Skip Navigation

Brisbane to Cairns - July/August?

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Brisbane to Cairns - July/August?

1. Posted by Daniel.J.B (Budding Member 32 posts) 5y

I shall be arriving in Brisbane on the 21st July, and flying from Cairns on the 17th August, and was wondering what the best way of travelling from one to the other would be. There doesn't seem to be an awful lot in between, so flying would obviously be the quickest way, but I don't want to miss something and regret it later.
Either that or I could rent a car (especially if there's anyone else needing to make the journey to split costs) or get a bus. What would people suggest?

Also, I've got the best part of 4 weeks there, and wondering how best to split my time. Cairns and the surrounding areas (Barrier Reef, Port Douglas etc.) seem the more appealing, but I'm not familiar with either city so I could be completely wrong.

Any info would be great, cheers.

2. Posted by timtravels (Respected Member 350 posts) 5y

I'd probably go the bus and do Brisbane to Cairns, in 4 weeks you'll have time to enjoy yourself. From Brisbane my highlights were:
- Fraser Island
- Mackay and Eungella NP
- The Whitsunday Islands
- Around Cairns, the Great Barrier Reef, Atherton Tablelands, Daintree and Mission Beach.

3. Posted by Daniel.J.B (Budding Member 32 posts) 5y

Having looked into it a bit more I'd agree it's worth staying on the ground, as I'm not in much of a hurry.
If I get buses rather than renting a car, would you say it's better to get one of these hop on/hop off ones that has a set route and stops off at certain places, or just getting regular buses from one place to another?

4. Posted by iluntsai (Budding Member 13 posts) 5y

Get one of the hop on/hop off bus would be a good way to experience these areas. Most of the set routes are popular spots that are worthy to see. :)

5. Posted by Daniel.J.B (Budding Member 32 posts) 5y

Yeah the hop on/hop off bus looks ideal, which is what I'm doing in NZ. There's the 'Strewth' pass from Bisbane to Cairns from OzExperience, which is $460, and seems to go to the popular spots. Has anyone used them before?

6. Posted by Araluen (Respected Member 346 posts) 5y

OzExperience doesn't have very good feedback and unlike the hop on/hop off buses in NZ, they just don't compare. If it were me, I'd get the Greyhound bus. Their mini travellers pass is valid for 90 days and as you have a month to play around, you have the choice of staying longer in some areas or heading off on local buses. This you won't get with the hop on bus. The Hop on/Hop off Brisbane or Surfers Paradise to Cairns pass is $300 adults and $270 concession.

You'll meet plenty of people like yourself on the bus and in hostels. While you're in Brissie, you could get the train to the Gold Coast (get off at Nerang Station), there'll be a connecting bus. Weekend travel Brisbane>Gold Coast is half price. Actually there's more to do in and around Surfers than there is in Brisbane. If you're flying into Brisbane, you could get the train to Surfers and base yoruself there before starting up to Cairns.

Port Douglas is lovely and I can recommend Parrot Fish Lodge there, just a two minute walk to Macrossan Street. See Photo The Rainforest Habitat is well worth visiting. I had "Breakfast with the Birds" (8.00am - 10.30am) all you can eat buffet and your ticket gets stamped for a return visit (no second brekkie though). There's a mini bus which goes from Macrossan Street to there - fare is the same whether you travel one stop or ten.

7. Posted by Daniel.J.B (Budding Member 32 posts) 5y

Thanks for your response, very helpful.
Having read a million and one reviews and comparisons online, it seems people are very much split between OzEx and Greyhound. I'm leaning towards Greyhound. It's cheaper, offers more flexibility and like you said, I'm going to meet people either way. I was planning to head to the Gold Coast so Surfers Paradise to Cairns seems like the one to go for.

Useful to know about the half price travel, I arrive in Brisbane on a Thursday so could travel that weekend (every penny counts!)

Everyone who I've spoken to about Port Douglas raves about it, so it's definitely high on my to-do list. Cheers for those links, I'll check them out (breakfast with the birds sounds fun).

8. Posted by stonebear (Budding Member 4 posts) 5y

If your budget allows you MUST do The Whitsundays and Fraser Island. These were the highlight of my year around Oz and so beautiful. You will never see water as blue as in the Whitsundays.
Brisbane is nice but mainly felt like london to me, built up and busy, I only spent 2 days there (mostly shopping!) and then went on to much more diverse areas of OZ.
Cape Tribulation is worth a visit - I am so jealous..........
If you go to Cairns then you must visit the 'Woolshed', lets say its an experience! Enjoy!

9. Posted by Daniel.J.B (Budding Member 32 posts) 5y

I'll make sure my budget allows for Whitsundays and Fraser Island! Never know when I might be able to go back to Australia so I don't want to miss out. I'll spend a couple of days in Brisbane but will probably make a move the weekend after I arrive on the Thursday morning. I don't have an itinerary set in stone, but I'd like to spend about a week in and around Cairns, which gives me just under 3 weeks for Brisbane and everywhere in between.

Hadn't heard of Cape Tribulation, looks pretty spectacular.

As for The Woolshed, I'm debating whether I should go on 'Sexy Sunday' or 'Wet T-Shirt Wednesday'!!