Discover Australia Tour for Active Travelers: Amazing Culture, Wildlife & Landscapes

A 10 day trip to Australia 
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Turn your Australian vacation into a tale of legend during an active adventure of land and sea. Your custom tailored tour will take you into the majesty of dense rainforest and the unique underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef. Discover crocodiles lounging amongst mangrove trees and dig your toes into the powdery white sand of a secluded beach that shimmers with kaleidoscope colors. Traverse trails to find captivating waterfalls and witness gorgeous shades of orange as the sun rises over the Pacific Ocean. The splendors of Australia are tangible and indelible during your active getaway to explore the magnificent east coast. 

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Cairns, Brisbane, Great Barrier Reef, Mission Beach, Hamilton Island, Rockhampton, Hervey Bay, Fraser Island, Noosa

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Cairns – Arrive in the Relaxed Ambiance of the Tropical Queensland City

Cairns is considered the gateway to Queensland’s tropical north as the entrance to the Great Barrier Reef spreads through the South Pacific waters along Australia’s east coast. The lush vegetation of the rainforest sweeps across the mountains of the Great Dividing Range and touches the white-sand shores of the coastline. Your flight lands at Cairns International Airport where your private transfer will meet you at baggage claim. Locals and visitors alike stroll in the sunlight along the Esplanade, a vibrant seaside walkway, adorned with playgrounds, lush parks, and a stunning swimming lagoon crowned by sculptures of fish floating through the air. Mangroves edge the walkways hiding parakeets and macaws.

You will easily settle into the resort style comfort of your hotel, basking in the balcony and views to the lagoon pool and tropical gardens. You will be able to hear the slight rustle of the calm waters as they brush against the shoreline and the scent of sweet blossoming orchids seems to overtake the briny aroma of the sea. The remainder of the day is yours to enjoy the scenery and the charms of Cairns, from the sight of flying foxes dangling upside down in the mango trees, to watching spoonbills scoop wet sand up from the beach in search of a tasty lunch. North of the town the gold, powdery sand of Palm Cove beckons to visitors and locals alike, lined with cafes and glinting with indigo waters cast against the emerald hues of the swaying palm fronds.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer

Day 2: Cairns – Full Day Excursion Visiting Several Sites of the Great Barrier Reef

In the morning, you will wake to hear the birds chirping in the tropical gardens that frame the lagoon pool. Kingfisher and cuckoos perch in the treetops before heading off in search of breakfast. Meet your private transfer to the marina early in the morning to reach a luxurious catamaran bound for the Great Barrier Reef. The boat weighs anchor and sets out into the calm waters of the Pacific Ocean. The breeze carries the sea-spray upwards from the front of the boat as the indigo water shifts to sapphire and cobalt, distinguishing between the depths ocean depths. You can see the edges of reefs in the shallower waters nearby.

The boat will anchor at your first stop to showcase only a small portion of the nearly 1,430 miles of the Great Barrier Reef, which includes islands, coral cays, and seagrass beds. You will don your snorkel and fins before jumping into the water to view the majestic biodiversity spread across the seafloor. Sea fans wave in the current like a tree in the wind, decorated with purple hues and latticework style. Hard coral rises out of the sandy floor like a mountain, twisting and coiling around one another to form jagged, undulating mounds of color. Butterflyfish glow with bright yellows and reds against the quiet hues of fluttering sea grass. The fish adds to the tapestry of colors swimming beneath you, hiding within the coral and dining on the algae. 

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast, lunch

Day 3: Mission Beach – Explore Atherton Tablelands and Millaa Millaa Falls

In the early morning hours before sunrise, locals venture to the esplanade to jog through the open space and take in the views that lead out to the horizon. Fishers set out on their boats eager to enjoy a relaxing morning at sea. Your private transfer will meet you in your hotel lobby and escort you into the Atherton Tablelands for an unforgettable hot air balloon excursion. In the darkness, you can still make out the silhouette of the balloon spreading across the plain.

A professional team inflates your balloon, filling the darkness with bursts of light, and as the balloon fills you ascend slowly into the sky. Step into the gondola and take off, suddenly floating high above the Queensland expanse. The Atherton Tablelands is a remarkable region of ancient rainforest and crystal clear volcanic lakes, gorgeous waterfalls and captivating wetlands. From the air, you will have a perfect view of the emerald canopy divided by the banks of the Barron River. The rainforest blankets the hills and valley leading eastward until giving way to thin stretches of white sand beaches and indigo Pacific waters.

Your balloon will land, and you will continue your exploration of Atherton Tablelands as you follow the trails of the Millaa Millaa Waterfall Circuit. You can hear the cascade trickling down into the waiting pool before the trail leads you to the edge of the refreshing waters. The water trundles over the cliff more than 60 feet high to create a curtain of beads that splash into the pool. The sound is soothing, and the surrounding scenery reminds you more of an island paradise and not an area of north Queensland.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Hamilton Island – Venture to Townsville and Ferry to Whitsundays Islands

The soft white sand of Mission Beach provides the perfect scenery to wake up to accompanied by the refreshing sea breeze and ocean aromas. Cassowaries roam the forest and forage on the berries and brush. Their sapphire and turquoise feathers shimmer in the beams of light that pierce the rainforest canopy. After breakfast, you will travel to Townsville, which is known for the contrasting colors of the remarkable red hill and shimmering indigo sea. The Esplanade borders the coastline and offers remarkable views of the water and to the 19th-century landmarks interspersed with the contemporary ambiance of the city. The youthful ambiance emanates from the lavish pubs and nightclubs inland from the coast.

The Billabong Sanctuary provides insight into the wildlife of the region with an eco-friendly focus. Dingoes and cassowaries traverse enclosures providing enough space and distance to recreate the animals’ natural habitats spread over more than 25 acres. In the mornings, the cassowaries call out to one another with surprising depth and power. You will reach Airlie Beach and board a ferry bound for Hamilton Island, one of 74 tropical islands connected to the Whitsundays archipelago. The gold sand of Airlie Beach fades away, replaced by the deep white-sand beaches of Hamilton Island glowing against the sapphire hues of the deeper Pacific waters, set against the jade canopy shading the island’s center. 

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Hamilton Island – Indulge in Beauty of Whitsundays at your Leisure 

Wake up to a seaside view of the beautiful Whitsundays island shores. Steep rocky hills slope down into the ocean as trails circumvent the undulating landscape and offer marvelous views of the water and the tree canopy. Opulent white beaches provide a perfect setting to relax beneath the tropical sun. At breakfast, you will find the aroma of coconut and pineapple and for a moment will feel that you have traveled to a secluded desert island. The day is yours to enjoy the stunning scenery of Hamilton Island and your luxurious resort, or venture out to discover the picturesque Whitsundays, known for their idyllic beaches fringed with coral and situated between the Queensland coastline and the Great Barrier Reef.

Step aboard a catamaran bound for Whitehaven Beach, a portion of Whitsunday Island that stretches for more than four miles. The sand glistens like white pearls against the turquoise waters that brush against the sandbar that rises from the crystal clear Coral Sea. The solitude of the island offers an untouched landscape that looks as though it was built with swirling strokes of a paintbrush. Step onto the powdery white sand to feel the soft texture of the sand as the grains cling to your skin like fine powder. The blues of the water contrast with the verdant canopy that covers the hills and mountains of the landscape. In the afternoon, the sun sets behind the 1,335-foot peak of Whitsunday Mountain.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Rockhampton – See a Sugar Plantation in Mackay en route to Rockhampton

In the morning, the scent of fresh mangoes and papayas overtakes the dining room. The tropical fruits grow perfectly in the climate of the Queensland region. After breakfast, you can wander off and search the trees for macaws before leaving Hamilton Island behind. When you return to mainland Australia, your private transfer will escort you to Mackay, the sugar capital of Australia. Art deco buildings line the tropical streets, and winding mangroves linger along the water’s edge. Restaurants overlook the marina, and outdoor cafes offer a picturesque view of people strolling along the promenade.

Outside of town, the sugarcane fields grow like tall grass and overtake the landscape until meeting the horizon. A sweet aroma fills the air upon your arrival at Sarina, a sugarcane farm and mill. Your guide will lead you through the grounds as you explore the refining equipment that yields the various types of sugar produced in the region. Inside the tasting room, your guide will pour you a sample of sugarcane juice; you will find the natural juice tastes like sweet water with a hint of fruitiness. Workers cut through the fields and show you the sturdy and tall sugar stalks. A unique room features the oak barrels in which award-winning dark rum is stored as it ages to perfection. The plantation offers a unique view of Australia’s east coast that many visitors do not have the opportunity to see.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Hervey Bay – Traverse a Private Ranch and Tea en route to Hervey Bay

The agricultural life of Australia remains strong and ingrained in the culture of the east coast. Rockhampton is a town of cowboy boots and wide-brimmed hats that harken back to the roots based in the cattle trade. Victorian-era buildings line the wide streets of the town center, reflecting the prosperous heyday of Rockhampton in the 19th century. Coconut palms and subtropical rainforest decorate the botanical gardens, a spectacular oasis complete with lagoons draped in lilies and a tranquil ambiance deriving from the Japanese garden.

You will venture onto a working cattle ranch for an introduction to the history of the town as you explore an estate first opened in the late 1860s. The hills frame the ranch house and barn as nearby cattle graze on the open plain. The aroma of homemade scones blends with the herbaceous scent of grass that spreads across the 26,000 acres. The original shingle roof on the homestead was built in the 1870s and has been restored to showcase the timber and iron visible from the veranda. After indulging in a traditional ranch-style breakfast and touring the historical grounds, you will continue south until you reach the Hervey Bay, a charming coastal town with a warm climate, powdery beaches, and calm sapphire waters.  

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Noosa – Travel to Fraser Island for a Day of Beaches and Adventure

Your morning in Hervey Bay brings to light the sandy beaches and pods of humpback whales seen frolicking off the shores. After breakfast, you will make your way to Fraser Island for another day in paradise. The wind and waves have helped carve the giant sand dunes that border the coastline and separate the stunning blue waters from the lush rainforest. Fraser remains the largest sand island in the world, along with the only known place in the world in which rainforest grows and thrives in the sand.

Your boat will take you through the wetlands where the dunes grow to over 650 feet above sea level. Crystal clear streams lead to freshwater lakes that reflect the surrounding greenery. Dingoes prowl the underbrush in search of thriving birdlife as the Sandy Cape Lighthouse overlooks the island’s northernmost tip where the island’s tallest trees grow in the Valley of the Giants. The satinay trees can grow up to nearly 100 feet tall, and contain colorful striations on the bark, nearly glowing red beneath the emerald canopy. Return later to Hervey Bay for your private transfer to Noosa to settle into your luxurious accommodation for the evening.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 9: Brisbane – Delight in the Charms of Noosa at your Preferred Pace

The sounds of the waves lapping at the shores of Noosa Main Beach fill the air as the light of morning rises. The natural landscape of tropical rainforest brushes against the sands lined with crystal clear waters as boutique shops overtake the streets, and charming restaurants overlook the shoreline. Locals take to the water with stand-up paddleboards and surfboards eager to catch the waves before they curl around Noosa Heads. The day is yours to bask in the Australian sun and linger on the hot golden sand or to prepare for another adventure in the national park on a boating excursion to view the remarkable vegetation in search of crocodiles.

Noosa National Park encompasses more than 8,500 acres, overtaking Lake Weyba, Peregian, and Coolum. Walking along the coastal track takes you along the shoreline vegetation to reach Hells Gates. Pied cormorants perch on flat rocks and stretch out their wings, with a length of nearly four and a half feet, to dry in the sun as sea eagles circle the sky in search of fresh fish for breakfast.  Upon reaching Hells Gates, you will find a stunning opening where the water splashes onto the rocks below. The cliff drops approximately 131 feet, offering a fabulous lookout to find dolphins arching out of the water in the distance.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 10: Brisbane – Depart for Home

Brisbane is a city of energy and expectation, unfolding in the edgy art, gourmet coffee, green parks, and lavish riverbanks. In the morning, the locals jog along the tracks that meander with the river as others kayak beneath the series of bridges or simply indulge in the bohemian culture of the cafes and bookshops.  After one last leisurely morning, your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escort you to Brisbane Airport for your flight home, or you could always extend your time in Australia to embrace the adventures found in Sydney, Melbourne, or the Red Centre.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer 

Price

Starting Price 

$2,495
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.