Traveling from Sydney to Cairns... Help

Traveling from Sydney to Cairns... Help

Hello everyone.

We are new to this site, my friend and I are planning a trip to Australia and we were searching traveling tips and came upon this site. We need help! Our plan is to leave out of San Francisco and arrive in Sydney. We are thinking about staying 2 weeks in Sydney and 1 week in Cairns. We are trying to find out the best way to get from Sydney to Cairns. We are not sure how long it would take going by train, or if there is even a train service that runs between the two cities. We are not interested in site seeing along the way, we would just like to know the most fast and easy way to get there. Also, what is the best way of transportation to get around in these cities and to and from the airport? If anyone could give us any information we would greatly appreciate it!

Hi Mandymeg I live in

Hi Mandymeg I live in Newcastle Australia, about an hour and a half from Sydney. In answer to your question there is a train that you can catch from Sydney to Cairns. Although you have to change over in Brisbane. It is a long journey and takes up to two days but is far quicker than by car.Country links Brisbane XPT train runs once each day from Sydney Central Station to Brisbane Roma Street station. the train departs Sydney in the afternoon, travels overnight then arrives in Brisbane early the following morning. The journey takes about fourteen hours. You can also board this train at Strathfield or Hornsby station in Sydneys suburbs, at Broadmeadow in Newcastle or at one of many other stations along the way. Once you are in Brisbane, you than change to one of queensland Railways (QR) trains up the coast to Cairns. After spending the day in Brisbane, you can board the Cairns Tilt Train which departs Brisbane Roma Street Station three evenings per week and travels overnight and through the next day before arriving in Cairns the following evening. This is arguably Australia most modern and technologically advanced passenger train, although it does not provide sleeping accommodation. The whole journey from Sydney to Cairns takes a little more than two days including a twelve hour stopover in Brisbane en-route.  

A cheap and flexible way of travelling is by taking the McCafferty's Greyhoud-Pionee bus. This huge bus compay serves the whole east coast, with up to eight services a day.

As for getting around Cairns the city and outer areas have a rather good reliable Bus system.

Sunbus is the company. You can catch these around town and the main depot in the city is in Lake Street. Here you can see signs with routes and times on them.

If you are going to one of the Northern Beaches or Port Douglas you can find the bus at the airport, You can also buy a ticket here. This is the company that do this Sun Palm Express. If you are travelling in a group it could be cheaper to hire a car for the day, pick up at airport and drop at Port Douglas.
Sunbus (city bus)
Australia Coach (airport bus)
Sun Palm Express (Cairns to Port Douglas/Daintree)
Whitecar Coaches (Cairns to Tablelands)
Country Road Coaches (Cairns to Cooktown)
Greyhound-Pioneer (interstate)
McCafferty’s (interstate)
Premier Motor Service (interstate)
Queensland Rail (trains)

Hope this helps in some way.

Hi Tay

Thank you so much, this information is great! We were thinking about getting a SydneyPass so we could travel as much as we wanted around the city. Here's the information we found about it from

Available for travel for any 3, 5 or 7 days within an eight day period for use on:

Unlimited travel on CityRail services in the Red TravelPass zone.
Unlimited travel on all regular Sydney Buses plus unlimited travel on Sydney Explorer and Bondi Explorer.
Unlimited travel on all regular Sydney Ferries Services plus RiverCats to Parramatta and JetCat to Manly.
One trip to the Airport from any CityRail station within the Red TravelPass zone, valid during the validity of the ticket (3, 5 or 7 days) OR one trip to the Airport from any City station valid for two months after the expiry date shown on the ticket.
Bonus: tickets sold at Airport Line Stations also include one trip from the Airport to any station in the City.
3 days 5 days 7 days
Adult $110.00 $145.00 $165.00
Child $55.00 $70.00 $80.00
Family $275.00 $360.00 $410.00

Is this a good deal? Would it be something you would reccomend or are one of the transportation services you had stated better? Thank you so much, we have no clue about what to do so anything helps.

I think that is a great

I think that is a great deal not a bad price especially that it is unlimited on ferrie services as these tend to work out very expensive. I would advice to go with this deal if you intend to stay in Sydney for more than a couple of days. I think it really depends on the length of time you are going to spend in Sydney before moving on to Cairns. But yes by all means I think this is a good deal. I know that travel to the airport from the city works out sometimes more than $50 alone.

Thanks so much for your

Thanks so much for your advice. We are planning on staying 2 weeks in Sydney before heading to Cairns. We are planning to go to New Zealand after for a week or two... Maybe Checking out Auckland or Wellington, any advice?? Does anybody know how long it takes to get from Wellington to Auckland. We wont have a car so is this a possible to do with a taxi, train, ect.?

Depending on how you wish

Depending on how you wish to travel to Auckland from Wellington, if you fly it takes 45 minutes if you wish to drive it takes approx. 11 hours. While travelling in NewZealand I would suggest by Coach or by train. If you prefer a more relaxed way we rented a car on our first visit and on our second visit last year rented a motorhome.

Intercity Coachlines offer a coach pass which also uses some of the services of Newmans Coach lines. It allows you to travel at your own pace on a given itinerary. They offer a choice of four itineraries which have varying minimum duration - from 7 to 12 days and a maximum of three months.

If you want to travel by train  TranzScenic operates three main-line passenger services:

The Overlander - Auckland to Wellington and vice versa.

The TranzCoastal - Picton to Christchurch and return daily.

The Tranzalpine - one of the most famous and popular between Christchurch and Greymouth through the spectacular Southern Alps.

Thanks again for all the

Thanks again for all the wonderful information!!!

Hy mandymeg, how is your

Hy mandymeg, how is your trip? It has been pretty long since your last post in here. Sydney is really a wonderful city to stay. I love the Opera house. It's really great architecture building and also for its features inside. Hope to hear from you soon, Regards, Karla