Explore Australia’s stunning east coast from the iconic cityscapes of Sydney to the tropical hub of Cairns on an epic trip that hits all the highlights in just two weeks. Sample wine and cheese as you venture through the picturesque Hunter Valley, meet cute and cuddly koalas in an animal hospital near Port Macquarie, hike down for a dip in the cascading waters at Dangar Falls then hang loose in the bustling beachside town of Byron. Next, follow the sun-kissed coastline to Queensland and take an off-road adventure across Fraser Island, sail through the picture-perfect islands of the Whitsundays, flop and drop on the palm-fringed sands of Mission Beach and explore the colourful underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef.
|Day 2||The Hunter Valley & Newcastle|
|Day 3||Port Macquarie|
|Day 4||Dorrigo National Park|
|Day 5||Dorrigo National Park - Byron Bay|
|Day 6||Byron Bay|
|Day 7||Brisbane to Noosa|
|Day 8||Fraser Island and Noosa|
|Day 9||Airlie Beach|
|Day 10||Whitsundays Cruise and Airlie Beach|
|Day 11||Mission Beach|
|Day 12||Atherton Tablelands - Cairns|
|Day 13||The Great Barrier Reef|
Your Australia adventure begins in the iconic harbour city of Sydney, the glittering jewel in the east coast's crown. Make your own way to the joining hotel where you’ll meet your expert leader and fellow travellers at 2 pm for a welcome meeting in the lobby. Afterwards, head out to explore the historic area around the hotel before heading out for dinner. If you arrive early, there’s plenty to see and do – why not head down to Circular Quay and check out the world-famous Opera House, or if you’re feeling brave, opt to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge to catch an epic view over this stunning city. Alternatively, you might like to take the ferry over to Manly Beach for some sun, sea and surf – soaking up the panoramic view of the iconic Sydney cityscape as you cruise along the glittering waters.
Leave the hustle and bustle of Sydney behind for the chilled-out Hunter Valley – a picturesque wine region in the rural hills of New South Wales. Your own personal wildlife ranger will be keeping an eye out for koalas and kangaroos as you make your way to lunch – yes, there will be cheese, and wine, and chocolate (the Hunter is famous for it!). After you’ve gorged yourself on a delicious feast, sleep off the food coma as you continue your drive to Newcastle. It may only be a fraction the size of Sydney, but this beach side city is jam-packed with trendy bars and a buzzing arts scene. This evening why not head out for a delicious dinner at one of the many restaurants or simply settle in at a friendly pub for a night of live, local music.
After an amazing local breakfast, hit the scenic Lakes Way and witness epic coastal views at their best as you drive past pristine beaches and lakeside communities. Stretch your legs on a leisurely walk and climb to a lookout where you can take a moment to soak up panoramic vistas of New South Wales’ breathtaking shoreline. Afterwards, continue your journey to Port Macquarie in time for a sunset cruise – keep an eagle eye out for local pods of dolphins as you enjoy the perfect end to a scenic day.
This morning, meet the volunteers at a local koala hospital (cute!). If you’re able to tear yourself away from the cuddly critters, you’ll be rewarded with a stop in Nambucca Heads to share in a unique and immersive Gumbaynggirr First Nations experience that will get you in touch with the traditional custodians of this land, lore and ancient cultural knowledge. Finish the day in true Aussie style in the Dorrigo National Park, at a traditional pub where you can relax, order some grub, have a few drinks and even play some pool. Why not opt for an Aussie classic like a chicken ‘parma’, or the quintessential meat pie (tomato sauce optional, but recommended!).
This morning, check out the beautiful surrounds of Dorrigo National Park, known for its lush, sub-tropical rainforest and waterfalls. Check out Dangar Falls and opt for a refreshing dip in its cascading waters, accessed by a short walking trail (approximately 20 minutes) leading down to the base of the falls. Alternatively, stay dry and appreciate its mammoth beauty from a small viewing platform. Next, head to Byron Bay, a laid-back surf paradise with boundless coastline, sand and friendly locals. On arrival, pay a visit to the local lighthouse for a unique photo opportunity and the chance for the chance to spot dolphins, whales, and other marine life (Get your eagle eye ready, or perhaps just bring binoculars). Finish the afternoon by popping to an organic farm where you’ll pick and prepare a healthy and delicious dinner.
Get up early or sleep late, sunrises are pretty ace at from Australia's most easterly point, but the choice is yours. It’s a free day today so perhaps kick-start the morning with a swim in the ocean or hunt down the best cold-brew coffee from one of Byron’s quirky cafes. Stroll along the streets and check out the trendy boutiques or stretch out your limbs at an optional yoga class. If you’re a seafood fan, head to The Balcony Bar for some delicious oysters or simply enjoy a cocktail or two as you people-watch from the outdoor terrace. If the waves are right, why not try your hand at surfing or just loll about on the one of the endless beaches. It’s a hard life.
Rise and shine as you begin your adventure from Byron Bay to Brisbane, then through to sun-kissed Noosa, visiting one of Australia’s top surf locations on the way. Go koala-spotting in a national park before arriving on the stunning Fraser Island for the evening. The local Butchulla people call it K’gari (paradise), and you’ll find out why soon enough. This incredible slice of land is the largest sand island in the world, stretching some 123 kilometres down Queensland's southern coast and tomorrow you’ll have the chance to explore it, so get a good nights rest ready for a day of adventure – oh, and look out for dingoes!
Set off on a 4WD adventure through the breathtaking landscape of Fraser Island. Visit some of the renowned lookout points – perhaps Indian Head or the Cathedrals – for incredible views of the coast, then take a refreshing dive into the crystal-clear water of Lake Mckenzie – an island icon. From tropical dense rainforest to wild offshore waters – witness the contrasting fauna and terrain of this truly unique island as you venture across undulating sand dunes and vast golden beach, in search of that iconic outback creature, the dingo. This evening, relax at your accommodation and perhaps join the rest of your group for dinner at one of the resorts restaurants.
Transfer back to Brisbane before boarding a flight to Airlie Beach, the hub town of the magnificent Whitsundays and home to endless beer gardens, trendy cafes and a lawn-fringed swimming lagoon. You’ll arrive late in the afternoon, so after settling into your lodgings, the evening is yours to spend as you please. Perhaps stroll around and explore, or if the sun is still up why not visit some local swimming spots for a refreshing dip. Alternatively, you might feel more at home finding a seat at one of the many bars, grabbing a cocktail or two, and watching the sun set into the shimmering blue water.
After breakfast, take a leisurely day cruise through the postcard-perfect islands of the Whitsundays, including a stop at the world-renowned Whitehaven beach. Words can’t do justice to the dazzling white sands, azure waters and densely verdant vegetation of this incredible corner of the world – Whitehaven is about as impressive as a beach can get, and at 98% pure silica, it’s about as white as a beach can get too. Peel your eyes away from the pristine sands and explore the colourful underwater world surrounding the Whitsundays on a snorkelling adventure. Get up close to a beautiful array of rainbow coral, playful fish and if you’re lucky, maybe even some friendly turtles. Head back to Airlie Beach and enjoy one last drink in this lively town.
Admire the change of scenery today as you jump into your private vehicle and head through undulating cane fields to picturesque Mission Beach, where World Heritage rainforest meets the colourful Coral Sea. Be welcomed by crystal-clear waters, stunning views and large population of cassowaries – a flightless bird that thrives in the tropical forests of north-eastern Australia. This afternoon you can enjoy plenty of free time to soak up paradise and do as you please. You might like to wind-down with an optional yoga class or go for a swim in the pool. Alternatively, head out in search of the famed flightless bird or simply grab a book and find a shady spot to sit and enjoy the tropical bliss.
Enjoy breakfast in a local cafe before venturing into the wet tropics of far north Queensland. Take a break enroute to your next destination and discover a magnificent plunge waterfall nestled in dense tropical rainforest. Take a dip in the cool water, then continue on to Lake Eacham, a crater lake with beautiful blue-green hues in the heart of the Atherton Tablelands. Next, visit the unusual yet fascinating Curtain Fig Tree, a magnificent tree with extensive aerial roots that drop 15 metres to the forest floor, forming a curtain-like appearance. The day draws to a close as you head to your final stop, Cairns, one of Australia’s most lively tropical towns.
The breathtaking beauty of the world’s largest coral reef is on the bucket-list of many travellers who venture to this incredible corner of Australia. The Great Barrier Reef is brimming with colourful coral and an amazing array of tropical fish, and today you’ll get to witness its magnificence with your own eyes on a snorkelling adventure through this underwater paradise. Cruise out to this famous reef this morning as you hear a marine conservation commentary about the importance of preserving this World Heritage-listed region and how you can do your bit. Then, it’s time to put on your snorkelling gear and dive into the dazzling waters, where you can freely explore this wonderfully rich ecosystem. After an incredible day, head back to hotel where you can freshen up and get ready for a farewell dinner. Compare memories, swap stories, and say farewell to your travel companions.
Your east coast experience comes to an end after breakfast. With so much to do in this bustling hub, enquire about booking some extra nights in Cairns for further exploration of this tropical paradise.
*T&Cs: Until 13 January 2020 you can enjoy 20% discount when you book any trip departing by 31 August 2020.