Adventurous travelers with discerning taste will love this 14-day Australian trip, which offers laid-back luxury and private experiences. The itinerary weaves together the cultural allure of Melbourne, the gastronomic delights of Adelaide, and the iconic landscapes of Sydney. You'll also travel up the continent in style aboard The Ghan, savoring three days of rail travel from Adelaide to Darwin. Then, experience the pristine wilderness of Kakadu National Park with an all-inclusive, luxury bush safari.


  • Stay in 5-star luxury accommodations at city hotels and remote resorts
  • Explore Melbourne through its laneways and Adelaide through its food scene
  • Spend two nights on The Ghan, a luxury train from Adelaide to Darwin
  • Experience the remote beauty of the Northern Territory on a bush safari
  • Spend your last night boating around Sydney Harbour during a dinner cruise

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Melbourne, Laneways & Alleyways Tour Melbourne
Day 2 Koalas & Kangaroos in the Wild Tour Melbourne
Day 3 Great Ocean Road Day Trip Melbourne
Day 4 Fly to Adelaide, Evening Wine, Dine & Discover Tour Adelaide
Day 5 Full-Day Kangaroo Island Fine Flavors Tour Adelaide
Day 6 The Ghan Day 1: Adelaide to the Outback Marla
Day 7 The Ghan Day 2: The Outback & Alice Springs Alice Springs
Day 8 The Ghan Day 3: The Outback to Darwin Darwin
Day 9 Fly to Bamurru Plains, Dine Among the Floodplains Bamurru Plains
Day 10 Full-Day Exploration of Bamurru Plains Bamurru Plains
Day 11 Full-Day Kakadu National Park Tour Bamurru Plains
Day 12 Fly to Sydney via Darwin Sydney
Day 13 Sydney Full-Day Tour, Deluxe Sunset Cruise Sydney
Day 14 Depart Sydney  

Detailed Itinerary


Day 1: Arrive in Melbourne, Laneways & Alleyways Tour

Join a private tour through Melbourne's car-free laneways

G'day and welcome! You've landed in Melbourne, the cultural capital of Australia. On arrival, meet your private driver, who will transfer you to your luxurious hotel, The Langham Melbourne. This elegant 5-star hotel is the perfect sanctuary for your stay in the cultural city. Drop your bags and refresh, then prepare to get lost in Melbourne's back streets. This city is famous for its laneway culture, and on a two-hour private walk, you'll discover designers, quirky cafés, and cool street art.

Do you know that Melbourne has the highest number of cafés and restaurants per number of people than any other city in the world? With a private local guide, you'll be immersed in Melbourne café culture and street art, exploring the hidden treasures located within the city center's many cobblestone laneways and alleyways. Discover the true heart of Melbourne as you explore the most famous graffiti-covered laneways and 19th-century arcades.

Day 2: Koalas & Kangaroos in the Wild Tour

Look for koalas blending into their environment at You Yangs Park

After a delicious breakfast at your hotel, a private guide will meet you for a special full-day journey west of Melbourne. Your first stop is You Yangs Park, a natural reserve with a healthy population of wild koalas. Your local expert will share details about how koalas live and socialize, and you'll be able to take photos of the threatened marsupials. Wander the wilderness, then break for a picnic lunch with billy tea, a common 19th-century style of Australian bush tea.

After exploring You Yangs, you'll travel to the nearby Serendip Wetlands National Park. Often, you'll be greeted by a choir of screeching cockatoos or chattering honeyeaters. Walk through the gum trees and across grasslands in search of wild mobs of eastern grey kangaroos. You can also look out for curious emus and take a short walk to the billabong, home to large populations of waterbirds. Finally, you'll return to your luxurious digs in Melbourne and relax for the evening.

Day 3: Great Ocean Road Day Trip

Great Ocean Road Private Tour
Check out the eight remaining pillars left standing on the Great Ocean Road

Wake up early and embark on an epic day trip along one of the most scenic coastal routes in the world: the Great Ocean Road. This stretch of highway runs 150 miles (240 km) down Victoria's southwest coast, passing national parks, limestone rock formations, seaside bluffs, coastal mountain ranges, and incredible beaches. This is a full-day, 11-hour private day trip in which you'll have ample time to stop and enjoy the highlights. 

Keep an eye toward the coast throughout the drive, as you're likely to spot whales and dolphins; on the inland side, you might even see echidnas and bandicoots. Stop for lunch at Apollo Bay, a tranquil seaside town set among the rolling coastal hills. You can stretch your legs on a forest hike through the mountains of the famous Otway Ranges. You'll also visit the romantic cove at Loch Ard Gorge, then cap the adventure at the most incredible natural landmarks on the route: the Twelve Apostles, a group of ancient limestone rock formations rising out of the sea. 

Day 4: Fly to Adelaide, Evening Wine, Dine & Discover Tour

Evening Wine, Dine & Discover by Foot (Private)
Discover the flavors of Adelaide with this evening's foodie tour

Today you'll catch a 1.5-hour flight to Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. This southern city is a former British colonial hub named after 19th-century Queen Adelaide. A small, progressive city, Adelaide is only one square mile yet boasts many distinctive attractions and is renowned for its many festivals, fine food, and wine. On arrival, a private driver will collect you and your bags for a transfer to the iconic Mayfair Hotel. This 5-star historic hotel sits in the heart of the city, and the thoughtfully designed rooms reflect the heritage-listed Art Deco facade.

Settle in, refresh, then set out this evening for a culinary walking tour. Start at one of the city's lesser-known local wine bars for an introduction to the region's best wines over snacks. Wander Adelaide's back streets, admiring the architecture, street art, and atmosphere on the way to the next location: a hidden bar to discover local spirits and creative cocktails. Hear about local laws and legends, the saints, sinners, innovators, and creators who have shaped this unique Australian city. Finish with a local digestive and delicious fresh cheese or sweet treats at a local institution.

Day 5: Full-Day Kangaroo Island Fine Flavors Tour

Learn about local cuisine while exploring Kangaroo Island's pristine landscapes

Eat a light breakfast and meet your private guide for today's full-day adventure. You'll travel from Adelaide over to gorgeous Kangaroo Island, a place famous for its flora, fauna, and food. Today you'll be focused on the latter, starting in the pristine farming region of Cygnet River, known for barley, wheat, canola, oats, lamb, and beef. Learn about the agricultural history of Kangaroo Island and pass by Kangaroo Island Pure Grain. Next is Kangaroo Island Olives, a father-son operation with 5,000 trees where you'll taste both table olives and some of the delicious oils.

Then, on the way to the American River, pass Fryar's Kangaroo Island Free Range Eggs and learn about the farm and its Maremma guardian dogs. Next, you'll taste Pacific oysters at Kangaroo Island Oyster Farm Shop, then pause for an al fresco picnic lunch with smoked meats, fresh salad, and local beer or wine. After, head inland to Clifford's Honey Farm. Since 1973, the Clifford family has been producing honey from Kangaroo Island's Ligurian bee population.

Then, drop by the Islander Estate Vineyards to taste premium red and white varieties from creative French winemaker Jacques Lurton. Finally, cap off this roving food adventure with a tasting at the award-winning Kangaroo Island Spirits, a company that's famous for a range of beautiful gins and liqueurs. After, return to the port for the ferry back to the mainland. You'll be dropped back at your hotel in Adelaide.

Day 6: The Ghan Day 1: Adelaide to the Outback

The Ghan
Witness the landscape change from pastoral lands and vineyards to the desert (photo courtesy of The Ghan)
Plan your trip to Australia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

The Ghan is a legendary train that evokes a frontier spirit and a romantic connection to the land. Today, you'll board the national treasure for an unforgettable rail journey. Originally dubbed the "Afghan Express," The Ghan was named for the pioneering cameleers who blazed a permanent trail into the red center of Australia more than 150 years ago. The moment you step into your cabin at noon, you'll be immersed into a world of romance that epitomizes rail travel.

Traveling in Platinum, you'll enjoy a stylish and spacious suite with full-size expansive windows and a big en suite, plus exclusive access to the Platinum Club carriage and all-inclusive world-class food and drink. Your cabin will be configured as a private lounge by day and transformed into a comfortable bedroom by night.

Head to the Queen Adelaide Restaurant for a brilliant lunch of South Australian produce as you watch Adelaide's outskirts roll into pastoral lands and wine country before flattening into rugged mallee scrub. Cross over the Dingo Fence—the world's longest fence, built to keep dingoes (wild dogs) out of southeast Australia—and speed into the outback, passing rustic railway towns and Indigenous land, where communities have held a connection with the country for thousands of years. Watch the sunset with new friends over cocktails, enjoy dinner onboard, and finish the day with a nightcap.

Day 7: The Ghan Day 2: The Outback & Alice Springs

The Ghan
Board the legendary Ghan train and ride across the vast Australian countryside

Today you'll wake up in Marla. Closer to Alice Springs than Adelaide, this small outback town is just shy of 620 miles (1,000 km) into this incredible train journey. Arriving in the pre-dawn, you're invited to step off and stretch your legs as sunlight slowly bathes the outback landscape. Sip a steaming mug of coffee and enjoy a bacon and egg roll before reboarding (you could even return to bed!). Soon enough, the Ghan will cross the Northern Territory border, arriving in Alice Springs around noon.

In Alice Springs, there are options on how to spend the afternoon. The Ghan traverses magnificent outback landscapes, and you can learn more about the flora, fauna, and ancient cultural stories on a guided walking tour at Alice Springs Desert Park. Meet mysterious nocturnal desert animals, including the iconic bilby and mala, and watch a free-flight bird show. Or get up close to crocodiles, goannas, and frill-neck lizards at the Reptile Centre, visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service and historic Alice Springs Telegraph Station, or take a scenic helicopter flight over the ancient red MacDonnell Ranges.

Reboard the train in the late afternoon and travel north through the desert as you enjoy dinner at the train's Queen Adelaide Restaurant.

Day 8: The Ghan Day 3: The Outback to Darwin

Savor the views on the final leg of your epic train journey (photo courtesy of The Ghan)

Watch the train race through the gold-mining town of Tennant Creek as you enjoy breakfast. The next stop is the historic pioneering township of Katherine, where you'll jump off to explore. You could board the Nitmiluk First Gorge Art Cruise, where you'll witness a stunning Indigenous rock art site and hear Dreamtime creation stories. Or board the Nitmiluk Gorge Cruise to float down the Katherine River and admire the towering gorge while hearing about the lives of its traditional owners. Alternatively, see all 13 gorges from above with a scenic helicopter ride.

Or, for something completely different, visit the Katherine Outback Experience, a show that celebrates life on the land through real horse-starting and working dog demonstrations entwined with live music and humorous bush tales. After exploring Katherine, board the train for a late lunch and watch as the rainforest of the Northern Territory outback rushes by the window. Pass the old gold mining town of Pine Creek and Adelaide River, once a World War II military headquarters. Finally, roll into the Northern Territory's tropical capital of Darwin in the evening and disembark.

Darwin is a laid-back city with a distinctive and dynamic personality shaped by its hot climate, rich Aboriginal history, and vibrant multicultural population. After stepping off the train, a private transfer will take you to the Mindil Beach Casino & Resort, a beachfront resort moments from the city center. Settle in, take a dip in the lagoon, and enjoy a drink at the swim-up bar.

Day 9: Fly to Bamurru Plains, Dine Among the Floodplains

End your day enjoying the laid-back luxury of a remote bush safari (photo courtesy of Bamurru Plains)

From the sensation of liftoff to the excitement of soaring above the twists and turns of the Adelaide River, this morning's 30-minute charter flight to Bamurru Plains is a unique and spectacular experience that sets the tone for the next few days. Take a private transfer to the terminal ahead of your scenic charter flight. On arrival in Bamurru, a field guide will pick you up for the 20-minute drive through the savanna bush to Bamurru Plains, your all-inclusive Australian safari camp in the Northern Territory's tropical Top End.

Enjoy a refreshing native-inspired tonic, settle into your luxury safari tent, then get ready to experience nature at its most vivid. Bamurru Plains is an off-grid destination on a water buffalo station with over 115 square miles (300 sq km) of beautiful wilderness and some of the country’s most spectacular and diverse birds and wildlife. This afternoon will be relaxed. Expect canapés and sundowners in the wilderness, then enjoy a brilliant three-course dinner that focuses on locally sourced and native produce at a communal long table. If you're not too tired, finish with a tipple from the open bar.

Day 10: Full-Day Exploration of Bamurru Plains

Immerse Yourself in the Wild Bush Luxury of Bamurru Plains
Seek out wildlife and water buffalo with today's guided wilderness safaris

Wake to the call of the magpie geese as dawn spreads across the floodplains outside your luxury bungalow. In this remote destination, you'll easily hear the chorus of the Australian bush and sit back with a coffee as agile wallabies and buffalo move across the landscape. You'll have the rest of the day free to explore the expansive property of Bamurru Plains. Choose to engage with nature through twice-daily guided wilderness safaris that include airboat rides, river cruises for crocodile spotting, and open-top safari drives. 

The day's activities will be curated based on local conditions and optimal wildlife viewing opportunities. You'll be accompanied by expert field guides who know the area like the back of their hand and can help bring the secrets of Bamurru Plains to life. You might go birding, diving into the diverse habitat from the Hide, explore the flood plain in a 4WD vehicle, or cruise along the flood plains while spotting crocodiles leisurely swimming. Later, unwind by the infinity-edge pool or spot wildlife from your veranda.

Day 11: Full-Day Kakadu National Park Tour

Appreciate the many waterfalls of Kakadu National Park during a scenic flight

Kakadu isn't merely a national park—it's a living piece of cultural heritage that has been home to Aboriginal Australians for over 65,000 years. The ancient rock art strewn across the park tells tales dating back 20,000 years, offering a unique window into the rich history and spirituality of the Indigenous locals. Today, you'll explore this vast and rugged landscape, starting with a scenic flight from Bamurru Plains that will reveal the beauty of Kakadu from the air.

On arrival, you'll trek to Ubirr—a place revered for its ancient rock art. Pass by numerous Aboriginal art sites until you reach a panoramic lookout of the Nadab floodplain. Then, you'll glide along the pristine waters of the East Alligator River on a boat cruise with your knowledgeable Aboriginal guides. As you navigate the tranquil river, keep an eye out for the stealthy crocodiles that call these waters home. Finally, you'll visit the Bowali Visitor Centre in Jabiru and return to your luxury camp by land.

Day 12: Fly to Sydney via Darwin

Welcome to Sydney!
Enjoy your first afternoon in Sydney by the expansive harbor (photo courtesy of Park Hyatt Sydney)

Today, you'll swap the remote reaches of the Northern Territory for inner-city Sydney! This famous Australian city is a bucket-list destination for good reason. With a dazzling natural harbor, epic beaches, a world-class restaurant scene, excellent live music and theater, and an unquenchable thirst for fun, you'll never get bored exploring stunning Sydney. Board a charter flight from Bamurru Plains back to Darwin. From here, you'll catch a 4.5-hour commercial flight to Sydney.

On arrival at Sydney airport, a private driver will meet and transfer you to your 5-star hotel, the luxurious harborside Park Hyatt. Soak in the brilliant views from your room and slip into something chic. Venture down to the harborfront and stop at Opera Bar for a sunset drink with views of the iconic bridge and Sydney Opera House. This city is home to some of Australia's top restaurants, so seek out a table at Quay, Aria, or Bennelong for a special treat. 

Day 13: Sydney Full-Day Tour, Deluxe Sunset Cruise

Explore the sights of Sydney today, including the famous Bondi Beach

Today a private guide will connect you with Sydney's greatest sights and tales, starting in The Rocks, Sydney's oldest suburb, where you'll learn about Australia's convict history. Learn the story of Mrs Macquarie and why, of all things, she has a stone chair named after her, then journey past the Royal Botanical Gardens, the heritage State Parliament House, and the landmark St Mary's Cathedral. Hear about Sydney's seedy underbelly as you drive through the infamous Kings Cross, a former red light district, as you drive out to the eastern shores, bays, and coves of Sydney Harbour.

Pause for tea and coffee with Tim Tams (a famous Australian biscuit) at Watson's Bay, then say g'day to brilliant Bondi Beach, where golden sands and bronzed lifesavers await. You'll cross the heritage-listed Sydney Harbour Bridge, built in 1931, and venture over to Manly, a beautiful beachfront suburb that's popular for surfing. As a private tour, your guide can adjust the stops and sights to your interests and pace.

Return to your hotel to grab a jacket ahead of a deluxe private sunset cruise on Sydney Harbour. Step aboard a luxury yacht and enjoy a two-hour sunset cruise where you'll watch day turn to night as you cruise the waters. Your captain and host will share the rich history of the city as you pass by famous landmarks, from the Opera House and Royal Botanic Gardens to the picturesque bays of Woolloomooloo, Double Bay, and Mosman.

Day 14: Depart Sydney

Bush tucker
Taste native finger limes and lilli pilli fruits on a bush tucker tour 

It's your final day in Australia! If you have time before your departing flight, consider joining the traditional owners of this land for an Aboriginal bush tucker tour. You'll follow your Indigenous guide on an hourlong tour of the Royal Botanic Gardens, where you'll learn more about local bush foods and how these foods were traditionally used and adapted to the modern plate and palate—all while tasting some for yourself!

Later, at an agreed time, a private driver will collect you and your bags for your transfer to the airport. Safe travels home or onward!

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Map of Off-the-Beaten-Path Australian Luxury: Cities, The Ghan & Kakadu - 14 Days
Map of Off-the-Beaten-Path Australian Luxury: Cities, The Ghan & Kakadu - 14 Days