Best of the Red Centre & Eastern Australia
Australia is over 7 million sq km (4.35 sq mi) of sand, reef, rock, koala, wine, sailing, ocean, city, culture, Dreamtime, and so much more than we could possibly list here. It would take several lifetimes to explore it all. This sprawling 25-day adventure comes pretty close, though. Kick things off in cosmopolitan Melbourne by discovering the city’s hidden laneways. Then head up the Great Ocean Road to a couple of national parks before journeying deep into the fabled Outback for a rendezvous with the iconic Uluru. Next, meet the Great Barrier Reef from Cape Tribulation, cruise the glorious Whitsundays, visit a G Adventures-supported cultural centre, learn to surf, and explore Sydney. Exhausted yet? Just wait’ll you’re actually there!
Your Foodie Moment: Wine Tasting, Clare Valley
Your Discover Moment: Byron Bay
Your Hands-On Moment: Surfing Lesson, Byron Bay. Melbourne laneways walk. Brighton bathing boxes visit. Rainforest walk in Great Otway NP. 12 Apostles visit. Loch Ard Gorge Visit. Hike at Grampians NP. Tower Hill State Wildlife Reserve Visit. Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre Visit. Wilpena Pound visit. Underground mine tour (Coober Pedy). Champagne sunset viewing of Uluru. Mala Walk around Uluru and cultural centre visit. Guided Daintree Rainforest walk. Whitsunday Islands sailing excursion. Blue Mountains stay with hikes. Jenolan Caves visit. Scenic Railway. Jamison Valley walk. Orientation walk in Sydney. Free time in Cairns, Byron Bay, and Sydney. Internal flights. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Discover the hidden laneways of Melbourne, marvel at the 12 Apostles along the Great Ocean Road, spend the night in an underground hotel, catch the magnificent colours of Uluru at sunset, trek through Mossman Gorge in the Daintree Rainforest, sail through the gorgeous Whitsundays, hang ten in Byron Bay, explore the Blue Mountains by foot
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
Please note that due to operational reasons the Dec 16, 2018 departure of Best of the Red Centre & Eastern Australia will be staying in Tweeds Head instead of Byron Bay. Please see the full itinerary for additional details.
1. Please be aware that wifi and internet access is not as readily available in Australia as in other parts of the world. There are often additional charges to connect to the internet, and speeds may be slower than what you are used to.
2. Over public holidays in Australia and New Zealand (such as Christmas, New Years Day, Easter, and Anzac Day) there may be some limitations of services and disruptions to schedules. In general our tours still operate effectively over public holidays, but there may be closures of optional activities and restaurants, and slight itinerary adjustments in order to provide all tour inclusions.
Group Leader Description
This G Adventures group trip is accompanied by one of our group leaders, otherwise known as a Chief Experience Officer (CEO). The CEO will be the group manager, leader and driver – this person is experienced in the routes travelled and will organize and lead the meal preparations and has experience in cooking a variety of local and international dishes for large groups.
As the group coordinator and manager, the aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. They will also offer suggestions for things to do and to see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends.
We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting – we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes
Max 16, avg 12
13 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners
Eating is a big part of traveling. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility. Our groups tend to eat together for most meals but there is no obligation to so. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip.
On this trip we include one local breakfast experience. We love checking out what the locals are doing and what makes up their daily routines. In Italy that could be starting the day with an espresso and cornetto standing at the bar in a local café. in Australia it might include an iced coffee and sausage roll by the beach and in Vietnam it could be slurping a steaming bowl of pho sitting on a plastic stool on a busy street corner. Hey, variety is the spice of life!
Private vehicle, ferry, sailboat, plane, walking
Local flights are included in this itinerary. The max luggage allowance on domestic flights within Australia is 1 checked bag (20 kgs) and 1 carry on (7 kgs) per person.
We believe solo travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and solo travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Hotels (21 nts), underground hotel (1 nt), rainforest cabin (2 nts).
My Own Room
Please note that if you have booked the “My Own Room” option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops
For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
1. By Taxi: Approximately $70, and it is 35km to the joining hotel.
2. SKYBUS, $19 per person: A 24-hour service from the airport to the Southern Cross train station in the city centre. From here, check in at the Skybus Hotel Transfer Service booth and a SkyBus mini-bus will drop you at the hotel.
Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned for that day other then your welcome meeting in the evening, so you can arrive at any time.
Your CEO will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. A welcome note will be left for you in the hotel so you have all the necessary information regarding the meeting time. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier and contact us as soon as possible. If you have a pre-booked transfer, and you have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call our local office in Melbourne. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so we may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Office (Melbourne)
During office hours, 9am-5pm Local Time: +61 3 9413 5820 (if dialing from outside Australia) or 03 9413 5820 (if dialing from within Australia)
After office hours emergency number: From outside Australia: +61 432 705 621
From within Australia: 0432 705 621
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local operations manager, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
The max luggage allowance on domestic flights within Australia is 1 checked bag (20 kgs) and 1 carry on (7 kgs) per person.
You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible.
We recommend using a backpack for your convenience, or a medium-sized suitcase if you prefer. Heavy luggage is not recommended for the health of the CEO, who will take a lead in loading the storage trailer. Due to space in the trailer, we will not be able to accommodate more than one piece of main luggage per person. A good size day-pack (20-35L) is also essential to carry your personal gear for the day, as access to luggage between destinations will be limited. This daypack will be used to carry your personal gear for the day, your lunch and a water bottle.
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
• Binoculars (optional)
• Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
• Cash, credit and debit cards
• Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
• Ear plugs
• First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal)
• Fleece top/sweater
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Small travel towel
• Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable)
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket
• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
• Sun hat/bandana
Your CEO will advise you along the trip where you will be able to do your laundry.
Visas and Entry Requirements
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. It is your own responsibility to have the correct travel documentation. Visa requirements for your trip will vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. We keep the following information up to date as far as possible, but rules do change and sometimes without warning. While we provide the following information in good faith, it is vital that you check the information yourself and understand that you are fully responsible for your own visa requirements.
A valid passport and visa is required. For some nationalities, the visa can be issued by your Travel Agency or the Australian Embassy via Electronic Travel Authority (ETA).
To apply for an ETA online, travellers must hold a passport from one of the following countries:
- Brunei – Darussalam
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
- United States
More information about the ETA and how to apply can be found here:
If you do not hold a passport from any of the above countries, you cannot apply for an ETA online. You may be eligible to apply for an ETA through a travel agent, airline or an Australian visa office. Alternatively, you may be eligible to apply for other types of electronic visitor visas. See: www.immi.gov.au
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
The Australian currency is the Australian Dollar (AUD).
Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere in Australia and can be used to purchase small and large items. When purchasing products or services with a foreign credit card you may be charged additional fees by your credit card company for foreign purchases.
Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances but you must remember to bring your PIN number (be aware that many ATM machines only accept 4-digit PINs). Both Cirrus and Plus system cards are the most widely accepted debit cards. Both Visa and Master Cards are the most widely accepted credit cards. While ATMs are commonly available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work check with your bank before you travel. A visit to an ATM can be arranged on Day 1 and other days of the trip.
Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of local currency (preferably smaller bills, 5’s, 10’s and 20’s), traveller’s cheques and credit cards is best. Currency exchange is best obtained prior to travel or at the airport, currency exchange is easy to find in Australia in the gateway cities and most banks do accommodate.
Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
It is not customary in Australia to tip service providers, but if you do experience outstanding service it is good to do so. Such service would only usually be in places like quality restaurants and it would be very rare that you would tip more than 10%. Unless specifically asked to do so at the time (by your CEO) – do not tip your local guides. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures Chief Experience Officer did an outstanding job, you may consider a small tip – but it certainly isn’t expected.
Please see the full itinerary for information on optional activities, descriptions and estimated pricing.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it deemed necessary, due to safety concerns. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy and explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards), have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk. Read more about travel safety for ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling.
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency evacuation and repatriation. A minimum coverage of USD200,000 is required. G Adventures can provide you with the appropriate coverage. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Some tours include adventure activities that require extra coverage (e.g. crampon use); please review your itinerary and make sure that you are covered for all included activities. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we’ll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send it on to you.
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You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.
Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
PRODUCT_LINE: OAMS, ID: 24527
Day 1 Melbourne
There are no planned activities during the day, so check into the hotel and explore the city. If you arrive early enough, head into the city to take in the ‘cultural capital of Australia’. Get lost in the city’s famous laneways, go on the hunt for the perfect flat white (hint: Melbourne loves its coffee shops), catch the tram to St. Kilda, or wander around the über-cool Fitzroy neighbourhood.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Melbourne/Mornington Peninsula (1B)
Although fairly small in size, the Mornington Peninsula packs a big punch with the amount of things to do here. Be awed with the stunning coastal scenery while driving through quaint towns and past stunning beaches.
Melbourne Laneways Walk
Bathing Boxes Visit
Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s), 100km)
Day 3 Mornington Peninsula
Enjoy a free day in the Mornington Peninsula. Opt to visit a winery or hit one of the many incredible beaches in the area.
Day 4 Mornington Peninsula/Port Campbell (1B)
Hop on a ferry to Queenscliff before spending the day travelling along the Great Ocean Road. Pass world-famous surf beaches, enjoy views of the 12 Apostles, and walk through the rainforest in Great Otway National Park.
12 Apostles Visit
Loch Ard Gorge Visit
Private Vehicle (0.50 hour(s), 20km)
Ferry (1.00 hour(s), 15km)
Enjoy the stunning scenery while driving along the Great Ocean Road, stopping at the highlights along the way.
Private Vehicle (8.00 hour(s))
Day 5 Port Campbell/Halls Gap (1B, 1D)
Travel inland to Grampians National Park, known for its sandstone mountain range and impressive rock art. Trek through the forest, lush with vegetation and wildlife. Walk to the stunning Balconies and visit MacKenzie Falls.
Tower Hill State Wildlife Reserve Visit
The Balconies (Jaws of Death) Visit
MacKenzie Falls Visit
Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s), 260km)
Private Vehicle (0.50-1.00 hours)
Day 6 Halls Gap/Adelaide (1B)
Visit the Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre before continuing on to Adelaide. The CEO will point out important highlights of the city while driving in, before free time to explore the city.
Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre Visit
Private Vehicle (6.00-6.50 hours, 500km)
Day 7 Adelaide/Flinders Ranges (1B, 1L, 1D)
Stop in the Clare Valley for a wine tasting and light gourmet lunch featuring regional produce. Afterwards, drive through the Flinders Ranges.
Private Vehicle (6.00 hour(s))
Day 8 Flinders Ranges (1B, 1D)
Visit Wilpena Pound, a 800-million-year old natural amphitheatre, before enjoying free time for optional activities in the Flinders Ranges like hiking or a 4WD tour of the rugged area.
Wilpena Pound Visit
Day 9 Flinders Ranges/Coober Pedy (1B, 1L)
Travel to the unique opal mining town of Coober Pedy, where people live underground to avoid the heat. A guided mine tour gives insight to the mining process and the importance of opals to the area.
Guided Mine Tour
Private Vehicle (8.00 hour(s), 700km)
Day 10 Coober Pedy/Uluru (1B)
Cross the border into the Northern Territory, where Australia’s most iconic view awaits.
Uluru at Sunset
Private Vehicle (9.00 hour(s), 750km)
Day 11 Uluru (1B)
Enjoy the Mala Walk at Uluru to learn the importance of the rock to the Aborigines.
Uluru Mala Walk
Aboriginal Cultural Centre Visit
Day 12 Uluru/Cairns
Fly to the oceanside city of Cairns, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.
Plane (4.00 hour(s))
Day 13 Cairns/Cape Tribulation (1B, 1L)
Head north to Cape Tribulation. Stop en route to explore Mossman Gorge and take an interpretive walk through the Daintree Rainforest.
Aboriginal Interpretive Walk
Travel 1.5 hrs to Mossman Gorge. Later, continue 2 hrs to Cape Tribulation.
Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s), 140km)
Day 14 Cape Tribulation (1B)
With a free day, opt for a trip to the Great Barrier Reef or to explore Daintree National Park.
Day 15 Cape Tribulation/Cairns (1B)
Return to Cairns in the afternoon with free time to explore this laid-back city.
Private Vehicle (3.50 hour(s))
Day 16 Cairns/Airlie Beach (1B)
Depart early for a full day of travel to reach Airlie Beach with time to explore the town.
Private Vehicle (9.00-10.00 hours, 623km)
Day 17 Airlie Beach (1L)
Set sail for a day in the Whitsunday Islands, visiting the Great Barrier Reef. Opt to swim or snorkel, and hike to an island lookout over Whitehaven Beach, known for its stunning white sand. Return to Airlie Beach for the night.
Whitsunday Islands Sailing Excursion
Barrier Reef Visit
Day 18 Airlie Beach/Byron Bay
Fly to Brisbane and transfer to Byron Bay for two nights in this “hippie” paradise.
Please note that due to operational reasons the Dec 27, 2018 departure of Best of Australia, and the Dec 16, 2018 departure of Best of the Red Centre & Eastern Australia, will be staying in Tweeds Head tonight instead of Byron Bay.
Plane (2.50 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (2.00-2.50 hours, 200km)
Day 19 Byron Bay
Spend the day wandering the town or taking part in a multitude of optional activities like sea kayaking, visiting Cape Byron Lighthouse, or relaxing on the beach.
Please note that due to operational reasons the Dec 27, 2018 departure of Best of Australia, and the Dec 16, 2018 departure of Best of the Red Centre & Eastern Australia, will be staying in Tweeds Head tonight instead of Byron Bay. The group will travel to Byron during the day today for free time to explore.
Day 20 Byron Bay/Port Macquarie
Hit the waves with an included surf lesson. Head to the coastal township of Port Macquarie, featuring all the beauty of the beach set alongside gorgeous national parks. Enjoy an evening in Port Macquarie.
Private Vehicle (5.00 hour(s), 397km)
Day 21 Port Macquarie/Blue Mountains
Opt to visit a koala hospital before travelling to the Blue Mountains Region.
Private Vehicle (6.00-7.00 hours, 500km)
Day 22 Blue Mountains
Explore the area around Leura and Katoomba including the Three Sisters. Visit the Jenolan Caves, take a walk in Jamison Valley, and ride on the Scenic Railway, the steepest railway in the world.
In the case of bad weather or poor visibility, the order of the activities may change or be moved to Day 12.
Note: The Scenic Cableway will be closed from August 1, 2018 until mid September 2018.
Jenolan Caves Tour
Jamison Valley Walk
Blue Mountains Excursion
Day 23 Blue Mountains/Sydney
Travel to Sydney and enjoy a free afternoon to explore the city. Opt to rent a bike, stroll the botanical gardens, or visit the iconic Opera House.
Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s))
Day 24 Sydney
Get a feel for the city. Opt to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, zip through the harbour on a jet boat, or relax seaside at Bondi Beach. Enjoy an optional final night out with the group.
Day 25 Sydney
Depart at any time.