This exciting 10-day tour checks off three of Australia's most beloved locations starting with the tropical city of Cairns where you'll snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef. From here, you'll fly to the Australian Outback to experience the country's most famous monolith: Ayers Rock. Finish the adventure in Sydney, a cosmopolitan city with serious wow factor, awesome beaches, and excellent local wines.

Highlights

  • Swim and snorkel during a catamaran trip in the Great Barrier Reef
  • Watch a sunset in the Australian Outback while sipping bubbly
  • Tour cool neighborhoods in Sydney for a locals' perspective
  • Hike the coastal trail between Bondi Beach and Bronte for scenic views
  • Enjoy a gourmet lunch and wine/chocolate pairings in Hunter Valley

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cairns Cairns
Day 2 Great Barrier Reef Boat Excursion Cairns
Day 3 Cairns Free Day Cairns
Day 4 Fly from Cairns to Uluru (Ayers Rock) Uluru
Day 5 Uluru Free Day Uluru
Day 6 Fly from Uluru to Sydney Sydney
Day 7 Sydney City Sights Sydney
Day 8 Hunter Valley Wine Tasting Sydney
Day 9 Sydney Free Day Sydney
Day 10 Depart Sydney  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cairns

Take a refreshing dip at the lagoon

Welcome to Cairns in Queensland, where the rainforest meets the sea! 

Upon arrival, your driver will pick you up for the transfer to your hotel in town. You'll then have the afternoon to spend any way you'd like. With the warmer, tropical weather, you'll likely want to throw on your swimsuit right away. There are beaches driving distance away, but the best option for getting in the water quickly is to visit the huge open-air lagoon pool in town, wonderfully free-of-charge. This is a fantastic swimming area located on the Cairns Esplanade with nice views of the sea as well as barbeque lunch options. The area is abuzz with tourists and locals relaxing on the grassy knoll or splashing in the water.

You could also pay a visit to the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, which is listed by the Guinness Book of Records as Australia’s largest butterfly flight aviary and exhibit.

Other ideas include the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, a sprawling eatery in an indigenous cultural center, delivering homestyle meals and a buffet. In fact, Night Fire is Tjapukai’s signature evening event where you will meet the indigenous rainforest people who paint your face to link you to their traditional land. As the night continues, you'll follow the Tjapukai warriors to a corroboree celebrating Aboriginal Dreamtime stories, and then join the Rainbow Serpent circle to learn traditional language songs before the ceremonial fire is lit with a spectacular fireball shooting towards the stars.

Day 2: Great Barrier Reef Boat Excursion

Colorful fish in the Great Barrier Reef

Today, you'll board a high-speed catamaran for a full-day cruise to the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest living organism. The massive ecosystem contains an abundance of marine life with over 3,000 individual reef systems and coral cays, as well as hundreds of picturesque tropical islands and countless sun-soaked, golden beaches with opportunities to swim and snorkel. During the exciting excursion, beverages will be served in the morning and a full buffet lunch in the early afternoon. 

Return to your hotel in the late afternoon and take the remainder of the evening to explore on your own. As the main tourist hub of Queensland, you can choose between plenty of bars, cafes, and restaurants offering a variety of international cuisines and nightlife options.

Day 3: Cairns Free Day

Cape Tribulation in Daintree National Park

Today is a free day to experience Cairns any way you'd like. For a truly unique activity, you may want to consider a trip up to Kuranda on the Skyrail Gondola. This mountain village winds along forested hillside tracks carved out by early settlers, and the gondola ride offers ocean views above a tropical rainforest. 

You could also take a 4x4 tour of Daintree National Park, an exceptional place of biodiversity and therefore a significant habitat for rare species and prolific birdlife. One entrance to the park is located south of the Daintree River at Mossman Gorge where a visitor center has been built. From here, you can take a shuttle bus to the gorge for a hike and/or refreshing swim.  

The most spectacular and oldest part of the Daintree rainforest is north of the Daintree River. After crossing the river on an old fashioned cable ferry, you'll find a series of boardwalks and untouched beaches to explore. Keep an eye out for the endangered cassowary, a flightless bird native to these tropical forests.

Day 4: Fly from Cairns to Uluru

Wildflowers in Uluru 

This morning, you'll be transferred to the Cairns domestic airport to board your flight to Uluru at Ayers Rock Airport in the heart of Australia's Northern Territory. Upon arrival, you will be picked up and transferred to your hotel.

Take some time to rest before you head out in the late afternoon to discover the Red Centre on a tour of the Olgas and the massive sandstone monolith called Uluru or Ayers Rock. The entire area consists of desert plains, weathered mountain ranges, rocky gorges and some of Aboriginal Australia's most sacred sites. Enjoy a glass of champagne while watching the changing colors as the sun sets.

Day 5: Uluru Free Day

Fields of Lights Installation - Uluru
Check out the Fields of Lights installation

This morning, you'll get up early to take part in a true outback experience at the Red Centre. Make your way to the sunrise viewing area to watch the awesome spectacle of the first sunlight of the day creep across the desert plains. Enjoy a warming cup of tea or coffee as the morning sun slowly changes the color of Uluru.   

From here, you'll transfer back to the resort where you'll have the rest of the day to discover the region at your own pace. There are plenty of activities to choose from. You can swim in a waterhole that's hidden deep inside a gorge, dine under a starry sky while being serenaded by a didgeridoo, or simply learn about Aboriginal culture and wildlife including birds and kangaroos. You can even take a tour around Uluru on a segway, or follow one of the many bushwalking trails or bushwalking guided tours offered by your hotel.

Day 6: Fly from Uluru to Sydney

A view of Bondi Beach from the coastal trail

Today, you will depart Cairns with a domestic flight to Sydney, the biggest and most cosmopolitan city in Australia. Snag a window seat and watch your jaw drop as you circle in for a landing. With boats bobbing in Darling Harbour, along with your first glimpses of the iconic Opera House, it's hard not to get excited when arriving in one of the most beautiful cities on the planet.

In the afternoon, you'll have free time to check the city. Perhaps you'll want to head to Bondi Beach for a stroll at one of the world's most famous beaches before the sun goes down. The crescent-shaped stretch of sand needs no introduction, but most visitors don't realize that you can walk the cliff trail from Bondi to Bronte for sweeping ocean views and lesser-known Sydney beaches. In addition, the entire neighborhood around Bondi offers a wide range of sophisticated food and drink options. 

Day 7: Sydney City Sights

Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House

Today, after breakfast at your hotel, take part in a guided tour that will take you to many notable sites around Sydney. The tour will include a walk through the historic Rocks area (the oldest neighborhood in Sydney), as well as Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair for splendid views of this magnificent harbor. This exposed sandstone rock was hand-carved into the shape of a bench in 1810 and overlooks Sydney Harbour. 

The tour continues with visits to Kings Cross, as well as ritzy seaside neighborhoods including Double Bay and Watson’s Bay. You'll have free time to explore each of these areas during the tour. 

In the late afternoon, you'll return to your hotel with time to enjoy the city on your own. Perhaps you'll want to splurge on tickets to an Opera House performance (there are multiple performances and theaters to choose from), or simply have a beverage at the attached Opera Bar for an al fresco waterfront experience like no other.

Day 8: Hunter Valley Wine Tasting

Caption

Today, you will take a guided day-trip to the Hunter Valley Wine Region, located about 2.5 hours by car north of Sydney. Once you arrive, you will enjoy a relaxing two-course lunch accompanied by a glass of wine. 

After lunch, you'll drive to Keith Tulloch Winery. This small family-owned winery and vineyard produces wine that expresses the unique terrain and climate from the ancient soils of the Brokenback Range. Here you will enjoy a unique wine tasting experience in collaboration with artisan chocolatier “Cocoa Nib”. Take part in tasting five handmade praline chocolates matched to the winery’s current release pour—a sensational way to conclude a day in the Hunter Valley Wine Region.

Day 9: Sydney Free Day

Get your views from the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb

Today, you'll have the entire day to enjoy a full day of leisure to explore Sydney. You may wish to climb to the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge via the experience called BridgeClimb or sign up for a pub tour where you'll meet other travelers. You can also ride a ferry to Manly Beach (a locals' favorite) for a laid-back day of sunbathing and swimming. The ferry takes about 30 minutes from Circular Quay and passes by the Opera House and other city landmarks for some great sightseeing opportunities.

For something more outdoorsy, take a day-trip to the rugged Blue Mountains west of the city. Here, you'll have time to take a self-guided two-hour hike where you'll experience the most stunning views in New South Whales. The route encompasses dramatic cliffs, eucalyptus forests, and waterfalls—and there will be plenty of stops to take photos and enjoy a picnic lunch.

Day 10: Depart Sydney

One more Sydney stroll before you depart

It's time to say goodbye to Australia! Take any extra free time this morning to walk around Sydney and shop for souvenirs, or simply sip a "flat white" at a café and watch the world go by. At the destinated time, you'll be picked up and transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

Map

Map of Cairns, Uluru & Sydney - 10 Days
Map of Cairns, Uluru & Sydney - 10 Days