Travel east coast Oz within 12 days?

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Travel east coast Oz within 12 days?

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1. Posted by James1976 (Budding Member 41 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!


I am trying to work out my itinerary for when i travel Australia next March '06 for 6 weeks. My trouble is that i will only have 12-15 days max available to do the east coast (including a 3 day Whitsunday cruise with a cruise company i have found).

I will be going from Sydney to Cairns, but i would like to ask if anyone has any idea how long this journey takes and so how much free time i would have please? Also, assuming that i have limited time for the east coast, where is best to visit? (excluding whitsundays which i have planned three days from Airlie Beach).

Would really appeciate your help as im a bit stuck planning this part. Im thinking i will go via Greyhound buses as other tours such as Oz experience wont wait until i finish my whitsunday cruise (and i have a particular cruise company in mind for that).

Thanks a lot.

2. Posted by jax_07 (Full Member 76 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Hi James

I'm afraid I have no aswers for you but, in fact, a question (sorry).

You talk about a Whitsunday cruise and seem quite keen on it, which company is it you're going with? What has made you decide to go with them? It's the sort of thing my friend and I are interested in doing when we're there, but we're not sure.

Many Thanks


3. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5616 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Might be worth considering hopping from city to city on the east coast by plane - I consider the $50 per destination that you'd pay more compared to bus to be more than made up by the 3-6 hours per destination that you save in travel time.

(I did Cairns, bus to Magnetic Island, flight to Mackay, flight to Brisbane, flight to Sydney in little over two weeks a while ago.)

4. Posted by lil j (Travel Guru 1303 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

ah i have to dash now but i have just done the east coast from cairns to Sydney i did it in about the same amount of time and i have a lot to say...i'll try and get on here after work tonight!

Better dash.

5. Posted by James1976 (Budding Member 41 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for your replies guys!

Jax: i'm intending to go with PowerPlay cruise, someone on this forum recommended them and their website is very informative ( Bear in mind that this is a cruise, and there is also sailing (which you take part in doing the sails and yaughting).

Sander: Thanks, i'll certainly take that into consideration. The only reason for getting the bus really is that by this point i would have done a number of internal flights anyway, so some nice east coast scenery was my plan :o) I i will have a look at this option just incase.

lil j: Thanks any additional info on the east coast, particularly the amount of time taken to get between places and the nicest ones to visit would be great!


6. Posted by lil j (Travel Guru 1303 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you! Well i am a woman, lol!

A couple of weeks ago i did the east coast in 2 weeks so may have had a couple more days than you, i personally wouldnt advise it.

I was told by Oz Experience that you can do the east coast in 10 days. For 5 days i spent the whole day on a bus, stopping off for lunch and walks and the odd little thing, getting to the hostel at 6pm, getting checked in and going out for the evening then it was back on the bus AGAIN at 7/8am. i changed hostel everynight, which got very tiring.

Towards the end i had 4 days in Byron which was excellent. The distances are far. the east coast is brill, i just wished i had more time. I missed out on fraser island completely.

I suppose if your flying between places-would think that that would be expensive and a bit more hassle, that you would get more time to stay in a couple of places for a couple of days.

I flew from Sydney to Cairns then bused it back down to Sydney. i went and stayed at a lot of places but many of them i only got to see the nightife.

If you want any info on any of the places along the east coast just give me a shout.

I'm actually planning to be back out in Oz by end of jan/feb for a couple of years!

7. Posted by James1976 (Budding Member 41 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Hey lil j,

Thanks for your reply, much appreciated. I had a feeling that it might be a bit much trying to do the east coast in 12 days, but because it sounds really good i think i will actually miss off Perth which will give me an extra week or so. I think you're right, trying to do the whole east coast would be too much in that short time, so i will probably decide on three or four places on the east coast and just visit them only.

I need to get to Airlie beach for a whistunday cruise, would you have any idea how long by coach it would take to get there from Sydney a all please? Although i will have a number of stops in between, its difficult to judge how much time to allocate in between these two places. Any info on this or times taken travelling between places on the east coast would be much appreciated. Thanks! I think that Byron Bay, Fraser Island and possibly surfers paradise might be my choices to visit for a few days each.

Wow you must really like it if you're going for a few years! Sounds like you are a bit of a party animal lol.


8. Posted by lil j (Travel Guru 1303 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Hey James-oh airlie is excellent-well for nightlife-thats all i got to see there, lol! I do love my nightlife, he! he!

I'll tell you what-i know someone who works for Oz Ex. so i'll ask him about the travelling times beween places, i'll mail him 2mo and get back to you on that one.

Hang on i think it would take a while-my memory is terrible, each place i went to it was a 6-9 hour drive. I can't think off hand how many places i stopped off at before i got to airlie-the brochure is upstairs and i can't move because i'm stuffed-not that you needed to know that but i like to share info like that-LOL!


9. Posted by James1976 (Budding Member 41 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Hey Jas,

Thanks for the info, i've been jiggling my itinerary around trying to fit in as many days for the east coast and possible and only managed to free up an extra two days lol. (so much to do!)

If you wouldnt mind asking your friend about the travelling times that would be fab! Thanks. So far i think i want to visit: Byron Bay, Surfers Paradise, Fraser Island, Airlie Beach (sounds like i will love this place, kinda like parting myself too ), Cairns and Cape Tribulation (and daintree). Mmmm those 14 days just dont seem enough even for that.

Can i ask, which company did you go with for the bus? I cant decide between Greyhound and OzExperience. Greyhound gives more freedom to do the places i like, but OzExperience sounds like more fun and meeting more people, they book accomodation for you, and of course more partying .

Hey come on, that brochure is only upstairs, and trust me it helps you food go down a treat! lol.


10. Posted by lil j (Travel Guru 1303 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Your bringing back memories-i did the cape trib and daintree the 2 day one-it was excellent and the barrier reef-it was a hot, hot day and the whole thing was ace! You sound like you've picked the best places to go. Also have you thought about magnetic island and stay at base-lovely place, great facilities, its right on the beach and they have a bar and the nightlife is excellent there, from the one night that i saw! i really didnt want to leave there!

Airlie was great for nightlife-have to go to beaches first then onto a club. Music in Oz is back to front-to what were used to-airlie is a bit more to what were used to. The clubs are within walking distance-i wanna be there!! You actually meet aussies there and not just backpackers which is great.

I went with Oz Ex. and this is where i met one of the guys working for them, the team are brill. They dont leave you out but at the same time if you want to be left alone they leave you to it.

They go out with you to eat and party, they give you info-book your accomodation-its all done for you. You can still book things yourself if you wanted to.

Ive just got my brochure (yes went all the way upstairs-just for you!) I'm a bit confused-you wanted to know how long to get from Sydney to Airlie-hmmm....quite a bit of time-hang on are you travelling up the east coast or down??

I flew from Sydney to Cairns then bused it down to Sydney again.

Go onto this link and look at the map, the yellow filled circles are where they stop off-that is if you get the pass that i got, the cobber (cairns-sydney/melbourne). see they have all diff. passes.

You would either get the bruce or the cobber-depending if your going up or down.

Between each place is about a 7 hour drive. The thing with Oz Ex. is that if you was in Cairns and wanted to go straight to Airlie beach-you couldnt do this with Oz Ex. you would have to spend the night at magnetic island,as this is the last stop before they move on again.

Another thing to consider is that they do run many buses but there may be the odd day that where you want to go they will not be running any buses, they give you a timetable. Apparantly there are more buses running north than south. I think this is where Oz Ex. differ with greyhound.I personally found Oz better as i was travelling on my own, they were flexible enough for me-considering i had just under 2 weeks and if i had more time-then excellent.

There website will help you out and have a look at the passes and the map they show.

Anything you want to know fire away!

Ive really rambled and have actually confused myself-i'll get there!