East Coast Encompassed

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East Coast Encompassed

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Description

Explore Australia’s stunning east coast from the iconic cityscapes of Sydney to the eco-paradise of the Daintree on an epic trip that hits all the highlights in under three weeks. Sample wine and cheese in the picturesque Hunter Valley, meet cute and cuddly koalas in an animal hospital near Port Macquarie and hang loose in the bustling beachside town of Byron. Next, follow the sun-kissed coastline to Queensland and take an off-road adventure across Fraser Island, sail through the picture-perfect islands of the Whitsundays and explore the colourful underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef. Finally venture deep into the world’s oldest tropical rainforest to understand the power of native plants from a First Nations guide, encounter crocodiles on a cruise through mangrove thickets, and stroll along the rainforest-rimmed beach of Cape Tribulation.

Trip Name
East Coast Encompassed
Last Updated
2020-01-25
Days
18
Capacity
16
Highlights
  • Soak up the beachside vibes of Byron Bay with a free day in this surfer’s haven. Go for a dip in the ocean, listen to buskers by the beach, join a yoga class or just hang loose in a quirky cafe.
  • Take an incredible 4WD adventure through the breathtaking landscape of Fraser Island. Venture across undulating sand dunes in search of that iconic outback creature, the dingo!
  • Cruise through the postcard-perfect islands of the Whitsundays – surround yourself with dazzling white sands and azure waters as you discover this idyllic corner of Queensland.
  • Experience the Great Barrier Reef on a snorkelling adventure. Brimming with colourful coral and tropical fish, enjoy an included cruise from Cairns to explore this underwater paradise.
  • Learn how to spear fish and gather medicine on Kuyu Kuyu (Cooya Beach) with Kuku Yalanji guides who are committed to maintaining their ancestral traditions and way of life.

Itinerary

Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.

Day 1 - Sydney
Your Australia adventure begins in the iconic harbour city of Sydney, the glittering jewel in the east coast's crown. Make your own way to the joining hotel where you’ll meet your expert leader and fellow travellers at 2 pm for a welcome meeting in the lobby. Afterwards, head out to explore the historic area around the hotel before heading out for dinner. If you arrive early, there’s plenty to see and do – why not head down to Circular Quay and check out the world-famous Opera House, or if you’re feeling brave, opt to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge to catch an epic view over this stunning city. Alternatively, you might like to take the ferry over to Manly Beach for some sun, sea and surf – soaking up the panoramic view of the iconic Sydney cityscape as you cruise along the glittering waters.
Day 2 - The Hunter Valley & Newcastle
Leave the hustle and bustle of Sydney behind for the chilled-out Hunter Valley – a picturesque wine region in the rural hills of New South Wales. Your own personal wildlife ranger will be keeping an eye out for koalas and kangaroos as you make your way to lunch – yes, there will be cheese, and wine, and chocolate (the Hunter is famous for it!). After you’ve gorged yourself on a delicious feast, sleep off the food coma as you continue your drive to Newcastle. It may only be a fraction the size of Sydney, but this beach side city is jam-packed with trendy bars and a buzzing arts scene. This evening why not head out for a delicious dinner at one of the many restaurants or simply settle in at a friendly pub for a night of live, local music.
Day 3 - Port Macquarie
After an amazing local breakfast, hit the scenic Lakes Way and witness epic coastal views at their best as you drive past pristine beaches and lakeside communities. Stretch your legs on a leisurely walk and climb to a lookout where you can take a moment to soak up panoramic vistas of New South Wales’ breathtaking shoreline. Afterwards, continue your journey to Port Macquarie in time for a sunset cruise – keep an eagle eye out for local pods of dolphins as you enjoy the perfect end to a scenic day.
Day 4 - Dorrigo National Park
This morning, meet the volunteers at a local koala hospital (cute!). If you’re able to tear yourself away from the cuddly critters, you’ll be rewarded with a stop in Nambucca Heads to share in a unique and immersive Gumbaynggirr First Nations experience that will get you in touch with the traditional custodians of this land, lore and ancient cultural knowledge. Finish the day in true Aussie style in the Dorrigo National Park, at a traditional pub where you can relax, order some grub, have a few drinks and even play some pool. Why not opt for an Aussie classic like a chicken ‘parma’, or the quintessential meat pie (tomato sauce optional, but recommended!).
Day 5 - Byron Bay
This morning, check out the beautiful surrounds of Dorrigo National Park, known for its lush, sub-tropical rainforest and waterfalls. Check out Dangar Falls and opt for a refreshing dip in its cascading waters, accessed by a short walking trail (approximately 20 minutes) leading down to the base of the falls. Alternatively, stay dry and appreciate its mammoth beauty from a small viewing platform. Next, head to Byron Bay, a laid-back surf paradise with boundless coastline, sand and friendly locals. On arrival, pay a visit to the local lighthouse for a unique photo opportunity and the chance for the chance to spot dolphins, whales, and other marine life (Get your eagle eye ready, or perhaps just bring binoculars). Finish the afternoon by popping to an organic farm where you’ll pick and prepare a healthy and delicious dinner.
Day 6 - Byron Bay
Get up early or sleep late, sunrises are pretty ace at from Australia's most easterly point, but the choice is yours. It’s a free day today so perhaps kick-start the morning with a swim in the ocean or hunt down the best cold-brew coffee from one of Byron’s quirky cafes. Stroll along the streets and check out the trendy boutiques or stretch out your limbs at an optional yoga class. If you’re a seafood fan, head to The Balcony Bar for some delicious oysters or simply enjoy a cocktail or two as you people-watch from the outdoor terrace. If the waves are right, why not try your hand at surfing or just loll about on the one of the endless beaches. It’s a hard life.
Day 7 - Brisbane to Fraser Island
Rise and shine as you begin your adventure from Byron Bay to Brisbane, then through to sun-kissed Noosa, visiting one of Australia’s top surf locations on the way. Go koala-spotting in a national park before arriving on the stunning Fraser Island for the evening. The local Butchulla people call it K’gari (paradise), and you’ll find out why soon enough. This incredible slice of land is the largest sand island in the world, stretching some 123 kilometres down Queensland's southern coast and tomorrow you’ll have the chance to explore it, so get a good nights rest ready for a day of adventure – oh, and look out for dingoes!
Day 8 - Fraser Island
After a delicious buffet breakfast, set off on a 4WD adventure through the breathtaking landscape of Fraser Island. Visit some of the renowned lookout points – perhaps Indian Head or the Cathedrals – for incredible views of the coast, then take a refreshing dive into the crystal-clear water of Lake McKenzie – an island icon. Visit the Maheno shipwreck and the coloured sands of the pinnacles, Pile Valley’s awe-inspiring Satinay and Brush Box forests as well as Central Station and Wanggoolba, before adventuring along 75 Mile Beach Road – one of the best coastal drives in the country – and taking a dip in the fresh waters of Eli Creek. From tropical dense rainforest to wild offshore waters – witness the contrasting fauna and terrain of this truly unique island as you venture across undulating sand dunes and vast golden beach, in search of that iconic outback creature, the dingo. This evening, relax at your accommodation and perhaps join the rest of your group for dinner at one of the resort’s restaurants.
Day 9 - Airlie Beach
Transfer back to Brisbane before boarding a flight to Airlie Beach, the hub town of the magnificent Whitsundays and home to endless beer gardens, trendy cafes and a lawn-fringed swimming lagoon. You’ll arrive late in the afternoon, so after settling into your lodgings the evening is yours to spend as you please. Perhaps stroll around and explore, or if the sun is still up why not visit some local swimming spots for a refreshing dip. Alternatively, you might feel more at home finding a seat at one of the many bars, grabbing a cocktail or two, and watching the sun set on the shimmering blue water.
Day 10 - Whitsundays Cruise and Airlie Beach
After breakfast, take a leisurely day cruise through the postcard-perfect islands of the Whitsundays, including a stop at the world-renowned Whitehaven Beach. Words can’t do justice to the dazzling white sands, azure waters and densely verdant vegetation of this incredible corner of the world – Whitehaven is about as impressive as a beach can get, and at 98% pure silica, it’s about as white as a beach can get too. Peel your eyes away from the pristine sands and explore the colourful underwater world surrounding the Whitsundays on a snorkelling adventure. Get up close to a beautiful array of rainbow coral, playful fish and, if you’re lucky, maybe even some friendly turtles. Head back to Airlie Beach and enjoy one last drink in this lively town
Day 11 - Mission Beach
Admire the change of scenery today as you jump into your private vehicle and head through undulating cane fields to picturesque Mission Beach, where World Heritage rainforest meets the colourful Coral Sea. Be welcomed by crystal-clear waters, stunning views and a large population of cassowaries – a flightless bird that thrives in the tropical forests of north-eastern Australia. This afternoon you can enjoy plenty of free time to soak up paradise and do as you please. You might like to wind down with an optional yoga class or go for a swim in the pool. Alternately, head out in search of the famous cassowary or simply grab a book and find a shady spot to sit and enjoy the tropical bliss.
Day 12 - Atherton Tableands - Cairns
Enjoy breakfast in a local cafe before venturing into the wet tropics of far north Queensland. Stop off en route to your next destination and discover a magnificent plunge waterfall nestled in dense tropical rainforest. Take a dip in the cool water, then continue on to Lake Eacham, a crater lake with beautiful blue-green hues in the heart of the Atherton Tablelands. Next, visit the unusual yet fascinating Curtain Fig Tree, a magnificent tree with extensive aerial roots that drop 15 metres to the forest floor, forming a curtain-like appearance. The day draws to a close as you head to your final stop, Cairns, one of Australia’s most lively tropical towns.
Day 13 - The Great Barrier Reef
The breathtaking beauty of the world’s largest coral reef is on the bucket list of many travellers who venture to this incredible corner of Australia. The Great Barrier Reef is brimming with colourful coral and an amazing array of tropical fish, and today you’ll get to witness its magnificence with your own eyes on a snorkelling adventure through this underwater paradise. Cruise out to this famous reef this morning as you hear a marine conservation commentary about the importance of preserving the World Heritage-listed region and how you can do your bit. Then, it’s time to put on your snorkelling gear and dive into the dazzling waters, where you can freely explore a wonderfully rich ecosystem. After an incredible day, head back to the hotel, where you can freshen up and get ready for dinner.
Day 14 - Cairns/Barron Gorge/Port Douglas
After breakfast, chill out at your hotel, then join another group meeting at 11 am, where you’ll meet some new travellers joining you for the next stage of your adventure. With the formalities out of the way, it’s time to hit the road for Port Douglas, with a couple of stops en route to break up the journey. First up is a Barron Gorge lookout that looks over a set of tumbling falls bursting from the rainforest. Spend some time ooh-ing and ah-ing at the lookout, then continue to the town of Kuranda. This little mountain village is the perfect place to grab a quick lunch (not included), before hitting the road again at around 2 pm. Settle back into the vehicle for an approximately 1.5-hour drive along the coast to Port Douglas. In the early evening, take an orientation tour around Port Douglas. Stop at Trinity Bay lookout point to admire the perfect crescent of sand and surf in the twilight. Head to a local restaurant for drinks and dinner with your fellow travellers, then return to the resort for the evening.
Day 15 - Daintree Rainforest/Cape Tribulation/Port Douglas
Grab breakfast and get ready in time to leave the resort at 8 am, jumping on the ferry and crossing the river into the Daintree Rainforest. Meet up with a local family who live and breathe the rainforest, so much so that they hosted David Attenborough’s documentary crew when they were filming in the area. Spend some time learning from them about the forest, then continue exploring with a cruise along Cooper Creek. Your guide will point out crocodiles, birds and other wildlife while you glide through the water. Stop for an included lunch at a heritage restaurant smack-bang in the middle of the forest. If you need to cool off, there is also time to take a swim before continuing to Cape Tribulation. Take in views over the cape from a lookout, then head down to the beach for a guided walk and to learn about the region’s history. Return to the resort for the evening, where you can grab dinner at one of the restaurants within walking distance or choose to enjoy an optional al fresco dinner experience with Flames of the Forest.
Day 16 - Port Douglas
Enjoy a day to explore this tropical paradise at your own pace. There are tonnes of activities on offer today, so be sure to talk to your leader about your options when it comes to snorkelling, reef tours and nature experiences. Your leader will also be on hand today to provide a transfer to Port Douglas town (and back) at 10 am and 6.30 pm if you want to spend the day shopping or grab dinner. If you’d prefer to move as little as possible, you could always take a day to unwind with spa treatments at the resort or chill by the pool with a book.
Day 17 - Mossman Gorge/Kuyu Kuyu/Port Douglas
Grab breakfast before leaving the resort at 8.15 am for a guided walk through the rainforest of Mossman Gorge. Work up an appetite on this gentle 1.5-hour hike, then grab morning tea (not included) before heading to Kuyu Kuyu (Cooya Beach) for a hands-on exploration of the mangroves, beach and reef led by members of a local Kuku Yalanji family. Learn to throw a spear, which plants are edible and how Kuku Yalanji people live in harmony with the ever-shifting landscape. Enjoy lunch, then join an Aboriginal painting class in the afternoon. Learn about the significance of traditional and contemporary art and storytelling to First Nations people and leave with a small souvenir. Return to the resort in the early evening and enjoy a few free hours to relax. Grab dinner tonight with your group and toast to the beauty of the country around you.
Day 18 - Port Douglas/Cairns
Enjoy breakfast and time for one last swim before a 10 am departure for Cairns. We will make one drop-off stop at Cairns Airport and another at a central hotel in Cairns – before your tour begins please let your Intrepid representative or travel agent know which option you would prefer.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
11-04-202028-04-2020AUD $ 8,295-
11-07-202028-07-2020AUD $ 8,295-
08-08-202025-08-2020AUD $ 8,295-
03-10-202020-10-2020AUD $ 7,466-
07-11-202024-11-2020AUD $ 7,466-
28-11-202015-12-2020AUD $ 7,466-
19-12-202005-01-2021AUD $ 7,466-
23-01-202109-02-2021AUD $ 8,710-
06-03-202123-03-2021AUD $ 8,295-

Accommodation

Hotel (11 nights),resort (5 nights),motel (1 night)

Transport

private bus,plane

Map