Byron Bay to Cairns
An adventure from Byron Bay to Cairns, experience all the main highlights as well as off the beaten track Australia! Travel on Loka’s bus to Noosa or Rainbow Beach, then on fast, comfortable trains north to Cairns. You will experience authentic, local activities, a day and night on stunning Magnetic Island, and a remote rainforest experience. Hop off in Noosa or Rainbow Beach for Fraser Island, and Airlie Beach to visit the famous Whitsundays.
All transport including the Loka bus from Byron Bay to Noosa/Cooroy and comfortable trains from Cooroy to Cairns, including the Magnetic Island Ferry
These are all the places that we travel to on the Loka Kat Travel Pass – our overnight stops are highlighted in bold, however you can hop off at any other location.
Byron Bay / Gold Coast (Surfers Paradise) / Brisbane / Noosa or Rainbow Beach (to access Fraser Island) / Cooroy / Miriam Vale (hop off the train here to access 1770 & Agnes Water) / Rockhampton / Emu Park / Proserpine / Airlie Beach (to access Whitsunday Islands) / Townsville / Magnetic Island / Tully / Cairns
Travel Day: Byron Bay (via Gold Coast & Brisbane) – Noosa or Rainbow Beach
MEET: at the main bus stop on Jonson St or Arts Factory hostel (please confirm)
We cruise up to the New South Wales/Queensland border and hop out at Danger Point to stretch our legs, and check out the view of one of Australia’s best surf spots Snapper Rock. Then drive into the Gold Coast, you may want to get off here to experience the sun, sand, tans and high-rises of Australia’s most developed beach resort. We drive through Brisbane (pick up and drop off travellers in the city centre) then travel on to the upmarket beach resort town of Noosa. Hop off here or continue onto Rainbow Beach for the night. Rainbow Beach and Noosa are both departure points for Fraser Island (a backpacker must-do). At Rainbow Beach we take a walk up to Carlo Sand Blow for either the sunset or sunrise.
SLEEP: Your choice of Noosa or Rainbow Beach accom*, you can book via the Loka web app.
Travel Day: Rainbow Beach (via Noosa) — Emu Park
MEET: outside Dingos/Frasers at Rainbow Beach, or outside Nomads at Noosa
We hop in our bus in Rainbow Beach and head back to Noosa to pick up more Loka travellers, and then drive to Cooroy where we hop on the train. We travel to Rockhampton then get met by a local bus, which takes us to the beautiful coastal town of Emu Park.
SLEEP: at Emus Beach resort for $35 or one of the activity/accom packages.
Travel Day/Night: Emu Park— OVERNIGHT TRAIN — Airlie Beach
MEET: At Emus Beach Resort
Today you can choose from options to relax at the resort, check out the local crocodile farm or head to the tropical paradise Great Keppel Island. Have dinner at Emus Beach Resort before we catch the train in the evening and travel overnight to Airlie Beach – the gateway to the beautiful Whitsunday Islands.
Note: Depending which day you depart Noosa/Rainbow you may have an extra day at Emu Park.
SLEEP: Overnight train (price included), then your choice of Airlie accom.
Travel Day: Airlie Beach (via Townsville) — Magnetic Island
MEET: outside Base Backpackers
We start early with a local bus to the train, a ferry out to tropical ‘Maggie Island’, and a local transfer to the accommodation. There is much to explore on the island, as nearly 50% of it is National Park with amazing beaches and abundant wildlife. Your guide will join you on a walk around the Island; otherwise you can do more exploring or just relax by the pool. Note: Depending on which day you depart, you may have a free day to spend on Magnetic Island.
SLEEP: YHA Bungalow Bay or your choice of Magnetic Island accom*.
Travel Day: Magnetic Island (via Townsville) — Tully
MEET: at YHA Bungalow Bay reception or at the ferry terminal (please confirm).
We travel back to the mainland on a ferry, travel by train to Tully – getting in at around lunchtime. We hop off the train and head to the picturesque spot ‘Alligator’s Nest’ (no alligators thankfully). Enjoy a dip in the swimming hole, surrounded by tropical rainforest. We then head back to our accommodation – the historic Mt Tyson pub for the evening.
SLEEP: Mt Tyson hotel, $35 for accom only, $57 for Rainforest Experience (accom / transfers / champagne breakfast).
Travel Day: Tully – Cairns
MEET: Mt Tyson Hotel
In the morning we rise early to climb Mt Tyson, a mountain covered in lush rainforest, within the Tully Gorge National Park. It’s a four-hour round trip but worth it for the views. Afterwards enjoy a well-earned champagne breakfast back at the pub. We travel to Cairns by train arriving late afternoon, then get ready to party tonight for the end of your East Coast adventure. Note: Depending on which day you depart, you may have a free day/night to spend in Tully before heading to Cairns, if you are short on time you can skip this and head direct from Townsville to Cairns.
SLEEP: Your choice of Cairns accom, you can book via the Loka web app.
*NOTE: Usually a dorm bed will cost between $25 – $45 per person depending on the size of the dorm and time of year (averaging $35 per person per night), a twin/double option will range from $75 – $180 (averaging $100 per room). You can pre-book your accommodation through Loka’s web app, you just pay a deposit to reserve your spot and pay the remainder direct to the operator. At most locations you are welcome to stay where you like, however please be aware of Loka’s set departure points as outlined by the meeting place on the travel days. For a full list of these points, you can download the pdf from the Timetable section.
NEED TO KNOW
+ Passes are valid for up to 12 months from your date of departure. You can hop on and off anywhere at any of our overnight stops and key activity stops for the total validity of the pass. You have up to 12 months from your date of purchase to start your Loka pass.
+ Travel is in our own 24 seat mini coaches between Byron Bay and Noosa, and local bus and fast trains (with toilets, showers and a dining carriage) between Noosa and Cairns. We also include the return ferry to Magnetic Island in northbound passes.
+ Our guides travel on all routes on the set departure days. You can travel on the train on other days without a guide, however you can only access our unique transfers and activities when travelling with the guide.
+ There is a minimum of 3 departures per week (up to 5 in summer) over all routes. For specific departure days and times please see our timetable below.