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Hello everyone!

I just joined this forum, it seemed like a good place to get some input on my upcoming trip to Australia. Firstly, I'm a 19 year old, male, and i decided to take a year off school after finishing my first year of college in California (where i have lived my whole life.) I decided i was going to get a job and save up money for a year and then go to Australia for three months. So i did just that and now I'm flying into Brisbane in a little over 2 weeks, on May 6th.

I wanted to keep my trip as open as possible so i haven't made any reservations, other then my first 5 nights of hostel stays in Brisbane, although i do know the route i'm going to take and what i want to see. I have a 13,000 Kilometre Greyhound bus pass, enough money to cover the nights in hostels, $20 a day for food, scuba diving certification, and around $3,000 for activities. I have family in Adelaide, so i will be spending three weeks to a month there and i wont be spending much money during that time.

The route i have planned out is starting in Brisbane, then heading north to Cairns, northwest to Darwin, south to Alice springs, further south into Adelaide, then east to Melbourne, Canberra, and then flying home out of Sydney.

I plan on doing lots of scuba diving along the Great barrier reef, seeing the Daintry Rainforest, Kakadu National park, Uluru, and then the cities i mentioned. What i would really like some help figuring out is where i should stop on my way up the coast to Cairns, what are some good towns to stay in? I will be focusing on going to the beach, seeing historical sites/museums, and lots of going out and seeing the night-life and beautiful women in Queensland :)

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, even if they are about other parts of the route i described besides the QLD coast.

Thanks in advance!
 

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Quite a reasonable plan you have there and good time of the year to be heading to northern parts with plenty of options along Queensland Coast to do your SCUBA course and greyhound is well used by other backpackers so you could easily find some company.

Just a couple of things I'd suggest you consider,
1. Cairns across to Darwin is a long haul and you'll have to backtrack down to Townsville in using greyhound for across to Darwin and not a great deal along that route so you may want to consider flying Cairns to Darwin - check out Cheap Flights, Qantas, Virgin Blue, Jetstar - Cheap Flights & Airfares - Compare Flights at Webjet - Webjet.com.au to get an idea of flight costs.
2. Greyhound may have a service into Kakadu that you can use instead of a tour which are rather expensive and likewise for getting to Uluru from Alice Springs I think there is also a service but you may have a bit of a wait at the roadhouse where turn-off is from Stuart Hwy.

If you were here a bit longer I'd say have a look at using Greyhound to do the full loop over to Perth and then use Welcome To Tiger Airways for a cheap flight back to Adelaide [ would allow you to look at diving on Ningaloo Reef in WA, perhaps a dive with Whale Sharks and Mantarays] but US citizens can now get working holiday visas, so maybe for next time.

Back to Queensland and I'd suggest you think about heading south to the Gold Coast and Byron Bay in northern NSW before heading off up north, there being some of the best beaches you'll find on east coast there and you could do that with Greyhound.
Gold Coast also good for nightlife.

Betwwen Brisbane and Cairns, you've got:
. Sunshine Coast, Moolooabah/Maroochydore and Noosa
YHA hostel is a great one in Noosa [and you ought to consider getting a YHA Australia membership] and ask there re tours to Fraser Island and whether there is one from Noosa that'll drop you at River Heads ferry point on island and you ought to be able to get a lift from River Heads into Hervey Bay and Greyhound on from there - will save you a few hundred kilometres of bus travel.
. Agnes Water/1770 is last surf beach heading north and you can also do a trip to Lady Musgrave Island on GBR from 1770.
. Rockhampton has a great botanical gardens/attached free Zoo and good place to see some Crocs up close, Great Western Hotel owned by one of our top C&W singers and it has indoor rodeo shows, and then from there you can get across to Great Keppel Island for superb beaches and some off shore snorkelling.
. Airlie Beach/Whitsunday Islands and Whitehaven Beach in particular is not to be missed and ask at hostels re cheap standby deals for a few days of island cruising/snorkelling, maybe a place to do your SCUBA and get a combined sailing/SCUBA deal.
. Magnetic Island just off coast from Townsville is popular and if you could also think of doing a SCUBA course there or if already done, think of doing a dive on the Yongala wreck, a top wreck dive on planet.
. Then you have places like Hinchinbrook Island and Mission Beach before you get to Cairns

Another cheap island trip out of Cairns worth considering is over to Fitzroy Island.
 
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