Road, "Roos", Reef and Rainforest - 15 Days
Day 1: Arrive Melbourne
Upon arrival you will be transferred by private vehicle from Melbourne Airport to your accommodation. Note: early check-in available (additional cost).
Melbourne is the coastal capital of the southeastern Australian state of Victoria. In the Southbank area, the Melbourne Arts Precinct is the site of Arts Centre Melbourne – a performing arts complex – and the National Gallery of Victoria, with Australian and indigenous art. It's long been commented that Melbourne's inner city is the most European of any in Australia; the leafy eastern section of Collins St was dubbed the 'Paris end' in the 1950s. There's a bit of New York in the mix as well, thanks to the city's well-ordered grid and scattering of art-deco high-rises. But Melbourne is uniquely Melbourne and a lot of that's down to the more than 230 laneways that penetrate into the heart of the city blocks. It's here that the inner city's true nature resides, crammed into narrow lanes concealing world-beating restaurants, bars and street art.
Accommodation: Melbourne 2 nights
Day 2: Melbourne
Today you will be picked-up from your accommodation for a private tour via a luxury vehicle. Your guide will provide you a ‘locals’ look’ at Melbourne to really connect with its people and their passions. Journey down the Golden Mile, take in the grandeur of Melbourne’s sporting precinct, and drive through the beachside suburbs stopping in St. Kilda. Furthermore, no tour is complete without a stroll through Melbourne’s iconic laneways and arcades, home to world renowned street art, hidden bars, independent galleries and eclectic boutiques. The tour culminates with a delicious two course lunch in one of Melbourne’s hottest restaurants.
Day 3: Melbourne – Apollo Bay: 116 miles, about 3hrs
This morning, pick-up your rental car and begin exploring the Great Ocean Road.
Great Ocean Road
One of Australia's most scenic drives, the Great Ocean Road is a magnificent three-day self-drive touring route from surf capital Torquay to the famous 12 Apostles, ending at historic fishing village Port Fairy. 2019 marks 100 years since construction began on this iconic Road. As weary soldiers returned from WWI, many swapped their guns for shovels and began work on Victoria's Great Ocean Road. With picks, shovels and dynamite they crafted a 150 mile road which surges along clifftops, ambles around rocky headlands and dips down to meet the sand. A century ago, tents were all that construction workers had to protect themselves from the brutal storms whipping in off the Southern Ocean. More than 3000 men built this road over 13 years, from 1919 to 1932, ending decades of isolation for coastal communities along its route. Today, the Road is the largest war memorial in the world, honoring those who died fighting in WWI.
Great Ocean Road Day 1
Ease into your road trip with the leisurely drive from Melbourne to Torquay, just over an hour's drive. Home to some of Australia's best-known surf beaches, Torquay marks the official beginning of the Great Ocean Road. Dose up on surf culture at Surfworld before visiting Bell's Beach, host of the annual Rip Curl Pro. Stop at nearby Anglesea and take a detour to the golf course, famous for the kangaroos lounging under the trees surrounding the greens.
Magnificent coastal views will dominate the next 18.6 miles as you drive to beach town Lorne, the perfect spot for lunch – fish and chips on the beach is a must. Another twenty minutes winding along the coastal road will bring you to Kennett River and its most famous locals: koalas. Take some birdseed for their flighty friends then follow the 'koala walk' with your camera ready.
As you make your way to Apollo Bay, you'll travel up along cliff-tops offering incredible views and alongside wild beaches – take time to stop at the lookouts for photos, or beachside for a stroll. From coastal town Apollo Bay, follow the Great Ocean Road into the lush Otway National Park, and turn off to the Cape Otway light station (about a 50-minute drive). Take a tour of the oldest surviving lighthouse in mainland Australia, climb to the top nearly 300 feet above sea level and see where the Bass Strait meets the Southern Ocean. Make your way back to Apollo Bay for the night.
Accommodation: Apollo Bay 1 night
Day 4: Apollo Bay – Port Fairy: 117 miles, about 2hrs 40 min
Great Ocean Road Day 2
From Apollo Bay, follow the Great Ocean Road into the lush rainforest of the Otway National Park and turn off to the Otway Fly Tree Top Walk, an easy hour's drive. Reach for the sky along the treetop canopy walkway – the longest and tallest of its type in the world – or up the adrenaline with a zip-line tour.
Back on the Great Ocean Road, get your camera ready for the spectacular coastline leading to Port Campbell and its famous 12 Apostles, a group of magnificent rock stacks rising up from the Southern Ocean. Descend all 86 of the Gibson Steps to walk down to the wild beach for a ground-level view of the 12 Apostles. Take plenty of time to stop at lookouts over the cliffs of the Loch Ard Gorge and, just beyond Port Campbell, the hauntingly beautiful Bay of Islands. For the best views of this beguiling coastline, take to the skies on a helicopter tour (additional cost). Unforgettable. Continue along the Great Ocean Road west, to Warrnambool. Explore the maritime capital's history then head to the viewing platforms at Logans Beach to spot its impressive winter visitors: southern right and blue whales. Catching a glimpse of these giants schooling their calves just offshore is truly awe-inspiring. From Warrnambool, drive towards Port Fairy and take the turn-off to Tower Hill State Game Reserve, an easy 15-minute drive. Take to the walking tracks, keeping an eye out for koalas, emus, kangaroos and waterbirds who roam freely among the hills and lake-filled craters of this extinct volcano.
Accommodation: Port Fairy 1 night
Day 5: Port Fairy – Robe: 179 miles, about 5hrs 40 mins
Today, continue along the coastal road to Portland, Victoria’s first European settlement. Check out the hundreds of heritage buildings and watch fishing boats unload their catch on the waterfront. Drive the scenic coastal route to rugged Cape Nelson State Park and the towering sea cliffs of Cape Bridgewater. Look over the deep-blue waters of Bridgewater Bay, explore a sand-petrified forest and walk around the cape to see the large fur seal colony. Back on the highway, drive through Nelson and across the South Australian border. Visit Mount Gambier, which sits on an ancient extinct volcano and is circled by crater lakes such as Blue Lake, named after the vivid color it turns from November to February. Drive through the fishing towns of the Limestone Coast to picturesque Robe.
Robe is a popular seaport and small town on the Limestone Coast in South Australia. Bordered by the gorgeous coastline of Guichen Bay, this beachside town has served as a significant international port since the 19th century. This sleepy holiday resort community combines a dramatic rocky, windswept coastline with a number of attractive and secluded beaches including the beautiful, 10.5 mile-long Long Beach. It is notable for its very sophisticated and charming town centre and is one of the most attractive historic towns in South Australia. Don’t miss out on the fresh seafood and perhaps a sweet treat at local Robe’s Ice Cream Shop.
Accommodation: Robe 1 night
Day 6: Robe – Adelaide: 169 miles, about 3hrs 30 mins
Today, we recommend leaving Robe after breakfast to arrive early to explore Adelaide. Here you can enjoy stylish architecture, boutique shopping, sandy swimming beaches, fabulous art events, fine dining, and some of Australia’s best café strips. The Adelaide Central Market would be a great way to spend the afternoon. With over 70 traders under one roof, the Market is one of the largest undercover fresh produce markets in the southern hemisphere, buzzing with life and color all year round. The Market offers a huge range of fresh food including fruit and vegetables, meat and poultry, seafood, cheeses, bakery, along with some of Adelaide’s most popular cafes and eateries. Alternatively, you can opt to take a scenic detour along the Fleurieu Peninsula (additional 1hr 30 min). Enjoy views from The Bluff where you could see migratory whales during the winter months or take a horse drawn tram across to Granite Island, home to a colony of penguins.
Note: For wine lovers, we recommend adding an additional night (or two) to visit the Barossa Valley, one of Australia’s oldest (and finest) wine regions. Sample delicious wines from around 150 wineries as well as take in the region’s charm as it was first settled by Europeans in the mid-1800’s.
Accommodation: Adelaide 1 night
Day 7: Adelaide – Kangaroo Island
Today, you will drop off your rental car and take a short 20-minute flight to Kangaroo Island. Over the next two days as part of a small group 4WD tour you will enjoy seeing wallabies, koalas, kangaroos, seals and more. Today, you will get an introduction to Island life – where things take time, drivers’ wave as they go by – or even stop for a chat. Have a cuppa with some home-made Australian biscuits before taking a walk down a country track through tall Eucalyptus trees where koalas snooze overhead, or wake briefly for a feed. Travel through some of our best farming country to the north coast.
Walk through the bush with your guide – through a variety of habitat-types learning what makes that noise, whose tracks are those, and who left THAT little pile there? Look for wallabies almost extinct on the mainland, a kangaroo found only on Kangaroo Island and a variety of other birds, plants and animals. Break for lunch and enjoy a delicious meal featuring King George Whiting (local sea fish), fresh salads and fine South Australian wines at a private bush camp.
At Seal Bay Conservation Park walk with your guide among Australian sea-lions on a beautiful sandy beach. Watch pups nursing, or playing in the surf, see old bulls bearing the scars of territorial disputes and learn about their unique breeding biology. At the conclusion of the tour, transfer to your accommodation for a relaxing dinner and breakfast.
Accommodation: Kangaroo Island 2 nights
Day 8: Kangaroo Island
Today, you will explore the wilderness of Flinders Chase National Park, a series of wildlife encounters, an elegant picnic lunch and views some of the most iconic coastal scenery of Kangaroo Island. Travel to the Wild West end – a wilderness of over one hundred thousand hectares guarded against development in a series of conservation parks, a national park and wilderness protection areas. Break for morning tea en-route and learn about a century of conservation activities. Explore the massive natural shapes of Remarkable Rocks – looking like some dramatic natural sculpture perched impossibly on top of a dome of granite emerging from the ocean.
Evidence of the power of the Southern Ocean swell continues at Admirals Arch – a coastal grotto which provides a haul out for a large colony of long-nosed fur-seals who swim effortlessly through the crashing waves. Lunch is a picnic enjoyed on the cliff tops or sheltered in the bush (dependent on weather) and consists of poached chicken, local cheeses, fresh fruit, a salad prepared on the spot and a choice of fine Kangaroo Island wines.
After lunch, get off the beaten path to explore some of the lesser known places seeking out more wildlife encounters. Depending on season, we visit “Grassdale” to experience some pioneer heritage or seek out kangaroos amongst endemic Tate’s grass trees which look like they are inspired by Dr Seuss. At the conclusion of the tour, transfer to your accommodation to sit back and enjoy a delicious dinner.
Day 9: Kangaroo Island – Adelaide - Cairns - Port Douglas
After breakfast, you will be depart Kangaroo Island and fly to Cairns (through Adelaide). Upon arrival, pick up your rental car where you will drive 45 min to spectacular Port Douglas. After a long travel day you may opt to dine at the resort’s Osprey’s Restaurant amongst the birds, while enjoying modern Australian cuisine all overlooking the Coral Sea and World Heritage coastal forests.
The only place on the planet where two World Heritage listed areas, the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest, meet. The Great Barrier Reef hosts one of the most diverse ecosystems on earth where you may see giant clams, starfish, turtles, eels, rays, and endless varieties of corals in every conceivable color and shape. Daintree Rainforest is a breathtaking natural marvel estimated to be around 135 million years old, the oldest living rainforest on earth. Port Douglas has a distinctive laid back atmosphere, and a low-rise tropical old world charm. The world famous 4 Mile Beach is right at your door and is a great place to see the sun rise.
Accommodation: Port Douglas 3 nights
Thala Beach Nature Reserve is a deluxe family owned eco retreat overlooking the Coral Sea. Thala is positioned within easy reach of two UNESCO World Heritage sites – the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Wet Tropics. Thala’s deluxe timber eco-designed bungalows are built high on stilts enjoying ocean, mountain or forest views. Complimentary onsite nature tours are conducted by knowledgeable guides or explore independently via Thala’s network of forest trails.
Day 10: Great Barrier Reef
This morning you will picked up and driven to Port Douglas Marina where you will enjoy breakfast and then begin your sailing catamaran adventure to the Great Barrier Reef. Sit back and relax on the beautiful yacht as we set sail to the Coral Cays of Mackay or Undine Reefs, following the coastline and views of the Daintree Mountains.
Once at the protected sites at the Coral Cays, you will enjoy a guided snorkel tour with a qualified marine biologist. A glass bottom boat coral viewing tour is also on offer. Premium reef sites showcase abundant marine life, including encounters with turtles and an amazing display of giant clam gardens, beautiful corals and a wide variety of fish. After snorkeling, enjoy a delicious tropical buffet served on board. Next, we move to the second reef site where we continue snorkeling and exploring the white sands of the coral cays as we soak up the sun, peace and tranquility and swim in turquoise clear waters.
Day 11: Daintree National Park
Today you will travel through the rich farming areas toward the World Heritage listed forest region of the Daintree National Park. Step aboard our own personalized craft for a cruise on the mirrored smooth waters of the Daintree River. We cruise close to riverbanks and under the overhead canopy of the rainforest seeking out the vivid Ulysses Butterfly, Kingfishers, Pythons and other wildlife. The cruise takes us through silent backwaters where crocodiles can normally be seen basking on the muddy banks.
Next, our journey takes us up the beautiful Alexandra Range passing through local rainforest and on to our first stop, where we take a scenic walk through this amazing eco system. Immerse yourself inside protected forests as we take you on a guided walk to view ancient plants and amazing wildlife. We then stop at one of the magical beaches that adorn the coastline of Cape Tribulation.
Lunch today is a delicious meal which includes rainforest-inspired local produce. You will also have the opportunity to get up close and personal with reptiles, frogs and lizards endemic to the area. If the cute and cuddly animals are more to your liking, then you will have the opportunity to feed the kangaroos and swamp wallabies in your own private zoo. After lunch we get to see unusual, exotic fruit originating from all over the globe’s tropical regions.
Day 12: Port Douglas – Cairns - Sydney
Today you will return your rental car to Cairns Airport and hop on a plane to Sydney. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred by private vehicle to your accommodation.
Sydney is a gleaming cosmopolis, a city surrounded and defined by seawater. Water taxis and ferries supplement buses, threading the cobalt waters of Sydney Harbour, a long finger stretching west to characterful inland suburbs. The distinctive Opera House and Harbour Bridge, and the historic, hilly Rocks area punctuate a waterfront CBD (central business district) that’s home to a lively cafe culture, art galleries, green spaces, food markets and skyline bars. Meanwhile, on the coast, beach communities such as Bondi and Manly are the cradle of an outdoorsy, active and yet laid-back lifestyle that has become the quintessential Australian identity.
Accommodation: Sydney 3 nights
Day 13: Sydney
This morning board your vessel at the Aquarium Wharf Darling Harbour to see Sydney’s best sights via a luxury sailboat. Cruising up Darling Harbour, we shortly turn towards the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. Continuing our adventure, we dodge the ferries leaving and entering Circular Quay and see the Rocks. Sailing past the traditionally wealthy suburbs of Sydney viewing the spectacular private homes and the national parks of Clarke and Shark Islands. As we enter Spring Cove on North Head, we view this peaceful beach enhanced by the sound of a small waterfall or the laughter of a Kookaburra. In the cockpit we settle down to enjoy a delicious lunch with a glass of wine or a beer.
Day 14: Sydney
This morning put on your comfortable shoes as you will enjoy a privately guided walking tour. Walk along the Coogee Promenade then on to the Cliff Walkway to see picturesque views of the huge Pacific Ocean. Further on, we view the beautiful sandy surfing beach of Bronte. As you admire the magnificent views of this coastline, look out for whales which may be swimming past this part of the world during their migrations. Walk further to see the iconic Sydney Icebergs Swimming Club to finally arrive at the world-renowned famous Bondi Beach. This is a chance to eat, paddle, swim or just stroll along this lovely sandy beach. Distance: 3.7 miles Difficulty: Easy
Your last night in Sydney will be one to remember with a sunset seaplane flight and dinner. Take off from Rose Bay Terminal and watch as the panorama of Sydney Harbour unfolds around you on this 15-minute flight. You’ll head towards the golden sands of Bondi Beach before returning for a scenic loop taking in the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. As you make your descent, you’ll fly over the luxury mansions of the rich and famous before landing back at Rose Bay. Landing back at a waterfront restaurant the Empire Lounge, sit back and enjoy a delicious three-course dinner with a glass of champagne. Round trip water taxis transfers included. Note: Seaplane Sunset Dinner package only operators April 7 - October 7 and Sun-Thurs.
Day 15: Sydney
After breakfast you will be transferred to Sydney Airport for your flight home.
- 14 nights 4 & 5 star hotel & B&B accommodation (based on double occupancy)
- 9 days compact size auto rental car, including unlimited miles and daily insurance
- Private airport transfers
- Privately Guided ‘Locals’ Look’ Melbourne Tour
- 2 Nights on Kangaroo Island including 2 full days of touring, accommodation and all meals
- Great Barrier Reef Sailing/Snorkeling Day
- Daintree Rainforest Tour
- Sydney Sailing Harbour Tour
- Coogee to Bondi Privately Guided Walking Tour
- Sunset Seaplane Flight and Dinner
- Airfares - contact us for a quote;
- Optional sightseeing experiences;
- Meals (unless specified);
- Travel Insurance
From $6,999 per person (based on double occupancy)
All pricing is in USD and subject to change. Surcharges apply over Christmas & New Year with minimum stays.