Explore Australia’s sun-kissed east coast from Queensland's capital of Brisbane to the tropical hub of Cairns on an epic trip that offers one coastal paradise after another. Take an off-road adventure across the undulating dunes of Fraser Island (K'gari), sail through dazzling waters to discover the impossibly white beaches of the Whitsundays, flop and drop on the palm-fringed sands of laidback Mission Beach, soak up the energy and nightlife of Airlie Beach after sunset and explore the colourful underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef. Get wet and wild in waterfalls and rainforests and salty and sandy on islands and beaches, then retreat to your accommodation for a refreshingly hot shower – Queensland is calling!
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Escorted Coach Tour
This suggested tour costs from NZD$6,130 per person (twin share, low season)
Starts in Brisbane, finishes in Cairns
8 days/7 nights
Hotel 3 star
Pre and post tour options? YES
Viewed 15 times in the last 7 days
Your east coast adventure kicks off at 10am in Queensland’s capital of Brisbane (Meeanjin in the language of the Turrbal and Yuggera peoples, who are the traditional owners of the land on which Brisbane is now located). Your first stop is laid-back Noosa (have your bathing suit ready!), and nearby Noosa National Park where you will have the chance to spot koalas in the wild and other native Australian fauna in its natural habitat. Then head to Rainbow Beach, our overnight location for the next two nights. Explore Rainbow Beach's massive Carlo Sandblow. Take a path through eucalypt stands and rainforest to reach this huge accumulation of windblown sand known as the Cooloola sandmass. As you cross the sandblow, marvel at this ever-changing landscape, transformed by wind. From the top you'll enjoy stunning 180-degree views over Rainbow Beach and K'gari. This incredible slice of land is the largest sand island in the world, stretching some 123 kilometres down Queensland's southern coast and tomorrow you’ll head out to explore it in depth, so get a good night’s rest ready for a day of adventure.
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting at 10 am as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent know. Ask reception for more information on where the meeting will take place. Today's driving time will be approximately 3.5 hours (300km).
After breakfast, head over to stunning K'gari by ferry. In 2023 the island returned to it's traditional name after being referred to as Fraser Island for many years. The original Butchulla people’s name for the island means 'paradise' and you’ll find out why soon enough. The name change is a major milestone in a long running campaign by the Butchulla people. Set off on a 4WD adventure through the breathtaking landscape of K'gari. Start off with an adventurous drive along the 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 fine dazzling white 92% pure silica sands. Next up is Wanggoolba Creek, a pristine rainforest with prehistoric ferns and a luxuriant canopy of palms and vines. Take another dip, this time in the fresh waters of Eli Creek. Visit the Maheno shipwreck and the coloured sands of the pinnacles. From tropical dense rainforest to wild offshore waters – witness the contrasting fauna and terrain of this truly unique island as you venture across undulating sand dunes and vast golden beach, in search of that iconic outback creature, the dingo. This evening return by ferry back to Rainbow Beach.
This morning transfer back to Brisbane Airport before boarding a flight to Proserpine, then transfer to Airlie Beach, the hub town of the magnificent Whitsundays and home to endless beer gardens, trendy cafes and a lawn-fringed swimming lagoon. You’ll arrive late in the afternoon, so after settling into your lodgings the evening is yours to spend as you please. Perhaps stroll around and explore, or if the sun is still up why not visit some local swimming spots for a refreshing dip. Alternatively, you might feel more at home finding a seat at one of the many bars, grabbing a cocktail or two, and watching the sun set on the shimmering blue water.
The driving time from Fraser Island to Brisbane Airport will be approximately 3 hours (250km). Today's flight departs from Brisbane and arrives into Proserpine (approximately 1 hour 40 minutes). LUGGAGE LIMIT Checked luggage limit for the internal flight on this trip is 20kg.
Today is entirely free for you to choose your own adventure. Perhaps take a leisurely day cruise through the postcard-perfect islands of the Whitsundays, including a stop at the world-renowned Whitehaven Beach. Words can’t do justice to the dazzling white sands, azure waters and densely verdant vegetation of this incredible corner of the world – Whitehaven is about as impressive as a beach can get, and at 98% pure silica, it’s about as white as a beach can get too. Peel your eyes away from the pristine sands and explore the colourful underwater world surrounding the Whitsundays on a snorkelling adventure. Get up close to a beautiful array of rainbow coral, playful fish and, if you’re lucky, maybe even some friendly turtles. Spend another night in this lively town.
Your leader will be of assistance to help you book your Whitsunday Islands cruise for today. We hold allotments for this activity, so please speak to your leader on day 1 of the trip to confirm your spot. Payment can be made on the day directly to the boat operator. Please note that the departure on 22nd December 2023 will be in Airlie Beach on Christmas Day. Our usual cruise operator will be closed, so we recommend you pre-book your cruise ahead of time with another supplier. Cruisewhitsundays.com is one of the few operators that do offer excursions on Christmas Day.
Admire the change of scenery on today's long drive as you jump into your private vehicle and head through undulating cane fields to picturesque Mission Beach, where World Heritage rainforest meets the colourful Coral Sea. Be welcomed by crystal-clear waters, stunning views and a large population of cassowaries – a flightless bird that thrives in the tropical forests of north-eastern Australia. This afternoon you can enjoy plenty of free time to soak up paradise and do as you please. You might like to wind down with an optional yoga class or go for a swim in the pool. Alternatively, head out in search of the famous cassowary or simply grab a book and find a shady spot to sit and enjoy the tropical bliss.
Today's driving time will be approximately 7 hours (550km).
The breathtaking beauty of the world’s largest coral reef is on the bucket list of many travellers who venture to this incredible corner of Australia. The Great Barrier Reef is brimming with colourful coral and an amazing array of tropical fish, and today you’ll get to witness its magnificence with your own eyes on a snorkelling adventure through this underwater paradise. Cruise out to this famous reef this morning as you hear a marine conservation commentary about the importance of preserving the World Heritage-listed region and how you can do your bit. Then, it’s time to put on your snorkelling gear and dive into the dazzling waters, where you can freely explore a wonderfully rich ecosystem. After an incredible day, head back to the hotel, where you can freshen up and get ready for dinner. Compare memories, swap stories, and celebrate your east coast journey with your travel companions.
Enjoy breakfast in a local cafe before venturing into the wet tropics of far north Queensland. Stop off en route to your next destination and discover a magnificent plunge waterfall nestled in dense tropical rainforest. Take a dip in the cool water, then continue on to Lake Eacham, a crater lake with beautiful blue-green hues in the heart of the Atherton Tablelands. Next, visit the unusual yet fascinating Curtain Fig Tree, a magnificent tree with extensive aerial roots that drop 15 metres to the forest floor, forming a curtain-like appearance. The day draws to a close as you head to your next stop, Cairns, one of Australia’s most lively tropical towns.
Your east coast experience comes to an end after breakfast. With so much to do in this bustling hub, enquire about booking some extra nights in Cairns for further exploration of this tropical paradise.
If you have a bit more time on Australia's East Coast, why not consider extending your trip to include the Daintree Rainforest. Search trip code PVBCC for more information on our Brisbane to the Daintree Discovery.
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