The Big Walkabout with Sailing (Start Sydney)
Depart for Australia
Fly over the international date line on your way to Australia.
Check in to your hotel and head straight out into Sydney. From the high-energy downtown area to its popular beaches, Sydney has something for everyone.
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 overlooking the ridge of the same name. You’ll also check out the iconic ‘Three Sisters’ – the famous rock formations at the same location. With amazing views & photos to keep your memories fresh when you get home, we’ll head back to Sydney. Later this evening experience true Aussie food when you get to cook you own delicious BBQ dinner of legendary Australian steak. Watching the sunset with a drink in hand & a great meal as you people watch the cool Sydney siders 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 Tour 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 Macquarie Street & 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.
Sydney to Coffs Harbour
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.
Coffs Harbour to Byron Bay
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. Byron Bay is situation on a marine park also known for its incredible marine life. Head out to Cape Byron, the mainland Australia’s most easterly point and see the local pod of dolphins and if you’re lucky the seasonal humpback whales. Grab some lunch back in town and maybe take a swim at the beach. 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.
Byron Bay to Surfers Paradise
This morning we cross over into Queensland and visit Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary where you’ll get up close to Australia’s amazing native animals. Cuddle a koala, feed the kangaroos and see wombats, emus, crocodiles, dingoes, Tasmanian devils and colourful birds. You can feel good about doing this too, as our visit to this not-for-profit organisation goes towards the sanctuary’s animal hospital which helps over 4,000 injured animals every year. Tonight we pull into legendary Surfers Paradise, the Gold Coast’s party hot spot and home to some of the best surfing beaches in the world. Grab some of your new friends and join the party atmosphere of Surfers tonight. With heaps of restaurants and a buzzing nightlife, there’s something for everybody. Head to the happening Orchid or Cavill Avenues, where clubs and bars line the street or shoot some pool at a pub.
With a free day, hang out among the bronzed bodies, bikini babes and surfer dudes on the golden sands. Check out what Surfers is most famous for, the three kilometers of gorgeous natural beaches. Kick back and spot some locals showing off their talents in the waves. If you want to get amongst the action there’s so much happening in Surfers Paradise you are spoilt for choice. You could head up into the Hinterland Mountains on a 4WD trip, visit South Stradbroke Island on a kayaking safari or spend all day at Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin's Zoo, Australia Zoo. Our hotel is only a short walk from both the beach and downtown Surfers Paradise so you could also hit the shops – Surfers has some great places to shop and a huge outlet mall for bargains, so get some tips from your Tour Manager on where’s best to head.
Surfers Paradise to Noosa
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. Tonight, go local and enjoy a taste of Aussie 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.
Noosa to Fraser Island
This morning 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. If you want to explore as much of the island as possible, jump on our included full-day 4WD tour. 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.
Fraser Island to Farmstay
Back on the mainland this morning, we continue inland to an authentic country homestead, right in the heart of Queensland’s cattle country. 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 home made decadent desert. 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.
Farmstay to Whitsundays Sailing
Today we drive to Airlie Beach, gateway to the Whitsundays Islands and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park to board our sailing yacht. Enjoy two nights sailing the stunning Whitsunday islands with your friends. Swim, snorkel, or laze your way around the 74 islands of this tropical paradise, where you will past the lush tropical islands, snorkel or dive the many spectacular coral reefs, laze on the world's best beaches and personally meet an extravagant array of sea life. You can help the crew & learn how to grind the winches & hoist the sails, and try your hand at or just relax and top up your tan in the sun. Please note: Accommodation on board the yacht is multishare only.
The Whitsundays to Cairns
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, a National Park and bird sanctuary, 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. 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?' Tonight you have the opportunity to try kangaroo fillets, amongst other delicious Australian delicacies during your included dinner at one of Cairns' most awarded restaurants. On day 2, for those who are keen for a fun and thrilling ride on the rapids of the Tully River, join our optional whitewater rafting adventure activity with our professional Local Guides. There are loads more activities available in Cairns like hot air ballooning, sky diving and bungy jumping – just ask your Tour 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!
Cairns to Alice Springs
Catch a flight today as we cut across the state to land in the Northern Territory. We touch down in Alice Springs, smack in the middle of Australia and in the middle of nowhere. 'The Alice' is the original outback town and is also the artistic core for Aboriginal culture. Maybe hold a snake or lizard at our reptile park experience!
Alice Springs to Kings Creek Station
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 up, 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.
Kings Creek Station to Uluru
Today we make tracks to Ulu?u! We drive by ancient (700 million years old!) Mt. Connor for 360° views over the red desert and take a walk through Ulu?u's neighbour - Kata Tju?a, 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 Ulu?u when your Tour Manager takes you around its base and gives you the background of the spiritual significance of this site for Aboriginal people. For something different, choose an optional Harley Davidson ride or scenic flight. Tonight, catch the sun set over the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ulu?u (Ayers Rock), and grab some nibbles and bubbly to toast this amazing view.
Uluru to Alice Springs
It’s an easy-going start to the day today. Your Tour 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.
Alice Springs to Tennant Creek
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. On the road, we stop by Ti Tree, an Aboriginal community, where there’s a chance to pick up authentic artefacts, paintings and didgeridoos at the cute Aboriginal art gallery. 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.
Tennant Creek to Katherine
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.
Katherine to Kakadu National Park
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.
Kakadu National Park
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. We get the background on local indigenous culture at the Warradjan Cultural Centre before we explore the “rock galleries” of Ubirr, where time-old paintings line the cave walls. Depending on the season, you can watch the sun set over this stunning site before we head back to the hotel for dinner.
Kakadu National Park to Darwin
This morning, our included boat cruise takes us out to spot some crocs & native birdlife Then we head to Darwin! Cruise around the city on a sightseeing tour before we hit the Darwin Museum and find out about the unlucky past of the Northern Territory’s capital. This afternoon enjoy some free time to explore Darwin, where you could jump on a relaxing harbour cruise.
Today, we head to 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 Tour 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 back to the hotel where your tour ends. Say goodbye to your new friends and Tour Manager in Darwin where we maybe try lucking out at the casino or go dancing & party the night away.