Enormous Queensland stretches from the tropics to the semi-tropics, and a trip along the coast is a great way to experience the full range of sights and activities available in the Sunshine State. On this two-week tour you'll snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef, lounge on white-sand beaches on the Whitsunday Islands, enjoy the theme parks of the Gold Coast, come face-to-face with koalas near Brisbane, and much more. Whatever your interests, there's something to keep you happy on this tour that combines action and relaxation.

Highlights

  • Relax on the beautiful beaches of the Gold Coast
  • Appreciate nature at the Mt. Tamborine and Lamington National Parks
  • Go on a snorkeling tour of the world-renowned Great Barrier Reef
  • Learn about native Australian wildlife at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to the Gold Coast Gold Coast
Day 2 Free Day on the Gold Coast Gold Coast
Day 3 Rainforest and Wildlife Tour Gold Coast
Day 4 Free Day on the Gold Coast Gold Coast
Day 5 Drive to Byron Bay Byron Bay
Days 6-7 Free Day in Byron Bay Byron Bay
Day 8 Fly to Hamilton Island Hamilton Island
Day 9 Visit Whitehaven Beach Hamilton Island
Day 10 Free Day on Hamilton Island Hamilton Island
Day 11 Great Barrier Reef Cruise Hamilton Island
Day 12 Fly to Brisbane Brisbane
Day 13 River Cruise to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Brisbane
Day 14 Farewell Brisbane  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to the Gold Coast

Broadbeach to Surfers Paradise
Broadbeach to Surfers Paradise

Welcome to the Gold Coast! After arriving and transferring to your hotel, spend the rest of the day at leisure. Take a dip in the ocean to wash off that jet-leg, and get ready for your exciting vacation to begin tomorrow.

Day 2: Free Day on the Gold Coast

Gold Coast
Gold Coast

Ease into your vacation with a free day on the Gold Coast, exploring at your own pace. The Gold Coast is a metropolitan region south of Brisbane. It's famed for its long sandy beaches, surfing spots, and elaborate system of inland canals and waterways. It’s also home to theme parks such as Dreamworld, Sea World and Wet’n’Wild. Inland, hiking trails crisscross the Lamington National Park’s mountain ridges and valleys, home to rare birds and rainforest. There are many things to see and do around here, whatever your interests.

Day 3: Rainforest and Wildlife Tour

Lamington National Park

This morning you'll be taken to Tambourine Mountain, where you'll enjoy a guided tour. Your guide will explain your subtropical surrounds, pointing out significant trees, wildlife and historical features as you descend towards picturesque Curtis Falls.

After your return from the falls, refresh with a morning tea of scones with jam and cream, tea and coffee, and then it’s off to Gallery Walk, the hub of Tamborine Mountain’s arts and crafts community. Enjoy some free time here, before descending into the beautiful Sarabah Valley to your private lunch venue, Spring Gully. You'll enjoy a BBQ lunch and a swim, so don't forget your bathing suit.

One of Australia’s most scenic and unforgettable drives lies ahead, as you climb from the valley floor to the summit of World Heritage-listed Lamington National Park. This is part of the largest continuous preserved stand of subtropical rainforest anywhere on earth. You’ll traverse the iconic Treetop Walk, Australia’s first canopy-level boardwalk Climb the observation tower for a bird’s-eye view, and even feed colorful wild parrots.

Day 4: Free Day on the Gold Coast

Climb Q1
Climb Q1

Take the day to enjoy the Gold Coast on your own. Some optional activities/destinations include:

  • Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, a haven for native animals.
  • SkyPoint Climb, stationed on top of the Q1, the highest point in the Gold Coast, where you can embark on an external building climbing excursion.
  • The Gold Coast's theme parks, including Dreamworld, WhiteWater World, Wet’n’Wild, Warner Bros. Movie World, and Sea World.

Day 5: Drive to Byron Bay

Main Beach, Byron Bay
Main Beach, Byron Bay

Pick up your rental car and self-drive from the Gold Coast to Byron Bay today, a journey of about an hour. In the afternoon, explore this cool, trendy beach-side town at your own pace. Some recommended activities/destinations include:

  • Shopping in the local boutiques. Byron Bay is a key fashion destination in Australia.
  • Lounging on a beach: a couple of favorites are Wategoes, ideal for longboarders, and The Pass, with a legendary surf break.
  • Watching the sunset from the beach. Byron Bay is the easternmost point of mainland Australia, so enjoys great sunsets and sunrises. 

Days 6-7: Free Day in Byron Bay

Cape Byron Lighthouse

Enjoy free time for a couple of days in Byron Bay. Some recommended activities include:

  • Walking to Cape Byron Lighthouse, 30 minutes' walk from town, in time for sunrise. Enjoy some of the best views of the ocean and hinterland on the entire coast, including regular sightings of turtles, dolphins and humpback whales. After sunrise, take the Cape Lighthouse Coastal Walk back to town.
  • Renting a surfboard from a local surf shop and surfing around the pass.
  • Chilling out on the beach.
  • Snorkeling at Julian Rocks Marine Reserve, where you'll find schools of exotic fish, and the Cape Byron Marine Sanctuary, with its sea turtles. These spots can be reached by boat with a guide. Keep an eye out for humpback whales between June and November, as well as dolphins.
  • Taking a yoga class in the rainforest.

Day 8: Fly to Hamilton Island

The  Whitsundays
The Whitsundays

Fly north today, to Hamilton Island, in Northern Queensland. You'll be met by a driver and transferred to your accommodation.

Part of the 74 Whitsunday Islands, Hamilton Island is located in the heart of the famed Great Barrier Reef. It is an ideal location for exploring the unique tropical environment of the Whitsundays, with its scenic surroundings, calm waters, warm weather, fascinating coral reefs, and diverse flora and fauna. The island offers various activities, such as snorkeling at the reef, sea kayaking, scenic helicopter flights, and golf.

If you're tired from your travels, today you can simply laze around a range of pools, or relax on Catseye Beach.

Day 9: Visit Whitehaven Beach

Hill Inlet, Whitehaven Beach

Whitehaven Beach, with its warm, turquoise-hued water and pristine white sand, is one of the world’s most unspoiled and beautiful beaches. Spend the whole day experiencing the wonders of the magnificent Whitehaven Beach area. On the northern end, check out the spectacular Hill Inlet, and in the south you can swim, hike, sunbathe and relax. 

Day 10: Free Day on Hamilton Island

Catseye Beach, Hamilton Island

Today is free of scheduled activities, so you can explore the island at your own pace. Discover some of the island’s walking trails, utilize the water-sports equipment on Catseye Beach, go go-kart racing, play a round of golf on one of Australia’s premier courses, and more.

Day 11: Great Barrier Reef Cruise

Meet the residents of the Great Barrier Reef

Cruise through the Whitsundays on a large modern wave piercer, across the shipping channel and into the Great Barrier Reef. The color of the water within the Great Barrier Reef will take your breath away as you cruise up to Heart Pontoon and start your activities for the day.

Snorkel along the top of the reef platform (if the tide allows), or follow the edge of the reef platform, where the best corals and fish can be seen. Then climb aboard a semi-submersible vessel for a guided tour of the reef wall. Learn more about the Great Barrier Reef and the corals and fish that make it amazing. When you need a quiet moment to yourself, head down into the underwater observatory and watch the fish and snorkelers go by, or look beyond to the coral wall and watch the colors change as the light does.

For the ultimate reef adventure, add an exciting helicopter flight (at an additional cost), from which you'll fully appreciate the scale and majesty of this globally-renowned living treasure.

Day 12: Fly to Brisbane

Welcome to Brisbane!
Welcome to Brisbane!

Leave the Whitsundays behind and fly south to Brisbane, a flight of about 1.5 hours. Transfer to your accommodation and enjoy the rest of the day free in Brisbane. Take a walk along the Brisbane River that winds through the central city, or check out the lovely City Botanic Gardens.

Day 13: River Cruise to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Today, board a boat in Brisbane’s Southbank district and leave the city behind on a relaxing cruise to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.

Once at Lone Pine, spend three hours exploring the world’s largest koala sanctuary, with more than 130 koalas and many other animals. Take photos of the adorable marsupials, have a chat with the koala keepers, and learn more about the unique Australian creatures. Also check out the Platypus House, where you may get a chance to see a shy platypus, another native to Australia. See owls, kites, and sea eagles soaring above you at the popular Birds of Prey show, and feed the kangaroos and wallabies: more than 100 of them live at Lone Pine. Finally, don't miss the sheepdog show to see hardworking dogs round up a herd of sheep, responding to their master’s whistles, calls, and hand signals.

Day 14: Farewell Brisbane

Goodbye Brisbane
Goodbye Brisbane

Depending on your departure time there may be time to fit in some last-minute sightseeing, or to rest up before your journey home. Transfer to the airport in good time to make your onward flight. 

Map

Map of Coastal Queensland: Brisbane, Gold Coast, Great Barrier Reef & More - 14 Days
Map of Coastal Queensland: Brisbane, Gold Coast, Great Barrier Reef & More - 14 Days