Brisbane to Cairns Experience: Sand Dunes & the Whitsundays

Tabbed Group

Overview

Now's the time to explore Australia on your terms with this tour that's affordable for young travellers. If you're big on ambition but short on time, sign yourself up for this zippy ten-day tour up the East Coast of Queensland. Play transport bingo as you hop on a yacht, train, truck, and private vehicle to get around your destinations. Hit Fraser Island and the Whitsundays, go snorkelling, and sleep on the banks of the Noosa River. Your time here may be fleeting, but the photos you snap, post, and caption will have "humblebrag" written all over them forever.

Itinerary

Day 1: Brisbane

Arrive at any time.

Welcome to the “Land Down Under”! Tonight, gear up and get ready for a night out in Brisbane with the group. Enjoy an evening filled with friendly vibes, epic times, and dope views of the city as you sip some local booze on the rooftop bar of the YHA Brisbane Hostel with your new travel tribe by your side.

Arrive in Brisbane at any time. There are no planned activities during the day, so check into the hotel and explore the city.

If you arrive early enough, you'll have time to head into the city. Opt to visit the Botanical Gardens, admire views of the city from Mt Coot-tha, or relax at Streets Beach on the South Bank.

Day 2: Brisbane/Noosa Everglades

Escape the city as you journey north up the coast to the Noosa Everglades. Get ready for an evening surrounded by stunning wilderness in one of the most pristine wetlands in the world. Relax as you cruise along this "river of mirrors" and chow down with a delicious Aussie BBQ lunch before further exploring your surroundings. Grab a kayak to get up and personal with the dark, tranquil waters as you paddle through ancient landscapes and sub-tropical rainforest. Then relax around the lake or hike one of the trails to further appreciate the serenity that seeps from this unique landscape.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3: Noosa Everglades/Fraser Island

On your mark...get set.... go! Travel by private vehicle and ferry with your group to reach Fraser Island; for a true Aussie experience. Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world and the only known place where rainforest grows on sand. Think pure paradise; with striking blue lakes, crystal clear creeks, giant dunes, and dense rainforests in a place truly unlike any other. Once on the island the group will go for a 4x4 tour, driving along over 100km of beach to get a sense of your surroundings. Then take a swim in Lake Mckenzie, or be on the lookout for wild Dingoes (this is one of the few places in Australia where you are able to see them).

Once on the island, enjoy a 4x4 tour of Fraser Island, driving along over 100km of beach. Go for a swim in Lake McKenzie, and enjoy a rainforest walk along the way.

Includes: Breakfast

Day 4: Fraser Island/Airlie Beach

Your second day on Fraser Island comes with more free time to enjoy this paradise. In the morning continue exploring by 4x4 along wide stretches of pearly white beach and then duck into the shade of the forest to really appreciate the peaceful solitude that surrounds you. In the afternoon board an overnight train (get ready to post some ‘grams) north to Airlie Beach, where more sand, sun, and fun await you.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Airlie Beach/Whitsunday Islands

Awake as the train pulls to a stop in your next destination. Hop out, stretch those legs, and head out for brunch with the group in Airlie Beach; home to the Whitsunday Islands and located on the Great Barrier Reef. Then head to the marina and embark on a maxi yacht which will be your home for the next two nights. Set sail to a secluded cove (we’re so excited for you) in the Whitsunday islands where you will drop anchor for the night. Our only advice; try not to pinch yourself too many times because no, this is not a dream, it is reality and we want you to experience it as best you can!

After arriving in Airlie Beach and some time for brunch, head to the marina and embark on a maxi yacht which will be our home for the next two nights. Set sail to a secluded cove in the Whitsunday Islands where you will drop anchor for the night.

Includes: Dinner

Day 6: Whitsunday Islands

Remember those stranded-on-a-deserted island fantasies that we all had growing up? (no, just us?) Either way get ready to relive that castaway dream as you hike to an island lookout over Whitehaven Beach (one of the most famous beaches in the world) and enjoy the views of powdery sand and the Coral Sea’s azure waters. You probably won’t ever want to leave. And you haven’t even gone below the surface yet!

After some free time on the beach basking in the sun you’ll spend time as a group learning about the community efforts to protect and restore coral in the Great Barrier Reef before heading out to snorkel; over a Planeterra-supported coral garden. Then it’s off to another secluded tropical island spot where the group will anchor for the night. (Skinny dipping anyone?)

The sailing route today allows us to follow part of Captain Cook's route up through the Whitsunday Islands.

Planeterra has partnered with Reef Ecologic, a nonprofit specialized in creating innovative solutions to challenges facing coral reefs. In the Whitsundays they are working to engage the community and travellers to restore the reef following the 2017 cyclone. Reef Ecologic's new coral gardens in the Whitsundays foster natural coral fragments to be replanted into the reef for a healthy marine environment.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Whitsunday Islands/Airlie Beach

Expected forecast today is; peace, serenity, paradise, and lots of gorgeous views. You may want to pull out your phone or camera every chance you get, but try to refrain and simply enjoy the moment as you and the group continue sailing through the picturesque backdrop of the Whitsunday Islands. Swim, snorkel, or lounge on the boat deck before sailing to the resort town of Airlie Beach for a night on the town with your best adventure buds! Live it up because let’s face it, how often are you really in this kind of paradise?

After three days at sea, we sail back to Airlie Beach for a night on land in a local beach hostel. Feel free to relax by the pool at the end of the day.

Includes: Breakfast

Day 8: Airlie Beach/Cairns

Wake up in the most laid-back beach town in Australia. Walk down the street in your thongs (flip flops) and swimwear to grab some delicious breakfast. If there’s time take one more quick dip before boarding the train north to Cairns. Admire the scenery along the way and reflect on your journey with friends new and old.

Day 9: Cairns

Cairns is quite the place to visit if you love warm weather (it would be headline news for the city’s temperature to drop much below 20°C (68°F)) and want to visit the Great Barrier Reef. Take advantage of a free morning to book one of the many optional activities that will get you out in nature’s playground. Snorkel or dive in the Great Barrier Reef, get that adrenaline pumping by whitewater rafting, skydiving, or bungee jumping and cap it all off on a Big Night Out In Cairns with your travel tribe. Drinks all around are well deserved after spending the day escaping your comfort zones.

Opt to pre-book the "Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling" activity on the checkout page ahead of time, to include this optional on your tour.

Day 10: Cairns

Depart at any time.

We know it's time for this tour to end, but what if you don't want to go home just yet? (We would want to stay too... trust us). Well the good news is you can keep exploring Australia by extending or adding on to your trip... so let the adventures continue.

Request a quote