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20 Day Cairns to Gold Coast Discovery Drive and Stay

Cairns - Townsville - Airlie Beach - Hervey Bay - Fraser Island - Noosa Heads - Brisbane - Surfers Paradise

Discover the incredible beauty of Queensland at your own pace!

Cruise the Great Barrier Reef & explore the Daintree Forest

14-day refund guarantee on all bookings 

2020 & 2021 departure dates available 

Book now with only 50% deposit

From $3,499 Typically $3,799 pp twin share

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Description


Hop on this incredible 20-day drive & stay holiday to experience the spectacular beauty of Queensland.  The state is nicknamed the Sunshine State for its fantastic climate and is well known to be “beautiful one day, perfect the next”.  There are over 14 captivating holiday destinations to explore—from world-class beaches on the coast to inland mountain chains, rainforests and the expansive outback plains in the west! Whether you’re after an active holiday or simply want to relax, do it all here!  Queensland is famous for its pristine beaches and tropical islands. Over 200 national parks cover more than 6.5 hectares across the state, plus there are lush mountainous rainforests, bushlands and creeks and flat tablelands perfect for farming in this incredible state. 

Itinerary


Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Day 9 Day 10 Day 11 Day 12 Day 13 Day 14 Day 15 Day 16 Day 17 Day 18 Day 19 Day 20

Day 1

Cairns

The first day of your epic Australia East Coast road trip is finally here! Take the first day to settle in and explore Cairns. Pick up your car at Cairns airport and settle into your hotel for the next three nights.  Depending on what time you arrive you can explore the city centre, or if you arrive in the evening just head to the Esplanade to check out the shops, and restaurants of Cairns.

Accommodation: Pacific Cairns Hotel or similar, Cairns

Meals included: none

Day 2

Great Barrier Reef

You can’t visit Cairns and not pay the Great Barrier Reef a visit.  The GBR is a 2,300km long ecosystem composed of thousands of barrier reefs and hundreds of islands, which make it the largest living being on Earth.  The reefs are made up of over 600 types of hard and soft coral and it’s home to countless species of fish. Passionate for paradise……this water-soaked excursion has your name on it. An epic voyage onboard the 82-foot (25-m) Passions of Paradise sails to two awesome snorkelling locations each day.  Your journey begins onboard a brand new chic catamaran, outfitted for both speed and comfort—and even includes the option to sail. Grab a sunny seat on deck as you set off for two of the best locations the Great Barrier Reef has on offer.  With a catalogue of over 24 superior reef destinations Passions of Paradise will tailor their itinerary to suit the day’s conditions guaranteeing you a reef adventure of a lifetime! After brief instructions, strap on your mask, and clamour in for your first close-up introduction to the reef and its inhabitants. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, hop back on the boat for a sumptuous tropical buffet lunch, freshly prepared by the on board chef. Check out the variation in the stunning coral structures and array of marine life as we change locations for a second round of snorkelling and diving. Join a complimentary guided snorkel tour or follow a sea turtle over tranquil coral gardens!  Snorkel, enjoy a scuba demonstration or choose the optional upgrade for your own deeper water dive. Then, as you head back to Cairns, sip an afternoon tea as the captain cuts the motor and you sail your way back to shore.

Accommodation: Pacific Cairns Hotel or similar, Cairns

Meals included: Lunch

Day 3

Day trip to the Daintree Rainforest

Another must-see in Cairns is the Daintree Rainforest.  The Daintree Rainforest is the oldest rainforest in the world and with its surface of 1,200km squared, one of the largest areas of tropical rainforest in the Australian continent. Your action-packed Cape Tribulation full-day tour with Active Tropics Explorer begins with the beautiful scenic drive along the coastline north of Cairns, past Port Douglas and through the small township of Mossman heading towards the Daintree National Park. Our experienced guides will inform you of the amazing diversity you will see when entering this 130 million-year-old rainforest.  Our first stop is at Mossman Gorge “Wurrumbu” where you will be met by the traditional owners of the land you're about to explore. Here you will participate in a traditional “welcome to country” and smoking ceremony with a kuku yalanji tribal member. Followed by a quick breakfast stop (at own cost) before heading to Mossman Gorge for a refreshing swim in the cascading water and majestic pools that make Mossman gorge such an iconic place to visit.  Next, we drive to the Wildlife River Cruise, which is a great opportunity to search for crocodiles and other wildlife whilst learning about the fragile ecosystem of the Daintree River.  Heading North on the other side of the river we pass through some of the world’s oldest living rainforest we arrive at Cape Tribulation beach where you can kick back with the sand in your toes and watch the waves roll in and enjoy an awesome lunch as you dine on the famous Cape Tribulation Beach followed by a relaxing walk along the beach. On our return trip, our highly trained guides will give expert rainforest interpretation.

Accommodation: Pacific Cairns Hotel or similar, Cairns

Meals included: Lunch

Day 4

Cairns to Townsville

After a few days spent exploring Cairns and its surroundings it’s finally time to hit the road and head to the first stop on your road trip; Townsville. The drive from Cairns to Townsville is 347km and enjoyable with regular stops along the way. On the road between Cairns and Townsville you can do a detour to Wallaman Falls, the tallest free-falling waterfall in Australia. The road takes you to a viewing platform, but if you feel like going on a bit of an adventure you can do the 1-hour hike down to the base of the Falls.  Townsville is a coastal city in northeastern Queensland, Australia. The Strand esplanade, with its pier and water park, is popular. The Reef HQ Aquarium has marine life and coral from the Great Barrier Reef, plus a sea turtle hospital. Southeast of the city, the Billabong Sanctuary wildlife park is home to koalas, wombats and crocodiles. Offshore, Magnetic Island has coral reefs and a national park full of wildlife.

Accommodation: Oaks Hotel Metropole Townsville Hotel or similar, Townsville

Meals included: None

Day 5

Townsville to Airlie Beach

The drive to Airlie Beach is only 275km so you have time to enjoy the road and do some stops along the way if you want to. You can visit the Billabong Animal Sanctuary just outside Townsville.  It’s an interesting place to learn about Australian flora and fauna with crocodile feeding shows and the opportunity to hold koalas or wombats.  When you get to Airlie Beach make sure to head out in the evening and explore the town. Airlie Beach is the vibrant hub of the Whitsundays and the ideal mainland base for fun and adventure in the Whitsundays. It is the perfect launching pad for activities on the water and in the lush, green rainforest of the Whitsunday Coast. Soak up the laid-back, tropical atmosphere and instantly tune into holiday mode. Stroll through the boutiques, cafes and shops of the main street; relax by the Airlie Beach lagoon and head to the Saturday morning markets that offer a quaint range of local arts and crafts, fresh fruit and vegetables and much more.

Accommodation: Waters Edge & at Mariner Shores or similar, Airlie Beach

Meals included: None

Day 6

Day trip to the Whitsundays

The Whitsundays are a group of islands off the coast of Eastern Australia and one of the most famous destinations in Australia. With their white sand beaches and turquoise water they fulfil every tropical beach dream you could have. Thundercat offers an exhilarating catamaran ride around the Whitsunday Islands all in one day. Thundercat is the fastest catamaran in the Whitsundays and has been designed for stability and speed so it’s perfect for passengers who are concerned about seasickness. The all-inclusive package departs from Airlie Beach and is suitable for families, couples and groups wanting to experience once in a lifetime moments. The tour travels from Coral Sea Marina Resort to Tongue Bay, visiting the world-famous Whitehaven Beach, accompanied by a bushwalk to the iconic Hill Inlet lookout. Enjoy fresh home-made baking for morning tea, followed by a buffet lunch before heading to two snorkelling locations, focusing on diverse barrier reef marine life, and spectacular coral reef systems, right on the fringing Great Barrier Reef. Afternoon tea is provided before the journey back to Airlie Beach.

Accommodation: Waters Edge & at Mariner Shores or similar, Airlie Beach

Meals included: Morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea

Day 7

Airlie Beach to Hervey Bay

Time for the longest drive on this road trip, a good 860km from Airlie Beach to Hervey Bay that will take around 10 hours of driving. Since you’ll have to wake up early to fit all that driving in one day, why not get up before dawn so you can then go see the sunrise on the beach?  A short 1-hour drive away from Airlie Beach you will find Cape Hillsborough National Park, where kangaroos and wallabies go every morning to eat on the beach as the sun rises.  After sunrise you can drive around Cape Hillsborough National Park for a bit and stop in the bigger towns on the road like Rockhampton and Bundaberg for food, however, most of the rest of your day will be taken by driving to Hervey Bay.

Accommodation: Ramada Hervey Bay Hotel or similar, Hervey Bay

Meals included: none

Day 8

Fraser Island

Drive north in a comfortable coach and stop at beautiful Rainbow Beach, which gets its many colours from the area’s rich minerals. After relaxing on the beach, board a ferry to Fraser Island and, upon arrival, hop on your 4x4 for a ride along the majestic 75 Mile Beach with vast expanses of white sand. Continue to Central Station Rainforest and join a guided walking tour through the stunning Pine Valley, seeing Wanggoolba Creek and the ancient forest. Later, swim in the clear blue waters of Lake McKenzie before settling in for the night at your resort.

Accommodation: Kingfisher Bay Resort or similar, Fraser Island

Meals included: Lunch

Day 9

Fraser Island

Zigzag across sand dunes and mountains to Eli Creek—the largest creek on the east coast of the island—to see the infamous Maheno shipwreck. After a fresh picnic lunch, visit Indian Head lookout for panoramic views of the island and watch for turtles, sharks, dolphins and humpback whales. At Kingfisher Bay Resort spend the evening relaxing at the pools, spa or bar. If you’re feeling adventurous, explore the great bushwalks and go bird watching on a ranger-guided tour.

Accommodation: Ramada Hervey Bay Hotel or similar, Hervey Bay

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 10

Fraser Island

Travel inland to emerald Lake Wabby for a swim before riding your 4x4 past Eurong Beach Resort and Govi Creek for great photo opportunities. Your adventure concludes with a drive back to the jetty, a ferry ride* back Hervey Bay for an overnight hotel stay.

*PLEASE NOTE: Additional National Park levy & ferry fees AUD60 per person are to be paid in cash upon departure.   

Accommodation: Ramada Hervey Bay Hotel or similar, Hervey Bay

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 11

Hervey Bay to Noosa Heads

The next stop of this Australian East Coast road trip is our personal favourite.  We took our time leaving Hervey Bay, since for once we had to drive only 180km, which took us a brief two hours to reach Noosa Heads. Noosa Heads is a lovely beach town.  We went on a small adventure to Noosa National Park and in search of the famous fairy pools.  These are rock formations where the sea waves come crashing in but at reduced strength, forming small pools where you can swim sheltered from the power of the ocean.  The walk from the main beach of Noosa Heads to the fairy pools is around half an hour, all along beautiful beaches and views.  We spent the day swimming around and diving in the fairy pools, walking along the coast and watching the surfers catch waves. With its beautiful coast, Noosa Heads is one of those places we could all live in.

Accommodation: Caribbean Hotel or similar, Noosa Heads

Meals included: none

Day 12

Noosa Heads to Brisbane

From Noosa Heads it’s a short 141km that should take you around 2 hours tops. You can do a stop along the way at Sunshine Coast, or alternatively at Australia Zoo, the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve. This afternoon step onboard an iconic Kookaburra Queen paddle-wheel steam-boat for a cruise that shows you the spectacular sights along the Brisbane River. The fully restored steamboat gives you a look at some of the waterfront's best sights as you get a leisurely ride through Queensland's largest city.  The outing begins when you step onboard at the Eagle Street Pier, a great starting point for your voyage along the river. The venerable steamer carries you past the beautiful Botanic Gardens and the sheer quarried rock of the Kangaroo Point Cliffs, giving you a look at the historic ships resting at the Maritime Museum and the cantilevered steel span of the Story Bridge along the way.  As you cruise past the city's grand buildings, museums, and attractions, your accomplished skipper shares a bit of the fascinating history behind them. Perfect if you have a couple of hours to spare, this voyage lets you discover Brisbane from a unique and special perspective. All sightseeing cruises include sparkling, selected beer and soft drink on board.

Accommodation: Mantra on Mary Hotel or similar, Brisbane

Meals included: none

Day 13

Brisbane & Gold Coast

From Brisbane, you will drive to Gold Coast and famous Surfers Paradise in less than an hour (what is 77km compared to the 1,700km you’ve already driven in the past two weeks)? Check into your hotel for the next seven nights at the Mantra on the View resort or similar. Surfers Paradise is a seaside resort on Queensland's Gold Coast in eastern Australia. It's known for its high-rise skyline and Surfers Paradise Beach, which hosts a popular market several evenings a week. Along Cavill Avenue are shops, cafes and lively nightclubs. The towering Q1 building, with its SkyPoint observation deck, offers panoramic ocean and city views.

Accommodation: Mantra on View or the Shore Apartments or similar, Surfers Paradise

Meals included: none

Day 14

Gold Coast

The next six days are yours to explore the Gold Coast at leisure. The Gold Coast is a metropolitan region south of Brisbane on Australia’s east coast. It's famed for its long sandy beaches, surfing spots and elaborate system of inland canals and waterways. It’s also home to theme parks such as Dreamworld, SeaWorld and Wet’n’Wild. Inland, hiking trails crisscross Lamington National Park’s mountain ridges and valleys, home to rare birds and rainforest.

Accommodation: Mantra on View or the Shore Apartments or similar, Surfers Paradise

Meals included: none

Day 15

Gold Coast

Enjoy time at leisure to relax or explore this gorgeous corner of the World.

Accommodation: Mantra on View or the Shore Apartments or similar, Surfers Paradise

Meals included: none

Day 16

Gold Coast

Enjoy time at leisure to relax or explore this gorgeous corner of the World.

Accommodation: Mantra on View or the Shore Apartments or similar, Surfers Paradise

Meals included: none

Day 17

Gold Coast

Enjoy time at leisure to relax or explore this gorgeous corner of the World.

Accommodation: Mantra on View or the Shore Apartments or similar, Surfers Paradise

Meals included: none

Day 18

Gold Coast

Enjoy time at leisure to relax or explore this gorgeous corner of the World.

Accommodation: Mantra on View or the Shore Apartments or similar, Surfers Paradise

Meals included: none

Day 19

Gold Coast

Enjoy time at leisure to relax or explore this gorgeous corner of the World.

Accommodation: Mantra on View or the Shore Apartments or similar, Surfers Paradise

Meals included: none

Day 20

Depart from Gold Coast

You will drop your rental car off at Gold Coast or Brisbane Airports today as you farewell spectacular Queensland.

Meals included: none

Inclusions & Exclusions


Inclusions

  •  20-day full-size automatic car hire from Cairns to Gold Coast, including
    • Airport pick-up and drop-off
    • Liability Insurance
    • Value Added Tax (VAT)
    • Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) - with excess
    • Theft Protection (TP) - with excess
    • Unlimited Kilometres
    • Fuel Policy: Pick-up Full and Return Full
  • 10 nights hotel accommodation on a twin share basis
  • 2 nights Fraser Island accommodation on a twin share basis – as per Fully Escorted Fraser Island Tour.
  • 7 nights – Mantra on View or the Shore Apartments, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast.
  • Meals as indicated: 2 breakfasts, 1 morning tea, 4 lunches, and 1 afternoon tea
  • Great Barrier Reef Cruise from Cairns
  • Cape York and Daintree Forest tour from Cairns
  • Whitsundays Cruise from Airlie Beach
  • 3 days/2 nights Fraser Island escorted tour from Harvey Bay

 

Accommodation

Cairns - Pacific Cairns Hotel or similar
Townsville - Oaks Hotel Metropole Townsville Hotel or similar
Airlie Beach - Waters Edge & at Mariner Shores or similar
Hervey Bay - Ramada Hervey Bay Hotel or similar
Fraser Island - Kingfisher Bay Resort or similar
Noosa Heads - Caribbean Hotel or similar
Brisbane - Mantra on Mary Hotel or similar
Surfers Paradise - Mantra on View or the Shore Apartments or similar

 

Exclusions

  • Fraser Island National Park levy and ferry fees of AU$60 per person to be paid locally in cash.
  • Flights to/from Cairns or Gold Coast. 
  • Meals 
  • Travel Insurance, 
  • Items of a personal nature, 
  • Car Excess fee, 
  • Car Drivers must be 25 years and over, 
  • Petrol

 

14-day Refund Guarantee

All Traveldream bookings are backed by a 14-day refund guarantee, which ensures a full refund upon request within 14 days of booking.

 

Child Policy

Children that are 2 to 11 years of age are eligible for a 10% discount. Children must be accompanied by a responsible adult 18 years old and over to travel. No unaccompanied minors are allowed.

Departure Dates


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