Australia Vacations: Reef, Wildlife, and Outback Adventure

See the one and only Great Barrier Reef, immerse yourself in Aboriginal culture, visit iconic animals in the wild, and explore the rugged outback.

From $5,799
per person
15 days
Airfare additional cost
Based on
2 travelers

We designed this Australia Vacations: Reef, Wildlife, and Outback Adventure for 2 sisters from Maine. They had 2 weeks in Australia and they wanted to see as many amazing environments as possible—and of course they also wanted to see kangaroos and koalas! This Australia vacation took them to the country’s best wildlife areas, from the Great Barrier Reef to the outback and beyond.

First for their Australia Vacations: Reef, Wildlife, and Outback Adventure, they went to Palm Cove, where they snorkeled on the one and only Great Barrier Reef, toured the ancient Daintree Rainforest with an Aboriginal guide, and relaxed on the beautiful beach. Then they stayed a few nights in a luxurious treehouse in the heart of the Daintree to soak up the beauty and culture of this unique area.

Next, they flew down to South Australia and made their way into the heart of the outback. They stayed 3 nights in a cozy lodge with breathtaking, panoramic views of the Flinders Ranges, with their rugged peaks, dramatic gorges, and timeless beauty. They enjoyed some scenic hikes in this wildlife-rich area, as well as an adventurous 4WD tour through the outback.

Continuing their Australia Vacations: Reef, Wildlife, and Outback Adventure, they spent an evening in cosmopolitan Adelaide, then made the short flight out to Kangaroo Island. Over a third of this unique and secluded island is made up of protected nature reserves, and it’s home to so many amazing animals that it’s known as “Australia’s Galapagos.” They spent 2 days exploring the island’s incredible coastal scenery and seeing Australian animals like kangaroos, koalas, and fur seals out in the wild.

They finished their Australia Vacations: Reef, Wildlife, and Outback Adventure in Melbourne, Australia’s second largest city. They took a wildlife tour of Phillip Island to see koalas, wallabies, echidnas, and more. In the evening, they saw the famous Penguin Parade as a line of little blue penguins waddled onto the beach and into their evening roosts. They had an exclusive spot away from the majority of tourists and were able to capture some amazing photos!

At last, it was time to return home—but not without amazing stories of their Australian wildlife adventures!

Our Reference D182

Day 1
Welcome to Australia! Arrive at the Cairns airport, pick up your rental car, and drive to Palm Cove, a charming seaside community where no building is higher than the coconut palms. Spend today getting into “vacation mode” by hopping on a bicycle (available from your resort at no extra cost) and heading to the beach.
The Reef House

Day 2
Enjoy a full day out on the Great Barrier Reef today with a small-group snorkel tour. You’ll be transported to 3 spectacular sites on the edge of the Outer Great Barrier Reef. Snorkeling is the easiest way to enjoy the colors and variety of fragile corals and fish life found in the shallow lagoons. You can also witness the magic of the reef by scuba diving, or if you want to stay dry, head to the semi-submersible reef viewer or a glass bottom boat cruise!
The Reef House

Day 3
Spend the afternoon with a local Aboriginal tour guide exploring the local area between Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation, including the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest and Mossman Gorge. Learn the amazing relationships the Kuku Yalanji people still have with their land as you walk through the world’s oldest living rainforest, see natural wonders, explore waterfalls, sample some “bush tucker” cuisine, and swim in a secluded freshwater stream.
The Reef House

Day 4
Drive about 45 minutes north to your fabulous luxury lodge in the Daintree Rainforest. Along the way, enjoy the spectacular coastal scenery on the Captain Cook Highway. Silky Oaks Lodge is a luxurious eco-retreat that blends in perfectly with its gorgeous surroundings. Stay in your own luxury treehouse in the canopy of the Daintree.
Silky Oaks Lodge

Day 5
Today is at your leisure to explore the surrounding rainforest and Mossman River. Explore the walking trails, canoe down the Mossman River, enjoy rejuvenating yoga, immerse yourself in signature Aboriginal cultural experiences, and more.
Silky Oaks Lodge

Day 6
Drive back to Cairns airport and fly southwest to Adelaide. From the charming capital of South Australia, iconic Australian wildlife, inspiring outback scenery, and incredible food and wine are in easy reach. Soak up Adelaide’s colonial elegance in the spacious city squares, join the locals at the bustling Adelaide Central Markets, or head down to Glenelg Beach.
4-star hotel in Adelaide

Day 7 – 9
Next it’s a drive north, through wine valleys and pastoral countryside, into the outback surrounding the Flinders Ranges. Your home for the next 3 nights is a cozy eco-villa with breathtaking views of your vast, seemingly untouched surroundings. During your stay, you can explore Flinders Ranges National Park on nature walks, helicopter tours, scenic flights, mountain bikes, or 4WD adventures. You can also enjoy some downtime in the resort pool and make new friends around a crackling bonfire.
Rawnsley Park Station

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. Spend a night relaxing here before continuing your amazing wilderness journey.
4-star hotel in Adelaide

Day 11
Drop off your rental car at the Adelaide airport today and take a short flight to Kangaroo Island. This incredible destination offers unparalleled wildlife experiences—it’s commonly referred to as “Australia’s Galapagos.” Get an introduction to island life with a fabulous nature tour complete with an elegant seaside lunch. First, enjoy morning tea with homemade cakes before taking a walk down a country track through eucalyptus trees where koalas snooze overhead. Travel through some of the island’s best farming country to the north coast. Break for lunch and enjoy a delicious meal featuring fresh fish, salads, and fine South Australian wines at a private bush location. At Seal Bay Conservation Park, walk with your guide among Australian sea lions on a beautiful sandy beach and learn about their unique breeding biology. The remainder of the afternoon is spent exploring more of the southeast region of the Island with destinations and experiences chosen to reflect seasonal opportunities. In the evening, retreat to a cozy B&B where you’ll be treated like family.
Stranraer Homestead

Day 12
Continue exploring Kangaroo Island’s natural beauty today in Flinders Chase National Park. At Cape du Couedic, see fur seals resting on the rocks or frolicking in the surf under Admirals Arch—a spectacular coastal grotto. Enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch with wine in the bush before exploring more of the island. Depending upon the season, the afternoon might include a visit to “Grassdale” in the heart of Kelly Hill Conservation Park, the secluded pools of the Rocky River, or a rugged South Coast cove.
Stranraer Homestead

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. Melbourne is a fabulous city for wandering on foot. Wander through the vibrant laneways, explore the café culture, and soak up some sun on the beaches of St Kilda.
Hotel Lindrum

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 fishermen try to clean their catch as they battle squawking gulls and pelicans. Visit a koala conservation centre and see wild koalas within touching distance; you’re also likely to see some wallabies, echidnas, and more Aussie creatures on the way. At dusk, view the adorable 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.
Hotel Lindrum

Day 15
Today, your incredible Australia adventure comes to an end. Enjoy a private transfer to the airport and begin the journey home. You’ll have plenty of photos of Australia’s natural wonders to tide you over until your next visit!

  • 3 nights The Reef House, Palm Cove
  • 2 nights Silky Oaks Lodge, Daintree Rainforest – includes breakfast and select activities
  • 2 nights Adelaide
  • 3 nights Rawnsley Park Station, Flinders Ranges
  • 2 nights Stranraer Homestead, Kangaroo Island – includes breakfast and dinner
  • 2 nights Hotel Lindrum, Melbourne
  • 10 days rental car
  • Great Barrier Reef snorkel/dive cruise
  • Walkabout Cultural Adventures – Nature and Aboriginal culture tour in Daintree Rainforest
  • Exceptional Kangaroo Island – Island intro tour with lunch
  • Exceptional Kangaroo Island – Flinders Chase wildlife tour with lunch
  • Phillip Island wildlife tour and Penguin Parade
  • Return flights from Adelaide to Kangaroo Island
  • Airport transfers in Kangaroo Island and Melbourne

Optional Add-Ons:

  • Private touring in Melbourne and surrounds

This package is priced using low season rates. Please inquire for pricing during your travel dates.

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 Kangaroo Island

Qantas Airways

Partner Information

  • A Down Under Endeavours Preferred Airline Partner
  • Comfortable Long-Haul Flights to Australia and New Zealand
  • Regional Flights Within Australia
  • Exceptional Customer Service and Safety Record
  • Award-Winning Menus and Wine List Inflight
  • Extra Leg Room in Premium Economy
  • Lie-Flat Beds in Business Class (Select Routes)

Silky Oaks Lodge

Partner Information

  • Location: Daintree Rainforest
  • Type of Accommodation: Treetop Lodge
  • Comfort Level: Luxury
  • Private Balconies
  • Daybed and Hammock
  • Air Conditioning
  • Organic Amenities
  • Double Spa Bath

Things To Do

  • Canoeing on Mossman River
  • Bicycling
  • Lagoon Snorkeling
  • Daily Yoga Class
  • Guided Rainforest and Aboriginal Culture Walks
  • Aboriginal Dreamtime Stories
  • Helicopter Excursions
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Safaris
  • Painting Classes

Exceptional Kangaroo Island

Partner Information

  • Location: Kangaroo Island, South Australia
  • Small Group or Private Touring with Local Guides
  • See Australian Wildlife in the Wild
  • Tours Include Delicious Lunch of Local Produce and Wine
  • Private Touring Options: Family, Art, Food, History, Photography, and More

Hotel Lindrum

Partner Information

  • Location: Melbourne
  • Type of Accommodation: Hotel
  • Comfort Level: Superior Comfort
  • Restaurant, Bar, and Billard Room
  • Free WiFi
  • Guest Laundry and Valet Service
  • Limousine Transfers Available

Things To Do

  • Walking Tour of Melbourne
  • Galleries and Museums
  • Yarra Valley Wine Tour
  • Hot Air Balloon Over Melbourne
  • Melbourne Foodie Tour