This 12-day highlights tour combines stunning natural settings and diverse wildlife with heart-stopping activities. You'll begin in Sydney before flying into the outback, ending your stay along the coast where you'll divide your time between rainforest and the Coral Sea. You'll hug koalas in Kuranda, watch whales off the coast of Sydney, snorkel part of the Great Barrier Reef, as well as hike in the Blue Mountains and catch a sunset over Uluru.

Highlights

  • Gear up for a thrilling climb of Sydney's Harbour Bridge
  • Marvel at Uluru's changing colors as the sun sets over the desert landscape
  • Ride the cable car over the world's oldest rainforest in Queensland's Wet Tropics
  • Discover the underwater wildlife of the Great Barrier Reef
  • Cruise the estuaries of the Daintree Tropical Rainforest

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sydney Sydney
Day 2 Explore Sydney; Harbour Bridge Climb & Opera House tour Sydney
Day 3 Hike in Blue Mountains National Park Sydney
Day 4 Whale Watching cruise Sydney
Day 5 Fly to Uluru Uluru
Day 6 Uluru sunrise & Field of Light experience Uluru
Day 7 Fly to Cairns Cairns
Day 8 Day trip to Kuranda Cairns
Day 9 Great Barrier Reef excursion; Drive to Port Douglas Port Douglas
Day 10 Day trip to Daintree Rainforest Port Douglas
Day 11 Explore Port Douglas Port Douglas
Day 12 Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Sydney

Sydney Opera House
Peek inside the iconic Sydney Opera House

Welcome to Australia! Upon your arrival in Sydney proceed through customs and to the designated transfer area for your shuttle to your Sydney accommodation. At the hotel, you will meet your local guide who will go through your itinerary and answer any questions you may have for your upcoming adventure.

Take the remainder of the day to rest after your international flight. 

Day 2: Explore Sydney - Harbour Bridge Climb & Opera House tour

Climb your way to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge for stellar views 

Early this morning find your way to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the BridgeClimb check-in point to gear up for your exciting ascent. Together with a guide, you'll reach the summit at 440 feet (134 m) above sea level in the heart of Sydney's harbor for panoramic vistas of the city and its surroundings. Afterward, stop for lunch before heading to the Sydney Opera House for your afternoon tour of this iconic structure.

Day 3: Hike in Blue Mountains National Park

Three Sisters, Blue Mountains, Australia
Trek in the Blue Mountains National Park and spot the Three Sisters rock formation

Meet your driver this morning outside your hotel for the short drive to the Blue Mountains National Park. Here you will go on a self-guided two-hour hike to discover the remote region that offers up dramatic views of sheer rock cliffs, like the sandstone rock formation, Three Sisters, overlooking eucalyptus forests. Stop for a picnic lunch before completing your trek and meeting your driver to head back to Sydney.

Day 4: Whale watching cruise

Australia - Sydney - Humpback whale against Sydney backdrop
Seek out humpbacks off the coast of Sydney

Spend the morning as you choose before heading to the harbor for your afternoon whale watching experience. You'll board an ocean catamaran and cruise through the entrance of Sydney Harbour in search of humpbacks and southern right whale. The best time to spot humpbacks is in June and July when these majestic marine mammals migrate north for breeding or on their return south with their calves from September to November. As southern right whales do not migrate, you may have a chance to spot a mother and calf in Sydney Harbour.

Day 5: Fly to Uluru

Uluru Sunset
Catch a sunset over the massive Ayers Rock in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

This morning transfer to the Sydney domestic airport to board your three-hour flight to Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) in the "Red Center" of Australia's Northern Territory. Meet your driver and transfer to your hotel. After taking some time to settle in, you'll join your guide for an afternoon tour to discover the Uluru region as you drive through the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. You'll visit the 36 red-rock domes known as "The Olgas" (Kata Tjuta) and of course, the famous Uluru monolith itself. Sit with a glass of champagne, watching the changing colors over the landscape as the sun makes its westerly journey.

Day 6: Uluru sunrise & Field of Light experience

Fields of Lights Installation - Uluru
Enjoy an evening taking in the Fields of Lights installation

Wake up in the Australian outback and enjoy your morning in the Red Center. Travel to the sunrise viewing area, near Uluru, to watch the first rays of sun creep across the desert plains—an impressive spectacle. 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 your accommodation to enjoy the rest of the day discovering the region at your own pace.

In the evening, you will make your way to the Ayers Rock Resort for a memorable and enchanting experience, Bruce Munro's Field of Light installation art. As darkness falls and Uluru is thrown into darkness, the large-scale piece illuminates the field before you, slowing changing colors, creating a mystical shimmering quality.

Day 7: Fly to Cairns

Palm Cove, Cairns, Australia
Stroll along the Esplanade in Cairn's Palm Cove

Take the morning to soak up the last of your outback experience before transferring to the airport for your onward flight to Cairns (2.5 hours). Check into your hotel and spend the rest of the day at your own pace, exploring Cairns, the gateway to Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

Day 8: Day trip to Kuranda

Koala, Kuranda Koala World, Australia
Cuddle with a Koala at Kuranda's Koala Gardens

Today you'll head to the Skyrail Rainforest cableway station to board a six-person cabin for a 1.5 hour trip over the UNESCO-protected, oldest continually surviving rainforest canopy. Take in the all-encompassing views over Barron Gorge National Park until you'll reach the town of Kuranda. Spend some time browsing through local markets, relaxing in a café, or check out any of Kuranda's popular wildlife-related attractions, including Birdworld, the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, and the Kuranda Koala Gardens.

Return to Cairns in the late afternoon via the Kuranda Scenic Railway, a historic line that connects Cairns to Kuranda. Lauded as one of the world's great train journeys, enjoy a different perspective of the Barron Gorge park as your ride past steep mountain walls and cascading rainforest water and through hand-carved tunnels.

Day 9: Great Barrier Reef excursion - Drive to Port Douglas

Great Barrier Reef near Cairns, Australia
Cruise aboard a catamaran to explore the Great Barrier Reef

Early this morning you'll board a high-speed catamaran for a full-day cruise to the Great Barrier Reef. Enjoy morning tea aboard the catamaran, stopping to snorkel and explore one of Australia’s most remarkable natural gifts up close. Discover the breathtaking beauty of the world’s largest coral reef, home to abundant marine life comprising over 3000 individual reef systems and coral cays as well as hundreds of picturesque tropical islands. Soak in the sun as you enjoy a buffet lunch served on board before continuing your reef exploration.

Return to Cairns in the late afternoon and transfer the hour up the coast to Port Douglas where you'll check into your hotel.

Day 10: Day trip to Daintree Rainforest

Australia - Daintree - River through Mossman Gorge
Discover wildlife in Daintree's Mossman Gorge

After an early breakfast at your hotel, enjoy a scenic drive further north through the oldest tropical rainforest in the world, Daintree, and to the Kulki Lookout in Cape Tribulation. Marvel at the beautiful vistas over mountain peaks and pristine white-sand beaches and to the Great Barrier Reef, the only place in the world where rainforest meets reef. Switch gears and tour the mangroves and estuaries on a river cruise of the Daintree National Park and learn about the abundance of wildlife, including the estuarine crocodile.

Break for lunch at a private rainforest property in the Daintree National Park, followed by a visit to the Mossman Gorge Center, an important cultural center for the Kuku Yalanji people. Here you will learn how the indigenous people lived in the area for 50,000 years.

Day 11: Explore Port Douglas

Austrailia - Port Douglas - Four Mile Beach
Enjoy Port Douglas' Four Mile Beach

Today is yours to explore Port Douglas. Choose a tour taking you to Atherton Tablelands for a local produce tasting or visit Hartley's Crocodile Adventures for an introduction to northern Queensland's crocodiles and wildlife. Alternatively, you may wish to relax on the beach, go on another snorkeling expedition, or shop the many boutique stores along Macrossan Street.

Day 12: Depart

Australia - Port Douglas - Wharf facing Daintree NP
Take the morning to relax in Port Douglas

Depending on your travel itinerary, you may have the morning to enjoy the beach one last time or shop for any last minute souvenirs and gifts before transferring to Cairns airport for your onward flight.

Map

Map of Highlights of Australia - 12 Days
Map of Highlights of Australia - 12 Days