rafting
  • Wine tasting Hunter Valley
  • Barrington Tops National Park
  • Koala hospital visit, Port Macquarie
  • Kangaroo spotting, Emerald Beach
  • Surf Lesson at Spot X
  • Canoeing experience, River Retreat
  • Angourie Blue Pools, Yamba
  • Byron Bay orientation drive
  • Carlo Sand Blow Walk, Rainbow Beach
  • Bluff Point walk at Emu Park
  • Myella Farm Stay
  • Airlie Orientation Walk
  • Return ferry to Magnetic Island
  • Forts Walk at Magnetic Island
  • Tully Gorge National Park Rainforest
  • Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef

If you want to add extras like the Blue Mountains in Sydney or kayaking with dolphins in Byron Bay, you can shoot us an email or use our web app to book your spot in time for when you arrive.  You can also use it to book all your accommodation as you travel.






The itinerary below is for the current season. 

If you plan to travel after 30 September 2019, see the new season itinerary here

Given the nature of our trips and lack of control over weather, what we do each day might occasionally vary. 

Day 1: Sydney to Barrington Tops

Meet at 7.45am outside of Wake Up Hostel with your Stray guide.

First, we head to the Hunter Valley to kick off the day with wine tasting at one of Australia’s most famous vineyards. We then head through the backcountry to our stunning stop on the edge of the World Heritage Listed Barrington Tops National Park. We stay in a private lodge overlooking the Barrington River. You have the option to ride a tube down a scenic part of the river (included). Relax and enjoy the incredible views in the evening.

Twistops Retreat: Shared accommodation in lodge. Includes dinner.

Included: River tubing

Meet the farm animals, go for a walk or just relax in the hot tub and enjoy the unreal view.

Meet at the lodge.

In the morning take a walk around the property to take in the scenery and wildlife - there are kangaroos, a variety of birds and even platypus. We head north with a visit a koala hospital to learn about their efforts in preserving koalas and what we can do to help, and then travel on to our waterfront accommodation at the Spot X Surf Camp, arriving in the early evening.

Spot X Surf Camp - includes breakfast and dinner. 

Mountain Biking, Koala Hospital, Kangaroo Spotting.

This morning you can take part in a group surf lesson or just relax on the beach. In the afternoon we travel to our River Retreat and go for a guided canoeing trip (or walk if the weather is bad), spotting wildlife along the way. In the evening have an Aussie BBQ, learn how to cook some damper, and toast marshmallows around the campfire. 

Camping in a cabin - Includes breakfast and dinner.

Guided canoe ride, animal spotting, Aussie BBQ

We leave our camp and head up towards Byron Bay, Australia’s famous surf and arts town. We stop in the picturesque town of Yamba along the way and go for a walk and a swim at the Angourie blue pools (weather dependent). We have an orientation drive on the way to Byron Bay to help you get your bearings.  

Nomads Byron Bay - Includes Breakfast

Included: Swim in the Angourie Blue Pool
Orientation drive in Byron Bay 

Explore, learn to surf, party, visit the alternative town of Nimbin (additional cost), 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.

Nomads Backpacker Resort Byron Bay

Learn to surf, party, Kayak with dolphins, Skydive, Visit the alternative town of Nimbin, Dive at Julian Rocks, Chase waterfalls in the hinterland (extra cost).

Walk to the lighthouse - Australia's most easterly point.
Relax at beautiful beaches

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. At Rainbow Beach we take a walk up to Carlo Sand Blow for either the sunset or sunrise.

Backpacker Resort Rainbow Beach

Carlo Sand Blow walk

Meet your guide from Fraser Explorer at the bus stop opposite Frasers on Rainbow at 7:45am.

Get ready for two full days of exploring World Heritage Fraser Island. After a short 10-minute ferry ride from Rainbow Beach you start your adventure of four-wheel-driving on the roads of sand.
During your stay on Fraser you will have the chance to spot dingoes in the wild, swim in crystal clear freshwater lakes and swimming holes and explore the diverse landscapes in this unique habitat. Before heading to bed don’t forget to look up to enjoy the millions of stars and maybe even spot the five stars on the Aussie flag – the Southern Cross.
In the late afternoon of day eight your guide will return you to your Rainbow accommodation where you have dinner included.

Night 1: Eurong Beach Resort, Fraser Island - Includes lunch and dinner
Night 2: Backpacker Resort, Rainbow Beach - Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner

Four wheel driving

Meet at the Epic Ocean Adventures shop at the time given on Day 6.

Here you'll have the chance to witness some of the spectacular marine wildlife the Fraser Coast is famous for. You will be treated to a dolphin-watching kayak tour and Great Beach 4WD ride within the Great Sandy National Park. On this three-hour tour you have the chance of seeing bottle nose dolphins, humpback whales (May to November), turtles, manta rays, sting rays, soldier crabs and an array of marine bird life.
Make sure you bring along your swimsuit, towel, sunscreen, water, camera, a dry change of clothes and any snacks you may wish to eat.

Frasers on Rainbow - Includes breakfast and dinner.

Dolphin-watching kayak tour
Great Beach 4WD ride

Meet your Stray guide at 9.45am outside of Frasers on Rainbow.

We hop in our bus and head to the train station. We travel to Rockhampton then get met by a local bus, which takes us to Emus Beach Resort. We are welcomed onto the resort and find out more about our Stray Treasure Island Experience on day 13, but not before we prepare for our overnight stay on a working cattle station and farm tomorrow.

Emu's Beach Resort 

Meet at Emu’s Beach Resort reception at 5:30am.
Depart bright and early to travel to Rockhampton where a member of the Myella family will pick you up, share information about the farm and its history, and advise what you can experience over the coming days.
Ride your horse through the wide open fields where you can ride very close to cattle and kangaroos, enjoy a buffet style salad lunch and sign up for the motorbike training.
In the afternoon join the cow milking team and enjoy an outback sunset to finish the day around the campfire to relax with a home-made beer. Dinner is served in the outdoor dining area.

Myella Farm Stay - includes lunch and dinner

Included: Horse riding, cow milking, chicken feeding, 4WD farm tour, lasso and whip-cracking lessons

Take an early morning walk to see the sunrise and wild kangaroos before joining the family for breakfast. Feed the chickens, help sort the milking cows and learn to feed and saddle your own horse. Today you will ride a different route over the 2600 acre farm.
After lunch take the 4WD farm tour or lasso and whip-cracking lessons, or ride the motorbike for something different. Chill in the pool in the afternoon heat before leaving around 4:30pm to make your way back to Rockhampton and Emu park.

Emus Beach Resort - includes lunch

Horse riding
Chicken feeding
Cow Milking
Lasso & Whip Cracking Lessons

This morning we head to a tropical paradise like nowhere else on our Treasure Island Adventure. Our destination Great Keppel Island is located on the southern of the Great Barrier Reef with untouched coral, turtles, reef fish and manta rays all straight off the beach. Relax or have a go at snorkeling or kayaking (additional cost) before exploring the island. We head back to the mainland late afternoon to the comfort of your accommodation for an evening meal.

Emu Beach Resort - Includes dinner

Treasure Island Adventure
Bluff Point Walk
Optional: Snorkeling, kayaking

Meet at 8:30pm at Emu Park Reception.

After a busy few days we take a little time to relax, play Aussie lawn bowls or visit the local crocodile farm (both extra cost).  Meet for dinner before we catch the train in the evening and travel overnight to Airlie Beach. We travel in a modern train with large reclining seats, a bar and a dining carriage. We get into a town called Proserpine in the morning then take a local bus in to Airlie Beach – the gateway to the beautiful Whitsunday Islands where you will have time to store your luggage before your Whitsundays day trip.

Overnight train with reclining seats - includes dinner

Aussie Lawn Bowls or Croc Farm (extra)

Today provides an exhilarating ride to world famous Whitehaven Beach, pristine snorkeling reefs and guided Whitsunday Island National Park walks. Visit the Northern and Southern ends of Whitehaven Beach, spending at least two hours relaxing or exploring the 7km of white silica sand.
Walk to the Southern Whitehaven lookout with breathtaking views of Pentecost Island, join the guided walks to Hill Inlet lookout and snorkel for an hour enjoying the amazing hard and soft corals of the fringing reefs. Upon completion of your Whitsundays day trip, you will have the night free to explore Airlie’s great nightlife and choice of restaurants.

Base Backpackers Airlie Beach - includes lunch

Guided walk and snorkeling

Time to relax and enjoy the large lagoon on the esplanade and the many cafes and restaurants in this quaint coastal town.

Base Backpackers Airlie Beach

Meet your  guide at 5am at the bus stop outside of Base Backpackers

We start early with a local bus to the train, a ferry out to tropical ‘Maggie Island’, and a local transfer to the accommodation. There is 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.

Bungalow Bay Koala Village YHA

Guided Walk


Relax or visit the wildlife park at the resort (extra cost). Your guide will not be present today.

Bungalow Bay Koala Village YHA Magnetic Island

Meet your Stray guide at 7:50am outside of the YHA.

We travel back to the mainland on the ferry, travel by train to Tully – getting in at around lunchtime. 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 about the campfire.

Camping in a campground in a World Heritage Listed rain forest - includes dinner


We wake early at our rainforest camp for breakfast and then have an interpretative walk through the forest, learning about the traditional indigenous use of the land. We then travel back to Tully to catch the train north, arriving into Cairns central train station at approximately 4:30pm.

Gilligans Backpacker Resort - includes breakfast

Rainforest walk

Make your own way to C Finger at Cairns Marlin Marina, check-in directly on the vessel ReefQuest at 8:00am - Vessel will depart promptly at 8:30am

This luxury vessel takes you to the Great Barrier Reef in only 90 minutes for a full day of snorkelling and/or the chance to do up to three dives (extra cost).
Enjoy exclusive moorings at various reefs and a variety of dive sites to ensure minimal environmental impact to the pristine coral formations we visit.  Dive sites are frequented by a myriad of tropical and pelagic fish, rays, turtles, (friendly) sharks and the ever-popular Maori Wrasse. There are swim-throughs, wall and drift dives to appeal to every level of diver.  Your tour include a wetsuit or stinger suit, as well as flotation noodles. Crew keep a constant watch over the snorkeling sites, so you can enjoy the wonders of the reef in complete safety.

Return to Cairns where your East Coast adventure comes to an end.

IMPORTANT NOTES:  A direct payment of AU$20.00 Reef Tax and Fuel Levy is to be paid at check in.

Scuba diving (extra cost)




21DAYTOUR Syd Cairns Route 2018 19

Need to Know

Unlike our Freestyle trips, these East Coast tours are within a set time frame. You'll also have accommodation and some must do activities like a surf lesson and a Fraser Island tour included. 

What's included? 

  • Transport around Australia - via bus, train and boat. 
  • Local knowledge, entertaining commentary and bookings service from your tour guide
  • All accommodation (4-6 share dorms), 1 night camping, 1 night overnight train.
  • A selection of awesome activities

What's not included?

Any additional activities not specified as included on the itinerary. These can be booked via your guide, often at an exclusive Stray special price!

If you would prefer to be able to hop on and off the bus, check out our Freestyle Tours