Call to book01904 521 936
Tour Search
#Favourites

Ultimate Australia

Save
4.9 stars(7 reviews)
Gallery Video

Embark on the Australian holiday of a lifetime

You are viewing the 2023 itinerary. Select your departure year
20222023
21 days From £5,795 per person

2023 Tour code: AUJ23

About the tour

Embark upon an unforgettable adventure that showcases the best of Australia's spectacular natural wonders, from the kaleidoscopic hues of the Great Barrier Reef to the fiery orange of Uluru. Discover Australia's remote landscapes in style and enjoy time in Melbourne and Sydney to complete this holiday of a lifetime.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - London to Cairns

Our Australian adventure begins as we meet at London Heathrow and board our flight to Singapore.

Day 2 - Cairns

In Singapore, we join our flight to Cairns in Queensland. Our flight arrives in the city in the evening, and we transfer to our hotel.

Day 3 - Cairns

Today, you're free to relax and begin your explorations at your own pace. Cairns is a vibrant tropical port city. Known as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, the city is surrounded by mountainous rainforest and pristine beaches. You could visit Cairns Esplanade, once a huge grassy park and now world-class facility with an outdoor amphitheatre, a large sandy swimming lagoon, grassy picnic areas, walking tracks, public barbeques, shops and restaurants.

Day 4 - Kuranda Scenic Railway

We visit Rainforestation Nature Park, in the middle of a World Heritage Rainforest. We journey on a WWII amphibious military transport unit, or 'Army Duck', seeing the flora that's local to the area. Next, we embark on a guided Dreamtime Walk. We learn how Aborigines understand the world and its creation, before experiencing a 'pamagirri' dance performance. After a barbecue lunch, we travel to Kuranda village and visit the market before transferring to the station. Here, a journey on the 125-year-old Kuranda Scenic Railway awaits us, and we soak up breathtaking scenery as we travel through the rainforest and across the stunning Barron River Gorge.

Day 5 - Cairns

Today, you're free to explore Cairns and the local area further. You could stroll through the downtown area, perhaps pausing for lunch in one of the excellent al fresco eateries. Unsurprisingly considering its coastal location, Cairns boasts some of the best seafood in Queensland, so ordering the freshly caught fish of the day is must, should you spot it on a menu.

Day 6 - The Great Barrier Reef

We explore the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef system that's home to thousands of species of marine life. We begin with a cruise along the Mulgrave River, making our way to the Frankland Islands, a remote archipelago where the waters are filled with unique wildlife and coral reefs. During a guided snorkelling session, we may see tropical fish, giant clams, sea turtles, and even octopuses. If you prefer to stay dry, you can get a glimpse into this underwater world from a semi-submersible or glass-bottomed boat. We enjoy a tropical buffet lunch before joining a marine biologist for a guided island walk.

Day 7 - Uluru

Leaving Cairns, we fly to Uluru. The world's largest monolith, Uluru is a striking sight in red sandstone that rises more than 1,142 feet out of the flat desert floor. We begin exploring this iconic area at the Aboriginal Cultural Centre, where we take a guided tour. As the sun sets, we watch the giant rock change colour and enjoy a magical dinner under the stars. Our 'Sounds of Silence' experience includes canapés and sparkling wine, followed by a 3-course, bush-inspired meal. After dinner, a 'star talker' decodes the southern night sky, pointing out signs of the zodiac and the planets and galaxies that are visible.

Day 8 - Uluru

We spend today immersing ourselves in the unique beauty of Uluru and the local area. We begin our day with a sunrise visit to Uluru, watching as the sun's rising rays dance across the vivid orange rock. We then head back to our hotel for breakfast. We continue with an Olgas tour, visiting a circular group of 36 red rocky domes, or 'Olgas', that cover a large area around Uluru. We end our day back at Uluru, where we relax with a glass of sparkling wine and admire the sunset.

Day 9 - Alice Springs

Today we travel by coach to Alice Springs. A remote town in Australia's Northern Territory, Alice Springs sits in the heart of the Outback and is surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges. We visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service Museum on arrival. Here, we have a unique insight into life in the vast Outback, as we learn about the history of the life-saving work of the service - an air medical service created to serve those living in remote areas. We check into our hotel for the night.

Day 10 - To Adelaide

Today, we stop off at the Old Telegraph Station and Anzac Hill - a local lookout area - before boarding our flight to Adelaide. Australia's fifth-largest city, Adelaide is known for its excellent food and wine, as well as its relaxed way of life. Arriving in the city, we check into our hotel where we spend the next three nights.

You also have the option to join the Ghan for an overnight rail journey to Adelaide. We travel in Gold Service, enjoying meals freshly prepared by the on-board chefs, from menus that feature a selection of both Australian and international cuisines. We also have access to the Gold Lounge, and all drinks, including beers, wines, and spirits, are included during our time on The Ghan.

Day 11 - Adelaide

Enjoy a free morning in Adelaide to begin your explorations or relax at the hotel. In the afternoon, we begin getting to know the city as we embark on a tour of the most famous attractions, including the historic Government House, one of the oldest remaining colonial public buildings in Adelaide and the oldest Government House in Australia. We also see the Parliament Building, an impressive structure with striking architecture.

If you chose to travel to Adelaide overnight on the Ghan, you arrive around lunchtime today. On arrival, enjoy the sightseeing tour of the city before checking into your hotel for two nights.

Day 12 - The Barossa Valley and Jacob’s Creek

We take a dive into Adelaide's wine heritage as we explore the famous vineyards that surround the city. We travel to the lush Barossa Valley, where our day of exploration includes plenty of wine tastings and delicious pairings at some of the world's most well-known wineries, including iconic Jacob's Creek, where we enjoy a wonderful lunch. We also pay a visit to Hahndorf in the Mount Lofty Ranges. The small town is a popular tourist spot, boasting the title of the oldest surviving German settlement in Australia.

Day 13 - The Overland

Leaving Adelaide, we board the Overland train. Sitting back in the comfortable reclining seats, we relax as we make our way to Melbourne in Australia's 'Garden State'. Along the train's route, we have an insight into small-town Australia as we take in panoramic views of classic Australian country towns surrounded by countryside. We arrive in Melbourne where we check into our hotel for the next three nights.

Day 14 - Melbourne

We begin exploring Melbourne today, the cosmopolitan capital of Victoria. The bustling city is the country's second most populous, and it is bursting with culture and charm, with numerous lush gardens and parks, dazzling modern skyscrapers, and elegant Victorian-era buildings. Our city tour includes the Melbourne Cricket Ground - Australia's largest stadium, and Parliament House. In the afternoon, we immerse ourselves in Melbourne's famous café culture, relaxing with a cup of coffee at one of the city's popular coffee houses. Later, we join the nostalgic Puffing Billy steam train for a journey through the rainforest and fern gullies of the Dandenong Ranges.

Day 15 - The Great Ocean Road

We travel along one of the world's most scenic roads today, the Great Ocean Road. Travelling along the south-east coast of Australia, the route takes us past verdant forest, rushing waterfalls, and glittering ocean. Along the way, we see the Twelve Apostles, a collection of dramatic limestone rocks that rise from the sea. We visit the pretty coastal town of Bells Beach and see the ancient plant-life and towering trees of the Otway Rainforest. We also make a stop to try to catch a glimpse of koala bears in their natural habitat.

Day 16 - Sydney

We make our way by rail to Sydney today. The state capital of New South Wales, Sydney is found on the picturesque south-east coast of Australia. Sydney is celebrated as the 'Queen of the Pacific Rim', and is a vibrant city with a buzzing atmosphere, home to one of the world's most beautiful harbours and fringed by sandy beaches. We check into our hotel where we spend the next four nights.

Day 17 - Sydney

Today we enjoy a cruise around the world-famous Sydney Harbour, seeing some of the city's most iconic sights. From our boat, we see the instantly recognisable Opera House, the jewel in the city's crown and a masterpiece of late modern architecture, as well as the Harbour Bridge, the largest steel arched bridge in the world. For the rest of the day, you're free to explore Sydney at your own pace. There are many great shops and restaurants you could visit here, or you could spend an afternoon at the beach.

Day 18 - Katoomba Scenic Railway

We journey into the Blue Mountains. Just 30 miles outside of Sydney, the area has UNESCO World Heritage status. It's named due to its dense eucalyptus forests, which give the illusion of a blue haze when the sunlight hits. We enjoy a ride on the world's steepest incline railway, the Katoomba Scenic Railway. Our trip takes us past sandstone cliffs, and a rock tunnel beside the tree-covered Orphan Rock, before emerging to panoramic views of the ancient rainforest. We also visit the unique Three Sisters at Echo Point. These unusual rock formations are a striking sight to behold.

Day 19 - Bondi Beach

We celebrate our final full day in Australia today as we visit an iconic Australian institution, Bondi Beach. This stretch of sweeping white sand beach is home to sun-kissed surfers and a relaxed vibe, and epitomises laid-back, trendy Australia. We sit down to a delicious lunch at the Bondi Icebergs Club, tucking into fish and chips Australian style while admiring the views across the endless turquoise ocean.

Day 20 - To London

We say our final farewell to Australia today as we catch our afternoon flight to Singapore, where we join our connecting flight to London Heathrow.

Day 21 - London

Our flight arrives in London, and your holiday comes to an end.

Additional information

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Majestic Roof Garden Hotel, Adelaide

Majestic Roof Garden Hotel, Adelaide

View hotel

Crowne Plaza Lasseters Hotel

Crowne Plaza Lasseters Hotel, Alice Springs

View hotel

Desert Gardens Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort

Desert Gardens Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort

View hotel

Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort, Cairns

Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort, Cairns

View hotel

Crown Promenade, Melbourne

Crown Promenade, Melbourne

View hotel

Amora Hotel Jamison, Sydney

Amora Hotel Jamison, Sydney

View hotel

Trains

Katoomba Scenic Railway
Kuranda Scenic Railway
NSW Trainlink XPT
Puffing Billy steam train
The Ghan
The Overland Train

Enhance your holiday

Upgrades

Combine your tour with the Grand Tour of New Zealand
Flight upgrades
London Hotels
UK rail connections

Extend your holiday

Singapore

Reviews

4.9 stars4.9 / 5 · 7 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (6)
  2. 4 stars
    (1)
  3. 3 stars
    (0)
  4. 2 stars
    (0)
  5. 1 star
    (0)

Mr N Larvin

5 stars

Submitted 08 Mar 2020

A well organised experience. You leave everything to the tour manager. Just turn up when they say. Australia is a lovely country to visit.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr D Blake

5 stars

Submitted 06 Dec 2019

Excellent Hotels used made it an superb tour seeing a lot of Australia.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr J Smith

5 stars

Submitted 25 Apr 2019

Well organised. The inevitable hiccups e.g. travel delays were dealt with very professionally. Excellent guides on all trips and excursions. Very good accomodation.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr K Tootell

5 stars

Submitted 14 Dec 2018

The best experience. We'll managed

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Ms S Meredith

4 stars

Submitted 07 Dec 2018

Always searching for meals.. felt like I ate junk food for a month

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr K Pope

5 stars

Submitted 20 Dec 2017

The holiday was exactly what I wanted.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Show all 7 reviews
Worldwide Holidays by Rail 2023

Worldwide Holidays by Rail 2023

Long haul rail holidays to North America, South America, Asia, Africa and Australasia.

Download brochure

Tailor made for you

Customise this tour with Great Rail Journeys Independent

TailormadeEnquire
Ultimate Australia

Embark on the Australian holiday of a lifetime

Call

Enquire
Lynne Broadley
Lynne
Jo Jones
Jo
Related inspiration from our journey blog