Tour alongside the East Coast from Cairns to Sydney
In the following pages I will describe my tour to the east coast of Australia from Cairns up to Sydney. I made the complete tour in the famous Greyhound-bus. There is more detailed information concerning the Greyhound-buses, the bus tickets, routes etc. in the chapter Greyhound-Buses. The tour from Cairns to Sydney offers so many views that it is not possible to describe this in one simgle page. This is why I start on this page with the first stations. Until we finally arrive at Sydney there will be many pages in between. Have good fun in our tour from Cairns to Sydney!
Cairns - Starting Point of many Tours at the East Coast
Cairns is a city wih approximately 115.000 inhabitants at the north of the federal state Queensland. In former times, the city was a one-horse town, but today, Cairns is a famous starting point of many excursions but also the starting/end point of a Greyhound tour alongside the east coast up to/from Sydney. The city serves as a starting point of many excursions and is a main travel destination for backpacker tourists; Even myself, I started in November 2006 my tour from Cairns with the famous greyhoundbus.
From Cairns, my excursion starts to the famous Great Barrier Reef, this destination is either suitable for divers, snorkelers, or for those who only want to enjoy on a boat the enchanting colours of the ocean and the sun. A popular travel destination in the Great Barrier Reef are the national parks of the islands Green Island and Fitzroy Island.
In Cairns, there is tropical climate during the whole year, but during the rainy season, specially in the summer, some hurricanes and street inundations occur. There is a very high air humidity followed by very hot nights. I was during the summer time in Cairns and despite some short and light rainfalls I did not notice anything of the rainy season. I was probably in the right place at the right time.
Also, numerous tours start to the high north of Cairns. those who want to walk closely to a tropical rainforest are right in Daintree National Park. At the western side of Cairns, there is the plateau called Atherton Tablelands. It specially offers a cooler climate than the tropical heat of the coastal region. The market city Kuranda as also the endless beaches between Cairns and Port Douglas 50 km further to the north are very popular among the tourists as an excursion destination. One of the most spectacular rainforests is located at the interesting coastal landscape of Cape Tribulation and the Daintree River.
Personally, I don't find Cairns itself as worthwhile seeing, this is why I only spent 3 days there and only started a diving trip with Pro Dive to the outer Great Barrier Reef; We made a stop at three outer reefs in order to do some diving tours or simply to snorkel. It was a nice day, whereby the boat trip itself did not start very pleasantly.
For those who are more sensitive I recommend to take some tablets against seasickness before getting into the boat. Myself, I was surprised, as i never had problems with seasickness before, but after this trip I know what I talk about. The ocean was actually very pleasant and still, but for approximately 3 hours I only had to vomit and actually did not recuperate after landing at the reef.
From that day, I always take some tablets as prevention, as otherwise a dream can quickly turn into a nightmare. One can get informed about the right tablets to take in each chemistry. The best tablets are the ones from which the first is to be taken half an hour before getting into the boat and after that any 4 hours another one, by this way nothing can go wrong. The tablets have also to be taken in the case one feels good, as otherwise they will have no effect if one is already in the boat and starts to get sick.
Generally, I only recommend Cairns as an intermediate stop for excursions to the above mentioned regions or to continue the trip, but I think this is a matter of taste of each traveller.
Magnetic Island - dream Island with Dream Beaches
Magnetic Island is a must for each tourist who travels alongside the famous eastern coast. Those who love the easyness and specially the quietness will have enough time here to relax. The island is located at approximately 8 km from the coast Townsville, from which Nelly Bay is accessible with the ferry (more than ten times per day) in 40 minutes. Here, all passenger ferries land. The island has only a 10 km long asphalted road that leads from Nelly Bay alongside the east coast of the island to Horseshoe Bay in the north; here, there is also a regular bus shuttle.
Moreover, the island has gravel road of 8 km length that leads from Picnic Bay to a wonderful and isolated beach by West Point; Apart from that, the island has no roads. Magnetic Island is an island in a natural state and specially at the north it is so calmed that one can listen the parrots chirping or also watch the koalas on the eucalyptus trees. In the dawn, the small possoms come out that can be actually stroked sometimes, but CAUTION, they can also bite.
By travelling through the island one feels like the island is deserted. It is hard to believe that approximately 2.500 people live in this island in the Great Barrier Reef. Specially in Nelly Bay there is a big offer of all what is needed for living.
Magnetic Island is considered as the most sun-flooded island of Queensland with 320 sunny days a year. The island is known for its free living koalas, among the backpackers it is also called the koala island. The island offers numerous isolated and deserted sand beaches that are a dream and are partly only accessible on foot; they have a length of 24 km.
The island is a dream, at that time I was with some friends at the north of the island, a thing that resulted to be a wonderful decision. We lived in Bungalow Bay close to Horseshoe Bay. It is about an accommodation for backpackers that consists in wood bungalows (cedarwood) with several beds but also suitable for two persons. It is also possible to build one's tent there. It is located amidst the rainforest, an enchanting nature.
If one is in the garden of the of the accommodation, one will have the feeling of being amidst the outback, but only after a ten minutes walk one gets to the Horseshoe Bay where there are a few small pubs and a shop as also a wonderful sand beach with a lot of water sports offers. But for those who love the party life, the best addresses are the Basebackpackers and Maggie's Backpacker Hostel close to Nelly Bay. The Bungalow Bay Backpackers also has a small zoo, so that one can (most of the times, it is included in the room fee) take a real koala bear in one's arms.
There is also the possibility to hold a snake or, if available at that time, a baby crocodile. A hiking track leads from Horseshoe Bay to the bays located at the north east Balding Bay and Radical Bay. These bays are only accessible on foot, one has to walk literally over hill and dale, this is why therfore, suitable footwear is required, not only in order to avoid to get injured but also as precaution of the many snakes that live there. The paths are partly only accessible through rocks and there is not to forget that once arrived down at the beautiful bay, there is the whole way back upwards to take.
For those who have enough time during their journey to Australia and want to enjoy the wonderful nature of Australia, I can only recommend a stay in Magnetic Island.
Townsville - Starting Point to Magnetic Island
Townsville is located at the famous eastern coast of Australia, in the northern part of the federal state Queensland. Here, approximately 135.000 inhabitants live. Townsville is at 285 km southern to Cairns and 1.112 km north-western from Brisbane. The city is considered to be rather sunny, green and very relaxed, a so-called mix of cafe-latte-culture and a healthy dosage tropes.
Townsville ist the starting point to the koala island Magnetic Island, as here at the harbour, the sunferry casts off to the island. The city is located in a protected place behind the famous Great Barrier Reef at the debouchure of the Ross River that wriggles amidst the city. Over the Dean Bridge or the Victoria Bridge (only for pedestrians) one gets into the centre at the northern part of the river. In the city itself, one can comfortably move on foot.
The shopping mile of Townsville, the Flinders St. Mall runs at the left form the northern end of the Dean Bridge in direction to the main station. The city is outperformed by its local mountain, the 286 m heighted Castle Hill, that offers a beautiful view over the city as also the islands of the proximities. A little aside from the coast behind the city, the Great Dividing Range (Australian sistema central)expands. All around the city there are further single mountains as also a reservoir at the head water and middle reaches of the Ross River.
Those who prefer some arquitectural sightseeings will rather be disappointed in Townsville, but with The Strand, it offers a boardwalk of approximately 2 km, and in the proximity of the harbour there is the Museum of Tropical Queensland as also the tropical Aquarium Reef HG, with the supposedely biggest Aquarium-Cotal Reef of the world. There is also a city/marine museum as also at least two small at gallerys with changing exhibitions for tourists who rather like cultural stuff.
Beside Magnetic, it is also worthwhile to visit the Hinchinbrook Island that is located in the proximity. There is the biggest island national park of the country , through which a hiking path of several days leads alongside the eastern coast with an enchanting landscape, the so-called Thorsborne Trail. But Townsville is still rather a matter of taste, personally, I did not find the city to be something special and according to my opinion, one should not waste too much time there, as Australia has more beautiful things to offer.
Airlie Beach - Starting Point to the Whitsunday Islands
Airlie Beach is a small city at the east coast of Australia that is the gate to the famous Whitsunday Islands. The life of Airlie Beach takes place on one single road Shute Harbour in a length of, believe it or not , approximately 1 km and is considered to be one of the party mekkas of Australia. I would say, it is the Australian Ballermann (German pub in Mallorca) in small format. On this single road, one finds numerous travel agencies that promote boat trips to the Whitsunday Islands, from cheap to expenxive offers, as also some souvenir shops and numerous bars and discos.
In Airlie Beach there is always a party going on somewhere. One spends the days in the beer gardens or at the artificially arranged and very beautiful lagoon right at the sea, where one can really relax, as bathing in the sea is not allowed due to the dangerous jellyfishes. In Airlie Beach one mainly meets backpackers, who come to the city to start the obligatory tour to the Whitsunday Islands. But calmness and relaxation are out of question here. But one also comes across to local vacationes or sailors.
As accommodation I can recommend the Koalas'Backpackers that is located at the end of the Shute Harbour Street. Here, one gets some quietness and does not notice anything of the parties that take place during the whole night. But those who want to stay there should make sure to get one of the wood bungalows, as these are on one hand very cozy in which one has an own bathroom as also a kitchenette nd on the other hand, they are clean. The Koala's Backpackers has also several rooms in a multi-leveled house that is considered as unhygienic and is partly infested with mould, thus this is urgently to be considered during the check-in.
The YHA Backpackers Hostel is also recommendable and is located at a distance o approximately 200 m distance from the Greyhound Bus Station at the beginning of the Shute Harbour Street. The other hostels are located amidst the hype and getting some sleep is here out of question.
Temporarilly, there is a small market in Airlie Beach at the boardwalk where the Australians sell the famous didgeridoos and other souvenirs of the aborigines. For those who have a private interest in a didgeridoo but cannot take it during the whole trip I recommend the didgeridoo shop in front of the YHA Hostel. There it is possible to pack the didgeridoo for the transport and sent straight to the desired address, and to a reasonable price.
For the booking of a boat trip to the to the Whitsunday Islands I recomend the reputable travel agency OZ Sailing and Boattrips that is also in the next proximity of the YHA Hostel. There is a very friendly personnel and an excellent consulting. During the sailing/boat trip, one can store one's luggage in the luggage storing room of the office.
What is important during the booking is not to pay too much attention to very cheap offers, as I have made the acquaintance of many backpackers for whom the dream trip to the Whitsunday Islands became a nightmare. Because the cheap offers partly result in unhygienic and old boats with too many passengers and small rooms, not to mention the food.
Those who want to dive in the famous Great Barrier Reef should consider during the booking if it is possible at all to dive during the trip at all, as there are tours in which it is only possible to do snorkeling tours. Those who like the water and specially underwater world should in any case include a diving tip. And those who did not like it very much until then, will latest after they saw the underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef love the se and the animals of Australia.
Tourists without a tight schedule should take their time and have a trip of several days to the islands, as at is a unique and dream experience. Thus, those who want to visit the Whitsunday Islands are in Airlie Beach at the right address and those who want to party as a backpacker and are sociable will get their money worth here. The Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef are so fascinating that I describe them in an own page.
Back to the index Australia
Author: Simone Palm; Copyright: Patrick Wagner, www.tourist-guide.biz