Grand Aussie

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Grand Aussie

from £2,445
Duration: 26 days
Countries: Australia
See the very best of Australia on this trip. From the Red Centre, and its heart - Uluru, all the way down the East Coast via the Whitsundays and Byron Bay, before ending in Sydney!
Summary

Grand Aussie

Itinerary

Day 1: Darwin to Kakadu

No messing around, we start off with two of Australia's most beautiful national parks - a drive through Litchield National Park where you can swim under a waterfall and then on to the Kakadu National Park. It's a World Heritage site, so you know it's pretty special. You could swim in the salt water lakes, but you might want to make sure you don't have any unwanted crocodile company!

*Wet season (Nov-May): Spend more time in Litchfield National Park then stay at Batchelor Motel in Litchfield tonight.

Included today:
-Litchfield National Park swimming locations
-National Park entry

Meals: Lunch, dinner.

Did you know:
-Most of Kakadu’s waterways are croc infested so don’t test the waters.

Day 2: Kakadu

Given Kakadu is half the size of Switzerland, it seemed a shame to only spend one afternoon there. Luckily we've got you covered, so we'll spend the rest of the day here seeing the Aboriginal Rock Art sites, cruising the East Alligator River, where we'll see crocs… and then we've got special permission to enter Arnhem Land. This is pretty unique as it gives us a chance to try out some traditional Aboriginal hunting methods and go for a river cruise. Then you've got a range of choices for lunch before we climb Ubirr Rock and watch the sun go down over the park. Not bad for day two!

*Wet season (Nov-May): Today's stops visited on previous day and today's itinerary going straight to Litchfield National Park. Overnight: Batchelor Motel, Litchfield.

Included today:
-Aboriginal Rock art sites
-Kakadu River Cruise
-Arnhemland (seasonal)
-National Park entry

Meals: Breakfast.

Day 3: Kakadu to Katherine

If you're as terrified of crocs as we are, which we reckon is pretty normal, then you'll be glad to hear that where we're heading today is saltwater croc free. You might also have seen it on the TV once or twice, if you're a Crocodile Dundee fan that is… and let's face it, who isn't? Today's options - take a scenic flight over the escarpment that marks the border of Arnhem Land and then maybe chill at the local Country Club with a game of lawn bowls. Oh, and a bbq, it'd be rude not to!

*Wet season (Nov-May): Waterfalls replaced with other Kakadu site depending on road and weather conditions.

Included today:
-Gunlom Falls (seasonal)
-Bowali Visitor Centre
-National park entry
-Lawn Bowls

Meals: Breakfast, dinner.

Did you know:
-The world’s longest fence runs for 5,618 kilometres from Queensland to Western Australia and was built to protect sheep from dingoes.
-If the mercury drops below 20C in Australia, it’s officially cold. Don’t even think about arguing about this.
-Don’t harass Australian crocodiles. They might harass you back.

Day 4: Katherine

Today we head up a creek, with a paddle, and luckily for us, canoes. We're headed along the Katherine River to explore the Gorge. If, however, you'd prefer not to canoe it, you can upgrade and go on a three gorge cruise, which takes you that bit further out into the wilderness. To top it off, we'll end the day soaking up (and maybe getting soaked by) the beauty of the Edith Falls.

*Wet season (Nov-May): Canoeing replaced with Katherine Gorge Boat Cruise.

Included today:
-Katherine Gorge Canoeing (Boat Cruise Wet Season)
-Edith Falls

Meals: Breakfast.

Day 5: Katherine to Tennant Creek

Not that we've been working you hard so far, but it's about time we relaxed a bit, so we're going to spend a decent chunk of the day steaming slowly in the thermal springs of Mataranka in the heart of the Never Never (that's the Outback to you and me). All this relaxing is thirsty work though, so don't think we've forgotten about your fluid intake - next stop, one of Australia's best known pubs, the Daly Waters. It's right smack bang 'in the middle of somewhere' and was once home to Australia's first international airport, back when flights to London took eight days.

Included today:
-Daly Waters pub
-Mataranka Hot Springs
-Lawn Bowls

Meals: Breakfast, dinner.

Did you know:
-Australia’s national airline Qantas is an acronym for “Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services”.
-A pidgin dialect still spoke today by around 30,000 residents in the Northern Territory originated in Sydney in 1880.

Day 6: Tennant Creek to Alice Springs

Karlu Karlu (or the Devil's Marbles as they're also known) is our first stop this morning and it's another Aboriginal sacred site, so don't try playing with them! On from there, we head to visit the old Overland Telegraph line at the Barrow Creek Hotel, which will really make you appreciate your phones… You can't text mum in morse code!

Included today:
-Devils Marbles

Meals: Breakfast.

Did you know:
-Alice Springs is the city on which Nevil Shute based his book “A Town Like Alice”, along with the resulting film and miniseries by the same names.
-The sound of Krakatoa erupting in 1883 was heard as far a 4,800km away in Alice Springs – the loudest sound recorded in history with shock waves travelling around the world several times.
-Every September, Alice Springs hosts the Henley-on-Todd dry regatta in mock celebration of the original British settlers and the formal atmosphere of British regattas. It is therefore the only regatta to ever be cancelled because of rain (which happened once in 1993).

Day 7: Alice Springs

Alice is a lovely girl, with plenty to offer. You could hold a baby kangaroo, or joey, at Kangaroo Dundee's place, or learn about the history of the amazing Royal Flying Doctors. Or even just get lost in a real life Australia desert in the Desert Park Gardens. At least there you can't actually get completely lost! There's a ton more to do in Alice Springs if that's still not enough, so why not explore the art galleries, shops and stock up for your next adventures?

Meals: Breakfast.

Did you know:
-Alice Springs is the city on which Nevil Shute based his book “A Town Like Alice”, along with the resulting film and miniseries by the same names.
-The sound of Krakatoa erupting in 1883 was heard as far a 4,800km away in Alice Springs - the loudest sound recorded in history with shock waves travelling around the world several times.
-Every September, Alice Springs hosts the Henley-on-Todd dry regatta in mock celebration of the original British settlers and the formal atmosphere of British regattas. It is therefore the only regatta to ever be cancelled because of rain (which happened once in 1993).

Day 8: Alice Springs to Uluru

We're straight off to Yulara today, which is the gateway to Uluru. So, obviously, this afternoon we head to Uluru for a tour, some bubbly and to watch the sun set over the rock and change through a multitude of shades of red for one of nature's really special shows. Then, in the evening, you'll get the chance to try cheffing Aussie style as you cook your own steak (or vege burger) on the barbie.

Included today:
-Mt Conner
-Uluru Sunset
-National Park entry

Meals: Dinner.

Did you know:
-A man landed his plane on top of Uluru in February 2015, and media dubbed him “The Red Centre Barron”. How he managed to do that, we do not know. Don’t try at home kids.
-You can be fined $5000 for taking rocks and sand from Uluru - although who would want to,
as legend says people who take rocks from Uluru will be cursed and suffer misfortunes, of which there have been some instances. Days, months and even years later stubborn rock-takers have tried to mail back their loot in an attempt to remove the curse, known as “sorry rocks”.
-Uluru is taller than the Eiffel Tower (348m vs. 324m).
-From one side to the other, Uluru has a 50 million year sediment timeline

Day 9: Uluru

Sunset not being enough, we're also up for some early morning beauty to watch the sunrise at Uluru, too. Then you'll get a taste of what the it's really like up close as we go for a full base walk and follow in the footsteps of its traditional owners. This is your chance to get away from the crowds and soak up some of the natural beauty the area has to offer, including eagles, hopping mice and thorny devils. Alternatively, if you fancy something a little faster or higher, you could go for a Harley ride, or a scenic flight and see the real Top of the Rock. After all that, we've got the perfect way for you to wind down - with a meditative dot painting class, as we explore the Aboriginal Art Markets. One final treasure of the Outback left - the chance to really get some stargazing in.

Included today:
-Sunrise over Uluru
-National Park entry
-Uluru base walks
-Anangu Visitor centre
-Guided walk by your crew

Meals: Breakfast.

Did you know:
-You can be fined $5000 for taking rocks and sand from Uluru - although who would want to,
as legend says people who take rocks from Uluru will be cursed and suffer misfortunes, of which there have been some instances. Days, months and even years later stubborn rock-takers have tried to mail back their loot in an attempt to remove the curse, known as “sorry rocks”.
-Uluru is taller than the Eiffel Tower (348m vs. 324m).
-From one side to the other, Uluru has a 50 million year sediment timeline.

Day 10: Uluru to Kings Canyon

Sticking with the theme, we're off to explore sacred Kata-Tjuta (The Olgas) and the 36 redstone giants of the Valley of the Winds. Then, we'll learn more about Dreamtime and drive on to the Watarrka National Park, where you'll get the chance to sleep under the stars in a swag. Obviously a campfire and marshmallows will be required.

Please be aware that in winter months (May-Sept), nighttime temperatures can drop to near 0 degrees, warmer clothing will be required for the night sleeping in the swag.


Included today:
-Valley of the winds walk
-National park entry
Please note that the twin / double / or single upgrade is not applicable to the Overnight Swag Night at Kings Canyon. This has not been included in when upgrade rates were calculated.
Meals: Breakfast, dinner.

Did you know:
-Kings Canyon has been inhabited by the Luritja Aboriginal people for over 20,000 years. And they say Australia is young.
-The Pitjantjatjara name Kata-Tjuta means 'many heads', so named after the 36 domes of The Olgas which closely resemble a human's noodle.
-The mythology surrounding The Olgas is rarely divulged to anyone, especially women, lest they are privy to the “men's business” and become susceptible to violent attacks from spirits. So don't be offended.

Day 11: Kings Canyon to Alice Springs

Something a little more challenging on the menu - a walk up Heart Attack Hill, which is the toughest part of the Rim Walk. This is the most famous canyon in Australia and home to tons of incredible features, such as cycads, eroded domes and a visit to the Lost City. And all that isn't even the best of it! The Garden of Eden awaits… alright, so not that actual one (it's figurative after all), but this valley and its collection of waterholes will feel pretty close to it.

Included today:
-Guided hike of Kings Canyon
-Garden of Eden walk

Meals: Breakfast, lunch.

Did you know:
-Alice Springs is the city on which Nevil Shute based his book “A Town Like Alice”, along with the resulting film and miniseries by the same names.
-The sound of Krakatoa erupting in 1883 was heard as far a 4,800km away in Alice Springs – the loudest sound recorded in history with shock waves travelling around the world several times.
-Every September, Alice Springs hosts the Henley-on-Todd dry regatta in mock celebration of the original British settlers and the formal atmosphere of British regattas. It is therefore the only regatta to ever be cancelled because of rain (which happened once in 1993).

Day 12: Alice Springs to Cairns

We leave this up to you. Make your own way through the skies on a quick flight to join up with the rest of the gang in Cairns.

*Please note, flights are not included in the trip price.

Included today:
-Airport transfers

Meals: Breakfast.

Did you know:
-The world’s most fierce and sassy bird, the cassowary, resides in Cairns. Best not to get all up in its feathered grill if you see one.
-The city was officially founded in 1876 after the discovery of gold brought on a mining rush. Today it’s pearls, sugar cane and fish. Not as good as gold.
-Cairns plays host to the world’s longest single day mail delivery. The run takes over 9 hours to complete and spans 1450 km flying between Cairns and Cape York. And you get impatient waiting for that Asos package after 5 days.
-A species of small snail residing in tropical North Queensland was named in honour of Steve Irwin, as Crikey steveirwini.

Day 13: Cairns

There's no better place to start your East Coast than Cairns, and after all that time in the Red Centre, you'll be raring to get out and make the most of Cairns' wild side. A couple of days here and you'll be right, mate.

Did you know:
-The world's most fierce and sassy bird, the cassowary, resides in Cairns. Best not to get all up in its feathered grill if you see one.
-The city was officially founded in 1876 after the discovery of gold brought on a mining rush. Today it's pearls, sugar cane and fish. Not as good as gold.
-Cairns plays host to the world's longest single day mail delivery. The run takes over 9 hours to complete and spans 1450 km flying between Cairns and Cape York. And you get impatient waiting for that Asos package after 5 days.

Day 14: Cairns

Cairns is in the privileged position of being sandwiched between two World Heritage sites, so now's your chance to explore them. Go snorkelling or on a scuba trip to the Great Barrier Reef, or mix it up and go horse riding, hot air ballooning, bungy jumping or rafting! While you're here, you may as well ticket off a couple of things on the bucket list, right?

*Pre-book your Great Barrier Reef day-trip at the time of booking to secure your spot.

Meals: Breakfast.

Did you know:
-The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest living organism and covers 2,300 kilometres of Australia's coastline. It's also home to six of the world's seven sea turtle species. Win.

Day 15: Cairns to The Whitsundays

***We ask that you have packed a small overnight bag to take onboard with you as space is limited. Pack items like swimmers, beach towel, chargers, hat, sunscreen, camera, jacket, toiletries, sandals/flip flops and casual clothes for 3 days.***

We know you've probably only just adjusted to the tropical climate of Cairns after that time in the Outback, but how about another change of scene? It'll be worth it, promise. We're on to the Whitsundays on your very own private yacht. You'll get a chance to learn all about how it works, as you cruise round, what can really only be called paradise. If that's not your thing, you can just sit back, relax and let the crew do it all while you eat, swim and snorkel.

Included today:
-Big Mango
-Overnight sailing

Meals: Breakfast, dinner.

Did you know:
-Whitehaven Beach sand contains 98% pure silica, giving the beach its blinding white colour. The sand does not retain heat making it easy to walk on barefoot on a summer's day, and is great for polishing jewellery. Is there anything this sand DOESN'T do.
-Of the 74 islands in the Whitsundays, only 8 are inhabited. 66 are completely deserted. Milestone birthday present?
-The heart-shaped island used in Queensland advertising is REAL. Heart Reef, as it is named, is a natural coral formation off the Whitsunday coast.

Day 16: The Whitsundays to Daydream Island

Welcome to the best beach in the world - Whitehaven. It's probably the whitest beach on the planet and is the perfect place to spend a morning just marvelling at its incredible beauty. When you're done marvelling, hop back on board and we'll head off to Daydream Island for a couple of nights.

Included today:
-Whitehaven Beach
-Snorkeling
-Whitsunday sailing

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Did you know:
-Daydream Island is a sailing enthusiast's mecca, with its outdoor aquarium hosting 80 different types of sea life and 50 varying corals.
-The average water temperature in The Whitsundays is 26C. #perrrrfection.
-Captain Cook first sailed through the Whitsundays in 1770 on the second Sunday of Easter, and hence named the area after the day he discovered it. #themoreyouknow

Day 17: Daydream Island

You could just spend your time on Daydream Island, well, daydreaming after your enormous buffet breakfast, but there's quite a bit to do. On offer is a selection of water sports, beach volleyball, or you could even just go and sit on the jetty and feed the fish. There are a load more, but we'll let you explore them while you're there. If worst comes to worst, you could just sit in a hammock and have a drink, or make good use of the swim up pool bar. We wouldn't judge.

Included today:
-Non-motorised activities
-Bush walking

Meals: Breakfast.

Day 18: Daydream Island to Emu Park

Back on try land we'll head south to Emu Park where you can spend a little more time chilling on the beach and play beach cricket (and confuse the non-Brits on the trip). We'll then head to an Aboriginal experience where you can learn about their totems and some artefacts, see tradtitional dancing and even have a go at boomerang throwing and art - all before dinner!

Included today:
-Aboriginal experience and artefact souvenir

Meals: Breakfast, dinner.

Did you know:
-The only way you can keep rabbits in Queensland is if you have a magician’s permit. Now that’s pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
-Cane toads were introduced to Australia to get rid of another pest, the cane beetle. It was later discovered this is the only thing they do not eat. The cane toad is now a national pest. Unlucky.
-A species of small snail residing in tropical North Queensland was named in honour of Steve Irwin, as Crikey steveirwini.

Day 19: Emu Park to Myella Farm

Alright, so we're not quite done with the Outback yet - we're headed back there, via Rockhampton, so you can experience life on a cattle station. You'll get to see what life is really like for a cowboy as you gear up for an afternoon of horse riding, motor biking and cow milking. Alternatively, you could go and find the perfect sunset watching spot before we settle in for a night of whip crack, lassoing and a big ol' home cooked farm meal.

Included today:
-Farm sunset
-Tropic of Capricorn selfie

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Did you know:
-Gumby gumby, a local plant to Myella is often dried and consumed with tea as some locals believe it is an effective cancer cure.
-Station = Australian term for a large farm. Equivalent to an Amerian ranch.
-Countries situated between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn experience a phenonemon known as Lahaina noon - where the sun is directly overhead and buildings do not cast shadows.

Day 20: Myella Farm to Fraser Island

Start your day with coffee and a farm breakfast, before we head off back down the coast to catch a ferry to the world's largest sand island! Oh, and the longest beach in Queensland… 75 miles of it!

Meals: Breakfast, dinner.

Did you know:
-Fraser Island is the largest island to be made entirely of sand, and the only place on earth where rainforest grows on sand.

Day 21: Fraser Island

Lucky for you, Fraser Island, although one big pile of sand, isn't just that. It's got lakes, rainforest, cliffs and a few dingoes, too. We'll go driving down the beach highway, so see the Pinnacles' Coloured Sands (a place of good luck in indigenous Butchulla culture), crystal clear Eli Creek and the SS Maheno's wreck. And once you've done all that, why not try your hand at stand up paddleboard on Lake McKenzie?

Included today:
-Fraser Island 4WD tour
-Lake MacKenzie
-Central Station
-Coloured Sands
-Maheno Shipwreck
-Eli Creek

Meals: Breakfast, lunch.

Did you know:
- Fraser Island is so named due to Elizabeth Fraser and her shipwreck survival story. Basically: she was a tough lady who braved and survived childbirth in a lifeboat, subsequent loss of her child, becoming widowed and captured by the island's inhabitants.

Day 22: Fraser Island to Gold Coast

A quick stop at Brisbane to do a walking tour of the city centre and we're off! The road is calling, so we're headed to Surfer's Paradise where the Gold Coast awaits.

Included today:
-Brisbane City walking tour

Meals: Breakfast

Did you know:
-The Gold Coast is home to the largest professional lifeguard service in the southern hemisphere.
-While the rest of the world is dreaming of a white Christmas, all Australians know ‘tis the time to eat prawns on the beach.

Day 23: Gold Coast to Byron Bay

After a night in Surfers, we leave the glitz and glam behind and head for Springbrook National Park, where you can see it's main wonder - Natural Bridge. Time marches on and so do we, so we're off to Byron Bay, where you can catch your breath, do some yoga and go for a surf. It's also got the infamous Cheeky Monkey bar, so who knows where the night might take you!

Included today:
-Springbrook National Park

Meals: Breakfast.

Did you know:
-The NSW government played a game of switcheroo when they discovered that the peak of Mount Kosciuszko was lower than that of Mount Townsend. They simply switched the names so that Mount Kosciuszko would come out on top. Literally.
-In 2009 a 3-day dust storm whipped through New South Wales, covering the city in an orange haze and tinting the sky red. #dontmesswithmothernature

Day 24: Byron Bay

If you're looking for a real life chilled surf town, Byron is your place. It seems a bit over the top at first glance, but underneath there's a seriously relaxed vibe to it and plenty of places to take advantage of that. You've got plenty of time to hit the waves, go sea kayaking or watch whales breach from the Lighthouse in winter. All that said, you could jump out of a plane and get an adrenaline fix, Byron's just that kind of place.

Included today:
-Byron Bay highlights walking trip

Meals: Breakfast.

Day 25: Byron Bay to Crescent Head

Surfing and Australia go hand in hand, so we're headed to surf mecca, Crescent Head. But first, BBQ. After lunch it's time for a private surf lesson with one of the best surfers in the world. Master those waves!

Included today:
-Big banana
-Surf lesson

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Did you know:
-Crescent Head is famed as one of the best right hand point breaks for surfing in the world. Get ya surfboard out.

Day 26: Crescent Head to Sydney

After all this travel, there's really only one thing for it - wine. We stop by the Hunter Valley to visit some vineyards and try a bunch of the best wines Australia produces, before we head on to the bustle of Sydney where we have to part ways *sobs* Until next time!

Included today:
-Wine tasting and grape stomping

Meals: Breakfast.

Did you know:
-The famed Sydney Harbour Bridge was unofficially opened by a protester who rode up to the ceremony ribbon in a military uniform and promptly slashed it with a sword. He was also promptly arrested.
-Buses in Sydney running behind schedule can alter the traffic lights so as to catch up – it’s called Transit Priority. #followthebusifyou’relate
-The 1c coins removed from the Australian economy in 1992 were melted down and used for the 2000 Sydney Olympic bronze medals. Repurposing at its best.
-The Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest and most famous wine region. Have a drop or two.


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Details

Further Details

More information about this gap year opportunity...

Price details:

from £2,445

Phone:

Call 0333 333 9923 to enquire or book

Inclusions

Full-day 4WD experience on Fraser Island
Authentic ‘goat rodeo’ at Kroombit Park Outback Cattle Station
Overnight sailing in the Whitsunday Islands
Visit to stunning Whitehaven Beach
Two nights on a tropical island
Guided tour of Kings Canyon
Sunset and sunrise over Uluru
Unique wine tasting experience in the stunning Hunter Valley
Surf lesson at Topdeck’s Surf Lodge
Rainforest walk in Springbrook National Park
‘Valley of the Winds’ walk at Kata Tjuta
Guided hike of Kings Canyon
Canoe in the Katherine Gorge
East Alligator River Cruise in Kakadu
Aboriginal guide and entry into Arnhemland
Visit Aboriginal rock art sites in Kakadu National Park
Swim in the fresh waters of Litchfield National Park

24 breakfasts (B), 7 lunches (L), 12 dinners (D)
23 nights in hotels,lodges and cabins
1 night in a swag
1 night ‘liveaboard’ sailing
Escorted services of a fully trained Topdeck Trip Leader and Driver between Sydney and Cairns and a Driver/Guide between Alice Springs and Darwin

Group Size: Average 15, maximum 36
Transport: Modern air-conditioned vehicles

Free WiFi

About StudentUniverse

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We have a great team of travel gurus that understand what a gap year is all about just waiting to help you, and since we are part of the Flight Centre Travel Group we are able to offer the best flights, gap year packages, hostels, tours, volunteer placements and insurance - the works. This is not your average travel agency, it’s the ultimate backpacker travel agency.

If you’d like to get in touch to chat about your travels, even if you’re in the preliminary stages and you’d just like some advice, give us a call on 0333 333 9923 or submit an enquiry to StudentUniverse – we’d love to hear from you.

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Photos

Photo Gallery

Grand Aussie tour map

Grand Aussie tour map

Uluru

Uluru

King's Canyon

King's Canyon

Kakadu

Kakadu

Alice Springs

Alice Springs

Tennant Creek

Tennant Creek

Katherine river

Katherine river

Darwin

Darwin

Daydream Island

Daydream Island

Fraser Island

Fraser Island

Surfer's Paradise

Surfer's Paradise

Cairns high street

Cairns high street

Life on a cattle station

Life on a cattle station

Byron Bay

Byron Bay

Sydney

Sydney

Image 15 of 15 images
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