Selected departures from February to November 2019
Australia is big... really big! This vast island continent could swallow up Europe whole, with room to spare. For some 50,000 years, a tiny Aboriginal population lived here in harmony with the untamed primal wilderness, undisturbed by the outside world until European colonisers arrived, spearheaded by Lieutenant James Cook in 1770. Since then Australia has flourished, and now makes her presence felt around the world, thanks in large part to the boundless enthusiasm and resourcefulness of her people, the outgoing, energetic descendants of convicts, gold miners, explorers, traders and adventurous settlers down the centuries.
You’ll travel in style on trains, boats and planes (and luxury coach) on your escorted Australian adventure, where diversity is the watchword at every turn, serving up sights, sounds and exotic experiences to delight all your senses. Our itinerary reads like a roll-call of world-renowned tourist icons, from sunset-reddened Ayers Rock to Sydney Harbour Bridge, ‘the Coathanger’, silhouetted against the evening sky; the wine-rich Barossa Valley; eucalyptus forests of the Blue Mountains; and the 1,400-mile-long underwater paradise teeming with life that is the Great Barrier Reef, the largest living structure on the planet. Australia’s land-based fauna is extraordinary too; kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, kookaburras and emus are strangely familiar from a thousand wildlife documentaries, but never less than astonishing when you finally meet them in the flesh in their natural habitat.
Take your overnight flight from London Heathrow to Melbourne via Singapore.
From Singapore, take your connecting flight to Melbourne.
Welcome to Australia! Melbourne is one of the world’s greatest cities and our home for three nights is the five-star Pullman on the Park in East Melbourne, just ten minutes’ walk from the centre with its free tramcar services.
A morning city sightseeing tour includes Federation Square, the Victoria National Gallery, the Old Melbourne Gaol and the Exhibition Building built for the 1880 Great Exhibition. Our first stop is the spectacular Eureka Skydeck Tower with its sensational 88th floor viewing platform (the highest in the Southern Hemisphere) and ‘Edge Experience’ (at extra charge) – a glass cube sliding out from the building, with you inside! We enjoy free time to explore in Melboune - stroll along the Southbank Promenade or join your Tour Manager and discover some of Melbourne’s famed ‘laneways’.Our included early dinner is on Melbourne’s famous Colonial Tramcar Restaurant.
The morning is free to relax or explore, with one option the bustling Queen Victoria Market that has served Melbourne for over a century. Early afternoon we drive into the Dandenong Ranges overlooking the city, riding on the historic ‘Puffing Billy’ steam train through lush mountainside from Belgrave to Emerald Lakeside. The evening is at leisure – why not take in one of Melbourne’s many theatrical productions.
We set off early this morning on the Great Ocean Road, Australia’s most spectacular coastal highway. It’s a breathtaking drive along more than 300 kilometres of the best coastal scenery this country has to offer! To the west of the Otway Ranges we join the “Shipwreck Coast” which stretches through Port Campbell National Park. We stop for some great photos of the Twelve Apostles - huge pillars which loom out of the surf, carved over time by the fury of the Southern Ocean. We continue to Warrnambool, a small seaside town on the shores of Lady Bay and our hotel for the night, the three-star superior Quality Suites Deep Blue Hotel & Spa. Dinner is included tonight.
Today we head to the South Australian town of Mt. Gambier. Built on the slopes of an extinct volcano, it’s famous for its spectacular Blue Lake whose waters inexplicably change to a brilliant blue in summer. Back on the road, we pass through the wine growing region of Coonawarra and typical south Australian bush country (look out for kangaroos & emus!) before our afternoon arrival in Adelaide. We stay for two nights at the centrally located five-star Intercontinental.
A morning tour of Adelaide includes the location where Colonel William Light planned the city in 1836. His simple blueprint – a one square mile centre surrounded by parks and open spaces – is still in evidence today. Leaving Adelaide mid-morning, we head to one of Australia’s most renowned wine regions – the Barossa Valley. We visit the historic Seppeltsfield winery, where you will enjoy a private tasting.
We transfer to the airport for our flight to Alice Springs, capital of Australia’s ‘Red Centre’. A short drive includes ANZAC Hill for panoramic views of the town. This afternoon we visit the Old Telegraph Station, established in 1871 to relay messages between Darwin and Adelaide. Alice Springs is a major base of het Royal Flying Doctors Service and we’ll also visit the museum dedicated to it. Our hotel for two nights is the four-star Lasseters, with a pool and spa. Our authentic Outback dinner is at The Earth Sanctuary at the Quandong Homestead – enjoy a bush BBQ with music and entertainment, hear stories of the Aboriginal Dreamtime and relax around the camp fire before returning to the hotel.
Early risers have the option of an unforgettable hot-air balloon ride at sunrise. This afternoon, we explore the beautiful Western MacDonnell Ranges. We stop at Simpsons Gap, an important spiritual site for the Arrarnta Aboriginal peoples, and finish the day walking the picturesque gorge at Standley Chasm.
We leave Alice Springs and head south, stopping off at some typical Australian ‘roadhouses’ as we enter the barren landscape of the ‘Red Centre’ - a vast desert plain dotted with spinifex and desert oaks. Mid-afternoon we arrive at Yulara, near Ayers Rock (traditional name Uluru), and check into the four-star Desert Gardens, with breakfast. In the evening we drive to ‘Sunset Strip’, pop some bubbly and enjoy Uluru’s remarkable light show as the Rock changes colour … utterly breathtaking.
It’s an early start to reach the viewing area to watch the sun rise above Uluru. A guided ‘Mala’ walk around the Rock’s base reveals its spiritual significance through Dreamtime stories and Anangu rock art before an opportunity to purchase lunch at the Cultural Centre. Early afternoon, we visit the Kata Tjuta rock formations and take a short walk into the beautiful Mount Olga Gorge. Back at the resort you can visit the Yulara Village.
We transfer to the airport for our flight to Cairns. Your hotel is the four-star superior Pullman International in Cairns for four nights with breakfast.
This morning we join the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway for a trip through tropical rainforest, ravines and spectacular gorges in the magnificent Barron Falls National Park. Surrounded by World Heritage listed rainforest, Kuranda itself brims with arts and crafts shops. We return to the coast via the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, skimming over the top of the rainforest canopy.
After breakfast we head out to Michaelmas Cay with Ocean Spirit Cruises. One of the world’s great natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest expanse of living coral on earth. The sand bar at Michaelmas Cay offers the opportunity to snorkel with parrot fish, giant clams and even sea turtles! The cay is also home to over 20,000 migratory terns and gannets. You will enjoy snorkelling (equipment provided), a semi-submersible tour, a glass-bottom boat trip, and a buffet lunch before returning to Cairns.
Today is at leisure in Cairns. Trips are available on the scenic Cook Highway to Cape Tribulation and the Daintree rainforest; to the Atherton Tablelands; a night-time tour of Cairns zoo or helicopter flights over the Great Barrier Reef.
After our flight from Cairns to Sydney we transfer to the four-star superior Parkroyal Darling Harbour with breakfast for four nights.
Our tour of Australia’s largest city takes you through the historic ‘The Rocks’ area followed by a stop at Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair for fantastic views of Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. We continue through Double Bay and on to famous Bondi Beach for a stroll along the promenade. This afternoon will be unforgettable – a cruise in the world’s most picturesque harbour.
We travel inland to the dramatic Blue Mountains that encompass steep cliffs, eucalyptus forests, waterfalls and pretty villages. You’ll see the stunning Three Sisters rock formation and enjoy views of the Jamison Valley below. You can take a short cliff-side walk (or the coach) to the Scenic Skyway cable car 270m above. You then take the world's steepest incline railway to descend 415m at a gradient of 52 degrees. At the bottom, a path takes you through lush eucalyptus forest teeming with plants and birdlife. We return to Sydney in the late afternoon.
Today is at leisure in Sydney. The opportunities are endless – enjoy the beaches, tour the Opera House, take a sea-plane trip over the city or even climb the famous Harbour Bridge!
The morning is free before transferring to the airport for our flight home, via Singapore or Dubai.
Arrive back at your selected airport.
The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room. It includes scheduled flights to Melbourne and returning from Sydney and all domestic flights within Australia; all transfers; 18 nights' accommodation on the 22-day tours in three, four and five-star hotels; daily breakfast and three meals; city sightseeing in Melbourne, Adelaide, Alice Springs and Sydney; Puffing Billy train trip; wine tasting in the Barossa Valley; walk at The MacDonnell Ranges and at the base of Uluru; visit to the Olgas; trip on the Kuranda Railway and Skyrail; Ocean Spirit catamaran trip to Michaelmas Cay; trip to Blue Mountains and Sydney Harbour cruise; hotel porterage of one item of luggage per person; the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager.
All British passport holders need to obtain an Australian eVisitor visa prior to departure. By using the eVisitor system you will not need to send your passport away for a visa stamp or label. The eVisitor visa is free of charge and valid for a three-month stay within a twelve-month period from the date that the eVisitor visa is granted.
It may be applied for only online at http://www.border.gov.au. Click on to ‘ImmiAccount’ and follow the instructions. Once you have successfully completed the online application form, your approval should be received by email within 24 hours. You should print this and take it with you on holiday. When checking-in for your flight to Australia at the airport, airline staff will use your passport to electronically confirm that you have authority to travel to Australia prior to boarding.
Whilst care has been taken to ensure that the information provided relating to visa requirements is true and correct at time of publication, changes in requirements after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information. Therefore, whilst we strive to provide the most up-to-date information, we strongly suggest that you re-confirm requirements with the relevant embassy prior to travel.
There are no current health requirements for Australia.
We want to ensure you make the correct choice before you book your holiday with us. If you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility we would encourage you to call us to discuss these concerns. General information on mobility in connection with our tours can be found here.
All transfer times listed here are approximate, and dependent on traffic. If you have a question regarding transfer times please don't hesitate to contact us.
|Arrival airport||First hotel location||Transfer time||Final hotel location||Departure airport||Transfer time|
|Melbourne Airport||Melbourne||40 mins||Sydney||Sydney Airport||20 mins|
Margaret and Mac McConnell
We returned from a fantastic trip to Australia. It ticked all the boxes for the things we wanted to do and much more. Hotels were excellent and within easy distance of local restaurants and places of interest. Cassie our tour guid...
Could I just say what a fantastic holiday we have just had in Australia all the trips were well organised and Jenni our Rep was superb especially in Cairns when she had to rearrange trips due to the Cyclone which luckily for us al...