The Very Best of Australia itinerary
Get ready to discover Australia on Distant Journeys’ The Very Best of Australia Tour. This 29-day escorted holiday to Australia includes so many highlights and visits all the country’s must-see attractions. We explore the country’s breath-taking scenery, vibrant cities and rich local culture – and experience an unforgettable overnight train journey aboard the legendary Ghan.
Our unhurried itinerary generally includes two or three night stops in each destination, allowing plenty of Freedom Days to fully explore each area at your own pace and discover the very best of Australia for yourself.
29-day Very Best of Australia, from only £5,995pp
To find out more information about a particular hotel or destination, please click on any orange text.
Day 1 – Depart UK
Depart from the UK airport most convenient for you with Qantas / Emirates, at no extra cost: London Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle or Glasgow.
In-flight meals and drinks included
Day 2 – Singapore, 2 nights
All flights to Singapore will travel via Dubai. Arrive into the wonderful city of Singapore and transfer to either the four star Furama Riverfront Hotel or Copthorne Kings Hotel (if departing after 1st September 2018), situated in an enviable position close to the banks of the Singapore River.
In-flight meals and drinks included
Alternative Stopover – Dubai
We have based days 2 – 4 of this itinerary on a stopover in Singapore. Alternatively you may choose to stop in Dubai for the same price – or if you are departing after 1st September 2018, you may choose to spend an extra two nights in Perth before the holiday starts instead. All stopovers include transfers to and from the hotel, daily breakfast and (if choosing Dubai) a city sightseeing tour. Flight timings vary on the alternative stopovers – please speak with one of our personal travel experts for more details.
Day 3 – Singapore
Known as ‘the crossroads of Asia’, Singapore is a city where east meets west; a cosmopolitan melting pot with an inspirational identity. This morning enjoy a tour of this wonderful city. Witness the intriguing ethnic quarters where Chinese, Malay and Indian influences fuse to produce Singapore’s unique culture. Also visit Singapore’s Merlion and the botanical gardens. Return to the hotel where the rest of our day is free to spend as we please.
Day 4 – Perth, 3 nights
A day at leisure in Singapore until it’s time to leave for our evening flight to Perth. Possibly visit nearby Sentosa Island or enjoy high tea at Raffles. Upon our arrival into Perth later tonight, clear customs and transfer to the Novotel Langley or Pan Pacific (for tours arriving after 1st September 2018) for our first three nights in Australia.
Breakfast and in-flight meals and drinks included
Day 5 – Perth
Named ‘The friendly city’ by tourists from all over the world, Perth is the world’s most isolated city and is the capital of Western Australia. Today, we have arranged a tour to explore the city and surrounding area, including a visit to King’s Park, with its enchanting wildflowers and bushland, and amazing views over the city’s skyline. We will also travel to the nearby port town of Fremantle and enjoy an included visit to the fascinating Maritime Museum. Later, we see the Millionaires Mansions as we return to the hotel with a cruise along the Swan River.
Day 6 – Perth Freedom Day
Our first Australian Freedom Day allows us to spend the day as we please. Our Distant Journeys Tour Manager will be on hand to help with advice on things to do, where to eat, make any arrangements and book excursions for you to further explore the area. Perhaps take a cruise to the wineries along the beautiful Swan River or an optional trip to the Nambung National Park to visit the fascinating limestone formations known as the Pinnacles. However you spend your day – enjoy!
Day 7 – Kangaroo Island, 2 nights
Following breakfast this morning, we board our flight to Adelaide, capital of South Australia. Upon arrival meet our waiting coach and continue to the Fleurieu Peninsula, where we board a ferry to Penneshaw on Kangaroo Island. We make our way to either the Aurora Ozone Hotel or Mercure Kangaroo Island, situated in a prime position on Kangaroo Island, where we spend two nights.
Day 8 – TOUR HIGHLIGHT Kangaroo Island
Our Kangaroo Island adventure commences with a scenic drive to Seal Bay Conservation Park. Here we will walk on the beach amongst a colony of rare Australian sea lions with a National Parks Ranger. Our next stop is Hanson Bay Sanctuary, where we stroll among eucalypti looking for the wonderful koalas. Spend the afternoon at Flinders Chase National Park, renowned as a sanctuary for native Australian animals including kangaroos, wallabies, koalas and echidnas. The tour of the park will also take us to the rugged southern coastline for a walk on the Remarkable Rocks, which provide us with great photographic opportunities and stunning sea views. We continue to Admirals Arch boardwalk, which takes us down a rugged cliff face to reveal a spectacular rock archway, a natural nursery and safe haven for playful Long-nosed Fur Seals. After a wonderful day spent amongst Australia’s very best wildlife, we return to our hotel for a second night.
Day 9 – Adelaide, 2 nights
After meeting a variety of Australia’s wildlife up close and personal, it’s time to make our way back to the mainland by ferry. En route to Adelaide, we visit Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement in the quaint village of Hahndorf, with its tree lined streets and original ‘Fachwerk’ buildings.
Surrounded by grassy parkland, picturesque hills and the Mount Lofty Range, Adelaide could scarcely present a more captivating aspect. During this afternoon’s sightseeing tour we will be introduced to Adelaide’s streets, fine Victorian buildings and attractive parks and gardens that surround the city. Later, we arrive at the Stamford Plaza for our next two nights.
Day 10 – Adelaide Freedom Day
A Freedom Day to spend as you please. Take a look around Adelaide on foot or perhaps take an optional tour to the famous wine growing region of the Barossa Valley. Alternatively a lunch cruise along the Murray River may be a lovely way to spend a few hours.
**PLEASE NOTE THAT TOURS DEPARTING BEFORE 1ST SEPTEMBER 2018 WILL VISIT ADELAIDE BEFORE KANGAROO ISLAND**
Day 11 – Melbourne, 3 nights
This morning we make our way to the airport in plenty of time for our flight to Melbourne, capital of Victoria state and Australia’s second largest city. Melbourne’s allure lies in the fabulously preserved Victorian architecture of its many public buildings and gracious homes. Enjoy a sightseeing tour including 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. Home for the next three nights is the four star Clarion Suites, situated in a wonderful location, just a short stroll from Melbourne’s fashionable Southbank.
Breakfast and in-flight drinks included
Day 12 – Melbourne Freedom Day
This is our first Freedom Day in Melbourne, where we have the opportunity to take a trip to Phillip Island, home to the world’s largest colony of Fairy Penguins, to view the Penguin Parade. Alternatively, take the Puffing Billy steam train through the Blue Dandenong Ranges, explore the city’s most famous sporting landmarks or take dinner on the city’s historic tramcar.
Day 13 – Melbourne Freedom Day
With so much to do and see in and around Melbourne, a further Freedom Day is an 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 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.
Day 14 – Uluru, Overnight
Following breakfast this morning, we board our flight via Alice Springs to Uluru (Ayers Rock) in Australia’s Red Centre. Before landing we may have the opportunity to view the world’s largest monolith from our aircraft. Rising from the flat surrounding scrubland, Uluru is a site of deep cultural significance to the Aboriginal communities of the Northern Territory. Upon arrival we shall make our way to the four star Desert Gardens Hotel. Later, we depart for a Rock Base Tour enabling us to discover more about its historical and cultural importance, before stopping to enjoy a glass of sparkling wine whilst witnessing the changing colours of Uluru as the sun begins to set. It’s truly a photographer’s delight.
Day 15 – Alice Springs, 2 nights
This morning we leave for a tour of the impressive series of rounded sandstone domes known at the Olgas, before travelling along the scenic Lasseter and Stuart Highways to Alice Springs. Upon arrival we make our way to the four star DoubleTree by Hilton.
Day 16 – Alice Springs Freedom Day
Our day is free to relax or explore the outback. You may wish to take a trip to the Western MacDonnell Ranges, which is 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 17 – The Ghan, Overnight
Nestled between the MacDonnell Ranges, Alice Springs is an iconic town made famous by its rich pioneering history and ancient indigenous culture. This morning you may wish to take an adventure in slow motion on an optional hot air balloon trip over the outback landscapes. Or you may prefer to simply relax by the hotel pool. Later, we board our coach and enjoy a sightseeing tour. 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.
Later in the afternoon it’s time to make our way to Alice Springs Rail Terminal ready for our magnificent overland rail journey to Darwin, on Australia’s northern coastline. Known for being one of the world’s most iconic rail journeys, The Ghan was named after the Afghan cameleers who once traversed this route. Our twin accommodation is in Gold Service, air-conditioned, private sleepers, all with upper and lower bunk beds, en-suite shower, wash basin and toilet. Single travellers will be accommodated in single cabins, which are configured as a lounge chair by day, converting into a bed at night, with shared bathroom facilities at the end of each carriage. Whilst on board, all our meals are included, as are a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Following dinner in the Queen Adelaide Restaurant, enjoy drinks with your travelling companions in the Outback Explorer Lounge.
Breakfast and dinner PLUS selected onboard drinks included
Day 18 – Darwin, 2 nights
Following breakfast, The Ghan arrives into Katherine. Here we have the opportunity to visit nearby Nitmiluk National Park, home to the spectacular Katherine Gorge. The gorge is a series of 13 sandstone gorges carved over many millions of years by the Katherine River. As we cruise up the river, calls of the cicada resonate across the water between the towering sandstone cliffs. Listen to stories of how the gorge was named, whilst marvelling at the sheer walls, etched by time and the elements, and home to a myriad of plant and animal life. Afterward return to The Ghan in time for lunch as we continue our journey to Darwin. Upon arrival we transfer to the DoubleTree by Hilton Esplanade situated on Darwin’s striking esplanade.
Breakfast and lunch PLUS selected on-board drinks included
Day 19 – Darwin Freedom Day
Darwin is the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory and is known for its laid-back fusion of frontier outpost and modern city. Your day has been left totally free to spend in your own particular way. Perhaps visit the Defence of Darwin Experience, an immersive, interactive multimedia experience telling the story of Darwin’s role in World War II – a very important time in Northern Territory history. Alternatively visit the thundering waterfalls, rainforest pockets and sacred sights of Litchfield National Park. For those wishing to venture further afield, a full day overland or flightseeing excursion to Kakadu National Park can be arranged.
Day 20 – Cairns, 4 nights
An early start, as we leave for the airport in time for our one-stop flight to Cairns. Upon arrival we shall transfer to the ideally located four star Pacific International Hotel or DoubleTree by Hilton (for tours departing after 1st September 2018), which will be our home for the next four nights.
Breakfast and in-flight drinks included
Day 21 – 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 bottom 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 22 – Cairns Freedom Day
Although today has been left free, you may wish to take an optional trip to Kuranda. To begin the day, guests are able to immerse themselves in traditional aboriginal culture at the Tjapukai Cultural Centre, with authentic music, dance and storytelling by the Tjapukai people. We then take the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, a beautiful experience gliding over the rainforest canopy, to the picturesque market town of Kuranda, ‘the village in the rainforest’. Kuranda is a lovely place to while away a few hours visiting the daily markets, the butterfly sanctuary or the Koala Gardens. The tour returns to Cairns by a scenic railway journey; see how the track clings to the rock face along a narrow coastal strip.
Day 23 – Cairns Freedom Day
Another free day to enjoy and relax 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 Heritage-listed Cape Tribulation. The tour gives a wonderful insight into the rainforest’s unique flora and fauna, including a guided walk with an aboriginal guide and a cruise spotting saltwater crocodiles. Enjoy your day!
Day 24 – Sydney, 4 nights
This morning we make our way to Cairns airport in time for our flight to Sydney. Upon arrival we head to either the Parkroyal Hotel situated overlooking vibrant Darling Harbour, or North Sydney Harbourview Hotel (if departing after 1st September 2018). Sydney is a city that takes full advantage of its natural setting – its sparkling harbour is host to the world famous Sydney Harbour Bridge, affectionately known as ‘the coat hanger’ 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.
Breakfast and in-flight drinks included
Day 25 – Sydney – Sightseeing and luncheon cruise
This morning, our sightseeing tour begins with a drive through some of Sydney’s most fashionable inner city suburbs en route to Bondi Beach. Travel by Rushcutters Bay and Double 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, Elizabeth. Here we stop for the classic photo opportunity of the world famous Opera House and Harbour Bridge. We complete our tour 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. The afternoon has been left free to spend as we please.
Breakfast and lunch included
Day 26 – Sydney Freedom Day
A Sydney Freedom Day to spend as you please. Although today has been left free, 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 27 – Sydney Freedom Day
A further Freedom Day to experience Sydney in a way that suits you. Take an optional behind the scenes tour of Sydney Opera House, enjoy an exhilarating float plane trip over the harbour, catch up on some shopping, experience sailing an America’s Cup yacht or possibly climb the impressive Harbour Bridge. Whatever you wish to do, our Tour Manager will be very happy to help.
Day 28 – Depart Sydney
The day is yours until it’s time to depart for the airport. Our flight to our chosen UK airport operates via Dubai, where there will be a change of aircraft.
Breakfast, and in-flight meals and drinks included
SPECIAL OFFER – SAVE UP TO £592 PER COUPLE
If you would like to stopover on your way home, we have an amazing offer on a selection of stopovers for you to choose from: Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok 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 or five star hotel with full daily breakfast. See the departure dates and prices for full details, but remember, to take advantage of this special offer, you must book by 15th March 2018. This offer is only available on tours departing after the 1st September 2018.
Should you prefer a relaxing stay on your way home, then as part of our special offer, you may choose Bali for a three night stay at the reduced price of £219 per person in a twin or double and £438 for single occupancy. Again this offer only applies in our Very Best of Australia tours departing after 1st September 2018.
Day 29 – 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
Why not combine with a tour of New Zealand?
If you wish to make the ultimate journey to Australasia, combining The Very Best of Australia with either the Magnificent New Zealand or Very Best of New Zealand tour makes perfect sense.
Please see our Australia and New Zealand combination tours for more details.