Perfect for couples, this weeklong Aussie trip combines city culture with an island paradise. Kick off the trip in Melbourne, where you'll explore the city's charming laneways and Great Ocean Road. Then, feel the enchantment of a hot-air balloon ride over the Yarra Valley before flying north to car-free Hamilton Island. Here, you'll soar above Heart Reef and sip champagne during a sunset cruise. Finish the adventure by snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef and playing a round of golf on an island setting.

Highlights

  • Take a full-day trip along the Great Ocean Road and see the Twelve Apostles
  • See the lush vineyards of the Yarra Valley at sunrise from a hot-air balloon
  • Fly high above Heart Reef and Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsunday Islands
  • Tee off at one of the world's most beautiful golf courses, which has its own island

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Melbourne, Lanes & Arcades Tour, Dinner & Cocktails Melbourne
Day 2 Full-Day Great Ocean Road Trip Melbourne
Day 3 Morning Yarra Valley Balloon Flight & Wine Tour Melbourne
Day 4 Fly to Hamilton Island, Scenic Flight to Heart Reef, Sunset Sail Hamilton Island
Day 5 Full-Day Sailing & Snorkeling Tour Hamilton Island
Day 6 Golfing on the Great Barrier Reef, Fly to Melbourne, Explore Fitzroy Melbourne
Day 7 Café Culture Walk, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Melbourne, Lanes & Arcades Tour, Dinner & Cocktails

Discover Melbourne's creative laneway culture on this afternoon's walk

Welcome to Melbourne, the cultural capital of Australia! Upon arrival, a driver will transfer you to your accommodation. Drop your bags and set out to get lost in Melbourne's back streets, laneways, and arcades with a guide. This city is famous for its laneway culture, and on a three-hour afternoon walk, you'll discover local designers and specialty retailers, quirky cafés, and cool street art—all while hearing fascinating tales. Expect to find hidden gems and colorful street art at every turn.

Save some energy, because this evening's tour takes you into the heart of Melbourne's elegant and lively nightlife. It's a stark contrast with the city's dark past, which was shaped by curious characters on both sides of the law. Begin with a dinner that reflects Melbourne's fantastic culinary scene, and learn about the city's history from a local guide. Next are some of the best cocktail spots in town, many of which are deliberately hard to find, and you can enjoy this firsthand insight into all that Melbourne has to offer. 

Day 2: Full-Day Great Ocean Road Trip

Great Ocean Road
Make several stops throughout the day to walk around the sights

Rise and shine this morning and set off on an epic road 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) along Victoria's southwest coast, passing national parks, limestone rock formations, seaside bluffs, coastal mountain ranges, and pinch-me-now beaches. This is a full-day, 11-hour 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 also 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 up out of the sea. 

Plan your trip to Australia
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Day 3: Morning Yarra Valley Balloon Flight & Wine Tour

Flight over the Yarra Valley
Take a mesmerizing flight over the vineyards of the Yarra Valley followed by a wine tasting tour

Rise early again this morning, this time for a memorable hot-air balloon flight at Balgownie Estate, an award-winning winery with spectacular views. Climb aboard a hot-air balloon and ascend to the heavens as the morning sun bathes the lush vineyards and rolling hills of the Yarra Valley in a golden glow. Marvel at the incredible landscapes, where the mighty Yarra River weaves its way through Melbourne's esteemed wine country. Upon landing, return to the estate for a Champagne breakfast, celebrating the exhilarating flight and toasting to new heights reached.

Continue your day's explorations with a scenic drive to Yering Station Winery, where a guided tour awaits, unraveling the secrets of winemaking. Indulge in tastings at four premium wineries, savoring the region's finest vintages. End your enchanting day at Balgownie Estate, where a gourmet late lunch awaits with paired wines. Then, sit back and enjoy the return drive to Melbourne.

Day 4: Fly to Hamilton Island, Scenic Flight to Heart Reef, Sunset Sail

Hamilton Island - Beach
Kick back on a car-free tropical island with gorgeous white sandy beaches 

This morning you'll fly three hours north to Hamilton Island—one of the 74 islands in the Whitsundays archipelago, a true paradise off the coast of Queensland. Here you'll find pristine white beaches, beautiful coral gardens, and colorful marine life. This tropical island is one of Australia's most sought-after holiday destinations, offering relaxation and easy access to the Great Barrier Reef and the world-famous Whitehaven Beach. There are loads to do here, such as snorkeling, sea kayaking, helicopter flights, and more. Best of all, the only way around the island is by golf buggy!

This afternoon, you'll take a 70-minute scenic flight to witness the world-famous Heart Reef, see Hill Inlet's swirling turquoise waters, and finally admire the pure white and powdery sands of Whitehaven Beach. After your scenic flight, change air travel for sea travel and set sail across the ocean. You'll get up close to the famous Whitsunday landscapes on a 90-minute sunset cruise. Sit back and relax on your luxe catamaran with a glass of bubbles in hand as the sun sets on a perfect day in paradise. 

Day 5: Full-Day Sailing & Snorkeling Tour

On The Edge - Sail & Snorkel
Today you'll sail around the Whitsundays, stopping to snorkel and swim

Board a sleek purpose-built catamaran and set off to explore Whitehaven and Chalkies beaches today. Departing in the morning, you'll have the whole day to experience the turquoise waters, marine life, pure silica sand, and brilliant sunshine that have made the Whitsundays famous. Feel the sea breeze in your hair as you cruise to Whitehaven Beach, where pristine white sands stretch as far as the eye can see, contrasting with the surreal azure hues of the ocean.

Indulge in a delicious lunch served onboard, then don snorkeling gear and dive into the crystal-clear waters of Chalkies Beach. Discover an underwater wonderland, where colorful coral reefs and tropical fish await. Yes, the beauty of the Whitsundays goes beyond the surface! Relax on deck as you journey back to Hamilton Island and reflect on a brilliant day in paradise.

Day 6: Golfing on the Great Barrier Reef, Fly to Melbourne, Explore Fitzroy

Golfing the Great Barrier Reef
Tee off on the Great Barrier Reef, and complete all 18 holes with views like this

Hamilton Island Golf Course is an 18-hole, par 71 course renowned for its challenging layout. Today you'll take to the island green and navigate the course, which enjoys spectacular panoramic views of the adjacent Whitsunday Islands and the Coral Sea. Designed by five-time British Open winner Peter Thomson, this challenging course makes its way along the scenic vistas of Dent Island, with coastal winds and dense bushland as obstacles. After a thrilling round, unwind with a drink at the modern Clubhouse before your ferry back to Hamilton Island.

Then, it's time to swap this tropical paradise for Melbourne as you board a 3.5-hour flight south. On arrival, a private driver will take you to your accommodation. Drop your bags and refresh, then set out to explore the hip neighborhood of Fitzroy. Stroll down Brunswick Street, known for its eclectic mix of cafés, bookstores, and boutiques. Grab a flaky pastry from Lune Croissanterie, then find somewhere along Gertrude Street for dinner. Finally, savor late-night cocktails at the award-winning Black Pearl or enjoy a local ale at the iconic Napier Hotel.

Day 7: Café Culture Walk, Depart

Melbourne
Learn about Melbourne's rich café culture and try local coffee styles, like "magic"

On your final morning in Australia, meet a local coffee expert and step deeper into Melbourne's world-famous coffee scene with a tour of the city's café culture. You'll take a fun journey through the city's charming hideaways, meeting dedicated artisans skilled in the art of tea, coffee, and gourmet food.

After that, it's time to say goodbye to Australia! A private transfer will take you to the airport in time for your flight home or onward. Safe travels!

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Map

Map of Romantic Australia Tour of Melbourne & the Great Barrier Reef - 7 Days
Map of Romantic Australia Tour of Melbourne & the Great Barrier Reef - 7 Days