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Reefs & Rainforests (Cairns to Sydney)

20-day escorted tour with Contiki
(for travelers ages 18 to 35)

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Contiki Tour Itinerary (ages 18-35)
Days 1 and 2 Depart for Australia 
Fly over the international date line on your way to Australia.

Day 3 Arrive Cairns
Check into the Rydges Esplanade and the rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore.

Day 4 Cairns to Cape Tribulation
Meet up with the other Contiki travellers and your Tour Manager in Cairns. Then we hit the road and travel north to Port Douglas. Known for its idyllic white sands and palms trees, this resort town attracts both the rich & famous and travellers. You’ll soon see why.

Sticking to the coast, we follow the Coral Sea past remote beaches and gorgeous scenery to the lush, tropical Daintree Rainforest. Get back to nature as we walk through this UNESCO World Heritage-listed site and head to a stunningly clear swimming-hole in Mossman Gorge, where you can cool off in the waters.

Tonight, get to know your group and Tour Manager over dinner in Cape Tribulation.

Day 5 Cape Tribulation to Cairns
Make a splash in a local watering hole then check out the mangroves on a walk with our local guide. This afternoon it’s back to Cairns. (Breakfast)

Days 6 and 7 Cairns
Wake up to the warm waters of Cairns where there’s something for everyone. This is your chance to experience the Great Barrier Reef on an optional day trip. Put on your snorkel gear and check out colourful fish, turtles, vivid coral and the incredible clear waters. Tonight we head out to a local restaurant for dinner where you have the opportunity to try kangaroo fillets, amongst other delicious Australian delicacies.

On day 2, for those who are keen for a fun and thrilling ride on the rapids of the Tully River, join our optional whitewater rafting adventure activity with our professional Local Guides. There are loads more activities available in Cairns like hot air ballooning, sky diving and bungy jumping – just ask your Tour Manager for some more info.

Cairns is the last night on tour for some of the group so head down to a local hot-spot for dinner if you’re up for it. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Days 8 and 9 Cairns to the Whitsundays
Relax on the coach as we cruise past thick, tropical rainforests into Tully, home to some of Australia’s best whitewater rafting.

Slowly leaving the tropics behind us, we hit Townsville for some free time. Check out the colonial buildings and get a feel for its maritime past as we drive to the downtown pedestrian-only area where you can grab some lunch.

See vistas over Magnetic Island, a National Park and bird sanctuary, before we continue our travels south and board a boat out to stunning Daydream Island.

The time is then yours to enjoy the picture-perfect Whitsundays! Slow the pace down, kick back and make the most of the fantastic facilities available at the resort. Go for a rainforest walk, swim in the pool, get into some beach or water sports, try your hand at fish-feeding, catch a film at the big outdoor cinema or laze about on the beach.

For those that are up for it, you could get away from it all with our optional day sail. Check out some of the Whitsunday’s 74 islands from the boat – you’ll soon understand why this region is so famous. Experience what is known as one of the top ten beaches in the world, uninhabited Whitehaven Beach. Swim off the boat and play beach volleyball or cricket with the local skipper and crew before enjoying a tasty lunch and a few drinks on the way back to Daydream Island. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 10 The Whitsundays to Farmstay
After a ferry back to the mainland, plug in you MP3 or chat with friends as we drive through scenic Mackay, with countryside full of vibrant green vegetation and sugar cane plantations. Continue down the Capricorn Coast and head inland to an authentic country homestead, right in the heart of Queensland’s cattle country, for our overnight stay.

During our time at Langmorn, a working cattle station, you’ll experience a taste of real Aussie country life. The owners will show you around the enormous property in a behind-the-scenes look at daily life on the farm. Taste local hospitality tonight as your welcoming hosts pile your table high with a hearty roast dinner.

Later, have a go at whip cracking under night lights and if it’s cool, settle in around the bonfire, kick back with a drink and hang out with your friends. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 11 Farmstay to Fraser Island
After breakfast we drive back out to the coast and jump on board a ferry. Enjoy the cruise out to famous Fraser Island, where we’ll stay at an eco-lodge for our time here. Each cabin has its own kitchenette and living room, as well as a balcony – perfect for hanging out & watching the sunset.

Tonight, grab a bite to eat at one of the resort restaurants, and follow it up with some dancing or even karaoke at the Dingo Bar. (Breakfast)

Day 12 Fraser Island to Noosa
Experience a slice of paradise on Fraser Island this morning. This UNESCO World Heritage-listed site is the largest sand island in the world and is 800,000 years old. Packed with around 40 fresh-water lakes, lush rainforests and diverse wildlife, Fraser Island lives up to its amazing reputation.

Jump on our included 4WD adventure through the island’s sand dunes, rainforests & freshwater lakes. Our Local Guide will show you some of the island’s best spots and hidden treasures – make sure you keep your camera handy – this is one of Australia’s most beautiful regions.

Once we’re back on the mainland, Noosa is up next. It’s a trendy beach resort town. Enjoy a drink or two with dinner tonight at the local surf club. Later if you want to take it up a level, head out into the town & explore Noosa by night. (Lunch, Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 13 Noosa to Surfers Paradise
There’s time to explore Noosa this morning so take a stroll through the shops or sunbathe and swim at the beach before we make our way south. We also stop off in Brisbane today. You’ll get a feel for the capital of Queensland’s laid-back atmosphere when we have a look around town.

Tonight we pull into legendary Surfers Paradise, the Gold Coast’s party hot spot and home to some of the best surfing beaches in the world.

Grab some of your new friends and join the party atmosphere of Surfers tonight. With loads of restaurants and buzzing nightlife, there’s something for everybody. Head to the happening Orchid or Cavill Avenues, where clubs and bars line the street or shoot some pool at the pub.

Day 14 Surfers Paradise
With a free day, hang out among the bronzed bodies and surfers on the golden sands. Our hotel is only a short walk from the beach.

For adrenaline-junkies, there’s an optional tandem skydive, where you can get your thrills and an amazing bird’s eye view over the area.

You could also hit the shops – Surfers has some great places to shop and a huge outlet mall for bargains, so get some tips from your Tour Manager on where’s best to head.

Tonight, there’s the chance to experience ‘Draculas’ – a fun vampire-themed cabaret show and dinner. Watch dancers, singers and comedians perform as you tuck into a three course meal. (Breakfast)

Day 15 Surfers Paradise to Byron Bay
This morning, we visit the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, where you’ll get up close to Australia’s amazing native animals. Cuddle a koala, feed the kangaroos and see wombats, emus, crocodiles, dingoes, Tasmanian devils and colourful birds. You can feel good about doing this too, as our visits to this not-for-profit organisation go towards the sanctuary’s animal hospital and help over 4000 injured animals every year.

Next up: cross the New South Wales boarder to one of Aussies not-to-be-missed spots - gorgeous Byron Bay. With a laid-back lifestyle, cute little shops, organic food, alternative therapies and around 30km of pretty beaches, it’s a must see. Byron Bay is also known for its incredible marine life. Head out to Cape Byron, Australia’s most easterly point and see dolphins and humpback whales if you’re lucky, then grab some lunch back in town and maybe take a swim at the beach.

There’s loads of other things on offer here too, like a sea kayaking adventure where you might even spot some dolphins who come up right near your kayak. (Breakfast)

Day 16 Byron Bay to Coffs Harbour
This morning you’ll wake up to more good times in Byron Bay. Maybe head to the beach for a swim or a wander round town before it’s time to leave the chilled out atmosphere behind after lunch.

Later, there’s more beach action. Tonight we’ll stay in Coffs Harbour, home to surf beaches, fishing and banana plantations. This is a chance for a unique experience with our overnight Special Stay experience – we’re staying at a Surf Village!

This afternoon it’s time for an awesome Aussie experience - hit the waves & learn to surf with some professional instructors as you have a go at Australia’s national sport! It’s a fun way to learn how to surf as our professional local instructors show you just how it’s done. Our cabins are right on the beach, so soak up the surf vibes and relax by the open fire under the stars tonight. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 17 Coffs Harbour to Sydney
This morning, chill out on the coach and chat with your travel buddies as we head south. We pass the iconic 'Big Banana' in Coffs Harbour, before heading to Port Macquarie for lunch. Relax with your travel buddies...it’s a chilled out day before reaching Sydney.

From the high-energy downtown area to its popular beaches, Sydney has something for everyone. You’ll soon understand why this is one the world’s most beautiful harbour cities.

See the sails of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House and the famous Harbour Bridge. We will pass the iconic ‘Coca Cola Sign’ and cruise along ‘The Strip’ of Kings Cross, and hear stories of the underbelly of Sydney’s Red Light District. (Breakfast)

Day 18 Sydney 
First up today - get in the know on Sydney as your Tour Manager points out all the hottest spots & icons of this harbourside haven. From the babes on the beaches of Bondi, the buzzy Kings Cross & its colourful characters to Chinatown & Darling Harbour, the sights & sounds are as varied as its residents & we’re here to uncover it all. We’ll also take you to Macquarie Street & The Rocks, for undoubtedly the city’s best views of the Opera House & Harbour Bridge in one go (so it’s perfect for some of those legendary Sydney snaps).

Later, it’s a totally Sydney experience with an included ride to the famous Manly Beach. From Circular Quay we’ll head across the water via ferry - you’ll get a panoramic view of the city as your backdrop whilst you cruise. Bliss! On arrival, grab some lunch then throw down your towel, pop in your iPod & take time to paddle in the cool water, work on your tan if the weather is right, or just people watch as you soak up the vibes & atmosphere. There are loads of shops & restaurants here too, for those that are keen to check out the local buzz here.

On arrival back in the city tonight, dinner is guaranteed to impress. We’ll head to one of Darling Harbour’s locals restaurants for a delicious included meal right by the water. Watching the sunset with a drink in hand & a great meal as you people watch the cool Sydney siders is the perfect way to end the day.

Celebrate your last night on tour together by heading out for dinner at Darling Harbour & soaking up the buzzing nightlife of Sydney with your friends one last time! (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 19 Sydney
This morning we’re heading out of the city & into the country for our included Blue Mountain’s day trip. The dramatic landscape of gorges (some up to 760m) are massive & will impress with the endless views into the distance. We’ll take a casual hike along the Jamison Ridge overlooking the ridge of the same name. You’ll also check out the iconic ‘Three Sisters’ – the famous rock formations at the same location. With amazing views & photos to keep your memories fresh when you get home, we’ll head back to Sydney.

Don’t worry, on arrival back in the city this afternoon there’s still time to get your fix of other activities – you could try scaling the heights of the Harbour Bridge on the BridgeClimb, or give your credit card a work out at some of Sydney’s incredible shops. This city is home to some of the world’s best shopping, so it’s a haven for those who love to shop! From Aussie favourites like Sass & Bide, Witchery & all round favourite General Pants Co, there is plenty to tempt at every turn. If vintage is your vibe then Crown St in Surry Hills has some great vintage shops and quirky boutiques to pick up some awesome threads.

Say a farewell to your new friends as your tour winds up upon arrival back in Sydney this afternoon. (Breakfast)

Day 20 Finish Sydney
Say a final farewell to your new friends as your trip ends this morning. (Breakfast)
Tour Map
Tour Highlights
  • Cape Tribulation: Aboriginal experience at Mossman Gorge, Swim in a local waterhole, Mangrove boardwalk with our expert guide
  • Cairns: Cairns city orientation
  • Whitsunday Islands: Pass through Tully, home to Australia's best whitewater rafting, Pass Hinchinbrook Island - Australia's largest island national park, See Magnetic Island, Townsville city orientation, Visit the vibrant seaside town of Airlie Beach, Transfer boat to Daydream Island, Stay on Daydream Island and enjoy all the resort facilities
  • Farmstay: Visit the main region of Australia's sugar cane industry, Visit & cross the Tropic of Capricorn, Rockhampton sightseeing tour, Meet the cattle station owners, Check out the farm & animals on a hay wagon ride, then try whip cracking!, Aussie Outback experience: Langmorn Station Special Stopover
  • Fraser Island: Stop in Childers, known for its heritage & farming history, Stay on the world's largest sand island, a UNESCO World Heritage site, Stay in an eco-village & enjoy the resort facilities
  • Noosa: Take a locally guided 4WD trip across Fraser Island & indulge in a gourmet BBQ lunch with drinks, Drive along Australia's only sand highway, Visit the picturesque seaside town & beach of Noosa, Dine beachside at Noosa Surf Club & meet a lifesaver
  • Brisbane: See the Brisbane River, South Bank, Royal Botanical Gardens & visit Queen Street Mall on a city tour
  • Surfers Paradise: See the Glass House Mountains, Stay at a resort located right by the beach, Relax on some of Australia's most famous beaches on the Gold Coast, VIP nightclub entry, Visit Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary - cuddle a koala and see native Australian animals including kangaroos, emus, crocodiles, dingoes & Tasmanian devils
  • Byron Bay: Visit Australia's most eastern point & Cape Byron lighthouse, Get into Byron's organic lifestyle & cool nightlife
  • Coffs Harbour: Learn to surf the waves or ride a kayak at our beachside surf camp
  • Sydney: See the famous 'Big Banana' & banana plantations, Stop in the seaside resort town of Port Macquarie, Take a tour of Kings Cross, Chinatown, Darling Harbour, Macquarie Street & The Rocks, Cruise across Sydney Harbour on a ferry to Manly, Dine harbourside, Day trip out to the stunning Blue Mountains, See the famous Three Sisters rock formation, Hike along the ridge overlooking Jamison Valley 
All This Included
Wild nights & wildlife await you on Australia's East Coast. Take a rooftop ride along the rainforest canopy, go snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef & relax & work on your tan in the Whitsunday Islands. From there get back on the mainland for guided bushwalks, koalas & kangaroos. Enjoy a 'knees-up' at a farmstay then head back to the beach. But not just any beach, Surfers Paradise, serving up some of the best surf & sand in the world!
  • 17 nights multi-share accommodation: 12 nights in hotels & resorts, 1 night in a lodge, 1 night in an eco-lodge, 1 night in a hostel, 1 night in a surf school village, 1 night at a cattle station lodge
  • 22 meals: 15 breakfasts, 1 lunch & 6 dinners
  • An experienced and professional Tour Manager & Driver team
  • Modern, air-conditioned coach with electrical outlets for charging
  • Rainforest adventure on days 4 & 5
  • Sightseeing tours of all major cities
  • National Park fees, local taxes & service charges.
Accommodations on this Tour
Hotels & resorts (12 nights) 
Lodge (1 night)
Eco-lodge (1 night) 
Hostel (1 night) 
Surf school village (1 night)
Cattle station lodge (1 night)
  • If you're traveling solo, we can share you with a same sex roommate at no extra charge.
  • Single room supplement add US$2015 / add US$635 twin-share.
  • A copy of your valid passport is required at time of booking. 
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package, at the price quoted.

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