Travelling from Sydney to Cairns- this is the perfect holiday to kick back, relax and enjoy the ride! When it comes to awesome natural attractions, golden beaches and pristine waterways, Australia's popular east coast has the lot.
|Start||Sydney @ 06.30 am|
|Finish||Cairns @ 05.00 pm|
Set the tone for this fair dinkum Aussie adventure by crossing Sydney's iconic 'coathanger' as we venture toward the surfing cloud nine of Crescent Head. Before testing the waters, dip your toes into an oak barrel (literally) in the Hunter Valley.
Try a barrel of a different kind with an early morning private surf lesson on one of the best right-handers in the world. Here's your chance to become a bona fide shredder. Kelly Slater, who? Our roadie continues with a traditional BBQ lunch and a cruise past the Big Banana before cruising into Byron - where you can burn incense, sip chai, become a yoga teacher and win cash for being a Cheeky Monkey all in one day.
Anti-Maccas and anti-anything mass-produced (but pro juice bars, beer gardens and beards), Byron is glitzy on the outside but small town-hearted underneath. Hit the shops, test out those newly acquired surfing skills, paddle a sea kayak, or watch whales breach from the Lighthouse in winter. This is the town where peace and tranquillity go to relax. You should too. Or jump out of a plane. Byron doesn't care as long as you're happy.
Leave the blissful buzz of Byron behind you as we head to Springbrook National Park and its major draw card, Natural Bridge. Next, swap the national park for a theme park as we make our way to party central, aka Surfers Paradise.
Next stop: BrisVegas (aka Brisbane). Don't let its namesake fool you - there are no late-night wedding chapels in the sunshine state capital. Get your city centre fix on before burning up the highway to catch a ferry bound for the island with the longest beach in Oz - all 75 Miles (120kms) of it.
Fraser is literally one huge pile of sand - as if someone dropped the Sahara Desert into the Pacific Ocean and scattered it with dingoes and rainforests. Four-wheel-drive along the beach highway of 75-mile Beach to mingle with the Pinnacles Coloured Sands, Eli Creek and Maheno Shipwreck before testing out your SUP skills on the crystal clear waters of Lake McKenzie.
Sand and salt got your goat? Trade the beach for the bush and enjoy an authentic outback experience at a 10,000-acre cattle station. Take a dip in the pool, get bucked on the mechanical bull, enjoy camp oven cuisine or take a crack at lassoing after the famous Kroombit 'goat rodeo'. Hot tip: Just don't squat with spurs on.
Take to the life of a cowboy like a horse to oats with an adventure-packed morning of horse riding, quad biking and trap shooting. Then leave the campfire to follow in the footsteps of Captain Cook as we head back to the coast for Emu Park. Spread out on the sand or 'stump' yourself with the rules of beach cricket.
(B, L, D)
Feeling like you need more air in your hair? Bail out of the bus and board your own private yacht for our overnight sailing trip in the beautiful Whitsunday Islands (cue clichéd sailing soundtrack). Normally a toy for the rich and famous, today it's all yours to learn the ropes while sailing in paradise. Landlubber? Take the diva option and let the crew do the work whilst you feast, swim and snorkel.
Keep those sunnies on as the blinding white sands of Whitehaven stretch before you like a 7km sea of diamonds and swim with the resident Maori Wrasse at Blue Pearl Bay. Back on board, keep adrift of your seafaring skills by helping to set the sails or steer at the helm as we set course for land and two nights at Long Island Resort.
(B, L, D)
Did someone say buffet breakfast? (Over) indulge, recharge and relax with water sports, beach volleyball and fish feeding right off the jetty. Appropriately named, Long Island is 9km of National Park walking tracks, palm trees and secluded beaches. In keeping with tradition, a looong list of activities has been provided ranging from water sports to mini golf and tennis. Grab a cocktail from the swim up pool bar then make a date with a hammock and get in your happy place overlooking Happy Bay.
Do your best Scuba Steve impression as we pull into Cairns - gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. You'll soon forget you're not on a yacht anymore. The night is yours, so take a stroll along the esplanade, join a free zumba class, or jump straight into the hedonistic delights of Cairns' backpacker bars.
Just like a double-shot macchiato in the morning, two days in Cairns will get your heart started. Find yourself paddling the rapids of the Tully River, zip lining over a crocodile or getting an aerial view of the tropics by plummeting towards it. Save time for a snorkeling or scuba trip to the Great Barrier Reef and take home that elusive selfie with a photobombing fish.
Want another day to explore the only place in the world nestled between two World Heritage areas? Go on then. Ramp up the adventure metre with hot air ballooning, horse riding, bungee jumping and all those things you didn't do yesterday. Or just kick back with a coconut.