Essential Australia itinerary
This wonderful tour offers exceptional value for money and takes you to all of Australia’s must-see locations. Locally escorted by your Distant Journeys Tour Manager and operated at a leisurely pace, welcome to our new tour for 2019/2020: Essential Australia.
19-day Essential Australia, from £3,995
If you would like more information about a particular hotel or destination, please click on the orange text.
Day 1: Depart UK
Depart from the UK airport most convenient for you with Qantas/Emirates, at no extra cost. Choose from London Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle or Glasgow.
In-ﬂight meals and drinks included
Day 2: Melbourne, 3 nights
All ﬂights with Qantas/Emirates to Melbourne travel via Dubai. After clearing customs and collecting our luggage we board our waiting coach and transfer to the four star Parkview Hotel, located between Albert and Fawkner Parks, just a tram ride away from Melbourne’s CBD.
In-ﬂight meals and drinks included
Day 3: Melbourne
We take our ﬁrst look at Melbourne on a sightseeing tour. Sights include Captain Cook’s Cottage (optional entry at own expense), Victoria Markets, Federation Square, the MCG and Rod Laver Arena. We also head out of the city to see the waterside suburbs of St. Kilda and Port Melbourne. This evening there is the option to enjoy dinner on an historic tramcar.
Day 4: Melbourne Freedom Day
This is our ﬁrst Freedom Day, where we can choose to relax or explore as we please. Our Distant Journeys Tour Manager will be on hand with advice on things to do, where to eat, make any arrangements and book excursions to further explore the area. We have the opportunity to enjoy an optional tour along one of the world’s most spectacular coastal drives, the internationally renowned Great Ocean Road. The full day optional tour begins in Torquay (home to the surﬁng paradise of Bells Beach) and meanders along the dramatic southwest coastline of Victoria to the impressive Twelve Apostles. Alternatively, take a trip to Phillip Island, home to the world’s largest colony of little penguins, to view the ‘Penguin Parade’.
Day 5: Sydney, 3 nights
This morning we make our way to Melbourne Airport in time for our ﬂight to Sydney. We begin our tour of Sydney in the best possible way – enjoying a luncheon cruise around Sydney’s beautiful harbour. The views of the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and the many dream homes nestled along the edge of the water are truly amazing. Later, our tour takes us through some of Sydney’s most fashionable inner-city suburbs en route to Bondi Beach. Travel by Double Bay and Rushcutters Bay as we make our way back to the city centre. Travel via Hyde Park and Parliament House to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, an exposed sandstone rock cut into the shape of a bench by convicts in 1810, as a gift to Governor Macquarie’s wife. Here we stop for the ‘classic’ photo opportunity of the world famous Opera House and Harbour Bridge. We ﬁnish at the North Sydney Harbourview Hotel, superbly located on Sydney’s north shore overlooking Sydney Harbour, where we stay for three nights.
Breakfast and lunch included
Day 6: Sydney Freedom Day
Your ﬁrst of two Freedom Days to spend as you please. For those that so desire, we shall be taking an optional trip to the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains. The Blue Mountains are a perfect example of native Australian bushland, with gum trees, majestic peaks and deep gorges stretching as far as the eye can see. Experience the panoramas from a series of lookouts, including Echo Point – the prime position to view the Three Sisters rock formation. The excursion also visits Wentworth Falls and the pretty village of Leura, famous for their annual garden festivals and playing host to many of the region’s local artists.
Day 7: Sydney Freedom Day
A second Freedom Day in Sydney to further explore this wonderful city. Sydney is a city that takes full advantage of its natural setting – its sparkling harbour is host to the world-famous Sydney Harbour Bridge and the spectacular Sydney Opera House. Sydney’s suburbs are blessed with lush native bushland and pristine sandy beaches. Add to this the excellent restaurants and cafes, endless shopping opportunities and a vibrant culture and it’s very easy to understand why Sydney is one of the world’s favourite cities. Enjoy!
Day 8: Cairns, 4 nights
Sadly, we must say goodbye to Sydney, but our sadness is short-lived as we know the beauty of tropical Queensland awaits. We return to Sydney Airport in time for our ﬂight to Cairns. Upon arrival we shall transfer to the centrally located four-star DoubleTree by Hilton, which will be our home for the next four nights.
Breakfast and in-ﬂight drinks included
Day 9: The Great Barrier Reef
A holiday to Australia would not be complete without a visit to the Great Barrier Reef. Its vibrantly coloured marine life and breathtakingly beautiful coral make this World Heritage site a must see for all visitors. During our full day Great Barrier Reef excursion, we board our high-speed catamaran and journey out to the Marine World platform located on the Outer Reef. Snorkel in the sheltered coral lagoon, or if you prefer to stay dry, view the reef from the semi-submersible reef viewer, glass-bottomed boat or underwater observatory. With ﬁve hours at the reef there is plenty of time to do it all. For the more adventurous, there are a number of activities available at an additional cost, including scuba diving (no experience necessary), joining the marine biologist on a guided snorkel safari, or soaring above the reef on a spectacular scenic helicopter ﬂight.
Breakfast and lunch included
Day 10: Cairns Freedom Day
Although today has been left free you may wish to take an optional trip to Kuranda. Our tour begins with traditional Tjapukai aboriginal culture including authentic music, dance and storytelling by the Tjapukai people. We ascend to Kuranda by the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, a beautiful experience gliding over the rainforest canopy. ‘The village in the rainforest’ Kuranda awaits. It’s a lovely place to while away a few hours visiting the markets, butterﬂy sanctuary or the Koala Gardens. Travel back to Cairns along one of the most unique rail journeys in Australia, the Kuranda Scenic Railway. See how the track clings to the rockface along a narrow coastal strip. During our journey we encounter no fewer than 40 bridges and 15 tunnels as we make our way back to Cairns.
Day 11: Cairns Freedom Day
Another Freedom Day to enjoy in tropical northern Queensland. Surrounded by rainforest and mountains, Cairns boasts over 200 walking tracks; there are also numerous interesting museums and art galleries to explore. If you prefer to venture further aﬁeld, we suggest a day trip to the nearby Daintree Rainforest, where the oldest rainforest in the world meets the reef at the World Heritagelisted Cape Tribulation. The tour gives a wonderful insight into rainforest’s unique ﬂora and fauna, including a walk with an aboriginal guide and a cruise spotting saltwater crocodiles.
Day 12: Uluru (Ayers Rock), Overnight
An early start today as we make our way to Cairns Airport in time for our ﬂight to Australia’s Red Centre and the next leg of our exciting journey. Upon arrival we visit the impressive series of rounded sandstone domes known as the Olgas. Later in the day we travel to Uluru where we can enjoy a glass of sparkling wine whilst witnessing the changing colours as the sun begins to set. It’s truly a photographer’s delight. Overnight at the four-star Desert Gardens Hotel.
Day 13: Alice Springs, 2 nights
Uluru is the icon of Australia’s outback, and the world’s largest monolith. For early risers, a dawn visit to the rock has been arranged. Seeing Uluru at sunrise, from a diﬀerent position and a diﬀerent light, oﬀers a totally new perspective on the ever-changing colours and character of the rock. This afternoon we travel east through amazing landscapes as we journey along the scenic Lasseter and Stuart Highways and make our way to the outback town of Alice Springs. Upon arrival, we shall transfer to the four-star Mercure Hotel, situated on the banks of the Todd River.
Day 14: Alice Springs Freedom Day
Nestled within the MacDonnell Ranges, Alice is the geographical centre of Australia, made famous by its rich pioneering history and ancient indigenous culture. This morning you may wish to take an adventure in slow motion with an optional hot air balloon trip over the outback landscapes. After breakfast, there is a choice of optional tours available. Perhaps join a half day sightseeing tour of this ‘Town Called Alice’. Visits include the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the School of the Air, and the Old Telegraph Station, now a museum and the site of the old springs from which Alice gets its name. Alternatively, you may wish to take a trip to the Western MacDonnell Ranges; an excellent opportunity to get a real picture of life in the outback. The full day excursion takes us through the wondrous and picturesque scenery of Simpson’s Gap and the towering granite walls of Standley Chasm.
Day 15: Perth, 3 nights
This morning we make our way to Alice Springs Airport in time for our ﬂight to Perth, the capital of Western Australia. Upon our arrival we shall transfer to the Pan Paciﬁc Hotel, overlooking the beautiful Swan River. This afternoon take a stroll by the river and get yourself acquainted with this stunning city.
Day 16: Perth
Named the ‘friendly city’ by tourists from all over the world, Perth is the world’s most isolated city. This morning we have arranged a tour to explore its beauty further. Visit King’s Park, with its captivating wild ﬂowers and bushland, and a location aﬀording incredible views over the city. We also travel to the nearby port town of Fremantle and enjoy a visit to the fascinating Shipwreck Gallery. Later, we see the Millionaire Mansions as we return to the hotel with a cruise along the Swan River.
Day 17: Perth Freedom Day
Your ﬁnal Australian Freedom Day allows you to spend the day as you please. Perhaps take an optional trip to the Nambung National Park to visit the fascinating limestone formations known as the Pinnacles. Alternatively, make the short journey to Rottnest Island, a protected nature reserve with white-sand beaches and secluded coves, and home to the small wallaby-like marsupial, the quokka.
Day 18: Depart Perth
The day is your own until it’s time to depart for the airport. Our ﬂights to our chosen UK airport operate via Dubai where there will be a change of aircraft. London Heathrow passengers may be able to take advantage of the non-stop Qantas ﬂight from Perth.
Breakfast and in-ﬂight meals & drinks included
Day 19: Arrive UK
This morning we arrive into our chosen airport (London Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle or Glasgow), bringing an end to our incredible adventure.
In-ﬂight meals and drinks included
SPECIAL OFFER – SAVE UP TO £632 PER COUPLE
If you would like to stopover on your way home, we have an amazing offer on a homebound stopover in either Singapore or Dubai.
The price is only £29 per person if sharing a twin or double and £58 for single occupancy.
Included are return airport transfers and two nights accommodation in a four star hotel with full daily breakfast. See the departure dates and prices for full details. All you need to do is book by 30th November 2018 and travel on a tour departing after 1st August 2019.