Highlights of Australia Sydney, Rock & Reef
Highlights: Sydney | Uluru (Ayers Rock) | Cairns | Great Barrier Reef
See the best of Sydney, Uluru, Cairns and the outer Great Barrier Reef on this 8-day highlights tour of Eastern Australia.
After your choice of Sydney tours arrive to the ancient monolith of Uluru, where activities range from sunset camel rides to dinners beneath the stars.
Explore everything that Cairns has to offer – from culture parks and night markets to popular restaurants and adrenaline activities – then board a vessel for the jewel of Australia, the Great Barrier Reef.
Enjoy the furthest and liveliest stretches of the outer reef system, then top it off like a true Aussie with a visit to Hartley’s Crocodile Park.
Itinerary at a Glance
The below itinerary is only a recommended suggestion; we offer tailor-made personal service and solutions to help you plan your perfect vacation.
Day 1 Arrive Sydney Welcome to Sydney! Upon arrival you’ll be transferred to your hotel the heart of downtown, set within walking distance to major attractions like the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Circular Quay, Darling Harbour and the Royal Botanical Gardens.
Day 2 Sydney – Today you have the choice of 1 of 5 tours
1. Sydney Seaplanes Secrets 30-minute Scenic Flight
Taking off from Rose Bay, this flight encompasses Sydney’s beautiful Northern Beaches. See all the famous sandy stretches on route, including Manly, Curl Curl, Avalon and the iconic Palm Beach where Australia’s favorite soap, ‘Home and Away’ is filmed. Return to the harbor via the yachtsman’s paradise of Pittwater and be amazed at the number of boats grouped around the picturesque waterway. Finally, end the trip with a gentle splash back down to Rose Bay. Please note, transfers to Rose Bay are not Included in this tour.
2. Morning Bondi Local Tour Do what the locals do and head to Bondi Beach! Enjoy a surf lifesaving club tour, a surf or bodyboard lesson and a casual beachside lunch with five-star views across Bondi. Along with your friendly local Bondi Surf Instructor, this is the best way to experience Australia’s most beautiful beach. 3. Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb Get your adrenaline pumping with a climb up Sydney’s iconic Harbour Bridge. This guided journey takes you along the lower arch of the bridge and then up the express ladder which leads to the summit, 440 feet above the shimmering harbor below. Here you’ll witness 360-degree views of Sydney including east to the Sydney Opera House and west to the Blue Mountains and Harbour City surrounds. 4. Cruise Like a Local – BBQ Luncheon Cruise Treat yourself to one of Sydney Harbour’s sensational 4-hour barbecue lunch cruises. Offering a unique and informative cruise experience, your personal host will cruise back in time sharing the rich history of Sydney Harbour and its foreshore. Enjoy the company of a small group and immerse yourself in on-board activities like fishing, kayaking and swimming. An Australian barbecue lunch is included alongside beverages, wines and local beers. 5. Sydney Opera House Morning Backstage Tour with breakfast, afternoon City Tour Get an early start this morning for VIP backstage access to the Sydney Opera House. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity reveals the real-life dramas behind the building, as your guide will raise the curtain on what really goes on beyond the spotlight. Walk in the footsteps of legends like Ella Fitzgerald, Pavarotti, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Cate Blanchett, Vladimir Ashkenazy and the Foo Fighters. You might even get to stand on the world-famous Concert Hall stage, take up the conductors’ baton in the orchestra pit or get a sneak peek inside the stars’ dressing rooms. Then enjoy breakfast in the Green Room, the private haven of some of the world’s most famous artists. In the afternoon, the tour takes you to the historic Rocks district to hear stories of Australia’s early convict history. Enjoy magnificent views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge and pay visits to the Queen Victoria Building and Sydney’s trendy Oxford Street district. Travel past the elegant terrace houses of Paddington, then arrive at the Pacific Ocean where you will see the superb coastal cliff walk around Tamarama and Bronte. Travel on to famous Bondi Beach, visit the beachfront promenade and enjoy a coffee or cool drink (own expense). See bronzed Aussie lifesavers and Sydney’s best panoramic view at Dover Heights, then return to the city via Double Bay, Kings Cross and Mrs. Macquarie’s Point for a final magical viewpoint over the harbor. Your tour concludes at either Circular Quay or Darling Harbour.
Day 3 Sydney to Uluru (Ayres Rock) with dinner under the stars Today you’ll say goodbye to Sydney and hello to the Outback! Ayers Rock (or Uluru) sits prominently in the Red Centre and is renowned as the spiritual heart of Australia. Rich in Aboriginal culture, you’ll find that it truly encompasses the beauty of its surroundings, including your accommodation, Sails in the Desert Hotel. After your transfer, the day is at leisure until evening when your journey begins. Starting on a lone sand dune, a path takes you to an uninterrupted 360-degree view of this vast landscape. In front of you is the fabled Uluru, and behind are the domes of Kata Tjuta enhanced by the glow of the sunset. Here you enjoy sparkling wine and a selection of delectable canapés before feasting on a BBQ buffet of authentic Australian delicacies including barramundi, kangaroo, emu and crocodile, bush salads and classic desserts, complemented by Australian wines. Attention then turns to some of the world's best stargazing, as the local guide takes you on a tour of the spectacular southern night sky.
Day 4 Uluru Sunrise Tour & Sunset Camel Ride One of the most impressive features of Uluru is the way it shifts colors in the changing light—flaring to life as the sun rises and bathing it in bright red and deep purple tones as it sets. Today you will witness the magnificent spectacle at both times of day, first with a guided trek around the base of Uluru where you’ll embrace the culture, geology, and environment that make up the essence of this amazing natural attraction. Find yourself in awe as you watch Uluru change colors in the sunrise, visit waterholes, view ancient rock art sites, and learn the legends of the native Anangu people. This evening, ride camels through the desert and witness Uluru transform at sunset.
Day 5 Uluru to Cairns Your adventure continues today as you fly to Cairns and transfer to Bailey, your hotel for the next three nights. Known as the gateway city to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns tempts proximity to world-class snorkeling, diving and cruising, yet you needn’t leave the city limits to find a great adventure. Experience authentic theatre, guided bush walks and didgeridoo shows at nearby Tjapukai Aboriginal Culture Park, or try whitewater rafting on the Tully and Baron rivers. Come evening, give in to gluttony along Grafton and Spence streets, and score on fabulous finds at the Cairns Night Market stalls.
Day 6 Great Barrier Reef Outer Reef Experience Cruise Today you’ll be collected from your hotel and taken to the Cairns Reef Fleet Terminal to board your cruise vessel. This full-day cruise takes you to the Outer Great Barrier Reef platform. Upon arrival at the Outer Greater Barrier Reef platform, the reef activities will commence with a semi-submersible coral viewing tour with informative commentary. After lunch it’s time for more activities or views on the sundeck, then you’ll depart back to Cairns and transferred back to your Cairns area hotel.
Day 7 Hartley’s Crocodile Adventure Located 40 minutes north of Cairns and 25 minutes south of Port Douglas, Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures is one of the best places to see crocodiles and local wildlife in Tropical North Queensland. With nearly 700 feet of timber boardwalks and pathways, you can see an array of wildlife including beautiful tropical birds, reptiles, insects and other native fauna. Enjoy the entertaining and educational wildlife presentations with snakes, cassowaries, koalas, crocodiles, quolls and much more. Take a boat cruise on Hartley’s Lagoon to see crocodiles and other wildlife at melaleuca wetland, then learn about sustainable use and conservation on a Crocodile Farm Tour. You will then be transferred to your Northern Beaches or Cairns area accommodation.
Day 8 Depart Cairns After a wonderful vacation, it’s time to say goodbye to Australia. We have included a private transfer to the airport to begin your journey home.
- 2 nights of accommodation at Radisson Blu Hotel, Sydney – Superior Room
- 2 nights of accommodation at Sails in the Desert Hotel, Uluru – Superior Room
- 3 nights of accommodation at Bailey, a Crystalbrook Collection Hotel, Cairns – Urban King Room
- Sydney private return airport transfer
In Sydney, the freedom to choose 1 of 5 Tours
- Sydney Seaplanes Secrets 30-minute Scenic Flight
- Morning Bondi Local Tour
- Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb
- Cruise Like a Local – BBQ Luncheon Cruise
- Sydney Opera House Morning Backstage Tour with breakfast, afternoon City Tour
- Shared airport transfer in Uluru to Sails in the Desert Hotel
- Sounds of Silence outback dining experience
- Uluru sunrise tour
- Sunset camel ride at Uluru
- Shared transfer in Uluru to the airport
- Private return airport transfer in Cairns
- Full day Reef Magic Great Outer Great Barrier Reef Cruise
(Includes: hotel pick-up, morning & afternoon teas, lunch, snorkeling equipment, wetsuit, semi-submersible, underwater observatory).
- Hartley’s Crocodile Adventure with transfers from hotel
- International or domestic airfares (unless specified above)
- Meals other than specified above
- Travel insurance