DAY 1 - Start Sydney
Welcome to Sydney! This morning we'll set out to explore this sun-drenched, cosmopolitan and eternally cool city. Your Trip Manager will give you the lowdown on all of Sydney's best bits as you get a tour of the highlights, before we venture over to Bondi Beach where you can spend the afternoon lazing about in the sunshine. Then it's time to whip out your best party outfits for the main event of today, the Sydney Mardi Gras parade. This year, Sydney Mardi Gras and Sydney WorldPride unite to present a truly global LGBTQI+ pride festival - the very first in the Southern Hemisphere - and we get to be part of it! Think tight 'n' bright, rainbow face paints and as much glitter as you can handle. Not ready to call it a night? We'll keep the party going at the official Mardi Gras afterparty for a joyous evening of music, dancing, connection and celebration. Lucky us.
DAY 2 - Sydney
Morning sunshine! Sore head? A classic Sydney brunch and coffee fix at Roy's Café will sort that right out. Today you can take the day to recover on one of Sydney's beautiful beaches or keep the World Pride celebrations going by attending the Laneway Festival, a cherished tradition of the Mardi Gras Festival including over 10 hours of music, dance areas and pop-up shows.
DAY 3 - 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 across the Sydney Harbour, plus much more. It's up to you! Tonight we'll wrap up with an included farewell to Sydney dinner (our treat), followed by the chance to hit up some of the famed Oxford Street nightclubs. A trip to Sydney wouldn't be complete without experiencing the nightlife, and Oxford Street is the heart of Sydney's LGBTQI+ scene with multiple dance floors, performers, DJs, themed nights and drag shows. What are you waiting for?
DAY 4 - Sydney to Byron Bay
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.
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?
DAY 5 - Byron Bay
We'll continue the surf vibes today with the option to kickstart our morning with sunrise at Australia's most easterly point. 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.
DAY 6 - Byron Bay to Noosa Everglades via Hosanna Farm
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?
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.
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.
DAY 7 - Noosa Everglades - K'gari (Fraser Island) Day Trip
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 K'gari (Fraser Island).
K'gari (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.
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.
DAY 8 - Noosa Everglades to the Whitsundays
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.
Landing in Airlie Beach, you'll notice everything starting to look a bit more tropical. Hello Whitsundays! We'll head to our accommodation for the night and enjoy an included dinner, ready to begin our Whitsundays adventure tomorrow.
DAY 9 - The Whitsundays
Is there anywhere in the world more beautiful than the Whitsundays? We think not. With 74 perfect islands at your fingertips, an open sea calling your name, today you'll get to explore one of the worlds most lusted-after holiday destinations with a day trip to the spotless Whitehaven Beach, including snorkelling. This is as close to heaven as you can find on planet earth.
DAY 10 - The Whitsundays
We've got a free day in Airlie Beach today! This vibrant hub of the Whitsundays is ours to explore. We could get out onto the waters, kick back on the beach sipping something sweet or explore the cute boutiques, bistros and alfresco restaurants that adorn the seafront. It's a hard life.
DAY 11 - The Whitsundays to Magnetic Island via Townsville
Is there anything better than the Whitsundays? We think our next destination comes close. We'll board a train this morning heading for Townsville.
After soaking up some East Coast scenery on our train journey, we'll hop on a ferry headed towards the spellbinding 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, try some water sports in the bright turquoise waters or meet some of the local marsupials. But this evening, we'll enjoy a drink (our treat) and watch the sunset over the bay. Blissful or what?
DAY 12 - 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 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.
DAY 13 - Magnetic Island to Cairns via Townsville
After breakfast this morning we'll say farewell to our koala friends and depart Magnetic Island on a ferry. But we'll never forget its singular beauty.
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 after a gloriously scenic journey along Australia's East Coast.
Welcome to the city where rainforests meet reefs. We'll enjoy an included interactive Bush Food tutorial and dinner at Ochre restaurant. An experienced chef will guide us through a history of Bush Food as you sample a variety of native spices and fruits, explaining their tastes, origins, and traditional uses before we enjoy our dinner, which features native game. It's in an incredible cultural feast, and the perfect way to start our adventure in Cairns.
DAY 14 - Cairns
Rise and shine, today is day packed with history, heritage and natural beauty, as we take a day trip to the oldest tropical rainforest in the world: Daintree. With its ancient ferns and vibrant canopies, this place will take our breath away. There's a reason David Attenborough called it 'the most extraordinary place on earth.' As well as admiring the lush rainforest, we'll also meet the local Kuku Yalanji people and learn about their rich Aboriginal culture and history. We'll get the chance to view a smoking ceremony and take an art class with an Aboriginal artist. We'll also learn about ancient Dreamtime stories, local history and how these are shared through art. Then, we'll get to create our own unique souvenir to take home in the form of a canvas that tells our own stories. What a day; and we're not done yet.
DAY 15 - Cairns
Today you'll have the option to board a catamaran out to the reef to snorkel or dive in the crystal waters and gaze at the colourful coral and even more vibrant marine life. Back on board, the expert marine crew will tell us all there is to know about this stunning, but vulnerable, natural miracle.
DAY 16 - Cairns
Today we have the chance to escape our comfort zones and try some of the adventurous activities that Cairns is famous for - think bungy jumping, skydiving and whitewater rafting. Or, sign up for a day trip on the scenic cable car, 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.
DAY 17 - Cairns to Darwin
Flying out of Cairns this morning, we'll swap the beaches of Queensland for the tropical capital of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
Touching down in Darwin, we'll waste no time getting into it as we head out for an optional visit to the Royal Flying Doctors Service. Learn about the history & the activities of the RFDS's pilots, engineers, doctors & nurses, & the experiences of the patients that were carried & cared for each day. See, experience & learn through the wonder of technology as this facility brings history to life. Then we'll regroup at Cullen Bay to watch the spellbinding sunset, before a free evening to check out the city's cosmopolitan nightlife.
DAY 18 - Darwin to Kakadu National Park
After included breakfast at the hotel this morning, we'll take a city tour on the coach, and visit Parap Markets, a ritual for locals. With the aromas of rich roasted coffee and fragrant Asian cuisine filling the air, we'll check out some of the arts and crafts, before heading to Kakadu National Park. (Please note: Parap Markets not included from April 2022)
Kakadu National Park
It's time to get to grips with the breathtaking landscapes of Kakadu National Park. We'll kick things off by meeting some local Aboriginal people at their business, Pudakul. We'll be taken on an immersive cultural tour where we'll have the chance to learn and understand the local customs and traditions of the Aboriginal people of the region. It's an experience not to be missed. Fully immersed in these timeless lands we'll take a hike up to Ubirr lookout, to catch a stunning sunset over the Nadab floodplain before enjoying a free evening to chill out at our accommodation.
DAY 19 - Kakadu National Park
Kakadu National Park
Cameras at the ready! We have all day today to explore the breathtaking beauty of the surrounding National Park. You'll have the option to see the unique terrain of the Northern Territory from the sky, gliding over the strikingly different landscapes on a scenic flight. We'll also get to enjoy an included Sunset Yellow Waters cruise this evening, while learning why this region is so important to the local Aboriginal people.
DAY 20 - Kakadu National Park to Katherine Gorge
Kakadu National Park
More natural beauty in store today, as we start with a visit to Edith Falls before we head to the otherworldly Katherine Gorge.
Welcome to the spectacular sandstone landscapes of Katherine Gorge. We'll have the opportunity to take a cruise and explore the world famous National Park, spotting waterfalls, ancient aboriginal rock art and of course the incredible gorge itself.
DAY 21 - Katherine Gorge to Darwin via Litchfield National Park
Our time in Katherine comes to an end today, but the departure is easier knowing we're headed for another natural wonder...
Litchfield National Park
Arriving in Litchfield National Park, we'll check out the enormous termite mounds and famous Florence Falls, two waterfalls pouring over a wide plateau into into deep, picture-perfect water holes. Grab your swimmers to take a heavenly dip in the crystal clear waters.
Back in Darwin we'll settle in for the night, ready to continue our adventures further south tomorrow.
DAY 22 - Darwin to Uluru via Alice Springs
Flying out of Darwin, we have Alice Springs and the majestic Uluru in our sights.
Touching down in red-earthed Alice Springs, we'll jump on board a private coach bound for Uluru.
Welcome to Uluru! Here we'll settle into our lodge, ready for a few days of exploring this jaw-dropping destination. Before your head hits the pillow, we'll share a classic Aussie BBQ dinner and you'll have the chance to visit the magical Field of Lights.
DAY 23 - Uluru
After a comfy night's sleep it's time to get out and about and explore the majesty of Uluru. And what better way to start the day than witnessing the rock bathed in the golden glow of an Australian sunrise? A sacred site for the local aboriginal tribe, this imposing rock is actually a staggering 700 million years old. We'll then get right into the heart of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park with a hike to the Walpa Gorge and Valley of the Winds, where boulders bigger than skyscrapers dominate the landscape then marvel at the lesser known but no less impressive rock formation of the Olgas, or Kata Tjuta as it's known to the locals. This afternoon you'll have a chance to try out your skills by taking an optional Segway tour. You could also take part in a dot painting workshop.
DAY 24 - Uluru via Kings Canyon
Grab your sneakers, camera and your sense of adventure - it's time for a day trip! Our first stop is an included Big BBQ Brekkie at Kings Creek Station, then we're ready to go.
Your guided hike around the imposing King's Canyon awaits. Wonder at the lunar-like landscape as you hike through the canyon and take respite from the sun in the shady space at the bottom of the climb, The Garden of Eden. It's as idyllic and mythical as it sounds and is home to its own unique ecosystem in this barren landscape.
Finish the day off with a glass of bubbles in hand and the sunset casting a glow over the Outback's most picturesque backdrop, there's no better way to spend your final evening in Uluru.
DAY 25 - Uluru
This morning we'll have the chance to take a peaceful camel ride over the rich red sand dunes for Sunrise before it's time to say our sad farewells to our Contiki family. Australia, it's been real. We may shed a tear, but we'll never forget what we've experienced together in this spectacular land. And just remember, it's not goodbye, just see you soon.