Brisbane to Cairns Northbound
Explore Australia’s sun-kissed east coast from the Queensland 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, 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 four-star accommodation for a refreshingly hot shower – Queensland is calling!
Ages: 8 - 99
Accommodation: Hotel (7 nights)
The adventure begins in the Queensland capital. From Brisbane, travel to sun-kissed Noosa, visiting one of Australia’s top surf locations en route. Go koala-spotting in a national park, then head to a coastal lookout to take in a magnificent sunset over the Sunshine Coast hinterland. In the evening, relax and unwind, or perhaps head out on the town for some dinner and drinks.
Set off on a 4WD adventure on Fraser Island. This incredible slice of land is the largest sand island in the world, stretching some 123 kilometres down Queensland's southern coast. Take a dive into a crystal clear lake, and head out in search of that most iconic outback creature, the dingo. When it's all over, relax back at your accommodation or soak up some of Noosa's vibrant nightlife.
Transfer back to Brisbane before boarding a flight to Airlie Beach, the hub town of the magnificent Whitsundays. The day is yours to spend as you please – perhaps stroll around and explore, visit some local swimming spots for a refreshing dip, or while away the hours at a bar with a view of the shimmering blue water. If you're feeling active, chat to your leader for some ideas on optional activities, there are plenty to choose from.
After breakfast, take a leisurely day cruise through the postcard-perfect islands of the Whitsundays, including a stop at the famed 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! Get a closer look by snorkelling with colourful coral and an array of playful fish and turtles.
A change of scenery today as we head through undulating cane fields to picturesque Mission Beach in a private vehicle. We’ll have the perfect day to enjoy paradise this afternoon with free time as we arrive onto crystal clear waters and stunning views. Grab a book, have a swim in the pool or just sit and enjoy the tropical bliss. (approximately 520kms/ 325 miles, 6 hours)
Enjoy breakfast in a local cafe before travelling into the wet tropics of Far North Queensland. Here you'll discover a magnificent plunge waterfall nestled in dense tropical rainforest en route to Atherton Tablelands. Take a dip in the cool water, then head to Lake Eacham, a crater lake with beautiful water. Also pay a visit to the massive, unique, heritage-listed ‘Curtain Fig Tree’. The day draws to a close in Cairns, one of Australia’s most lively tropical towns.
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the highlights of any trip to Australia. Cruise over to this famous reef and enjoy some snorkelling and a marine conservation commentary. After an extraordinary day in this underwater world, brimming with amazing coral and dazzling tropical fish, freshen up at the hotel and enjoy a farewell dinner. It’s a chance to compare memories, swap stories, and say farewell to your travel companions.
Trip ends after breakfast. Enquire about booking some extra nights in cairns for further exploration of this tropical paradise.
- Great Barrier Reef day cruise
Royal on The Park Hotel
152 Alice St
131-141 The Esplanade
Alternate Finish point
For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.
10 Jan 2020 (PVOB200110), 24 Jan 2020 (PVOB200124), 31 Jan 2020 (PVOB200131), 14 Feb 2020 (PVOB200214), 21 Feb 2020 (PVOB200221), 28 Feb 2020 (PVOB200228), 13 Mar 2020 (PVOB200313), 20 Mar 2020 (PVOB200320), 27 Mar 2020 (PVOB200327)
163 Abbott St
1. This trip starts at Hotel Royal on the Park at 10am on day 1.
2. A single supplement is available for all days of this trip.
All group trips are accompanied by a group leader. In Australia your group leader is also your driver, taking you from start to finish in a specialised vehicle. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Yor leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, organise the camp and cooking for camp or kitchen cooked meals (though passengers are required to help out) as well as recommend great local eating venues. They will also introduce you to our local friends along the way. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the areas visited on the trip, including historical, environmental, cultural and social aspects.
Daytime temperatures can be extreme from Oct to March with temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius. Please bring a large refillable water bottle. We strongly recommend the use of dehydration salts and sports drinks as a way to combat dehydration during times of extreme heat.
Rip currents are the leading surf hazard for all beach users. They can occur at any beach, and can sweep even the strongest swimmer out to sea. Rip currents are responsible for around 15,000 beach rescues and up to 120 people being drowned each year in Australia (source: Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA).
To enjoy Australia's beaches safely, take the following simple precautions:
* Always swim between the red and yellow flags, as these indicate it is a supervised location where a lifesaving service is currently on duty.
* Do not swim at unsupervised locations.
* Observe and obey safety signage, which indicates current and typical hazards for that location.
* Ask a lifeguard or lifesaver for advice on conditions; they are there to make your experience safer and more enjoyable.
* Always swim with a friend; never swim alone.
* If you get into trouble, stay calm and signal for help by calling and waving your arm above your head.
Be aware of your own limitations in terms of your physical health and your swimming ability in the given conditions. Never swim while, or after, consuming alcohol.
The Australian Tourism site has some great tips for staying safe in Australia
You can also contact us directly at https://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/contact-us/safety if you have any concerns about safety on your trip.
Wireless (wi-fi) is common across accommodation in Australia. Some properties may charge a fee for usage.
Cafe's and pubs across NSW and QLD may have wi-fi for a fee, with those in more tourist area's offering it for free. Shopping centre's, airports and other public spaces offer limited free wi-fi access.
Australia’s main telecommunication companies all operate in NSW and QLD. Pay phones are become rarer than hen's teeth so best use your mobile.
If you are spending longer in Australia, it might be a good idea to purchase a local SIM card for data and your mobile device.
All travellers, except New Zealand citizens, must obtain a visa or travel authority before travelling to Australia. Failure to do so means you may not be allowed to board your flight to Australia. Most nationalities can obtain an Electronic Travel Authority via the internet before arrival. Please check the following website or with your relevant Australian visa issuing office for your nationalities requirements. http://www.eta.immi.gov.au/
Why we love it
Bask in the beauty of Fraser Island on a 4WD adventure, visiting key panoramic lookout points, swimming in a clear lake, and searching for a dingo or two
Enjoy the stunning white beaches of the Whitsunday Islands. You’ll be left in no doubt that Whitehaven Beach is one of the finest slices of shoreline in the world
Discover the beautiful coral and tropical fish of the one and only Great Barrier Reef. A day cruise includes snorkelling and a commentary about conservation efforts
Soak up the nightlife of lively beach towns along the way, with free evenings in Noosa, Airlie Beach and Cairns
Is this trip right for you
Only some meals are included on this trip. This allows for more freedom and flexibility, as there are often many great dining options along this part of the coast.
This trip covers a lot of ground, there are some long driving days.
This trip is part of a combination with other travellers coming from Sydney when you join in Brisbane. If you'd like to check out the Sydney to Cairns 14 day trip, please search for PVOSC on our website.
Please note this tour operates in remote regions and as such medical facilities may be difficult to access. If you have any medical conditions or take any form of medication please provide full details & nature of condition. Please provide details of medication taken.
Food and dietary requirements
Australia eats multi-culturally. Everything from meat pies to ramen, laksa, pho, rice and pasta are part of the national diet.
The East Coast of Australia is renowned for its fresh food, including dairy (amazing cheeses), produce, seafood and meat. From high end restaurants and gastro pubs and cafe's to local restaurants and markets there is plenty of choice for all budgets. Local produce is a feature on back roads. Roadside stalls sell tropical fruit in season in Northen NSW and QLD.
Vegetarians and Vegans are well catered for in Australia and most restaurants and cafe's will have a good selection of vegetarian meals. Gluten and Lactose free diets are also well catered for.
Tap water is safe and delicious in cities and towns. In the bush its best to check with your guide if in doubt. Bring a reusable bottle and drink tap water where you can. You'll use less plastic, saving both the environment and money.
Australia has strict laws regarding arriving with fruit and veg into the country. Please pay attention to signs when arriving internationally.
Please budget approximately $15 per lunch, and $20 - $40 for each dinner, perhaps a little more if you intend to also enjoy a glass of wine or beer with your meal.
The Australian Dollar (A$) is the currency of Australia.
Credit and debit cards are readily accepted just about everywhere in Australia. Occasionally there may be a minimum spend for both in smaller shops. You can usually withdraw money from shops where EFTPOS is available. Automatic teller machines (ATMs) are common across Australia. ATM's may be limited in remote areas and your leader will advise you when to withdraw extra cash.
Credit cards in Australia require a pin number rather than a signature and may have a small surcharge for purchases.
Tipping is not expected but appreciated.
We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.
What to take
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps.
You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day.
Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip.
- Lightweight clothing. You will need to bring a mixture of lightweight clothing and warm layers. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry. Maybe bring a change of smart clothes for dinner in bigger cities. Australia is pretty casual. A pair of shorts or a skirt and a top with thongs is our usual summer wardrobe.
- Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through bush, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings. A pair of sandals or thongs (flip flops) are great for the beach.
- Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses.
- Personal medical kit. A larger kit will be on hand with your leader, but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, Band-Aids and insect repellent.
- Water bottle. We recommend at least 1.5litre capacity.
- Camera with spare batteries.
- Ear plugs to guard against street noise and snorers.
- A good book, a journal and music player for longer drives.
Please keep your luggage to a minimum. One small soft-sided bag plus a day pack (no more than 15-20kgs in total per person) is essential. We recommend against bringing hard/externally framed suitcases as they are difficult to store in the vehicle and can damage equipment and other travellers' belongings.
Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. We recommend that you photocopy/scan all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals.
If you need some further tips for packing, you can always check out our ultimate packing list.
Climate and seasonal
Summer (December – February) Average temperatures range from 18 - 26°C (65.5 - 78.4°F). Its pretty humid
Autumn (March – May) The mildest time of year when the humidity drops and average temperatures fall between 15 - 22°C (58 - 72°F).
Winter (June – August) Sydney’s coolest months are June to August when average temperatures drop between 9 - 17°C (48 - 63°F). Rainfall is generally highest in June. July is the coolest month.
Spring (September – November) In spring, days are warmer but the humidity is not as high as summer.
Averages range from 11 - 23°C (51.8 - 73.4°F).
Summer (December – February) Its between 21 - 29.8°C (69.8 - 85.6°F) in summer with the most rainfall and spectacular thunderstorms.
Autumn (March – May) It finally cools down - 15 - 25°C (59 - 77°F), with low humidity and less rain.
Winter (June – August) Generally dry and mild with mean temperatures between 11 - 21°C (51.8 - 69.8°F).
Spring (September – November) Warm, sunny days are tempered by cool sea breezes. 15 - 25°C (59 - 77°F).
Summer (December – February) Average temperatures range from 24 - 31°C (74 - 88°F). The wet season begins building up around December, with the most rainfall in the summer.
Autumn (March – May) It is still very warm during both the day and night. Temperatures average between
22 - 29°C (70.7 - 84.2°F). The rain subsides from April but it gets windy until October
Winter (June – August) Brings slightly cooler temperatures and lower humidity. Average temperatures range from 18 - 26°C (63.5 - 78.8°F) with little rain.
Spring (September – November) Temperatures range from 21 – 29°C (68.9 - 84.2°F). Its the end of the dry season when humidity starts to build..
A couple of rules
Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden.
Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.
The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips.
By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund.
If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
EAST COAST: ALL general enquiry must be directed to our Reservations team on 1300 654 604. In the case of a GENUINE EMERGENCY, or concerns about a missed pick-up on the DAY OF DEPARTURE ONLY please contact our Operations Manager in Cairns. If your call does NOT warrant an emergency situation you will be asked to call our Reservations team in business hours.’
Intrepid Emergency contact: +61 (0) 474 229 435
Australians are not required to be covered for hospital care due to being covered by Medicare. However we strongly recommend that Australians have a domestic travel insurance policy which covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. It is also strongly advisable that Australians have current ambulance cover in the case of emergency evacuation or incidents requiring ambulance transportation.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all international travellers and should be taken out at the time of booking. Your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, death, medical expenses and emergency repatriation with a recommended minimum coverage of US$200,000 for each of the categories of cover. We also strongly recommend it covers cancellation, curtailment, personal liability and loss of luggage and personal effects. You must provide proof of your travel insurance on the first day of your trip; you will not be able to join the trip without it. If you obtain travel insurance through us you acknowledge that you are satisfied with the level of insurance we have arranged.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER CULTURAL EXPERIENCES & COMMUNITIES:
Please note due to cultural sensitivities, entry to particular parts of local First Nations communities may be unavailable. Where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander guides are unavailable in the Red Centre an Intrepid guide will lead the interpretive cultural walk. Top End cultural experiences are only available during the dry season (May-Oct) as site is subject to flooding (contact our customer service team for availability). Participants may be absent due to cultural commitments with minimal prior notification and Intrepid reserves the right to amend the itinerary in these circumstances with no obligation to refund.
Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.
Hotel (7 nights)