Central & East Australia Encompassed
Explore Australia’s larger-than-life natural and man-made wonders, from the sun-baked Outback, lush rainforests and the Great Barrier Reef, to some of the world’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities.
Australia has so much to offer, and this incredible tour showcases it brilliantly. Explore the East, South, Centre & North in depth and in comfort.
- Visit timeless Uluru (Ayers Rock) at both sunrise and sunset, and experience a guided walk at its base
- Journey along the full route of the Great Ocean Road, enjoying spectacular coastal scenery and the Twelve Apostles
- Full-day catamaran cruise to the Great Barrier Reef
- Enjoy a guided walk of Sydney ending in Bondi Beach and a guided tour of the famous Sydney Harbour
- Explore Alice Springs, enjoy an amazing Outback dinner under the stars and take a walk in the MacDonnell Ranges
- Enjoy a dinner on the iconic Colonial Tramcar in Melbourne and a ride on the Puffing Billy steam train
- Experience the Barossa Valley, including a winery tour and tasting
- Visit the School of the Air and the Royal Flying Doctor Service Museum
- Discover the amazing rainforest around Cairns on the Kuranda Scenic Railway
- Experience the breath-taking landscapes & Eucalypt forests of the Blue Mountains
- Visit Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks, see ancient rock art and discover Aboriginal culture, plus enjoy a dinner cruise along the stunning Katherine Gorge
Itinerary in Brief
- Melbourne – 3 nights
- Great Ocean Road – 1 night
- Adelaide – 2 nights
- Alice Springs – 2 nights
- Uluru – 2 nights
- Darwin – 1 night
- Kakadu National Park – 1 night
- Katherine Gorge – 1 night
- Cairns – 4 nights
- Sydney – 4 nights
Day 1: Departure – You should arrive at the airport for your flight to Melbourne, via Singapore.
Day 2: Arrival In Singapore – From Singapore, take your connecting flight to Melbourne.
Day 3: Arrival In Melbourne – Welcome to Australia! Melbourne is one of the worlds greatest cities and our home for three nights is the five-star Pullman on the Park in East Melbourne, just ten minutes walk from the centre with its free tramcar services.
Day 4: Melbourne – A morning city sightseeing tour includes Federation Square, the Victoria National Gallery, the Old Melbourne Gaol and the Exhibition Building built for the 1880 Great Exhibition. Our first stop is the spectacular Eureka Skydeck Tower with its sensational 88th floor viewing platform (the highest in the Southern Hemisphere) and ‘Edge Experience’ (at extra charge) – a glass cube sliding out from the building, with you inside! We enjoy free time to explore in Melbourne – stroll along the Southbank Promenade or join your Tour Manager and discover some of Melbourne’s famed ‘laneways’. Our included early dinner is on Melbourne’s famous Colonial Tramcar Restaurant.
Day 5: Melbourne – The morning is free to relax or explore, with one option the bustling Queen Victoria Market that has served Melbourne for over a century. Early afternoon we drive into the Dandenong Ranges overlooking the city, riding on the historic ‘Puffing Billy’ steam train through lush mountainside from Belgrave to Emerald Lakeside. The evening is at leisure – why not take in one of Melbourne’s many theatrical productions.
Day 6: Great Ocean Road – We set off early this morning on the Great Ocean Road, Australia’s most spectacular coastal highway. It’s a breath-taking drive along more than 300 kilometres of the best coastal scenery this country has to offer!
Day 7: Adelaide – Today we head to the South Australian town of Mt. Gambier. Built on the slopes of an extinct volcano, it’s famous for its spectacular Blue Lake whose waters inexplicably change to a brilliant blue in summer. Back on the road, we pass through the wine growing region of Coonawarra and typical south Australian bush country (look out for kangaroos & emus!) before our afternoon arrival in Adelaide. We stay for two nights at the centrally located five-star Intercontinental.
Day 8: Barossa Valley – A morning tour of Adelaide includes the location where Colonel William Light planned the city in 1836. His simple blueprint – a one square mile centre surrounded by parks and open spaces – is still in evidence today. Leaving Adelaide mid-morning, we head to one of Australia’s most renowned wine regions – the Barossa Valley. We visit the historic Seppeltsfield winery, where you will enjoy a private tasting.
Day 9: Fly To Alice Springs – We transfer to the airport for our flight to Alice Springs, capital of Australia’s ‘Red Centre’. A short drive includes ANZAC Hill for panoramic views of the town. This afternoon we visit the Old Telegraph Station, established in 1871 to relay messages between Darwin and Adelaide. Alice Springs is a major base of het Royal Flying Doctors Service and we’ll also visit the museum dedicated to it. Our hotel for two nights is the four-star Lasseters, with a pool and spa. Our authentic Outback dinner is at The Earth Sanctuary at the Quandong Homestead – enjoy a bush BBQ with music and entertainment, hear stories of the Aboriginal Dreamtime and relax around the camp fire before returning to the hotel.
Day 10: Alice Springs – Early risers have the option of an unforgettable hot-air balloon ride at sunrise. This afternoon, we explore the beautiful Western MacDonnell Ranges. We stop at Simpsons Gap, an important spiritual site for the Arrarnta Aboriginal peoples, and finish the day walking the picturesque gorge at Standley Chasm.
Day 11: Alice Springs to Uluru (Ayers Rock) – We leave Alice Springs and head south, stopping off at some typical Australian ‘roadhouses’ as we enter the barren landscape of the ‘Red Centre’ – a vast desert plain dotted with spinifex and desert oaks. Mid-afternoon we arrive at Yulara, near Ayers Rock (traditional name Uluru), and check into the four-star Desert Gardens, with breakfast. In the evening we drive to ‘Sunset Strip’, pop some bubbly and enjoy Uluru’s remarkable light show as the Rock changes colour… utterly breath-taking.
Day 12: Uluru (Ayers Rock) – It’s an early start to reach the viewing area to watch the sun rise above Uluru. A guided ‘Mala’ walk around the Rock’s base reveals its spiritual significance through Dreamtime stories and Anangu rock art before an opportunity to purchase lunch at the Cultural Centre. Early afternoon, we visit the Kata Tjuta rock formations and take a short walk into the beautiful Mount Olga Gorge. Back at the resort you can visit the Yulara Village.
Day 13: Fly To Darwin – You’ll transfer to Ayers Rock Airport for your flight to Darwin and stay overnight at the four-star Oaks Elan Darwin, a brand-new property. We have time to freshen up before we head out this afternoon to the Mindil Beach Sunset Market. It’s both a social event and a fabulous local market with over 200 stalls and nearly 60 food stalls from more than 30 different countries. With the multi-cultural background of Darwin, you’re sure to be tempted by some delicious food and smells! Itâ€™s also a great spot to watch the stunning sunset over the Timor Sea.
Day 14: Kakadu National Park – We depart early for Kakadu National Park. Local Aboriginal people will show you medicinal plants and techniques for making baskets and spears – you can even blow a digeridoo! Next, we join the Adelaide River Queen for a ‘Jumping Croc Cruise’ to observe saltwater crocodiles (Australia’s most dangerous reptile) leaping out of the water. We have time for lunch before entering the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park – expect magnificent scenery and unique flora and fauna. At Cooinda we board a sunset cruise to see wildlife including Brolgas, Egrets, Jabiru and – hopefully – crocodiles. Our hotel for the night is the three-star Mercure Crocodile with breakfast.
Day 15: Katherine Gorge – This morning we head to Nourlangie Rock, which features impressive Aboriginal drawings dating back tens of thousands of years. We continue to Katherine and our hotel, the three-star Knotts Crossing Resort with breakfast. In the evening you’ll travel through the Katherine Gorge on the Nabilil Dreaming Sunset Cruise. Enjoy excellent Australian cuisine, learn about local tribes and watch the cliffs turn gold in the setting sun.
Day 16: Litchfield National Park & Fly To Cairns – After breakfast we travel north along the Stuart Highway to Litchfield National Park, a 65,000-hectare region of virgin rainforests, hot springs, termite mounds and waterfalls. You’ll visit Florence Falls and can swim in Wangi Falls. We continue back to Darwin for our flight to Cairns, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Our home for the next four nights, with breakfast, is the four-star superior Pullman Cairns International.
Day 17: Cairns – Kuranda Scenic Railway – This morning we join the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway for a trip through tropical rainforest, ravines and spectacular gorges in the magnificent Barron Falls National Park. Surrounded by World Heritage listed rainforest, Kuranda itself brims with arts and crafts shops. We return to the coast via the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, skimming over the top of the rainforest canopy.
Day 18: Great Barrier Reef – After breakfast we head out to Michaelmas Cay with Ocean Spirit Cruises. One of the world’s great natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest expanse of living coral on earth. The sand bar at Michaelmas Cay offers the opportunity to snorkel with parrot fish, giant clams and even sea turtles! The cay is also home to over 20,000 migratory terns and gannets. You will enjoy snorkelling (equipment provided), a semi-submersible tour, a glass-bottom boat trip, and a buffet lunch before returning to Cairns.
Day 19: Cairns – Today is at leisure in Cairns. Trips are available on the scenic Cook Highway to Cape Tribulation and the Daintree rainforest; to the Atherton Tablelands; a night-time tour of Cairns zoo or helicopter flights over the Great Barrier Reef.
Day 20: Fly To Sydney – After our flight from Cairns to Sydney we transfer to the four-star superior Parkroyal Darling Harbour with breakfast for four nights.
Day 21: Sydney – Our tour of Australia’s largest city takes you through the historic ‘The Rocks’ area followed by a stop at Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair for fantastic views of Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. We continue through Double Bay and on to famous Bondi Beach for a stroll along the promenade. This afternoon will be unforgettable – a cruise in the world’s most picturesque harbour.
Day 22: Blue Mountains – We travel inland to the dramatic Blue Mountains that encompass steep cliffs, eucalyptus forests, waterfalls and pretty villages. You’ll see the stunning Three Sisters rock formation and enjoy views of the Jamison Valley below. You can take a short cliff-side walk (or the coach) to the Scenic Skyway cable car 270m above. You then take the world’s steepest incline railway to descend 415m at a gradient of 52 degrees. At the bottom, a path takes you through lush eucalyptus forest teeming with plants and birdlife. We return to Sydney in the late afternoon.
Day 23: Sydney – Today is at leisure in Sydney. The opportunities are endless – enjoy the beaches, tour the Opera House, take a sea-plane trip over the city or even climb the famous Harbour Bridge!
Day 24: Departure – The morning is free before transferring to the airport for our flight home, via Singapore.
Day 25: Arrive Home – Arrive back at your selected airport.
Need to Know
The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room. It includes scheduled flights to Melbourne and returning from Sydney and all domestic flights within Australia; all transfers; 21 nights accommodation on the 25-day tour in three, four and five-star hotels; daily breakfast and three meals hotel porterage of one item of luggage per person; all local accommodation taxes; all flight/airport charges and taxes and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager.