Introduction to Australia
PLEASE NOTE: We can help you add, adjust and tailor the itinerary to suit your requirements. Each clients itinerary is different. We work to your budget and take advantage of current specials in the marketplace for your time of travel.
Destinations: Sydney, Uluru, Kings Canyon, Alice Springs, Cairns, Melbourne
Experiences: Culture, Scenery, Wildlife
No. of days: 12 day/11 nights itinerary
This itinerary provides the perfect introduction to Australia with a combination of vibrant cosmopolitan cities and spectacular Australian landscapes. Start your adventure in Sydney exploring the city, iconic architecture and harbour. Then move onto The Red Center with extraordinary landscapes of deserts, mountain ranges, rocky gorges and some of most sacred Aboriginal sites including Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Watch the world's most famous rock change colors at dawn and dusk it’s a sight to behold. Marvel at the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef system and discover the wonders of the tropical north’s rainforests. Finish your tour in Melbourne the cultural capital of Australia. Wander through the laneways and enjoy the cities best bars, eaters and boutique shops. Tour Phillip Island and enjoy and evening watching the famous penguin parade on Phillip Island.
DAY BY DAY:
Day 1: Arrive in Sydney, transfer to your accommodation. Spend the rest of the day at leisure. (3 nights Sydney)
Day 2: Explore Sydney on a half day city sights tour. Visit the historic Rocks area and hear early convict history. Enjoy magnificent views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. See the shopping heart of the city, Queen Victoria Building and Sydney Tower. Visit Sydney's trendy Oxford Street district and travel through Paddington with its terrace houses before arriving at the Pacific Ocean. See the superb coast cliff walk around Tamarama and Bronte. Travel on to famous Bondi Beach and visit the beachfront promenade with time to enjoy a coffee or cool drink (at own cost). See Aussie lifesavers and Sydney's best panoramic view at Dover Heights. Return to Sydney via Double Bay, Kings Cross and Mrs Macquarie's Point for a final magical viewpoint over the harbour before returning to the city centre. This afternoon you get to visit an Australian architectural icon. The Sydney Opera House is one of the world's most recognizable landmarks and this is your chance to truly get up-close. Run your hands over the world-famous shell tiles, take a seat in the elegant custom-made white birch timber chairs and marvel at the vaulted ceilings. Visit areas off-limits to the public and capture photographs from rare vantage points. Explore theatres and foyers where more than 1600 concerts, operas, dramas and ballets take place each year.
Day 3: Sydney Harbour is stunning, and you get to experience it today on a hop on hop off tour. Board at Circular Quay and take in all the sights of Sydney Harbour including Toronga Zoo, Darling Harbour, Barangaroo, Watsons Bay, Luna Park, Manly and Shark Island. You can stop at any attraction and reboard the next Explorer cruise. Included in your pass is entry to Toronga Zoo (open from 9am to 5pm) and Sky Safari cable car. After your wildlife experience at Toronga Zoo cruise back to Darling Harbour and enjoy an evening dining at a harbor side restaurant as the sun sets.
Day 4: You leave Sydney today. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Uluru (Ayres Rock). This evening you travel to Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre where there is time to purchase some locally made Aboriginal art and learn more about the Western Desert region. Later travel around the base of Uluru with a local Driver Guide. Learn about the native flora, fauna and intriguing cultural traditions of traditional owners, the Anangu, and discover an array of fascinating sacred sites. Join your Driver Guide for a walk to Mutitjulu Waterhole. You'll explore a number of caves and view Aboriginal rock paintings as your Guide interprets their meaning and significance. Travel to the Uluru sunset viewing area, 'Sunset Strip' and relax with a glass of wine and Nibbles as the sun sets over the western horizon and the evening sky brings out the many shades of colour for which Uluru is renowned. (1 night Uluru)
Day 5: You’ll start your day today with a morning Uluru Sunrise and Kata Tjuta tour. Travel to the sunrise viewing area, Talinguru Nyakunytjaku, and watch the first rays of sunlight creep across the desert plains. Enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and biscuits as the morning sun slowly changes the colour of Uluru. After watching the sunrise travel to the mystical 36 domes of Kata Tjuta enjoying panoramic views of the southern side of Kata Tjuta before arriving at the base of Walpa Gorge. Spend time exploring the gorge and the unusual conglomerate rock formations. The walking trail through Walpa Gorge follows the natural creek between two of the tallest domes of Kata Tjuta. This afternoon you’re leaving Uluru for Kings Canyon. Travel through spectacular desert scenery from Ayers Rock Resort, stopping at Angus Downs by luxury coach. Pass through Curtin Springs and view Atila (Mt. Conner). After turning off the Lasseter Highway and onto Luritja Road your Driver Guide will provide informative commentary about the history of the surrounding cattle stations on the way to your accommodation at Kings Canyon. Arrive at Kings Canyon Resort before dusk. You may have time to view the stunning sunset behind Carmichaels Crag to finish off the day. (1 night Kings Canyon)
Day 6: You will be exploring Kings Canyon today. Located in the heart of Watarrka National Park, Kings Canyon lies in an ancient Australian landscape that is sacred ground for the Ulpanyali and Lilla people.
In Kings Canyon make the rocky climb with your guide to the rim of the canyon to be rewarded with marvelous views over Watarrka National Park. Climb up a 100 metre cliff face and walk around the rim of the canyon. Marvel at impressive views of sandstone walls, grottos, chasms and cliffs. Or explore the boulder-strewn creek bed, an easier shady walk following the trail between the two sheer walls of the canyon. After taking in the sights, set off on a 1.2 mile stroll along the creek bed, with views of the impressive canyon rim. This afternoon you’re leaving Kings Canyon for Alice Springs. (1 night Alice Springs)
Day 7: Today you make your way to Cairns. Transfer to the airport at Alice Springs for your flight to Cairns. This afternoon is at your leisure. (3 nights Cairns)
Day 8: You’re off to discover the Great Barrier Reef today. Unwind while you snorkel, the pristine warm waters off the coast of Port Douglas to visit spectacular reefs and beautiful coral bombies. Even if you've never snorkelled before, this is an opportunity you can't afford to miss! The day consists of visiting 3 breathtaking sites on the reef with ample time to relax, enjoy and explore spectacular reefs with abundant marine life. The crew provides professional supervision and tuition, with a comprehensive snorkelling safety brief and guided snorkel tour. Flotation devices and in water assistance provided. Lunch, morning and afternoon tea are included.
Day 9: The tropical north is famous for its rainforest and you get to explore that today. You will be transferred to Freshwater Station for your historical rail journey to Kuranda, enjoying breathtaking views across the cane fields of Cairns, to the tropical rainforest of Kuranda. Explore the village, the markets are full of colorful and interesting arts and crafts. Then visit Rainforestation, set in 40 hectares of lush gardens and tropical rainforest, where a number of unique attractions await you. Board the unusual amphibious Army Duck for a different look at the rainforest. Also included in your tour is the Koala & Wildlife Park. Back at Kuranda board the Skyrail Cableway for a 7.5km journey over and through World Heritage protected Rainforest. Explore rainforest boardwalks and lookouts and the Rainforest Interpretation Centre.
Day 10: You leave Cairns today. Transfer to the airport for your onward flight to Melbourne. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure. (2 nights Melbourne).
Day 11: You have a full day exploring today on a small group tour of Melbourne city and Phillip Island. You’ll be collected from your hotel. The Melbourne City Tour includes visiting the world famous Albert Park, home of the Formula One, Australian Grand Prix as well as our inner-city sports precinct, home to the famous MCG and Melbourne Park where the Australian Tennis Open takes place. The city tour concludes at Eureka tower (entry at own expense) for a lunch break. The afternoon Phillip Island tour commences from Eureka Tower and you will drive south-east from Melbourne to reach Moonlit Sanctuary Conservation Park where you will meet endangered species, kangaroos, wallabies and koalas plus an array of colorful birds and reptiles. Your journey then leads onto Phillip Island, the home of the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix and the famous Little Penguins. Upon arrival on the island, depending on the time of year you will visit Woolamai beach to see surfers riding the waves. From here, you are off to the western corner of the island to enjoy magnificent views of Bass Strait and the Nobbies, which is home to the largest colony of fur seals in Australia. Finally, a trip to Phillip Island is not complete without its black tie gala event: the Penguin Parade. On this tour, you will be treated to viewing the penguins at the special Penguins Plus viewing platform close to the little penguin's favorite spot to exit the water. Tour concludes at approximately 9.30pm (April to October) and 11.30pm (November to March) at which time hotel drop offs will commence.
Day 12: You leave Melbourne today for your journey home.
3 nights Sydney
1 night Uluru
1 night Kings Canyon
1 night Alice Springs
3 nights Cairns
2 nights Melbourne
Sydney city sights tour
Sydney Opera House tour
Sydney Harbour cruise with Toronga Zoo
Uluru Sights and Sunset experience
Uluru Sunrise & Kata Tjuta tour
Kings Canyon exploration tour
Great Barrier Reef cruise with snorkeling
Kuranda tour with Skyrail Rainforest Cableway to Rainforestation
Phillip Island discovery tour and penguin parade
Melbourne City lanes and arcades tour
All aspects of this itinerary can be changed to suit your requirements.
The itineraries provided are great introductions to your chosen destination. You can create a travel plan using the itinerary provided or make modifications to destinations, activities and accommodation and create the dream trip you want.
Not every traveler is the same, we get that and so that’s why we recommend making changes to suit your needs. In fact, we insist - we want you to have the best trip.
If you would like any recommendations for dinner or shopping areas please let us know we are happy to help and make bookings for you where necessary
To travel to Australia you will need a US passport valid for at least 6 months and we can process an ETA Visa for free for US Citizens. We will need a copy of your Photo Page of your Passport. Nationalities of any other countries please enquire with your agent to see if you are eligible for a free ETA Visa or if you need to apply for a Visitor Visa.
To travel to New Zealand you will need a US passport valid for at least 6 months and an NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority. More information on the NZeTA application requirements and process can be found on our FAQ page here.
We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment. We will provide a travel insurance quote at the time of booking, and you are free to use our recommended insurance with Travelguard, find your own, or book without insurance.
A product that we can offer is a Cancel For Any Reason policy that will provide you with 80% back in refunds. If the cancellation is for medical reasons there is a 100% refund..
Downunder Journeys services travel requests from the United States and Canada for travel to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Cook Islands and Tahiti. All pricing on this website is in US Dollars.
All of the sample itineraries on this website do not include airfares as the airfare price changes daily and to ensure you get the best possible price we will work with the best airfares at the time. If you happen to buy your airfare first and then need a package to fit it, we can certainly help with that as well, just let us know.
As an idea for a 2-week vacation to Australia or New Zealand we recommend a budget of around $8,000-10,000 (including economy airfare), this would be for a 4 star and above itinerary, a little cheaper if we did more moderate accommodations.