- All transport, including: Loka bus between Sydney and Rainbow Beach/Cooroy, fast trains between Cooroy and Cairns, local transfers and return Magnetic Island ferry
- Guidance from local guide and access to Loka web app
- Wine tasting at Hunter Valley
- Guided walk at Barrington Tops National Park
- Koala hospital visit
- Kayaking (summer only) or headlands walk at Solitary Island Marine reserve
- Angourie Blue Pools
- Byron Bay orientation drive
- Danger Point Border Crossing walk
- Carlo Sand Blow Walk, Rainbow Beach
- Bluff Point walk at Emu Park
- Forts walk at Magnetic Island.
- Accommodation cost
Why do we love this
"We love Loka because they are all about being authentic. These guys work with local operators and communities so that you have a proper Aussie experience!"
WHAT TO EXPECT
This flexible travel pass allows you to backpack all the way from Sydney to Cairns at your own pace. You'll get the chance to stop off at all of the major East Coast highlights including Hunter Valley, Byron Bay and Magnetic Island. We'll also take you off the beaten track so you get to know some proper Aussie locals. Plus, we'll give you amazing discounts on accommodation and activities along the way!
Travel Day: Sydney — Barrington Tops (Special Stop)
MEETING: Outside Wake Up hostel at 8am or outside Nomads (if confirmed) at 8.10am
We leave the big city and drive to the Hunter Valley wine area for a tasting at one of the most renowned vineyards in Australia. We'll then travel across backcountry towards the stunning edge of Barrington Tops National Park (World Heritage Listed). Where we'll 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 or go mountain biking (both additional cost). Enjoy a few drinks and chill in the hot tub in the evening.
SLEEPING: $60 for dinner, dorm bed and breakfast at Twistops Retreat.
Travel Day: Barrington Tops — Spot X Surf Camp
MEETING: At the lodge
In the morning, we'll take a walk and admire natice Aussie scenery and wildlife (kangaroos, various birds and even platypus!). Then we'll head to a Koala hospital and learn about the importance of preserving Koalas and what we can do to contribute towards conservation. We'll then continue on to our waterfront accommodation at the Spot X Surf Camp, arriving in the early evening.
SLEEPING: $35 for shared accommodation at Spot X.
Travel Day: Spot X Surf Camp — River Retreat (Special Stop)
MEETING: At the Loka bus
We'll start with a relaxing morning at Spot X. Chill on the beach or take a group surf lesson (additional cost). In the afternoon, we'll head towards the Solitary Islands Marine Park where we'll kayak to the River Retreat – our unique tipi camp, on the edge of the park. Evening activities include: having a few drinks and/or playing volleyball or petanque. We will be sleeping in beds in a tipi or swags under the stars. Note: in winter we have a walk on the headlands crossing a wild kangaroo sanctuary, and we stay in a country pub on the river.
SLEEPING: $60 for camping/dorm bed, dinner and breakfast at River Retreat or Country Pub.
Travel Day: River Retreat — Byron Bay
MEETING: At camp
We leave our camp early, hop on the bus and head towards Byron Bay, Australia’s famous surf and arts town. We will stop in picturesque Yamba along the way for lunch. There you can have a walk around or a swim in the Angourie Blue Pool. We will have an orientation drive on the way to Byron Bay.
SLEEPING: Your choice of Byron accommodation. Check out the Loka web app for our latest deals on accomodations.
Free Day in Byron Bay
Explore the area, learn to surf, visit the alternative town of Nimbin (additional cost), or just relax in this laid-back, hippie place. We highly recommend you to walk to the lighthouse to see the Australian mainland’s easternmost point.
SLEEPING: Your choice of Byron accommodation
Travel Day: Byron Bay (via Gold Coast & Brisbane) - Noosa or Rainbow Beach
MEETING: At the main bus stop on Jonson St or Arts Factory hostel (please confirm)
We'll head to the New South Wales/Queensland border. We will hop out at Danger Point to stretch our legs and check out the view of Snapper Rock, one of Australia’s best surfing spots. Next we continue along up towards the Gold Coast. You may want to get off here to experience the sun, sandy beach and entertainment. We will be driving through Brisbane (pick up and drop off travellers in the city centre) to then continue to the beloved holiday destination among Australians: Noosa. Hop off here or continue to Rainbow Beach to spend the night there. Noosa and Rainbow Beach are both departure points for Fraser Island (a backpacker must do). At Rainbow Beach we will have a walk up to Carlo Sand Blow to admire the sunset or the sunrise.
SLEEPING: Your choice of Noosa or Rainbow Beach accommodation. Check out the Loka web app for our latest deals on accomodations.
Travel Day: Rainbow Beach (via Noosa) — Country Campout
MEETING: Outside Dingos/Frasers at Rainbow Beach, or outside Nomads at Noosa
We hop on the bus in Rainbow Beach and head back to Noosa to pick up more Loka travellers. Then we continue our journey towards Cooroy, where we take the train to Rockhampton.
From there, a local bus takes us to two options:
- A remote farm stay for the night (with traditional swagman dinner around the campfire, sleep in swags, breakfast, a morning farm tour, and dinner at Emus Beach Resort the next night - all inclusive price of $75)
- Spend the night at Emus Beach Resort and self-catered ($30)
SLEEPING: Country Campout experience for $75 or dorm at Emus Beach resort for $30.
Travel Day/Night: Country Campout— OVERNIGHT TRAIN — Airlie Beach
MEETING: At the farm or Emus Beach Resort
If you have opted for the farm stay, we'll take a walk around the property and check out the farm animals. We then head to the little coastal town of Emu Park. In the afternoon, you can just relax at the resort pool, go on a turtle-spotting tour (seasonal), or visit a local crocodile farm (additional cost). We will catch the train in the evening and travel overnight to Airlie Beach – the gateway to the famous Whitsunday Islands!
Note: Depending on which day you leave from Noosa/Rainbow you may have an extra day at Emu Park.
SLEEPING: Overnight train (price included), then your choice of Airlie accommodation.
Travel Day: Airlie Beach (via Townsville) — Magnetic Island
MEETING: Outside Base Backpackers
We start our day early. A local bus takes us to the train. Then we transfer to a ferry and head out to the tropical ‘Maggie Island’. A local transfer will take us to our accommodation. There is a lot to explore on the island, it consists of nearly 50% of national park with stunning beaches and abundant wildlife. Your guide will take you on a walk around the island. Alternatively, you can explore on your own or just chill by the pool. Note: Depending on which day you leave, you may have an extra day on Magnetic Island.
SLEEPING: YHA Bungalow Bay or your own choice of Magnetic Island accommodation.
Travel Day: Magnetic Island — Indigenous Rainforest Experience (Special Stop) / Tully
MEETING: At YHA Bungalow Bay reception or at the ferry terminal (please confirm).
A ferry will take us back to the Australian mainland. From there we will travel to Tully by train. Arrival at Tully is planned at around lunch time. You will have the option to stay in Tully at a historic hotel (at hostel prices) or to participate in an exclusive Indigenous Rainforest Experience. Local Aboriginals will be welcoming us. Then a bus will bring us to the mighty rainforest of Tully Gorge National Park. A refreshing swim in the scenic Tully River is possible before having a group dinner (modern food with a traditional twist). After sunset, we will go ‘spotlighting’ in the rainforest for native wildlife to then share stories around the campfire before bed.
SLEEPING: Indigenous Camp $120 for an all inclusive package ($99 if you book via Loka web app), or Mt Tyson hotel, $35 for accom only. Indigenous Camp is only available TUESDAY / THURSDAY / SATURDAY. On SUNDAYS there’s an Aboriginal painting activity instead. Minimum numbers apply for both.
Travel Day: Indigenous Camp – Cairns
MEET: Indigenous Camp or Tully train station (please confirm).
In the morning, enjoy a big breakfast then head on an interpretative walk into the forest. Learn all about the traditional uses of the plants and wildlife for food, survival and medicine. We will then head back to Tully to take the train north. You may like to spend more time in Tully to do a kayak trip or whitewater rafting. We continue our journey to Cairns by train. There will arrive in the late afternoon. Note: Depending on which day you leave, you may have an extra day or night to spend in Tully at the historic Mt Tyson hotel before going to Cairns.
SLEEPING: Your choice of Cairns accommodation. Check out the Loka web app for our latest deals on accomodations.
Note: Accommodation and food are not covered by the Loka pass. You can break your itinerary at any stop and on any travel day. After you can just connect with a later Loka bus or rail departure (guided or unguided). Accommodation can be pre-booked by using the Loka web app, or your guide will help you to book it. There are two options usually: a bed only option (around $32/person/night), or a twin/double option (around $100/room). Please ask for Loka bus timetables prior to booking.
*Itinerary and prices are valid until October 31st 2017, but are subject to change.