East Coast Australia with G Adventures

Carlos Sandlo Hi Lovelies,  I hope everyone is off to a flying start this new year. As a lot of you reading this will know I'v...

Carlos Sandlo

Hi Lovelies, 

I hope everyone is off to a flying start this new year. As a lot of you reading this will know I've spent the Christmas and New Year travelling Australia's East Coast especially those following on Snapchat as all my snaps were of the trip over that time. I travelled with my partner Daragh and my friends Lorraine and Dean. I've had so many questions about the tour - would I recommend it? What was the route? How much was it? How much spending money do you need? So I have write a full detailed account of the trip,as well as covering all the FAQ questions and a checklist of must haves. I've really put a lot of effort into this one and I think I've covered everything but if I've left out anything additional you want to know be sure to leave me a comment below with your and I'll be sure to get back to you as well as updating the post accordingly. 

Enjoy - its a long one :)  

Gold Coast - Surfers Paradise

We started our travels flying to the Gold Coast from Perth on a red eye (overnight flight) approx $250 one way and takes three and a half hours. We spent three nights at the Novotel which is perfectly located on the popular Surfers Paradise beach. It was really affordable at approx $100 per room per night, had a gorgeous large roof top Pool and jacuzzi, and a Woolworth's and bottle shop were also right next door. I'd happily stay here again when I return to Surfers in the near future. I loved Surfers, so many bars and clubs, it reminded me of a summer Spain holiday I would have with my friends and have already said I will go back on a girls weekend. The Gold Coast reminded me of Miami, Florida with its Beach's and high rise building, I loved it!

Novotel Pool, Gold Coast

Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast

Excited for our first Christmas in Australia

Lorraine and I - Novotel Pool, Gold Coast

View from the Skypoint Observation Deck

Poolside - Novotel, Gold Coast

Surfers Paradise Beach 

Sunny Gold Coast (Peppers Tower behind me)

OUR G ADVENTURES TOUR - Brisbane To Cairns Experience

Day 1 Brisbane - We travelled an hour by uber to Brisbane (I'd recommend getting the train though, an hour in an uber was so expensive) to start our G Adventures- 'Brisbane to Cairns Experience' tour.  We met our tour group that evening (20ppl) at the Brisbane Uptown Base (a backpackers in the city where we spent our first night). There was a mix Irish, English, American, Canadian, German, Swiss and Dutch, ranging from the age of 20 - 34, mainly single travellers and three couples in our tour group. Our tour guide Cara, 32 was a local from Sunshine Coast, she was so cool. We were split us into female/male dorms for the night, which was a new experience for me but was fine, the girls were all lovely in our 6 girl dorm. We had no planned activities this day, but we arrived a night early (staying at the Novotel that night which is in a great location right in the CBD) to do some of our own exploring - We checked out Streets Beach, City Hall, and had dinner in Southbank on the water. 


Streets Beach - Brisbane

Day 2 Brisbane/ Noosa - We had an early start - 7am, breakfast was provided (cereals, toast, tea and coffee). we drove 2hrs to Noosa Everglades for a night of wilderness. We stayed at Elanda Point (we all had wood log cabins of 2 & 3 people which was great for the couples. They were extremely basic with just bunk beds and air con but clean. There was other accommodation on site that looked better but this is what was booked for us. We went to Harry's Hut and grabbed some paddles and canoes down the Noosa river, which was great fun and exercise, it was approx 6km each way up and down the stream, I definitely felt the burn. We stopped half way for lunch and a swim (lunch was provided - chicken salad rolls, cereal bars,apples, water and juice). When we got back to camp we chilled out - threw some boomerangs, had a few ciders, watched a few kangaroos fight which was hilarious and had a BBQ - hot dogs and salads. Our tour guide then made a bonfire and we toasted marshmallows and had a few more drinks around the campfire. Such a fun day!

Our G Adventure full crew and guide Cara with the Christmas hat up front!

Before we realised how tough canoeing for 5hrs would be ha

Day 3 Fraser Island - Left Noosa and drove 1hr to Carlos Sandblow Beach where we walked the toughest hilly sand dunes ever, my calves were on fire! The view from the cliffs were so worth it though! We went for a swim on Rainbow Beach (named after the 70 something colours of sand) and watched a couple of sky divers land on the beach. We then took a short 5 minute drive on ferry ride to Fraser Island and had our lunch (salad and chicken rolls were provided again). We did some 4 wheel driving in our beast of a tour truck along the whole beach. It's called the 75 mile beach because it's 75 miles long and is in fact the longest vehicle accessible beach in the world. We stopped at Lake Mckenzie (approx 1.5hr drive) highly recommend checking it out, its just the clearest water I've ever seen. We then stayed in Eurong Beach in the Happy Valley Resort which was absolutely spotless, so spacious and would definitely recommend checking out if you're heading here.

Daragh on Rainbow Beach

Lorraine and I getting those Instagram perfect shots at Rainbow Beach

Our 4x4 Beast
Lake McKenzie

Lake McKenzie - Just look at that fine white sand!

Midnight drinks on Fraser Island 

Such a cool group - Fraser Island

Day 4 Rockhampton - Left Fraser - Breakfast was provided again (cereals, bread, fruit, tea/coffee and juices). It was another early start leaving at 7.30. We stopped at Eli Creek which is the purest natural spring water in the world. We swam down the creek which was like a lazy river and tasted the water whilst swimming and even filled the water bottle, the water was so good. We also took a scenic flight 20mins over Fraser Island (which is normally $80pp but was only $60pp for us through G Adventures), We flew over the butterfly lake, Eli creek, and the ocean where I even saw a large shark swimming. All this was before 9.30, we then headed back towards the main land to Rainbow beach (1.5hr drive) and stopped off to buy some lunch before heading to the train station. We took a train to Rockhampton (5.5hrs) but was so smooth and comfortable, I actually really enjoyed the train rides on the trip, I would take them over flying or driving any day. We arrived at Emus Beach Resort Backpackers where we got allocated 4 people to a room. The room was basic and clean, but the highlight was having our own bathroom and shower after sharing so much. There was also a pool. We had a party at the bar as it was Christmas Eve eve so everyone was in great spirits, we had a fab dinner provided - gorgeous fresh prawns only caught that day, steaks, sausages, salad and breads and even pavlova for dessert, spoilt! I would recommend the resort if you plan to stop over in Rockhampton. The owners were crackers!

No hangovers here - 8am swim in the purest spring water in the world - Eli Creek

Eli Creek

Ready for take off - Fraser Island

View of Fraser Island

Christmas Party with my Canadian and Swiss friends
Day 5 Whitsunday Islands (Sailing Trip Day 1) - It was Christmas Eve and another early start. Breakfast at 6.30 but it was fab! We actually had eggs, beans and bacon today it was soooo good to have a breakfast cooked for you! We took off on the road again for Airlie Beach to take a two night sail on the Great Barrier Reef. We left at 7am for a six hour drive stopping along the way for toilet breaks and food. It was a long drive but we would all sleep from such late nights and early starts each day, so we caught up on our rest! We had to pack a small backpack for a two nights to take on the boat and the rest of our luggage was stored away on Airlie. Everyone stocked up on more than enough beers too. Our maxi-yacht was called the Boomerang and was actually an old racing boat formerly used to circumnavigate the globe - it had an open top and a sleeping lower deck although some opted to sleep on the top deck and watch the stars. 

On the first day we sailed through Hamilton island, Dente island and back up toward Whitehaven Beach and let the anchor down to dock for the night.  

En route to Airlie Beach

Christmas Eve party on our boat
Loves a ridiculous Christmas shirt ha

Christmas Eve BBQ

Day 6 Whitsunday Islands (Sailing Trip Day 2) -
It was Christmas and we woke to Christmas music pumping and mince pies and custard for breakfast sitting in the sun, it was amazing! We done secret Santa amongst each other a few days prior so we all shared our gifts. We then sailed through come secret coves and tiny islands to South Whitehaven Beach where we swam for a while (snorkels were provided too), the boys played some cricket and drank beers and I took a lovely walk along the beach, it was such a relaxed Christmas Day, it was great! We then sailed to the North Whitehaven Beach and walked up to the lookout. The views of this world famous beach were so beautiful, like nothing I'd ever seen, the whitest sands and bluest water ever. We saw sting rays and a baby lemon shark swimming in the shallow crystal clear waters and 1000's of soldier crabs marching the beach, it was something else! We had lunch and sailed to 
on Chalkey's beach where we went snorkeling and saw some beautiful large sea turtles, beautiful coral and white sands again. Normally you would get the option to do some scuba diving on the sailing trip too but as it was Christmas the Diving boats and crew you would normally pass were not about and off for the holidays (fair enough). We sailed back through hook passage and then docked up with a sister boat for a party, which included snorkel bombs (where you have to down your drink through a snorkel) and I did it ha. 

*Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks were all provided on the 2 night sail and the food was so varied and amazing. Kudos to the Boomerang chef!
Happy Christmas from the Whitsundays 

The view from the lookout - Whitehaven Beach
Christmas Day 2016 - Whitehaven Beach

Whitehaven Beach

Our sailing route - Great Barrier Reef

An igloo because its supposed to be cold on Christmas
And a sandman that resembles a snowman.. well because I'm used to it being cold on Christmas ha
It's a happy Christmas for Tom ha

Day 7
 Airlie Beach - we went snorkeling on capes cove and saw some more beautiful Reef Marine. We got off the yacht in Airlie Beach and stayed at the Base Backpackers (Place was huge definitely looked like the busiest spot too with backpackers - pools - caravan and tent parks as well as dorms and private rooms too) .
You can't swim in the water in Airlie as there's crocodiles and stingers, but there is a small man made lagoon that you can. We all went for dinner at Capers restaurant with the group. Airlie Beach is on land and is just the one strip, with lots of backpackers, beach houses, shops, pharmacies and bustling bars and clubs. I actually had my best night of the trip in Airlie. The down under bar is kicking and the place to be for a really good night out, they had live music and competitions all night, the buzz was great! The great northern shore bar was also a great bar for cheap meals and drinks. We even through a hen and bucks night for two of the people getting married the day after the tour ended (the most chilled our couple ever travelling up until the day of their wedding).

Day 8 Cairns -  We were up super early again this day for a 45 min bus to the train station followed by a 6 hour train to Tully but it was actually fine, like I said earlier the long haul trains in QLD have so much leg room and proper recliner chairs and movies, much comfier than any airline. We visited the Ingan Cultural Museum who work with indigenous year 11 and 12 students to help them get into the workforce. We also painted our own boomerangs and had a lovely lunch provided - meat and salad rolls, fruit, cake and juices, tea and coffee. 

We drove then 2hrs to Cairns Where we stayed at Nomads Hostel for 2 nights. We were all shattered after a long day travelling and such a big night before so we all met for a group dinner and had an early night as everyone had individual booked activities the next day. i was going skydiving :)

I painted my own boomerang

Day 9 Cairns - Skydiving day! We were picked up from our hotel from the diving company 'Skydive Australia'. We had booked a day previously via our tour guide. A tandum skydive from 15,000ft cost $299 then you could opt to have picture and/or a video recorded too, I'm unsure of the individual costs but I do know the package for both was $129 and worked out better value. (you are not allowed to bring your own GoPro). 
If you are like me and a bit of an adrenaline junkie and thinking of doing a skydive, I highly recommend just going for it. Anyone I know that ever done it and told me its the best thing ever was so right. I loved it so much that I done a second dive the same day. It's honestly not a bit scary, you don't get that horrible feeling like you are falling/dropping that you get on a rollercoaster, you genuinely feel like you are flying. I will post my video over on my Facebook too its so cool!

Other optional activities you can do in Cairns - 
  • Bungee Jumping $260pp approx
  • Whitewater rafting $150 - $200pp approx
  • Full day trip snorkeling - Great Barrier Reef $190pp approx
  • Full day trip scuba diving - Great Barrier Reef $290pp approx
This was our last full night together on the tour so again we went out for a group dinner to the Woolshed bar and stayed there most of the night. Definitely hit up this bar if you head to Cairns, its full of backpackers from around the world out to have a good time. By the end of the night we ended up in Cairns very famous Gilligan's backpackers bar (don't even ask how we got in ha) but trust me it was the best fricken end to an amazing trip with a bunch of new friends from around the globe! I've now got a whole new list of countries I want to visit after meeting so many lovely people.   

The fearless four 
Doing my skydiving training
Skydiving in Cairns - Best extreme sport I've ever done

Day 10 Sydney -
Daragh and I continued our travels and flew to Sydney for the New Year to see the fireworks at Harbour Bridge which was amazing. I'm very aware this one is very long so let me know in the comments if you would like me to write a separate blog on my trip to Sydney and what I recommend seeing and doing whilst there. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What was the tour cost ? 
$1599 pp

What was the tour company called? 
G Adventures - booked via STA Travel but can be booked directly with G Adventures. They offer all kinds of tours around the world for all ages.

Would I recommend G Adventures?
110%! I will definitely look into other tours with them, it was great not having to organise anything yourself.

Are all meals included? 
Most meals are included. I have specified in the post. I think dinner wasn't included maybe 4 nights.

Was transport included? 
All transport from Brisbane - Cairns was included in the cost. 

Would I recommend for solo travellers? 
100% 14/20 people on the tour were solo travellers.

Is travel insurance included in the cost? 
No I purchased my own travel insurance for approx $60 for the whole trip. 

How much spending money would I recommend? 
This is a tough one to answer as some people like to shop/eat out more than others, but as a guidance for my whole trip including 9 nights in Sydney paying for meals every day I spent $2000 (my skydive was paid for previously. I reckon I spent no more than $1000 on the tour, it was tough to spend money as you are travelling a lot and food is included for a lot of the trip)

Extra Tips 
Currency - Australian Dollars
Tipping - Not compulsory and not expected
Credit cards - All major credit cards are taken in Australia and along all the places on this trip
Cash - I would recommend to always have approx $200 at any one time as you never know when you will reach the next ATM
Visa/Passport - Passport must be valid for a minimum of 6 months before travelling. Visas are required for non Australian residents - contact your local embassy or consulate for further details about your individual visa requirements

Checklist (My absolute must recommendations - obviously you will take more than just this)
  • Camera/go pro/camera phone
  • adaptors and power bank charger
  • cash, debit card and credit card (in case you lose one - pack them separately and never carry both)
  • small purse with a zip 
  • reusable water bottle (with a hook if possible to clip onto your backpack)
  • ear plugs and eye mask
  • plasters
  • sunscreen and toiletries
  • fleece/hoody jumper
  • cap/sun hat
  • swimwear and light comfortable cotton shorts and vests
  • x2 pairs sunglasses (I lost my rose gold Desi High Quays)
  • A decent size day bag (school bag with multiple sections that can be used as your overnight bag to fit two outfits, towels and toiletries)
  • combination lock for your day bag (not a padlock in case you lose the key)
  • light but comfortable flip flops (thongs for the Aussies)
  • x2 towels (beach and shower)


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  2. AnonymousJuly 29, 2017

    Enjoyed reading your post, thank u!! I will do the same trip soon and I'm so excited!! I just wondered if the food provided includes some vegetarian options as I am a vegetarian (don't hate me haha)? Cheers, Stephanie


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