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Essential Australia Tour

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Australia is a land of dreams, a land of world famous landmarks and experiences, a land rich with Aboriginal culture. It’s a land with an historic past that will always tie us closely together. For many, a holiday to Australia is ‘a holiday of a lifetime’.

Let Distant Journeys show you this amazing country on our 19-day Essential Australia tour.

Experience the colourful, cosmopolitan cities of Melbourne, Sydney and Perth; indulge in the beauty of tropical Northern Queensland and be mesmerised by stories of Dreamtime in Australia’s Red Centre.

Special Offer – Save up to £592 per couple

If you book an Essential Australia tour now, you will be able to enjoy a two night homebound stopover for the incredible price of only £49 per person (£98 for single occupancy). This offer saves you up to £592 per couple and ends on the 28th February 2019.

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.
Breakfast included

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’.
Breakfast included

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.
Breakfast included

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!
Breakfast included

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.
Breakfast included

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.
Breakfast included

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.
Breakfast included

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.
Breakfast included

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.
Breakfast included

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.
Breakfast included

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.
Breakfast included

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.
Breakfast included

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


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 £49 per person if sharing a twin or double and £98 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 28th February 2019 and travel on a tour departing after 1st August 2019.

Departure dates & prices

Our escorted holidays to Australia are designed to include must-see sights and memorable experiences in your tour price. And the new Essential Australia tour is no exception as so much of what you will experience is already included in the price. That’s all your scheduled international flights, overseas transfers, expertly chosen hotels, daily breakfast and several other meals too, experienced local Tour Manager and several amazing excursions, already paid for.

And remember, on top of the great value of the Essential Australia tour, you can save up to £592 per couple by taking advantage of our two night stopover offer, just £49 per person if you book by 28th February 2019.


2019 / 20 Essential Australia departures

Departure datePrice (pp)AvailabilityOffer
04 October£4,295NEW DATE£49 stopover
01 November£4, 295NEW DATE£49 stopover
17 January£4,295NEW DATE£49 stopover
14 February£4,295NEW DATE£49 stopover
13 March£4,195NEW DATE£49 stopover
17 April£3,995NEW DATE£49 stopover


Prices: Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin or double room.

Single occupancy supplement: £1,195

Deposit: £1,000 per person if travelling in economy class, £1,950 per person if travelling in premium economy, and £3,750 per person for business class.

Visa: To enter Australia, you need an ETA (electronic travel authority).We will obtain this on your behalf and the £25 per person processing fee will be added to your confirmation invoice.

Terms and conditions: Holiday prices are subject to the availability of flights in the lowest fare booking class and may change, however the correct price will always be confirmed before you book. For full terms and conditions see our terms and conditions page.

Exceptional value inclusions

Flights with leading scheduled airlines

  • Return economy class flights
  • Fly with Qantas / Emirates from London Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle or Glasgow
  • All domestic flights within Australia
  • All airport charges, security charges and any applicable fuel surcharges
  • UK Air Passenger Duty


Carefully selected hotels

  • Superior hotels in great locations
  • All hotel porterage
  • Applicable hotel taxes


Many meals

  • Daily breakfast, worth £293 per person
  • Buffet lunch on the Great Barrier Reef
  • Lunch cruise around Sydney Harbour


Unforgettable experiences

  • Sightseeing tours in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth
  • Experience Uluru (Ayers Rock) at sunset and sunrise
  • Full day on the Great Barrier Reef


On the ground

  • Services of an experienced local Tour Manager
  • All overseas transfers
  • Modern, air-conditioned coaches throughout


100% confidence

  • Your holiday is covered by our Price Promise
  • Your holiday is fully ATOL protected

Hand-picked hotels

At Distant Journeys, we understand the importance of a good hotel on a touring holiday, and we take great pride in choosing the hotels and accommodation you’ll be staying in during your Australia group tour. Our Directors personally take charge of finding the hotels that have a great location and are high quality too – the two most important considerations on any touring holiday to Australia. These are the four-star hotels we’ve chosen for you…

Ayers Rock resort + Uluru

Desert Gardens Hotel, Ayers Rock

Welcome to the Desert Gardens Hotel – a magnificent sanctuary surrounded by towering ghost gums and flowering native shrubs among the red dunes. During your time at the Desert Garden Ayers Rock Resort, relax in the comfort of your own… Find out more >
  • Star Rating 4
  •   Official rating
  • Star Rating 4
  •   Distant Journeys rating

CNS Doubletree exterior

DoubleTree by Hilton, Cairns

Centred around a unique rainforest atrium, the charming DoubleTree by Hilton Cairns offers the most incredible views. Set within tropical gardens, the oceanfront hotel is just a short walk away from the city centre and entertainment districts. In your free time,… Find out more >
  • Star Rating 4
  •   Official rating
  • Star Rating 4
  •   Distant Journeys rating

Mercure Alice Springs Resort

Mercure, Alice Springs

Alice Springs is affectionately known as the physical and spiritual heart of Australia’s Red Centre, and your stay here will be on the banks of Todd River, at Mercure Alice Springs Resort. With an abundance of natural Northern Territory beauty… Find out more >
  • Star Rating 4
  •   Official rating
  • Star Rating 4
  •   Distant Journeys rating

SYD North Sydney Harbourview

North Sydney Harbourview Hotel

When it comes to staying in the heat of the action, with views of some of the country’s most famous landmarks, North Sydney Harbourview Hotel is the place to stay in Sydney – the views of the harbour make its… Find out more >
  • Star Rating 4
  •   Official rating
  • Star Rating 4
  •   Distant Journeys rating

Pan Pacific PER Exterior Evening

Pan Pacific Hotel, Perth

Just a short stroll from the famous Swan River is your hotel for your stay in Perth. The Pan Pacific Perth Hotel manages to remain charming and serene while being located right in the heart of Perth’s main shopping and… Find out more >
  • Star Rating 5
  •   Official rating
  • Star Rating 4
  •   Distant Journeys rating

Melbourne Exterior View Parkview

Parkview Hotel, Melbourne

The Melbourne Parkview Hotel is a lovely base for your stay in the city. Uniquely enclosed by a chapel, a theatre and a museum, the hotel offers a great view over the city. Not too far from Melbourne Parkview Hotel… Find out more >
  • Star Rating 4
  •   Official rating
  • Star Rating 4
  •   Distant Journeys rating

Freedom Days

Throughout your Australia tour holiday, we want you to enjoy a good mix of visits to must-see landmarks and leisure time to experience your destinations in a way that suits you. For example, you might like to try an adventurous activity like climbing Sydney Harbour Bridge or a hot air balloon ride over Alice Springs, or if you prefer a more relaxing experience, perhaps take a cruise to the wineries along the lovely Swan River. Thanks to our Freedom Days, you’ll have the chance to choose an experience to enjoy depending on what interests you most.

Find out more about the excursions available by clicking on the descriptions below.  

Price pp in Australian Dollars (AUD)Approx. price pp in British Pounds (GBP)
Full Day Pinnacles, Koalas and Sandboarding 4WD Adventure 0800-1930hrs approx., lunch ($25 for upgrade to lobster option)$195£111
Full Day Pinnacles, Desert, New Norcia Benedictine History and Wildflowers 0800-1930hrs, lunch$215£123
Swim with Dolphins Day tour, transfer from Perth to Rockingham, light lunch – Swimmer$225£129
Swim with Dolphins Day tour, transfer from Perth to Rockingham, light lunch – Spectator$115£66
Alice Springs
Outback hot air ballooning – 30 minute flight (starts 1 hour before first light) 4 hours duration$295£169
Outback hot air ballooning – 60 minute flight (starts 1 hour before first light) 4 hours duration$390£223
Bush BBQ and show – BBQ Scotch fillet steak, Drinks & transfers incl, Boomerang throwing, Cattlemans talk, Bush Balladeer and Star Gazing talk$165£94
Western MacDonnell Ranges day excursion
including Ormiston Gorge, Standley Chasm, Ellery Creek, Lunch (0800-1700hrs)
$132 – $172£75 – £99
Ayers Rock
Fixed wing flights over Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta (Olgas) 40 min$240£137
Helicopter Flight over Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta 30min$285£163
Sounds of Silence – Dinner at Uluru under the stars, drinks and Star talk included 1700-2230hrs*$210£120
Field of Light Pass*$45£26
Field of Light Star Pass*$90£51
A Night at the Field of Light*$250£143
Hot Air Balloon over Atherton Tablelands including insurance and transfers, 0400-0930hrs$290£166
Day Excursion Daintree National Park incl Cape Tribulation, Daintree, Mossman Gorge, Lunch 0645-1900hrs$214£122
Kuranda Daytrip: Historic Rail, Sky Gondola, Tjapukai Centre (Butterfly /Koala Park pax own cost) 0800-1730hrs$215£123
Rainforest Dining Experience incl drinks in Port Douglas (1hr from Cairns) with Aboriginal Cultural programme, incl transfers (Tue, Thu only), 1830-2300hrs ** Not recommended for vegetarians **$235£134
Stunning Rainforest Dinner incl drinks Port Douglas (1hr from Cairns) incl transfers 1830-2330*$202£115
Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures incl. admission and return transfers from Cairns$80£46
Great Barrier Reef
5 minute helicopter flight$113£65
10 minute helicopter flight$189£108
Snorkel safari (approx. 50mins)$45£26
Introductory dive (no experience necessary)$125£71
Helmet dive to 3 metres without getting head wet$125£71
Sydney Helicopter scenic flight over Sydney 20mins. including return Sydney City Hotel transfers$229£131
Day Trip to Blue Mountains including Wentworth Falls,
3 Sisters, Govetts Leap, Featherdale Wildlife Park, Mt Tomah Botanic Gardens, Lunch
Hunter Valley Day Tour (Tue, Thu, Fri, Sun 0800-1830hrs) including gourmet lunch and wine tastings$194£111
Bridge Climb, twilight (peak time, other times of day less)*$388£222
Sydney Opera House tour, dinner and show – price depends on type of performance and quality of seating*$346 to $585£210 to £338
Sydney Opera House tour with 3 tiered tasting plate$82£47
Americas Cup Yacht Sailing 1300-1600hrs from Darling Harbour, no transfers included$129 to $169£74 to £97

*due to the limited availability on these tours, we recommend booking at least 30 days before you leave the UK. Your Distant Journeys travel expert will be able to assist you.

Optional excursions for stopover destinations

If you’ve taken advantage of one of our two night stopovers on your journey home from Australia you may want to make the most of your short stay in these exciting destinations by taking an optional excursion or two.

After all, who could visit Singapore without a trip to the world-famous and historic Raffles Hotel for afternoon tea or a Singapore Sling? And if Dubai is where you’ll spend the last two nights of your holiday, why not enjoy one of them feasting Bedouin-style on a Desert Safari?

Click on any of the descriptions below to find out more about any of the optional excursions in Dubai and Singapore.

Price pp in US Dollars (US)Approx. price pp in British Pounds (GBP)
Traditional Dubai City Tour$51£39
New Dubai City Tour*$101£78
Sundowner (Dune dinner safari)$108£83
An Evening of Elegance – dinner cruise$172£133
Helicopter tour of Dubai (12 minutes)$194£150
Price pp in Singapore Dollars (SGD)Approx. price pp in British Pounds (GBP)
Singapore Night Safari$96£54
Gardens by the Bay – Including 2 conservatories and OCBC Skyway$38£21
Gardens by the Bay – Including 2 conservatories$30£17
Afternoon Tea at Raffles *  Tour not operating from 1st July 2017 – early 2019$73£41
Footsteps of Raffles – including Afternoon Tea at Raffles Hotel * Tour not operating from 1st July 2017 – early 2019$98£55
Singapore by night – including Singapore Sling at Raffles (Tour not operating from 1st July 2017 – early 2019)$65£37

*due to the limited availability on these tours, we recommend booking at least 30 days before you leave the UK. Your Distant Journeys travel expert will be able to assist you.

Special offer – save up to £592 per couple

Travelling to the other side of the world naturally means you have a long journey ahead. So to help make the journey a little easier, we’re pleased to offer a two-night homebound stopover in either Dubai or Singapore for just £49 per person (£98 for single occupancy). This amounts to a saving of up to £592 on the normal price. To take advantage of this special offer price, all you need to do is book by 28th February 2019.

The offer is available on all Essential Australia tours and is subject to availability of flights and accommodation at the time of booking. Your special offer homebound stopovers includes return transfers and accommodation for two nights including full breakfast.


Singapore Skyline

Copthorne Kings Hotel in Singapore - Stopover Offer

There’s just so much to do and see in Singapore, that no matter how many times you visit, you’ll always find yourself wanting to go back again. Maybe it’s the myriad of cultures coming together to create such a unique…

Find out more >

  • Star Rating 4
  •   Official rating Stars
  • Star Rating 4
  •   Distant Journeys rating Stars


Dubai Offer, Marriott al Jaddaf

Stay in style at the five star Marriott al Jaddaf when you visit the gateway to Arabia. The numerous malls and labyrinth-like souks are enchanting to explore. And you really can’t complain about the year round sunshine, which you can make…

Find out more >

  • Star Rating 5
  •   Official rating Stars
  • Star Rating 5
  •   Distant Journeys rating Stars

Customer reviews

The Essential Australia tour is a new itinerary with departures in late 2019 and early 2020. This page will be updated with reviews as soon as our returning customers are contacted by the independent reviews company Feefo. In the meantime, please feel free to look at the reviews for our other tours to Australia – we’re sure you will be impressed with the service our guests receive and the great reviews they kindly give us!

Essential Australia tour map 2019_20


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Australia & New Zealand
2019 / 2020

Australia & New Zealand 2019 / 2020

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