• House reef

Reef Island and East Coast Escorted Tour

Australia’s eastern coastline is famed for its unique blend of pristine beaches, coral reefs and bustling cities. With so much to see and do on the route from Sydney to Cairns, it’s well worth taking a guided tour to ensure you don’t miss a single amazing experience along the way.

Our Reef Island and East Coast package covers every essential destination and beachfront paradise – perfect for adventurers, surfers and holidaymakers alike. Over the course of your 17-day tour, our expert guides will walk you through a range of off the beaten track experiences. In between the golden sands and clear waters, you’ll also learn everything there is to know about the fascinating history of individual towns and reef islands.

At Hayes & Jarvis, our team of East Coast Australia tour experts are here to help plan out your ideal trip. We’re on hand to discuss your options and ensure you get the best out of your experience – read more into the itinerary of our Reef Island and East Coast package below or get in touch today.

Duration
15 days
Options
Private basis, Escorted
Start your journey
a close up of a dry grass field

Trip highlights

  • Explore the famous Great Barrier Reef, and snorkel in designated conservation areas
  • Relax on the aptly named Gold Coast, the perfect spot to practice your surfing
  • Visit Australia Zoo, founded by legendary zoologist and television personality, Steve Irwin
  • Discover Fraser Island, a unique sand island with hundreds of scenic walking and wildlife trails
Sydney, New South Wales

Arriving at Sydney International Airport, you’ll be greeted by one of our expert guides and transferred directly to the PARKROYAL Darling Harbour hotel for a luxurious two night stay. After a long journey, you may simply decide to kick back and enjoy the facilities, though there’s always the option to venture out and start discovering the city at your own leisure.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Park Royal
Sydney Opera House Australia

Enjoy a delicious breakfast at the hotel and take things at your own pace before we head out for an afternoon coach tour of the city. It’s the perfect way to take in the sights and sounds of Sydney. There’ll be plenty of photo opportunities along the way, including the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

There’s plenty to see and do in the city. We recommend taking time to explore the harbour and the renowned Botanical Gardens located nearby. You could always head out to the iconic white sands of Bondi Beach for a late afternoon stroll before heading back for an amazing dinner cruise on Sydney Harbour.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Park Royal
a bridge over a body of water with a city in the background

After breakfast, we’ll transfer you back to the airport to catch a connecting flight to the Gold Coast. The area is just south of Brisbane and famed for its sprawling pristine coastline and countless surfing spots.

Once you’ve checked into your accommodation at the Mantra on View hotel, we recommend heading over to nearby Surfers Paradise Beach to explore the area and start soaking in the fresh ocean atmosphere. You’ll have the entire evening to take your pick from the many excellent bars and restaurants the town has to offer.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Park Royal

Tuck into a hearty breakfast at the hotel before enjoying a full day of exploring the 30 mile coastline. You won’t have a problem finding a perfect patch of sand all to yourself. Many people take the opportunity to try surfing lessons, sunbathe or explore the lush subtropical wilderness that surrounds the area.

The Gold Coast is also home to several world class theme parks, including Dreamworld, and Wet ‘n Wild. There’s no shortage of things to do during your stay; the only issue is choosing between them.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Mantra on View
a panda bear walking across a dirt road

Having checked out of your hotel, we’ll enjoy a scenic drive north through Brisbane and up to the Sunshine Coast. Here we’ll spend the day visiting the world renowned Australia Zoo, which was founded by the legendary Crocodile Hunter himself, Steve Irwin. His efforts to conserve and protect countless species of Australian wildlife now give people the chance to discover and learn more about amazing animals in their natural environment. Animals include koalas, red pandas, kangaroos, emus, Tasmanian devils and, of course, plenty of crocodiles. 

This evening we’ll transfer you to your next hotel at the Sebel Noosa, where you’ll have the chance to enjoy a delicious meal with the locals at the Noosa Surf Club.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Mantra on View
a sandy beach next to a body of water

There’s plenty of time for breakfast and a morning stroll around Noosa before you embark on one of the tour’s best experiences – a trip to the iconic Fraser Island. Departing from Hervey Bay, we’ll take a short cruise over to the island before checking in for a two night stay at the incredible Kingfisher Bay Resort.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Sebel Noosa
Noosa

Stretching over 70 miles in length, Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island and is home to many incredible viewpoints and natural landmarks. We’ll take you on a half day tour of the island, giving you the chance to experience the very best of what’s on offer. The crystal clear waters of Lake Mackenzie, the natural springs at Lake Wabby and the tranquil swimming spots at the Champagne Pools are all highly recommended. The island is also the location of the Maheno shipwreck, an ocean liner that was driven ashore by a hurricane in the 1930s.

After your tour, it may be tempting to take things easy and relax by the beach, though you may also want to make time to explore the surrounding subtropical rainforest and walking trails on offer. If you make an early start, there should be plenty of time for everything before heading back to your hotel that evening.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Kingfisher Bay Resort
a large body of water

Once you’ve eaten breakfast and checked out of your hotel, a morning ferry will be waiting to take you back across to Hervey Bay. Here you’ll have a better opportunity to explore this beautiful area, known by many as one of the gems of the state of Queensland.

Later that afternoon we’ll head back on the road north towards our next destination of Rockhampton. This rural route is famous for its sugarcane production, narrow railway crossings and farmland, and there’s plenty to see along the way. Having arrived in Rockhampton, you’ll check into the Central Park Motel for a comfortable one night stay.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Kingfisher Bay Resort
Cattle at Ranch

Situated on the banks of the Fitzroy River, Rockhampton is a small city renowned for its mountain valleys, underground limestone caves and cultural heritage. It’s also famous for its cattle farming and weekly rodeo shows, both of which are a big part of the personality of the area.

Later in the day we’ll jump back on the road to Airlie Beach, another area which boasts incredible coastline and spotless beaches. Having reached Airlie, a ferry will be waiting to whisk you through the spectacular Whitsundays towards the paradise setting of Hamilton Island and your accommodation at the Reef View Hotel.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Central Park Motel Rockhampton
a large pool of water

Day 10 is all yours to explore the range of incredible activities that Hamilton Island has to offer. This car free paradise houses koala sanctuaries, kangaroo tours and trails leading up towards the iconic Passage Peak. There’s also the option to see the island from a different perspective by seaplane or helicopter, whichever suits you best.

You will also have your pick of amazing beaches, though those wanting to enjoy water sports should opt for Catseye Beach. Here you’ll find a perfect spot for swimming, paddle boarding, diving and water skiing.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Reef View Hotel
a body of water next to the ocean

After breakfast at the hotel, a ferry transfer will take you back to the Port of Airlie where you’ll take a scenic coach ride over to the nearby coastal city of Townsville. Here you’ll enjoy a guided tour of the city, taking in the sights of the pier front, aquarium and other landmarks, before driving onto your next destination: Mission Beach.
Despite being modest in size, this small town is renowned as the converging point between two World Heritage sites, the Wet Tropics Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef.

This evening, enjoy a wonderful night’s stay at the Castaways Resort and Spa, situated just a stone’s throw from the ocean. A delicious evening meal will also be provided at the hotel.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Reef View Hotel
a squirrel standing on a dirt road

We hit the road early on Day 12, continuing north towards the Waterfalls Circuit. This area is also home to the Atherton Tablelands, a region defined by a curious blend of rainforest, swamplands and savannah. There are plenty of opportunities to spot local birdlife and wildlife, such as tree kangaroos and wallabies, as we pass through.

No trip to this part of Queensland would be complete without a visit to the famous Millaa Millaa Falls, a heritage listed plunge waterfall surrounded by lush vegetation. We’ll also make a stop at the Curtain Fig Tree, a historic strangler tree that has become a national emblem over the centuries, before boarding the incredible Skyrail Rainforest Cableway all the way to the Caravonica Lakes. This journey offers a spectacular view of the rainforest and is an absolute must for anybody travelling through on their way to Cairns.

Having arrived in Cairns, you’ll check into your final accommodation at the Pullman International hotel for a three night stay.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Castaways Resort and Spa Mission Beach

One of Australia’s main tourist attractions, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system on the planet and home to thousands of species of marine life. The area is blessed with breath taking natural beauty, and you’ll have the chance to explore it for yourself on an exclusive five hour catamaran cruise. As well as encountering incredible fish and sea creatures, you’ll also learn about the conservation efforts being taken by the local authorities and organisations to protect the health of reef ecosystems.

Having spent the day exploring the Reef, in the evening you’ll have chance to enjoy a cultural Aboriginal dinner and dance ceremony known as a corroboree.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Pullman Cairns International
House Reef

After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll drive over to Port Douglas where your tour guide will take you on a walking tour of the Daintree Rainforest. This World Heritage site was founded on the site of one of the world’s oldest rainforests. The prehistoric fern trees and dense canopies served as the inspiration for James Cameron’s 2009 film Avatar, and it’s easy to see why.

The area is also a paradise for birdwatchers, offering a unique opportunity to spot cassowaries, rufous owls and azure kingfishers. We’ll spend the day exploring before returning to Cairns for your final night’s stay at the Pullman International.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Pullman Cairns International

There’s time for a hearty breakfast at the hotel before we transfer you directly to the airport to catch your return flight. All that’s left is to recap the wonderful memories you’ve made over the past two weeks – and plan your return to Australia.

Included

  • Cost of accommodation (double room based on two people sharing) for a total of 14 nights (alternative but similar accommodation may be used at certain times of the year)
  • 1 bottle of mineral water per person per day
  • Private/small group (air-conditioned) transport / transfers
  • Assistance and porterage: meeting and assistance on arrival/departure at airports and hotels
  • English-speaking local guides for all guided excursions as illustrated in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees (excluding video camera fee) for monuments and palaces and entertainment, and park fees for all guided excursions as illustrated in the itinerary
  • Taxes, Government Service Tax (subject to change)

Not included

  • International flights and airfare taxes
  • Visa arrangements and fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses, such as alcoholic beverages, telephone calls, laundry, camera fees, spa and business facilities in the hotel
  • Video and professional still camera fees during excursions
  • Gratuities for drivers, tour directors, local guides, naturalists and hotel staff
  • Meals (unless specified)
  • Optional attractions and excursions (unless specified)
  • Car hire and insurance