Rainforest Vacation Packages: Reef, Rainforest, Outback, and Wildlife

For one of our favorite rainforest vacation packages, we sent two sisters from Maine on this Australian vacation.  From ancient rainforest to the teeming barrier reef to the remote Outback to Kangaroo Island (the Galapagos of Australia) to the relaxed city of Melbourne, this itinerary took them out and about to the best places to see wildlife and wilderness in Australia.  We started these ladies in Palm Cove where they snorkeled on the one and only Great Barrier Reef, toured the Daintree Rainforest with an aboriginal guide and relaxed on the beach. Then they traveled to their treehouse in the Daintree Rainforest, where they enjoyed the sights and sounds of this unique area.  From there, their best of rainforest vacation packages took them to Adelaide and Wilpena Pound to the only lodge in the Flinders Ranges to enjoy the Australian outback.  They spent a day on Kangaroo Island doing koala spotting and getting up close to Australian Sea Lions.  They ended their rainforest vacation in Melbourne where they toured the city and watched the tiny penguins parade across the beach on Phillip Island. Spectacular scenery and unique wildlife, along with a mix of quirky local character, brought them the best wilderness and wildlife in the country.

Perfect for
Starting at $5199 per person
Suggested Length 15 days
Our Reference D182

Day 1
Arrive around midday today in Cairns, home of tropical northern beaches and the Great Barrier Reef. Travel by rental car about 45 minutes north to one of the most spectacular beaches, Palm Cove. This laid-back seaside village has spas, restaurants, and relaxing sand and surf. Your luxury hotel is right on the beach and nestled amongst the rainforest. Tree planting, wildlife and nature walks, bird watching tours, star gazing in an observatory and evening presentations by local specialists are all included.
4.5-star resort in Palm Cove

Day 2
Today is a magical experience as you explore one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Great Barrier Reef. Your full-day diving or snorkeling trip will take you to several locations on the reef where you will have opportunities to swim amongst the colorful sealife and magnificent coral that makes this one of the top diving destinations in the world.
4.5-star resort in Palm Cove

Day 3
Spend the afternoon with a local Aboriginal tour guide, exploring the local area and visiting a number of significant sights and local attractions between Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation including the World Heritage Daintree Rainforest and Mossman Gorge.  Learn the amazing relationships the Kuku Yalanji still have with their land and experience these diverse environments.  Walk through the worlds oldest living rainforest, see natural wonders, waterfalls, the majestic Daintree river, where the rainforest meets the reef and coastal habitats learning about the environment and wildlife,  sample some bush tucker, swim at one of the pristine freshwater streams in the area before returning to your accommodation.
4.5-star resort in Palm Cove

Day 4
Drive about 45 minutes north to the Daintree Rainforest while enjoying the views and spectacular coastal scenery on the Captain Cook Highway. You will arrive at your home for the next 2 nights, your personal “treehouse” in the rainforest.
Silky Oaks Lodge

Day 5
Today is at your leisure to explore the world heritage-listed UNESCO site, the Daintree Rainforest. Get a spa treatment or enjoy some of the activities such as canoeing or swimming in the Mossman River, scenic drives, and bird watching.
Silky Oaks Lodge

Day 6
Drive back to Cairns airport and head southwest to Adelaide, home of incredible wine, and of course unique wildlife and Outback experiences.  For the balance of the day, you will tour with a local member of the Ngadjuri Mob learning about his local heritage and culture.  You have an overnight stay in a lovely hotel — one of the best in the city — before you drive north tomorrow.
4-star hotel in downtown Adelaide

Day 7-9
Next it’s a drive north, through the wine valleys into pastoral countryside and the dry Outback to your accommodations near Wilpena Pound. Your home for the next three nights, your deluxe converted sheep station is the perfect spot for activities like: exploration of Flinders Ranges National Park and Wilpena Pound, historic Outback towns, 4WD tours, scenic flights, mountain bike rental, bushwalking, or just relaxing in the station’s pool and with newly made friends around a bonfire.
4-star resort in the Outback

Day 10
Drive back through historic towns such as Hawker and Quorn (home of the old Pichi Richi Railway), perhaps stopping at the Wadlata Outback Centre in Port Augusta, en route back to Adelaide for another night at your deluxe hotel before heading onward.
4-star hotel in downtown Adelaide

Day 11-12
It’s time to fly to the Galapagos of Australia, Kangaroo Island. Over the next two days, our mate Craig and his team will unveil the island’s mysteries by shared 4WD tours. Highlights include koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, sea lions, the endangered glossy black cockatoo, seafood BBQ and fine South Australian wines. Your accommodations are on a converted homestead with delicious meals and truly exceptional down-home hospitality.
4-star B&B on Kangaroo Island

Day 13
Fly back to Adelaide this morning and then onward to Melbourne, Australia’s “second city” and the hub of chic style and delicious food. Explore the café culture and the beaches of St. Kilda. Additional touring suggestions: scenic driving along Australia’s Great Ocean Road, a flight to King Island for a day tasting gourmet cheeses and wines, hiking in Australian National Parks, and helicopter flights over the Twelve Apostles.
4-star boutique hotel in downtown Melbourne

Day 14
Your morning is at leisure, but this afternoon you’re off to Phillip Island for penguin and wildlife viewing. The island has over 200 species of birds. Watch fisherman try to clean their catch as they battle squawking gulls and pelicans. Visit a koala conservation centre and see wild koalas within touching distance. At dusk, view Little Blue Penguins as they waddle ashore to roost for the evening. You’ll have access to the exclusive beach boardwalks away from the tourists massed on the grandstands.
4-star boutique hotel in downtown Melbourne

Day 15
Having had the opportunity to see all the animals that make Australia famous and unique, you’ll head home today with some of the best wildlife photos ever seen.

  • Private airport transfers
  • 10 days rental car
  • 3 nights Palm Cove
  • 2 nights Silky Oaks Lodge
  • 2 nights Adelaide
  • 3 nights Outback
  • 2 nights Kangaroo Island
  • 2 nights Melbourne
  • Great Barrier Reef snorkel cruise
  • 2 days touring on Kangaroo Island
  • Phillip Island wildlife tour
  • Half day sightseeing tour in Daintree Rainforest
  • Half day Ngadjuri Aboriginal Tour
  • 9 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
  • 24-hour local assistance for all your needs while traveling
  • Australian visas for US citizens

If you’re keen on penguins, the best time is May – December on Kangaroo Island. A great way to experience them is a tour with a local guide after dinner where over a couple of hours you’ll seek out kangaroos, wallabies, possums, and of course, the Little Blue Penguin. These penguins are active after dusk.
– Craig, Owner of Exceptional KI