East Coast Beaches & Reef

East Coast Beaches & Reef

12 Days Starting in Cairns and ending in Sydney

Visiting: Cairns, Great Barrier Reef, Barron Gorge National Park, Kuranda, Atherton Tablelands, Curtain Fig Tree, Millaa Millaa, Airlie Beach, Heart Reef, Whitehaven Beach, Sarina, Rockhampton, Langmorn Station, K’gari (Fraser Island), 75 Mile Beach, Pinnacles, Eli Creek, Maheno shipwreck, Lake McKenzie, Central Station, Wanggoolba Creek, Hervey Bay, Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise, Mt. Tamborine hinterland, Cape Byron Lighthouse, Coffs Harbour, Sydney

Tour operator:

AAT Kings

Tour code:


Physical rating:

Low level of fitness required

Age range:


Trip Styles:



Sightseeing, Snorkeling

$4639 (USD) Operator discount: -$257 The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$244

This tour is no longer available, please see similar tours below or send an enquiry

Tour Overview

On this East Coast Australia tour, prepare yourself for record-breaking attractions: The Great Barrier Reef (the largest of its kind), the Wet Tropics of Queensland (some of the oldest rainforest on the planet), and K’gari (Fraser Island), the largest sand island in the world. All rightly have World Heritage status, and are on your itinerary. Along with glorious swathes of sand stretching from Cairns to Sydney.


  • Iconic Sites: How many people get to say they visited three World Heritage Sites on a single holiday? You can: K’gari (Fraser Island), the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics of Queensland.

  • Flexible Vacations: Choose your own adventure on the Gold Coast, where surf and sand meet rainforest hinterland. Hike, swim, refuel, repeat.

  • Sustainable Travel: Our Take 3 for the Sea program helps conserve our oceans through small collective efforts of rubbish collection.

  • Natural Wonders: Some of the world’s oldest tropical rainforest envelops Cairns, this verdant tangle of ferns and palms a natural magnet for native wildlife.


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Day 1 : Welcome To Cairns
Location: Cairns
Accommodation Name: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cairns

Cairns is not only the gateway to Tropical North Queensland, but also the Great Barrier Reef, that enormous swathe of World Heritage-listed coral that hugs the Queensland coast. Take today easy, because the next few are going to be jam-packed with adventures. Join your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Dinner.

Day 2 : Great Barrier Reef
Location: Great Barrier Reef
Accommodation Name: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cairns

Hold onto your hat as you zip over the Great Barrier Reef aboard a high speed catamaran. Pause to snorkel over immense fans of coral, a verdant habitat for six of the world’s sea turtles as well as so many fish you won’t know where to look. If you prefer to keep your head above water, the marine world can also be glimpsed from an underwater observatory and glass-bottom boat.

Day 3 : Cairns
Location: Barron Gorge National Park, Kuranda, Atherton Tablelands, Curtain Fig Tree, Millaa Millaa
Accommodation Name: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cairns

From the reef to the rainforest... Enjoy some perspective of the Wet Tropics on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, lifting you above the canopy of the Barron Gorge National Park to Kuranda. The Atherton Tablelands awaits, this high tropical plateau a tangle of dense forest – look out for the heritage-listed Curtain Fig Tree. And waterfalls, like Millaa Millaa, where enormous iridescent Ulysses butterflies like to dance.

Day 4 : Cairns - Airlie Beach
Location: Airlie Beach
Accommodation Name: Mantra Club Croc

Some days, the journey matters just as much as the destination. Sit back and enjoy the scenery as you travel south through sugar cane fields and rolling green paddocks, all framed by the ocean and rainforest-clad mountains. Stretch your legs en route to Airlie Beach and soak up this steamy part of the state.

Day 5 : Whitsunday Islands Free Time
Location: Whitsunday Islands, Heart Reef, Whitehaven Beach
Accommodation Name: Mantra Club Croc

Powdery beaches and rainforest unite in the Whitsundays, 74 tropical drops of land all ringed by the Coral Sea. There are endless ways to explore this part of the Great Barrier Reef – today, we’re letting you choose. Perhaps rise early for an optional helicopter ride over Heart Reef. Or catch a catamaran to Whitehaven Beach, with sand so high in silica it squeaks underfoot.

Day 6 : Airlie Beach - Rockhampton
Location: Sarina, Rockhampton
Accommodation Name: Quality Hotel Regent, Rockhampton

Life is sweet in Sarina, Australia’s sugar capital, where your guided tour takes you behind the scenes of processing and distilling sugar cane at the Sarina Sugar Shed. And yes, you get to sample the wares. You’ll be bouncing off your seat all the way to Rockhampton, another town with a big title: this is the country’s beef capital. See if it deserves its accolade at any of the restaurants that line the streets. Ask us for dining tips.

Day 7 : Rockhampton - K'gari (Fraser Island)
Location: Langmorn Station, K’gari (Fraser Island)
Accommodation Name: Kingfisher Bay Resort

More beef awaits after you cross the Tropic of Capricorn, GPS set for Langmorn Station, where the Creed family will welcome you with afternoon tea and a tour of the immense (and historic) cattle property – the original family homestead was built in 1873. The Creeds love nothing more than a good yarn about life on the land. Your next destination involves water. Lots of it. The ferry ride to World Heritage-listed K’gari (Fraser Island) is a highlight, particularly during whale migration when these gentle giants come to the calm, protected waters to calve. Alight on the world’s largest sand island, and the only place in the world where rainforest grows from the sand.

Day 8 : K'gari (Fraser Island)
Location: 75 Mile Beach, Pinnacles, Eli Creek, Maheno shipwreck, Lake McKenzie, Central Station, Wanggoolba Creek
Accommodation Name: Kingfisher Bay Resort

The island also has a really long sand highway. Jump in a 4WD and zip along 75 Mile Beach, all the way up the east coast to the Pinnacles Coloured Sands, calm Eli Creek and the Maheno shipwreck, which offers quite the photo op. Just when you thought the island couldn’t get any prettier, Lake McKenzie appears on the horizon, this dazzling patch of blue formed only with rainwater. It’s a hard act to follow, but the ancient rainforest at Central Station and Wanggoolba Creek lives up to the challenge with its huge satiny, scribbly gum and kauri trees.

Day 9 : K'gari (Fraser Island) - Gold Coast
Location: Hervey Bay, Gold Coast
Accommodation Name: Novotel Surfers Paradise

Back on the mainland, follow the waves of Hervey Bay south to the Gold Coast, where you can be surfing one minute and surrounded by rainforest the next. This afternoon, fall into beat with locals and explore the city’s booming food and wine scene. We have a few restaurant favourites…

Day 10 : Gold Coast Free Time
Location: Surfers Paradise, Mt. Tamborine hinterland
Accommodation Name: Novotel Surfers Paradise

The hardest thing you have to do today is decide which direction to set your compass. Perhaps stay close to your Surfers Paradise base and explore long stretches of sand and achingly cool cafés. The city also breaks records for its extensive network of canals, which you might opt to explore on a leisurely cruise. Or go further afield to see another side of the ‘Goldie’ in the Mt. Tamborine hinterland – a hub for creatives and foodies.

Day 11 : Gold Coast - Coffs Harbour
Location: Cape Byron Lighthouse, Coffs Harbour
Accommodation Name: BreakFree Aanuka Beach Resort

Australia’s most easterly point is the stuff that postcards were made for, as you’ll discover when you reach the Cape Byron Lighthouse, standing proud over the Pacific Ocean. Dolphins are a common sight year round, and they’re joined by whales during migration. Keep your eyes peeled all the way to Coffs Harbour on the mid-North Coast of New South Wales. This pocket of paradise has some of the state’s most impressive beaches. Follow the breeze (and lead of locals) to the beach for a dazzling end of day sunset.

Day 12 : Coffs Harbour - Farewell From Sydney
Location: Sydney

Your final stretch of East Coast Australia takes you to the ‘Harbour City’, one of the prettiest of its kind anywhere in the world, in our humble opinion. If you’re not quite ready to say goodbye to life on the road, chat to your Travel Director about extending your trip to take in Sydney’s legendary sights.

What's Included

  • Travel Director and Driver

    Specialist team of two highly experienced Travel Director and Driver

  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites

    3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites – K’gari (Fraser Island), Great Barrier Reef & Wet Tropics of Queensland (Barron Gorge National Park, Skyrail)

  • Entrance Fees

    Cape Byron Lighthouse Permit & Crater Lake National Park entrance fees (Millaa Millaa Falls)

  • Accommodation

    Centrally located premium hotels

  • Dining

    1 Dinner with Wine, 11 Full Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 1 Farewell Dinner

What's Not Included

  • Flights

    Flights are not included in the vacation price

  • Airport Transfers

    Return airport to hotel transfers are not included in the vacation price

Mode of Transport

Travel south through sugar cane fields and rolling green paddocks, all framed by the ocean and rainforest-clad mountains. Stretch your legs en route to Airlie Beach and soak up this steamy part of the state.


Your Guided Holiday includes a range of quality accommodation for your comfort. The accommodation you will enjoy on this tour includes: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cairns, Mantra Club Croc, Quality Hotel Regent Rockhampton, Kingfisher Bay Resort, Novotel Surfers Paradise, BreakFree Aanuka Beach Resort.

Check out our Q&As

  • Who will be my travelling companions on the tour?

    The beauty of taking a holiday with us is you’ll have the opportunity to meet and travel with people from all over the globe.

  • Can I join the tour once it has departed?

    It is important to adhere to departure times while on tour for the comfort of everyone on-board, and to make sure no one misses out on the planned experiences. The coach will not be able to wait for you, and in some instances, if you miss a departure time you will need to make your own way to the next destination to re-join the tour.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    AAT Kings operated Guided Holidays have competitive single supplement rates available if you prefer to confirm your own room. Or we can match you to share with a guest of the same gender at no extra cost. If we fail to match you, we will accommodate you in a single room at no extra cost.

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Over 100 years

  • What documents will I receive before I travel?

    We will email your documents to you approximately four weeks before your departure date provided you have completed your pre trip registration using the My Travel Portal. If you’ve booked through a travel agent, your documents will be emailed directly to your agent.

Reviews of this Operator

Ann Purcell  

Well worth the money


Absolutely wonderful trip. Tastes of southern Australia. Hotels were good quality. Sightseeing was amazing. Manuela our travel director was lovely. A great trip all round

Feefo Trusted Reviews
Lynda Whittingham  

Particularly loved QUEENSTOWN (jet boat) and plane ride over Mt Cook


Great guide “Dexter” who was pleasant and knowledgeable, skilled and pleasant driver, Aaron, interesting activities, and comfortable hotels in good locations. I have been on organized bus trips in different countries and this company stands out. I would travel with them again. Read less

Feefo Trusted Reviews
Trusted Customer  

Milford Sound , West Coast , Queenstown, Christchurch


The most professional tour group i have ever travelled with. Both tour director (Hope) & driver (Dave) had extensive knowledge of NZ. Highly recommended.

Feefo Trusted Reviews
Keith Jones  

Christchurch, Milford Sound and the Franz Joseph Railway journey


Very professional service throughout. Friendly experienced tour guide imparting excellent knowledge and local anecdotes. Friendly professional driver enhanced the overall pleasure. Excellent hotels throughout the holiday.

Feefo Trusted Reviews
Allison Cooper  

Wonderful experience, highlight had to be Uluru so spiritual and beautiful


Very professional. Excellent travel director very knowledgeable and a lovely guy. Amazing experience seeing do many great places.

Feefo Trusted Reviews

Dates & Availability

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Friday - Tuesday

Nov 15, 2024 - Nov 26, 2024
$5140 $4639 (USD)

Operator discount: -$257 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$244 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Tuesday

Feb 14, 2025 - Feb 25, 2025
$5300 $5035 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$265 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Tuesday

Mar 14, 2025 - Mar 25, 2025
$5300 $5035 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$265 (USD)

Book with Confidence

  • Low Deposit

    AAT Kings requires a minimum deposit of 100 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 60 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of aat kings charges.

    Up to 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 59 days before tour starts: Forfeit 30% of booking price.

    At 15 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 7 days before tour starts: Forfeit 90% of booking price.

    At 1 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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