Australia Encompassed: Sand Islands & Sunsets

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Overview

Now's the time to explore Australia on your terms with this tour that's affordable for young travellers. Sydney, Melbourne, Fraser Island, the Whitsundays — your crash course in all things Australia starts now. For 25 days, you’ll head up the East Coast, stopping to take surf lessons and hop on a maxi yacht, fly to Alice Springs, then go down south to Kings Canyon, Uluru, and Adelaide, just to name a few destinations. The Great Ocean Road will eventually lead you to Melbourne and its hipper-than-hip coffee culture. With a competitive price and small tour group, there’s never been a better time to discover the Land Down Under.

Itinerary

Day 1: Sydney

Arrive at any time.

There's nothing quite like a night out to get people comfortable with one another. Hit up Side Bar, connected to where you will be staying at the Wake Up Hostel in Sydney. This is the liveliest bar around, sporting a huge young and local crowd. There’s always non-stop action with the entertainment so get ready to have a few drinks, let your hair down, and dance until you drop!

There are no planned activities during the day, so check into the hotel and explore the city.

If you arrive early enough, head down to the harbour's edge to 'The Rocks' historic area and the Opera House.

Day 2: Sydney

Immerse yourself in all things Sydney with a free day to explore the oldest and biggest Australian city. Glide along the harbour on a ferry and gaze at the white sails of the Opera House gleaming in the sun. Get lost as you wander the narrow, cobbled laneways and take in Sydney’s fabled history. Catch some rays on the sand at Bondi Beach or duck out of your comfort zone and surf the green-barrel breaks just off shore, and perhaps treat yourself to a scenic flyover tour of the city. The choice is yours so get as adventurous as you like in the "Land Down Under"!

Opt to pre-book the "Sydney Bridge Climb" or "Sydney Adrenaline Bundle" activity on the checkout page ahead of time, to include one of these optionals on your tour.

Day 3: Sydney/Arrawarra

Wave goodbye to Sydney as the group travels to Spot X Surf Camp, hidden away in beautiful Arrawarra along the North Coast. Get ready for cuteness overload because you’ll be stopping at the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie on the way to learn all about the conservation efforts being made to protect this unique native Australian animal. Snap a couple photos for the 'gram' and enjoy the coastal scenery that awaits.

Includes: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Arrawarra

As the sun rises along the ocean hit the beach for an included surf lesson with Spot X. Located in one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the country they are completely devoted to the surf lifestyle.

Spend some time in the sun and laughing in the waves with your travel tribe before heading out on a kangaroo trek. Then it’s time for a free afternoon to enjoy your surroundings. Soak up views of Solitary Islands Marine Park, embark on a rockpool scramble to look for fish traps and sea creatures, or wander over to Mullawarra beach for a picnic. Your only real job today is to have fun!

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Arrawarra/Byron Bay

Adventure through lush national parks, stunning beaches, rolling green hills, and small but vibrant towns full of charm and authentic Australian culture as the group drives from Arrawarra to Byron Bay. Make a stop at Cape Byron Lighthouse to see the easternmost point in the country. If luck is on your side you may glimpse migrating whales and pods of resident dolphins. Grab lunch where you wish before arriving in the surf and arts town of Byron Bay.

After breakfast, travel the coastal road to the stunning surf and arts town of Byron Bay. Enjoy plenty of free time to experience the hippie surfing town.

Includes: Breakfast

Day 6: Byron Bay

Welcome to Byron Bay… the city of surfing and sunbathing! The day is yours to explore; walk along hidden beaches, play in the surf, grab a massage, or simply hang out at the Byron Bay Brewery and people watch. Want to get your adrenaline pumping? Go skydiving, try sea kayaking, or go on a dolphin watch.

There’s so much to see and do from lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and rolling hills to small unique villages totally stuck in the ‘60s like Nimbin and local markets teeming with creativity. At the end of it all hop on that surfboard for one last ride because as the locals say, “You haven’t surfed until you’ve surfed Byron Man!"

The free time is yours to explore. Walk along the long stunning beach, play in the surf, or simply hang out at the Byron Bay Brewery and people watch. Want to get your adrenaline pumping? Go skydiving, try sea kayaking, or go on a dolphin watch.

Opt to pre-book the "Byron Bay Ocean Kayaking" activity on the checkout page ahead of time, to include this optional on your tour.

Day 7: Byron Bay/Brisbane

Venture north with your group to the capital of Queensland; Brisbane. Pass by national parks, mountains, surfy enclaves, and endless stretches of sand bordering brilliant blue water. Feeling hungry? Grab a delicious pastry creation from the famous Yatala Pie shop, serving hungry patrons for 130 years. Word of advice… make sure those cameras are charged and ready. Experience a night out with the group in Queensland's capital.

Includes: Breakfast

Day 8: Brisbane/Noosa Everglades

Escape the city as you journey north up the coast to the Noosa Everglades. Get ready for an evening surrounded by stunning wilderness in one of the most pristine wetlands in the world. Relax as you cruise along this "river of mirrors" and chow down with a delicious Aussie BBQ lunch before further exploring your surroundings. Grab a kayak to get up and personal with the dark, tranquil waters as you paddle through ancient landscapes and sub-tropical rainforest. Then relax around the lake or hike one of the trails to further appreciate the serenity that seeps from this unique landscape.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 9: Noosa Everglades/Fraser Island

On your mark...get set.... go! Travel by private vehicle and ferry with your group to reach Fraser Island; for a true Aussie experience. Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world and the only known place where rainforest grows on sand. Think pure paradise; with striking blue lakes, crystal clear creeks, giant dunes, and dense rainforests in a place truly unlike any other. Once on the island the group will go for a 4x4 tour, driving along over 100km of beach to get a sense of your surroundings. Then take a swim in Lake Mckenzie, or be on the lookout for wild Dingoes (this is one of the few places in Australia where you are able to see them).

Once on the island, enjoy a 4x4 tour of Fraser Island, driving along over 100km of beach. Go for a swim in Lake McKenzie, and enjoy a rainforest walk along the way.

Includes: Breakfast

Day 10: Fraser Island/Airlie Beach

Your second day on Fraser Island comes with more free time to enjoy this paradise. In the morning continue exploring by 4x4 along wide stretches of pearly white beach and then duck into the shade of the forest to really appreciate the peaceful solitude that surrounds you. In the afternoon board an overnight train (get ready to post some ‘grams) north to Airlie Beach, where more sand, sun, and fun await you.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 11: Airlie Beach/Whitsunday Islands

Awake as the train pulls to a stop in your next destination. Hop out, stretch those legs, and head out for brunch with the group in Airlie Beach; home to the Whitsunday Islands and located on the Great Barrier Reef. Then head to the marina and embark on a maxi yacht which will be your home for the next two nights. Set sail to a secluded cove (we’re so excited for you) in the Whitsunday islands where you will drop anchor for the night. Our only advice; try not to pinch yourself too many times because no, this is not a dream, it is reality and we want you to experience it as best you can!

After arriving in Airlie Beach and some time for brunch, head to the marina and embark on a maxi yacht which will be our home for the next two nights. Set sail to a secluded cove in the Whitsunday Islands where you will drop anchor for the night.

Includes: Dinner

Day 12: Whitsunday Islands

Remember those stranded-on-a-deserted island fantasies that we all had growing up? (no, just us?) Either way get ready to relive that castaway dream as you hike to an island lookout over Whitehaven Beach (one of the most famous beaches in the world) and enjoy the views of powdery sand and the Coral Sea’s azure waters. You probably won’t ever want to leave. And you haven’t even gone below the surface yet!

After some free time on the beach basking in the sun you’ll spend time as a group learning about the community efforts to protect and restore coral in the Great Barrier Reef before heading out to snorkel; over a Planeterra-supported coral garden. Then it’s off to another secluded tropical island spot where the group will anchor for the night. (Skinny dipping anyone?)

The sailing route today allows us to follow part of Captain Cook's route up through the Whitsunday Islands.

Planeterra has partnered with Reef Ecologic, a nonprofit specialized in creating innovative solutions to challenges facing coral reefs. In the Whitsundays they are working to engage the community and travellers to restore the reef following the 2017 cyclone. Reef Ecologic's new coral gardens in the Whitsundays foster natural coral fragments to be replanted into the reef for a healthy marine environment.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Whitsunday Islands/Airlie Beach

Expected forecast today is; peace, serenity, paradise, and lots of gorgeous views. You may want to pull out your phone or camera every chance you get, but try to refrain and simply enjoy the moment as you and the group continue sailing through the picturesque backdrop of the Whitsunday Islands. Swim, snorkel, or lounge on the boat deck before sailing to the resort town of Airlie Beach for a night on the town with your best adventure buds! Live it up because let’s face it, how often are you really in this kind of paradise?

After three days at sea, we sail back to Airlie Beach for a night on land in a local beach hostel. Feel free to relax by the pool at the end of the day.

Includes: Breakfast

Day 14: Airlie Beach/Cairns

Wake up in the most laid-back beach town in Australia. Walk down the street in your thongs (flip flops) and swimwear to grab some delicious breakfast. If there’s time take one more quick dip before boarding the train north to Cairns. Admire the scenery along the way and reflect on your journey with friends new and old.

Day 15: Cairns

Cairns is quite the place to visit if you love warm weather (it would be headline news for the city’s temperature to drop much below 20°C (68°F)) and want to visit the Great Barrier Reef. Take advantage of a free morning to book one of the many optional activities that will get you out in nature’s playground. Snorkel or dive in the Great Barrier Reef, get that adrenaline pumping by whitewater rafting, skydiving, or bungee jumping and cap it all off on a Big Night Out In Cairns with your travel tribe. Drinks all around are well deserved after spending the day escaping your comfort zones.

Opt to pre-book the "Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling" activity on the checkout page ahead of time, to include this optional on your tour.

Day 16: Cairns/Alice Springs

Hop on a place to fly to Australia's interior where you'll transfer to your hostel in Alice Springs; the spiritual epicentre of Australia. Spend your free day journeying through the heart of the landscape. Active lovers rejoice as you walk a portion of the Larapinta Trail. History buffs visit the different cultural galleries, museums, sculptures and sacred sites in town offering a unique experience of Aboriginal art and heritage. At the end of the day simply enjoy the delights of this vibrant and diverse town from quirky bars to lively cafes, and restaurants with stunning views everywhere there’s plenty to choose from.

New travellers may join you for the rest of your adventure. Consider sitting in on the welcome meeting, and get to know everyone at an optional dinner.

Day 17: Alice Springs/Kings Creek

Charge those cameras and hit the road to Kings Canyon. Journey to Australia’s famous Red Centre passing through desert plains, weathered mountain ranges, rocky gorges, and some of the most sacred Indigenous sites in the country. Spend your first night together under the stars in a true Aussie desert swag (padded bed roll) and let the good times roll... no pun intended!

Includes: Dinner

Day 18: Kings Creek/Uluru

Rise early, beat the heat, and embark on a morning walk through the gorges and valleys of Kings Canyon. Take in the spectacular views surrounding you and simply enjoy being in the moment. Then it’s time to hop on the bus and drive to Uluru, where Australia’s most iconic view awaits. Grab a glass of bubbly and enjoy one of the most colourful sunsets of your life as Uluru puts on an unforgettable show in the fading light.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 19: Uluru

Get in touch with your inner zen as you wake near one of the most spiritual places in Australia. Listen to your peaceful surroundings and reflect before you begin the day. Visit an Indigenous culture centre with the group and partake in the informative Mala Walk at Uluru.

This walk is perfect if you are looking to see lots of Indigenous rock art and get away from the crowds. Wander between the sheer walls and tranquility of Kantju Gorge as you explore one of Australia’s most recognizable landmarks. See the colours change before your eyes, learn the significance behind this destination for the local people, and let Uluru capture your heart.

Visit the Indigenous Cultural Centre to get a better understanding of the area before embarking on the Mala Walk around part of the base of Uluru (Ayers Rock). Learn the significance behind this iconic destination for the local people.

Includes: Breakfast

Day 20: Uluru/Alice Springs

The unexplainable energy of the Red Centre will have you itching to head out on another hike. You’re in luck because the group will travel to the Mars-like rock formations of Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) to explore the surrounding area. If the temperature isn’t too unbearable you’ll also get to walk through the Valley of the Winds, which is full of dusty orange rock domes just waiting to be enjoyed. Snap some pics, wander away from everyone and revel in the peaceful atmosphere of the Australian Outback before making the drive back to Alice Springs.

Travel to the rock formations of Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) and, temperature permitting, walk through the Valley of the Winds to explore the surrounding area before continuing onto Alice Springs.

Includes: Breakfast

Day 21: Alice Springs/Adelaide

Rise early to enjoy some more time in the outdoors of Alice Springs on your own. Then hop on your flight to Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. Use your free time this afternoon to indulge in the multicultural flavours infused in the city’s restaurants, partake in the pulsing arts and live-music scene, and count church spires as you search for pubs and hip bars tucked away in city lanes. Then it’s time to embrace the energy of Adelaide on a final night out together!

Includes: Breakfast

Day 22: Adelaide

Get ready to stuff your face in the food and wine capital of Australia; Adelaide. Wander the clean laneways and sample your way from place to place as the sun warms your skin. With an emerging art scene, natural beauty, interesting attractions, and incredible restaurants, Adelaide has tons to see and do. Get out and discover the hub of South Australia!

If you're travelling between mid-September to late-April, opt to pre-book the "Dolphin Swim and Cruise" activity on the checkout page, for an epic time!

With an emerging art scene, natural beauty and attractions, and incredible restaurants, Adelaide has tons to see and do. Get out and discover the hub of South Australia!

If you're travelling between mid-September to late-April, opt to pre-book the "Dolphin Swim and Cruise" activity on the checkout page, to include this optional on your tour.

Day 23: Adelaide/Halls Gap

Skip sleeping in this morning and travel inland to Grampians National Park. Trek through lush forest, view the craggy sandstone Wonderland range in the distance, and examine impressive indigenous rock art. Home to some pretty amazing scenic lookouts this national park will grant you with many photo opportunities so make sure those cameras are charged before heading into the thick of it all. Walk to the stunning Balconies for expansive views of the Victoria Valley below, then stop at one of the largest waterfalls in Victoria; Mackenzie Falls and watch the water cascading down cliff faces as it creates rainbows in the air. Close your eyes, breathe in the fresh air, and find peace in the moment.

Depart early and travel inland to Grampians NP, known for its sandstone mountain range and impressive rock art. Walk to the stunning Balconies and visit MacKenzie Falls.

Includes: Breakfast

Day 24: Halls Gap/Port Campbell

Open your eyes to the smells and sounds of the lush forest of Grampians NP and lace up those hiking boots for an early morning walk within the park. Are you feeling historical? Visit an Indigenous Cultural Centre where you can choose to throw a boomerang, sample local delicacies like emu or kangaroo, and walk through gardens planted with native herbs and plants to help you learn about the history of Australia’s Indigenous peoples. Then drive along the iconic Great Ocean Road, viewing sites like the collapsed London Arch on the way to Port Campbell.

Includes: Breakfast

Day 25: Port Campbell/Melbourne

No need to say goodbye to the Great Ocean Road just yet! Continue travelling along the road with the group making visits to Loch Ard Gorge and the 12 Apostles along the way. It’s no wonder that the 12 Apostles are the star of the show on the Great Ocean Road. They are the kind of landmark that somehow finds a way to be more stunning in person than in photos.

Gaze in wonder at smooth pearlescent bays surrounded by clear, blue water, flanked by yellow-washed cliff faces, and feel the wind whipping through your hair. Then travel past world-famous surf beaches before walking through the rainforest one last time in Great Otway National Park. After soaking up all the nature you can it’s back to the hip city of Melbourne in the evening.

Tour ends on arrival to Melbourne.

Includes: Breakfast

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