Right, time for a Vitamin D top up. Only one thing for it - better go to Australia and explore the East Coast. Chances are it'll be hot enough to boil a monkey's bum* and you'll get a tan that should mean no fake tan this winter! This trip will take you from the tropical north of Queensland, and the madness that is Cairns, all the way down the East Coast, with stops on the mind-bogglingly beautiful Whitsunday Islands, the Outback, where you might just get to rodeo some goats, and end up in Sydney.
*may not actually boil a monkey's bum
Day 1: Cairns
Cairns is the home of the backpacker in tropical North Queensland and conveniently also the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsunday Islands (more on those very soon). With an average maximum temperature of 34 degrees C, you're pretty much guaranteed plenty of those iconic Aussie sun-filled days. It's the ideal place to pick up this tour, get to know your fellow gappers, meet the crew that'll accompany you, plan the adventures to come and sneak in a couple of nights out before you head off down the coast!
Day 2: Cairns
Not only is Cairns stonkingly hot, it's the perfect place to put Australia's wild side to the test, and no, we don't mean wrestling a croc - that's a really bad idea. No, this is the place to go zip lining, white water rafting on the Tully River, tandem skydiving, hot air ballooning, horse riding and maybe even zip line *over* some saltwater crocs.
Alternatively you can opt for something a little more relaxing and cruise out to the Great Barrier Reef, only the world's largest living organism, and snorkel or an as an optional extra you can dive the astonishing reefs. Hop on the catamaran with our friends Passions of Paradise and you'll visit Michaelmass Cay and Paradise Reef. Then the fun really begins, you'll be able to snorkel with sea turtles, small (and more importantly, harmless) black tip reef sharks, as well as a ton of other amazing, colourful underwater wonders. Lunch is also included and prepared on board. None of those stale pack lunches for you!
Day 3: Cairns to The Whitsundays
It's pretty hard to put into words how beautiful the Whitsundays are, but we'll try and give it a go. Imagine the whitest sand you've ever seen, nope, that's not even close, that's a faded yellow by comparison, ever seen the Friends episode with Ross' teeth? Closer. Anyway, tropical islands, white sand to run around on, beautiful crystal clear water to snorkel in and the chance to learn the basics of sailing, while just having an awesome time chilling and cruising around these incredible islands. At night, you'll eat more amazing food on the boat and lie on the deck gazing up at the Milky Way and wonder how you can possible top this.
Day 4: The Whitsundays to Daydream Island
Fortunately, waking up to more views of the Whitsundays, at Daydream Island, might just do it. More golden sands, reefs and the chance to soak up even more of that glorious Australian sun. If you're a nautical type, you can have another go and sailing the boat while you explore the islands further and weather providing you'll get to go and walk on Whitehaven Beach, which is, officially, the best beach in the world. Big claim, but it lives up to it, trust us. You'll wind the day up back on dry land at Daydream Island Resort.
Day 5: Daydream Island
From the resort, you're free to explore the island's many beaches and blue seas, although you might want to wait a bit as you'll probably have stuffed yourself with the massive breakfast buffet. Once you're done with that, there are a ton of activities you can do on Long Island. Work off some of that breakfast with a zumba class, or go for a hike and explore the trails and even more secluded beaches. If you're feeling a little more adventurous there are loads of water sports on offer. Or, if you're happy to just chill you could go for a lazy kayak around, sit in a hammock, or maybe just sit at the bar and watch the sun go down with a cocktail. Basically, whatever you fancy doing, we've got you covered.
Day 6: Daydream Island to Emu Park
Take a short ferry back to land, where you'll pick up the coach again and carry on south through the Queensland countryside, past massive cattle stations and through Rockhampton, 'Rocky' if you're a local, and end up at Emu Park. Here you can get an insight into the Aboriginal culture and try your hand at throwing a boomerang, or make some artwork to take home and stick on your wall.
Day 7: Emu Park to Myella Farm
Time for a change of scenery. No more beaches for a day or so - we're heading into the bush to see what Outback hospitality is like. You'll get a taste of life on a 10,000 acre cattle station and maybe even get to experience the legendary Kroombit Park 'Goat Rodeo' after a spot of horse riding, motor biking and cow milking. Then, as the sun sets, learn to lasso and crack a whip before you gather round to taste some serious rustic food cooked in a camp oven and washed down with steaming billy tea around the campfire.
Day 8: Myella Farm to Fraser Island
There's only one way to wake up on a cattle station, and that's with a campfire breakfast cook-up and buckets of coffee. Once you're all up, fairly awake and loaded up with coffee, it's back on the road as we head to the world's largest sand island - Fraser Island! It's 75 miles long and pretty much every inch of it is stunning.
Day 9: Fraser Island
From the crystal clear waters of Lake McKenzie, to the shipwreck of the SS Mahena, Fraser Island is a feast for the eyes. It's literally just a massive sand island, covered in some rainforest and a few lakes, so you'll be driving down mile after mile or beautiful beach and probably camping in a dingo's back garden. Swim in its lakes, walk to the top of the cliffs, look down on the tiger shark breeding ground (probably best not to swim in the sea…) and jump from huge sand dunes into Lake Wobi. It's basically one huge adult adventure playground.
Day 10: Fraser Island to Gold Coast
Next stop, Brisbane! We head to the East Coast power house and spend some time in a big city, exploring it on foot on a walking tour, before powering on down the coast to Surfer's Paradise and the Miami of Australia's East Coast.
Day 11: Gold Coast to Byron Bay
We leave behind the buzz and neon lights of Surfer's Paradise for some national parks and chilled vibes at Springbrook National Park and Byron Bay. Springbrook is home to Natural Bridge and plenty of other natural wonders. Byron Bay is the gem of the East Coast. Synonymous with the hippy vibe, this place is the epitome of the chilled, relaxed and all round fun East Coast town. Whether you want to do sunrise yoga, surf, just chill and spend a bit more time getting to know how much you love hammocks or are out until the small hours at Cheeky Monkey, Byron has it all.
Enjoy a buffet breakfast this morning before heading out to enjoy Queensland's fabulous climate - today is yours to explore all the Gold Coast has to offer! From world famous surf beaches, extreme adventure activities and well known Theme Parks, the options are endless. After an action packed stay on the Gold Coast, it's time to jump back aboard our trusty Topdeck coach bound for Springbrook National Park where we'll make a stop at the stunning “Natural Arch” - an unusual geographical feature created over millions of years by water tumbling through the roof of a basalt cave. It's only a short drive from here en route to our home for the next two nights - Australia's most easterly (and most laid-back) point, Byron Bay. Renowned for its surf beaches, rainforests and eclectic lifestyle, Byron oozes a relaxed vibe that will instantly have you hooked.
Day 12: Byron Bay
Spend the next day recovering, drinking organic hangover cures and doing nothing more than sitting in beer gardens and soaking up the vibes of the place, Byron is the perfect place to recover and catch up on some down time. If you're there in winter you can watch whales breach from the Lighthouse, year round you can surf, kayak and we'd probably lay money on you being able to find someone to go stand-up paddle boarding with. Hey, if you fancy it, you can even chuck yourself out of a plane and do a skydive. There are worse places you could do it!
Day 13: Byron Bay to Crescent Head
Ok, so by this point, we're past the Great Barrier Reef, so the surfing can really begin. Today we head to Crescent Head, where you can grab a bbq (definitely not your first!) and enjoy the private surf lesson we've got sorted for you. This is where you really up your game and start mastering those sets.
Day 14: Crescent Head to Sydney
From barrels to barrels, it's our final day so it would almost be rude not to do some wine tasting. We stop via the Hunter Valley and taste some of the best wines Australia has to offer, before heading to the bustle and beaches of Sydney, our final stop.
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