Beaches and Reefs

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Beaches and Reefs

from £1,331
Duration: 14 days
Countries: Australia
If you love sun, water & adventure then this is the trip for you. Packed with loads of inclusions, you’ll experience the best of what makes the East Coast of Oz such a great place to visit.
Summary

Beaches and Reefs

Learn to surf in Coffs Harbour, chill in the Whitsundays & get a taste of the action & adventure of Cairns with a bit of city action & bright lights mixed in for good measure. You'll swim, snorkel, maybe hold a koala or two, jet ski & even towel off for some shopping, bushwalking & tandem skydiving if you’re up for it. It’s the best of the East Coast rolled up into one cool adventure.

Itinerary

1  SYDNEY 

Meet up with your travel buddies & Contiki team & get ready for your Down Under adventure! This morning we’re heading out of the city & into the country for our included Blue Mountain’s day trip. The dramatic landscape of gorges (some up to 760m) are massive & will impress with the endless views into the distance. We’ll take a casual hike along the Jamison Ridge to the top of Wentworth Falls, passing a number of lookouts along the way. Next we’ll stop at Leura, a charming country village before visiting the iconic ‘Three Sisters’ – the famous rock formations. With amazing views & photos to keep your memories fresh when you get home, we’ll head back to Sydney. Later this evening have a truly Aussie experience when you get to cook your own delicious BBQ dinner of legendary Australian steak. Watching the sunset with a drink in hand & a great meal is the perfect way to end the day & the ideal start your trip.

Day 1: Hotel Dinner

Day trip out to the stunning Blue Mountains
See the famous Three Sisters rock formation
Hike along the ridge overlooking Jamison Valley
Cook your own BBQ dinner

2  SYDNEY 

Sydney rocks & with Contiki you’ll see the best of the city. First up, get in the know on Sydney as your Trip Manager points out all the hottest spots & icons of this harbourside haven. From the babes on the beaches of Manly, the buzzy Kings Cross & its colourful characters to Chinatown & Darling Harbour, the sights & sounds are as varied as its residents & we’re here to uncover it all. We’ll also take you to Mrs Macquarie's Chair & The Rocks, for undoubtedly the city’s best views of the Opera House & Harbour Bridge in one go (so it’s perfect for some of those legendary Sydney snaps). You could even try scaling the heights of the Harbour Bridge on an optional BridgeClimb or take a tour around the stunning Opera House! Later, it’s a totally Sydney experience with an included ride to the famous Manly Beach. We’ll drop you right at the beach. Bliss! On arrival, grab some lunch then throw down your towel, pop in your iPod & take time to paddle in the cool water, work on your tan if the weather is right, or just people watch as you soak up the vibes & atmosphere. There are loads of shops & restaurants here too, for those that are keen to check out the local buzz. Later, take the Sydney scenic route back - you’ll get a panoramic view of the city as your backdrop whilst you cruise on the famous & iconic ferry.

Day 2: Hotel Breakfast

Take a tour of Kings Cross, Chinatown, Darling Harbour, Mrs Macquarie's Chair Lookout & The Rocks
Cruise across Sydney Harbour on a ferry to Manly
Sydney Opera House Tour A$37
Harbour Bridge climb from A$222

3  SYDNEY TO COFFS HARBOUR 

Chill out on the coach today and chat with your travel buddies as we head northbound over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. We stop by seaside Port Macquarie for lunch before heading to Coffs Harbour, home to surf beaches, fishing and banana plantations.

This is a chance for a real Aussie overnight as we arrive at our Special Stay experience at our Aussie Surf Camp. Maybe get to know your Contiki team & travel buddies over a few drinks. Our cabins are right on the beach so soak up the surf vibes and relax by the open fire under the stars.

Day 3: Surf Village Breakfast, Dinner

Stop in the seaside resort town of Port Macquarie
See the famous 'Big Banana' & banana plantation

4  COFFS HARBOUR TO BYRON BAY 

This morning wake up to one of our Aussie highlights, a surf lesson! An awesome Aussie experience – hit the waves & learn to surf with some professional instructors as you have a go at surfing! Join some of the coolest people on the planet as you get involved with Australia’s beach culture. It’s a fun way to learn how to surf as our professional local instructors show you just how it’s done. The perfect Aussie experience & will top off your Coffs Harbour stay!

Later, it’s time to hit the road for our next overnight stop, gorgeous Byron Bay – one of Australia’s gems & a great place to hang out! With a laid-back lifestyle, cute little shops, organic food, alternative therapies and around 30km of pretty beaches, it’s a must see. Byron Bay is also known for its incredible marine life. Head out to Cape Byron, Australia’s most easterly point and see dolphins and humpback whales if you’re lucky, then grab some lunch back in town and maybe take a swim at the beach & soak up the hippy vibes & easy going atmosphere.

There are loads of other things on offer here too, like a sea kayaking adventure where you catch up with a family of dolphins at Wategos beach, their curiosity often brings them right up next your kayak, and snorkeling at Middle reef home to turtles, rays, corals, eels, starfish and sharks.

Day 4: Hostel Breakfast

Learn to surf the waves or ride a kayak at our beachside surf camp
Visit Australia's most eastern point & Cape Byron lighthouse
Get into Byron's organic lifestyle & cool nightlife
Byron Bay Kayaking 3hrs A$65

5  BYRON BAY TO SURFERS PARADISE 

This morning we cross over into Queensland and visit Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary where you’ll get up close to Australia’s amazing native animals. Cuddle a koala, feed the kangaroos and see wombats, emus, crocodiles, dingoes, Tasmanian devils and colourful birds. You can feel good about doing this too, as our visit to this not-for-profit organisation goes towards the sanctuary’s animal hospital which helps over 4,000 injured animals every year.

Tonight we pull into legendary Surfers Paradise, the Gold Coast’s party hot spot and home to some of the best surfing beaches in the world.

Grab some of your new friends and join the party atmosphere of Surfers tonight. There is an optional Cabaret dinner followed by included entry into one of Surfers Paradise’s best clubs. With heaps of restaurants and a buzzing nightlife, there’s something for everybody.

Day 5: Resort Breakfast

Visit Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary - cuddle a koala and see native Australian animals including kangaroos, emus, crocodiles, dingoes & Tasmanian devils
Stay at a resort located right by the beach
Nightclub entry
Dracula's Cabaret Restaurant A$95

6  SURFERS PARADISE 

With a free day, hang out among the bronzed bodies, bikini babes and surfer dudes on the golden sands. Check out what Surfers is most famous for, the three kilometers of gorgeous natural beaches. Kick back and spot some locals showing off their talents in the waves.

If you want to get amongst the action there’s so much happening in Surfers Paradise you are spoilt for choice. You could head up into the Hinterland Mountains on a 4WD trip or visit South Stradbroke Island on a kayaking safari.

Our hotel is only a short walk from both the beach and downtown Surfers Paradise so you could also hit the shops – Surfers has some great places to shop and a huge outlet mall for bargains, so get some tips from your Trip Manager on where’s best to head.

Day 6: Resort Breakfast

Relax on some of Australia's most famous beaches on the Gold Coast
Tandem Skydiving from A$345
Southern Cross 4WD night tour AU$ 105

7  SURFERS PARADISE TO NOOSA 

As we make our way up the coast, we make a stop in Brisbane to see what this city is all about. You’ll get a feel for the capital of Queensland’s laid-back atmosphere when we have a look around town.

Noosa is up next. It’s a trendy beach resort town. You could take a stroll through the shops or sunbathe and swim at the beach before we check into our resort.

Day 7: Resort Breakfast, Dinner

See the Brisbane River, South Bank & visit Queen Street Mall
See the Glass House Mountains
Visit the picturesque seaside town & beach of Noosa

8  NOOSA 

This morning on our included full day 4WD tour, we make our way north to Fraser Island, a slice of paradise. This UNESCO World Heritage-listed site is the largest sand island in the world and is 800,000 years old. Packed with around 40 freshwater lakes, lush rainforests and diverse wildlife, Fraser Island lives up to its amazing reputation.

You’ll meet your Local Guide in the morning and be shown some of the island’s best spots and hidden treasures, taking you through the island’s sand dunes, rainforests & freshwater lakes. Our Local Guide will show you some of the island’s best spots and hidden treasures, such as Lake McKenzie – make sure you keep your camera handy – this is one of Australia’s most beautiful regions. Tonight, go local and enjoy a taste of Aussie life as we head to the surf club for our included dinner overlooking the beach. Later, if you want to take it up a level, head out into the town & explore Noosa by night.

Day 8: Eco Lodge Lunch, Breakfast

Take a locally guided 4WD trip across Fraser Island & indulge in a delicious lunch
Stay on the world's largest sand island, a UNESCO World Heritage site
Drive along Australia's only sand highway
Stay in an eco-village & enjoy the resort facilities
Dine beachside at Noosa Surf Club & meet a lifesaver

9  NOOSA TO FARMSTAY 

Today we continue inland to an authentic country homestead, right in the heart of Queensland’s cattle country.

We’ll stop in the country town Childers, where you’ll have the option to visit a local winery & exotic fruit orchard for a tour & tastings.

During our time at Langmorn, a working cattle station, you’ll experience a taste of real Aussie country life. The owners will show you around the enormous property in a behind-the-scenes look at daily life on the farm. Taste local hospitality tonight as your welcoming hosts pile your table high with a hearty roast beef and vegetables (like you've never tasted before) followed by an indulgent homemade decadent dessert.

Later, have a go at whip cracking an authentic leather stock whip under night lights before heading back inside for traditional Aussie bush dancing. Have some fun and a giggle with some evening karaoke. See if you can spot the 'Southern Cross' amongst a chandelier of stars, a constellation only visible in the southern hemisphere & featured on the Australian flag.

Day 9: Contiki Special Stopover Breakfast, Dinner

Stop in Childers, a small country town, known for its heritage & farming history
Check out the farm & animals on a hay wagon ride, then try whip cracking!
Meet the cattle station owners
Aussie Outback experience: Langmorn Station Special Stopover

10-11  FARMSTAY TO THE WHITSUNDAYS 

This morning we stop off in Rockhampton, the beef farming capital of Australia that spans the Tropic of Capricorn.

As we make our way up the Capricorn Coast, the landscape becomes more tropical. Plug in your MP3 or chat with friends as we drive through scenic Mackay, with the countryside full of vibrant green vegetation and sugar cane plantations.

In the afternoon visit the backpackers’ hub of Airlie Beach with its turquoise waters and busy café scene.

The time is then yours to enjoy the picture-perfect Whitsundays! Slow the pace down, kick back and relax.

For those that are up for it, there's our optional day sail. Check out some of the Whitsunday’s 74 islands from the boat – you’ll soon understand why this region is so famous. Experience what is known as one of the top ten beaches in the world, the uninhabited Whitehaven Beach. Swim off the boat and play beach volleyball or cricket with the local skipper and crew before enjoying a tasty lunch and a few drinks.

Day 10: Resort Breakfast, Dinner
Day 11: Resort Breakfast

Visit & cross the Tropic of Capricorn
Visit the main region of Australia's sugar cane industry
Visit the vibrant seaside town of Airlie Beach
Cruise Whitsundays Camira Day Sail A$170

12  THE WHITSUNDAYS TO CAIRNS 

Today we head deeper into the tropics of Australia when we hit Townsville for some free time. Check out the colonial buildings and get a feel for its maritime past as we drive along the esplanade and into town where you can grab some lunch.

Tonight we head out to a local restaurant for dinner where you have the opportunity to try kangaroo, amongst other delicious Australian delicacies. In your free time, walk around the buzzing night markets. It’s the perfect place for shopping and with everything from fun, kitsch treasures to local crafts like boomerangs and didgeridoos.

Day 12: Resort Breakfast

Townsville city orientation
See Magnetic Island
Pass Hinchinbrook Island - Australia's largest island national park
Pass through Tully, home to Australia's best whitewater rafting

13  CAIRNS 

Wake up to the warm waters of Cairns. There’s a chance to experience the Great Barrier Reef on an optional day trip. Put on your snorkel gear or try an optional introduction to scuba diving and check out colourful fish, turtles, vivid coral and the incredible clear waters.

Later, hit the seaside esplanade back in Cairns, sit down with a coffee and people watch. For your last night with the group, there’s a chance to head down to a local hot-spot for dinner and a dance if you’re up for it.

Day 13: Resort Breakfast, Dinner

Skydive Australia From A$259
Outer Barrier Reef Cruise from A$170

14  CAIRNS 

Feed your inner adrenaline junkie or relax? It’s your choice with another free day to do what you’re into.

For those who are keen for a fun and thrilling ride on the rapids of the Barron River, join our optional white-water rafting adventure activity with our professional Local Guides.

There are loads more activities available in Cairns like hot air ballooning, sky diving and bungy jumping – just ask your Trip Manager for some more info.

Later, it’s time to swap emails & numbers as your tour ends at 5:00pm.

Day 14: Breakfast

AJ Hackett Minjin Swing or Bungee Jump A$105 / A$150
White Water Rafting A$125


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Details

Further Details

More information about this gap year opportunity...

Price details:

from £1,331

Phone:

Call 0333 333 9952 to enquire or book

Accommodation

13 nights multi-share accommodation: 9 nights in resorts, 1 night in an eco-lodge, 1 night in a hostel, 1 night in a surf school village, 1 night at a cattle station lodge
Modern, air-conditioned coach with powerpoints for charging
National Park fees, local taxes & service charges

Team

An experienced & professional Trip Manager & Driver team
Sightseeing tours of all major cities

Food

20 meals:
13 breakfasts
1 lunch
6 dinners

Inclusions

4 World Heritage Sites visited
Day trip out to the stunning Blue Mountains
See the famous Three Sisters rock formation

About StudentUniverse

StudentUniverse has been supplying the best flight, hotel and tours deals to students around the world for years now and we’re delighted to be the preferred travel partner of gapyear.com and to make your travel experience even more amazing.

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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