Day 1: Sydney — Barrington Tops
Depart from outside Wake Up hostel at 8am or outside Nomads at 8.10am
Depart the big city and head to the Hunter Valley wine area for a tasting at one of Australia’s most famous vineyards. You then travel through the backcountry to our stunning stop on the edge of Barrington Tops National Park (a World Heritage Listed Area). You will stay in Loka’s own private lodge overlooking the Barrington River. You have the option to ride an inner tube down a scenic part of the river or go mountain biking (additional cost). Have a few drinks and relax in the hot tub in the evening.
Day 2: Barrington Tops — Spot X Surf Camp
In the morning you will do a walk to take in the scenery and wildlife (there are kangaroos, a variety of birds and even platypus!) before visiting a Koala hospital to learn about their efforts in preserving Koalas and what you can do to help, and then travel on to our waterfront accommodation at the Spot X Surf Camp, arriving in the early evening.
Day 3: Spot X Surf Camp — River Retreat
You have the morning at leisure at Spot X. You can relax on the beach or choose to take a group surf lesson (additional cost). In the afternoon travel to the Solitary Islands Marine Park where you will kayak to the River Retreat – an exclusive tipi camp, on the edge of the park. In the evening have a few drinks and/or play volleyball or petanque. Sleep in beds in a tipi or swags under the stars.
Note: in winter you take a walk on the headlands through a wild kangaroo sanctuary and stay in a historic country pub on the river.
We recommending hopping off here for a few days and getting a 2- 5 Day Surf & Stay with accom/meals/surf lessons included.
Day 4: River Retreat — Byron Bay
This morning you will leave the camp early, hop on the bus and head up towards Byron Bay, Australia’s famous surf and arts town. Stop in the picturesque town of Yamba along the way where you can have a walk around or have a swim in the Angourie Blue Pool.
Day 5: Free Day 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. There is an orientation drive on the way to Byron Bay to help you get your bearings.
Day 6: Byron Bay (via Gold Coast & Brisbane) – Noosa or Rainbow Beach
Today you will cruise up to the New South Wales/Queensland border and hop out at Danger Point to stretch your legs, and check out the view of one of Australia’s best surf spots Snapper Rock. Then drive into the Gold Coast, you may want to get off here to experience the sun, sand, tans and high-rises of Australia’s most developed beach resort. Drive through Brisbane (pick up and drop off travellers in the city centre) then travel on to the upmarket beach resort town of Noosa. Hop off here or continue onto Rainbow Beach for the night. Rainbow Beach and Noosa are both departure points for Fraser Island (a backpacker must-do). At Rainbow Beach take a walk up to Carlo Sand Blow for either the sunset or sunrise.
Day 7: Rainbow Beach (via Noosa) — Country Campout
Hop on the bus in Rainbow Beach and head back to Noosa, pick up passengers, and then drive to Cooroy where you will hop on the train. Travel to Rockhampton then get met by a local bus, which takes you to the option of a remote farm stay for the night (traditional swagman’s dinner around the campfire, sleep in swags, breakfast, morning farm tour, and dinner at Emus Beach Resort the next night – for an inclusive price of $75) or you can stay the night at Emus Beach Resort and self-cater.
Day 8: Country Campout— OVERNIGHT TRAIN — Airlie Beach
If you have stayed on the farm, take a walk around the property and feed some farm animals before heading to the beautiful, little coastal town of Emu Park. In the afternoon you can just relax around the resort pool, go on a turtle-spotting walk (seasonal), or visit the local crocodile farm (additional cost). You will catch the train in the evening and travel overnight to Airlie Beach. It is a modern train with large reclining seats, a bar and a dining carriage. You will arrive into a town called Proserpine in the morning then take a local bus in to Airlie Beach – the gateway to the beautiful Whitsunday Islands.
Note: Depending which day you depart Noosa/Rainbow you may have an extra day at Emu Park.
Day 9: Airlie Beach (via Townsville) — Magnetic Island
An early start today 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. Note: Depending on which day you depart, you may have a free day to spend on Magnetic Island.
Day 10: Magnetic Island — Indigenous Camp / Tully
Travel back to the mainland on a ferry, travel by train to Tully – getting in at around lunchtime. You have the option of staying in Tully at a historic hotel (for hostel prices) or taking part in Loka’s exclusive Indigenous Rainforest Experience for the Loka special price of $120. You will be met by local Aboriginals and travel by bus into the amazing rainforest of Tully Gorge National Park. Go for a swim in the scenic Tully River before having a group dinner (modern food with a traditional twist). After dark go ‘spotlighting’ in the rainforest for native wildlife, then share stories around the campfire before bed.
Day 11: Indigenous Camp – Cairns
In the morning, enjoy a big breakfast then head off for an interpretative walk into the national park, you will then travel back to Tully to catch the train north to Cairns arriving late afternoon.
Note: Depending on which day you depart, you may have a free day/night to spend in Tully at the historic Mt Tyson hotel before heading to Cairns.