Support the recovery of bushfire-affected towns, and enjoy the bounty of a Southern Highlands harvest with wine, cider and mead tastings, plus a gourmet lunch, at local producers.. Enjoy amazing local food experiences, including a ‘farm to plate’ experience in beautiful Byron Bay, and an immersive Indigenous food experience around the campfire under the stars.. Get back to nature with waterfall walks, a koala hospital visit, and nature spotting wildlife cruises on Jervis Bay and the azure waters of Port Macquarie, not to mention cruising through the postcard-perfect islands of the Whitsundays. Witness the magnificence of the Great Barrier Reef on a bucket-list ticking snorkelling adventure. Brimming with colourful coral and tropical fish, enjoy an included cruise from Cairns to explore this underwater paradise.
Escape the everyday with this laid-back adventure from the iconic cityscapes of Sydney to tropical Cairns. In the Blue Mountains, hike to dramatic falls and support bushfire affected areas bouncing back. Enjoy memorable food experiences, from cheese and cholate in the Hunter Valley to farm-to-plate in Byron Bay. Overload yourself with wildlife, from spotting a platypus and meeting koalas in an animal hospital, to spotting dolphins on a nature cruise and snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef. Add in off-road adventures across Fraser Island, sailing through the picture-perfect islands of the Whitsundays, and dropping on the palm-fringed sands of Mission Beach, and you’ve got an epic road-trip that hits all the highlights.
Blue Mountains National Park
Your journey begins today with a welcome meeting and 8 am departure from Sydney CBD, heading inland to the Blue Mountains National Park. Make your way through Western Sydney’s suburbs, then help support the local community with a stop for morning tea in one of the towns along the highway. Walk off that morning pastry with a hike to the double drop Wentworth Falls, one of the Mountains’ most spectacular cascades. Refuel with lunch in the heritage town of Leura – chat with local store owners and maybe choose one of the cafes along The Mall that has views across the valley to Katoomba. Check into your hotel this afternoon, then set off for an easy walk to see one of the Blue Mountains’ most famous geological formation – the Three Sisters. Learn the Gundungurra story behind the rocks, then round off your first day back in town with an included welcome dinner and drinks.
After breakfast turn your attention south and stretch the legs with a morning nature walk along the way. The Southern Highlands is known for its wine, so today there’ll be a tasting tour of local produce. Begin with a sampling of local drops at the cellar door of a nearby vineyard, then try some other beverages, including locally made mead, at a winery where you’ll also enjoy a gourmet lunch overlooking the vines. Continue south towards tonight’s accommodation, stopping in some of the small towns en route and maybe supporting local businesses with some shopping. Freshen up in the hotel, then this evening’s free for dinner in Bundanoon, where it feels like not much has changed since the early 20th century.
It’s a short drive this morning to the edge of Morton National Park and Fitzroy Falls, an 81-metre cascade that drops into the upper reaches of Kangaroo Valley. Take a walk with a local ranger to view the falls, learn about the area, and maybe spot a platypus in the wild if the season is right. Head towards the coast, making your way through towns that were largely affected by the bushfires at the beginning of 2020. Use some free time to see how the locals are bouncing back, and maybe help support the community by buying local goods. Head out to the gorgeous Kangaroo Valley, crossed by creeks and carpeted with rainforest and neat farms, and lookout for a wombat or two as you look across the surrounding mountains. Later tonight is a real treat for the tastebuds with a First Nations food experience, where you’ll try incredible dishes made with local native ingredients under the stars. You will also learn how, when the land is managed in the way it was for thousands of years, fire and traditional knowledge plays an important part in the management of the land.
Begin the day with a nature focused cruise out into Jervis Bay, where the chances are high that a pod of dolphins might jump from the water and race alongside the boat. This is one of the best dolphin and whale watching areas along the whole NSW coast, and from May to November you might just spot a number of these big beautiful creatures breach the blue waters. Take your time returning to Sydney in road trip style – enjoy a slow pace to drop into the regional towns that have been affected by the bushfires, and take in the beautiful coastal cliff lookouts that dot the route back to the city. You’ll arrive at tonight’s included hotel – conveniently located near to the Royal Botanic Gardens – in the early evening, with the rest of your night free to check out the restaurants in areas like Darlinghurst or along the harbour front.
The Hunter Valley & Newcastle
Leave the hustle and bustle of Sydney behind for the chilled-out Hunter Valley – a picturesque wine region in the rural hills of New South Wales. Your own personal wildlife ranger will be keeping an eye out for koalas and kangaroos as you make your way to lunch – yes, there will be cheese, and wine, and chocolate (the Hunter is famous for it!). After you’ve gorged yourself on a delicious feast, sleep off the food coma as you continue your drive to Newcastle. It may only be a fraction the size of Sydney, but this beach side city is jam-packed with trendy bars and a buzzing arts scene. This evening why not head out for a delicious dinner at one of the many restaurants or simply settle in at a friendly pub for a night of live, local music.
After an amazing local breakfast, hit the scenic Lakes Way and witness epic coastal views at their best as you drive past pristine beaches and lakeside communities. Stretch your legs on a leisurely walk and climb to a lookout where you can take a moment to soak up panoramic vistas of New South Wales’ breathtaking shoreline. Afterwards, continue your journey to Port Macquarie in time for a sunset cruise – keep an eagle eye out for local pods of dolphins as you enjoy the perfect end to a scenic day.
Dorrigo National Park
This morning, meet the volunteers at a local koala hospital (cute!). If you’re able to tear yourself away from the cuddly critters, you’ll be rewarded with a stop in Orara East State Forest to share in a unique and immersive Gumbaynggirr First Nations experience that will get you in touch with the traditional custodians of this land, lore and ancient cultural knowledge. Enjoy 360 degree views and experience speaking traditional language and practice culture on Country. Finish the day in true Aussie style in the Dorrigo National Park, at a traditional pub where you can relax, order some grub, have a few drinks and even play some pool. Why not opt for an Aussie classic like a chicken ‘parma’, or the quintessential meat pie (tomato sauce optional, but recommended!).
This morning, check out the beautiful surrounds of Dorrigo National Park, known for its lush, sub-tropical rainforest and waterfalls. Check out Dangar Falls and opt for a refreshing dip in its cascading waters, accessed by a short walking trail (approximately 20 minutes) leading down to the base of the falls. Alternatively, stay dry and appreciate its mammoth beauty from a small viewing platform. Next, head to Byron Bay, a laid-back surf paradise with boundless coastline, sand and friendly locals. On arrival, pay a visit to the local lighthouse for a unique photo opportunity and the chance for the chance to spot dolphins, whales, and other marine life (Get your eagle eye ready, or perhaps just bring binoculars). Finish the afternoon by popping to an organic farm where you’ll pick and prepare a healthy and delicious dinner.
Get up early or sleep late, sunrises are pretty ace at from Australia's most easterly point, but the choice is yours. It’s a free day today so perhaps kick-start the morning with a swim in the ocean or hunt down the best cold-brew coffee from one of Byron’s quirky cafes. Stroll along the streets and check out the trendy boutiques or stretch out your limbs at an optional yoga class. If you’re a seafood fan, head to The Balcony Bar for some delicious oysters or simply enjoy a cocktail or two as you people-watch from the outdoor terrace. If the waves are right, why not try your hand at surfing or just loll about on the one of the endless beaches. It’s a hard life.
Brisbane to Fraser Island
Make your way from Byron Bay to Brisbane this morning, where you'll pick up any new additions to your group. Travel through to sun-kissed Noosa, visiting one of Australia’s top surf locations on the way. Go koala-spotting in a national park before enjoying a glorious sunset over the Sunshine Coast’s hinterland. In the evening stay on the stunning Fraser Island – the local Butchulla people call it K’gari (paradise), and you’ll find out why soon enough. This incredible slice of land is the largest sand island in the world, stretching some 123 kilometres down Queensland's southern coast and tomorrow you’ll have the chance to explore it, so get a good night’s rest ready for a day of adventure – oh, and look out for dingoes!
After a delicious buffet breakfast, set off on a 4WD adventure through the breathtaking landscape of Fraser Island. Visit some of the renowned lookout points – perhaps Indian Head or the Cathedrals – for incredible views of the coast, then take a refreshing dive into the crystal-clear water of Lake McKenzie – an island icon. Visit the Maheno shipwreck and the coloured sands of the pinnacles, Pile Valley’s awe-inspiring Satinay and Brush Box forests as well as Central Station and Wanggoolba, before adventuring along 75 Mile Beach Road – one of the best coastal drives in the country – and taking a dip in the fresh waters of Eli Creek. From tropical dense rainforest to wild offshore waters – witness the contrasting fauna and terrain of this truly unique island as you venture across undulating sand dunes and vast golden beach, in search of that iconic outback creature, the dingo. This evening, relax at your accommodation and perhaps join the rest of your group for dinner at one of the resort’s restaurants.
Transfer back to Brisbane before boarding a flight to Airlie Beach, the hub town of the magnificent Whitsundays and home to endless beer gardens, trendy cafes and a lawn-fringed swimming lagoon. You’ll arrive late in the afternoon, so after settling into your lodgings the evening is yours to spend as you please. Perhaps stroll around and explore, or if the sun is still up why not visit some local swimming spots for a refreshing dip. Alternatively, you might feel more at home finding a seat at one of the many bars, grabbing a cocktail or two, and watching the sun set on the shimmering blue water.