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  • The Australian Explorer Touring Holiday | Luxury, tailor-made tour

     

    The Australian Explorer Touring Holiday

    21 Nights / 22 Days
    Sydney – The Blue Mountains – Melbourne and surrounds – Great Ocean Road – Adelaide and surrounds – Uluru (Ayers Rock) – Tropical North Queensland

    About this tour 
    The Australian Explorer Touring Holiday is perfect for a longer first-time trip to Australia. Over the course of three weeks, we will introduce you to a more comprehensive selection of classic highlights in this magical continent. You will see Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Melbourne and wider Victoria, the Great Ocean Road, Adelaide and wider South Australia, Ayers Rock (Uluru) and the Great Barrier Reef and Rainforest of North Queensland. 
    Highlights 
    This list includes optional activities possible in the featured locations of the tour, they will entail an additional cost on the base price of the itinerary. 
    • See the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge 
    • Hit the beaches of Bondi and Manly 
    • Eat, shop and stroll around Circular Quay, The Rocks and Sydney CBD 
    • Hike in the National Parks of the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains 
    • Enjoy a breakfast surrounded by kangaroos and pristine wilderness 
    • Visit Australia’s capital of sport and culture, Melbourne 
    • Spend a day with the Little Penguins on Phillip Island or wine taste in the Yarra River Valley 
    • Drive the world-famous Great Ocean Road and stop at the Twelve Apostles 
    • Stroll the streets of elegant, green and European feeling Adelaide 
    • Head to either the wilderness of Kangaroo Island or the wineries of the Barossa Valley 
    • Visit Ayers Rock and Uluru Kata Tjuta 
    • See the stunning Milky Way from the Red Centre of Australia 
    • Island hop or road trip the magical Coral Sea coastline 
    • Discover the pristine rainforest of Tropical North Queensland 
    • Snorkel, Scuba Dive or simply cruise on the crystal clear waters of the Great Barrier Reef 
    Tour description
    Starting on the iconic beaches and coastline of refreshingly laid-back Sydney, this tour will take you through the National Parks of the Blue Mountains, to Australia’s capital of culture and sport – trendy Melbourne. From here, you might visit the wineries of the Yarra Valley, or the penguins of Phillip Island before driving along the spectacular Great Ocean Road to the elegant and sophisticated Adelaide. Having sampled the culinary delights of this European-feeling city, taste more wine in the Barossa Valley, or travel to Kangaroo Island where you will find true wilderness, and a beautiful array of Southern Ocean beaches. Next, journey to the mystical Red Centre of Ayers Rock Uluru Kata Tjuta. Having paid homage to this ancient land, you will travel north in search of the tropical coast of Queensland, where pristine rainforest meets the mesmerising, crystal-clear waters of the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef. 
    Our range of accommodation includes everything from luxury boutique hotels, to remote wilderness eco-lodges, and safari-style luxury camping. Hand-crafted experiences make your bespoke holiday to Australia even more special, and a seemingly infinite number of possibilities are available upon request. Please do not hesitate to get in touch and let us know how we can further personalise your once-in-a-lifetime tour Down Under. 
    Prices 
    From £6,400 per person in ‘value hotels’. 
    From £10,900 per person in ‘luxury hotels’. 
    Please see our hotel lists for more information on what is included in these basic rates. 
    Dates 
    This holiday can be arranged throughout the year. Timings may vary depending on the month and day of the week. 
    What’s Included 
    • Return scheduled flights with British Airways, Qantas or Emirates from London to Sydney, returning from Cairns to London in economy class. 
    • Domestic flights from Sydney to Melbourne, from Adelaide to Uluru, and from Uluru to Cairns in economy class. 
    • Transfers and car hire where specified in our itinerary. 
    • Accommodation sharing a double or twin room. Please see our suggested list of hotels for details of base accommodation type. 
    • The meals included with your tour will vary by chosen accommodation. Please see our hotel suggestions for included board basis. 
    What’s not included 
    • Meals and drinks, except as specified in our hotel suggestions. 
    • Optional tours and activities within each location, except where explicitly specified as included in our itinerary, or by hotels in our hotel lists. 
    • Personal expenses. 
    • Insurance. 
    • Visa and Passport. 
    You will need a full British passport with at least six months validity, and a Visa for travel to Australia. Visas requirements should be checked with the Australian authorities. More details are available from www.eta.immi.gov.au  

    Day One: Sydney 
    Arrive in Sydney. You a met upon arrival and transferred to your accommodation by private chauffeur.
    Day Two: Sydney 
    Enjoy a day of leisure as you explore this iconic city. Soak up the sun in Circular Quay or the historic Rocks district and revel in the stunning vistas over Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Take a leisurely stroll through the wonderful botanic gardens, Darling Harbour or to the wonderfully fashionable shopping districts of Queen Victoria Building, the Strand Arcade or Pitt Street. 
    Day Three: Sydney 
    With the world’s largest harbour on your doorstep, today you could explore the stunning scenery of wider Sydney. Choose from a range of optional excursions, perhaps taking a ferry to the beautiful community of Manly. Built on a narrow peninsula that ends at the dramatic cliffs of North Head, Manly is the jewel of the North Shore. It boasts a harbour and ocean beaches, fantastic snorkelling and surfing, and a refreshingly laid-back ambience. On your way back to central Sydney, marvel at the stunning skyline, sparkling in the last of the afternoon sunshine, and the hues of gold twinkling on Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. 
    Day Four: Sydney 
    On your final day in Sydney, choose from a range of optional tours to delve a bit deeper into what makes this iconic city great. For more scenery, choose from a day at the world-famous Bondi beach, perhaps enjoying the stunning Bondi to Coogee coastal walk, or head to one of the two National Parks that fringe the urban area. Elsewhere, why not discover the excellent museums and galleries of the city, including the Museum of Sydney where the rich history of Sydney and Australia is told.
    Day Five: Blue Mountains 
    You are transferred by private chauffeur to your accommodation in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. The Blue Mountains National Park has been a favoured wilderness getaway of Sydneysiders for years. Step into the bush landscape through a range of optional excursions and marvel at the breath-taking waterfalls, sublime vistas, iconic wildlife and Aboriginal artwork of the area. The mystical blue tinge of the eucalyptus trees will only further mesmerise you in this deeply spiritual place.
    Day Six: Blue Mountains 
    Guests can choose to enjoy a leisurely morning in the wilderness surrounds, or otherwise rise early join an optional tour that will showcase the highlights of the local environment. For the latter, you could be served breakfast in the company of wild kangaroos, before exploring the World Heritage-listed area in a four-wheel-drive with a qualified ecological guide. In the evening, you are transferred to Sydney Airport by private chauffeur in order to catch your flight to Melbourne.
    Day Seven: Melbourne 
    Settle into the charm and character of Australia’s most fashionable city. Candidly multicultural, it is characterised by a mix of Victorian architecture and a spectacular modern skyline, a vibrant café scene, fantastic food and wine, great beaches, and sophisticated leafy boulevards. Enjoy a day of leisure as you explore the sights and sounds of Australia’s cultural and sporting capital.
    Day Eight: Phillip Island or Yarra Valley 
    From Melbourne, you could choose to partake in an optional tour to one of Victoria’s two main attractions, Phillip Island, or the world-famous Yarra Valley. On Phillip Island, guests will find stunning scenery, great surf beaches, Australia’s largest colony of fur seals, and the iconic penguin parade. Here, Little Penguins return to their home on Summerland Beach every evening, and toddle up the sand to their nests. In the Yarra Valley, guests will find a wilderness of great bushwalks, cycling, National Parks, platypuses in Badger Creek, and, of course, the world-renowned vineyards that fame the area. 
    Day Nine: Melbourne 
    Enjoy your final day in the hustle and bustle of Melbourne, perhaps by exploring some of its chic and elegant suburbs. The bay side St Kilda, for example, is an excellent place to head in search of great cafes, delectable restaurants, sublime bay side views and a refreshing coastline. Others may opt to head to the rediscovered and historic Williamstown, enjoying the seaside, the history of Melbourne, and again, spectacular bay side views.
    Day Ten: Great Ocean Road
    Pick up your hire car from your accommodation in Melbourne, and venture out of the city onto the Great Ocean Road, a highway that features highly on the bucket list of motorists the world over. On day one of this epic road trip, perhaps stop at the Mecca for surfing Bells Beach, where competition-standard surfers will provide a masterclass in this typically Australian sport, next, Point Addis provides an incredible board walk with mesmerising ocean views. Finally, you could allow time for Kennett River Holiday Park, where wild koalas, kookaburra, king parrots and rosellas are found easily in the eucalyptus forest.
    Day Eleven: Great Ocean Road (arriving in Adelaide) 
    From the comfort of your lodge accommodation, it’s time to re-join the Great Ocean Road. The enduring image of this fabled route awaits, the Twelve Apostles. Jutting out into the ocean, these rocky stands look as though abandoned to the ocean by the retreating headland. Only seven ‘apostles’ can be seen today by the fabulous vistas from the timber boardwalks that surround the headland. If possible, stay until sunset for a postcard image like no other. Drop off your hire car in Adelaide and settle into your accommodation for the night.
    Day Twelve: Adelaide 
    With a distinctly Mediterranean climate, a renowned gastronomy scene, world-class wineries and over 300 conservation reserves, arriving in South Australia is a moment to savour. Explore the elegant and green city of Adelaide, and be greeted by a refined local culture, fantastic neighbouring beaches, leafy boulevards, superb restaurants and great cultural centres such as the Tandyana Centre. 
    Day Thirteen: Kangaroo Island OR Barossa Valley 
    Today, guests face a difficult choice of an included excursion. To the south lies Kangaroo Island, a wilderness outcrop in the Southern Ocean that contains awe-inspiring quantities of scenery, and endemic flora and fauna. To the north, the famous Barossa Valley offers once-in-a-lifetime wine and food tours, and a pleasant Mediterranean climate. Explore your chosen rural retreat, and savour the hospitality of your cosy lodge in the evening. 
    Day Fourteen: Kangaroo Island/Barossa Valley/Flinders Ranges/ETC. 
    Wake to the iconic wildlife and gorgeous scenery that surrounds you. Choose from a range of optional tours to make the most of the highlights in your chosen rural retreat, before returning to Adelaide Airport by private chauffeur. It’s time to catch a flight to the Red Centre of the continent. 
    Day Fifteen: Uluru 
    The magical Red Centre of Australia’s Northern Territory provides a dramatic change of scenery to the lush bush landscape of the coast. Here, Uluru rises spectacularly from the flat plains of the desert measuring 3.6 kilometres long by 348 meters above the surrounding sandy shrubland. In the morning, perhaps join one of the guided walks to discover the sight’s ecology, Aboriginal cultural significance or geology. In the evening, you can enjoy a sundowner as the sun sets over Uluru, and is replaced with a mesmerising sky full of stars. 
    Day Sixteen: Uluru 
    Enjoy a leisurely morning, or choose to wake early and embark on an expedition to the glorious Kata Tjuta, where a Martian landscape of dome formations will fascinate and delight. Next, perhaps visit the cultural centre to learn about the cultural significance of Uluru, before your private chauffeur transfer to catch your flight to the Tropical North of Queensland. Upon arrival, you are transferred to your hotel. This might be by private chauffeur, or even by scenic helicopter flight over the Great Barrier Reef, depending on your chosen accommodation. 
    Day Seventeen: Tropical North Queensland 
    Spend the day adjusting to the tropical climate with the help of the facilities on offer at your chosen accommodation. For many, this will inevitably entail a gorgeous swimming pool. For some hotels, pure relaxation can be found in on-site spa facilities. 
    Day Eighteen: Tropical North Queensland 
    Today would be a great day to acquaint yourself with the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef. Stretching 2000km of coastline, this pristine stretch of coral reef is home to some of the most diverse and fascinating marine life on the planet. Enjoy calm, crystal-clear waters, and the iridescent colours of the coral, if you participate in one of a number of optional activities. Find turtles, rays, colourful fish, and even whales and dolphins for the extremely fortunate. 
    Day Nineteen: Tropical North Queensland 
    Recuperate from the thrill of your optional touring by another day spent indulging in the facilities of your chosen accommodation. The sunshine and warmth of North Queensland will sooth the aches and pains of adventure. 
    Day Twenty: Tropical North Queensland 
    With the Daintree Rainforest to the North, the Atherton Tablelands to the East and Conway National Park to the South, the rainforest of North Queensland is never far from your chosen accommodation. Perhaps today explore the pristine, sometimes World-Heritage listed, landscape and marvel at the diversity of flora and fauna that surround you. From wildlife walks to crocodile cruises, the riches of Queensland are easy to see with an exciting range of optional tours on offer. 
    Day Twenty-One: Tropical North Queensland 
    Having acquainted yourself with the rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, use your last full day in Australia exploring the other local sights of interest. In the Whitsunday Islands, for example, cruise to the stunning white sands of Whitehaven Beach. Elsewhere, chase waterfalls, wilderness hikes, deserted beaches, islands and mountains. There’s something for everyone in North Queensland. 
    Day Twenty-Two: Tropical North Queensland 
    Wake late and soak up the last of the scenery, climate and luxury facilities of your boutique accommodation. Whilst the magic of this incredible continent will stay with you forever, it’s time you say goodbye for now as you are transferred to Cairns Airport to catch your flight home. 
    Optional extensions to your Australian Explorer Touring Holiday 
    Everything we do at Expressions Holidays is bespoke, and we are dedicated to personalising the itineraries of every single client. Choose from the following range of tour extensions, or get in touch today to suggest something completely different. 
    Optional best of New South Wales extension (2-nights) 
    Before heading into the Blue Mountains on Day Five, choose from a rich variety of beautiful destinations found elsewhere in New South Wales. Beach dwellers should head south to Jervis Bay or north to Byron Bay, with either offering a pristine bush landscape, idyllic white sand beaches, and thrilling water sports. Elsewhere, wine aficionados should travel to the Hunter Valley for achingly pretty vineyards, whilst skiers are well catered for in the Snowy Mountains of the south east. Spend two nights exploring before re-joining your tour to the Blue Mountains. 
    Optional best of the Northern Territory extension (2-nights) 
    Located in the north of the wild Northern Territory, Kakadu National Park offers a completely unique outback experience for travellers interested in Aboriginal culture and wildlife. Retreat to nature for two nights in a safari-style camp, and explore its diverse ecosystems, iconic flora and fauna, and rock paintings. Head here after Day Sixteen, and re-join your tour in the Tropical North Queensland.
    Optional Tasmania extension (3-nights) 
    Tasmania is a too often overlooked State within itineraries of Australia. Located to the South of Melbourne, the island is comprised of rugged mountains, shimmering lakes, true wilderness, renowned gastronomy, and the surprisingly cosmopolitan Hobart. On Day Nine, spend three nights exploring this astonishing state before re-joining your tour on the Great Ocean Road.
    Optional Western Australia extension (6-nights) 
    A full 5-hour flight from Sydney, a unique landscape, a new ocean, and a totally different climate. It’s easy to imagine you have arrived in a new country when you step off the plane in Perth. Yet the vast expanses of Western Australia are, still, Australia, and here you will find some of her most striking and awe-inspiring landscapes. On Day Fourteen, head here and spend a week exploring this western, Indian Ocean coastline with the highlights of the Indian Ocean’s Ningaloo Reef, the true outback of Kimberley, the vineyards of the Margaret River, or the bustle of thriving Perth. Re-join your tour in Uluru.
    Optional Indian Pacific Extension (4-nights)
    Instead of simply flying from Adelaide to Uluru, board the Indian Pacific for the outback rail journey of a lifetime. This luxury rail expedition is one of the most iconic in Australia, and promises superb comfort in a private cabin, and an all-inclusive service. On day one, you will depart Adelaide and settle into the incredible luxury of this famous train. On day two, wake to the outback scenery of the dramatic Nullarbor Plain, in the evening you will alight the train in Rawlinna to enjoy drinks and canapé's under the stars of the desert sky. Finally, you conclude this epic rail journey on day three, passing through the Avon Valley into the bustle of cosmopolitan Perth. Stay here for two nights, enjoying the ambience of the city, or perhaps venturing to wider Western Australia in search of Fremantle or the Margaret River. From here, fly to Uluru to re-join your tour. This will entail an increase in price from £1400 onto the base price of the holiday. 
    Optional The Ghan Extension (2-nights) 
    Instead of simply flying from Adelaide to Uluru for your 2-night stay, board The Ghan for an overnight journey in the comfort of a luxury private cabin and all-inclusive service. Often touted as one of the world’s greatest rail journeys, this luxury outback trailblazer will transport you into the mystical heart of Australia and out into the wild and tropical climate of Darwin in the Northern Territory. With a variety of excursions at your designated stops, there are ample opportunities for exploring the Red Centre of Australia. For example, discover the markets of Alice Springs, the cultural significance of Uluru and Kata Juta, river cruise in Katherine, and embark on a scenic flight over Kakadu and Nitmiluk National Parks. On the evening of day two, arrive in the tropical city of Darwin. Here, spend two nights enjoying the tropical ambience and Aboriginal heritage before flying to Tropical North Queensland to re-join your tour. This will entail an increase in price from £700pp onto the base price of the holiday.

    Australian Explorer Map

    Value Hotels
    Sydney 
    Ovolo Woolloomooloo 
    A stunning wharf restoration, Ovolo Woolloomooloo offers a fashionable atmosphere, fantastic service, and a peaceful location from which to explore the City. We include room only in the ‘Superoo Room’ accommodation category. 
    Spicers Potts Point 
    Spicers Potts Point is a beautifully restored set of traditional Sydney town houses on a leafy boulevard in Potts Point. Expect a truly boutique ambience, and explore the city like a local. We include room only in the ‘Queen Room’ accommodation category. 
    Blue Mountains 
    Lilianfels 
    With a fantastic spa, a tennis court, two heated pools and a renowned restaurant, the traditional homestead of Lilianfels is a wonderful nature retreat for all the family. We include room only in the ‘Deluxe Room’ accommodation category.
    Old Leura Dairy 
    Homely, cosy and impossibly pretty, the Old Leura Dairy is a wonderfully restored cottage set in the heart of the Blue Mountains. We include room only in the ‘The Studio’ accommodation category.
    Melbourne 
    The Lyall Hotel and Spa 
    In the fashionable suburb of South Yarra, enjoy the sophisticated ambience and bespoke service of a genuinely boutique hotel. We include Continental Breakfast and the ‘Deluxe One Bedroom Suite’ category.
    The Cullen Melbourne 
    Another fashionable suburb location, this chic, boutique hotel in Prahan features a unique styling and is inspired by and named after the late Australian artist, Adam Cullen. We include room only in the ‘Studio Suite’ accommodation category. 
    Great Ocean Road
    Great Ocean Eco Lodge 
    The Great Ocean Eco Lodge is surrounded by pristine bushland, lush rainforest, secluded beaches and steep cliffs. It’s the perfect place to retreat to nature in bespoke homely comfort. We include Continental Breakfast and Dinner, a two-hour guided twilight nature walk, and a Standard Room. 
    Adelaide
    The Playford Adelaide
    In the heart of Adelaide’s cultural precinct, The Playford brings together a rich tapestry of South Australia’s food, wine and artistry, along with great service and a welcoming ambience. We include room only in the ‘Standard Guest Room’ accommodation category.
    Kangaroo Island or the Barossa Valley
    Abbotsford Country House
    Set on 50-acres of farmland in the heart of the Barossa Valley, enjoy the warm hospitality of this traditional Australian homestead. We include Full Breakfast and the ‘Deluxe Suite’ accommodation category.
    Stranraer Homestead Bed and Breakfast 
    Built in 1920, and surrounded by rolling farmland, this historic homestead offers a wonderfully cosy ambience, a central location for exploring the highlights of Kangaroo Island, and a dedication to traditional hospitality. We include Gourmet Breakfast and the ‘Guest Room’ accommodation category. 
    Uluru
    Sails in the Desert
    Sails in the Desert features all that discerning clients could need in the Red Centre of Australia, an inviting swimming pool, a great restaurant, beautiful rooms and a thirst quenching bar and lounge. We include room only in the ‘Superior Room’ accommodation category. 
    Tropical North Queensland
    Reef View Hotel (Hamilton Island)
    With the breath-taking facilities of Hamilton Island on your doorstep, enjoy the mesmerising views over the Whitsunday Islands, and the charming family-friendly ambience at the Reef View Hotel. We include room only in the ‘Garden View Room’ accommodation category. Also included are island hotel transfers, use of catamarans, paddle skis, windsurfers and snorkelling equipment, use of the gym, spa and tennis court hire, and use of the island shuttle service. 
    Port Douglas Sea Temple Resort and Spa 
    Set around a 3,000-square metre lagoon pool, the Sea Temple Resort and Spa offers a magnificent base from which to explore the reef and rainforest of Tropical North Queensland. We include room only in the ‘Studio Spa Room’ accommodation category. 
    Luxury Hotels Sydney
    Park Hyatt Sydney
    The Park Hyatt in Sydney is an iconic hotel offering sublime views over Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, an exclusive atmosphere, and a wonderful location from which to explore the city. We include Full Breakfast and the ‘Harbour View Room’ accommodation category. 
    The Langham Sydney 
    The Langham in Sydney is an elegant and sophisticated 5-star hotel located superbly in the heart of Sydney’s historic Rocks District. We include Breakfast and the ‘Deluxe Room’ accommodation category. 
    Blue Mountains
    Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley
     
    Located in the heart of a 7,000-acre conservancy in a World Heritage-listed region of the Blue Mountains, experience true luxury and utter exclusivity in your indulgent private villa. We include a One Bedroom Heritage Villa, as well as Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner daily, all non-alcoholic beverages, a range of beer and wine with meals, and two on-site nature based activities per person per day. 
    Melbourne
    Park Hyatt Melbourne 
    Offering 5-star accommodation in the centre of Melbourne’s cosmopolitan buzz, enjoy views over St Patrick’s Cathedral, Fitzroy Gardens and the architecture of the city centre. We include Breakfast and the ‘Park Room’ accommodation category. 
    Crown Towers Melbourne 
    An iconic Melbourne landmark, Crown Towers rises above the city’s vibrant Southbank precinct offering luxury accommodation, leisure facilities and stunning views over Melbourne’s skyline. We include room only in the ‘Deluxe King Room’ accommodation category. 
    Great Ocean Road
    Chocolate Gannets 
    Set magnificently on a sandy beach in Apollo Bay on the Great Ocean Road, enjoy a homely ambience and intimate coastal views over the Southern Ocean at Chocolate Gannets. We include a Breakfast Hamper upon arrival in the ‘Luxury Sea Villa’ accommodation category. 
    Adelaide
    Mayfair Hotel 
    The Mayfair Hotel is an architectural landmark in Adelaide, occupying the former Colonial Mutual Life building. Stay here for a wonderful location, and a painstakingly thoughtful heritage renovation. We include room only in the ‘Superior Queen Room’ accommodation category. 
    Kangaroo Island or the Barossa Valley
    Southern Ocean Lodge
     
    On a clifftop in the centre of the Kangaroo Island wilderness, Southern Ocean Lodge offers panoramic views, unrivalled touring facilities and second-to-none bespoke luxury. We include all dining, and open bar with premium wines and spirits, an in-suite bar, signature experiences, airport transfers, and the ‘Flinders Suite’ accommodation category.
    The Louise 
    With traditional architecture and a surrounding of renowned vineyards, The Louise is a luxury culinary retreat in the heart of the world-renowned Barossa Valley. We include Continental Breakfast in the ‘Vineyard Suite’ accommodation category. 
    Uluru
    Longitude 131
     
    Longitude 131 is an oasis of luxury in the Red Centre of Australia offering second-to-none hospitality, and a complimentary range of exclusive touring around Ayers Rock and Uluru Kata Tjuta. We include all dining, premium wines and spirits, an in-suite bar, signature experiences, return Ayers Rock Airport transfers, and the ‘Luxury Tent’ accommodation category. 
    Tropical North Queensland
    Lizard Island Resort
     
    With 24 private beaches shared between just 40 villas, Lizard Island Resort is as exclusive a private island one can find in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. We include gourmet meals, a fine selection of wine, beer, basic spirits and champagne during meal periods, deluxe picnic hampers for private beach outings, the use of motorised dinghies, stand-up paddle boards, clear view kayaks, and sailing craft, and the ‘Garden View Room’ accommodation category. 
    Orpheus Island 
    Again, located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, Orpheus Island is a small, family friendly private island featuring unforgettable touring activities and accessible only by a scenic helicopter flight. We include All Meals, selected Australian wines and beers, a daily Orpheus Island experience, unlimited use of motorised dinghies, paddle boards, kayaks, and catamaran, and the ‘North Beachfront Room’ accommodation category.

     All about Australia 
    Australia is a vast landscape of contradiction and variety. From the distinct, dusty red of the outback in Ayers Rock to the tropics of the Daintree Rainforest in the Far North Queensland, from the superb ski resorts of the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales, to the humid plains of Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory. For this reason, the only true way to visit Australia is by undertaking a touring holiday. To travel between the dynamic corners of this magical continent, and to make the most of the multifarious activities on offer. You have to be prepared to travel far, but you will be richly rewarded with awe-inspiring landscapes that exist on a scale that is barely imaginable. 
    Surrounded by 18,000km of beaches, this is a nation that thrives on the outdoors. From sailing in the Whitsunday Islands to Aussie Rules football, from skiing in the Snowy Mountains to scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, and everything in between. Yet in contemporary Australia, the thriving cosmopolitan city centres are also important sites of interest in their own right. Here you will find distinct local cultures, outstanding food and wine, and a refreshing al-fresco café culture that is typically laidback. From the chic and fashionable Melbourne to the elegance and sophistication of Adelaide, not to mention Sydney, Hobart or the up-and-coming bustle of Perth.
    Australia facts 
    Location: Australia comprises the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania, and is neighboured by Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east, and New Zealand to the south-east. 
    Time difference: Canberra has a time zone of GMT + 10 hours. There are several time zones within Australia. 
    Language: English. 
    Population: 24.889 million.
    Size: 7,692,024 km2, roughly 2,290 miles from north to south and 2,500 miles from east to west. 
    Currency: Australian Dollars (about 1.82 to the pound) 
    Capital: Canberra, located in the Australian Capital Territory between Sydney and Melbourne. 
    Geography and climate 
    Australia’s size results in a variable climate. The expansive interior is hot throughout the year but can often be very cold at night. The southern third of the country enjoys warm summers (December – March) and mild winters (June – August), although there are extremes of this, such as in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, where ski resorts are found. The Far North of the country has just two seasons because of its position on the monsoon belt – hot and wet, and hot and dry. 
    Cities and Culture 
    Australia is often thought about in terms of its natural bounty. The mind quickly wanders to images of beaches, landscape, wildlife and weather. Yet modern Australia is also home to a rich tapestry of cultures, and a wonderful array of buzzing urban centres. To the East, the iconic Sydney stands proud in its beautiful Harbour home, where miles of waterways, the Opera House, Harbour Bridge, and a gleaming CBD coincide invitingly. To the West lies pretty and friendly Perth, the most isolated city in the world, located closer to South East Asia than any other Australian city. Here, find a rich and relaxed quality of life, where great food and wonderful scenery are perched on the banks of the Swan River. In the South, fashionable, sporty and arty Melbourne has cemented itself as the centre of the Australian cultural sphere, whilst elegant, sophisticated and green Adelaide boast the country’s best food and wine, and an enviable Mediterranean climate. With so many other exciting destinations on offer, such as the historic and alternative Hobart, or the sparkling CBD and gorgeous sunshine of Brisbane, clients will find exceptional stays in the many cities of this wonderful country. 
    Landscape and Coastline 
    Whilst many minds would simply conjure an image of a beach and a eucalyptus tree, Australia’s landscapes are more varied than one can truly comprehend. From the distinct, dusty red of the outback in Ayers Rock to the tropics of the Daintree Rainforest in the Far North Queensland, from the superb ski resorts of the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales, to the humid plains of Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory. To the same degree, the coastline of Australia matches this variety. For example, two extensive areas of coral reef are found here; Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia, and the Great Barrier Reef in the North East, each with warm, calm and crystal-clear water. Yet elsewhere, the coastline can take on a decidedly temperate tone, such as is found on the Great Ocean Road of Victoria and South Australia, where striking and jagged limestone cliffs bravely stand to the onslaught of the Southern Ocean. 
    Wildlife and Ecology 
    For nature enthusiasts, Australia offers a pilgrimage unlike any other. Its geographical isolation has resulted in more than 80% of the flowering plants, mammals, reptiles and frogs being unique to Australia, along with most of its fresh water fish, and almost half of its birds. Within this unique list, iconic species are often members of the marsupial family, and these include classic images of Australia such as its friendly and inquisitive kangaroos, koalas, wombats and wallabies. Elsewhere, you may encounter the weird and wonderful animals that are unlike anything found on earth. In the Tropical North of Queensland, for example, the Cassowary is an elusive and beautiful flightless bird which is often seen through the densest patches of rainforest. In freshwater, other guests may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a platypus, a wonderful creature that has challenged taxonomies of the natural world for years. With so many more interesting species on offer, from echidnas to crocodiles to emus, wherever you are in Australia, the variety of landscapes will have provided an entirely unique assemblage of species that have captured the imagination of naturalists the world over. 
    Underwater, things are even more interesting still. In the North East of the country, the Great Barrier Reef lies in the shallow, warm and calm waters of the Coral Sea. One of the seven natural wonders of the world, such is the scale of the Barrier Reef that it can clearly be seen from space. Here, 3000 individual reef systems are host to an astonishing variety of coral and reef animals. Yet it is not the only series of coral reefs in Australia. To the North West, one can find the spectacular Ningaloo Reef, a favoured home of pelagic species such as Whale Sharks, Cetaceans and Manta Rays, whilst Lord Howe Island in the South Pacific Ocean contains the southern-most barrier reef found anywhere in the world. Elsewhere in Australia, these warm and tropical waters meet the nutrient richness of the temperate zone, creating a home for a wonderfully vibrant array of species. The crystal-clear waters of Jervis Bay, for example, provide a playground for seal colonies and tropical fish species alike. Again, due to the scale of Australia, a wide variety of marine ecosystems are found which provide a totally unique assemblage of species to explore wherever you may find yourself. 
    Also calling Australia home, however, are of course the snakes, spiders, crocodiles, sharks, jellyfish, blue-ringed octopus and various creepy crawlies that send chills down the spines of many would-be-tourists. In truth, these animals are rarely seen by anyone who isn’t explicitly searching for them, and the majority of trips to Australia are trouble free. Expressions Holidays recommend that clients follow local advice when travelling within Australia, to best avoid incident with potentially dangerous animals. 
    Food and Wine 
    Australia has recently established itself as a great culinary destination, a result of excellent local produce and immigration. ‘Modern Australian’ describes the country’s new cuisine – a blend of east and west. Dishes are generally unfussy, with often bold and interesting flavours. Whilst cuisine does not really alter from region to region, there are some obvious influences such as Southeast Asian in Darwin and Italian in Melbourne. Undoubtedly Australia’s best food is seafood, which is taken from some of the purest waters and usually cooked with great care. Especially prized are Sydney rock oysters, sea scallops from Queensland, fantastic rock lobsters and sweet mud crabs. Meat is also excellent, tender and full flavoured. Very few dishes can be called uniquely Australian but the range of cuisines on offer here span the globe – from Indian and Vietnamese to Fijian and Jamaican – it can all be found in Australia. The size of Australia means that there is some incredible and varied produce on offer – from sublime Tasmanian strawberries to highly prized lamb from the lush Gippsland of Victoria and plentiful mangoes in Queensland. Elsewhere, the ‘bush tucker’ of Aboriginal Australia is on offer to adventurous tourists in the Northern Territory. 
    With vineyards found in every state of Australia, and a total cultivated land mass of 160,000 hectares, Australia’s wine scene has matched the rise of its gastronomic fare. A varied climate, and a history of geographically diverse immigration, have resulted in a full range of wines, from full-bodied Merlot to the scintillating acidity of Sauvignon Blanc. Indeed, a whole suite of regions have become iconic as part of this trend, including the Barossa Valley in South Australia, the Yarra Valley in Victoria, the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, and the Margaret River Valley in Western Australia. Each boasts spectacular rural scenery, and undoubtedly first-class cuisine to match the fruits of the land. 
    Government advice 
    The UK government has an excellent website www.fco.gov.uk which you must use to obtain up-to-date information about worldwide destinations. This site gives details about trouble spots but also general advice about most countries. We advise most strongly that you check notices about your intended destination before you book and travel. 
    Passport and Visas 
    A full British passport is required for travel to Australia. Please bear in mind that it is your responsibility to ensure that your passport is valid and still has six months validity before you book your holiday and it can take some time to obtain a new one. Each individual needs his or her own passport so if you are thinking of taking an infant, allow plenty of time to get a passport. Visas are required for travel to Australia, and the details of this should be checked with the Australian authorities. You may be eligible for an Electronic Travel Authority which can be arranged very quickly on-line. More details from www.eta.immi.gov.au Visas are not required for Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Dubai or Malaysia. Visitors may enter the USA as part of the visa waiver scheme, details of which should be obtained from www.usembassy.org.uk 
    Health 
    There are no required vaccinations for travel to Australia but you should nevertheless always check with your doctor before travelling. A leaflet is available from the Department of Health called ‘Health Advice to Travellers’, by telephoning 0800-555777. If you are suffering from any disability or illness, this should be communicated to us at the time of booking. Please note that pregnant passengers are not accepted by airlines usually after about 28 weeks into the pregnancy. You should check this with us before you make a booking. 
    Insurance 
    It is your own responsibility to ensure that you are adequately insured for your holiday. Please refer to our statement on insurance in our booking conditions. Insurance for the activities you choose to undertake during your holiday is also your own responsibilities. Additional requirements are needed for scuba diving, such as a doctor’s certificate. 
    Security and personal safety 
    When travelling you should take sensible precautions wherever you are and take care of money and personal valuables when passing through crowded and public places and cities in particular. In Australia, you should advise your accommodation when you set out on a long walk, drive, or venture into the wilderness. It is sensible to top up with petrol whenever you are about to leave a town for a long rural drive. 
    Wildlife hazards 
    In Australia, you should heed local advice as far as crocodiles, sharks, spiders, snakes, jellyfish and other species are concerned. Mosquitoes are a fact of life in the tropics. In fact, it is advisable to take your own anti-mosquito creams and lotions with you. Other insects (large beetles, cockroaches, sand flies etc) and some rodents are also common in tropical places. We cannot prevent these creatures from entering your accommodation. If this is a worry, perhaps a holiday to the tropics is not right for you. Guide books available will give you more advice on wildlife hazards. 
    Getting around 
    Main roads in Australia are very good. Some roads are not surfaced, particularly side roads, rural roads and private roads. These often lead to lodge accommodation. 
    What to wear 
    Due to the incredible diversity in climate and landscape, a trip to Australia will require a range of clothing. We advise you check local recommendations. 
    Tipping 
    Tipping us generally expected for many services throughout Australia. Around 10 per cent of the bill is sufficient. This does not apply to your hotel stay.

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