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Sydney to Cairns 17 July - 1 Aug

Sydney, Australia
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Sydney to Cairns 17 July - 1 Aug


I've been living in Sydney for the past four months and leave in august.

I want to see the best of the east coast before I leave.

I'm on a tight budget so plan to travel over land to cairns and have booked a flight back to Sydney on august 2nd.

Apparently premier coaches is pretty crap, but it's also very cheap for the hop on off ticket.

What should I do with 17 days people?


Darwin, Australia
Destination Expert
for Darwin
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1. Re: Sydney to Cairns 17 July - 1 Aug

Have you done any research yourself as to what you would like to see or are you after people here doing it for you! :}

If you would want some great suggestions, my tip would be to map out an itinerary then we can help you with suggestions as then we will have an idea about what you like to see and do...

Also, how many$$ have you allocated. A tight budget to me is $300 night

Sydney, Australia
9 posts
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2. Re: Sydney to Cairns 17 July - 1 Aug

Well I want to check out the Whitsundays, barrier reef, Fraser island, Brisbane, cairns, port Arthur, Byron bay.

Not sure if I'm missing anything amazing out trying to cram in too much.

Budget is likely to be, and this is for 2 people, $1700 for the 17 days. The cost of the bus ticket isn't included here, so that's to pay for accommodation, food and the odd trip I.e. great barrier reef. This can probably stretch to $2000 if need be but then I'll be taking money out of the NZ fund!

Thanks for your reply man.

Sydney, Australia
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1,790 posts
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3. Re: Sydney to Cairns 17 July - 1 Aug

That is indeed an extremely tight budget. There isn't a lot of feedback on hostels here, but you certainly want to spend your night in the cheapest hostels you can handle, so that you have any money left over for activities and food. Keep in mind that day trips to the GBR will be in the $150 to $200 range per person. And you might want to do other popular day trips along the way such as Fraser Island or Whitehaven Beach (from Airlie Beach).

You might try the form at Travellers Point at www.travellerspoint.com/forum.cfm?ForumID=2 - it has a lot more threads and information on hostels and budget travel.

Brisbane, Australia
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4. Re: Sydney to Cairns 17 July - 1 Aug

Hi Bryn

With your budget I think it's best if you choose between seeing the Reef off of Cairns or the Whitsunday Islands off Airlie Beach.

I think the Reef tours up in Cairns are a little cheaper than the Whitsundays but you may prefer to see the Whitsunday islands, it's up to what you're interested in.

Either way I would suggest you fly from Sydney to Cairns or Sydney to Proserpine (Airlie Beach). Both these areas have plenty of hostels which should work for you and most of them are located very centrally.

For Fraser Island, you can do a tour from Hervey Bay (the closest mainland to the island), Rainbow Beach, the Sunshine Coast (Noosa), Brisbane or the Gold Coast. In that order the further away you are from the island so if you go from Brisbane or the Gold Coast it will be a minimum of 2 days for the tour as it takes roughly 4 hours to get there. Hervey Bay is approximately 10 and a half hours from Airlie Beach so if you want you could take the bus or you could fly to Brisbane which may be just as cheap and do a Fraser Island tour from there to save all the travelling.

From Brisbane you could get the bus to Byron and stop over on the Gold Coast. I would recommend staying 2 nights in Byron and 2 nights on the Gold Coast.

I think it will be a bit too expensive for you to get to Port Arthur and it would definitely be too long of a drive if you went by bus. Have a look into flights if you are really keen to go there and then decide whether you can fit it in with your budget.

If you're looking for any more ideas to fill your time, if you stay near Cairns you could look into doing a trip to Port Douglas and the Daintree Rainforest. Otherwise I would also recommend spending some time in Noosa on the Sunshine Coast which is quite a nice area.

Hope that helps!


Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: Sydney to Cairns 17 July - 1 Aug

Thanks Laura. And thanks for taking the time to respond so thoroughly! :)

6. Re: Sydney to Cairns 17 July - 1 Aug

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