Explore Australia

  • Trip Type: Journeys
  • 12 Days | Sydney to Melbourne
  • Group Size: Max 16

Trip Details


Discover Australia’s legendary highlights on a 12-day loop of the country. Explore world-class cities and the outback’s sacred Red Center, the Great Barrier Reef, and some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Enjoy meaningful cultural experiences and a guided foodie walk through Melbourne. With all of the details taken care of—and your flights in Australia included—you’ll find yourself on top of the world Down Under.

Trip Highlights

    • Cruise Sydney Harbour and view the iconic Sydney Opera House.
    • Go behind the scenes at James Cook University research aquarium, founded by a National Geographic grantee.
    • Explore the Daintree Rainforest with an Aboriginal guide, watch the sun rise over Uluru, and opt to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef.

Itinerary - 12 Days

Days 1 & 2 — Sydney

Arrive at any time. Kick off the trip at Sydney Harbour with a walk to the iconic Sydney Opera House and through the historic Rocks district. Later, set out on a private sunset cruise through Sydney Harbour’s beautiful bays and coves. As we navigate the bays and coves, our captain shares the rich history of Sydney and its famed waters. Enjoy a barbecue on deck, and sit back and relax as the opera house lights up in the evening. (1B, 1D)

Day 3 — Port Douglas

Fly to Cairns, then travel up the stunning coastal road to Mossman Gorge near Port Douglas. Take an interpretive walk with a local Aboriginal guide and learn about life in the Daintree Rainforest. (1B)

Day 4 — Port Douglas

Enjoy the colorful resort town of Port Douglas. Take time to stroll the main streets, enjoy the beach or opt to go snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. (1B)

Day 5 — Cairns

Return to Cairns and take a behind-the-scenes tour of the James Cook University research aquarium, founded by marine biologist and National Geographic grantee Dr. Jamie Seymour. Get up close to the marvelous creatures that live there. (1B)

Days 6 & 7 — Cairns

Travel southward to the tiny town of Tully for a G Adventures–sponsored experience with an indigenous community. Meet the people of the Janbanbarra Jirrbal Rainforest and learn how they have lived in harmony with nature for thousands of years. Enjoy a traditional lunch and participate in a painting class with Aboriginal artists. Cairns is the adventure capital of Queensland, and the next day is yours with free time to explore. Opt to go snorkeling or diving on the Great Barrier Reef, soar above the rainforest on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, or explore this stunning coastal city. (2B, 1L)

Day 8 — Cairns/Uluru

Catch a flight to the heart of the Australian outback and witness an outstanding sunset with a glass of bubbly in the presence of the sacred site of Uluru. (1B)

Day 9 — Uluru

Awaken early to watch the sun rise over Uluru. Continue on a guided walk around its base, visit the cultural center, and learn about the significance of this sacred monolith to the people who live with it. (1B)

Days 10 & 11 — Melbourne

Fly to cosmopolitan Melbourne. Melbourne has long been considered a major center for foodie culture in Australia. As home to many immigrant communities, the gastronomic expertise on offer here is both diverse and exciting. Explore this incredible city on a National Geographic Journeys-exclusive guided walk, led by local author and culinary storyteller, Monique Bayer. Enjoy lunch at three popular venues that showcase why contemporary dining in Melbourne is such a special experience. Through European flavors as well as those from across Asia, you’ll gain a greater understanding of the city’s history, its people, and its celebrated (and gorgeous) laneways. The next day, take advantage of free time to explore the Great Ocean Road or visit some of the area’s wineries. (2B, 1L)

Day 12 — Melbourne

Depart at any time. (1B)

Related Trips

Offered in partnership with G Adventures, our National Geographic Journeys line blends fun, hands-on exploration, meaningful encounters with people and cultures, and more free time and choices—with the structure and security of traveling in a small group.


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  • Dec 26, 2018 - Jan 06, 2019 ALT

ALT indicates a departure that has a slightly different itinerary than the one shown on this page. Click the ALT icon to see the day-to-day itinerary.

Trip Cost

Price From


Activity Level


Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives, or easy hikes, with options for more physical activities such as hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and biking.

Click here for a description of all activity levels.

Contact Us: 1-800-281-2354

Call to speak with a specialist about this trip.

Cost Details

All trip prices are per person based on double occupancy. If you're traveling on your own, we'll pair you up with a roommate of the same gender so that you can pay the same rate as other travelers. Prices are subject to change without notice and do not include airfare. All prices and fares are quoted in U.S. dollars.

My Own Room

During your trip, sometimes it's just more convenient and comfortable to have your own room. That's why we offer the "My Own Room" option - a single room all to yourself.

My Own Room Option: From $1,699

What's Included

Internal flights, transport between destinations and to/ from included activities, and activities as listed in the itinerary. The optional Great Barrier Reef snorkeling excursion and the optional activities in Sydney are at an additional cost.

Comfortable, mid-range hotels (11 nights)

Meals Included
11 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner. Allow an additional $585–760 for meals not included.

Mini bus, plane, boat

Optional Experience

You can do whatever you wish during your free time on tour, but if you're in need of suggestions, we've got them. Details about any optional experiences for this trip will be available during the booking process. Please note, these are at an additional cost.