Experience the essence of Australian laid-back luxury with this seven-day Hamilton Island and Sydney trip. Start in the Whitsundays at an opulent award-winning resort, where you'll go diving on the Great Barrier Reef, helicopter above Heart Reef, and stand on Whitehaven Beach with a glass of sparkling wine. Switch to Sydney and tick off its icons in style. Cruise across the harbor at sunset, go behind the scenes at the Opera House, eat your way across the city, and climb over the famous bridge.


  • Live in 5-star luxury at an award-winning resort and design hotel
  • Take a helicopter ride to Whitehaven Beach and fly above Heart Reef
  • Spend a full day diving and then go snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef
  • Experience Sydney Harbour with a private sunset dinner cruise
  • Meet Aussie wildlife in the bush with a full-day private nature experience

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Brisbane, Fly to Hamilton Island, Barbecue Dinner Cruise Hamilton Island
Day 2 Full-Day Great Barrier Reef Diving Experience Hamilton Island
Day 3 Heart Reef & Whitehaven Helicopter Ride, Whitsundays Snorkel Cruise Hamilton Island
Day 4 Fly to Sydney, Sunset Dinner Cruise Sydney
Day 5 Discover Sydney: Bike, Opera House & Food Tours Sydney
Day 6 Full-Day Wildlife in the Wild Tour Sydney
Day 7 Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Depart   

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Brisbane, Fly to Hamilton Island, Barbecue Dinner Cruise

Check into your private pavilion, complete with soaking tub, on Hamilton Island (photo courtesy of qualia)

G'day and welcome to Australia! You've landed in Brisbane, the sunny capital of Queensland. Collect your bags and transfer to the domestic terminal for your flight to Hamilton Island, one of Australia's most spectacular holiday destinations. Set in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef and the chain of 74 Whitsunday Islands, you'll experience the best of this tropical paradise, from lazing on soft white-sand beaches to snorkeling around a kaleidoscope of coral and marine life. On arrival, enjoy a VIP transfer to qualia, one of Australia's top award-winning 5-star luxury resorts.

At qualia, each spacious pavilion is set in natural bushland with panoramic Whitsunday Island and ocean views. Kick back and enjoy the private sanctuary, or make use of your electric golf buggy and explore the island. Later, you'll step aboard the Ocean Explorer for a memorable dining experience. Relax and watch the shoreline slip away as you cruise through the Whitsunday Islands to a secluded bay. Enjoy a delicious barbecue buffet dinner while at anchor, then enjoy a leisurely cruise back to shore under a starlit night sky. 

Day 2: Full-Day Great Barrier Reef Diving Experience

Full Day Dive the Great Barrier Reef
It's common to meet green sea turtles when you dive into the Great Barrier Reef

Today, you'll dive into one of the world's great natural wonders with a full-day excursion to the Great Barrier Reef. The world's largest coral reef system is home to an incredible diversity of marine life, including over 1,500 species of fish, 30 species of whales and dolphins, and six species of sea turtles. Made up of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands, the protected area spans over 1,430 miles (2,300 km). Pack your swimsuit and sunscreen this morning and board a private catamaran destined for two dive locations within Bait Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, and is an essential ecosystem for the world's oceans, providing vital habitat and protection for marine life. With this private reef experience, you'll have the chance to make two dives (if you have your PADI certification) or snorkel among colorful fish, sea turtles, rays, and even sharks. At the end of the day, return to Hamilton Island, where you're booked for dinner at qualia's signature fine dining experience, the beachfront Pebble Beach restaurant.

Day 3: Heart Reef & Whitehaven Helicopter Ride, Whitsundays Snorkel Cruise

See the famous Heart Reef from above on a scenic helicopter flight

The Whitsundays boast some of the most pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant coral reefs on Earth. This morning, you'll take a scenic helicopter flight to witness the world-famous Heart Reef, see Hill Inlet's swirling turquoise waters, and finally land on the pure white and powdery sands of Whitehaven Beach. Splash around at one of the world's most beautiful beaches and enjoy a glass of sparkling wine before your return to Hamilton Island.

In the afternoon, an exciting adventure awaits as you set out to explore the Great Barrier Reef once again. This time, you'll enjoy an intimate and personalized snorkeling experience with a private half-day cruise. You'll jet out to the best fringing reef areas, where you'll have ample time with at least two hours dedicated to snorkeling and indulging in various water activities. Dive beneath the surface in search of colorful marine life and find out why the Great Barrier Reef is one of the world's most important natural wonders.

Day 4: Fly to Sydney, Sunset Dinner Cruise

You'll be treated to the best views in town from your luxury base in Barangaroo (photo courtesy of Crown Towers)

It's time to swap the tropics for Australia's most famous city: Sydney. Qualia will provide a VIP transfer to Hamilton Airport for the 2.5-hour flight. On arrival, a private driver will transfer you to your accommodation, the 5-star Crown Towers. The sculptural hotel resembles three twisting petals reaching skyward, giving every luxe room panoramic views over the city from its position at Barangaroo. The rest of the day is yours to explore Sydney. Start with a visit to the iconic harbor and soak up the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge over a drink at a waterfront bar, like the Opera Bar.

Return to your hotel to refresh ahead of a deluxe private sunset cruise on Sydney Harbour. Step aboard a 52-foot (16 m) motor yacht and enjoy a four-hour dinner cruise where you'll watch day turn to night and feast on a delicious Australian barbecue dinner paired with wine or beer. Your captain and host will share the rich history of the city as you pass famous landmarks, and you can even go swimming, fishing, or kayaking if you wish.

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Day 5: Discover Sydney: Bike, Opera House & Food Tours

Opera Bar
Cycle across Sydney, go behind the scenes at the Opera House, then eat your way around the city

Today you'll explore the best of Sydney, starting with a private bike tour. Jump in the saddle and pedal past Circular Quay, the Royal Botanic Gardens, the piers at Walsh Bay, Darling Harbour, the Anzac War Memorial, Chinatown, and Hyde Park with a private guide who will share tales of the city. After, venture to the Sydney Opera House for a behind-the-scenes private tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and iconic landmark. A knowledgeable guide will lead you through off-limits areas to see how the engineering masterpiece and venue hosts more than 2,000 shows annually. 

Finally, you'll explore Sydney's world-class culinary scene on foot this afternoon. Your half-day private tour will explore the diverse tastes of Sydney, from the oldest colonial area, The Rocks, to the buzzy waterfront at Barangaroo. You'll eat your way around the world, from pizza to pad thai, while learning about Australia's multicultural food scene and waves of migrants that continue to influence and redefine modern Australian cuisine.

Day 6: Full-Day Wildlife in the Wild Tour

Full Day Private Wildlife in the Wild Tour
See classic Aussie wildlife like kangaroos and wombats in their natural habitat in the Southern Highlands

Experience Australia's native bushland and seek out iconic native animals in their natural habitat with today's full-day private wildlife tour. A guide and driver will take you to a private property in the Southern Highlands, just 90 minutes south of Sydney. Here, you'll wander through towering forests of grey gums in search of koalas, look for platypus along the riverbanks, and drive through woodlands as mobs of kangaroos feed. Look for wallabies and the elusive emu while your guide describes the birdlife and bushland.

After dinner, you'll go night spotting for nocturnal wombats, gliders, and possums, which are most active in the evening. After an adventurous day immersed in nature, you'll return to your luxurious digs in Sydney.

Day 7: Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Depart 

Climb the Harbor Bridge
Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge is a bucket list experience

Gain a new perspective on Sydney on your final day in Australia when you join BridgeClimb for an epic adventure across the famous "coathanger." Commence your skywalk with a safety briefing, then embark on a three-hour journey that will eventually take you 439 feet (134 m) above sea level. You'll be treated to 360-degree views of the city, including east to the Opera House, west to the Blue Mountains, and the surrounding area.

Back on solid ground, a driver will collect you for a private transfer to Sydney Airport for your flight home or onward. Safe travels!

More Great Australia Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Australia? Check out these other Australia itineraries, explore different ways to spend a week in Australia in luxury, or discover the best time to visit Australia


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Map of Australia Luxury Reef & City Escape: Hamilton Island & Sydney - 7 Days
Map of Australia Luxury Reef & City Escape: Hamilton Island & Sydney - 7 Days