The incredible mix of landscapes, activities, friendly people & adventure is what makes Aussie so unique. If you’re wanting a taste of it all then this is the perfect way! Starting off Sydney-side, experience the endless landscapes of the Top End & the unmissable colours of the Red Centre icons like Kings Canyon, Uluru & the Olgas. Beach fun is on the cards too with loads of time on the East Coast. It’s all about fun & getting amongst the good times in one of the world’s most fascinating places.
Meet up with your travel buddies & Contiki team & get ready for your Down Under adventure! This morning we’re heading out of the city & into the country for our included Blue Mountain’s day trip. The dramatic landscape of gorges (some up to 760m) are massive & will impress with the endless views into the distance. We’ll take a casual hike along the Jamison Ridge to the top of Wentworth Falls, passing a number of lookouts along the way. Next we’ll stop at Leura, a charming country village before visiting the iconic ‘Three Sisters’ – the famous rock formations. With amazing views & photos to keep your memories fresh when you get home, we’ll head back to Sydney. Later this evening have a truly Aussie experience when you get to cook your own delicious BBQ dinner of legendary Australian steak. Watching the sunset with a drink in hand & a great meal is the perfect way to end the day & the ideal start your trip.
Sydney rocks & with Contiki you’ll see the best of the city. First up, get in the know on Sydney as your Trip Manager points out all the hottest spots & icons of this harbourside haven. From the babes on the beaches of Manly, the buzzy Kings Cross & its colourful characters to Chinatown & Darling Harbour, the sights & sounds are as varied as its residents & we’re here to uncover it all. We’ll also take you to Mrs Macquarie's Chair & The Rocks, for undoubtedly the city’s best views of the Opera House & Harbour Bridge in one go (so it’s perfect for some of those legendary Sydney snaps). You could even try scaling the heights of the Harbour Bridge on an optional BridgeClimb or take a tour around the stunning Opera House! Later, it’s a totally Sydney experience with an included ride to the famous Manly Beach. We’ll drop you right at the beach. Bliss! On arrival, grab some lunch then throw down your towel, pop in your iPod & take time to paddle in the cool water, work on your tan if the weather is right, or just people watch as you soak up the vibes & atmosphere. There are loads of shops & restaurants here too, for those that are keen to check out the local buzz. Later, take the Sydney scenic route back - you’ll get a panoramic view of the city as your backdrop whilst you cruise on the famous & iconic ferry.
Chill out on the coach today and chat with your travel buddies as we head northbound over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. We stop by seaside Port Macquarie for lunch before heading to Coffs Harbour, home to surf beaches, fishing and banana plantations. This is a chance for a real Aussie overnight as we arrive at our Special Stay experience at our Aussie Surf Camp. Maybe get to know your Contiki team & travel buddies over a few drinks. Our cabins are right on the beach so soak up the surf vibes and relax by the open fire under the stars.
This morning wake up to one of our Aussie highlights, a surf lesson! An awesome Aussie experience – hit the waves & learn to surf with some professional instructors as you have a go at surfing! Join some of the coolest people on the planet as you get involved with Australia’s beach culture. It’s a fun way to learn how to surf as our professional local instructors show you just how it’s done. The perfect Aussie experience & will top off your Coffs Harbour stay! Later, it’s time to hit the road for our next overnight stop, gorgeous Byron Bay – one of Australia’s gems & a great place to hang out! With a laid-back lifestyle, cute little shops, organic food, alternative therapies and around 30km of pretty beaches, it’s a must see. Byron Bay is also known for its incredible marine life. Head out to Cape Byron, Australia’s most easterly point and see dolphins and humpback whales if you’re lucky, then grab some lunch back in town and maybe take a swim at the beach & soak up the hippy vibes & easy going atmosphere. There are loads of other things on offer here too, like a sea kayaking adventure where you catch up with a family of dolphins at Wategos beach, their curiosity often brings them right up next your kayak, and snorkeling at Middle reef home to turtles, rays, corals, eels, starfish and sharks.
Today is all yours to explore at your own pace. Early birds why not head towards the Byron Bay Lighthouse for a mesmerising (and romantic) sunrise experience. Then, maybe opt for a cheeky tanning session at one of the many golden beaches or if you’re a keen scuba diver head to Julian Rocks. When you're done wiggling your toes in the sand, it's time to satisfy your hunger at one of the many delicious cafes and restaurants. Venture through the streets and soak up the hippie vibes this town has to offer before we make our way to our next destination, Surfers Paradise, where 'beautiful one day, perfect the next' is how the lifestyle goes.
This morning is all about chilling, hitting the beach, and getting a little R'n'R after the night before. We're nice like that. But remember, you're not in Surfer's forever, so do this thing right - don't stay in bed when there's a parachute with your name on it at the nearby skydiving centre. How's that for a rush of adrenaline? In the afternoon just make sure you're back (on earth) in time for some serious koala cuddling sessions at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. CURRUMBIN: All animal cuteness goals can easily be achieved in this neck of the woods. The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is undeniably a must-see destination if you've made it as far as Surfer's Paradise. Here's your chance to see how cute koalas really are, feed a kangaroo & see a crocodile up close (but not too close, obvs). Best of all, it's a non-for-profit set up, so our visit supports the sanctuary's animal hospital and gives back to Oz's furry friends. Soak up on all the cuteness this place has to offer before we head back to Surfer's for some sweet night time 4WD'ing.
As we make our way up the coast, we make a stop in Brisbane to see what this city is all about. You’ll get a feel for the capital of Queensland’s laid-back atmosphere when we have a look around town. Noosa is up next. It’s a trendy beach resort town. You could take a stroll through the shops or sunbathe and swim at the beach before we check into our resort.
This morning on our included full day 4WD tour, we make our way north to Fraser Island, a slice of paradise. This UNESCO World Heritage-listed site is the largest sand island in the world and is 800,000 years old. Packed with around 40 freshwater lakes, lush rainforests and diverse wildlife, Fraser Island lives up to its amazing reputation. You’ll meet your Local Guide in the morning and be shown some of the island’s best spots and hidden treasures, taking you through the island’s sand dunes, rainforests & freshwater lakes. Our Local Guide will show you some of the island’s best spots and hidden treasures, such as Lake McKenzie – make sure you keep your camera handy – this is one of Australia’s most beautiful regions. Tonight, go local and enjoy a taste of Aussie life as we head to the surf club for our included dinner overlooking the beach. Later, if you want to take it up a level, head out into the town & explore Noosa by night.
Today we continue inland to an authentic country homestead, right in the heart of Queensland’s cattle country. We’ll stop in the country town Childers, where you’ll have the option to visit a local winery & exotic fruit orchard for a tour & tastings. During our time at Langmorn, a working cattle station, you’ll experience a taste of real Aussie country life. The owners will show you around the enormous property in a behind-the-scenes look at daily life on the farm. Taste local hospitality tonight as your welcoming hosts pile your table high with a hearty roast beef and vegetables (like you've never tasted before) followed by an indulgent homemade decadent dessert. Later, have a go at whip cracking an authentic leather stock whip under night lights before heading back inside for traditional Aussie bush dancing. Have some fun and a giggle with some evening karaoke. See if you can spot the 'Southern Cross' amongst a chandelier of stars, a constellation only visible in the southern hemisphere & featured on the Australian flag.
This morning we stop off in Rockhampton, the beef farming capital of Australia that spans the Tropic of Capricorn. As we make our way up the Capricorn Coast, the landscape becomes more tropical. Plug in your MP3 or chat with friends as we drive through scenic Mackay, with the countryside full of vibrant green vegetation and sugar cane plantations. In the afternoon visit the backpackers’ hub of Airlie Beach with its turquoise waters and busy café scene. The time is then yours to enjoy the picture-perfect Whitsundays! Slow the pace down, kick back and relax. For those that are up for it, there's our optional day sail. Check out some of the Whitsunday’s 74 islands from the boat – you’ll soon understand why this region is so famous. Experience what is known as one of the top ten beaches in the world, the uninhabited Whitehaven Beach. Swim off the boat and play beach volleyball or cricket with the local skipper and crew before enjoying a tasty lunch and a few drinks.
After a ferry back to the mainland, we head deeper into the tropics of Australia today when we hit Townsville for some free time. Check out the colonial buildings and get a feel for its maritime past as we drive along the esplanade and into town where you can grab some lunch. See vistas over Magnetic Island before we continue our travels up north. Back on the road, we cruise past waterfalls, waterholes, fruit plantations and thick, tropical rainforests into Tully, home to some of Australia’s best white-water rafting. Then it’s on to the popular traveller’s hub of Cairns. With a colourful tropical setting, vibrant restaurant scene and happening nightlife, this gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and rainforests is one of Australia’s hottest destinations. Tonight we head out to a local restaurant for dinner where you have the opportunity to try kangaroo, amongst other delicious Australian delicacies. In your free time on the first night in Cairns, walk around the buzzing night markets. It’s the perfect place for shopping and with everything from fun, kitsch treasures to local crafts like boomerangs and didgeridoos.
Wake up to the warm waters of Cairns where there’s something for everyone. This is your chance to experience the Great Barrier Reef on an optional day trip. If you have always wanted to go scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef then this is your chance! There are scuba diving options for both certified and introductory divers (no experience necessary). Check out the amazing World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, you are sure to see one of Nemo's cousins, tiny schooling fish right up to giant Maori wrasse and if you're lucky, even a small reef shark! There are local marine biologists on board to answer 'which fish is that?' On day 2, for those who are keen for a fun and thrilling ride, join our optional whitewater rafting adventure activity with our professional Local Guides. There are loads more activities available in Cairns like sky diving and bungy jumping – just ask your Trip Manager for some more info. Catch up with your new buddies to swap stories on your day at a local hot spot. The food and entertainment is sure to leave a lasting impression!
Catch a flight today as we cut across the state to land in the Northern Territory. We touch down in Alice Springs, famous for its remote location, its Aussie characters & its reputation as the national hub for Aboriginal art. We kick of the afternoon with a trip out to Simpson’s Gap & West MacDonnell National Park where you’ll start to appreciate the remoteness of Central Australia. Next we’ll visit ANZAC Hill lookout and Alice Springs Telegraph Station. Finish the afternoon with a hands on experience at the Alice Springs Reptile Centre where you’ll hear about some of Australia’s unique outback reptiles and, if you're brave enough, hold a python!
Jump start the day by learning about surviving in the bush with our included Aboriginal 'Bushtucker' tour. Our expert Aboriginal Guide will fill you in on the dos and don’ts of life in the bush, and you’ll even get to taste insects and plants if you’re adventurous. Next we head to Kings Canyon where you’ll go on an amazing guided hike to places such as the 'Garden of Eden' waterhole and the 'Lost City'! Finish the day at Kings Creek Station. This working camel & cattle station serves up a real outback experience. Tonight, 'go bush' and sleep under the open sky at our overnight bush camp where you’ll see the desert sky light up with thousands of stars.
Today we make tracks to Uluru! But not before you have an opportunity to Race around the station and appreciate it’s size on an optional Quad Bike excursion! We drive by ancient (700 million years old!) Mt. Connor for 360° views over the red desert and take a walk through Uluṟu's neighbour - Kata Tjuṯa, or 'The Olgas' - before arriving at Yulara Resort. This environmentally designed resort is all about the outback and has a pool for you to cool off in after the drive.
Start off the morning nice and early and watch the sun rise over this iconic natural wonder from the viewing area. Get familiar with Uluṟu when your Trip Manager takes you around its base and gives you the background of the spiritual significance of this site for Aboriginal people. For something different, this afternoon you can choose an optional Harley Davidson ride or scenic flight. Tonight, catch the sun set over the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Uluṟu (Ayers Rock), and grab some nibbles and bubbly to toast this amazing view.
It’s an easy-going start to the day today. Your Trip Manager will cook up a storm for breakfast, so load up on bacon & eggs! We swing by a traditional Australian roadhouse, and then pull back into Alice Springs. Tonight, join the group for an optional dinner at the Overlander Steakhouse, where you can try out kangaroo, crocodile, camel & steak while listening to Aussie folk songs.
Get above it all in an optional hot air balloon ride over the red MacDonnell Ranges at dawn this morning. Enjoy a bird’s eye view over these stunning, massive rock formations. Chill out on the coach as we cut across flat plains and travel through a patch of no man’s land. Stretch your legs at Karlu Karlu (the Devils Marbles), a strange grouping of enormous boulders, and maybe even sight a UFO in Wycliffe Well. We overnight in Tennant Creek, a “true blue” Aussie outback town, where you’ll get a feel for the size of Australia. In the middle of nowhere, this town is the only point of contact for the million-acre cattle stations of the surrounding area.
Heading north, we stop by Renner Springs, which serves as a border between the lush tropics of the north and the red desert of Australia’s centre. Next up: the oldest pub in the Northern Territory, Daly Waters, licensed since 1893. Check out the knick-knacks and memorabilia that cover the walls of this Australian institution. Grab a bite to eat here and maybe meet a local character or two. Afterwards, we pull into Mataranka Thermal Springs where you can have a swim in the thermal pools at a bush resort, where the mineral waters are a comfortable 34°C/93°F. In the afternoon, we arrive in riverside Katherine – it’s a total change of scene after the dry desert. Your Tour Manager will organise an optional dinner tonight, so you can relax by the pool.
Kick start the day with a hike, walk or take our optional cruise through the gorgeous Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge. This National Park serves up vivid orange cliffs and rock formations that have been carved out by the river over hundreds’ of years. Keep an eye open for fresh water crocs and learn about local wildlife and folklore from our Local Guide. Later on, cool off in the swimming hole at Edith Falls, deep in the heart of the national park. We overnight near Australia’s largest national park, Kakadu, known for its ancient rock art, some of which is up to 20,000 years old.
We spend the day exploring some of this 20,000 sq km World Heritage-listed site. It’s packed with swamps, rainforest, wetlands, woodlands, plants, insects and 75 different types of reptiles. First up it’s Nourlangie Rock with impressive rock art dating back thousands of years. Next we get the background on local indigenous culture at the Warradjan Cultural Centre before our included wildlife boat cruise takes us out to spot crocs & learn about the native birdlife in the area. There may be time to explore the “rock galleries” of Ubirr, where time-old paintings line the cave walls before we head back to the hotel for dinner.
Today, we head to Darwin via stunning Litchfield National Park. We stop by the termite mounds, a local natural curiosity, which are up to 4 metres high and are literally magnetic – your Trip Manager will fill you in on the details. Then we hit the famous falls that make up the park – four waterfalls pour over a wide plateau into deep, picture-perfect waterholes surrounded by thick rainforest. Experience this natural playground and take a dip in the transparent waters. This evening, we head into Darwin for your last night with the group. Prepare for a big night dancing & partying the night away.
Today we head out on a Darwin City tour. You’ll visit the East Point Military Reserve and Darwin Museum to find out about the history of the Northern Territory’s capital. Later you have the chance to come face to face with a 5m crocodile. This is Australia’s only crocodile dive where you are safely housed in a perspex cage while a crocodile lazes, swims and even feeds just inches away. Say goodbye to your new friends and Trip Manager this afternoon as your tour finishes.
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Trip Name: The Big Walkabout (Start Sydney)
Duration: 25 Days
From Price: £3,385
Supplier Tour ID: EXSDD/161007
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