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  • The best of Queensland Touring Holiday

    The best of Queensland Touring Holiday  

    13 Nights / 14 Days 
    Brisbane – the tropical rainforest of North Queensland – Whitsunday Islands
     
    About this tour 
    The best of Queensland Touring Holiday is the perfect first-time trip to Australia for those looking for a comprehensive introduction to this tropical state. Over the course of 13-nights, we will show you a comprehensive selection of the highlights of Queensland. You will see Brisbane and the wider Gold Coast, the rainforests of North Queensland, and you will experience island life and the Great Barrier Reef in either the Whitsunday Islands, or directly on the Great Barrier Reef. 
    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.
    • Enjoy the gleaming CBD of Brisbane and its fashionable bars and restaurants
    • Encounter crocodiles, kangaroos and much more at Australia Zoo, as made famous by Steve Irwin 
    • Relax on the wonderful surfing beaches of the Gold Coast
    • Discover the pristine rainforests of North Queensland
    • Chase waterfalls and streams hidden within the lush vegetation
    • Find an incredible diversity of wildlife, including iconic species such as the cassowary
    • Settle into your island resort in either the Whitsunday Islands 
    • In either, snorkel or scuba dive in the crystal clear and colourful waters of the Great Barrier Reef
    • Swim with turtles, dolphins, colourful fish, and sometimes even whales
    • Sail around the paradise islands that surround you
    Tour description 
    Starting on the beaches and in the bars and restaurants of the shimmering city of Brisbane, this tour will take you north into the dense and lush rainforests of North Queensland, home to a spectacular landscape and a wide variety of incredible wildlife. Finally, you will be transported to a luxury island resort located on the paradise setting of the Whitsunday Islands.
    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 £4,300 per person in ‘value hotels’.
    From £5,100 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 Brisbane, returning from Brisbane to London in economy class.
    • Domestic flights from Brisbane to Cairns, Cairns to Hamilton Island, and from Hamilton island back to Brisbane.
    • 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: Brisbane
    Arrive in Brisbane. You a met upon arrival and transferred to your accommodation by private chauffeur. Today, simply settle into the time zone, the climate, and your luxury accommodation. 
    Day Two: Brisbane
    Set just north of Australia’s sparkling Gold Coast, Brisbane is an inviting city boasting an enviable climate, fantastic food and drink, and a sophisticated and fashionable ambience. Perhaps explore the best of Brisbane today, being sure to stop at Queen Street mall and James Street for excellent shopping, and the South Bank for Brisbane’s art and entertainment precinct. For an unrivalled view of the city, you could climb the Story Bridge which was built in 1940 and measures 777 meters long by a whopping 74 meters high. The views are to die for, and include the Glass House Mountains, Moreton Bay, and of course Brisbane’s sparkling skyline. 
    Day Three: Brisbane
    One of Brisbane’s greatest assets lies to its south – the Gold Coast of Queensland. With its major capital of Surfers Paradise, this coastline features a glitzy and glamorous ambience, excellent beaches, and a fitting title of being ‘Australia’s Playground’. Today could be spent pottering up and down the coastline in search of great beaches and perhaps even a surfing lesson with the help of one of the excellent operators dotted up and down the coast. If you wish to get away from the intense commercialism found throughout the Gold Coast, you could also drive to the excellent National Parks of Springbrook and Lamington – two of Australia’s best. 
    Day Four: Brisbane 
    On your final full day in Brisbane, the choice is yours for making the most of this wonderful city. Some may choose to venture north to the world-famous Australia Zoo, the sanctuary made famous by Steve Irwin, and well known in Australia for providing tourists with unforgettable encounters with some of the continent’s most iconic wildlife. However you choose to spend your day, be sure to visit Eagle St Pier in the evening for world-class dining and great views over the Brisbane River, the perfect end to your stay in this shimmering city. 
    Day Five: North Queensland Rainforest 
    After a leisurely breakfast, return to Brisbane Airport to catch your flight into Cairns and Tropical North Queensland. Here you will pick up your 4x4 hire car and road-trip up the Coral Sea coast to find your eco accommodation nestled within the pristine rainforest of this region. Spend the afternoon with a cool drink and perhaps a dip in the refreshing waters of the natural pools or rivers that surround your luxury accommodation. 
    Day Six: North Queensland Rainforest
    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.
    Day Seven: North Queensland Rainforest
    After a full day of exploration in the rainforest, 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 Eight: North Queensland Rainforest
    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. Other choices include Port Douglas, or even a visit to the backpacker mecca of Cairns, where there are excellent facilities for exploring the best of the region. 
    Day Nine: Whitsunday Islands
    Today, return to Cairns Airport and drop off your hire car before catching your flight out to a true taste of paradise in the Whitsunday Islands. Spend the rest of the day enjoying the facilities of your island resort, with a cocktail in hand as the sun goes down over the Coral Sea. 
    Day Ten: Whitsunday Islands
    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. You can choose from a range of activities designed to make the most of this ecosystem, with something to suit every energy level: from snorkelling to scuba diving to glass bottom boat adventures. Find turtles, rays, colourful fish, dolphins or even humpback whales. 
    Day Eleven: Whitsunday Islands
    Recuperate from the thrill of your Great Barrier Reef adventure by relaxing and indulging in the facilities of Hamilton Island. This stunning private island offers an exceptional variety of facilities, from water sports to scenic flights to an excellent golf course – it is all possible on Hamilton Island. 
    Day Twelve: Whitsunday Islands 
    The Whitsunday Islands provide a wonderful playground for sailors all over the world, and today you could choose to cruise on the waters, finding impossibly pretty vistas everywhere you look. Chief amongst these is the iconic Whitehaven Beach, an expansive stretch of bright white sand lapped by the crystal-clear waters of the inner Great Barrier Reef. It has become an iconic sight of the Whitsunday Islands, and was rightly featured recently as a filming location in the Pirates of the Caribbean. Other islands are completely deserted, and offer the chance to find your own private slice of paradise away from the tourist thronged streets of Hamilton island. 
    Day Thirteen: Whitsunday Islands 
    On your final full day in Australia, the choice is yours to make the most of the sun and sea, and the luxury facilities of your island resort. Some will choose to relax on island, whilst other will make the most of the island hopping and the Great Barrier Reef located on the doorstep of Hamilton island. Either way, be sure to relax into your last night in paradise, and raise a glass to this wonderful continent. 
    Day Fourteen: Return Home 
    Wake to soak up the last of the climate and scenery, before returning home to London via Brisbane.

    Best of Queensland Touring Holiday map

     Value Hotels
    Brisbane
     
    Stamford Plaza Brisbane 
    A prestigious hotel located on the banks of the river and the botanical gardens in Brisbane, the Stamford Plaza provides a wonderful base from which to explore Brisbane. We include Breakfast and accommodation for two in 1 x Superior Room.
    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 room only for two in 1 x Jungle Walk Bungalow. 
    Whitsunday Islands
    Beach Club Hamilton Island

    An adult’s only oasis, the Beach Club provides a wonderfully exclusive option on the stunning Hamilton Island in the heart of the Whitsunday Islands. Casting spectacular views over Catseye Beach and the Coral Sea beyond, the Beach Club is an impossibly romantic getaway. We include Breakfast and accommodation for two in 1 x Beach Club Room. 
    Luxury Hotels
    Brisbane
    Spicers Balfour

    A new chic and sophisticated hotel located in the fashionable surrounds of New Farm, Spicers Balfour offers an exclusive stay in the heart of Brisbane. We include A La Carte Breakfast and accommodation for two in 1 x Executive Queen Room. 
    North Queensland
    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 for two and accommodation in 1 x Daintree Treehouse. 
    Whitsunday Islands
    Qualia

    Hidden on the northern tip of Hamilton Island, Qualia is a stunning resort casting mesmerising views over the idyllic Whitsunday Islands. With fantastic access to the facilities of Hamilton Island, and the waters of the Great Barrier Reef, Qualia promises a truly unforgettable stay in the heart of the Whitsunday Islands. We include Breakfast and ‘Classic Inclusions’ such as a golf buggy, non-alcoholic beverages and use of non-motorised watercraft, and accommodation for two in 1 x Leeward Pavilion. 
    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 have not included Lizard Island Resort in the base price of the holiday as a significant supplement would be entailed. It does however remain one of our favourite luxury hotels in the whole of Australia.

     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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