Welcome to Cairns, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef! Take your time to settle into the warm weather and relaxed vibe of the tropical north. Tonight, you’ll meet your newfound friends whilst enjoying a welcome dinner at a Cairns Harbour restaurant.
Board a high-speed catamaran and cruise out to the Great Barrier Reef. The world heritage listed reef is the only living organism you can see from the moon. Imagine that! You’ll have the opportunity to go snorkelling and view this natural living wonder up-close (equipment provided) and view the spectacular coral and tropical fish from the underwater observatory and the glass bottom boat. Enjoy a delicious tropical buffet lunch before you return to Cairns in the late afternoon.
From the Reef yesterday, to the Rainforest today! You’ll be dropped off at Smithton for your peaceful Skyrail Rainforest Cableway journey across the canopy of Barron Gorge National Park. You’ll disembark at the Rainforest village of Kuranda with free time to explore. Your journey continues through the Atherton Tablelands, where lush rainforest, waterfalls and lakes abound. Visit Millaa Millaa Falls and the famous Curtain Fig Tree making sure to keep an eye out for the spectacular Ulysses Butterfly. Your destination for the night is Mission Beach where you’ll stay with views over the ocean. Magic!
This morning there will be time to take a walk along the shore and feel the golden sand between your toes before you depart. Your drive today takes you to Airlie Beach where the ferry will transport you to the relaxed lifestyle of Hamilton Island, on of 74 tropical islands that make up with Whitsundays. You’ll be surrounded by pristine beaches, and a kaleidoscope of coral and marine life!
At Hamilton Island the day is yours to indulge and relax by the pool or on the beach – you may prefer to hire a buggy to explore the island (you’ll need your driver’s licence) or tee off in paradise against the magnificent backdrop of an azure ocean. Or perhaps the famous Whitehaven Beach beckons. Take an optional cruise aboard a catamaran to this slice of paradise, where you can simply relax on the beach, take a swim, or get involved in some fun beach activities.
This morning you’ll board a ferry back to the mainland and continue south to Australia’s sugar capital Sarina. Thought you knew sugar? Sarina Sugar Shed is a working miniature sugar mill where you’ll get a peak into the sugar cane industry. Witness fully functioning sugar processing and distilling equipment in action. Afterwards you can taste some of the products made on site before sitting down for a light lunch. Balance out that sugar high this evening with some protein in the beef capital of Australia, Rockhampton. Your night is free so why not try some local beef at an Aussie pub or go the modern route at the newly built Pier restaurant.
You’ll cross the Tropic of Capricorn this morning on the drive out of Rockhampton however we’re not quite leaving the beef behind yet. This morning, you’ll experience some true Australian hospitality and farming life at Langmorn Station, a fully operational family run cattle station. Meet the Creed family and take a guided tour of the property including the original family homestead, built in 1873. Enjoy morning tea in the garden in the company of the pet kangaroo! This afternoon a ferry will take you across to the World Heritage Listed K’gari, also known as Fraser Island. Ground yourself back in nature on this sand island, your home for the next two nights.
A day of discovery lies ahead as your 4WD tour takes you for a bumpy ride around the island’s must-see sites. Visit Lake McKenzie, ringed with magnificent white sandy beaches. Walk through the ancient rainforest at Central Station and Wanggoolba Creek with its huge satiny, scribbly gum and kauri trees. Across the island to 75 Mile Beach, the sand highway will take you up the eastern coast to the Pinnacles Coloured Sands; cooling, calm waters of Eli Creek and the famous sinking Maheno Shipwreck.
It’s back to the mainland this morning aboard your return ferry. Wildlife discovery awaits with your visit to Australia Zoo made famous by the Crocodile Hunter, the late Steve Irwin and his family. Enjoy a sneak peek into the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital and see how AAT Kings works with the Wildlife Warriors to support the koala rehabilitation project at the hospital, the country’s largest and busiest wildlife facility. Catch one of the many shows and wander through the zoo’s fascinating grounds. Your tour ends upon arrival into the Gold Coast this evening.