Driving Down Under

Tour highlights

  • Visit the cities of Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Cairns
  • Explore Coorong National Park
  • Drive the Great Ocean Road
  • Take a trip to Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Islands
  • Visit Fraser Island
  • Head to Yeppoon and the Capricorn Coast

Meet your tour hosts

Days 1 - 8: Adelaide to Port Campbell

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Days 1 - 4: UK to Adelaide

Fly from the UK to Adelaide. Landing on day 3 you will be met and welcomed at Adelaide Airport and transferred to the Majestic Roof Garden Hotel for a 2 night stay. There will be a motorhome briefing at the hotel on the morning of day 4 and in the evening a welcome dinner where you can meet your tour leaders and fellow travellers. The rest of your time is at leisure to explore the city as you choose.

Adelaide, also known as the 'City of Churches', is situated on the Torrens River and is Australia's fourth largest city. You’ll find an abundance of gracious old buildings, churches and beautiful parklands. You have some free time to explore the city from North Terrace, a boulevard of galleries and museums finishing at the brilliant botanic gardens, to Rundle Street which is lined with cafes, bars and restaurants.

Days 5 - 6: Robe

Distance: approx 340 km / 211 miles

This morning we collect our motorhomes and head through the Adelaide Hills, over the Murray River and on through the Coorong National park, a collection of salt water lagoons that are home to a range of birdlife.

Your destination today is the town of Robe, tucked away on South Australia’s rugged Limestone Coast. The picturesque seaside town sits on the shores of the Guichen Bay, named in honour of a French Admiral after it was sighted by explorer Nicolas Baudin in 1802. By 1859, Robe had become one of the southern Australia’s busiest ports and the second largest for wool in South Australia. Then in the 1900s, Robe reinvented itself as a holiday destination and a major commercial fishing port, exporting Southern Rock Lobster to the world.

Today it is an attractive holiday resort combining a dramatic rocky, windswept coastline with a number of attractive and secluded beaches including the beautiful 17km-long and aptly named Long Beach. It is notable for its very sophisticated and charming town centre and is one of the most attractive historic towns in South Australia.

Days 7 - 8: Port Campbell

Distance: approx 368 km / 228 miles

Travel inland from Robe this morning and then take a day to yourself. Perhaps visit the Naracoorte Caves, part of the 800,000 year old Naracoorte East Range. The caves are World Heritage listed and one of the world’s most important fossil sites. For half a million years the caves acted as pitfall traps and predator dens and the bones that have collected here year after year have created a rich fossil record of the ancient animals that roamed the area.

A visit to Tower Hill Reserve is a must. Located at the heart of the spectacular Great Ocean Road region, you will discover the naturally diverse offering of the exquisite Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve. Declared Victoria's first National Park in 1892, Tower Hill is the ideal place to experience the Australian bush as you can enjoy magnificent scenery and landscapes while getting up close and personal with some of Australia's most iconic native birds and animals. The Reserve sits inside a dormant volcano and its plethora of wildlife provides visitors with the rare opportunity to witness these animals at close range in their natural habitat.

Another option is Port Campbell National Park, world famous for its extraordinary collection of wave-sculpted rock formations and the Twelve Apostles. The Island Archway, London Bridge and Loch Ard Gorge (site of a 19th century shipwreck) are other highlights you might like to explore. The Island Archway collapsed in 2009, highlighting the fragile and ever-changing nature of Victoria’s coastline. Discover the heritage of the Shipwreck Coast on short walks such as the Port Campbell Discovery Walk.

Days 9 - 18: Melbourne to Sydney

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Days 9 - 11: Melbourne

Distance: approx 350 km / 217 miles

Today is one of the highlights of the trip, the Great Ocean Road. Carved out along the State of Victoria's southern coast, the Great Ocean Road was constructed by returned servicemen following the end of the First World War and is one of the most iconic ocean drives in the world, with breathtaking views capped off by the ever photogenic Twelve Apostles.

Then it’s onto Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, which is perhaps best known for its fine parks and gardens, gracious tree-lined streets, historic bluestone buildings and international restaurants. The city has a population of over 3,000,000 making it Australia's second largest city and is home to some of Australia's most famous sporting events.

During our time in Melbourne there’s an included tour where you’ll discover Melbournes Hidden Secrets - lunch included!

Days 12 - 13: Albury

Distance: approx 326 km / 202 miles

Depart Melbourne and travel north to historic Beechworth, formerly one of Australia's early gold mining boomtowns. It was also the scene of the trial of Australia's most notorious bushranger, Ned Kelly, in the 1870s. The town prides itself in its beautiful historic buildings, 32 of which are classified by the National Trust. You might like to visit the Burke Memorial Museum, which is packed with relics from the early gold rush days and the Kelly era.

Our home for the next two nights is a resort-style holiday park beside Lake Hume. You can swim, fish or hire a boat at the lake or perhaps enjoy the on-site pool and tennis court. Alternatively why not explore some of Victoria’s local history. Your options include the charming gold rush town of Beechworth or reliving Ned Kelly’s last stand in Glenrowan. For the wine enthusiasts amongst you there is the option to enjoy wine tastings in the Rutherglen Wine Region.

Days 14 - 15: Canberra

Distance: approx 449 km / 279 miles

Make a stop this morning in Corryong, famous as the final resting place of Jack Riley, considered by many to be the inspiration for the hero in Banjo Paterson's poem 'The Man from Snowy River'. Visit Jack Riley's grave at the Corryong Cemetery or learn more about the legend at The Man from Snowy River Folk Museum.

You could also make a stop in Thredbo, an alpine village and ski resort in the Snowy Mountains of south-eastern Australia. The Kosciuszko Express chairlift provides access to ski runs and offers panoramic mountain views year-round. The Mount Kosciuszko summit walk leads to the top of Australia’s highest peak. Wildflowers dot the mountains in spring and summer whilst the trout-filled Thredbo River winds through the village.

Canberra is Australia's National Capital. The city is situated on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, a huge man-made lake named after the city's designer, American architect Walter Burley Griffin. The city features very modern buildings, Australia's new Parliament House (opened by the Queen in 1988), the Australian War Memorial and an interesting array of foreign embassies and diplomatic residences. Canberra is home to nearly 80 embassies and high commissions and most of them can be found in the suburb of Yarralumla, where you can take a leisurely drive and see traditional and modern architecture from many countries. Highlights include the spectacular traditional design of the Chinese Embassy and the long-house style of the High Commission of Papua New Guinea. Look for the Mexican Embassy’s giant shingle roof and the United States Embassy built in a modified Georgian style.

From mid September to mid October you can visit Canberra’s annual flower festival; Floriade, Australia’s biggest celebration of spring is set to delight the green thumb, the floral aficionado or the backyard gardener with 30 days of blooms, food and entertainment.

Days 16 - 18: Sydney

Distance: approx 286 km / 178 miles

Sydney, capital of New South Wales, was founded in 1788 and is not only Australia's oldest city but also its largest with a population of just over 4 million. It sits astride Port Jackson, one of the most beautiful deep water harbours in the world boasting the famous Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House, as well as a fine array of restaurants, theatres, shopping complexes and some of Australia's best surfing beaches.

During your stay in Sydney we have included a Harbour Lunch Cruise so you can see many sights of the city from the water. The rest of your time is at leisure to explore the city. Perhaps visit Bondi Beach, The Rocks or the Opera House. Or for those who are feeling a little braver, there's a bridge climb on the world famous Harbour Bridge.

Days 19 - 27: Port Macquarie to Yeppoon

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Days 19 - 20: Port Macquarie

Distance: approx 391 km / 243 miles

Travel north today to Port Macquarie, a town at the mouth of the Hastings River in New South Wales. The town is known for its beaches, wildlife and penal colony past with St. Thomas' Anglican Church being built by convicts in the 19th century. You might like to take the coastal walk from the town centre to the 19th-century Tacking Point Lighthouse which offers views over the water that is home to whales and dolphins. You could also visit Billabong Zoo which is known for its koala breeding centre.

Day 21 - 23: Byron Bay

Distance: approx 393 km / 244 miles

Byron Bay is mainland Australia's easternmost town and is a melting pot of surf culture and alternative lifestyles. Home to Australia's most easterly point and the iconic Cape Byron lighthouse, the region is known for its spectacular beaches, unique shopping and dining experiences, world-class festivals, and vibrant community spirit. Beyond the township of Byron Bay, the region includes many seaside villages, quaint hinterland towns, and large regional centres, all with their own unique character.

There are plenty of activities for visitors to do in and around Byron Bay such as; nature walks, surf schools, sea kayaking and whale watching. You’ll also find a range of yoga retreats, day spas, massages and more.

Day 24 - 25: Hervey Bay

Distance: approx 454 km / 282 miles

Queensland’s whale hot spot is at Hervey Bay, around 300 kilometres (186 miles) north of Brisbane, where humpback whales stop to breed and nurse their young. See their playful antics on an optional whale watching tour aboard the Spirit of Hervey Bay.

We’ve included a trip to Fraser Island for you, to visit one of the world's most unusual islands. Not only is it the largest sand island in the world – 123 kilometres (76 miles) long and 22 kilometres (14 miles) wide – but it's also the only place on Earth where tall rainforests grow on sand dunes at elevations of more than 200 metres (656 feet). The island also has half the world's perched lakes – lakes formed when depressions in dunes fill permanently with rainwater.

Days 26 - 27: Yeppoon

Distance: approx 439 km / 148 miles

As you continue your journey northwards today why not make a stop in Bundaberg which is famous for its rum and where you can take a tour of the distillery. Moving on you come to the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, where the coastline is dotted with historic coastal towns, coral cays and some of the most important turtle breeding sites in the world. Day 26 is at your leisure to discover this wonderful region.

Yeppoon is situated 38 kilometres north east of Rockhampton, and is the gateway to the Capricorn Coast and the wonders of the Southern Great Barrier Reef and Keppel Bay Islands. Wander along the town's picturesque esplanade with its backdrop of offshore islands, sparkling azure sea and clear blue skies and soak up the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.

The township has retained its village style appeal with a variety of wonderful restaurants, shops and galleries. A charming esplanade with grassy knoll, palms and covered picnic and play areas form a backdrop to a vista of sea, sand, sky and islands.

Within walking distance of the town centre are Figtree and Ross Creeks, home to the Black and Little Red flying foxes. At sunset, thousands of these fascinating mammals rise spectacularly as one to head off to their feeding grounds – an awesome sight to see!

Days 28 - 35: Airlie Beach - Cairns

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Days 28 - 30: Airlie Beach

Distance: approx 498 km / 309 miles

Airlie Beach is the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands and The Great Barrier Reef and is set on a striking peninsula that reaches out into the stunning blue Whitsunday waters. From here you can enjoy one of the many day trips out to the Whitsundays or there are activities to keep you busy on the mainland.

The Esplanade is the hub of Airlie Beach with its host of restaurants and bars on offer. Located just out of town is the Conway National Park with walking tracks that allow you to explore protected coastlines, deserted beaches and lush rainforest. If you’re feeling really active you can do the Whitsunday Great Walk which starts from Brandy Creek and runs to Airlie Beach which is about 30 km.

Not far from town is the Proserpine River where you can take a crocodile watching tour. You’ll see not only crocodiles but also wonderful local flora and fauna including migratory birds that call the Proserpine River Wetlands home.

Days 31 - 32: Townsville

Distance: approx 275 km / 171 miles

Townsville is in the dry tropics region of Queensland, adjacent to the central section of the Great Barrier Reef. A popular attraction is the Reef HQ, a large tropical aquarium holding many of the Great Barrier Reef's native flora and fauna plus a sea turtle hospital. Other attractions include the Museum of Tropical Queensland, built around a display of relics from the sunken British warship HMS Pandora, or offshore you’ll find Magnetic Island which is home to coral reefs and a national park full of wildlife.

Days 33 - 34: Cairns

Distance: approx 347 km / 216 miles

On the last day of driving, head to Cairns, the Capital of Tropical North Queensland - where the rainforest meets the reef. Cairns is the gateway to the tropical wilderness rainforest and the northern end of the spectacular Great Barrier Reef. Set between the stunning twin backdrops of the mountain ranges and a sparkling Coral Sea, Cairns has the sophistication of resorts, restaurants, entertainment and boutique shopping all within a lush tropical setting. As well as being a major city for tourism, Cairns is an important centre for the export of sugar and agricultural products from the nearby Atherton Tablelands.

On arrival in Cairns drop off your motorhome and transfer to your 4 star centrally located hotel where you will spend the next two nights. Your time here is at your leisure before a farewell dinner on the evening of day 33, where you can say goodbye to your fellow travellers and your tour leaders.

Days 35 - 36: Cairns to the UK

Transfer to the airport for your journey home, arriving back into the UK the next day.

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