Sydney, Daintree Rainforest, Great Barrier Reef, Hayman Island
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Legend gives way to enchantment during your 12-day family-friendly tour of Australia, taking you through the waters of Sydney Harbour, along the sands of the Red Centre, between the dense rainforest at Daintree, and onto the remarkable white sand beaches of the Whitsunday Islands. Whether on a surfboard in Bondi, a camel overlooking the desert or on a riverboat in search of crocodiles, the kids will marvel at the natural splendor of the landscape and listen intently to the myths of Dreamtime....
Sydney – The Family Majesty of Sydney
The walkways of Sydney shimmer against the colorful turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean. The iconic Sydney Opera House rises above the brick esplanade with a roof imitating illustrious sails. A replica of Captain Cook’s ship adorns Darling Harbour, representing the country’s absorbing seafaring history amidst galleries highlighting indigenous maritime culture. Your flight lands at Sydney Airport where your private transfer meets the family upon your arrival. The city bustles with culture, from art galleries in the neighborhood of Newtown to the late 19th-century arcades of the Queen Victoria Building in the Central Business District. Sydney Tower adorns the skyline, reaching a height of more than 1,000 feet above the city streets.
You settle into a luxurious hotel overlooking the passing boats of the harbor, accentuated by the steel frame of the Sydney Harbour Bridge’s lavish arch. Your guide meets you at the hotel, eager to introduce the family to the remarkable history of Australia’s oldest city, beginning in the Rocks district. The aroma of freshly baked macaroons emanates from the local patisserie edging the walkway of the outdoor shopping center. Sandstone brick warehouses erected in the 19th century continue to decorate the streets. The kids marvel at the tales the guide tells of the first people who looked out over the rocky bay in the 1770s to see the soaring sails of the HMB Endeavour, Captain Cook’s famous research vessel.
Sydney – Family Excitement around Sydney
In the morning, the kids are eager to set out on a half-day tour around the streets of Sydney’s distinctive neighborhoods and dip their toes into the celebrated sandy beaches bordering lush hillsides. The canals and estuaries connect to marvelous suburbs decorated with gorgeous homes and gold-sand shorelines. Wander along the mosaic tiles and beneath the shimmering sunlight cast through domes of the Queen Victoria Building before reaching Bondi Beach. The golden sand is warm beneath your toes. Cliffs frame the edges of the shallow bay.
An elevated pool connected to the Icebergs Swimming Club stands along the rocky edges, above the splashing waves. The briny aroma of the sea air blends with the enticing scent of fresh fish and chips emanating from the seaside cafes. You meet your private instructor on the hot sand, keen on beginning your private family surf lesson. Your instructor has each member of the family lay on individual foam longboards. You practice popping up from a laying position, trying to perfect landing on your feet at the same time. The kids seem to master the motion easily.
You venture out into the water with your instructor leading the kids first over the soft waves. The larger waves break near the mouth of the bay. You stay in the gentler waters and practice catching the wake. The water is cool and refreshing beneath the hot sun. Looking back at the shoreline, you can see the sunbathers basking across the golden sand. The kids pop-up onto their board as the small wave breaks behind them, propelling them closer to the shore as they ride their first swell.
Sydney – A Family in Blue
In the morning, the aroma of freshly roasted coffee blends with the scent of the sea breeze blowing against the whitewashed sails of the Sydney Opera House. After breakfast, the family ventures into the Blue Mountains National Park, which encompasses nearly 90 miles of walking trails and heritage tracks spread through sandstone plateaus, waterfalls, ravines, and lush eucalyptus forests. In the passing light, the natural oils of the eucalyptus trees cast a blue hue above the canopy, accounting for the unique name of the national park.
The stunning scenery incorporates small towns amidst the breathtaking sandstone pillars known as the Three Sisters. The formations rise more than 2,950 feet above the Jamison Valley below. The kids listen to the bewitching legend of the peaks, once attributed to the local Aborigine tribe, stating that a tribal elder turned the sisters into stone for their own protection. The Giant Stairway connects the undulating peaks to the forest floor over the course of 800 steps. You continue to Featherdale Wildlife Park for an immersive interactive experience with the animals for which Australia is known.
The park sits on seven acres of natural bush and boasts the world’s largest collection of wildlife native to Australia. Crocodiles lounge in the cool waters and ghost bats hide in the darkness of the tree canopy. Sheep graze in the farmyard nursery and Tasmanian devils sleep amongst the rocks. The kids are excited to meet with the koalas, watching the marsupials laze in the trees and occasionally snack on eucalyptus. They sleep for up to 20 hours a day and have five digits on their hands.
Uluru – Seeing Red
At breakfast, the kids continue to retell facts about the animals you saw grazing in the Featherdale Wildlife Park the previous day. They talk about how the kangaroo can weigh more than 130 pounds and that the dingo can survive in woodlands or grasslands. The scent of a refreshing gourmet coffee fills the dining room at breakfast, and the family enjoys the view of the boats setting sail across the harbor. After the meal, your private transfer meets the family in the lobby and escorts you to Sydney Airport for your flight inland.
The kids look out the window as you begin your ascent, noting the vast difference between the verdant trees and the turquoise colors of Sydney’s scenery with the endless stretch of rusty-red sand stretching across the Red Centre. Upon your arrival at the airstrip, your private transfer escorts you to a remarkable hotel in view of the famous desert monolith, Uluru. Shady tarps decorate the hotel walkways and poolside, resembling the very sails you left behind in Sydney. The scent of baked clay emanates from the hot soil beneath the desert sand.
Take the time to visit the Wintjiri Arts and Museum to view the fabulous display celebrating the spiritual heart of the country. A majestic ambiance emanates from the mystical borders of the rock face. The museum displays works of local artists exhibited in the language of Anangu, the Aboriginal tribe of the region, allowing visitors deeper insight into the connection of the land and ritual associated with Uluru. The vibrant colors on the canvasses offer a view of the flora and fauna shaped by the confines of the desert sands.
Uluru – A Stand Alone Morning
The family rises before sunrise and ventures closer to the staggering monolith outside your window. The starlight flickers against the night sky. Your guide points to the Southern Cross, a consolation visible only in the southern hemisphere. The family mounts a selection of camels connected to a camel train passing by Uluru. Merchants brought camels to the Red Centre in the 19th century to help traverse the desert sands. The region now has a large population of wild camels traveling in packs and grazing on the shrubbery. The kids cheer at the movement of the camel, swaying back and forth before becoming familiar with the unique motion. The sun begins to rise over the eastern horizon, spreading across the landscape and shifting the silhouette of Uluru into an iridescent orange.
The monolith reaches a height of more than 2,800 feet above sea level, rising nearly 1,150 feet above the desert floor. The family listens with intent to the stories of Dreamtime as you watch the colors transform from dark shadows to lively reds and oranges. Later in the day, you return to the edges of Uluru for a walking tour around its base. Caves and plateaus are off limits to visitors, withholding secrets of rituals and ceremonies practiced by the Anangu. Your guide points to a painting hidden by an overhanging ridge, inscribed with symbols similar to those you saw in the works hanging in the Wintjiri Arts and Museum; only the rock art is centuries older.
Daintree – Red Centre to Emerald Canopy
In the morning, the kids want to hear retellings of the stories the orators told at dinner, explaining how the stars wound up in the sky and why the sand glows red across the landscape. After the meal, the family has a private transfer to the airstrip for your flight east to Cairns. The red glint and orange sandstone of the vast desert fade and the verdant trees of the Daintree Rainforest spread across the undulating summits of the Great Dividing Range. The mountains separate the Australian Outback from the white-sand shores of the eastern seaboard.
As the plane descends into Cairns Airport, you point out the layers of blue glistening on the ocean, watching the indigo near the beach shift to sapphire and cobalt nearer to the horizon. Your private transfer meets the family at baggage claim and escorts you along the Reef to Rainforest road. Ferns and jungle brush carpet the mountain slopes to the west as coconut palm trees soar above the powdery white beaches to the east. You reach your hotel located on the banks of the Daintree Mossman.
The water trickles beneath the towering rainforest canopy amidst lush tropical gardens across 80 acres of the world’s oldest living rainforest. You can walk along the trails surrounding the resort at your leisure for an introduction into the beautiful and wild scenery. Indian coffee plums grow to more than 30 feet tall and cultivate glossy fruit along the upper branches. The smooth gray trunks of the fig trees nearly resemble the rocks bordering the river banks, growing native figs across the bark. In the canopy, you can see the gentle glint of a white orchid in bloom against the dark hues of the surrounding leaves.
Daintree – On the Crocodile Trail
In the morning, the wildlife comes alive with vigor, filling the canopy with prehistoric and enchanting music. Cassowaries linger in the forest underbrush. The indigo hues of their heads shine against their bulky bodies, draped in shaggy black plumage. The prehistoric-looking bird can grow to more than six feet tall, with a thick helmet adorning its skull. Spotted catbirds flutter around the nectar of blossoming flowers. Wompoo fruit doves nest in the thick bamboo of the tropical lowlands. After breakfast, the family sets out on a guided tour of the rainforest to search for captivating wildlife, including spotting crocodiles in the river and on the shores. You board a riverboat and take to the water.
A gentle breeze rustles the bordering leaves. The sunlight pierces the treetops in distinctive beams. Your guide points to a low-lying tree to which a tree-kangaroo clings. The marsupial has adapted to the forest grounds with broader hind feet and longer curved nails to help climb bark. The kids look beyond the boat with keen interest and a dash of fear, scouring the water and shallow shoreline for hiding crocodiles. Your guide points to what you thought was a log floating in the water. The crocodile’s eyes become visible, with hints of yellow peeking above the surface of the lagoon. Crocodiles in the region grow to more than 16 feet and build nests amidst the trees. The crocodile lunges away from the boat, sinking back into the water with a quick swish of its powerful tail.
Hayman Island – Following the White Sands
In the morning, the family wakes to the sound of the Eastern Yellow Robin chirping in the treetops. At breakfast, the kids retell the story of finding the crocodile in the river, embellishing the details to sound as though the magnificent reptile nearly boarded the boat. Your private transfer meets you in the hotel lobby and escorts you back along the scenic reef to rainforest road to reach Cairns Airport. Your flight travels south across the east coast, keeping the rainforest to the west and the ocean horizon to the east before landing on Hayman Island. The beaches feed into the Coral Sea, which encircles the one and a half square mile island connected to the Whitsunday archipelago.
White cockatoos perch on open branches and painted lorikeets twitter in the treetops. The family has a private transfer from the airstrip to your lavish suite in the comforts of a seaside resort in view of the nearby shores of the celebrated Whitsunday Islands. Your room has a marvelous view of the soaring coconut palms, sparkling pool, and unforgettable indigo water of the Coral Sea. Soft waves lap at the white sand beach, reminding you and the kids of the waves you caught while in Sydney. The kids run to the sand eager to feel the powdery-soft grains between their toes. You dip your feet into the water and receive a warm, calm reception.
Hayman Island – Island Leisure and Family Grandeur
At breakfast, you can see the kingfisher swooping down into the lagoon in search of fish. Swans waddle across the banks of the lagoon and the poplar gum trees grow in the forest amongst Mackay cedar and Whitsunday Kurrajong. After breakfast, the day is yours and the family’s to bask in the vibrant thrills or relaxing charms of the island atmosphere. The scent of fresh coconut fills the air, emanating from over 1,500 palm trees.
You and the kids make your way onto a nature trail following one of the guides offered by the resort, bounding for Blue Pearl Bay. The less than two-mile hike traverses the inland hills and forest, passing beneath the canopy in search of the endangered rock wallaby. The forest trees open to a bright bay framed by golden sand and sporadic boulders. Your guide brought snorkel equipment for the family to enter the water on a marine-life seeking expedition.
A shallow coral ledge beneath the surface water drops down to more than 33 feet and is bordered by narrow canyon walls. The family steps into the water to view the stunning marine life living on the seafloor. Gorgonian fans grow to more than 26 feet tall and wave in the moving current. Whip corals resemble tall grass blowing in a hard wind. The kids point to a huge Maori wrasse, a type of fish specific to the Indo-Pacific that shines with pastel colored scales and grows up to six and a half feet from nose to tail.
Hayman Island – Greatness Abounds along the Reef
In the morning, the white cockatoos call out to one another in the neighboring canopy. The family wakes to the view of the serene water lapping against the white sand. After breakfast, you board a catamaran and venture out into the water to reach the Outer Reef connected to more than 132,000 square miles of Great Barrier Reef. The biodiversity shines with rainbow colors beneath crystal clear turquoise and sapphire waters. The sunlight pierces the surface of the Coral Sea to a depth of 200 feet, allowing for clear vision and a bright expanse. The seaside aroma grows softer out at sea. The glint of white sand fades behind the western horizon. An onboard marine biologist helps explains to the family the extraordinary characteristics of the reef, including its ancient age of approximately 20 million years old.
The boat stops at the edge of a large reef body. The hard coral twists upwards from the seafloor, draped in neon orange and yellow beside flat coral resembling lark mollusks. A bed of sea grass grows from the sandy bed. Once in the water, the family snorkels above the coral, finding the light spreading across remote niches from which moray eels peek out with their heads. You point the kids to the sea grass where a loggerhead turtle nibbles on the foliage. The grass tickles at the turtle’s underbelly. The kids try to follow the loggerhead as it swims away, but its 110-inch frame cuts through the water easily, before disappearing into the distance.
Hayman Island – Relax with Familial Company
In the morning, the beauty of the island returns with the sunrise. Geese return to the lagoon in search of fish. Painted lorikeets resemble the colors of the coral the kids had seen at the Great Barrier Reef, with orange plumage on the belly and cobalt feathers around their head. The family has the day to enjoy the island at your preferred pace, basking in the sand on the quiet beach or taking to the water with paddleboards to practice the gliding across the water as you learned in Sydney. For a more active day, you choose to take to the trails once more, eager to explore the wildlife hotspots and pristine panoramas the island provides.
Egrets graze on the marshland and sea eagles soar across the sky in circles waiting for fish to reach the water’s surface. The surrounding brush provides herbaceous aromas with hints of spice and coconut blending into the fragrant sea breeze. You reach the highest point of the island at 820 feet above sea level located at Cook Lookout. The canopy opens before you for a sweeping panorama of the surrounding reef formations. The neighboring shores of Hook Island contain rugged rocks slathered with sea salt and lapping water. Reef formations decorate the waters in shadowy pockets. You survey the white sand and indigo hues of the sea before taking the trail back to the resort.
Hayman Island – Hoo-roo Australia
In the morning, the family enjoys a breakfast accentuated by the view of the water and the active calls of kookaburras. Couples and families head to the water early in the day on kayaks and paddleboards to enjoy the scenery and calm expanse of sea protected by the Great Barrier Reef. The kids share their favorite moments of the trip, once again embellishing how many fish they saw at the reef or how many waves they caught during the surf lesson in Sydney. A seaplane sets out onto the water, bound for a scenic tour of the Great Barrier’s more than 2,800 separate reefs. Your private transfer escorts you to the airstrip after breakfast and the family boards the plane to begin the journey home, saying farewell to the captivating beauty of Australia.
- Bask in the brilliance of the Great Barrier Reef during a private snorkel tour accompanied by an experienced marine biologist
- Embrace the movement of the waves at Bondi Beach during a private family surf lesson to learn the secrets of the celebrated sport
- Witness the shifting colors of Uluru, the famous desert monolith, during a camel tour at sunrise
- Listen to the tales of Dreamtime and the legends of the stars that the entire family will enjoy while dining beneath the open night sky in the Red Centre
- Search the banks and waters of Mossman River on a crocodile safari in search of Queensland’s most notorious reptile
- Indulge in the luxury and charm of an island resort in the Whitsunday archipelago for a mixture of relaxation and adventure
- Trek the wilderness trails on a Whitsunday Island in search of local wildlife and remarkable avifauna
- Meet koalas and kangaroos in the Featherdale Wildlife Park located in the Blue Mountains National Park
- Travel the shores of Sydney Harbour on a half-day exploratory cruise of the city’s famous waterways for a spectacular view of the Sydney Opera House
- Delight in an introductory tour of Sydney for an immersive exploration of the Rocks, Australia’s oldest European settlement
Let the family indulge in splendor and adventure on your Australian discovery tour, where the captivating Great Barrier Reef and endless sands of the Red Centre are as majestic as the legends telling of the continent’s creation. The rhythmic vibrations of the didgeridoo hum beneath unfettered starlight. Loggerhead turtles graze on sea grass sweeping across the ocean floor. Koalas lounge in eucalyptus trees and crocodiles linger in rivers, camouflaged amongst the rainforest underbrush. The family will find thrills and a relaxing ambiance, historic neighborhoods and newfound surf-skills while exploring the culture, landscape, and seaside splendors of the Land Down Under.
The journey begins with the family’s arrival at Sydney Airport. Your private transfer escorts you to a luxurious hotel offering remarkable views of Sydney Harbour and Circular Quay. After settling into the hotel, the family embarks on an introductory tour of Sydney, following your guide through the historical neighborhood of the Rocks and the beauty of the Royal Botanic Gardens. The next morning, you have a private half-day tour of Sydney’s thrilling neighborhoods to view the culture, history, and architecture of Australia’s oldest city. Partake in a private surfing lesson at Bondi Beach before boarding a boat for an afternoon cruise around the harbor. Next, you take to the countryside on a private excursion to Blue Mountains National Park. The family delights in the sandstone plateaus, waterfalls, and eucalyptus trees before visiting the Featherdale Wildlife Park.
Your private transfer leads the family from the hotel to Sydney Airport. Your flight takes you into the Red Centre at Uluru, also referred to as Ayers Rock. The family ventures to a luxurious hotel in view of the mystical monolith of Uluru rising out of the desert landscape where you can enjoy a sunset tour. The family rises early for a camel trekking tour around Uluru to watch the sunrise. In the afternoon, you continue your discoveries of the desert at Kata Tjuta. Indulge in the myths and cuisine of a dinner beneath the immaculate starlight. You travel to the airstrip for your flight to Cairns. Upon your arrival, your private transfer escorts you north to a resort in Daintree Rainforest overlooking Mossman River.
The family traverses the rainforest trails on a guided tour before taking to the Mossman River on a crocodile-spotting cruise. Fly from Cairns to Hayman Island, located in the Whitsundays Archipelago. The remainder of the day is at your leisure for the family to indulge in the splendors of the island resort. The family can enjoy endless activities offered by the resort, from trekking to visit Blue Pearl Bay to paddle boarding near the shore. You could also sail to other Whitsunday Islands for the day.
Afterward, the family sets sail on a catamaran for a full day exploring the Great Barrier Reef. Scour the hard and soft coral to find angelfish, sea turtles, and blue tang before returning to your island resort. The day is at the family’s leisure to relax or explore at your preferred pace. Trek the trails of the island to reach Cook Lookout or you relish a massage while the kids bask in the sand. The family makes their way to the airstrip on the final day to board your flight and make your way home.
$9,595 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
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- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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