Ultimate Aussie Adventure

StudentUniverse  »  Ultimate Aussie Adventure

Ultimate Aussie Adventure

from £3,100
Duration: 28 days
Countries: Australia
This is the big Australian daddy. If you want to see the lot, this is for you. You’ll see everything from Melbourne, to Uluru, to Cairns and right down to Sydney!
Summary

Ultimate Aussie Adventure

Itinerary

Day 1: Melbourne to Port Campbell

Welcome to your Topdeck trip - meet your travel buddies and hit the road. If you've ever seen a car commercial, chances are you've seen the Great Ocean Road. With mere metres between road and water, hairpin bends and epic views out every window - today you'll join the list of five million people to do this road-of-passage each year. Before putting rubber on the Great Ocean Road, we'll tick off the spiritual home of surfing, spot koalas in the wild and lunch in a seaside village. This afternoon is all about the Twelve Apostles, aka the Stonehenge of Australia. Tonight chill out and get to know who you're travelling with.

Included today:
-Coastal Lookouts
-12 Apostles
-National Park entry

Meals: Dinner.

Did you know:
-The Great Ocean Road is the world's largest war memorial, spanning 243 km. It was constructed by the hands of returned WWI servicemen in remembrance of fallen soldiers.
-During construction of the Great Ocean Road, steamboat Casino struck a reef and was stranded near Cape Patton, left with no choice but to jettison 500 barrels of beer and 120 cases of spirits. Upon somehow obtaining this, the Great Ocean Road workers took an impromptu 2-week long drinking holiday #thisislivin.
-There is a mountain in Victoria called Mt. Disappointment, and just as expected was so named due to its sub par view, according to the original British explorers. We did say they were British.

Day 2: Port Campbell to Halls Gap

From one natural wonder to another, we'll explore the 167,000 hectares of The Grampians - a mecca for hikers and rock climbers. More than just a place to get geology goosebumps, you'll be standing on sacred ground, with 80% of Victoria's Aboriginal rock art on show. Meet the traditional land owners, whose ancestors were scratching and dabbing their Dreamtime stories onto rock long before the Pyramids of Egypt were conceived, then paint your own story onto a boomerang. Dinner with the crew tonight.

Included today:
-Boomerang Painting
-National park entry

Meals: Breakfast, dinner.

Did you know:
-Victorians are way ahead of the rest of us - the Grampians Grape Escape, one of the longest running food and wine festivals in Australia, has been running since 1992 and is held in Grampians National Park annually.
-Name suggestions for Australia’s capital originally included Sydmelperbrisho, Wheetwoolgold and Federalbus. Righto.

Day 3: Halls Gap to Mt Gambier

By the time we reach Adelaide you'll have nailed a trifecta of the highest, largest and longest landforms across two states. Next up: McKenzie Falls, the largest waterfall in Victoria. It's no Niagara, but flowing water is guaranteed year-round - a rare promise in a country that's 40% desert. Then, the Northern Grampians for one last panorama shot where #natureporn trends with views to Mt Williams, the highest peak in the park and third-highest mountain in Victoria. To complete the trilogy: the Murray River - a bronze medallist to the Nile and Amazon, stretching 2520 kilometres and spanning three states. How's that for a form guide?

Included today:
-National Park entry
-Pinnacles Walk
-McKenzie Falls
-Gaol history walking tour

Meals: Breakfast.

Did you know:
-When the Skylab satellite crashed in Australia in 1979, Australia issued NASA a fine for littering. They did not pay up.
-When a bank note is torn up in Australia, is it worth half of its former self. E.g. $20 torn up becomes $10. Still something.

Day 4: Mt Gambier to Adelaide

Stroll through the Valley Lake conservation area and learn about the pre-human flora and fauna existence. Snap madly away on the camera as you spot a Skippy - hot tip: don't go to hug one. Before kicking on to Adelaide, check out the Blue Lake (depending on what time of the year you visit, you may have your own dilemma of “the dress” kind on your hands - the lake changes colour) and the Umpherston Sinkhole - Australia's own version of the Sacred Valley of the Inca Trail. Because no South Australian voyage is complete without wine, we get to concoct our own potion as we stop at Wynn's Coonawarra vineyard. Chin chin!

Included today:
-Wynn's Coonawarra Make Your Own Blended Wine class

Meals: Breakfast.

Did you know:
-Adelaide's buses are capable of driving both on and off rail tracks. It's called the O-Bahn busway, allowing buses to reach speeds of up to 100km/h, and then continue on suburban routes.
-Adelaide is the only city in the world where iced coffee outsells Coca-Cola, at a feat of 3-1.

Day 5: Adelaide

“You've made it to one of the world's coolest cities (according to Lonely Planet). Today's a free day for the adventurous to head out to spot seals, kangaroos and penguins on Australia's answer to the Galapagos: Kangaroo Island. Learn about some of the 46 endemic species. Spend the day slurping noodles in the Adelaide Central Market, or take a tram to the seaside village of Glenelg.

Meals: Breakfast.

Did you know:
-Burger King was forced to change its name in Australia to Hungry Jack's (answer anyone's question? Looking at you USA) as the name had been trademarked by a takeaway joint in Adelaide.

Day 6: Adelaide to Parachilna

There are more wineries around here than flies on a sheep. On our way to the Clare Valley, we'll stop at the Barossa Reservoir Whispering Wall - there's a time and a place for confessions. This isn't it. There is a classic Aussie pub at the end of the road today.

Meals: Dinner.

Day 7: Parachilna to Quorn

Flinders Ranges National Park is a spoiled brat, it has everything. From mountains to gorges and creeks to rivers, you're lucky you get to play in it today. Take a hike to Wilpena Pound - a natural amphitheatre about three times the size of Uluru. Then to rock art site Arkaroo Rock, and the Kanyaka Ruins a lesson in hard yakka at Kanyaka Station - an abandoned sheep and cattle farm.

Included today:
-Wilpena Pound guided walk
-National Park entry

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Did you know:
-As hard as this may be to believe, no spider has actually killed anyone in Australia in over 30 years. Deep breaths.
-A wild pig stole 18 beers from a campsite, got inebriated, and tried to fight a cow #straya.
-The first modern refrigerator was built in Australia in 1856 to keep beer cold. Figures.

Day 8: Quorn to Coober Pedy

After a #saltlakeselfie stop, we roll into the next gem on our list to check out where 75% of the world's opals come from. Then: time to meet the orphans of the kangaroo world and learn more about how abandoned joeys are nurtured back into the wild.

Included today:
-Opal Mine & Town tour
-Kangaroo Orphanage

Meals: Breakfast, dinner.

Did you know:
-Temperatures rise to such alarming heights in Coober Pedy that residents live in underground dugouts - the lower you get the cooler it is.
-Coober Pedy is known as the “Opal Capital of the World” for its stunning opals mined from the 70 opal fields in the area.
-The local Coober Pedy golf course has no grass; instead players bring with them a small patch of turf to tee off. The club is the only one in the world to reap the reciprocal rights benefits of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, Scotland - one of the oldest and most prestigious golf clubs in the world.

Day 9: Coober Pedy to Alice Springs

It's time to cross the gemstone littered and soft grounds of the Moon Plain up the middle of Australia. Then, check out the world's longest Dingo Fence (good thing there's a gate) and truck on past some very remote roadhouses before crossing the border into the Northern Territory. That resort pool is just what the doctor ordered.

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 year, 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 10: Alice Springs to Uluru

We're hitting the red ground running as we pull into Yulara. It's off to the breathtaking Uluru in the afternoon for a guided tour, and a glass of bubbles as the glow of sunset morphs through 50 shades of red, providing a rockin' live show. Tonight hone your Aussie BBQ skills and cook your own steak (or vege burger). Welcome to the outback, mate.

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 11: Uluru

Start your day with a big bowl of 'oh my god' thanks to a breathtaking sunrise back at Uluru. Follow in the footsteps of the traditional owners of this sacred World Heritage site with a full base walk, where you can escape the crowds and check out hidden waterholes. Keep watch for wedge-tailed eagles, spinifex hopping mice and thorny devils. Or splurge on a Harley ride or scenic flight and see the original Top of the Rock. Later, join a meditative dot painting class in the Aboriginal Art Markets and give yourself a free astrology lesson, stargazing at the endless Southern night sky.

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 12: Uluru to Kings Canyon

Get ready for some soul searching as we venture into the heart of sacred Kata-Tjuta (The Olgas) and walk amongst the 36 red sandstone giants through the Valley of the Winds. After a Dreamtime archeology lesson, and a drive into Watarrka National Park, live the life of a jolly swagman as we sleep under the stars in custom swags. Cue campfire stories and marshmallows tonight.

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 13: Kings Canyon to Alice Springs

If you would walk 500 miles (steps), then you'll make it through the toughest part of the Rim Walk - Heart Attack Hill. The Kings Canyon Rim Walk is the real deal and the most famous canyon in Oz. Think age-old cycads, eroded dome shapes, a visit to The Lost City - and that's not even the best part. The sheltered valley and waterhole of the Garden of Eden makes today bloody bonza (translation: awesome).

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 14: Alice Springs

Wake up. Rub eyes. Climb into a hot air balloon. Just saying, it’s an option…and an amazing start to the day. Back to earth venture on an excursion out amongst the Western MacDonnell Ranges. Our stops include the peaceful Simpsons Gap and the impressive Standley Chasm. It’s back to Alice Springs to grab a late lunch and explore the town centre. This afternoon, have a wander. There are local Aboriginal art galleries to check out, the Desert Park Gardens to explore and the Reptile Centre to get creeped out in. Book in the optional late afternoon Kangaroo Sanctuary tour for sunset.

Included today:
-Stanley Chasm
-Simpsons Gap

Meals:
-Breakfast

Optional activities:
-Hot air balloon ride
-Desert Park
-Alice Springs Reptile Centre
-Kangaroo Sanctuary

Day 15: Alice Springs to Cairns

Today we’ll fly from the Red Centre and dry climate of Alice Springs into the tropical surrounds of Cairns to meet your new crew. After dinner and getting to know your new trip buddies, the night is yours to explore.

Included today:
-Airport transfers

Meals:
-Breakfast

Day 16: Cairns

After breakfast, take a walk around town with your crew, and get the lay of the land. The afternoon is all yours to play with. You could go big with an optional bungy jump, take to the rapids and go white water rafting or just take a relaxed gondola ride to Kuranda Village. This place has plenty to keep you busy.

Included today:
-Cairns walking tour

Meals:
-Breakfast

Optional activities:
-Skydiving
-White water rafting
-Bungy jumping
-Skyrail to Kuranda Village

Day 17: Cairns

Like the thought of spending a whole day exploring the only place in the world nestled between two World Heritage areas? Go on then. Ramp up the adventure with hot air ballooning, horse riding, bungy jumping, rafting and all those things on your tick list. Save time for a snorkelling or scuba trip to the Great Barrier Reef and take home that elusive selfie with a photobombing fish.

*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 17: Cairns to The Whitsundays

Ramp up the adventure with today’s optionals. You could be paddling the rapids of the Tully River, zip lining over a crocodile or getting an aerial view of the tropics by plummeting towards it. There’s hot air ballooning, horse riding and bungee jumping…or just kick back with a coconut. But who could pass up the chance to see The Great Barrier Reef? Join the optional day tour and you’ll set out on a catamaran to stop at Michaelmans Cay and the exclusive Paradise Reef. Pop on a snorkel and dive in (there’s optional scuba diving too) to see sea turtles and zillion types of tropical fish. There’s a tasty buffet lunch included too. Back in Cairns, check out the nightlife after dark.

Meals:
- Breakfast

Optional activities:
-Great Barrier Reef day trip
-White water rafting
-Horse riding
-Quad biking
-Skydiving
-Bungy jumping
-Daintree National Park day trip
-Zip lining
-Hot air ballooning

Day 18: Cairns to The Whitsundays

Today we’re headed to Airlie Beach, where we’ll leave the bus and board your own private yacht for our overnight (2 day, one night) sailing trip in the beautiful Whitsunday Islands. Normally a toy for the rich and famous, today it's all yours to learn the ropes while sailing in paradise. More of a land-lover? Take the diva option and let the crew do the work whilst you feast, swim and snorkel.

Included today:
-Overnight sailing
-Visit the Big Mango

Please note that the twin / double / or single upgrade is not applicable to the Overnight Sailing in the Whitsunday Islands. This has not been included in when upgrade rates were calculated.

Meals:
-Breakfast
-Dinner

Day 19: The Whitsundays

Keep those sunglasses on because the blinding white sands of Whitehaven that stretch before you are like a 7km sea of diamonds. Take a swim with the resident Maori Wrasse at Blue Pearl Bay before climbing back on board. There you can keep adrift of your seafaring skills by helping to set the sails or steer at the helm as we set course for land and two nights at Daydream Island Resort.

Included today:
-Whitehaven Beach
-Snorkeling
-Whitsunday sailing

Meals:
- Breakfast
- Lunch
- Dinner

Day 20: The Whitsundays

Did someone say buffet breakfast? (Over) indulge, recharge and relax with water sports, beach volleyball and fish feeding right off the jetty. Appropriately named, Daydream Island has walking tracks, palm trees and secluded beaches. In keeping with tradition, a looong list of activities has been provided ranging from watersports to mini golf and tennis. Grab a cocktail from the swim up pool bar then make a date with a hammock and get in your happy place overlooking the pools.

Included today:
-Non-motorised activities
-Bush walking

Meals:
- Breakfast

Optional activities:
-Island motor sports
-Day spa
-Living reef tours

Day 21: The Whitsundays to Emu Park

Time to leave the water and head back to the bus. We’ll go through ‘Rocky’ (Rockhampton, the beef capital of Australia) before reaching Emu Park. There you’ll be immersed in the local Aboriginal culture. Learn about totems and artefacts, see some traditional dancing, try your hand at boomerang throwing and make some artwork to take home.

Meals:
-Breakfast
-Dinner

Included today:
-Aboriginal experience and artefact souvenir

Day 22: Emu Park to Myella Farm

From beach to bush we go to enjoy an authentic outback experience at a 2,500-acre cattle station. Embrace your inner jackaroo and prepare yourself for an adventure-packed afternoon of optional horse riding, motor biking and cow milking. Or go walkabout on a real Aussie farm to find that right spot for the perfect outback sunset. Enjoy a hearty home cooked farm style dinner before you take to whip cracking and lassoing.

Included today:
-Farm sunset

Meals:
-Breakfast
-Lunch
-Dinner

Optional activities:
-Horse riding
-Motor bike lesson

Day 23: Myella Farm to Fraser Island

Refreshed from a good night’s sleep, we’ll say goodbye to our family hosts and set the sat nav for Fraser Island. We’ll cross the Great Sandy Strait on the ferry and if we’re lucky, catch the sunset before arriving to a hearty dinner at the infamous Dingo Bar. Fill up because tomorrow is going to be a busy one.

Meals:
-Breakfast
-Dinner

Day 24: Fraser Island

Fraser is literally one huge pile of sand - as if someone dropped the Sahara Desert into the Pacific Ocean and scattered it with dingoes and rainforests. Included four-wheel-drive along the beach highway to mingle with the Pinnacles Coloured Sands (considered a place of good luck for the Indigenous Butchulla women), Eli Creek and the Maheno Shipwreck before testing out your stand up paddling skills on the crystal clear waters of Lake McKenzie.

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

Meals:
- Breakfast
- Lunch

Optional activities:
-Scenic flights from the beach

Day 25:Fraser Island to Gold Coast

From remote wilderness to cosmopolitan charm today as we make our way Surfers Paradise. But first, it’s Brisvegas (Brisbane). Take a wander around the river city, hit the shops or just grab a coffee before we carry on southwards. Tonight we’ll take you on a walk to Cavill and Orchid Avenues and show you some of the hottest night spots.

Included today:
-Brisbane city walking tour

Meals included:
-Breakfast

Day 26: Gold Coast to Byron Bay

Tuck into a buffet breakfast before heading out to enjoy Queensland’s climate. You could hit the famous surf beaches, try out an extreme adventure or too or there are always the theme parks to rollercoaster around. Then it’s time to hop back on the bus and venture to Springbrook National Park to see the unusual Natural Arch rock formations. It’s short drive n to Byron Bay, our home for the next two nights.

Included today:
-Springbrook National Park

Meals included:
-Breakfast

Day 27: Byron Bay 

Anti-McDonald's and anti-anything mass produced (but pro juice bars, beer gardens and beards), Byron is glitzy on the outside but small town-hearted underneath. Hit the shops, test out those newly acquired surfing skills, paddle a sea kayak, or watch whales breach from the Lighthouse in winter. This is the town where peace and tranquillity go to relax. You should too. Or jump out of a plane. Byron doesn't care as long as you're happy.

Included today:
-Byron Bay highlights walking trip

Meals:
- Breakfast

Optional activities:
-Dolphin kayaking
-Skydiving
-Scuba diving
-Surf lessons

Day 28: Byron Bay to Crescent Head

It’s good bye to Byron and hello to some simply stunning scenery as we head to Crescent Head. You’ll have the Great Dividing Range to our west and the Pacific Ocean to the east before we roll into our idyllic surf camp. A BBQ lunch awaits. Perfect for raising those energy levels for this afternoon’s surf lesson followed by dinner with all the crew tonight and live music at the camp.

Included today:
-Visit the Big Banana
-Surf lesson

Meals:
-Breakfast
-Lunch
-Dinner

Day 29: Crescent Head to Sydney

Time to leave the beach and visit the Hunter Valley wine region. Get involved by trying your hand (or more like feet) with some grape stomping. Afterwards we’ll head to the wine theatre to learn about how the grapes go from vine to bottle. And of course you’ll get to sample the area’s wares. Then it’s on to Sydney where we’ll finish up our adventure. But if you want to carry on your travels, there still a whole lot of Oz out there.

Included today:
-Wine tasting and grape stomping in the Hunter Valley

Meals:
- Breakfast


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Details

Further Details

More information about this gap year opportunity...

Price details:

from £3,100

Phone:

Call 0333 333 9952 to enquire or book

Inclusions

Full-day 4WD experience on Fraser Island
Overnight sailing in the Whitsunday Islands
Visit to stunning Whitehaven Beach
Sunset and sunrise over Uluru
Spectacular Great Ocean Road and Twelve Apostles
Stunning Grampians National Park
Paint your own boomerang at Brambuk Cultural Centre
Unique wine tasting experience in the stunning Hunter Valley
Surf lesson at Topdeck’s Surf Lodge
‘Valley of the Winds’ walk at Kata Tjuta
Guided hike of Kings Canyon
West MacDonnell Ranges
Aboriginal experience and artefact souvenir
Opal Mine & Town tour
Wilpena Pound guided walk
Wine school and Make Your Own

More Inclusions

28 breakfasts (B), 6 lunches (L), 12 dinners (D)
25 nights in hotels, lodges and cabins, 1 night live-aboard sailing 1 night underground, 1 night in a swag
Escorted services of a fully trained Topdeck Trip Leader and Driver between Sydney and Cairns and a Driver/Guide between Alice Springs and Melbourne

Group Size

Average 15, maximum 36

Transport

Modern air-conditioned vehicles and free WiFi

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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