Australia & the Ghan
|Resort:||Australia & the Ghan|
|Operator:||Great Rail Journeys|
This fantastic rail adventure takes in many of Australia’snatural wonders, including the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru and theBlue Mountains. A wonderful train journey on the legendary Ghanfrom Alice Springs to Adelaide is a real highlight, and time inMelbourne and Sydney to explore completes this holiday of alifetime. Departs from January 2017 to November 2017 and from January 2018 to October 2018.Late departures available
London to Cairns
We depart London Heathrow for an overnight flight to Dubai,continuing via Sydney to Cairns. We arrive early morning on Day 3with a leisurely day ahead, spending the next three nights at thePullman International Cairns.
Kuranda Scenic Railway
Today we travel on the wonderful 125-year old Kuranda ScenicRailway. Our journey takes us into the rainforest and above theBarron River Gorge to Kuranda. On arrival we take a trip on a WorldWar II amphibious military transport unit, or ‘Army Duck’, throughWorld Heritage Rainforest, with the Duck Captain pointing out thedifferent flora, fauna, birds and reptiles which we pass on ourjourney. After enjoying lunch, we experience an Aboriginal‘corroboree’ with songs and dance, following the path of theDreamtime Walk through traditional legend.
Great Barrier Reef
A real highlight of our holiday is today’s Quicksilver Cruise tothe Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system whichis home to thousands of species and stretches over 1,800 miles. Alarge covered pontoon is our base for the day, where we enjoy lunchand explore the reef. Snorkelling is the best way to view theexquisite coral and vibrant fish close up, but our base also has asemi-submersible vessel to take non-swimmers for a cruise along thereef wall. The underwater observatory is a superb window into thisextraordinary world!
We leave Cairns today and fly to the desert to Uluru. AyersRock, the world’s largest monolith, rises majestically more than1,142 feet out of the flat desert floor. We begin at the AboriginalCultural Centre with a guided tour around this sacred site, whichholds great spiritual significance to local Anangu people. Later,as the sun sets, we watch this giant rock change colour and enjoy amagical dinner under the stars. The incredible ‘Sounds of Silence’experience includes canap©s and sparkling wine as the sun sets overUluru, followed by a three-course dinner with a bush-inspired menuincluding kangaroo, crocodile, barramundi and quandong. Afterdinner, a ‘star talker’ will decode the southern night sky andpoint out signs of the zodiac and the planets and galaxies visibledue to the clarity of the atmosphere. We spend two nights at theDesert Gardens Hotel in the Ayers Rock Resort.
This morning we enjoy a ‘Sunrise & Olgas’ tour. Thiscircular group of 36 red rocky domes cover a large area and are asmystical as Uluru. Your afternoon is free to spend at leisure inAyers Rock Resort, an ideal opportunity to relax by the pool.
Alice Springs & The Ghan
Today we enjoy a free morning before travelling by coach toAlice Springs, for a night at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel. OnDay 9 we visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the School ofthe Air. We then join The Ghan for our epic rail journey travellingfrom Alice Springs to Adelaide. The Ghan has long been a traditionfor train travel between Alice Springs and Adelaide and is oftenreferred to as the ultimate journey through the heart of thismighty continent, taking passengers on what is undoubtedly one ofthe world’s greatest rail journeys. Named after the Afghan driversof the camel ‘trains’, The Ghan is a mode of transport, asightseeing trip and a hotel all in one. We travel in Gold Service,with all of our meals included during the journey, which are servedin the Restaurant Car. The meals are freshly prepared by theon-board chefs and menus feature a selection of Australian andinternational cuisine. Gold Service passengers also have access tothe on-board Gold Lounge. All drinks for Gold Service passengers,including beers, wines and spirits, are included during your timeon The Ghan.
We travel to Adelaide across the barren landscape of the RedCentre. We leave The Ghan for a three-night stay at the MajesticRoof Garden Hotel and enjoy a city tour of colonial highlightsincluding Government House and the Parliament building.
Barossa Valley and The Overland
We explore the vineyards of the Barossa Valley by coach today,with the chance to taste some superb wines. On Day 12 you are freeto explore at leisure or take an optional excursion (payablelocally) to Kangaroo Island. On Day 13 we leave Adelaide andjourney to Melbourne, Australia’s ‘Garden State’, on board TheOverland. We check into Melbourne’s Novotel on Collins for afour-night stay.
Melbourne and Phillip Island
Our city tour today includes the Melbourne Cricket Ground andParliament House. In the afternoon we join the Puffing Billy steamtrain for a journey through the rainforest and fern gullies of theDandenong Ranges. On Day 15 we travel along one of the world’s mostscenic roads, the Great Ocean Road, to the Twelve Apostles, BellsBeach and the Otway Rainforest. On Day 16 you are free untilmid-afternoon, when we head by coach to Phillip Island, named afterGovernor Arthur Phillip, which forms a natural breakwater for theshallow waters of Western Port Bay. Here we visit the KoalaConservation Centre. At sunset, overlooking the beach from theviewing platforms, you will encounter a wonderful spectacle of thewild fairy penguins emerging from the sea and crossing the sand totheir burrows in the dunes (numbers vary depending on theseason).
We leave Melbourne today on the CountryLink XTP, travellingthrough Victoria and New South Wales to Sydney. We spend fournights at the Amora Jamison. We take a cruise around stunningSydney harbour on Day 18, taking in marvellous views of the OperaHouse and Harbour Bridge.
The Blue Mountains and Sydney
Today we take the train towards the Blue Mountains. Our tour ofthis area includes the Three Sisters rock formation, a cable cartrip and a journey on the Katoomba Scenic Railway. On Day 20 youhave a free day to explore Sydney.
Return to London
You are free for some last-minute sightseeing today before wecatch an evening flight via Dubai to London Heathrow, arrivingearly on Day 22.
Please note that while every departure of this tour will featurethe same excursions, the order may differ from that shownabove.