3 or 6 Months

A big trip around Australia can be a daunting trip to start planning — it’s a pretty big place. In fact, you could fit the whole of Europe inside it!

But Australia is an incredible country to explore. There are so many unique places to find an adventure, and it always comes highly recommended by all of the Epic Gap Year team.

So, to take the hassle out of planning your trip we’ve teamed up with the guys from Greyhound Australia to offer their ‘hop on, hop off’ bus passes, which means you can spend more time planning what to do with your trip rather than stressing about how you’re getting from place to place!

Since everyone likes to travel differently, there are two types of passes to choose from: ‘hop on, hop off’ passes between two destinations and distance-based ‘KM’ passes.

The Greyhound hop on, hop off passes do exactly what it says on the tin — you can jump off at any stop and hop back on when you’re ready to head to your next destination! They follow set routes (including the famous east coast trail from Sydney to Cairns) and allow you to travel in a single direction between two destinations.

For those who are only in Australia for a few months, the standard validity is 3 months from your first day of travel, but if you’re taking things a bit slower you can upgrade to 6 months and give yourself heaps more time to enjoy your trip.

For those who like to ‘wing it’ a bit more or don’t really have any set plans, there’s the Greyhound KM passes. This option allows you to select a set amount of kilometeres (from 1,000km to 25,000km!) and your pass is valid for 12 months or until your selected KMs have been travelled — whichever comes first!

“The easiest way to travel Australia!”
Mel, USA

The advantage of the KM over the hop on, hop off is the fact you’re not limited to a set route — you can backtrack if you want, and of course connect bus trips via internal flights too.

So, if on a whim — whilst you’re sipping coffee in Melbourne after arriving from Sydney — you decide that you’d rather be surfing in Byron, you can grab a flight to Brisbane and drop down the coast, all on the same pass!

You can even exchange some of your KMs for tours and day trips — from the Barrier Reef to surf lessons.

This makes it the ideal option for anyone heading out to Australia for a longer period of time or those on a working holiday visa — for both flexibility and convenience.

If you’re not sure how many KMs you might need here’s a breakdown of some of the most popular routes;

  • Cairns to Melbourne = 3950km
  • Cairns to Sydney = 3150km
  • Cairns to Brisbane = 2200km
  • Cairns to Alice Springs = 2940km
  • Sydney to Melbourne = 1060km
  • Brisbane to Byron Bay = 195km

Whichever pass you choose, you’ll be travelling from place to place in style aboard the Greyhound bus fleet. Each seat comes with it’s own USB charging port and there’s even on-board wifi — so you can arrange to meet your new travel buddies when you arrive!

Additional information

Hop On, Hop Off RoutesSydney to Cairns (or v.v), Melbourne to Cairns (or v.v), Brisbane to Cairns (or v.v)
KM Pass Options2,500KM, 5,000KM, 7,500KM, 10,000KM, 15,000KM

Melbourne – This cosmopolitan city boasts a flourishing arts and music scene, packed full of galleries, live music venues and alternative culture. The St Kilda night market is a great place to spend an evening collecting trinkets, and the beach provides a great escape from city life.  If sports are your scene, make sure you pencil in the Melbourne Cup — a one day horse race extravaganza that brings the whole nation to a stand still! Other sporting highlights include Melbourne Grand Prix and The Australian Tennis Open — and if you cant get tickets there’s big screen viewing in Federation Square.

Canberra – Australia’s often-overlooked capital, Canberra is a purpose built city. Trips to the lookout points are the best way to take in its circular layout. The main things to visit are the Australian War Museum, which can easily fill a day or two, and Parliament Building, the centre of Australian politics.

Sydney – No trip to Oz is complete without a visit to the iconic city of Sydney. As with every major city, it’s jam-packed full of things to do and see. Take a ferry to Manly, get face to face with the local wildlife at the Sydney Aquarium and Wildlife Park, party in Kings Cross or sip cocktails at The Rocks or Darling Harbour. It goes without saying that you’ll need a camera in tow to get your holiday pics at the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, and to snap Sydney from a bird’s eye view at the Sky Tower.

Byron Bay – If you want a town that epitomises the Aussie beach lifestyle, Byron is it. This bustling coastal town is situated on the most easterly point of Oz and is bordered by heaps of surf breaks and beaches — from the iconic Pass through to Broken Heads, Main Beach and The Wreck. The town itself is full of alternative cultures, hippie markets and a wide range of accommodation — and no visit is complete without dancing on the tables at Cheeky Monkeys!

Activities include everything from whale watching, diving Julian Rocks, surf lessons, fishing and even day tours to the hippie Mecca of nearby Nimbin — the unofficial Amsterdam of Oz!

Surfers Paradise – Often referred to as the Miami of Australia, Surfers combines all the lures of a skyscraper city with the added appeal of being a mere stone’s throw from miles of sandy beaches. A great place to stop off between Brisbane and Byron to let your hair down!

Brisbane – One of the major cities on the east coast route — and a great place to fly into if you’re only doing a short trip — Brisbane has all the capital city appeal and is packed with museums, galleries and heaps of nightlife. It even comes with a man-made beach! The main appeal for residents is its proximity to some of Australia’s best beach side towns, so it’s a great place to base yourself on a working holiday visa.

Noosa – Noosa is a bustling, up-market town that offers a lot in the way of water sports — try your hand at stand up paddle boarding, learn to surf or go all out and explore the Noosa Everglades on the Gagaju Canoe Safari. The national parks that surround it offer some great walks and BBQ spots against the beautiful backdrop of Tea Tree Point. Time your trip well and you can immerse yourself in the abundant surf culture during the Noosa Longboard Pro, which attracts surfers from all corners of the world.

Fraser Island – When it comes to discovering unique experiences, Fraser is not to be missed! The largest sand island in the world boasts miles of open beaches, the world’s most genetically pure wild dingoes, tropical rain forests and freshwater lakes — all accessible on 4×4 guided tours. Yup, bomb around the island in your own off-roader! Highlights include Indian Head Lookout, the beautiful Lake Mackenzie and camping out on the sand dunes under a blanket of stars.

Airlie Beach (The Whitsunday Islands) – Airlie balances the laid-back attitude of a beach-side town with party vibes, as it is the stop-off before and after a fun few days sailing the Whitsundays.

Mission Beach –  A great weekend trip to relax either pre or post Cairns. You can even hire a Mote to drive around the island a bit more!

Cairns – Cairns is the party town of the east coast, where most backpackers start or finish their trip. The general order of the day is: laze around the town’s lagoon pool during sunlight hours and party away the night in the infamous bars — The Woolshed and Gilligan’s being the main venues. It’s also the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, so if you’re looking to snorkel, SCUBA or go all out with a PADI course, Cairns is the place to do it.

For those looking to explore a bit more, why not spend a day at the Crystal Cascades waterfalls, or hire a car and drive through the tropical landscape of the Atherton Tablelands. If you have a bit more time on your hands, do an overnight trip to Cape Tribulation, where the two world heritage sites of the rainforest and reef come together over a bed of golden sands.

greyhound route map australia east coast backpacker bus pass


  • Flexible ‘hop on, hop off’ bus route
  • Choose between a destination pass or KM pass
  • Covers all the major stops on Australia’s east coast trail
  • Option to upgrade to 6 months validity (hop on, hop off passes)


  • Easy, flexible way to travel around Australia
  • Meet heaps of fellow travellers
  • A variety of passes to suit all itineraries and time scales


  • 6 months to start your trip
  • Choose from 3 or 6 months validity on all hop on, hop off passes
  • 12 month validity on all KM passes
  • Transport as per your pass inclusions
  • Safe, comfortable coaches throughout

PLEASE NOTE: All passes need to be started within 6 months of purchase

greyhound bus passes gap year east coast oz austraia hop on hop off gap year

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