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If you’ve not been to Australia before, or you’re looking to return and see some of the country’s best sights in one holiday, this trip is a perfect introduction to Australia’s beautiful East Coast. Enjoy buzzing city stays, tropical island escapes, amazing wildlife encounters and sunset sailing trips on our 13 day Sydney to Cairns escorted tour.

Starting in Sydney, one of the most famous cities in the world, you’ll have some time to explore world-famous landmarks before flying to the Gold Coast to begin your journey towards Cairns. Meet the crocs at Australia Zoo, try a spot of surfing in the stunning beach town of Noosa, venture across the dunes in a 4x4 on Fraser Island and prepare to be spellbound by the incredible scenery of the Atherton Tablelands.

From brightly-lit cityscapes to rugged-red outback roads and some of the best beaches in the world, there is something for everyone on this 13 day East Coast adventure. One thing’s for sure, magical, unforgettable memories will be made.

Talk to our Travel Designers about extending your trip if you have more time and discussing what other destinations you could visit down under.



13 Days

Recommended For

Adventure, Beach, City, Iconic Journeys

Best Time to Go

June to August


Private basis

a body of water next to the ocean

Trip Highlights

  • Experience Sydney’s best harbour views and walk the many scenic clifftop trails
  • Explore the world's largest sand island and wind through lush rainforests to special spots such as Lake McKenzie
  • Cruise the Whitsundays and observe the underwater coral gardens of the Great Barrier Reef
  • Explore the sunny town of Cairns and admire the spectacular views from the Kuranda scenic railway

Start your Journey

Day 1


Arrive into Sydney by midday and enjoy a half-day sightseeing coach tour this afternoon. Explore the famous landmarks including the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge.


  • Suggested Accommodation Parkroyal Darling Harbour
Day 2

Sydney to Gold Coast

Spend your morning in Sydney before being taken to the airport and flying to the Gold Coast, famous for its 32 miles of golden beaches and lush Queensland hinterland. 


  • Meals Breakfast
  • Suggested Accommodation Mantra on View
Day 3

Gold Coast

Today you can discover the Gold Coast at your own pace. Experience the superb golden beaches, or try out one of the many restaurants along the waterfront. Alternatively, head to the lush subtropics of the hinterland wilderness.


  • Meals Breakfast
  • Suggested Accommodation Mantra on View
Day 4

Gold Coast - Noosa

Depart the Gold Coast and continue to the Sunshine Coast where your first stop is the world-renowned Australia Zoo. Made famous by the late Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, Australia Zoo features a plethora of wild animals from all corners of the globe. Continue onto Noosa where you'll enjoy dinner with your fellow travellers at the iconic Noosa Surf Club.


  • Meals Breakfast
  • Suggested Accommodation Sebel Noosa
Day 5

Noosa - Fraser island

Spend some time in Noosa this morning before travelling to Hervey Bay before your journey to the world’s largest sand island and a UNESCO World Heritage site, Fraser Island. This evening, enjoy dinner in the company of your fellow travellers.

  • Meals Breakfast, Dinner
  • Suggested Accommodation Kingfisher Bay Resort
Day 6

Fraser Island

The largest sand island in the world, Fraser Island is a popular location for spotting humpback whales as they make their journey north for the winter, between June and November. Discover this beautiful island today with a half-day tour and some time at leisure this afternoon. Perhaps you might like to visit the wreck of the Maheno, a Trans-Tasman liner that was driven ashore during a cyclone in 1935. Or, you may prefer to relax on a stretch of white sand with a good book, before donning snorkelling gear to discover one of the islands many freshwater lakes. Later return to your base for the night, Kingfisher Bay Resort.


  • Meals Breakfast
  • Suggested Accommodation Kingfisher Bay Resort
Day 7

Fraser Island - Hervey Bay - Rockhampton

Full Board

A morning cruise takes you across to Hervey Bay, back to the mainland, where you will rejoin the coach for the journey north. Travel through sugarcane country, crossing some of the many narrow-gauge railway lines that transport sugarcane from the field to processing plants in town, an iconic sight of rural Queensland. Later, arrive in the inland city of Rockhampton, known as the beef capital of Australia.


  • Suggested Accommodation Central Park Motel
Day 8

Rockhampton - Hamilton Island

The gateway to the coast and the Outback, Rockhampton, also boasts some of the best provincial gardens in Australia. Enjoy a tour of these beautiful gardens before travelling to Airlie Beach, where you will join a cruise through the sparkling Whitsundays to the picturesque resort of Hamilton Island.


  • Meals Breakfast , Dinner
  • Suggested Accommodation Reef View Hotel
Day 9

Hamilton Island

Today, you’ll have the entire day to spend at leisure on Hamilton Island today. Do as little or as much as you like. Discover the many species of tropical fish by snorkelling off the beach, take a stroll to the highest point of the island, relax by one of the many inviting swimming pools, or enjoy some of the available watersports and spa treatments (at your own expense). Alternatively, enjoy an optional half-day Whitehaven Beach excursion (at an additional cost).


  • Meals Breakfast, Dinner
  • Suggested Accommodation Reef View Hotel
Day 10

Hamilton Island - Townsville - Mission Beach

Your journey north continues today with an early morning ferry transfer from Hamilton Island to Port of Airlie where you will get back onboard the coach and travel to Townsville. Upon arrival, enjoy a tour of this tropical city, surrounded by rainforest hinterland and the Great Barrier Reef. Departing Townsville, continue to Mission Beach.


  • Meals Breakfast, Dinner
  • Suggested Accommodation Castaways Resort and Spa
Day 11

Mission Beach - Atherton Tablelands - Cairns

Today, you’ll travel towards Cairns and Visit Millaa Millaa Falls and the Curtain Fig tree, then board the Kuranda Skyrail. Arrive in Cairns and enjoy an evening of leisurely exploration.


  • Meals Breakfast, Dinner
  • Suggested Accommodation Pullman Cairns International
Day 12

Cairns and Great Barrier Reef

Spend today snorkelling, scuba diving or exploring the ocean in a glass-bottomed boat, with Reef Magic, out to a reef activity platform. Tonight enjoy a Farewell Dinner at Tjapukai By Night and take part in a corroboree, an Australian Aboriginal dance ceremony, where you’ll get to try the region’s best food.

  • Meals Breakfast, Dinner
  • Suggested Accommodation Pullman Cairns International
Day 13

Port Douglas - Cairns

Today you will travel along Captain Cook road, taking in the incredible views on your way to Port Douglas. Enjoy a tour of this pretty little town before returning to Cairns where you will be taken to the airport.


  • Meals Breakfast


  • Cost of accommodation for a total of 17 nights (alternative but similar accommodation may be used at certain times of the year)
  • Board basis is Half Board: 12 breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 7 dinners
  • Domestic flight from Sydney to the Gold Coast
  • All transportation by spacious luxury coach with modern amenities and professional driver
  • Airport transfers on the first and last day of your tour
  • Expert English-speaking local guides for all guided excursions as illustrated in the itinerary, and a Travelmarvel Tour Director
  • APT’s Enriching Signature Experiences
  • APT’s Freedom of Choice concept, where you have the flexibility to tailor your sightseeing and dinner options in select locations, at no additional cost.
  • Overseas transfers and luggage porterage

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