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Reefs and Rainforests with Sailing

(Start Sydney)

4.6
65 reviews
00:00 / 00:00
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See full itinerary

The one that gives you pure Aussie highlights as you surf & sail up The East Coast

Travel Style

In-Depth Explorer

Take your time and explore in-detail each destination on this trip. Find out more

  • Duration

    16 days

  • Places

    10 places

  • Meals

    15 Breakfast, 4 Dinner, 2 Lunch

  • Transport Style

    Mini-Coach + Internal flights + Train

  • Group Size

    Max 30 people

  • Average Group Age

    18-35

  • Team

    Expert Trip Manager, Local Guides, Skipper & Crew

  • International Flights

    Included

Sydney, Byron Bay, Noosa Everglades, Whitsundays, Magnetic Island, Cairns, Cape Tribulation, Hosanna Farm, Fraser Island, Townsville

Reefs and Rainforests with Sailing (Start Sydney)

34 Inclusions

Experiences that are included with your trip

  • Take a day trip to the Blue Mountains and learn about their cultural significance
  • See the sights on a guided walking tour of Sydney including the Opera House & Watson's Bay
  • Pay your respects at the ANZAC Memorial in Hyde Park, Sydney
  • Spend the afternoon at Sydney's Bondi Beach & swim in the dreamy blue waters
  • Visit Bondi Beach and protect marine life by taking '3 for the sea'
  • Included Flight: Sydney to Byron Bay
  • Live out your bohemian dreams with a surfing lesson in Byron Bay
  • Sample Australian wine with cheese in Byron Bay (Selected departures only)
  • Stay at a sustainable Eco Lodge in Noosa Everglades
  • Spot kangaroos at our Special Stay Eco Lodge in the Noosa Everglades
  • Enjoy a delicious roast dinner at the Noosa Everglades CootharaBar
  • Visit an authentic Aussie working farm for home-cooked damper & billy tea
  • Feed the farm animals at Hosanna Farm
  • Spend the day on the world's largest sand island: Fraser Island
  • Swim in idyllic Lake Mackenzie on Fraser Island
  • Enjoy a tasty lunch on Fraser Island
  • Included Flight: Noosa to Airlie Beach
  • Spend 2-nights on a converted racing yacht in the Whitsundays
  • Swim, snorkel, eat & repeat as you sail across the breathtaking Whitsundays to Whitehaven beach
  • Enjoy freshly prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner on board your converted racing yacht
  • Scenic train ride along the East Coast of Australia from Proserpine to Townsville
  • Watch the vibrant sunset on Magnetic Island with a glass of champagne
  • Visit a turtle hospital & learn about reef conservation in a Contiki Cares Reef HQ Experience
  • Catch a local ferry to Magnetic Island
  • Enjoy an unlimited chef-cooked breakfast of Aussie favourites while meeting and learning about Koalas at Bungalow Bay Koala Village
  • Spot native koalas alongside WWII fortifications on a Magnetic Island Fort Walk
  • See Magnetic Island's resident Rock Wallabies at dusk
  • Catch a local ferry from Magnetic Island to Townsville
  • Scenic train ride along the East Coast of Australia from Townsville to Cairns
  • See aboriginal culture brought to life through traditional dance, art and interactive demonstrations at Tjapukai on a Dreamtime Experience
  • Stop for a photo at Alexandra Lookout on the way to Cape Tribulation
  • Take a guided walk to where the rainforest meets the sea at Alexandra Lookout
  • Visit the beautiful town of Port Douglas
  • Visit the iconic Daintree ice cream company

20 Free Time Add-Ons

Optional experiences that you can choose from and pay for on your trip

  • Cook your own BBQ dinner in Sydney with freshly caught seafood or succulent steak at Phillip Foote restaurant
  • See Sydney's skyline at its best as you take the climb of your life up the famous Harbour Bridge A$ 250.00
  • Taste world class Australian wine at Handpicked Wines Cellar Door A$ 40.00
  • Take a sunset cruise across the spectacular bays of Sydney Harbour A$ 25.00
  • Whizz over the waters of Sydney harbour on a jet boat A$ 60.00
  • Explore the city of Sydney on two wheels with a guided bike tour A$ 70.00
  • Get up close to protected Sumatran tigers, Asian elephants, chimpanzees, giraffes & red kanagaroos at Sydney's Taronga Zoo A$ 47.00
  • Taste craft beer at the Stone and Wood Brewery in Byron Bay A$ 40.00
  • Visit a lighthouse and watch the golden sunrise in Byron Bay
  • Kayak on the crystal clear waters of Byron Bay A$ 58.00
  • Find your zen with morning yoga on the golden sands of Byron Bay
  • Paddle through the Noosa Everglades on a canoe A$55
  • Snuggle up for a selfie with a Koala with proceeds going back into Koala protection
  • Discover an underwater world on a Great Barrier Reef Cruise A$ 189.00
  • Get the blood pumping with an AJ Hackett bungee jump in Cairns A$ 165.00
  • See nature from new heights with the Jungle Swing in Cairns A$ 119.00
  • Feel the thrill of White Water Rafting in Cairns A$ 135.00
  • Take the Skyrail through UNESCO-listed rainforest to the sustainable living haven of Kuranda From A$105
  • Get entry to Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome plus one ZOOM activity A$ 45.00
  • Cuddle up to a Koala for a photo at Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome format A$ 28.00

Where I'll Stay?

Learn more about the accommodation available on this trip

  • 15 nights

    All accommodation is included on this trip

    11 nights in Hostel, 2 nights in Special Stay - Eco Camp, 2 nights in Boat

    15 nights: Multi-share hostel-style accommodation with a Special Stay at an Eco Camp in the Noosa Everglades (complete with kangaroos), as well as two nights on a sailing yacht. With accommodation this centrally located you'll be right in the action and ready to enjoy your days after a comfy night's sleep.

About this trip

Wonders await you on Australia's East Coast. Experience the pristine beauty of sailing the Whitsundays, have breakfast with koalas on Magnetic Island and snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef. Then, hit up Byron Bay, serving up some of the best surf, sand & beach vibes in the world.

Buy With Confidence

  • Only $200 deposit to book

    Reserve your space now with a deposit, pay the rest 45 days before departure

  • Pay over time, interest free

    Can't pay in full? We've got you covered with our Part Pay Program

  • No booking fee, no change fees

    Change your travel dates or even your trip for free

  • Financing available with UpLift

    Book now, pay later when you're eligible for Uplift

Map & Itinerary

  • Start location
  • End location
  • Trip day
  • Via location
  • River route
  • Plane route

Nights spent per location

  1. 3 3 nights

    Sydney

  2. 2 2 nights

    Byron Bay

  3. via via

    Hosanna Farm

  4. 2 2 nights

    Noosa Everglades

  5. via via

    Fraser Island

  6. 2 2 nights

    Whitsundays

  7. via via

    Townsville

  8. 2 2 nights

    Magnetic Island

  9. via via

    Townsville

  10. 3 3 nights

    Cairns

  11. 1 1 night

    Cape Tribulation

  12. Cairns

+2 more

DAY 1 - Arrive Sydney

Sydney

Welcome to Sydney! Meet up with your brand new travel family and hit the road and head on a day trip to one of Australia's finest: the majestic Blue Mountains (which aren't actually blue, but are still beautiful all the same). Out here in the great Aussie Outdoors we'll be learning about the legends behind the famous Three Sisters rock formation as well as exploring the Jamison Ridge area. We'll head back to Sydney and the evening is yours to make the most of. Why not get a group together for a signature "Cook your own BBQ" dinner at Phillips Foote heritage restaurant in the heart of The Rocks, with freshly-caught seafood or succulent steak just like the locals.

Stay

Wake Up Hostel (or similar)

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • Take a day trip to the Blue Mountains and learn about their cultural significance

FREE TIME ADD-ONS

  • Cook your own BBQ" dinner in Sydney with freshly-caught seafood or succulent steak at Phillip Foote restaurant

DAY 2 - Sydney

Sydney

This morning set out to explore this sun-drenched, cosmopolitan and eternally cool city. Your Trip Manager will give you the low down on all of Sydney's best bits as you get a tour of the highlights. Check out the Opera House, catch the ferry to Watsons Bay to experience the iconic skyline from a different perspective, then venture over to Bondi Beach where you can spend the afternoon lazing about in the sunshine. If you've got a head for heights, an optional Sydney Harbour Bridge climb is the best way to see that iconic harbour.

Stay

Wake Up Hostel (or similar)

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • See the sights on a guided walking tour of Sydney including the Opera House & Watson's Bay

  • Pay your respects at the ANZAC Memorial in Hyde Park, Sydney

  • Spend the afternoon at Sydney's Bondi Beach & swim in the dreamy blue waters

  • Visit Bondi Beach and protect marine life by taking '3 for the sea'

FREE TIME ADD-ONS

  • See Sydney's skyline at its best as you take the climb of your life up the famous Harbour Bridge

    A$ 250.00

DAY 3 - Sydney

Sydney

With a full free day to choose your own adventure, we have plenty of Free Time Add-Ons for you to pick from. Wine-lovers can sign up for an Australian wine tasting experience; water-lovers can opt for a sunset cruise or jetboat on the harbour.

Stay

Wake Up Hostel (or similar)

FREE TIME ADD-ONS

  • Taste world class Australian wine at Handpicked Wines Cellar Door

    A$ 40.00

  • Take a sunset cruise across the spectacular bays of Sydney Harbour

    A$ 25.00

  • Whizz over the waters of Sydney harbour on a jet boat

    A$ 60.00

  • Explore the city of Sydney on two wheels with a guided bike tour

    A$ 70.00

  • Get up close to protected Sumatran tigers, Asian elephants, chimpanzees, giraffes & red kanagaroos at Sydney's Taronga Zoo

    A$ 47.00

DAY 4 - Sydney to Byron Bay

Sydney

With Sydney satisfaction levels at a high this morning we jump on a plane to Byron Bay where all your hippie dreams can come to life.

Byron Bay

Landing in Byron Bay, we'll drop off our bags at the accomodation and start as we mean to go on, heading straight to the beach. Here in Byron we'll unleash our secret talent for surfing with an included lesson. You'll be a pro in no time! Afterwards, why not finish the afternoon with some beer tasting at a famous Byron Bay Brewery?

Stay

Wake Up Hostel (or similar)

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • Included Flight: Sydney to Byron Bay

  • Live out your bohemian dreams with a surfing lesson in Byron Bay

FREE TIME ADD-ONS

  • Taste craft beer at the Stone and Wood Brewery in Byron Bay

    A$ 40.00

DAY 5 - Byron Bay

Byron Bay

We'll continue the surf vibes today with the option to kickstart our morning with sunrise at Australia's most easterly point before filling up on an included breakfast. Then you have the rest of the day free to explore like a local. With the afternoon stretched out ahead of you, there's kayaking, relaxing on the beach and whale watching (seasonal) all on offer - your time here will be nothing short of magic.

Stay

Wake Up Hostel (or similar)

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • Sample Australian wine with cheese in Byron Bay (Selected departures only)

FREE TIME ADD-ONS

  • Visit a lighthouse and watch the golden sunrise in Byron Bay

  • Kayak on the crystal clear waters of Byron Bay

    A$ 58.00

DAY 6 - Byron Bay to Noosa Everglades via Hosanna Farm

Byron Bay

It's time to wave goodbye to Byron and head up the coast to Noosa Everglades. But first, why not opt for early morning yoga on the beach as you watch the golden sun stretch over the famous bay?

Hosanna Farm

On the way north we'll stop at Hosanna Farm, an authentic Aussie working farm where you'll have the chance to meet and feed the farm animals, as well as try some traditional Australian tucker - damper & billy tea. 

Noosa Everglades

Buzzing from our farm adventures, we'll head to our next destination, the Noosa Everglades. Here we'll unpack at our Special Stay Eco Lodge home for the next two nights and relax with a group dinner in the bistro & bar area, surrounded by the chatter and rustling of local birds and kangaroos.

Stay

Habitat Noosa

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • Stay at a sustainable Eco Lodge in Noosa Everglades

  • Spot kangaroos at our Special Stay Eco Lodge in the Noosa Everglades

  • Enjoy a delicious roast dinner at the Noosa Everglades CootharaBar

  • Visit an authentic Aussie working farm for home-cooked damper & billy tea

  • Feed the farm animals at Hosanna Farm

FREE TIME ADD-ONS

  • Find your zen with morning yoga on the golden sands of Byron Bay

DAY 7 - Noosa Everglades - Fraser Island Day Trip

Noosa Everglades

Wake up to the sound of birds chirping at our Eco Camp this morning (you might even spot a kangaroo) and grab a quick brekkie before heading out for a day on Fraser Island.

Fraser Island

Your spirits will be at an all-time high after this day full of sand dunes, scenic lakes and dense rainforests. We'll cruise along the world's longest sand highway before you appease your hunger with a tasty lunch.

Noosa Everglades

It's back to the Eco Camp this evening for our final night here. You have free time to tuck into some food at the bistro, sample the offerings at the CootharaBAR boutique brewery, or just relax and enjoy the lush surroundings of this beautiful protected National Park.

Stay

Habitat Noosa

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • Spend the day on the world's largest sand island: Fraser Island

  • Swim in idyllic Lake Mackenzie on Fraser Island

  • Enjoy a tasty lunch on Fraser Island

DAY 8 - Noosa Everglades to the Whitsundays

Noosa Everglades

What better way to say goodbye to The Glades than with an optional Canoeing Excursion on one of only two Everglades in the world! Afterwards we're on our way to find coastal nirvana at the pristine beaches of the Whitsundays. We'll hop on a plane for a flight to Airlie Beach.

Whitsundays

Landing in Airlie Beach, you'll notice everything starting to look a bit more tropical. Hello Whitsundays! We'll head to the marina where we'll begin our Whitsundays sailing adventure and meet our crew before bunking down on our sailing yacht for the night.

Stay

Converted Sailing Yacht

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • Included Flight: Noosa to Airlie Beach

  • Spend 2-nights on a converted racing yacht in the Whitsundays

FREE TIME ADD-ONS

  • Paddle through the Noosa Everglades on a canoe

    A$55

DAY 9 - The Whitsundays

Whitsundays

How often do you get to wake up in paradise? Today we'll spend the whole day cruising the Whitsundays with our crew. Swim, snorkel, eat and repeat. Do as much or as little as you like - help the crew, snorkel some of the best coral reefs in Australia and laze on the fine sands of Whitehaven beach (cue: more pinch yourself moments). Soak it all in and relish living your best beachcomber life.

Stay

Converted Sailing Yacht

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • Swim, snorkel, eat & repeat as you sail across the breathtaking Whitsundays to Whitehaven beach

  • Enjoy freshly prepared breakfast lunch and dinner on board your converted racing yacht

DAY 10 - The Whitsundays to Magnetic Island via Townsville

Whitsundays

Is there anything better than the Whitsundays? We think our next destination definitely comes close! We'll board a train this morning heading for Townsville.

Townsville

Once we arrive we'll waste no time and get straight into a visit to Reef HQ. This fascinating place is part aquarium, part educational experience, where you can see a dazzling rainbow of corals and tropical fish and meet the volunteers who are doing their bit to save the Barrier Reef. Your guided tour here included an intro to the Reef, a visit to the Turtle Hospital and an overview of the 'Eye on the Reef' app, which you can download and update yourself in order to contribute to the overall health of the reef. Then it's time to head to Magnetic Island on the ferry.

Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island is an apt name for this captivating isle, with its coastal walking trails and gum trees teeming with lazy koala bears. We'll have plenty of time to explore, partake in watersports in the bright turqouise waters or meet some of the local marsupials. But this evening, we'll enjoy some champagne and watch the sun set over the bay.

Stay

Stay Base Backpackers (or similar)

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • Scenic train ride along the East Coast of Australia from Proserpine to Townsville

  • Watch the vibrant sunset on Magnetic Island with a glass of champagne

  • Visit a turtle hospital & learn about reef conservation in a Contiki Cares Reef HQ Experience

  • Catch a local ferry to Magnetic Island

DAY 11 - Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island

We have a whole day on this paradise island - lucky us! We'll waste no time meeting the locals, with a chance to eat an unlimited chef-cooked breakfast with some cuddly Koalas at the Bungalow Bay Koala Village. Then we can check out some of the walking trails - such as the Forts Walk which offers up stunning views of the Palm Island Group as well as WWI fortifications, and the chance to see more koalas in the wild-  or enjoy some free time at Horseshoe bay, taking a dip on the azure waters and relaxing on the beach. See Magnetic Island's resident Rock Wallabies at dusk before a free evening, where we can watch the sunset and check out some of the local bars.

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • Enjoy an unlimited chef-cooked breakfast of Aussie favourites while meeting and learning about Koalas at Bungalow Bay Koala Village

  • Spot native koalas alongside WWII fortifications on a Magnetic Island Fort Walk

  • See Magnetic Island's resident Rock Wallabies at dusk

FREE TIME ADD-ONS

  • Snuggle up for a selfie with a Koala, with proceeds going back into Koala protection

DAY 12 - Magnetic Island to Cairns via Townsville

Magnetic Island

After breakfast this morning we'll say farewell to our furry koala friends and depart Magnetic Island on a ferry. But we'll never forget its singular beauty.

Townsville

Back in Townsville we won't hang around too long, as we're hopping on a train headed to Cairns, where we'll arrive late afternoon.

Cairns

Welcome to the city where rainforests meet reefs, lagoons meet luxury hotels and boardshorts and business suits live side by side. 

Stay

Gilligan’s Hostel (or similar)

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • Catch a local ferry from Magnetic Island to Townsville

  • Scenic train ride along the East Coast of Australia from Townsville to Cairns

DAY 13 - Cairns

Cairns

Make the most of your free day here in Cairns and jump on our optional day trip out to Australia's most famous natural wonder, The Great Barrier Reef. Board a catamaran out to the reef and try your hand at snorkelling, gape at the mindblowingly colourful coral and listen to the marine crew tell you all there is to know about this wonder. This day is a must-do for any trip to Oz!

Stay

Gilligan’s Hostel (or similar)

FREE TIME ADD-ONS

  • Discover an underwater world on a Great Barrier Reef Cruise

    A$ 189.00

DAY 14 - Cairns

Cairns

Good morning Cairns you delightful palm tree paradise. Today we'll take you on a Dreamtime walk at Tjapukai where you can explore the rich history of the world's oldest living culture. After getting your culture fix for the day, why not unleash your inner-adrenaline junkie and take a leap of faith at AJ Hackett Bungy Jumping? Or take to the rapids for an action-packed afternoon of white-water rafting on the Barron River.  Adrenaline spikes not your thing? This afternoon could also be the perfect chance to sign up for a trip on the Skyrail. Here you can gain a truly unique perspective of Australia's World Heritage listed tropical rainforest, gliding above the canopy before descending to the forest floor to continue your guided explorational journey in the tropical hippie paradise of Kuranda.  Known for its appreciation of sustainable living and alternate therapies, Kuranda is a unique village in a world of commercialism.  Take the famous Kuranda Railway back to Cairns for a relaxing end to your day.

Stay

Gilligan’s Hostel (or similar)

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • See aboriginal culture brought to life through traditional dance, art and interactive demonstrations at Tjapukai on a Dreamtime Experience

FREE TIME ADD-ONS

  • Get the blood pumping with an AJ Hackett bungee jump in Cairns

    A$ 165.00

  • See nature from new heights with the Jungle Swing in Cairns

    A$ 119.00

  • Feel the thrill of White Water Rafting in Cairns

    A$ 135.00

  • Take the Skyrail through UNESCO-listed rainforest to the sustainable living haven of Kuranda

    From A$105

  • Get entry to Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome plus one ZOOM activity

    A$ 45.00

  • Cuddle up to a Koala for a photo at Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome

    format A$ 28.00

DAY 15 - Cairns to Cape Tribulation

Cairns

Time to head to our penultimate destination this morning as we depart Cairns for Cape Tribulation. We'll stop at Alexandra Lookout for a quick photo op that is almost guaranteed to have the likes rolling in.

Cape Tribulation

Next we'll roll in to the remote coastal point of Cape Tribulation (make sure you ask your Crew how it got it's name) where we'll get to experience a bit more of life off the beaten track, before turning in (or turning it up) for your final night in Aussie.

Stay

PK’s Backpacker Lodge (or similar)

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • Stop for a photo at Alexandra Lookout on the way to Cape Tribulation

DAY 16 - Cape Tribulation to Cairns

Cape Tribulation

Rise and shine for your final day! After breakfast we'll take a guided walk up to a lookout to see where the rainforest meets the reef. Making our way back to Cairns today, we stop in Port Douglas where you'll have free time for lunch and then we're back on the coach for our last drive as a group. 

Cairns

Make sure you say your goodbyes to your new-found family as your trip ends on arrival back into Cairns late afternoon.

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • Take a guided walk to where the rainforest meets the sea at Alexandra Lookout

  • Visit the beautiful town of Port Douglas

  • Visit the iconic Daintree ice cream company

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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions group

Are flights included in my trip?

International flights to/from the destination your trip starts and ends in are not included in the cost of the trip, and must be purchased separately. You can book these independently if you want to shop around for the best quote, or through your travel agent.

Any flights you take during your Contiki are included in the cost of your trip. On certain Australian trips we use planes to get you from A to B as quickly as possible, and all of this is included.

What documents do I need to travel?

Depending on your nationality, you may require visas to enter Australia & New Zealand. You are fully responsible for obtaining all necessary visas prior to the departure of your trip. Contiki is not legally permitted to knowingly allow anybody who does not have a valid visa (if required) to join a trip. Visa & other entry & exit conditions such as currency, arrival/ departure taxes, customs & quarantine regulations change regularly, so make sure you stay up-to-date before you travel. See here for more info: https://www.australia.gov.au/information-and-services/immigration-and-visas
https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas/options/visit
It is also essential that you have any necessary vaccinations & comply with all laws of the countries visited.

What are the luggage restrictions?

On our Australia & New Zealand trips, you can bring one bag or suitcase of 73cm x 50cm x 25cm (29” x 20” x 10”), with a max weight of 20kg (44lbs) plus one piece of hand luggage suitable as a carry-on for flights.

What do the Contiki team do?

People are at the heart of everything we do, and our team is what makes our trips the best. Our worldwide On-Road Team, locally based staff & network of Local Guides are all extensively trained & widely travelled, & are the best in the business. But we know it’s not just about training, it’s about passion & our team have it in their blood. 
Your Trip Manager is like your walking, talking guidebook – just for you. They plan your itinerary every day, organise your food and accomodation and book your Free Time Add ons, and because they know everything about where you’re going, you will too. Your Drivers are the experts on getting you from A to B efficiently and safely in Australia & New Zealand. They know their way around like the back of their hands & they’ll drop you at your door & unload your bags for you. Local Guides provide specialist knowledge when you need it, like when you’re journeying into the bush, and will always help you avoid the tourist traps.

How do I redeem the % off deal?

Our great deals and offers are only in market for a limited time are subject to pay in full deadlines. If you cannot pay in full by the specified date shown alongside the offer/deal you can still  lock in the trip date of your choice at our Standard Price where normal payment terms of pay in full 45 days prior to your trip departing apply.  Visit the deals page for the full terms & conditions. Discounts apply to the land portion of your trip price only (this excludes taxes, included flight costs, extra accommodation & optional activities. Your trip price does not include the costs of international flights that start or end your trip).