Discover some of Australia's most iconic cities, famous landmarks and natural wonders as you travel from Melbourne to Brisbane. After the chance to watch the delightful Phillip Island penguin parade, you'll head to Sydney for a three-night stay. Spectacular sights here include Bondi Beach and the iconic Sydney Opera House. Next, you'll see Uluru at sunset and sunrise, as well as the mysterious Olgas, before continuing to Alice Springs. Here, the Flying Doctor Base and the famous School of the Air are sightseeing highlights, and you've the chance to enjoy an authentic bush barbecue. In Kakadu National Park you'll set off on a cruise in search of crocodiles and get to admire fascinating Aboriginal rock art, before heading to Cairns. Port Douglas is your gateway to the amazing underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef, and your base for four nights. After soaking up the sights on a catamaran ride, soak up the sun during days of relaxation in this idyllic beach resort. And if you want to see more, you can choose from a thrilling range of optional excursions.
|Day 1||UK to Melbourne|
|Day 8||Ayers Rock|
|Day 9||Alice Springs|
|Day 10||Alice Springs|
|Day 12||Kakadu National Park|
|Day 15||Port Douglas|
|Day 16||Port Douglas|
|Day 17||Port Douglas|
|Day 18||Port Douglas|
|Day 21||Brisbane to UK|
Today you'll depart on your scheduled flight to Melbourne.
On arrival in the beautiful city of Melbourne early on day 3, we'll transfer you to your hotel. You'll have time to settle in and freshen up before heading off on an included sightseeing tour this afternoon. One of the world's most liveable cities, it's packed with attractions from renowned art galleries and vibrant markets to world-class restaurants and legendary sports venues.
You can spend the day at leisure, making your own discoveries in Melbourne, or you might be tempted to join an optional excursion to Phillip Island, to watch the remarkable penguin parade. At sunset, after a hard day's fishing, hundreds of these delightful creatures - the world's smallest penguin - appear from out of the ocean and waddle their way across the beach to their sand dune burrows. You can take in this marvellous spectacle from special viewing stands and boardwalks, which give you the chance to get up close to nature.
This morning we'll transfer you to the airport for your flight to Sydney, where you'll stay for three nights. On this afternoon's tour you can tick off highlights including the gorgeous white sands of Bondi Beach, and Hyde Park, which is home to numerous monuments including the ANZAC Memorial. You'll also visit Darling Harbour, which hosts a dazzling array of attractions from bars and bistros to an aquarium and a zoo, as well as Mrs Macquarie's Chair. This huge sandstone rock was hand-carved by convicts into the shape of a bench for Governor Macquarie's wife, Elizabeth, in 1810. Why not sit for a while and take in the views from this wonderful vantage point.
With a day at leisure, you can discover Sydney at your own pace. As you explore you'll see that its centre is surprisingly compact. Alternatively, you could choose to discover Sydney Harbour from the water. This hour-long optional cruise will introduce many wonderful sights, from beautiful gardens and parkland to the iconic Sydney Opera House and Bridge. For an entirely different perspective you could take a helicopter flight over what is one of the world's most stunning harbours.
Enjoy a further day at leisure, or if you want to join an organised trip, come with us on a thrilling optional excursion. You'll head through the Blue Mountains, past the Three Sisters rock formation and along Jamieson Valley - Australia's answer to the Grand Canyon. Finally, you'll visit Scenic World, where you can opt to take a journey on the world's steepest incline railway into ancient rainforest, or enjoy a cable-car ride over the valley.
You'll fly to Uluru, or Ayers Rock, via Alice Springs, this morning. This gigantic sandstone monolith, which is two miles long, 1,000ft high and measures six miles around the base, is located in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. One of the most impressive landmarks in Australia, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a sacred place in Aboriginal culture and features many caves and ancient rock paintings. It's an incredible sight at any time of the day, but at sunrise and sunset it changes colour dramatically with the light. Your visit here today is at sunset.
You've an early start today, but it's definitely worth it as you visit Uluru once again, but this time at sunrise. You can also tour the base of the rock and view Aboriginal rock paintings in the caves here. After this we'll head to the mysterious Kata Tjuta, although you may know these 36 domed rock formations better as the Olgas. Located to the west of Uluru, they are thought to have similarly been one huge piece of rock but over millions of years they have been shaped this way by nature.
We then continue by road to Alice Springs. This evening you might be tempted to join an optional bush barbecue - an authenic experience that really sums up the spirit of the Australian Outback. The fun starts at sunset as we take to the road to try to spot kangaroos. Before you eat you can try your hand at boomerang throwing, and afterwards you can indulge in a spot of star-gazing.
You can spend today as you wish in Alice Springs. If you want to get out and about in the great outdoors, you could choose to join an optional excursion to the spectacular MacDonnell Mountain Range.
This morning, head off on a fascinating tour that introduces you to the Flying Doctor Base and the old Telegraph Station, the original site of the first European settlement in central Australia, which is now a museum. Depending on timings, you will also visit the famous School of the Air.
This evening we'll transfer you to the airport for your flight to Darwin.
Your destination today is Kakadu National Park, where you'll discover lush rainforest, scenic rivers and a diverse range of wildlife. It is most famed though for its natural galleries of fascinating Aboriginal rock art.
Before we make our way to our hotel, you've the chance to walk up Ubirr Rock, where you'll see some of the most outstanding examples of rock art in the world.
A journey by road this morning takes us to Katherine via the stunning Nourlangie Rock. Here you can set off on a walk to see more Aboriginal rock art.
Next, head off on a thrilling cruise on the famous Yellow Water Lagoon, where you can look for many species of birds - from whistling ducks to eagles - and crocodiles in their natural habitat.
Today's highlight is a cruise through the Katherine Gorge, to see ancient rocks and caves decorated with Aboriginal paintings. As you sail through this picturesque valley, expert guides will explain the history and geology of the area and tell you all about the flora and fauna you're likely to see. You'll step ashore for a walk before boarding another boat for your return journey.
This morning we're heading to Cairns, with an onward transfer to Port Douglas. This picturesque resort boasts white-sand beaches and tropical rainforest, and it's your gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.
Today you have the chance to explore a whole new world on an included trip by catamaran to the outer Great Barrier Reef. You'll see that marine life comes incredibly close to the vessel, and you can experience the reef without getting wet from the comfort of a semi-submersible or an underwater observatory. Of course, you can also go snorkelling in this amazing underwater world – all the equipment and guidance you need is provided, as well as lunch.
All you have to do now is relax and soak up the sun in Port Douglas. However, if you want to see more, a ride on the Kuranda Railway is an option today to see the Atherton Tablelands.
Your first stop will be the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, where you'll glide over and through heritage rainforest. After free time in the village of Kuranda, you'll take a journey on the Kuranda Scenic Railway, with the Barron Falls just one of the incredible highlights.
You can spend today doing just as you wish, exploring at your own pace or simply enjoying the facilities at your hotel.
If you want to get out in the great outdoors, why not come with us on an optional trip to Daintree Rainforest. Daintree is an ecologically unique tropical forest, which is home to an extensive range of flora and fauna. Also included is an environmental wilderness cruise as you go in search of crocodiles with an expert guide. You'll then enjoy lunch at the Daintree Village Hotel and round off your excursion with a tour of Daintree.
Today we'll transfer you to the airport in Cairns for your flight to Brisbane.
Before flying home tomorrow you might choose to spend a day at leisure. Alternatively, why not join an optional excursion to North Stradbroke Island. Fondly known as Straddie by the locals, it is the world's second largest sand island at about 38km long and 11km wide. Relax on the beach, or maybe head off on a bush walk, keeping an eye out for resident kangaroos, koalas and kookaburras - the largest member of the kingfisher family.
We will transfer you to the airport today for your return flight to the UK.
You'll arrive back in the UK today.