The Big Walkabout
Starting off Sydney-side, experience the endless landscapes of the Top End & the unmissable colours of the Red Centre icons like Kings Canyon, Uluru & the Olgas. Beach fun is on the cards too with loads of time on the East Coast. It’s all about fun & getting amongst the good times in one of the world’s most fascinating places.
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
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 plantations
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 VIP 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
VIP 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: Hotel 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
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: Country Homestead 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
After a ferry back to the mainland, we head deeper into the tropics of Australia today 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.
See vistas over Magnetic Island before we continue our travels up north.
Back on the road, we cruise past waterfalls, waterholes, fruit plantations and thick, tropical rainforests into Tully, home to some of Australia’s best white-water rafting.
Then it’s on to the popular traveller’s hub of Cairns. With a colourful tropical setting, vibrant restaurant scene and happening nightlife, this gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and rainforests is one of Australia’s hottest destinations.
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 on the first night in Cairns, 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, Dinner
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
Wake up to the warm waters of Cairns where there’s something for everyone. This is your chance to experience the Great Barrier Reef on an optional day trip.
If you have always wanted to go scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef then this is your chance! There are scuba diving options for both certified and introductory divers (no experience necessary). Check out the amazing World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, you are sure to see one of Nemo's cousins, tiny schooling fish right up to giant Maori wrasse and if you're lucky, even a small reef shark! There are local marine biologists on board to answer 'which fish is that?'
On day 2, for those who are keen for a fun and thrilling ride, join our optional whitewater rafting adventure activity with our professional Local Guides. There are loads more activities available in Cairns like sky diving and bungy jumping – just ask your Trip Manager for some more info.
Catch up with your new buddies to swap stories on your day at a local hot spot. The food and entertainment is sure to leave a lasting impression!
Day 13: Resort Breakfast
Day 14: Resort Breakfast
Cairns city orientation
Outer Barrier Reef Cruise from A$170
White Water Rafting A$125
AJ Hackett Minjin Swing or Bungee Jump A$105 / A$150
Skydive Australia From A$259
15 CAIRNS TO ALICE SPRINGS
Catch a flight today as we cut across the state to land in the Northern Territory. We touch down in Alice Springs, famous for its remote location, its Aussie characters & its reputation as the national hub for Aboriginal art.
We kick of the afternoon with a trip out to Simpson’s Gap & West MacDonnell National Park where you’ll start to appreciate the remoteness of Central Australia. Next we’ll visit ANZAC Hill lookout and Alice Springs Telegraph Station.
Finish the afternoon with a hands on experience at the Alice Springs Reptile Centre where you’ll hear about some of Australia’s unique outback reptiles and, if you're brave enough, hold a python!
Day 15: Hotel Breakfast, Dinner
Flight between Cairns and Alice Springs
See the MacDonnell Ranges from ANZAC Hill
Visit West MacDonnell National Park & see the stunning Aboriginal site of Simpsons Gap
Alice Springs Reptile Centre experience
See the dry Todd River which hosts the annual Henley-on-Todd Regatta
16 ALICE SPRINGS TO KINGS CREEK STATION
Jump start the day by learning about surviving in the bush with our included Aboriginal 'Bushtucker' tour. Our expert Aboriginal Guide will fill you in on the dos and don’ts of life in the bush, and you’ll even get to taste insects and plants if you’re adventurous.
Next we head to Kings Canyon where you’ll go on an amazing guided hike to places such as the 'Garden of Eden' waterhole and the 'Lost City'!
Finish the day at Kings Creek Station. This working camel & cattle station serves up a real outback experience. Tonight, 'go bush' and sleep under the open sky at our overnight bush camp where you’ll see the desert sky light up with thousands of stars.
Day 16: Outback bush camp Breakfast, Dinner
Aboriginal Dreamtime 'Bushtucker' tour in Alice Springs
Hike to the 'Garden of Eden' waterhole and the 'Lost City'
Stay at a cattle & camel station
See the desert night sky & stars
Sleep in a traditional Aussie 'swag' at an outback bush camp
17 KINGS CREEK STATION TO ULURU
Today we make tracks to Uluru! But not before you have an opportunity to Race around the station and appreciate it’s size on an optional Quad Bike excursion!
We drive by ancient (700 million years old!) Mt. Connor for 360° views over the red desert and take a walk through Uluṟu's neighbour - Kata Tjuṯa, or 'The Olgas' - before arriving at Yulara Resort. This environmentally designed resort is all about the outback and has a pool for you to cool off in after the drive.
Day 17: Lodge Breakfast
Wake up to a bacon & egg breakfast
See the 700 million year old Mt. Conner & Lake Amadeus
Hike through Kata Tjuṯa (The Olgas)
Quad Bike Excursion A$95
Start off the morning nice and early and watch the sun rise over this iconic natural wonder from the viewing area.
Get familiar with Uluṟu when your Trip Manager takes you around its base and gives you the background of the spiritual significance of this site for Aboriginal people.
For something different, this afternoon you can choose an optional Harley Davidson ride or scenic flight.
Tonight, catch the sun set over the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Uluṟu (Ayers Rock), and grab some nibbles and bubbly to toast this amazing view.
Day 18: Lodge Breakfast
Visit Uluru Cultural Centre
See Uluṟu at sunrise
Toast Uluṟu at sunset with drinks & nibbles
Harley Davidson motorcycle rides from A$109
Uluru & the Olgas Scenic Flights from A$140
19 ULURU TO ALICE SPRINGS
It’s an easy-going start to the day today. Your Trip Manager will cook up a storm for breakfast, so load up on bacon & eggs!
We swing by a traditional Australian roadhouse, and then pull back into Alice Springs.
Tonight, join the group for an optional dinner at the Overlander Steakhouse, where you can try out kangaroo, crocodile, camel & steak while listening to Aussie folk songs.
Day 19: Hotel Breakfast
Indulge in a BBQ 'Big Brekkie'
Visit a traditional Outback Roadhouse
Overlander Steakhouse Blowout A$70
20 ALICE SPRINGS TO TENNANT CREEK
Get above it all in an optional hot air balloon ride over the red MacDonnell Ranges at dawn this morning. Enjoy a bird’s eye view over these stunning, massive rock formations.
Chill out on the coach as we cut across flat plains and travel through a patch of no man’s land. Stretch your legs at Karlu Karlu (the Devils Marbles), a strange grouping of enormous boulders, and maybe even sight a UFO in Wycliffe Well.
We overnight in Tennant Creek, a “true blue” Aussie outback town, where you’ll get a feel for the size of Australia. In the middle of nowhere, this town is the only point of contact for the million-acre cattle stations of the surrounding area.
Day 20: Hotel Breakfast, Dinner
Visit the unique rock formation known as Karlu Karlu
Visit the site of Australia's last gold rush
Visit Australia's UFO capital, Wycliffe Well
Outback Ballooning A$275
21 TENNANT CREEK TO KATHERINE
Heading north, we stop by Renner Springs, which serves as a border between the lush tropics of the north and the red desert of Australia’s centre.
Next up: the oldest pub in the Northern Territory, Daly Waters, licensed since 1893. Check out the knick-knacks and memorabilia that cover the walls of this Australian institution. Grab a bite to eat here and maybe meet a local character or two.
Afterwards, we pull into Mataranka Thermal Springs where you can have a swim in the thermal pools at a bush resort, where the mineral waters are a comfortable 34°C/93°F.
In the afternoon, we arrive in riverside Katherine – it’s a total change of scene after the dry desert. Your Tour Manager will organise an optional dinner tonight, so you can relax by the pool.
Day 21: Hotel Breakfast
Visit the historic Daly Waters pub
Swim at the Mataranka thermal pools
Visit Elsey, the historic “We of the Never Never” homestead
22 KATHERINE TO KAKADU NATIONAL PARK
Kick start the day with a hike, walk or take our optional cruise through the gorgeous Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge. This National Park serves up vivid orange cliffs and rock formations that have been carved out by the river over hundreds’ of years. Keep an eye open for fresh water crocs and learn about local wildlife and folklore from our Local Guide.
Later on, cool off in the swimming hole at Edith Falls, deep in the heart of the national park.
We overnight near Australia’s largest national park, Kakadu, known for its ancient rock art, some of which is up to 20,000 years old.
Day 22: Hotel Breakfast, Dinner
Visit Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge & see the sheer rock walls and wildlife
Cool off in Edith Falls
Stay near Kakadu National Park
Katherine Gorge Cruise A$74
23 KAKADU NATIONAL PARK
We spend the day exploring some of this 20,000 sq km World Heritage-listed site. It’s packed with swamps, rainforest, wetlands, woodlands, plants, insects and 75 different types of reptiles.
First up it’s Nourlangie Rock with impressive rock art dating back thousands of years. Next we get the background on local indigenous culture at the Warradjan Cultural Centre before our included wildlife boat cruise takes us out to spot crocs & learn about the native birdlife in the area. There may be time to explore the “rock galleries” of Ubirr, where time-old paintings line the cave walls before we head back to the hotel for dinner.
Day 23: Hotel Breakfast
Visit the Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre
Hike to see the Aboriginal rock art at Nourlangie Rock and Ubirr
Fixed Wing Scenic Flight A$140
24 KAKADU NATIONAL PARK TO DARWIN
Today, we head to Darwin via stunning Litchfield National Park. We stop by the termite mounds, a local natural curiosity, which are up to 4 metres high and are literally magnetic – your Trip Manager will fill you in on the details.
Then we hit the famous falls that make up the park – four waterfalls pour over a wide plateau into deep, picture-perfect waterholes surrounded by thick rainforest. Experience this natural playground and take a dip in the transparent waters.
This evening, we head into Darwin for your last night with the group. Prepare for a big night dancing & partying the night away.
Day 24: Resort Breakfast
See the termite mounds
Enjoy a swim at Florence Falls
Today we head out on a Darwin City tour. You’ll visit the East Point Military Reserve and Darwin Museum to find out about the history of the Northern Territory’s capital.
Later you have the chance to come face to face with a 5m crocodile. This is Australia’s only crocodile dive where you are safely housed in a perspex cage while a crocodile lazes, swims and even feeds just inches away.
Say goodbye to your new friends and Trip Manager this afternoon as your tour finishes.
Day 25: Breakfast
Visit the Darwin Museum & see the Cyclone Tracy display
See the harbour & East Point Military Reserve
Crocosaurus Cove Entry A$30
Cage of Death (including entry to Crocosauras Cove) A$155
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