All about the Kat Pass - Byron Bay To Cairns

Hop on hop off means you can choose your own adventure on the East Coast. You can be flexible and stop and stay in towns or destinations for a few days or weeks. Then get back on the tour and go a bit further. You do not have to complete the pass in a fixed time limit or with the same group of people the whole trip. 

It's up to you how long you take to do this East Coast trip maybe 3 weeks maybe 3 months. This trip takes in the whole East Coast from Sydney to Cairns so book your pass....start it and then see what happens. Have no plans and just go with the flow. You'll travel with fun, like-minded people, and meet our amazing drivers and guides. It's your choice, your way. Our Byron Bay to Cairns tour departs often with a great mixture of international travellers on board. A perfect chance to make friends, see the East Coast of Australia and take your time to travel. We work with local operators and communities to create sustainable, authentic experiences with positive change for all. You can change your plans and itinerary. You can hop off in and stay longer at any of our stops along the way as you want for up to 12 months.

You will meet local Australians and other travellers, be part of our traveller community on and offline. We are continually hunting out and creating our own authentic, off the beaten track, stop-overs and activities that aren’t in the guidebooks or on TripAdvisor. Get the most out of your travels through local guides and Loka’s groundbreaking technology. Our fun and enthusiastic guides get involved with your travel experiences, and our unique technology provides destination info, activity/accommodation booking service, reviews from other travellers and the ability to book yourself on and off the Stray Australia bus/transport.

Smaller group sizes on the East Coast mean it’s easier to meet other travellers, you don’t feed herded around and it allows us to include connections to off the beaten track things which can’t be accessed by individuals travelling on public transport or with mainstream travel companies.

Kat Pass - Byron Bay To Cairns
Tour itinerary - 8 Days

  • Travel Day Byron Bay to Noosa or Rainbow Beach
    Meet: Main bus stop on Jonson St or Arts Factory hostel (please confirm in advance)
    We cruise up to the New South Wales/Queensland border and hop out at Danger Point to stretch our legs and check out the view of one of Australia’s best surf spots Snapper Rocks. We then drive into Surfers Paradise, you may want to get off here to experience the sun, sand, tans and high-rises of Australia’s most developed beach area. We drive through Brisbane (pick up and drop off travellers in the city centre) then travel on to the upmarket beach resort town of Noosa. Hop off here or continue onto Rainbow Beach for the night. Rainbow Beach and Noosa are both departure points for Fraser Island (a backpacker must-do). At Rainbow Beach we take a walk up to Carlo Sand Blow for sunset.
    Accommodation: Your choice of Noosa or Rainbow Beach accommodation, bookable via the Stray Mate App
  • Travel Day Rainbow Beach to Emu Park (Strademark Stop)
    Meet: Dingos/Frasers at Rainbow Beach
    We have the morning to relax or do your choice of activities, before heading to Gympie to start our first train journey. We travel to Rockhampton then get met by a private bus, which takes us to Emu’s Beach Resort. We are welcomed onto the resort and find out more about our options for the next day or so. While at Emu Park we have an amazing Stray Treasure Island option with a big day out on stunning Great Keppel Island and your accommodation at Emu’s Beach Resort included (extra cost); or you can choose to just pay for accommodation only and do your own thing.
    Note: Depending on the day you arrive you may have an additional night at Emu Park to relax by the pool, check out the local town or play Aussie lawn bowls (extra cost).
    Accommodation: Emu’s Beach Resort accommodation, bookable via the Stray Mate App
  • Travel Day Emu Park to Airlie Beach (Overnight Train)
    Meet: Emu’s Beach Resort
    For those that have the Treasure Island package we depart early to head to the tropical paradise Great Keppel Island at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. Relax or have a go at snorkeling or kayaking (extra cost) before exploring the island. We head back to the mainland late afternoon with a quick stop to go on a walk to Bluff Point. Have dinner at Emu’s Beach Resort before we catch the train in the evening and travel overnight to Airlie Beach – the gateway to the beautiful Whitsunday Islands. We grab some breakfast when we arrive and your guide will give you a brief walking orientation tour of Airlie.
    Accommodation: Overnight train (price included), then your choice of Airlie Beach accommodation, bookable via the Stray Mate app
  • Travel Day Airlie Beach to Magnetic Island
    Meet: Base Backpackers
    We start early with a local bus to the train, a ferry out to beautiful ‘Maggie Island’, and a local transfer to the accommodation. There is much to explore on the island, as nearly 50% of it is National Park with amazing beaches and abundant wildlife. Your guide will join you on a walk around the Island; otherwise you can do more exploring or just relax by the pool.
    Note: Depending on which day you depart, you may have a free day to spend on Magnetic Island.
    Accommodation: Your choice of Magnetic Island accommodation, bookable via Stray Mate app
  • Travel Day Magnetic Island to Tully (Strademark Stop)
    Meet: YHA Bungalow Bay reception or at the ferry terminal (please confirm)
    We travel back to the mainland on the ferry, travel by train to Tully – getting in at around lunchtime. Today you have the option of taking part in Stray’s exclusive Rainforest Experience. We travel by bus into the amazing rainforest of Tully Gorge National Park. Cool off with a swim in a beautiful swimming hole, before a BBQ dinner and stories around the campfire.
    Note: If you are not keen on camping you can express straight through to Cairns on this day.
    Accommodation: Camping in rainforest camp area
  • Travel Day Tully - Cairns
    Meet: Tully train station
    We wake early at our rainforest camp for breakfast and then have an interpretative walk through the forest, learning about the traditional indigenous usage of the land. We then head back to Tully and jump on the train to our final destination, Cairns. We arrive late afternoon, then get ready to party tonight to celebrate and farewell the end of your East Coast adventure.
    Note: Depending on which day you depart, you may have a free day/night to spend in Tully before heading to Cairns, we recommend doing one of the famous Tully rafting trips or going skydiving at Mission Beach on this day.
    Accommodation: Your choice of Cairns accommodation, bookable via Stray Mate app
Real Adventure Group Real People
Real Aussie Says:
Our amazing value Hop on Hop off pass is a flexible bus and train pass that travels along a pre determined route where you can jump on and jump off. You can change your plans and itinerary. You can hop off in and stay longer at any of our stops along the way as you want for up to 12 months.

Kat Pass - Byron Bay To Cairns Price information AUD per person



Tour code: KAT
Local fees payable

Departure information


Sundays, Wednesdays, Fridays from Byron Bay. 

Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays November to March

Minimum Time: 8 days


More information

Important Notes

Things you need to know about this tour
  • You can break your journey at any of the stops through any of the travel days and just connect with a later Loka bus or rail departure (guided or unguided). You can book your own accommodation or your guide will book it for you, you will usually get a bed-only option (averaging $28 per person per night), a twin/double option (averaging $100 per room) or where, due to remoteness a package price is set up for bed, meals and activities where applicable.
  • Travel passes are valid for travel in one direction over a route with each travel sector only being able to be used once.
  • Passes are valid for the person whose name they were originally issued in and are non-transferrable.
  • Passes are valid for twelve months from the date of your departure.
  • Travel is in 24 seat mini coaches between Byron Bay and Noosa, and local bus and train (plus ferry to Magnetic Island) between Noosa and Cairns.
  • Guides travel on all routes on the set departure days – but you can travel on the train on other days without a guide.
  • You can only access the unique transfers and activities when travelling with the guide.
  • There is a minimum of three departures per week over all routes.
  • For specific departure days and times please see the Stray Australia timetable on the pass pages.
  • Accommodation and meals are not included in the pass price.

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