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Melbourne to Cairns

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Hi all,
I just booked a 6 week trip to Australia. I fly into Melbourne Jan 18 and leave from Sydney on Feb 27. It's always been a life goal of mine to attend all four tennis grand slams which is why I'm flying into Melbourne the first week of the Australian Open. From there, I figured if I'm halfway around the world I should make it into an extended trip. From Melbourne, I then plan to make my way up the east coast to Cairns. I don't plan on having a "set" itinerary as I know you have to play it by ear when traveling but I do plan to have a general outline of places I want to hit. I've just started to look but it seems like there are numerous "bigger" attractions along the way (Whitesunday, Frasier, Byron Bay, 1770, etc..). Are these the places to go or is it best to get off the beaten track a bit more and explore other areas? Also, is 6 weeks enough time to do this right? I want to experience all I can but at the same time I don't want to feel rushed. In terms of traveling it seems like Greyhound Australia has a hop on/hop off pass from Melbourne to Cairns. Would that be the best way to go?

A bit more about me- I'm a 29 year old male from New York. Recently discovered my love for traveling and over the past year I've done three one week trips to Europe. This will be my first time traveling alone though. I'm a social person and don't have issues meeting people but the thought of traveling alone for 40 days is somewhat daunting too.

Thanks for any insight/advice you might have!

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