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Home| Experiences| Australia|Travel Buddies 32 Day Cairns to Sydney Group Tour

32 Day East Coast Group Tour Semi Self-Guided with Travel Buddies Australia (Cairns to Sydney) From $4,399 / £2,326* / €2,701*

Embark on the adventure of a lifetime with Travel Buddies Australia’s 32 day Southbound East Coast tour. Catered to backpackers seeking epic thrills and unforgettable experiences, this semi self-guided small group tour covers all of the highlights on Australia’s East Coast and even includes some of the coast’s hidden gems, so get ready to tick off your bucket list!

With limited spots available, this tour departs from Cairns and offers a unique experience from our other East Coast Packages. As a semi-self guided trip, the tour will include a maximum of 18 travellers who will all travel the East Coast together. A Happy Travels Travel Buddy will meet your group at key locations throughout your trip including Cairns, Airlie Beach, Brisbane, Byron Bay and Sydney. This trip also includes all of your accommodation, bus transport, activities and 22 meals.

Once you are confirmed on the tour, you will be added to a dedicated WhatsApp group chat with your fellow Travel Buddies. This will be a point of contact for you throughout the trip where you can ask questions and daily information will be posted about your activities, accommodation and transport times. Within the chat you can arrange pre-trip meetups, say G’day and share your incredible photos and stories! This trip is the perfect mix of fun social vibes, exciting new adventures and top-rated tours and accommodation along the East Coast – it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you don’t want to miss!

Travel Southbound from Cairns to Sydney and tick off your bucket list as you explore Australia’s native wildlife on Magnetic Island, sail around the 74 Whitsunday Islands and take a scenic flight to see the famous Heart Reef from above. Watch the sunrise with kangaroos on the beach, try your hand at wakeboard and explore the world’s largest sand island, K’gari, in 4x4s. Learn to surf the waves at a Surf Camp in Arrawarra (Spot X) and experience so many other incredible activities as you embark on an unforgettable journey along the coast with a group of new friends.

Forget the stress of planning – we’ve got you covered with all accommodation, transport, activities, and 22 meals included. Perfect for solo travelers and small groups, our tours offer the ideal blend of structured activities and free time, allowing you to go with the flow while exploring with like-minded adventurers. Don’t miss out on this epic East Coast tour – book your spot now and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!

  • Money Icon From $4,399 AUD
  • Clock Icon 32 Days

Tour Inclusions


  • 32 Day Semi Self-Guided East Coast Group Tour
  • 31 Nights Accommodation
  • Coach Transport from Cairns to Sydney
  • 22 Meals
  • 3 Night on Magnetic Island
  • 3 Day Whitsunday Sailing Adventure to Whitehaven
  • 2 Night Eungella & Cape Hillsborough National Park
  • 3 Day K’gari 4×4 Camping Tag-A-Long Tour
  • 2 Nights in Noosa Heads & Fairy Pools
  • 2 Nights in Brisbane City
  • 1 Night in Surfers Paradise
  • 3 Nights Byron Bay
  • 3 Nights in Surf Camp Spot X
  • 2 Nights in Sydney


  • Travel Insurance compulsory April 1st 2024
  • Personal expenses
  • Any meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Deposits required for equipment hire
  • Shuttle buses not included by providers
  • Public transport (bus, taxis, trains, uber)
  • Accommodation outside of your booking

Travel Buddies Itinerary*

Day 1: Cairns Start

Your adventure begins with meeting your fellow travel buddies at 12:00pm and with a day of exploring the city. Maybe go shopping, check out the Cairns Gallery, or chill out at the relaxing lagoon. Check into your social hostel and head out bar hopping with your travel group. Check-in is at Gilligans at 14:00 today, and we will host a Welcome Dinner for you at Gilligans!

Meal(s) included: Dinner

Day 2: Magnetic Island

Today, you’ll be travelling to Townsville where a ferry will take you to Magnetic Island, a gorgeously tropical island known for its abundance of wild koala’s. Check in for three amazing nights at a beach side resort. Kick back and relax on one of the island’s many iconic beaches, whilst you enjoy a complimentary cocktail.

Day 3: Magnetic Island

Today is yours to freely explore and relax. Check out one of the scenic walks through plentiful national parks, or hire the well-known ‘Barbie Cars’ and jet around the island in style.

Day 4: Magnetic Island

Spend another day in paradise and explore secret bays and lush walks. Hike to the Forts, one of the highest points on the island, for breathtaking views of the coast and forests below. Keep your eyes peeled for Koala’s sleeping in the trees around you. Enjoy an evening by the pool back at the hostel, getting ready for your adventurous journey to Airlie Beach the next day.

Day 5: Airlie Beach

Once back in Townsville, enjoy the scenic drive to Airlie Beach, drop your bags off at the hostel, and explore the beachside town. Keep cool at the central lagoon with views of the harbour, where in only a couple of days you’ll be departing for your exciting Whitsundays sailing adventure.

Day 6: Airlie Beach

Enjoy a free day for you to choose how to spend in the beautiful Airlie Beach. Explore the town and the many shops and restaurants for a delicious breakfast and lunch. Relax at the lagoon or take a walk along the Bicentennial Walking Track between Airlie Beach and Cannonvale, where you’ll end up at a hidden bay perfect for sunbathing. Have a great night on the town at one of many awesome bars full of backpackers, but be sure to get ready for your epic sailing trip departing the next morning.

Today is the perfect time to add on and experience the Whitsunday Islands from above on a 60 minute scenic flight (optional extra), including Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet’s lush forest. Then fly over the Great Barrier Reef and witness the picture perfect Heart Reef from above.

Day 7: Whitsundays

Set off at full speed and make your way through the scenic tunnels of the Whitsunday Islands. Head towards the northern tip of Hook Island from Airlie Beach and explore the stunning Stonehaven Bay reefs, including Langford Reef. Swim, snorkel, and relax in the sun, before enjoying dinner and drinks under the stars at a secluded Bay where your maxi yacht sailboat will be anchored for the night.

Meal(s) included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Whitsundays

After setting sail for another hidden bay, such as Tongue Bay or similar, spend the day discovering everything that Whitsunday Island has to offer. Enjoy a bushwalk to the northern end of Whitehaven Beach to Hill Inlet lookout, for that iconic shot of the white swirling sands. Then, visit Whitehaven Beach’s southern end, for another scenic bush walk and to discover some of the island’s hidden treasures. After a full day outdoors in nature, enjoy another evening on the deck with your group under the clear starry skies.

Meal(s) included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 9: Whitsundays

It’s your final morning to make the most of some incredible snorkelling locations full of vibrant coral reefs and an abundance of marine life. See turtles, manta rays, and fish of all kinds of colours. If the tides allow it, you may get to visit the Ngaro Caves at Nara Inlet. Finally, make your way back to Airlie Beach, recharge your batteries, and head out for an epic afterparty with your new friends and awesome crew.

Meal(s) included: Breakfast

Day 10: Airlie Beach

Back in Airlie Beach, you can spend the day recovering or revisiting your favourite spots.

Choose to book in an exhilarating Skydive today (optional extra) and you’ll be in for a morning of adrenaline as you take to the clouds and jump from a plane from up to 15000!

In the afternoon you can enjoy more free time exploring Airlie Beach town and relaxing at the iconic lagoon.

Day 11: Wakeboarding & Mackay Adventure Lodge

Today, depart for Mackay and arrive at your accommodation for the next two nights, Mackay Adventure Lodge, for an early check in and welcome drink. Then, have some fun on the water and take part in a thrilling 90 minute Wakeboarding Class at WakeHouse Australia, located on a beautiful lake right in front of your accommodation. After attempting to get your first jump on a wakeboard, spend some free time exploring Mackay city itself, known for its seafood, public art, and relaxing waterfront lagoon. Back at Mackay Adventure Lodge, enjoy free wifi and plunge pool, and enjoy a welcome drink at the Lakeside Cafe and Sunset Bar with your tour mates before getting ready for another exciting day ahead of you.

Day 12: Eungella National Park

Head deep into the rainforest at Finch Hatton Gorge for your first bit of epic adventure for the day. Here, you’ll find crystal clear creeks and rocks the size of houses, before embarking on an enjoyable hike through the forest. Head to the gorge itself, where stunning waterfalls and refreshing swim holes await you. Stop at an iconic Aussie pub for a pie and a drink before heading up the range into Eungella National Park for a bit of platypus spotting – an absolute highlight of your trip. These elusive little creatures are hard to catch sight of, but your guide knows the best spots for it so you are more likely to see them. After enjoying the winding drive back to Mackay enjoy some drinks at the lodge and a group dinner and sunset over the lake.

Meal(s) included: Breakfast & Lunch

Day 13: Cape Hillsborough National Park / Overnight Bus

Up and out nice and early today as you head off to Cape Hillsborough National Park for a bucket list worthy sunrise with the kangaroos. Watch the beautiful colours of the sky and beach as the friendly kangaroos and wallabies roam the shores in search of food at their most active time of the day. Enjoy a delicious picnic breakfast before taking a guided walk up the headland and around the cape, learning about the local indigenous history and taking in the beautiful views of the cape. Return to Mackay, and make sure you stack up on snacks & drinks before jumping on the Overnight Bus to your next leg of your East Coast journey.

Meal(s) included: Breakfast

Day 14: Rainbow Beach

Arrive bright and early in Rainbow Beach, drop your bags off at the hostel, and head off to explore the sleepy beachside town. Check out the Coloured Sands strip where towering cliffs are naturally colourful. Walk to the Carlo Sandblow for a breathtaking sunset. Tonight, make sure you’re prepared for an epic adventure the next day as you’re heading off to K’gari in your 4×4 jeeps.

Day 15: K'gari

It’s finally time to head to K’gari! An Island full of adventure. Drive along 75 mile beach, blast the tunes, and enjoy the wonderful scenery. Travel to the SS Maheno Shipwreck and take a few awesome pictures as you learn a bit about the history of this famous icon of the island. After lunch, spend the afternoon at Eli Creek, the natural lazy river. Chill out on floaties as you slowly drift through the relaxing creek. Head out for another drive towards your Dingo safe campsite before dark – just in time for a fun and relaxing evening of dinner and drinks.

Meal(s) included: Lunch & Dinner

Day 16: K'gari

After breakfast, it’s up and out for another day of exploring. Head out to see some more exciting sights as you drive into the beautiful rainforest at Central Station. Enjoy a guided walk along Wanggoolba Creek and learn about the history and indigenous significance of the creek. Next the most picturesque highlight of K’gari will be Lake Mckenzie. Swim in the amazingly blue water and relax on the white sands. After lunch, you’re in for a long but scenic drive along the beach to the top of the island, where the Champagne Pools await. Stunning rocky pools with a picture-perfect backdrop of the turquoise ocean, this may be your favourite spot yet. Then it’s back to the same campsite to help with dinner prep and an evening hanging out with your new friends.

Meal(s) included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 17: K'gari

It’s time to pack up camp, but there’s still some sights left to see before heading back to the mainland. Drive through more rainforests and rugged tracks and head to Lake Wabby, a green oasis in the middle of the desert. Enjoy a refreshing swim and some time in the sun, then start making your way back along 75 Mile Beach to the barge. Once you’re back in Rainbow Beach, recharge your batteries and head out for an after party drink at the hostel bar.

Meal(s) included: Breakfast & Lunch

Day 18: Noosa

Get ready to say hello to Noosa as you make your way to the Sunshine Coast. Check in to your hostel, drop down your bags, and explore the beautiful beachside town, home of surfing and amazing national parks.

Day 19: Noosa

We recommend checking out the hidden Fairy Pools that you can find on a wonderful scenic coastal walk along the Noosa headland. Take the morning to walk around but make sure you keep looking up, as it’s also home to some sleepy Koalas.

For an exciting extra activity, start off your day with a trip to the stunning Noosa Everglades (optional extra), one of only two Everglades systems in the world! Making this day a very special one, you will canoe through a stunning place of serene natural beauty, bursting with rare animals and plant species. Don’t forget to pop into the local brewery to try a few of their many beers, produced with fresh water from the everglades underground reservoirs.

Day 20: Brisbane

After your final breakfast in Noosa you’ll be heading down to the Capital of the Sunshine State – Brisbane! Known for its parks, shopping, and foodie lifestyle. There is something here for everyone to enjoy. Meet up with our Brisbane Happy Travels rep for an orientation of the city before checking into your hostel and enjoying a night exploring the vibrant bars and streets.

Day 21: Brisbane

Today, feel free to get in touch with your creative side in Brisbane with a visit to the museums and art galleries, conveniently situated next to a beautiful expansive parkland with its very own man made beach to cool down in. Take in a movie at the cinema or wander through the West End as you gather any last minute things for the journey north out of the cities.

For some extra added fun today, why not head to the Australia Zoo (optional extra), home of The Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin! You will be taken to the planet’s most interactive conservation destination via the Croc Express, so make sure to be ready for your pickup time.

Day 22: Surfers Paradise

Travel down to Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, the seaside city of Australia. Explore the golden sand beaches where skyscrapers line the coast before heading out to hit up cocktail bars and exciting markets.

Day 23: Byron Bay

Say goodbye to Surfers Paradise and travel south to Byron Bay. Check into your luxury central accommodation for the next three nights. Check out Byron Bay town for an eclectic mix of shopping or relax at one of the many beautiful local beaches. Be sure to hit up some of the top sights while you’re at it, such as the Cape Byron Lighthouse or The Farm Byron Bay.

Day 24: Byron Bay

Enjoy a beautiful day in the Bay, with plenty of gorgeous beaches, quirky cafes, and fabulous shops to keep you entertained. Hit the town and don’t miss out on popular nightlife spots that Byron Bay has to offer. Head to the Great Northern Hotel to sing a song at the Piano Bar or go for a boogie at the Beach Hotel!

For an extra activity you don’t want to miss out on, why not join a Kayaking with Dolphins tour (optional extra) to see these wonderful creatures up close in the turquoise bay.

Day 25: Byron Bay

Enjoy a free day around Byron. Start the day with a Yoga Class, or hire a bike to explore the surrounding areas. Speak to your guide to book a snorkel at Julian Rocks, or take it slow and soak up some sun at one of many pristine local beaches.

Day 26: Spot X Surf Camp Arrawarra

Today you’ll be heading to Spot X in Arrawarra for an epic 3 day long surf camp. Meet the Spot X crew, check into your beachside accommodation, and head out for your first surf lesson in the afternoon at a beautiful beach with awesome beginner waves.

Meal(s) included: Dinner

Day 27: Spot X Surf Camp Arrawarra

Breakfast is served from 7am to 9am daily. Surf lessons begin at 7:30am and last two to three hours, depending on the size of the group. Lunch is served from 12 to 1 pm. You can unwind, lay in the sun, take part in a free activity, or watch a movie in the TV room in the afternoon.

Meal(s) included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 28: Spot X Surf Camp Arrawarra

Make the most of your last full day at Spot X. Have another surf lesson and be sure to get some last minute pointers. In your free time, join one of the many extra activities such as kangaroo trekking, kayaking, or rafting. Relax on the beach and enjoy evening entertainment around the campfire.

Meal(s) included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 29: Overnight Bus to Sydney

Squeeze in one more surf lesson this morning and check out how much you’ve improved over the last few days. Check out of your accommodation, enjoy some lunch, and say farewell to the Spot X crew. Spend some free time in the town and then tonight, embark on the overnight bus from Arrawarra to Sydney.

Meal(s) included: Breakfast

Day 30: Sydney

Arrive bright and early in Sydney and enjoy the next couple of days exploring the iconic city with epic landmarks. Consider starting with the famous Sydney Opera House, with beautiful views of the harbour and bridge. Head to one of the many local restaurants for lunch before taking a stroll in the city’s lush botanic gardens.

Day 31: Sydney

Enjoy your free day in Sydney trekking the stunning cliff top Bondi to Coogee walk. The trail brings you past parks, bays, and rock pools, with plenty of opportunities to go for a dip. Stop off at a beachside cafe for lunch, before returning to the city. Head out and enjoy the best of Sydney’s nightlife and celebrate your last Travel Buddies day together.

Day 32: Finish

Your epic adventure has finally come to an end. Enjoy a final morning with your Travel Buddies and reminisce about the epic 32 days you’ve just experienced together. The fun’s not over yet though – what exciting adventure is next?

Available Tour Dates


Tour Type & Availability

Tour Inclusions Price

32 Day East Coast Tour

32 day pre-organised East Coast tour with accommodation and transport included



  • All Accommodation, Tours & Transport
  • Best tours on Australia’s East Coast
  • Semi-Self Guided Experience = Best of both worlds
  • Travel with a Group
  • Meet people, Make friends, Create memories
  • Local Reps to meet you along the way

What To Bring




Comfortable Shoes

Spending Money

Overnight Bag



Sense of Adventure

Supplier Terms & Conditions

Travel Buddies Terms & Conditions

Cancellation & Refund Policy: Refunds will be processed according to the following time frames:
Cancellations within 14 Days of the start date incur a 100 % fee.
Cancellations within 21 Days of the start date incur a 80% fee

Cancellations outside of these periods incur a 50% fee.

Please note that changes to the itinerary may occur due to weather, operator changes & cancellations. A suitable and comparable replacement will take place on such occasions.

*Itinerary days may change from trip to trip due to availability or transport schedules.

Pick ups & Departures

This tour departs from Gilligans Hotel & Resort, Grafton Street, Cairns City QLD, Australia

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this a guided tour or am I responsible for my own travel?

Travel Buddies will book all of the accommodation, bus sectors, and activities within your package for you. It is your responsibility to be at the correct pick-up or start location on time. If you fail to show up for your activity or miss the bus, you will not be refunded, and in the case of missing a bus sector, you will be responsible for your own travel arrangements and associated costs. Whilst you do not have an official guide for this trip, you will have someone dedicated to your group in the chat to help out along the way.

When will I be added to the group chat?

On the Friday before your departure, you’ll be added to a group chat on Whatsapp with all of your Local Travel Buddies, so you can meet up before your departure from Sydney. Each day within this chat we will keep you up to date with where you need to be, what you will be doing, and links to Google Maps to easily find your way around. Whilst you do not have a guide for this trip, you will have someone dedicated to your group in the chat to help out along the way. Don’t forget, it’s still up to you to be at the correct pick-up or start location on time.

When will I receive official tickets and all details?

We will send a confirmation email to you once you have officially booked your spot on Travel Buddies! An itinerary specific to your trip will be finalised and sent to you no less than 21 days prior to your trip, with bus times and activity times.

Is travel insurance required?

From the 1st of April 2024, travel insurance is compulsory when booking Travel Buddies. Your policy should cover you in case you get sick or injured (COVID-19 or otherwise), lose an item, or miss your tour. If you already have travel insurance, please understand that it is your responsibility to ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all of the adventure style travel you have booked with us.

World Nomads travel insurance policies offer coverage for more than 150 activities. Get a quote, make a claim, or buy or extend your policy while on the road.

What time can I arrive on the first day?

You can check into your pre-booked hostel anytime from 2pm. If you’ve arrived before check in time, no stress – your hostel will provide a safe space for you to drop your bags, so that you can go and explore Sydney in your free time. You will be added to your Whatsapp group chat the Friday before your departure date, so you can plan any pre-check-in meet ups with your group from there. You will also be given a time and place from your Sydney Local Buddy to meet for a welcome gathering in the afternoon/evening time.

What happens if the tour isn’t filled, will it still continue or be cancelled?

Some sectors and experiences may require a minimum number of passengers to operate. In circumstances where minimum numbers are not reached an alternative option will be offered. You will be notified by email at least 48 hours in advance of such changes. In the unlikely event that the entire Travel buddies tour doesn’t meet minimum requirements, no stress – we can either find you an alternative date to travel, or create a personalised itinerary just for you.

What happens if any of the tours are cancelled because of the weather?

If a tour cannot go ahead because of the weather or any other unforeseen circumstances, we’ll aim to reschedule or find an alternative activity for you. If one cannot be booked or found in time, you’ll receive a refundable amount of the discounted rate paid for that activity.

Once the trip finishes, is onward travel planned or do I sort that out myself?

If you’d like to continue travelling once you’ve finished your Travel Buddies trip in Cairns, why not reach out to your travel agent and find out some more bucket-list destinations for any onward travel – whether it’s continuing on in Cairns, somewhere else in Australia like the Red Centre or a trip to Western Australia, or even a different country – we’ve got you covered. You can also check out our destination pages for trips to incredible places like Bali, Japan, Thailand, and more!

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Travel Buddies 32 Day Cairns to Sydney Group Tour

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Explore Australia's East Coast- Magnetic Island, Whitsundays, Mackay, K'gari and more on this epic 32-day semi-self guided group tour.

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