Meet outside Wake Up hostel at 08:00 or outside Nomads (if confirmed) at 08:10. We depart the big city and head to the Hunter Valley wine area for a tasting at one of Australia’s most famous vineyards. We then travel through the backcountry to our stunning stop on the edge of Barrington Tops National Park (a World Heritage Listed Area). We stay in our own private lodge overlooking the Barrington River. You have the option to ride an inner tube down a scenic part of the river (additional cost), then in the evening have a few drinks and relax in the hot tub.
Recommended accommodation: Dorm bed & breakfast at Twistops Retreat
Meet at the lodge. In the morning you can go mountain biking (additional cost) or go for a walk around the scenic property. We then head north, with a break to visit a koala hospital to learn about their efforts in preserving koalas, and at a nature reserve to spot wild kangaroos hopping along the incredible coastline. We arrive at our waterfront accommodation at Spot X in the early evening.
Recommended accommodation: Dorm bed & breakfast at Spot X
Meet at Stray bus. We have the morning at leisure at Spot X. You can relax on the beach or we recommend taking part in a group surf lesson (additional cost) or hopping off to do a Surf & Stay. In the afternoon we travel to our River Retreat and go for a guided canoeing trip, spotting wildlife along the way. In the evening have an Aussie BBQ, learn how to cook some damper and toast marshmallows around the campfire. We sleep in wilderness cabins or in swags under the stars.
Recommended accommodation: Dorm bed/swag, dinner and breakfast at River Retreat
Meet at camp. We leave our camp early, hop in our bus and head up towards Byron Bay, Australia’s famous surf and arts town. We stop in the picturesque town of Yamba along the way for lunch where you can have a walk around or a swim in the Angourie Blue Pool. We have an orientation drive on the way to Byron Bay to help you get your bearings.
Explore, learn to surf, party, do a dolphin kayak trip, visit the alternative town of Nimbin (additional costs), 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.
Meet at the main bus stop on Jonson St or Arts Factory hostel (please confirm in advance). We cruise up to the New South Wales/Queensland border and hop out at Danger Point to stretch our legs and check out the view of one of Australia’s best surf spots Snapper Rocks. We then drive into Surfers Paradise, you may want to get off here to experience the sun, sand, tans and high-rises of Australia’s most developed beach area. We 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 we take a walk up to Carlo Sand Blow for sunset.
Meet outside Dingos/Frasers at Rainbow Beach, or outside Nomads at Noosa We hop in our bus in Rainbow Beach and head to Tin Can Bay to see wild dolphins up close. We then head back to Noosa where we have a couple of hours to check out the beach, markets or chill, before picking up some more Stray travellers and driving to Cooroy to start our first train journey. We travel to Rockhampton then get met by a private bus, which takes us to Emus Beach Resort. We get welcomed onto the resort and find out more about our options for the next day or so. We have an awesome Stray Treasure Island option, which includes accommodation, return ferry transfers to Great Keppel Island, Treasure Hunt, Bluff Point Turtle Walk, and evening meal on the second day, or you can choose to just pay for your bed only and do your own thing.
Recommended accommodation: At Emus Beach resort
Meet at Emus Beach Resort. For those that have the Treasure Island package we depart early to head to the tropical paradise Great Keppel Island at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. Relax or have a go at snorkeling or kayaking (extra cost) before taking part in the famous Stray Treasure Hunt. Follow the clues to win the treasure! We head back to the mainland late afternoon with a quick stop to go on a walk to Bluff Point. Have dinner at Emus Beach Resort before we catch the train in the evening and travel overnight to Airlie Beach - the gateway to the beautiful Whitsunday Islands. We grab some breakfast when we arrive and your guide will give you a brief walking orientation tour of Airlie. Depending which day you depart Noosa/Rainbow you may have an extra day at Emu Park and you can choose to spend your second night on Great Keppel Island. If it’s bad weather you can also choose to visit the local crocodile farm (additional cost).
Accommodation: Overnight train (price included)
Meet outside Base Backpackers. We start early with a local bus to the train, a ferry out to beautiful ‘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. Depending on which day you depart, you may have a free day to spend on Magnetic Island.
Recommended accommodation: YHA Bungalow Bay
Meet at YHA Bungalow Bay reception or at the ferry terminal (please confirm). We travel back to the mainland on the ferry, travel by train to Tully getting in at around lunchtime. You have the option of taking part in Stray’s exclusive Rainforest Experience for the special price of approx. $120 or staying in Tully at a historic pub (for hostel prices). For those keen to camp, we travel by bus into the amazing rainforest of Tully Gorge National Park. Cool off with a swim in a beautiful swimming hole, before a BBQ dinner and stories around the campfire.
Recommended accommodation: Rainforest Experience or Mt Tyson Hotel
Meet at Tully train station. We wake early at our rainforest camp for breakfast and then have an interpretative walk through the forest learning about the traditional indigenous usage of the land. We then head back to Tully and jump on the train to our final destination, Cairns. We arrive late afternoon, then get ready to party tonight to celebrate and farewell the end of your East Coast adventure. Depending on which day you depart, you may have a free day/night to spend in Tully before heading to Cairns, we recommend doing one of the famous Tully rafting trips or going skydiving at Mission Beach on this day. *
* The itinerary is subject to change.
All transport including the Stray bus between Sydney and Rainbow Beach/Cooroy, fast trains between Cooroy and Cairns, local transfers and return Magnetic Island ferry
Guidance from a local guide and access to Stray web app
Wine tasting Hunter Valley
Barrington Tops National Park
Koala hospital visit, Port Macquarie
Kangaroo spotting, Emerald Beach
Canoeing experience, River Retreat
Angourie Blue Pools, Yamba
Byron Bay orientation drive
Danger Point border crossing walk
Carlo Sand Blow walk, Rainbow Beach
Dolphin Centre entry, Tin Can Bay
Bluff Point walk at Emu Park
Airlie orientation walk
Forts Walk at Magnetic Island
Tully Gorge National Park Rainforest
Opportunity to hop on and hop off