Australia Highlights Travel Package: Great Barrier Reef and Sydney

Short on time? Hit the top highlights of Australia: the Great Barrier Reef and sunny Sydney! Explore ancient rainforests, deserted beaches, and mountains where you can see wild koalas.

From $3,699
per person
11 days
Airfare additional cost
Based on
2 travelers

This Australia Highlights Travel Package was planned for 2 recent college graduates from Boston. They only had 8 nights to travel in Australia, so we sent them to the top can’t-miss destinations: the Great Barrier Reef and Sydney.

They started their Australia Highlights Travel Package in Port Douglas at the beautiful Thala Beach Nature Reserve, where the ladies were able to sit on their deck and view the sea each morning. Port Douglas is a magical destination where the Great Barrier Reef meets another UNESCO World Heritage site: the ancient Daintree Rainforest.

They traveled to the one and only Great Barrier Reef and took their first dives in this amazing underwater marvel. The next day, they had a tour of the Daintree with an Aboriginal guide, where they learned about traditional uses for the unique plants and went swimming in a secluded stream. Their tour was able to access parts of the forest most tourists don’t get to see. They even tried their hands at spear fishing and caught a crab!

For their Australia Highlights Travel Package, they also had some free days to explore their beautiful surroundings at Thala Beach Nature Reserve. They went hiking in the rainforest, explored hidden coves on the beach, and even helped the conservation team plant some native trees in the area.

Next for their Australia Highlights Travel Package, they flew to sunny Sydney for some city highlights. They had some great local experiences in Sydney, including a tour of the Blue Mountains where they saw gorgeous scenery and even spotted koalas in the wild! They also took a fabulous lunch cruise on a yacht in Sydney Harbour and were treated to spectacular views of the iconic skyline.

After a week exploring Australia’s most incredible destinations, their Australia Highlights Travel Package came to an end, and they headed to the airport to begin their journey home.

Our ReferenceD192

Day 1
Welcome to Australia! On arrival into Cairns, enjoy a shared transfer to Thala Beach Nature Reserve, a luxurious, uniquely Australian eco-retreat. Thala is located on 145 acres of pristine landscapes, where the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest meets the Great Barrier Reef. Forest paths weave amongst wispy eucalyptus with chalk white bark, linking the bungalows with the main building. Wander onto a private beach where hours can be spent discovering secluded coves.
Thala Beach Nature Reserve

Day 2
Get ready for the experience of a lifetime: exploring the Great Barrier Reef! Quicksilver’s wave-piercing catamarans and friendly crew will take you to a reef at the very edge of Australia’s Continental Shelf. You can choose to dive, snorkel, or stay dry and explore the stunning reef from the comfort of a Quicksilver semi-sub, just 1 meter underwater. Time to cross the Great Barrier Reef off your bucket list!
Thala Beach Nature Reserve

Day 3
Today, join our mates at Walkabout Cultural Adventures for an Aboriginal-guided tour of the mesmerizing Daintree Rainforest. Your guide will share his intimate knowledge of the land, showing you medicinal or culinary uses for the local plants. Then, you’ll head to a secluded stream with no one else around for swimming and spear fishing. This incredible tour gives you access to part of the rainforest that other tourists don’t get to see.
Thala Beach Nature Reserve

Day 4 – 5
The next 2 days are yours to spend at your leisure, either relaxing or discovering your magnificent surroundings. Thala’s nature reserve supports many interesting and rare habitats with a constantly changing kaleidoscope of natural wonders, making the experience very rewarding for naturalists and wildlife photographers. You can explore the area with expert guides, see wild wallabies, go sea kayaking, help the reserve’s conservation efforts by planting native trees, and more.
Thala Beach Nature Reserve

Day 6
Enjoy a shared transfer to the Cairns airport, where you’ll catch a flight to sunny Sydney. Explore Australia’s largest city, a beautiful metropolis located on the edge of the ocean. Visit the popular Bondi Beach or Manly Beach, go shopping at fabulous boutiques, and discover the city’s vibrant neighborhoods.
The Grace Hotel Sydney

Day 7
Spend the morning at your leisure. This afternoon, enjoy a leisurely lunch cruise on Sydney Harbour. Your personal captain and host will share the rich history of Sydney Harbour and its foreshore as you take in the sights of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House, and the bays and coves of Sydney Harbour. Enjoy a gourmet, 3-course BBQ lunch with regional wines, local beers, and 5-star service.
The Grace Hotel Sydney

Day 8
Today, you’ll discover the best of the Blue Mountains as you travel to the heart of this unique World Heritage region. The first stop is at Featherdale Wildlife Park (before the park opens to other visitors), where you’ll get up close and personal with koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, and emus. Travel west through the foothills of the Blue Mountains through picturesque little villages. Next, you’ll enjoy some short walks to lookout points for spectacular views of bushland and waterfalls. Enjoy lunch at the iconic Hydro Majestic Hotel with its sweeping valley views. The afternoon is spent visiting a selection of scenic lookouts, including Govett’s Leap, one of the most famous lookouts in Australia. The last stop is the delightful Mt Tomah Botanic Gardens to once again enjoy the magnificent views and enjoy a glass of sparkling wine or orange juice before traveling back to your hotel.
The Grace Hotel Sydney

Day 9
It’s time to say goodbye to Sydney! Your driver will transfer you to the airport to begin your trip home.

  • 5 nights Thala Beach Nature Reserve, Port Douglas – includes selected activities
  • 3 nights The Grace Hotel Sydney
  • Great Barrier Reef snorkeling cruise
  • Walkabout Cultural Adventures – Daintree Rainforest guided tour
  • Sensational Sydney Cruises – Lunch cruise on Sydney Harbour
  • AEA Luxury Tours – Blue Mountains wildlife and nature tour
  • Airport transfers throughout itinerary

In Sydney, for those who enjoy biking, Bonza Bike’s Sydney highlight tour is a must-do. You’ll enjoy a leisurely ride around all of the sights, as well as a stop at a local pub for a quick, refreshing beverage. If you prefer walking to pedaling, the tour of Sydney’s old town – “The Rocks” – is another fascinating and entertaining experience that recounts Sydney’s convict settlement beginnings.
–Doug, Down Under Endeavours

Thala Beach Nature Reserve

Partner Information

  • Location: Port Douglas
  • Type of Accommodation: Eco-Lodge
  • Comfort Level: Superior Comfort
  • 145 Acres of Rainforest and Beachfront Wilderness
  • Private-Access Beach
  • 2 Freeform Swimming Pools
  • Massage Studio
  • Range of Complimentary Activities
  • Committed to Conservation of Natural Environment

Things To Do

  • Nature and Wildlife Walks
  • Great Barrier Reef Excursions
  • Swimming at Private Beaches
  • Sea Kayaking
  • Birdwatching
  • Stargazing
  • Kuku Yalangi (Aboriginal) Cultural Talks
  • Coconut Odyssey Tour

The Grace Hotel

Partner Information

  • Location: Sydney
  • Type of Accommodation: Hotel
  • Comfort Level: Comfort
  • Rooftop Recreation Center and Gym
  • Sauna and Steam Room
  • Heated Lap Pool
  • Grace Brasserie Restaurant
  • Free Wifi

Things To Do

  • Bondi Beach and Manly Beach
  • Sydney Opera House Tours
  • Scenic Seaplane and Oceanside Lunch
  • Privately Chartered Lunch Cruise
  • Hunter Valley Wine Tours

Sensational Sydney Cruises

Partner Information

  • Location: Sydney
  • Small-Group or Private Tours of Sydney Harbour
  • Tours Held on Private Yacht
  • Local Knowledge of Popular and Offbeat Attractions
  • Friendly Atmosphere

AEA Luxury Tours

Partner Information

  • Location: Sydney
  • Panoramic Sydney Tours
  • Wildlife and Nature Tours in the Blue Mountains
  • Hunter Valley Wine Tasting Tours
  • Private Charters
  • Friendly, Expert Local Guides
  • Luxurious, Small-Group Vehicles