The Kat Freestyle Pass (9+ days) is our Queensland expert. She'll take you from Byron Bay to tropical Cairns, hitting up hot spots like Rainbow Beach and Magnetic Island!
Take the pressure off, kick back, relax and let someone else organise your transport. You'll be travelling up the coast on a mix of our Stray buses, comfortable trains and ferry.
So much more than just a guide - expect entertaining anecdotes, great recommendations, extra support and local insider knowledge. They know every inch of this country. You can't get this from a google search!
From Byron Bay to Queensland, you'll visit some off-the-beaten-track destinations that make Stray stand out from the crowd. You can see them marked with a heart on the map because they're the places our travellers love.
It's easy to view your itinerary and book accommodation and activities on-the-go.
Flexibility at its finest!
A dorm bed will be reserved for you at every Stray overnight stop.
Book and pay as you go via our Stray Mate app.
- Byron Bay Orientation Drive
- Carlo Sand Blow Walk, Rainbow Beach
- Guided Rainforest Walk, Airlie Beach
- Forts Complex/Radical Bay Walk, Magnetic Island
- All National Park Fees
What we're all about...
We’ve redefined the ‘traditional tour’ to give you the flexibility and freedom you crave.
Hop-off, stay longer and explore anywhere along the route. It’s your time, your way.
Stray are the experts in taking you off the beaten track.
We’re all about finding one-of-a-kind experiences and immersing you in the REAL Australia.
Our epic in-location and driver guides will ensure you get the most out of your trip.
Tick off your East Coast bucket list with ease and be introduced to places you wouldn’t discover on your own.
Travel is about creating lasting connections and sharing experiences.
Stray travellers are open minded adventurers who make the most of every moment.
We aim to leave Australia better than we found it, supporting local communities and protecting our environment.
Travel with us and together we can make a positive change.
The itinerary below is for the current season. Given the nature of our trips and lack of control over weather, what we do each day might occasionally vary.
N.B. Hop off at Rainbow Beach or Noosa to visit Fraser Island and at Airlie Beach to visit the Whitsundays.
This morning we cross the border from New South Wales into Queensland. Our destination today is Rainbow Beach, but those with more time might want to hop off and explore tourist hot spot Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, Queensland's capital city of Brisbane, or the upmarket resort town of Noosa. Tomorrow you’ll begin your Fraser Island adventure (make sure you’ve booked in the dates in advance with Stray). Once you’ve checked-in, you’ll have a safety briefing for your Fraser Island 4WD trip.
After stopping briefly to pick up those who stayed in Noosa, we depart from Cooroy on our first train journey of the trip. Kick back for a scenic train ride to Rockhampton, where we meet the bus and your Stray Guide to head to our next Strademark destination, Emu Park. While at Emu Park you’ll have the option to visit stunning Great Keppel Island, snorkel with turtles and hike to some secluded white sand beaches (extra cost); or you can choose to do your own thing!
See More moment: Our stay at Emu Park provides your chance to get up close and personal with the Great Barrier Reef. You’ll have the chance to snorkel and play amongst one of the seven wonders of the world.
Please Note: Some trips may have an extra night at Emu Park.
Today we recommend opting to visit the highlight of the area, Great Keppel Island, a tropical island paradise at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. Catch the ferry for a day of snorkeling or kayaking (extra cost) before exploring the island itself in search of the perfect white sand beach for a little afternoon rest and relaxation. Tonight, we’ll gather together for dinner at Emu’s Beach Resort before we catch our first overnight train to Airlie Beach.
The train arrives in Prosperine early in the morning. Your Airlie-based Stray Guide will meet you at the train and accompany you on the bus into Airlie Beach. They'll help you store your bags, and then grab breakfast (extra cost) and give you a brief orientation of the town to help you get your bearings. You'll have the rest of your day free in Airlie Beach to do as you please. Airlie Beach is the gateway to the famous Whitsunday Islands, another backpacker favourite. Many people choose to hop off here and do a multi-day sailing trip, but it is also possible to do a day tour. You can also choose to join your guide for a hike in the rainforest to see amazing almost 360-degree views of Airlie and the Whitsunday Islands.
Please Note: Some trips may have an extra night at Airlie Beach.
You'll be up with the parakeets this morning with a medley of transport to catch today. Travelling by bus, train, and ferry (oh my!) we arrive at our destination of Magnetic Island in the late morning. Nearly 50% of ‘Maggie Island’ is national park land, and it's chock-full of amazing beaches and abundant wildlife. Your legendary local guide will meet you at the train station and then join you on a scenic walk to either the beautiful Radical Bay beach or the historic Forts Complex for incredible views and amazing photo opportunities. Join in the group pizza dinner tonight (extra cost).
See More moment: This island paradise is your best chance on the East Coast to see koalas in the wild! Keep your eyes out for these sleepy marsupials, rock wallabies, and colourful birds as you explore the forested island.
Please Note: Some trips may have an extra night at Magnetic Island.
We catch the ferry back to the mainland in the morning, and travel by train to tropical Cairns. We'll arrive in the afternoon just in time to check out the bustling Cairns Night Markets where we can grab a delicious bite, a cold beer and hunt for a bargain.
You have a free day in Cairns to explore this stunning destination. You could swim amongst colourful fish and turtles at the Great Barrier Reef, go skydiving, or take a day trip to the Atherton Tablelands Rainforest Experience where you can walk through a lush rainforest, visit the oldest living history museum and swim under crystal clear waterfalls. If you just want to soak up the sun and relax, check out the beautiful Northern beaches or the Cairns lagoon where you can go for a swim and chill out with a refreshing drink.
The days and times shown below are for the current season. To see future timetables, please visit our Timetables page. N.B. These are subject to change based on weather.
- Wednesday - Minimum 8 days (Free day at Magnetic Island)
- Friday - Minimum 9 days (Free days at Emu Park & Tully)
- Sunday - Minimum 8 days (Free day at Magnetic Island)
Byron Bay to Rainbow Beach (1-3 days)
|Byron Bay (Depart)||08:00||08:00||08:00|
|Gold Coast (Depart)||09:30||09:30||09:30|
|Rainbow Beach (Arrive)||15:30||15:30||15:30|
Rainbow Beach to Emu Park
|Rainbow Beach (Depart)||09:30||09:30||09:30|
|Maryborough West (Depart)||14:40||14:40||14:40|
|Miriam Vale (Depart)||16:35||16:35||16:35|
|Emu Park (Arrive)||19:30||19:30||19:30|
Emu Park to Airlie Beach (Overnight Train)
|Emu Park (Depart)||21:30||21:30||21:30|
|Airlie Beach (Arrive)||07:20||07:20||07:20|
Airlie Beach (1-3 Days)
|Airlie Beach (Free Day)||Free||Free||Free||Free||Free||Free||Free|
Airlie Beach to Magnetic Island
|Airlie Beach (Depart)||05:05||05:05||05:05|
|Townsville Train Station (Depart)||09:38||09:38||09:38|
|Townsville Ferry Terminal (Depart)||10:30||10:30||10:30|
|Magnetic Island (Arrive)||11:30||11:30||11:30|
Magnetic Island to Cairns
|Magnetic Island (Depart)||07:50||07:50||07:50|
|Magnetic Island Ferry Terminal (Depart)||08:20||08:20||08:20|
|Townsville Ferry Terminal (Depart)||08:50||08:50||08:50|
|Townsville Train Station (Depart)||09:53||09:53||09:53|
|Cairns (Free Day)||Free||Free||Free||Free||Free||Free||Free|
Need to Know
- Transport - Travel by bus, train and ferry. All included in the price of your pass and organised by Stray.
- Validity - Start travel within 12 months of booking and then your Freestyle Pass is valid for 12 months from the first day of travel.
- Booking Buses & Trains (Hopping on/off) - Use the Stray Mate app to manage your trip - you'll receive log in details in your Booking Confirmation email. Hop on and off as much as you like along the travel route - Here are our favourite places to hop-off. If you're on a short timeframe, we recommend booking all your transport in advance.
- Minimum Days - You don't need to hop off if you're short on time - you can travel your pass in the "Minimum Days". There are non-travel days throughout the route so you will not be travelling everyday.
- Departures - Buses/trains run to a seasonal timetable with multiple departures per week.
- Flexibility - The cost of your accommodation, activities and meals is not included in a Freestyle Travel pass giving you extra flexibility to choose options that suit your budget and taste.
- Accommodation - Book Stray preferred accommodation as you go via the Stray Mate app - there will be a dorm bed allocated to you at each overnight stop providing you book via the app 24 hours before.
- Activities - Book activities as you go via the Stray Mate app.
- Guides - Between Byron Bay and Rainbow Beach, your Guide is also your Bus Driver. Between Rainbow Beach and Cairns, where we travel on the fast, comfortable trains, you'll have In-Location Guides who will meet you at the station and show you around.
- Stray Travellers - Find your tribe and make meaningful connections with travellers from all over the world. The majority of our passengers are aged between 20-35 but there is no age limit! 70% of our travellers are travelling solo.