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Aussie East Coast Road Trip

Image of a 4x4 driving across the sandy beach of K'gari in Australia - KILROY
View the full itinerary as a list

Recommended duration

4-5 weeks



Travel type

Road trip


Flights, campervan rental and activities

Book this itinerary
The A1 highway from Sydney to Cairns is the world's longest coastal road and this road trip takes you along the beautiful Gold Coast to K'gari and the Whitsunday Islands to end in charming Cairns.


Experience all that Australia's east coast has to offer on this independent road trip from Sydney to Cairns. Enjoy a warm welcome in Sydney with accommodation and some fun activities before collecting your campervan and heading north along the coast.

Along the way you can stop at Port Stephens and Coffs Harbour before sampling the Aussie waves at a surf camp near Byron Bay. Continue at your own pace along the Gold Coast to reach K'gari. Leave your campervan for a few days while you explore the island on a 4x4 expedition. Then it's on to the Whitsundays for a day of snorkelling. Your incredible road trip ends in Cairns where you've got three days of fundiving on a liveaboard diving trip. 

We've included a campervan in this road trip, but you can change it to a rental car if you'd prefer, and we can help with accommodation. It's also good to mention that when you're renting a car abroad, make sure you have your travel insurance in order - something else we can help you with.

What is road trippin’ the KILROY Way?

Well, we always encourage our travelers to be curious. To open up, and to embrace the unexpected. Stop where you can, go down the narrow side street and don’t get stuck in the camper. Don’t just drive for the sake of driving. Approach new people. Approach new ways of doing things. Explore and be open to changes – that’s where the magic happens. 

*Price is a 'from' price per person based on two people over 25 travelling together. Reach out to us if you're younger - it's not a problem!

What's included
  • Return economy class flights from the UK to Australia, arriving in Sydney and departing from Cairns
  • 4-night arrival package in Sydney
  • Jucy Crib campervan rental for 4 weeks 
  • 3-day Mojo Surf & Stay package near Byron Bay
  • 5-day K'gari island expedition
  • 1-day snorkelling trip on the Whitsunday Islands
  • 3 days of fundiving in Cairns
  • 6 breakfasts, 10 lunches and 8 dinners
  • All booking fees
  • Your own personal travel advisor
What's not included
  • Travel insurance (but we can help you with that)
  • Vaccinations (ask us about our discount with Nomad Travel)
  • Meals (other than those specified)
  • Campsite fees
  • Optional activities

Route suggestion The East Coast of Australia

Home - Sydney - Port Stephens - Coffs Harbour - Byron Bay - Gold Coast - Brisbane - Noosa Heads - Hervey Bay - Fraser Island - Rockhampton - Airlie Beach - Whitsunday Islands - Townsville - Cairns - Home

This is only a suggested itinerary for your road trip. You can tweak this itinerary to get it just right - spend more time in one place, skip another place. Add a tour here, or an activity there. Let us know what you want and we'll create your dream trip.

Sydney Arrival package

Your adventure starts in Sydney, where you've got four nights of hostel accommodation to get you settled. The hostel is close to the central station and has its own floor with a kitchen and TV lounge, cafe, internet, travel desk and the famous Side Bar downstairs, which always offers cheap eats and drinks.

Every night there's something going on (big parties on Saturdays) and it's a great way to meet people. You can also enjoy free daily activities, including a city orientation tour twice-weekly, a beach walk, a football outing and more.

On your final day in Sydney, pick up your campervan and get ready to hit the road!

Port Stephens Do your own thing

Port Stephens offers something for everyone - great beaches, a cute harbour, sand dunes, water sports and dolphin watchin. If you're keen on seeing some wildlife, then you're in the right spot. Swim with wild dolphins at sea, visit the seals at Broughton Island or go diving at Fly Point. You can even ride a camel on the sand dunes of Anna Bay.

Coffs Harbour Do your own thing

Coffs Harbour is known for its banana plantations and being the home of the 'Big Banana'. You can't pass through without getting your photo taken in front of the large yellow icon! While you're in town, you can also visit the Dorrigo National Park and explore the ancient rainforest and stunning waterfalls.

Byron Bay Learn to surf

Byron Bay is a mecca for surfers, hippies and anyone that likes to combine the laidback beach life with the finer things in life, like award-winning restaurants and cool bars.

You'll have a chance to experience the surfer dude lifestyle with a 3-day surf and stay package, so leave the campervan parked for a few days while you learn to ride a wave and share a couple of beers around the camp fire with fellow surfing students.

Gold Coast Do your own thing

Australia's Gold Coast offers adventure, theme parks, nature and wild beaches. Take your time visiting Surfer's Paradise, Broadbeach, Burleigh Heads and Lamington National Park.

Brisbane Do your own thing

Go shopping at Queens Street Mall, visit koalas in the Lone Pine Sanctuary, relax at the South Bank, watch whales and dolphins at Moreton Bay and stroll along the heritage-listed Story Bridge.

Noosa Heads & Hervey Bay Do your own thing

Noosa Heads is known for its beautiful beaches and cool surf spots. It's a well-known spot among surfers, so there's a good chance you'll get a glimpse of a pro surfer on the beach.

Hervey Bay is a cute coastal town, and also happens to be the “Whale Watching Capital Of The World”. You'll be able to see the humpback whales right off the shorelines of Hervey Bay during their migration season (July to November).

K'gari Island Expedition Adventure

K'gari (also known as Fraser Island) offers plenty of adventure - get lost in the middle of the world’s largest dune island and swim in beautiful freshwater lakes. The only highway that you'll find here is the coastline, but you can still have a blast driving through the sand in a 4x4

We've included a 5-day tagalong tour - you'll have a knowledgeable guide as you drive around the island, visiting the rainforest at Pile Valley, following 75 Mile Beach to Indian Head, swimming at Champagne Pools, taking photos at The Maheno Shipwreck, visiting the secret Lake Allom and swimming with the turtles.

Rockhampton Do your own thing

Leaving behind the idyllic beaches of K'gari, continue to Rockhampton. Here you can visit the Capricorn Caves, the beautiful Kershaw Gardens and drive to the top of Mt. Archer National Park, where you can enjoy the view of the city. If you're in Rockhampton on a hot day, cool down in the Rock Pool Water Park.

Airlie Beach Do your own thing

Not far from Rockhampton is Airlie Beach. It's a favourite backpacker spot with a cool vibe. From here you can see many boats departing from the harbor to different coral islands and dive sites, including the Whitsundays Islands.

Whitsundays Snorkelling trip

The best way to enjoy the Whitsundays is by boat, so we've included a 1-day boat trip. You'll visit all the world-famous Whitsunday icons with snorkelling at Hook Island or Border Island. Mid afternoon you'll voyage back to Coral Sea Marina when the sun should be starting to lower on the western horizon - ideal for photos.

Townsville Do your own thing

Bid farewell to the picture-perfect beaches of the Whitsundays and continue north to Townsville. You don't have to go long without access to a stunning beach, however. Why you're here, take the ferry from Townsville to Magnetic Island and enjoy more sunny beaches for a few nights!

Cairns Fundiving

Cairns is the backpacker heart of Australia's northeast region and you’ll find loads of great tours and activities taking you up close and personal with all its attractions, including the Great Barrier Reef and the world’s oldest rainforest. Cairns is also the life and soul of the party with heaps of hostels, bars and clubs.

We've included a 3-day fundiving package - the ultimate great barrier reef experience where you'll be staying on a custom-built, multimillion dollar liveaboard dive vessel. If you're not into diving, you can opt for a 3-day snorkel adventure instead. Just ask us.

When you've finished your diving adventure, it's time to drop off your campervan and head home.

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