Independent Travel from Cairns to Sydney on Greyhound

Over the month of July, I spent 25 days as part of a hop-on hop-off tour of New Zealand with Stray.  It was an amazing experience shared with a group of amazing people.  I decided it would be interesting comparing that trip with a more independent-style bus trip with Greyhound from Cairns to Sydney along the east coast of Australia.

The lagoon at the Cairns Esplanade

The lagoon at the Cairns Esplanade seems to be a good landmark and a great place to cool off in the heat.

This portion of Australia has some very diverse options for travelers and has many activity and accommodation options appealing specifically to flashpackers and backpackers.   The Great Barrier Reef, Cape Tribulation, the Whitsundays, Frasier Island, Noosa, and the Gold Coast are some of the spots that have been recommended to me, and I’ve always planned on spending a good chunk of time diving “The Reef”.

The Travel Plan

Here’s the plan.  I just flew into Cairns from Sydney and will spend some time seeking out diving options for the Great Barrier Reef.  From here, I will take the Greyhound bus south, stopping at various points along the way until I get back to Sydney.  I will try and keep the trip to the same rough time frame as I did with Stray – about 25 days..

A double bed with en-suite at the Cairns YHA

A double bed with en-suite at the Cairns YHA. Book at least a few days in advance if you don't want to be sleeping in the dorm rooms.

I expect there to be some major differences between the two trips and I will be highlighting those as they come up.  Both companies offer a hop-on hop-off pass (Greyhound’s is called a “mini-traveler”), but with Greyhound it seems to be more about very flexible travel than traveling with a group.  Just like with the stray trip, I will also be doing a recap at the end and comparing costs to make it easier for the flashpackers to determine what a budget might look like for this type of trip.

I have purchased a 15-day “E-nights” pass with YHA so that’s where I’ll be staying the majority of the time along my trip south.  It’s been over 10 years since I have stayed in a YHA hostel, which I did while backpacking in Europe, so it will be good to get back and see what they’re like in Australia.  I’m looking forward to a bit more quality, quiet and privacy than I might find at some of the other hostels that seem to cater to a more “party” crowd.  Being kept up until 2am when I’m diving the next day is not exactly what I’m seeking.

If you have any questions, recommendations, tips or comments to help get me started, let me know.

Disclosure:  I have negotiated a discount with both Greyhound and YHA, but will be giving as honest an evaluation of the trip as I am able.
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