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Sydney, Melbourne, and the Great Barrier Reef

Discover Australia’s diverse East Coast cities. Melbourne beckons with old-world charm, chic boutiques and a café culture unrivaled elsewhere. Cairns offers a casual coastal vibe and is the perfect launch point to the world’s largest reef system—the Great Barrier Reef. And Sydney…a stunning city set on a sparkling harbor and flanked by marvelous structures renowned the world over. Learn about Indigenous culture, splash down in an underwater oasis that boasts one-third of the planet’s coral, and get an up-close look at Australia’s unique flora and fauna.

Trip Type: Adventure, Cosmopolitan, Cultural


Sydney, Melbourne, and the Great Barrier Reef
Sydney, Melbourne, and the Great Barrier Reef
Sydney, Melbourne, and the Great Barrier Reef
Sydney, Melbourne, and the Great Barrier Reef
Sydney, Melbourne, and the Great Barrier Reef
Sydney, Melbourne, and the Great Barrier Reef
Sydney, Melbourne, and the Great Barrier Reef
Sydney, Melbourne, and the Great Barrier Reef

Day By Day

Day 1 – Arrive in Melbourne

Welcome to Melbourne. Collect your luggage and clear Customs & Immigration and then proceed outside the Customs hall where you will find your driver who will be waiting. Your driver will take you directly to your accommodation.

Starting Accommodation: Crown Promenade Melbourne

Day 2 – Royal Botanic Gardens - Aboriginal Heritage Walk

Located in the heart of Melbourne, the Royal Botanic Gardens are considered among the world's finest gardens. A tranquil oasis of beautiful plants and stunning landscapes, it extends over 38 hectares, displays more than 50,000 individual plants representing over 8,500 different species from every part of the globe. The Aboriginal Heritage Walk is 90-minutes in duration. Journey into the ancestral lands of the Kulin nation and explore their rich and thriving culture on this award winning walk in the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. Experience a traditional smoking ceremony with an Indigenous Guide and discover traditional uses of plants for food, tools and medicine. Included in your tour is an herbal tea.

Starting Accommodation: Crown Promenade Melbourne

Day 3 – Phillip Island With Ranger Tour

This Phillip Island Tour is full of new experiences and dramatic views. The attractions visited have a particular focus on the protection of wildlife and conservation, local history and breathtaking scenery. The first port of call is Churchill Island to visit the historic working farm that gives a glimpse into a day in the lives of the first settlers on this remote island. A visit to the Koala Conservation Centre guarantees a close-up encounter with these furry little fellas in their natural habitat. We often see wallabies and echidnas in the wild at the center as well. A stop is made at the boardwalk to view The Nobbies. There, you can appreciate the full force of the ocean and maybe spot a few penguin nests. In summer months only, a stop is also made in Cowes for a stroll along the pier and time for dinner (own expense - not included). Arrive at the Penguin Parade Visitor Centre with time to shop, or have a coffee before joining your ranger guide for an informative journey through the penguin colony - you'll enjoy the commentary via a personal headset. Take your seat in the beachfront viewing stand, or if conditions allow, right on the sand. Either way you'll have superb viewing of the penguins emerging from the water and crossing the beach. Use the supplied binoculars to try and spot the penguins gathering in the water before they make their way across the beach to their burrows.

Starting Accommodation: Crown Promenade Melbourne
Meals: Lunch

Day 4 – Melbourne at Leisure

Melbourne is Australia's second largest city (after Sydney), but it is second to none when it comes to fashion, festivals and sport. Set around the shores of Port Phillip Bay, the city itself is laid out in a large rectangle. She boasts a lively, cosmopolitan pulse, sitting on the northern banks of the Yarra River, about three miles from the bay. Visitors come for its shopping, restaurants and nightlife. Residents stay for its cultural diversity, passion for the arts and enviable sports calendar. Melbourne is renowned for playing host to a number of nationally- and internationally-recognized events each year, including the Australian Open Tennis Grand Slam, the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix and the ever-impressive two-mile horse race, The Melbourne Cup. This is a major event that spreads an addictive buzz through the city streets. You can be sure that locals and visitors alike will embrace the energy surrounding it.

Explore the famous lane-ways and arcades of the city, catch a tram to trendy Southgate, rub shoulders with locals at the Queen Victoria Market or take in a show at the ornate Princess Theatre. For a break from the hustle and bustle, cruise along the Yarra River, or head out to one of the many beautiful beaches just outside of the city. Go in search of the unique Australian animals like Koalas, Kangaroos and the Little Penguins, and see them in the wild just an hour or two outside Melbourne. Explore one of the premier wine regions in Australia exporting wines to the U.S. to find your Yarra Valley blend. It is the closest wine region to any major Australian city, just an hour out of the city, but worlds away from the bustling streets of Melbourne.

Starting Accommodation: Crown Promenade Melbourne

Day 5 – Travel to Cairns

Ahead of your flight, you will be transferred from your accommodation to Melbourne Airport.

Takeoff to Cairns and continue on the next stage of your adventure.

You will be transferred from the Cairns Airport to your accommodations. 

Starting Accommodation: Pacific Hotel Cairns

Day 6 – Dreamtime Snorkel Cruise

Enjoy one of Cairns’ most unique and exclusive Great Barrier Reef tours. Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel invites you to step back into the Great Barrier Reef’s Dreamtime with Indigenous sea rangers on a day tour to two spectacular outer Great Barrier Reef sites, Moore Reef & Milln or Flynn Reef. At Moore Reef, you will have the opportunity to explore the underwater world with snorkeling and an included guided snorkel tour conducted by an expert Master Reef guide, Marine Biologist or Indigenous guide. 

Todays full day tour includes an Indigenous welcome and acknowledgement, with the Great Barrier Reef creation story, and five hours to explore and gain a deeper cultural understanding of this diverse ecosystem and Australia's indigenous hertitage. Snorkel equipment and lycra or wet suits are provided, and lunch, tea/coffee and drinking water are available throughout the day.

Starting Accommodation: Pacific Hotel Cairns
Meals: Lunch

Day 7 – Daintree Dreaming - Traditional Aboriginal Fishing with Ngadiku Walk

Experience the region's rich Aboriginal history and culture on this exclusive journey from coast to rainforest.

Travel along one of Australia's most scenic coastal drives as you head north of Port Douglas to Cooya Beach (Kuku Kuku). This special place is a traditional fishing ground of the Kuku Yalanji people and has three diverse ecosystems - beaches, mangroves and coastal reefs. Join a member of the Kubirri Warra clan on their daily journey through these ecosystems to spear and gather food for their family. You will be introduced to their traditional fishing and gathering techniques that have been passed down through generations and are still used today by their people.

Next, travel to the Mossman Gorge Centre for lunch in their café before joining the Ngadiku Dreamtime Walk that will be conducted by a local indigenous guide. Ngadiku (Nar-di-gul) means stories and legends from a long time ago in local Kuku Yalanji language. You are greeted with a traditional smoking ceremony conducted by the Aboriginal people with a specialized cultural knowledge to welcome people to their land. During the 90-minute guided walk your experienced indigenous guide demonstrates traditional plant use, identifies bush food and traditions like making bush soaps & ochre paint. The walk meanders through stunning rainforest while your guide provides an enchanting narrative of the Rainforest and the Kuku Yalanji’s special relationship with this unique environment. Return to the vehicle for your transfer back to your accommodation after a unique day of cultural discovery.

The small group tour (maximum of 16) includes the two-hour coastal and mangrove walk, morning tea and lunch, a 'Welcome to Country' ceremony and the Aboriginal guided Ngadiku Walk at Mossman Gorge.

Starting Accommodation: Pacific Hotel Cairns
Meals: Lunch

Day 8 – Cairns at Leisure

Built on Trinity Inlet, the Coral Sea calls from the east while the rain-forest-clad Atherton Tablelands serenade from the west, making Cairns a nature lover's nirvana. The warmth of the tropical climate has fostered a vigorous outdoor lifestyle that's reflected in the architectural styles of open verandas and balconies, and extending to the most traditional of Australian cuisine - the barbecue. Dining is a high point of any vacation, and the cosmopolitan local restaurants, cafes and eateries offer an eclectic fare of Australian and international cuisine, the highlight of most menus being the region's mouth-watering fresh seafood and unusual tropical fruits. Head to the heart of the city, the Esplanade, and enjoy a cafe latte before contemplating an abundance of tour options.

Starting Accommodation: Pacific Hotel Cairns

Day 9 – Travel to Sydney

Ahead of your flight, you will be transferred from your accommodations to the Cairns Airport. 

Takeoff to Sydney and continue on the next stage of your adventure.

Welcome to Sydney. Upon arrival, walk towards the baggage area to meet your driver who will be waiting. Your driver will take you directly to your accommodations.

Starting Accommodation: PARKROYAL Darling Harbour

Day 10 – The Rocks Dreaming, Aboriginal Heritage Tour

Be touched by the most ancient human culture on earth in a 90-minute leisurely walkabout with an Aboriginal guide in The Rocks, and journey into DreamTime, the culture of Aboriginal People. This tour experience is Aboriginal owned and was developed by Margret Campbell, a Dunghutti-Jerrinjah woman. The tour is led by Aboriginal guides who have her permission to share their cultural knowledge. The tour gives you the opportunity to discover how the ancient Aboriginal Dreaming is still alive within the modern Sydney landscape and how the billion-year old harbor, marine environment, sandstone strata, waterways, flora and fauna influenced how Aboriginal People lived in the area. 

Starting Accommodation: PARKROYAL Darling Harbour

Day 11 – Wildlife In The Wild - Southern Highlands

You don't have to go far from Sydney to experience Australia's fabulous wildlife - you just have to know where to look. This is the ideal afternoon/evening tour in which to encounter iconic Australian wildlife. You travel with a small group (maximum of 14) in a luxury 4WD vehicle to the South Coast and Southern Highland areas in search of kangaroos, wallabies, platypuses, possums, wombats and koalas in their natural settings. Great bird-life viewing is possible, including parrots, lyrebirds, bowerbirds and kookaburras. There is stunning scenery and short bush walks. Wildlife is seen in its natural setting. A hearty dinner is included your tour, and from April to September a light lunch is also included.

Starting Accommodation: PARKROYAL Darling Harbour
Meals: Lunch

Day 12 – Sydney at Leisure

It is no surprise that when the British first arrived in Sydney they named the area Botany Bay. Even today, with a population of over 4 million people and a reputation for fun rather than flora, one is still surrounded by bush land in this bustling city. Native Waratah wind their way through the historic Rocks area, palm trees frame long stretches of pristine beach, and Eucalyptus embrace the endless and beckoning bays of Sydney Harbour.

It is Sydney's man-made wonders, however, that draw most visitors. The Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge are the most photographed icons on the continent. Choose a Seaplane Safari experience and enjoy a bird's eye view of the Opera House's signature sails. See the Harbour Bridge up close and personal by climbing the metal monolith to enjoy stunning 360-degree views of the glittering vista below with BridgeClimb as you climb to the top. Whether it is an early morning visit to the largest fish market in the southern hemisphere, or your very first surfing lesson on Bondi Beach, in this vibrant metropolis you will find no lack of energetic escapes and dynamic distractions.

There are many ways to enjoy the harbor: on a small luxury motor cruiser or sailing yacht, or ferries that take you to Taronga Park Zoo or Manly and the harbor suburbs. Take the Darling Harbour Rocket that connects Circular Quay to Darling Harbour where there are many restaurants and attractions such as The Sydney Aquarium, Wildlife World, The IMAX Theater and the Naval Museum. For a more leisurely afternoon, take a walk through the Royal Botanical Gardens and Hyde Park, or learn about Australia's National Gemstone, the Opal, at Altmann; Cherny or The National Opal Collection, right in the heart of the city on Pitt Street.

Starting Accommodation: PARKROYAL Darling Harbour

Day 13 – Depart Sydney

Ahead of your flight, you will be transferred from your accommodation to Sydney International Airport.


Package Level: Superior

Please note all prices listed are approximations and subject to current rate of exchange adjustments. Each itinerary can be fully customized to your interests and needs.

Twin Share
4/1/2022 - 9/30/2022$4,570
10/1/2022 - 12/31/2022$4,755
1/1/2023 - 1/31/2023$4,570
2/1/2023 - 3/31/2023$4,755
Single Traveler
4/1/2022 - 9/30/2022$5,965
10/1/2022 - 12/31/2022$6,335
1/1/2023 - 1/31/2023$5,965
2/1/2023 - 3/31/2023$6,335

Terms and Conditions

Prices are per person, twin/double share in USD. All highlighted savings are reflected in the price. Price does not include airfare unless otherwise stated. Travel may be limited to certain days of the week. Hotels and tours remain subject to availability. Cancellation penalties and other booking or alteration restrictions may exist. Please note blackout dates may apply to Christmas, New Year and local special event periods. Pricing may increase over Holiday and special event periods and may not be reflected in price grid. Prices indicated remain subject to change without notice. Prices are not guaranteed until full payment is received and processed. CST #2012413-20 See our full Terms and Conditions: www.swaindestinations.com/terms



12 Nights


From $4,570 Per Person


Melbourne; Cairns; Sydney


  • Coach class airfare from LAX
  • Roundtrip Airport transfers
  • 4 nights Melbourne
  • Royal Botanic Gardens Aboriginal Heritage Walk
  • Moonlit Sanctuary and Phillip Island with Ranger Tour
  • 4 nights Cairns
  • Dreamtime Cruise
  • Daintree Dreaming - Traditional Aboriginal Fishing with Ngadiku Walk
  • 4 nights Sydney
  • The Rocks Dreaming, Aboriginal Heritage Tour
  • Wildlife In The Wild Southern Highlands
  • Meals: 3 lunches
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