NEED TO KNOW
+ Trips depart Tuesday (Wednesday in summer), Friday and Sunday. See the timetables for more information.
+ 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 Sydney and Noosa/Rainbow Beach, and local bus and fast trains (with toilets, showers and a dining carriage) between Noosa/Rainbow Beach and Cairns. The return ferry to Magnetic Island is also included in your Mick pass.
+ 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 2 departures per week (up to 5 in summer) over all routes. For specific departure days and times please see our timetable.
+ Accommodation and food are not included in your Loka pass. You can book your accommodation through our web-app along the way. We hold spots in our preferred locations so you’re guaranteed a bed.
Travel Day: Sydney — Barrington Tops (Special Stop)
MEET: outside Wake Up hostel at 8am or outside Nomads (if confirmed) at 8.10am
We depart the big city and head to the Hunter Valley wine area for a tasting at one of Australia’s most famous vineyards. We then travel through the backcountry to our stunning stop on the edge of Barrington Tops National Park (a World Heritage Listed Area). We stay in our own private lodge overlooking the Barrington River. You have the option to ride an inner tube down a scenic part of the river (additional cost), then in the evening have a few drinks and relax in the hot tub.
SLEEP: $60 for dinner, dorm bed and breakfast at Twistops Retreat.
Travel Day: Barrington Tops — Spot X Surf Camp
MEET: at the lodge
In the morning you can go mountain biking (additional cost) or go for a walk around the property to spot some of the amazing wildlife. We then head north, stopping to visit a Koala hospital to learn about their efforts in preserving Koalas, before travelling onto our waterfront accommodation at the Spot X Surf Camp, arriving in the early evening.
SLEEP: $35 for shared accom at Spot X.
Travel Day: Spot X Surf Camp — River Retreat (Special Stop)
MEET: at Loka bus
We have the morning at leisure at Spot X. You can relax on the beach or we recommend taking part in a group surf lesson (additional cost). In the afternoon we travel to our River Retreat and go for a guided kayaking trip, spotting wildlife along the way. In the evening have a few drinks and toast marshmallows around the campfire. We sleep in beds in a tipi or swags under the stars. Note: in winter we stay in cabins.
SLEEP: $60 for camping/dorm bed, dinner and breakfast at River Retreat.
Travel Day: River Retreat — Byron Bay
MEET: At camp
We leave our camp early, hop in our bus and head up towards Byron Bay, Australia’s famous surf and arts town. We stop in the picturesque town of Yamba along the way for lunch where you can have a walk around or a swim in the Angourie Blue Pool. We have an orientation drive on the way to Byron Bay to help you get your bearings.
SLEEP: Your choice of Byron accom, you can book through the Loka web app.
Free Day in Byron Bay
Explore, learn to surf, party, visit the alternative town of Nimbin (additional cost), or just relax and take in the laidback, hippy vibe. We recommend taking a walk to the lighthouse to view the Australian mainland’s most easterly point. We have an orientation drive on the way to Byron Bay to help you get your bearings.
SLEEP: Your choice of Byron accom.
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) — Country Campout (Special Stop)
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, pick up passengers, and then drive to Cooroy where we hop on the train. We travel to Rockhampton then get met by a local bus, which takes you to our options of a remote farm stay for the night (traditional swagman’s dinner around the campfire, sleep in swags, breakfast, morning farm tour, and dinner at Emus Beach Resort the next night – for an inclusive price of $75) or you can stay the night at Emus Beach Resort and self-cater.
SLEEP: Country Campout experience for $75 or dorm at Emus Beach resort for $30.
Travel Day/Night: Country Campout— OVERNIGHT TRAIN — Airlie Beach
MEET: At the farm or Emus Beach Resort
If you have stayed on the farm, we take a walk around the property and feed some farm animals. We then head to the beautiful, little coastal town of Emu Park. In the afternoon you can just relax around the resort pool, go on a turtle-spotting walk (seasonal), or visit the local crocodile farm (additional cost). We catch the train in the evening and travel overnight to Airlie Beach. It is a modern train with large reclining seats, a bar and a dining carriage. We get into a town called Proserpine in the morning then take a local bus in 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 $24 – $45 per person depending on the size of the dorm and time of year (averaging $32 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. 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.