Australia & The Ghan
A wonderful train journey on the legendary Ghan from Alice Springs to Adelaide is a real highlight, and time to explore Melbourne and Sydney completes this holiday.
A huge new world of adventure and diversity. Explore the bustle of Melbourne and Sydney, sample wines from vineyards in the Barossa valley, and marvel at the wonder of Aboriginal Uluru. Enjoy the breath-taking Great Barrier Reef, ride on a scenic railway through the rain forest, and witness displays of traditional Aboriginal dance and music and admire the endless horizons and rugged bush scenery of the outback. See dolphins and whales, national parks and the Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road, or journey into the interior to discover the Red Centre. The Ghan train runs from Darwin to Adelaide or the Indian Pacific from Perth to Sydney. Whichever you pick your journey will be a truly memorable experience. Australia is a paradise for nature and wildlife enthusiasts, beach lovers, food and wine connoisseurs and all those seeking an epic adventure.
Highlights and Inclusions
- Scheduled flights from London to Cairns, Cairns to Uluru and Sydney to London
- 18 nights' hotel accommodation
- 1 night on The Ghan in two-berth sleeper cabins
- 10 meals including 2 breakfast, 5 lunches and 3 dinners
- All drinks including beers, wines and spirits during your time on The Ghan
- Excursion to the Great Barrier Reef
- Journeys on the Kuranda Scenic Railway and the Katoomba Scenic Railway
- Guided tour of Melbourne and Puffing Billy
- Visit to Barossa Valley
- The Great Ocean Road and the Blue Mountains
- Excursions to Uluru, including dinner under the stars and a 'Sunrise and Olga' tour, a visit to the Royal Doctor Service and School of the Air
- Guided tour of Adelaide
- Phillip Island
- Sydney Harbour cuise
- All transfers
- The services of a professional UK Tour Manager from start to finish
Days 1-3 - London to Cairns
We depart London Heathrow for an overnight flight to Hong Kong, continuing via Sydney to Cairns. We arrive early on Day 3 with a leisurely day ahead of us.
Day 4 - Kuranda Scenic Railway
Today we travel on the wonderful 125-year old Kuranda Scenic Railway. 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.
Day 5 & 6 - Great Barrier Reef
A real highlight of our holiday 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 6 you are at your leisure.
Day 7 - 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 Centre 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 colour 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 the Desert Gardens Hotel in the Ayers Rock Resort.
Day 8 - Ayers Rock
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.
Days 9 & 10 - Alice Springs & The Ghan
Today we enjoy a free morning before travelling by coach to Alice Springs, for a night at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel. On Day 10, we visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the School of the Air. We then join The Ghan for our epic rail journey travelling 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.
Days 11-14 - Adelaide, Barossa Valley & The Overland
Once in Adelaide, we enjoy a city tour, seeing the Government House and Parliament Building. On Day 12, we explore the vineyards of the Barossa Valley by coach. On Day 13 you are free to explore at leisure or take an optional excursion (payable locally) to Kangaroo Island. On Day 14 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.
Days 15-17 - Melbourne & 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 16 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 17 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 Centre. 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)
Days 18-21 - Sydney & the Blue Mountains
We make our way to Sydney for a cruise around Sydney Harbour today seeing some of the most famous sights of Sydney, such as the iconic Opera House and the beautiful Harbour Bridge, from our boat. On Day 19, enjoy a day at leisure to continue exploring Sydney at your own pace. On Day 20 we take the train into the Blue Mountains, enjoying a journey on the Katoomba Scenic Railway. Day 21 is free.
Days 22 & 23 - Return to London
We catch an afternoon flight via Hong Kong to London Heathrow, arriving early on Day 23.
Dates & Prices
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: Departs 28th January 2020 (£6,895), 27th October 2020 (£6,895)
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For information on the hotels in this tour please call one of our rail specialists. Prices are per person based on double occupancy. Prices are correct at the time of this web page going live; however are subject to confirmation at time of booking. Itinerary and accommodations may vary for 2020 departures, please speak with a rail specialist for details.
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