13 Days (Min)
Sydney > Cairns

Travelling from Sydney to Cairns and want the flexibility of a hop on, hop off bus pass but with the opportunity to meet heaps of new travel buddies and have an awesome guide help you out?

Well then the Loka Travel Mick Pass is for you!

The Loka Travel Collective is one of the freshest and best ways to travel the East Coast of Australia – combining all the ease and fun of an organised tour with the flexibility of a hop on, hop off bus pass.

Travelling between Sydney and Cairns on the Loka Travel mini buses (max 24 passengers) you’ll stop off at all the must see destinations along the East Coast – including spots like Byron Bay, Rainbow Beach (for access to Fraser Island), Airlie Beach (for access to The Whitsunday Islands) and Magnetic Island.

Loka packages in some unique stops too – like the exclusive River Retreat Tipi Camp, an Indigenous Camp and Barrington Tops National Park – so you get to see an alternative side to the usual backpacker trail.

Alongside that are some awesome included activities – like Hunter Valley wine tasting, a visit to a Koala Hospital, ocean rafting and snorkelling.

Manage your travel plan with the Loka app and with up to 12 months to complete your trip you can extend your stay in any stop and explore some more.

Want to surf longer in Spot X? No worries!

Found work sailing on the Whitsundays? Easy as!

Although accommodation isn’t included in the pass your Loka Guide will help you organise your stay at the next stop, with a range of accommodation to suit all budgets and styles – they’re there to help you make the most your trip!

Make the most of the East Coast, tailor it to suit your needs and meet some new buddies – the Loka Travel Passes are the way forward!

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Loka Travel Mick Pass (Sydney To Cairns)
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Day 1

Sydney — Barrington Tops (Special Stop)

MEET: outside Wake Up hostel at 8am or outside Nomads (if confirmed) at 8.10am

We depart at 8am to get out of the big city. We head to the Hunter Valley wine area and do a tasting at one of Australia’s most famous vineyards. We then head through the backcountry to our stunning stop on the edge of Barrington Tops National Park (a World Heritage Listed Area). We stay in our own private lodge overlooking the Barrington River.   You have the option to ride an inner tube down a scenic part of the river for $27 or to go mountain biking for $12.  Have a few drinks and relax in the hot tub in the evening.

SLEEP: $60 for dinner, dorm bed and breakfast.


Day 2

Barrington Tops — Spot X Surf Camp

MEET: at the lodge

We have the morning in Barrington Tops for a bit of exploring to take in the scenery and wildlife (there are kangaroos, a variety of birds and even playtpus!)  We then head north and visit a Koala hospital to learn about their efforts in preserving Koalas and what we can do to help, and then travel on to our waterfront accommodation at the Spot X Surf Camp, arriving in the early evening.

SLEEP: $28 for shared accom.


Day 3

Spot X Surf Camp — River Retreat (Special Stop)

MEET: at Loka bus

This morning is at leisure at Spot X.  You can explore the beach and headlands, go ocean rafting (included), or choose to take a surf lesson (additional cost).  In the afternoon we have some remote exploring.  We head down to the Solitary Islands Marine Park where you have the option to go snorkeling or go for a walk to spot wild kangaroos. We then head into River Retreat – our exclusive tipi camp, on the edge of the park for the night. In the evening have a few drinks and/or play volleyball or petanque. We sleep in beds in a tipi or swags under the stars.

Note: in the middle of winter we stay in a historic country pub by the river. 

SLEEP: $60 for camping/dorm bed, dinner and breakfast.


Day 4

River Retreat — Byron Bay

MEET: At camp

We leave our camp early, hop in our bus and head up towards Byron Bay, Australia’s famous surf and arts town. We stop in the picturesque town of Yamba along the way where you can have a walk around or have a swim in the Angourie Blue Pool.

SLEEP: Your choice of Byron accom, you can book through the Loka web app.


Day 5

Free Day in Byron Bay

Explore, learn to surf, party, visit the alternative town of Nimbin (additional cost), or just relax and take in the laidback, hippy vibe.  We recommend taking a walk to the lighthouse to view the Australian mainland’s most easterly point.  We have an orientation drive on the way to Byron Bay to help you get your bearings.

SLEEP: Your choice of Byron accom.


Day 6

Byron Bay (via Gold Coast & Brisbane) – Noosa or Rainbow Beach

MEET: at the main bus stop on Jonson St or Arts Factory hostel (please confirm)

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 Rock. Then drive into the Gold Coast, you may want to get off here to experience the sun, sand, tans and high-rises of Australia’s most developed beach resort. 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 either the sunset or sunrise.

SLEEP: Your choice of Noosa or Rainbow Beach accom.


Day 7

Rainbow Beach (via Noosa) — Country Campout
MEET: outside Dingos/Frasers at Rainbow Beach or outside Nomads at Noosa

We hop in our bus in Rainbow Beach and head back to Noosa, pick up passengers, and then drive to Cooroy where we hop on the train. We travel to Rockhampton then get met by a local bus, which takes you to our options of a remote farm stay for the night (traditional swagman’s dinner around the campfire, sleep in swags, breakfast, morning farm tour, and dinner at Emus Beach Resort the next night – for an inclusive price of $75) or you can stay the night at Emus Beach Resort and self-cater.

SLEEP: Country Campout experience for $75 or dorm at Emu’s Beach resort for $30.


Day 8

Country Campout— OVERNIGHT TRAIN — Airlie Beach

MEET: At the farm or Emus Beach Resort

If you have stayed on the farm, we take a walk around the property and visit a sacred Indigenous site at the base of Mount Wheeler. We then head to the beautiful, little coastal town of Emu Park. In the afternoon you can just relax around the resort pool, go on a turtle-spotting walk (seasonal), or visit the local crocodile farm (additional cost).  We catch the train in the evening and travel overnight to Airlie Beach. It is a modern train with large reclining seats, a bar and a dining carriage. We get into a town called Proserpine in the morning then take a local bus in to Airlie Beach – the gateway to the beautiful Whitsunday Islands.

Note: Depending which day you depart Noosa/Rainbow you may have an extra day at Emu Park.

SLEEP: Overnight train (price included), then your choice of Airlie accom.


Day 9

Airlie Beach (via Townsville) — Magnetic Island

MEET: outside Base Backpackers

We start early with a local bus to the train, a ferry out to tropical ‘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.

SLEEP: YHA Bungalow Bay or your choice of Magnetic Island accom.


Day 10

Magnetic Island — Indigenous Camp (Special Stop) / Tully

MEET:  at YHA Bungalow Bay reception or at the ferry terminal (please confirm).

We travel back to the mainland on a ferry, travel by train to Tully – getting in at around lunchtime. You have the option of staying in Tully at a historic hotel (for hostel prices) or taking part in Loka’s exclusive Indigenous Rainforest Experience for the Loka special price of $120.  We get met by local Aboriginals and travel by bus into the amazing rainforest of Tully Gorge National Park. Get welcomed onto their traditional lands in ‘Jirrbal’ language. We go for a swim in the scenic Tully River before having a group dinner (modern food with a traditional twist).  After dark we go ‘spotlighting’ in the rainforest for native wildlife. An enchanting evening of dreamtime stories around a campfire.
SLEEP: Indigenous Camp $120 for an all inclusive package, or Mt Tyson hotel, $35 for accom only.


Day 11

Indigenous Camp – Cairns

MEET: Indigenous Camp or Tully train station (please confirm).

In the morning, enjoy a big breakfast then head off for an interpretative walk into the national park. We then travel back to Tully to catch the train north. You may like to spend more time in Tully to do the kayak trip, whitewater rafting or some of the rainforest walks. We travel to Cairns by train arriving late afternoon.

Note: Depending on which day you depart, you may have a free day/night to spend in Tully at the historic Mt Tyson hotel before heading to Cairns.

SLEEP: Your choice of Cairns accom.

Note: Food and accommodation are not included in your Loka pass. 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 pre-book your own accommodation via our web app or your guide will book it for you, you will usually get a bed-only option (averaging $32 per person per night), or a twin/double option (averaging $100 per room).

loka travel bus pass mick pass sydney cairns east coast australia

The Mick Pass includes:

  • All transport including the Loka bus between Sydney and Rainbow Beach/Cooroy, fast, comfortable trains between Cooroy and Cairns, and return Magnetic Island ferry,
  • Guidance from fun, local guide and access to Loka web app,
  • Wine tasting Hunter Valley,
  • Guided walk at Barrington Tops National Park,
  • Koala hospital visit,
  • Ocean rafting at Spot X Surf Camp,
  • Snorkelling or walk at Solitary Island Marine reserve,
  • Angourie Blue Pools
  • Danger Point NSW/QLD Border Crossing walk,
  • Byron Bay orientation drive,
  • Carlo Sand Blow Walk, Rainbow Beach
  • Turtle spotting and Bluff Point walk at Emu Park,
  • Forts Walk at Magnetic Island,

You have the flexibility to break your journey to do the things you want to along the way.

Our own fun, local guides travel with you on our buses and on public transport, to give you the best advice and access to the attractions over the routes.

Unique, authentic experiences hunted out by us, our customers and locals over our routes — all established and supported in a sustainable manner.

Passes are valid for 12 months.

Departs from outside Nomad’s Westend and Wake Up hostels in Sydney CBD.  Current departure days are Tuesday, Friday and Sunday at 8am.

Accommodation and food are not included.  We offer a range of bed options in most stops ranging from hostel shared dorm rooms at about $32 per person per night, to ensuited basic motel rooms from about $100. The exceptions are our Barrington Tops Farmstay, River Retreat, Country Campout and Indigenous Camp stay, for which there is a set price for each activity, these need to be paid direct to the operator:

Barrington Tops National Park
Special lodge stay, we do a bush walk to take in the incredible wildlife (there are kangaroos and a variety of birds) and scenery of this World Heritage Listed Area.
Bed and meals = $60.
Tubing = $27.
Mountain biking = $12.

River Retreat
Snorkel in the Solitary Island’s Marine Reserve or walk to spot wild kangaroos, explore the waterway, stay at our private tipi camp (in a swag or tipi), on the edge of the secluded reserve. Note: in the middle of winter we stay in a historic country pub by the river.
Camping/dorm bed and meals = $60.

Country Campout
Farm Experience, Swagman’s dinner (vege/GF free options available), Camping in swags, Breakfast, Dinner before overnight train departure.  Day guest at Emu’s Beach resort, including all facilities & Bluff Point Walk = $75.
Dorm only at Emu’s Beach resort = $30

Indigenous Camp
Indigenous Rainforest Experience, Dinner, Breakfast, Camping, Spotlighting Wildlife, Transfers and Interpretative Walk = $120.
Dorm only at Mt Tyson Hotel = $35

Passes are valid for 12 months from the date of your departure. Travel is in Loka’s 24 seat mini coaches between Sydney and Noosa/Rainbow Beach (Cooroy train station), and local bus and train (plus ferry to Magnetic Island) between Noosa/Rainbow Beach and Cairns. Loka’s guides travel on all routes on the set departure days – but you can travel on the train on other days without a guide.

By purchasing your Loka pass you are agreeing to Loka’s Terms & Conditions

Provider Details
Loka Pty Ltd
Phone: 0266984901

loka bus pass mick sydney to cairns australia east coast

Tour Reviews

5.00 based on 2 reviews
February 8, 2018

I love Loka!

I chose this company instead of others because I wanted the smaller bus size and I wanted to see something a bit different from typical backpackers – and Loka provided all that! (AND MORE!) The smaller (still comfortable!) buses mean a more cosy trip, and when you’re travelling so far that’s a really great thing!

February 8, 2018

Definitely consider Loka. It might be a bit pricier than some of the bigger bus alternatives but worth the extra when it comes to the experience you receive. Organising everything was easy as and I had a great time doing some stuff that’s a bit different from the CLASSIC trail. But you get to see all the classic stuff too of course. It’s a great trip and worth going with these guys.

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