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Australia & the Ghan

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(14 reviews)
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The Ghan and Australia's highlights by rail

21 days Sold out

2020 Tour code: AUJ20

About the tour

This fantastic rail adventure takes in many of Australia's natural wonders, including the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru and the Blue Mountains. A wonderful train journey on the legendary Ghan from Alice Springs to Adelaide is a real highlight, and time in Melbourne and Sydney to explore completes this vacation of a lifetime.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Days 1-2 - Cairns

Meet your group and Tour Manager at the Pullman International Cairns Hotel. Day 2 is spent at leisure.

Cairns
Day 3 - Kuranda Scenic Railroad

Today we travel on the wonderful 125-year old Kuranda Scenic Railroad. Our journey takes us into the rainforest and above the Barron River Gorge to Kuranda. On arrival, we take a trip on a World War II amphibious military transport unit, or 'Army Duck', through World Heritage Rainforest, with the Duck Captain pointing out the different flora, fauna, birds and reptiles which we pass on our journey.

After enjoying lunch, we experience an Aboriginal 'corroboree' with songs and dance, following the path of the Dreamtime Walk through traditional legend.

Kuranda Scenic Railroad
Days 4-5 - Great Barrier Reef

A real highlight of our vacation is today's Quicksilver Cruise to the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef system which is home to thousands of species and stretches over 1,800 miles. A large covered pontoon is our base for the day, where we enjoy lunch and explore the reef. Snorkelling is the best way to view the exquisite coral and vibrant fish close up, but our base also has a semi-submersible vessel to take non-swimmers for a cruise along the reef wall. The underwater observatory is a superb window into this extraordinary world! On Day 5 you are at leisure.

Great Barrier Reef
Day 6 - To Uluru

We leave Cairns today and fly to the desert to Uluru. Ayers Rock, the world's largest monolith, rises majestically more than 1,142 feet out of the flat desert floor. We begin at the Aboriginal Cultural Center with a guided tour around this sacred site, which holds great spiritual significance to local Anangu people.

Later, as the sun sets, we watch this giant rock change color and enjoy a magical dinner under the stars. The incredible 'Sounds of Silence' experience includes canapés and sparkling wine as the sun sets over Uluru, followed by a three-course dinner with a bush-inspired menu including kangaroo, crocodile, barramundi and quandong.

After dinner, a 'star talker' will decode the southern night sky and point out signs of the zodiac and the planets and galaxies visible due to the clarity of the atmosphere. We spend two nights at either the Desert Gardens Hotel or the Sails in the Desert Hotel in the Ayers Rock Resort.

Uluru
Day 7 - Sunrise and Olgas

This morning we enjoy a 'Sunrise & Olgas' tour. This circular group of 36 red rocky domes cover a large area and are as mystical as Uluru. Your afternoon is free to spend at leisure in Ayers Rock Resort, an ideal opportunity to relax by the pool.

The Olgas
Days 8-9 - Alice Springs & The Ghan

Today we enjoy a free morning before traveling by coach to Alice Springs, for a night at either the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel or Crowne Plaza Lasseters Hotel. On Day 9 we visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the School of the Air. We then join The Ghan for our epic rail journey traveling from Alice Springs to Adelaide.

The Ghan has long been a tradition for train travel between Alice Springs and Adelaide and is often referred to as the ultimate journey through the heart of this mighty continent, taking passengers on what is undoubtedly one of the world's greatest rail journeys. Named after the Afghan drivers of the camel 'trains', The Ghan is a mode of transport, a sightseeing trip and a hotel all in one.

We travel in Gold Service, with all of our meals included during the journey, which are served in the Restaurant Car. The meals are freshly prepared by the on-board chefs and menus feature a selection of Australian and international cuisine. Gold Service passengers also have access to the onboard Gold Lounge. All drinks for Gold Service passengers, including beers, wines and spirits, are included during your time on The Ghan.

The Ghan
Days 10-13 - Adelaide, Barossa Valley and The Overland

Once in Adelaide, we enjoy a city tour, seeing the Government House and Parliament Building. On Day 11, we explore the vineyards of the Barossa Valley on a full day tour, enjoying wine tastings on route. On Day 12 you are free to explore at leisure or take an optional excursion (payable locally) to Kangaroo Island. On Day 13 we leave Adelaide and journey to Melbourne, Australia's 'Garden State', on board The Overland. We check into Melbourne's Crown Promenade Hotel for a four-night stay.

Barossa Eden Valley
Days 14-16 - Melbourne and Phillip Island

Our city tour today includes the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Parliament House. In the afternoon we join the Puffing Billy steam train for a journey through the rainforest and fern gullies of the Dandenong Ranges.

On Day 15 we travel along one of the world's most scenic roads, the Great Ocean Road, to the Twelve Apostles, Bells Beach and the Otway Rainforest.

On Day 16 you are free until mid-afternoon, when we head by coach to Phillip Island, named after Governor Arthur Phillip, which forms a natural breakwater for the shallow waters of Western Port Bay. Here we visit the Koala Conservation Center. At sunset, overlooking the beach from the viewing platforms, you will encounter a wonderful spectacle of the wild fairy penguins emerging from the sea and crossing the sand to their burrows in the dunes (numbers vary depending on the season).

Melbourne
Days 17-20 - To Sydney and the Blue Mountains

We make our way to Sydney today. On Day 18 we enjoy a cruise around Sydney Harbor, seeing some of the most famous sights of Sydney, such as the iconic Opera House and the beautiful Harbor Bridge, from our boat. The rest of the day is at leisure to continue exploring Sydney at your own pace.

On Day 19 we take the train into the Blue Mountains, enjoying a journey on the world's steepest incline railroad, the Katoomba Scenic Railroad. We also visit the iconic Three Sisters Rock Formation in Echo Point. Day 20 is free in Sydney.

Sydney Harbor
Day 21 - Return Home

Today your tour concludes and you are free to make your way to the aiport for your flight back home.

Flying home

Additional information

Please note

Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.

Recommended Airports

For this tour, we recommend arriving into Cairns Airport, which is approximately 4 miles from your first hotel. Our recommended departure airport is the Sydney Airport, which is approximately 7 miles from your final hotel.

Airport waiting room
Visa Requirements

It is your responsibility to check and fulfil the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.

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.

Hotels

Majestic Roof Garden Hotel, Adelaide

Majestic Roof Garden Hotel, Adelaide

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Peppers Waymouth Hotel

Peppers Waymouth Hotel, Adelaide

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Crowne Plaza Lasseters

Crowne Plaza Lasseters, Alice Springs

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DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Alice Springs

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Alice Springs

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Desert Gardens Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort

Desert Gardens Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort

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Sails in the Desert Hotel

Sails in the Desert Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort

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Pullman Cairns International

Pullman Cairns International, Cairns

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Crown Promenade, Melbourne

Crown Promenade, Melbourne

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Amora Hotel Jamison, Sydney

Amora Hotel Jamison, Sydney

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Trains

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

Reviews

100% of travelers would recommend this tour

Based on 14 verified reviews

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Mr N Larvin

Submitted Mar 08, 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.

Anonymous

Submitted Mar 06, 2020

everything was very good except the hotel location in Melbourne. North of the river would have been better. Also hotels with laundromat facilities are preferable to allow for light luggage packing

Mr D Blake

Submitted Dec 06, 2019

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

Anonymous

Submitted Apr 25, 2019

Generally fulfilled the tour description

Mr J Smith

Submitted Apr 25, 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.

Anonymous

Submitted Apr 18, 2019

Reasonable good, however it was extremely tiring. The hotels were good, but some could have been a lot better e.g. no charging points, some fridges packed with hotels own drinks and snacks (up to 50 items in two hotels). Many hotels did not give free bottled water and charged A$5 dollars for a small bottle.

Worldwide Vacations by Rail 2019/20

Worldwide Vacations by Rail 2019/20

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