Heart Reef Whitsundays

The Great Australian Road Trip – Part VII – Cairns to Sydney

The last portion of my journey around mainland Australia is taking me from Cairns to Sydney. After one year traveling and working, exploring and discovering, things are starting to come to an end.

It is a surreal concept that I have yet to fully reflect upon and instead continue to live in the moment, making the most of my final adventures on this wonderful continent. A few weeks ago I left Cairns and hit the road headed south. With Sydney as the final destination it was time to see the most visited part of the entire country: The East coast. Let the adventure continue end where it all began!

Iconic Whitsunday Islands

My first stop on the route was Airlie Beach and the gateway to the iconic Whitsunday Islands. I had planned a one day stopover in town before heading out on a three day two night sailing trip. It was the perfect amount of time to get oriented in town and set up for the sailing also the one day allowed me the chance to go on a scenic sea plane flight over the archipelago and outer Great Barrier Reef. It was awesome and really gave a perspective to the area I would be exploring by sea.

Whithaven Beach, Whitsundays
Whithaven Beach, Whitsundays

The next day I got on a small sailboat with 11 other people and two crew. With 14 in total we were a good sized group with an solid international mix. We were immediately friendly with another, swapping introductions and various travel stories. The next couple of days were amazing. The weather absolutely turned it on for us and we were treated to a sailing adventure fit for any ultimate vacation. This place is paradise!

There are not too many more words I can use to describe sailing Whitsundays. It is quite simply something everyone should try to get the chance to do when visiting the east coast of Australia.

Visiting Fraser Island

From Airlie Beach I took a night bus further south to Rainbow Beach and one of the gateways to Fraser Island, my next east coast adventure. I had arranged an awesome itinerary for a 3 Day Fraser Island Eco Tour and was pretty stoked to start exploring Australia’s biggest sand island with another set of great people. Fraser had been a place I had wanted to visit for the entire year and it was really great to be sitting at the doorstep in Rainbow Beach about to bridge the gap and discover another iconic Australian landmark.

The three day trip was everything and more than I had been expecting. Now I try not to travel with high expectations anyways, but I was really hoping to see some wild Dingos and giant stretches of seemingly unending beaches. That is exactly what I got and more.

Fraser Island is home to an ancient rainforest growing on sand!! How awesome is that!?! I for one couldn’t believe it. It felt as if I was walking back in the Daintree of Tropical North Queensland. The island has an amazing ecosystem completely separate from the mainland with its very own microclimate. Very cool indeed.

The trip with Adventure Tours Australia was an absolute blast. I was able to really get a great feel for why Fraser Island is so renowned among tourists visiting Australia. It is truly beautiful and a very unique place.

Little Noosa

From Fraser it was back on the mainland and down to Noosa. One of the prettiest coastal towns in all Queensland, Noosa blew me away! I stayed at Halse Lodge and was treated like a long lost friend by owner Drew, managers Sarah and Jess, and all of their amazing staff. It was such a wonderful experience I should really start thinking about coming back to Aus to work for you guys!

Sadly I didn’t have a lot of time in Noosa, and to be honest the second half of my Cairns to Sydney trip was a bit rushed. I did however did some running through the national park and watched a beautiful sunset over the bay.

Tending to avoid big cities when traveling, I literally only had a five hour stop over in Brisbane. All I wanted to do in Brisbane was to catch up with a few friends from past travels. If you’re reading this, thanks for coming to hang and swap stories, it was a great afternoon!

Meeting Old Friends in Brisbane

I also had the chance to once again meet the original ‘Best Jobs in the World’ winner Ben Southall. Ben and I have been in touch for almost two years and have only met twice! In that time he has been an invaluable source of advice and information on the ‘Best Jobs’ gig. He opened my eyes for the opportunity that is created by truly connecting with the people around you. I owe a lot of knowledge learned to Ben and it was amazing to catch up with him in Brisbane.

We both have ambitious plans for the future and it was fun bouncing ideas back and forth. If you’re reading this mate, I hope to see you on the road!

Ben Southall and I working out a tie during Best Jobs final. June 2013.
Ben Southall and I working out a tie during Best Jobs final. June 2013.

The Surfer Town Byron Bay

That evening I left Brissie on route back to the coast and the small town of Byron Bay. Byron is an amazing little surf town visited by many travelers from all over the world. It has impossibly beautiful coastal scenery with some of those perfect stretches of Australian beaches we all know and love. You could literally spend days exploring the coast surrounding Byron, I had one.

My full day in Byron was spent hiking and exploring the town. I took the morning to complete a lazy three and a half hour round trip hike to the Lighthouse and back. It was an amazing way to see some of the local coastal scenery and get some great shots of the beaches and people surfing.

Cairns to Sydney
Byron Bay Cafe

Before exploring the rest of the town, I met my friend Sam, who lives and works in Byron. She took me out with her friend Hannah to a sweet little Mexican restaurant. It was the perfect evening to chill and relax before heading for Sydney and finishing off the last portion of the trip.

Completing the Circle in Sydney

That night I took the 14 hour bus to Sydney and finished off the second last portion of my Great Australian Road Trip. It was a relatively quick trip from Cairns to Sydney, but I was able to experience all the highlights. Overall it was a very successful adventure with some great weather, new friends met, and another set of travel memories made.

The East Coast (Cairns to Sydney) of Australia is gorgeous and is the most frequented for a reason. I am happy I was able to experience it firsthand. This being said it is time to move on. Next up for me is the famed island to the South and a part of Australia I have been looking forward to visiting for the entire year, Tasmania!!

Wheels up!!


Follow Greg’s exciting adventure around Australia – From the Best Job in the World to the completion of the Great Australian Road Trip !

Cairns to Sydney
Sunrise on Fraser Island
Cairns to Sydney
Byron Beach Daze

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