Sydney and Cairns are both on Australia's east coast, but Sydney is about 1,500 miles (2,400 km) south of the tropical northern Queensland city. Here's how to get from Sydney to Cairns.

By Air

Duration: 3 hours 

Flying is by far the quickest and easiest way of traveling the huge distance between Sydney and Cairns. Multiple flights make the trip each day. You may get a view along the coast if the weather is clear, depending on the flight path.

By Car

Duration: 26 hours+

If you were to drive directly between Sydney and Cairns, you'd be on the road for around 27 hours, but this isn't advisable. There are many beautiful and appealing points of interest on the long New South Wales and Queensland coast separating Sydney and Cairns. Travelers with at least a couple of weeks to spare can make an exciting road trip out of driving between the two cities.

The quickest and most direct route actually travels inland via places like Moree, Surat, and Emerald, before heading up the coast past Townsville. However, the slightly longer coastal route is probably of more interest to most travelers. Places worth stopping en route include Newcastle, Byron Bay, the Gold Coast, Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast, Airlie Beach (for the Whitsundays), and Townsville. There are also many national parks and nature reserves along the way that are worth going slightly out of your way for.

By Bus

Duration: 26+ hours

The above trip can also be made by bus, to save yourself from having to drive. Hop-on hop-off bus tickets are available if you'd rather take your time with the long journey and stop at places of interest on the way. Buses are reasonably comfortable, with scheduled toilet and meal stops. Some buses have on-board toilets. 

By Train

Duration: 40+ hours

There are no direct trains between Sydney and Cairns, but travelers who want to make the trip by train can take different services from Sydney to Brisbane, and then from Brisbane to Cairns. The Sydney to Brisbane service is overnight, while the Brisbane to Cairns service is a scenic trip geared towards travelers and is quite comfortable, with lie-flat berths available.


Map of How to Get from Sydney to Cairns
Map of How to Get from Sydney to Cairns