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  • The Wild Australia Ecological Touring Holiday

    The Wild Australia Ecological Touring Holiday

    20 Nights / 21 Days 
    Sydney – The Blue Mountains – Jervis Bay – Kangaroo Island – Arkaba Station – Tropical North Queensland
    About this tour

    The Wild Australia Ecological Touring Holiday is the perfect holiday for those interested in exploring the diverse landscapes of Australia, and the encountering the unique flora and fauna that call this wild country home. Over the course of 18-nights, we will show you a comprehensive selection of the ecological highlights of Australia, as well as allowing you a chance to spend time in its most iconic city. You will see Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Jervis Bay, Kangaroo Island, the Flinders Ranges, and the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest of Tropical 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
    • Relax with the white sand beaches and crystal-clear water of the South Coast
    • Cruise out to meet the seals of Jervis Bay
    • Sleep in a treehouse safari tent in classic Australian bushland
    • Find a zoo without borders on the remote and striking Kangaroo Island
    • Explore the deserted Southern Ocean beaches and find a variety of unique wildlife encounters
    • Step into the wilderness of the Flinders Ranges for a true taste of Australian Outback 
    • Enjoy an almost safari style experience as you explore this remote ecosystem
    • Journey North into the tropical climate of North Queensland
    • Discover the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, finding crystal clear waters, radiant colour and exceptional marine life 
    • Venture into the pristine and ancient Daintree Rainforest, where the rainforest really does meet the 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, onto the white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters of Jervis Bay. From here, you will fly into the ‘zoo without fences’ of Kangaroo Island, and then into the ancient and magnificent outback of the Flinders Ranges. Next, you will conclude your journey by flying North to explore the Daintree Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef of Tropical North Queensland. 
    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 £4,880 per person.
    We could also upgrade your accommodation to the exceptional hotels and lodges listed in our ‘luxury hotel’ list. Each would entail a supplement to the base price of the holiday.
    Please see our hotel lists for more information on supplement costs, as well as what is included in these 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 Kangaroo Island, Kangaroo Island to the Flinders Ranges, and the Flinders Ranges to Cairns in 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. Alternatively, 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 Four: Blue Mountains 
    Pick up your 4x4 hire car and drive due West into the Great Dividing Range, where you will find your luxury accommodation nestled serenely in the pristine 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. In the evening, settle down to your first taste of the Outback’s magical star display, where clear skies and zero light pollution conspire to reveal the entirety of the Milky Way. 
    Day Five: 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. The lush rainforest and Australian bush landscapes are superbly cut through by excellent walking trails, and these present the ideal paths for spotting some of Australia’s most extraordinary wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for koalas, kangaroos, wallabies and cockatoos, as well as listening out for the expert mimic of lyrebirds, and searching for the elusive Blue Mountains water skink. 
    Day Six: Jervis Bay 
    Drive South East from the Blue Mountains along the achingly pretty Grand Pacific Drive. With incredible vistas of the deep blue Pacific Ocean on your left, and rainforest clad escarpment on your right, spend the journey spotting koalas and be sure to stop at one of the beautiful beaches you pass. Stanwell Park in particular would make a wonderful mid-morning refreshment break. Arrive in Jervis Bay to be met with white sand beaches, crystal clear water, charming towns and idyllic scenery. Settle into your safari-style camp for the evening and sleep under the stars. 
    Day Seven: Jervis Bay 
    Wake up to the sound of the bush, and the soft pitter patter of kangaroos grazing around your treehouse. Today, you would do well to get out on the crystal-clear waters of Jervis Bay. Perfectly positioned on the coast between the warm currents of the North and the temperate water of the south, Jervis Bay is home to an incredible mix of marine life. From resident fur seals and Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins to migrating Humpback and southern right whales, to occasional turtles, sharks and rays, you can view most from the comfort of an ecological boat ride, or get up close and personal via kayak, Stand-Up Paddleboard, or even by snorkelling and scuba diving. 
    Day Eight: Jervis Bay 
    After a leisurely morning, perhaps today you could explore the ecological highlights of this idyllic region. Chief amongst these would be the superb Booderee National Park, a stunning and protected area offering superb hiking, surfing at Cave Beach, and snorkelling at Green Patch Beach. Birdwatch or spot breaching whales from the Cape St George Lighthouse, or learn more about Aboriginal Australia by taking part in the interpretive program run by the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community and the Koori people. Alternatively, you could take a drive through the idyllic landscape of rolling green hills, Australian bush, and rainforest clad escarpment. Many pretty country towns dot this area, such as in Kangaroo Valley, and a happy day can be spent pottering from town to town in the sunshine. In the evening, raise a glass to New South Wales as you conclude the first chapter of your tour. 
    Day Nine: Kangaroo Island 
    Wake early and head back to Sydney on the Grand Pacific Drive to drop your car at the airport and catch your flight to Kangaroo Island. Upon arrival, pick up your 4x4 hire car, and drive to your warm and cosy accommodation deep in the wilds of this pristine environment. To celebrate your first evening in South Australia, it might be a good idea to sample some of the superb wine and produce of the state, which is home to the world-famous Barossa Valley and the Adelaide Hills amongst many others. 
    Day Ten: Kangaroo Island 
    Today, you should get and explore the best of Kangaroo Island’s unique environment. With 509km of coastline and measuring 155km from the East Coast to the West, Kangaroo Island is a mecca for wildlife travellers the world over. It has even been dubbed ‘Australia’s Galapagos’, or ‘A zoo without fences’ in recognition of the pristine native bushland, rich marine and terrestrial life, and gorgeous beaches. Here you’ll find soaring cliffs, dense bushland, towering sand dunes, wetlands and massive arcs of bone white beach. Perhaps hop in your 4x4 car today, or take part in an optional tour, and zip about enjoying a safari style experience. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for breaching Southern right and minke whales of the coast, sleeping koalas in the soaring eucalypts of Hanson Bay Sanctuary, kangaroos and Cape Barren geese in the Flinders Chase National Park, and sunbathing sea lions at seal bay or New Zealand fur seals at Admirals Arch. Other animals include little penguins, pelicans, echidnas, Tamar wallabies, goannas and possums, and these can be found in several locations throughout the island.  
    Day Eleven: Kangaroo Island
    Make the most of your time on this unique island by enjoying more touring that will showcase the natural assets of Kangaroo Island. By getting out on the water, for example, you could find yourself swimming with dolphins, big game fishing in the rich waters of the Southern Ocean, or otherwise spotting Southern right and minke whales from the comfort of a wildlife cruise. On land, quad bike tours, mountain biking, hiking and caving are available upon request. Alternatively, you could also sample some of Kangaroo Island’s superb produce, as the island benefits from the famed South Australian climate and rich waters. You will find excellent honey, seafood, cheese, and a great variety of vineyards.   
    Day Twelve: Adelaide 
    After a leisurely morning, drive back to Kingscote Airport and drop your hire car before flying to Adelaide for a one-night stay. With a distinctly Mediterranean climate, a renowned gastronomy scene, and bordering world-class wineries, Adelaide is a pleasant stop on any itinerary in Australia. Its ambience is elegant and green, as historic buildings sit agreeably next to the many parks that compose it. Soak up the culture of the region by visiting the excellent Tandyana Centre, or stroll through the fantastic botanical gardens for a relaxed day to replenish your energy. Another taste of Adelaide awaits visitors who choose to hop on the tram and head to the old-fashioned seaside resort of Glenelg. Here you will be richly awarded by a fantastic beach, lined with a distinctly European feeling strip of al-fresco cafes making the most of the brilliant South Australian produce. In the evening, settle down to dinner in one of the excellent restaurants found throughout the city. 
    Day Thirteen: Flinders Ranges
    Today pick up another 4x4 hire car. The road-trip continues as you venture deep into the Outback of Australia and head into ‘the Flinders’, an ancient mountain range in the heartland of South Australia. Jagged peaks and escarpments rise north of Port Augusta and track 400km north to Mount Hopeless. The colours are remarkable, as mauve mornings become midday chocolates and ochre-red sunsets. Emus wander across the roads and yellow-footed wallabies bound from boulder to boulder. Settle into your remote accommodation and dine under a star display like no other. 
    Day Fourteen: Flinders Ranges
    Enjoy a leisurely breakfast in the calm of this remote region, before venturing out to engage with this environment in a more active way. A variety of options are available, from 4x4 drives to hiking to cycling to scenic flights. The scale of the landscape begs belief, and qualified guides will introduce you to the best vistas, and sightings of the iconic wildlife that abound in this pristine Outback location. Aside from the rare yellow-footed wallabies of Brachina Gorge, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for both red and western grey kangaroos, as well as common wallaroos. Bird and lizard life are just as exciting, and include emus, the grey-fronted honeyeater, the wedge-tailed eagle, a species often found soaring above the deep red Simpson Desert, and the delicate Lake Eyre dragon, which can be found in the hot sand of the Salt Lake from which it is named. The outback environment provides a playground reminiscent of an African safari as you journey from vista to vista. 
    Day Fifteen: Flinders Ranges 
    Whilst the wildlife is exceptional, it is the landscape and flora of the Flinders Ranges that steals the show. Today you could explore the diversity of the region from the air with the help of a scenic flight. The glowing red and purple folds of the ranges are one of the most spectacular sights in South Australia, and the scale is mind blowing. The vegetation is also surprisingly diverse, as wildflowers and semi-arid flora such as cypress pine, mallee and sugar gum sit next to damper regions of evergreen grevilleas, ferns and Guinea flowers. Alternatively, you could head north to the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary, a 61,000-hectare private sanctuary home to a variety of birds and wildlife. In the evening, raise a glass of South Australia’s finest, and toast this magnificent state as you conclude the second chapter of your tour. 
    Day Sixteen: Tropical North Queensland 
    Another day offers another road trip. Today you will drive back south to the capital of South Australia, but on the way, there is plenty of time to savour the pasting vistas, as the red hues of the Outback become the rolling green plains of the fertile wine regions. Stop at Port Augusta along the way to savour the sights and sounds of this frontier town, with its elegant old buildings and revitalised waterfront. Arrive into Adelaide to drop off your hire car and catch your flight into the tropical heat of North Queensland. Upon arrival, pick up another 4x4 hire car, drive to your luxurious accommodation, and settle into the tropical surrounds. 
    Day Seventeen: 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 by participating in a range of optional activities. From snorkelling to scuba diving to glass bottom boats – there is a well-established infrastructure in place that will allow you to experience the underwater sights in a way that suits your energy level. The reef itself is in fact comprised of 2600 separate reefs forming an outer ribbon parallel to the coastline. It is home to over 1500 species of fish, 400 types of coral, 4000 breeds of clams and molluscs, 800 echinoderms, 500 varieties of seaweed, 200 bird species, 1500 sponge species, and no less than six types of turtle. Whales, reef sharks, dolphins and rays are frequent visitors, but in truth – there is just no telling what you will see on any given day in this extraordinary ecosystem. 
    Day Eighteen: Tropical North Queensland 
    After a full day of exploration on the reef, today you could choose to take things a little easier and simply relax in the natural setting of your luxury accommodation. Certain hotel choices feature excellent spas which draw upon the natural bounty of the rainforest to provide rejuvenating remedies. Others include fantastic natural swimming spots, private beaches, and kayaks that may help you explore the wonders of this exotic coastline. 
    Day Nineteen: Tropical North Queensland 
    The Daintree Rainforest in the north of Tropical North Queensland is a UNESCO World Heritage Listed ecosystem where the reef meets the sea. Here ancient rainforests coincide with sandy beaches and rugged mountains to provide one of the most spectacular landscapes found anywhere in Australia. Perhaps today, you could take a trip into the heart of this pristine environment accompanied by ecological guides. The best way to do this is either on one of the many hiking trails, or by a river cruise on the Daintree River. Spot crocodiles, colourful birds, cassowaries and much more with the help and safety of experienced ecological guides. Lose yourself in what David Attenborough once described as “the most extraordinary place on earth”, an ecosystem whose emerald green vines and lush canopy inspired Avatar. 
    Day Twenty: Tropical North Queensland 
    Perhaps today you could explore one of the other myriad of natural assets found in the part of the world. For example, a short drive inland from the coast will bring you to the Atherton Tablelands, where quaint country towns, green hills, pockets of rainforest, spectacular crater lakes, and waterfalls coincide to lend adventurous guests a great day trip. The area is home to a wonderful variety of wildlife including reptiles, wallabies, kangaroos, and even the elusive platypus. Alternatively, you could spend your last full day in Australia revisiting the Daintree, the Great Barrier Reef, or simply relaxing in the tropical climate that surrounds you. In the evening, raise a final glass to Australia as you look back on the ecological trip of a lifetime in this unique land. 
    Day Twenty-One: Return Home 
    Wake to soak up the last of the scenery and climate before boarding your flight back to London via either Adelaide or Melbourne. 

    The Wild Australia Ecological Touring Holiday

    Value Hotels 
    Sydney 
    Pier One
     
    Pier One is perfectly positioned 5-star hotel at the base of the Sydney Harbour bridge, and casting exceptional views over the iconic Harbour. With easy access to the Rocks and Circular Quay, it is the perfect base for a city break in Sydney. We include accommodation for two sharing 1 x Heritage Room. 
    Blue Mountains
    Spicers Sangoma Retreat

    Named after the Zulu word for healer, Spicers Sangoma is an exclusive retreat nestled in the heart of the Blue Mountains. Each suite is designed to put you at one with the natural surrounds, and the feeling of rejuvenation and relaxation is apparent throughout. We include all meals and accommodation for two sharing 1 x Bush Suite.
    Jervis Bay
    Paperbark Camp

    With 12 canvas safari tents thoughtfully spaced amongst the soaring eucalypts and paperbarks of Currambene Creek, Paperbark Camp epitomises barefoot luxury. Sleep under the stars and enjoy the natural splendour of Jervis Bay. We include breakfast and accommodation for two sharing 1 x Original Safari Tent. 
    Kangaroo Island
    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 accommodation for two sharing 1 x Guest Room.
    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 accommodation for two sharing 1 x Superior Queen Room.
    Flinders Ranges
    Rawnsley Park Station

    Overlooking the southern side of Wilpena Pound, Rawnsley Park is an ideal base for exploring the Flinders Ranges. With a dedication to being eco-friendly, and genuinely warm hospitality, explore the best of this wild region. We include Breakfast Provisions and accommodation for two sharing 1 x One Bedroom Holiday Unit. 
    Tropical North Queensland
    Thala Beach Nature Resort

    Located on a private headland between Cairns and Port Douglas, this wonderful natural retreat features eco accommodation options spaced thoughtfully throughout the pristine rainforest of the 145-acre property. We include accommodation for two sharing 1 x Jungle Walk Bungalow. 
    Silky Oaks
    Nestled in the heart of the Daintree Rainforest in Kulu Yalangi country, this stunning ecolodge sits high in the treetops above the crystal-clear waters of the Mossman River. We include Breakfast and accommodation for two sharing 1 x Daintree Treehouse. 
    Luxury Hotels
    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. For a supplement in the region of £1400, we can include all meals and accommodation for two sharing 1 x One Bedroom Heritage Villa. 
    Kangaroo Island 
    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. For a supplement in the region of £2640, we can include all meals, guided adventures and accommodation for two sharing 1 x Flinders Suite. 
    Flinders Rangers
    Arkaba Station

    Arkaba Station offers some of the most exciting Outback stays in the whole of Australia. More like a safari, guests will experience the best of the Flinders Ranges in complete luxury and comfort. For a supplement in the region of £2640, we can include all meals and accommodation for two sharing 1 x Homestead Guestroom.

    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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