Australia is home to many unique attractions and we embark on an immersive journey with visits to Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef, and the wine lands surrounding Adelaide, as well as getting stuck into local life with fish and chips on Bondi Beach and a cup of proper coffee in Melbourne.
Our Australian adventure begins as we meet our Tour Manager at London Heathrow for our flight to Sydney, via Singapore. We land on Day 2 and transfer to our hotel.
We explore Sydney on a guided sightseeing tour, heading through the swanky neighbourhoods of Double Bay and Rose Bay with their upmarket boutiques, cafés, and restaurants. We continue to Watsons Bay, a harbourside suburb at the tip of a narrow peninsula, where the backdrop of cliffs, blue ocean, and city skyline paint a perfect postcard. From here, we transfer to Bondi Beach, arguably the most famous beach in Australia, where we indulge in a delicious fish and chip lunch at Bondi Icebergs Club. On our return to the city, we see the bustling Chinatown, and Darling Harbour. Our tour also takes in Mrs Macquarie's chair, a sandstone rock in Sydney harbour cut in the shape of a bench and offering views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
On Day 4, we transfer to the quayside to board a boat for a lunchtime cruise that delivers stunning views of the surrounding ocean and harbour while we eat. Day 5 is at leisure in Sydney.
After breakfast, we take the train to Melbourne. On Day 7, we discover the city on a guided sightseeing tour. Melbourne is a motley blend of urban attractions and diverse suburbs, famous for its vibrant laneways and alleys. We pause during our tour to sip on a steaming cup of coffee in one of the laneway cafés, before exploring the sporty side of the city with a visit to Melbourne Park and the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, situated beside Albert Park Lake. Later, we visit the Queen Victoria Market, the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere. Our tour also takes in the beautiful Yarra River, the Golden Mile, Parliament House, and the Fitzroy Gardens. This afternoon, we transfer to Belgrave station where we take a journey back in time on board the Puffing Billy service, a narrow-gauge heritage steam train which takes us across the Dandenong Ranges, past rainforests, through magical fern gullies. We alight at Lakeside where you have free time before our return journey.
Day 8 is at leisure in Melbourne.
This morning, we travel by coach along the Great Ocean Road, considered to be one of the most scenic journeys in Australia. Our journey gives us a glimpse into the beaches of Geelong, Torquay, and Bells Beach, and as we journey through Campbell National Park, stunning views of forests, cliffs, and some of the most dramatic rock formations known to mankind. We pass the 12 Apostles - some of the world's largest, naturally created limestone towers - as well as Loch Ard Gorge, London Bridge, the Blowhole, and the Grotto. We arrive in Warrnambool, where we spend the night.
Today takes us to Towerhill Wildlife Reserve, which sits inside an extinct volcano. Here, we encounter some of Australia's iconic wildlife, including koalas, emus, and kangaroos. We continue to Mount Gambier, known for its volcanic landscapes, where we discover the Blue Lake - an extinct volcano whose crater now houses a lake formed by cerulean blue waters. Our journey continues to Adelaide, pausing at the bewitching gardens of Umperston sinkhole en route.
On Day 11, we spend the day exploring McLaren Vale, a picturesque region known for producing world-class wines. We spend a full day here visiting the local boutique wineries, including d'Arenberg winery and Wirra Wirra Vineyards. We also get a chance to sample some of the wines at a tasting session.
Today, we take a flight to Uluru, a beautiful red sandstone monolith. We see the rock in all its glory this afternoon as we travel to Sunset Strip where, accompanied by some sparkling wine, we watch the dramatic colour changes of the rock at dusk. On Day 13 we visit Uluru at dawn for a different perspective of this geological wonder, followed by breakfast at the Ininti café. Here, you have some free time to visit the Cultural Centre to learn all about the fascinating Anangu culture and art form. After an afternoon at leisure, tonight we indulge in a special 'sound of silence' dinner under the starlit sky.
We fly to Cairns today, and on Day 15, join the Kuranda Scenic Railway for a journey to Kuranda, a charming mountain retreat. On arrival, we check out the vibrant market, which sells a wide range of aboriginal artefacts. We continue to the Koala Gardens, where there's opportunity to cuddle these adorable creatures (payable locally). Day 16 takes us to one of the iconic sights of Australia, the Great Barrier Reef. Our luxury catamaran sails to Low Isles, a coral island on the Reef, and there is the opportunity to take part in a slew of activities including a glass bottom boat tour, which allows you to see the crystal clear waters without getting wet. Later, a marine biologist gives us a guided tour of the isles. Day 17 is at leisure at our hotel in Cairns.
You are at leisure on Day 18 until late afternoon ahead of our transfer to Cairns airport. We fly firstly to Singapore, where we join our onwards flight to London Heathrow, arriving on Day 19.
At Great Rail Journeys, they’ve been providing market-leading holidays for 45 years, making them true rail holiday specialists. Their itineraries combine comfortable hotels, exciting excursions, many delicious meals, leisure time, and fantastic rail experiences – from journeys on modern trains to heritage rail adventures.
Alongside their classic escorted rail holidays, they now have more choices than ever. Their European chartered cruises sail on fantastic vessels with sublime dining options and some of the largest cabin sizes in the industry, and their small groups tours give you access to unique destinations and experiences that wouldn’t be possible in a larger group.
The key elements of their holidays are quality and value. Everything you see is included in the price, and their itineraries are carefully crafted to make the most out of each destination. They use professional Tour Managers, informative local guides and convenient transport. On many tours, they include special touches such as opera visits, special meals, or farewell dinners.
As well as being the leading UK provider of escorted rail holidays, they have also won a number of awards, most recently being awarded the gold award for Best Rail Holiday Company at the 2018 British Travel Awards – a testament to their commitment to outstanding holidays.
They ensure the security of currency fluctuation as part of our price guarantee, so you know you’re getting the best value. They are members of the Association of Independent Tour Operators and flight-inclusive holidays are ATOL or ABTOT protected, while non-flight-inclusive holidays are protected by ABTOT.