Call to book1-877-929-7245
Tour Search
#Favorites

Ultimate Australia

Save
Gallery

Experience Australia's highlights and travel aboard the continent's famous trains

You are viewing the 2023 itinerary. Select your departure year
20222023
19 days From $6,595 per person
Travel among a group of like-minded travelers led by a professional tour manager
Special Offer

Book a qualifying 2023 escorted rail tour & save up to $300 per person. Book by October 7, 2022.

View Terms and Conditions

2023 Tour code: GR-AUJA-23

About the tour

What better way to experience the exotic country of Australia than aboard its famous trains? Including the Kuranda Scenic Railroad, the Katoomba Scenic Railroad, and an optional journey on the luxurious Ghan, this epic journey through Australia includes 19 days of grand expeditions. Experience world-renowned destinations such as the Great Barrier Reef, the Blue Mountains and the desert of Uluru, as well as spectacular cities, including Cairns, Alice Springs, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. A thrilling blend of Aboriginal history, natural beauty and modern attractions brings the culture of Australia to life. Enjoy a cruise of the Great Barrier Reef, a star talker presentation under the starry night sky of the desert, visits to the wineries of the Barossa Valley, a drive on the Great Ocean Road, a visit to Bondi Beach and a cruise through Sydney harbor, amongst other adventures. Luxury overnight accommodations only add to the splendor of this journey - a splendor that cannot be matched in any other destination.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Cairns

Arrive in Cairns, and meet your group and Tour Manager at the Pullman International Cairns Hotel. The remainder of the day is yours to enjoy the city. Overnight Cairns.

Day 2 - Cairns at Leisure

The day is yours to explore the eclectic city that is Cairns. This region of Australia is known for its easy access to spectacular beaches and beautiful seaside scenery, and you may wish to spend your day exploring these sandy locales. If you want to stay close to the city center, there is the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon for swimming; several local markets, including the famous night markets and Rusty's Market; and fantastic museums, such as the Mulgrave Settlers Museum. Overnight Cairns.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 3 - Kuranda Scenic Railway

The rails of the 125-year-old Kuranda Scenic Railway guide us today. Our journey takes us into the rainforest and above the Barron River Gorge to Kuranda. On arrival, we board a World War II amphibious military transport unit, or Army Duck, for an unforgettable tour through World Heritage-designated rainforest. With the Duck Captain pointing out the different flora, fauna, birds and reptiles as we travel, this excursion is both scenic and informative.

After the tour, we enjoy lunch and then experience an Aboriginal "corroboree" with songs and dance, following the path of the Dreamtime Walk through traditional legend. Overnight Cairns.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 4 - Cairns at Leisure

After a grand day of adventure, today is yours to rest and rejuvenate - or to continue your explorations through Cairns. Overnight Cairns.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 5 - Great Barrier Reef

One of the crowning jewels of the planet lies ahead today as we take a cruise to the Great Barrier Reef. Stretching over 1,800 miles, this is the world's largest coral reef system and is home to thousands of species of fish and marine life. We begin with a cruise along the Mulgrave River, making our way to the Frankland Islands, a secluded archipelago whose waters are filled with unique wildlife and coral reefs. During a guided snorkeling session, we may see tropical fish, giant clams, sea turtles, and even octopuses. If you prefer to stay dry however, you can get a glimpse into this underwater world from on board a semi-submersible or glass-bottomed boat. We break for a tropical buffet lunch, before joining a marine biologist for a guided island walk. This evening, we return to Cairns for an evening at leisure. Overnight Cairns.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 6 - Uluru

We leave Cairns today and fly to the desert to Uluru. Uluru, the world's largest monolith, rises more than 1,142 feet out of the flat desert floor. We begin at the Aboriginal Cultural Center and enjoy a guided tour around this sacred site, which holds great spiritual significance to the local Anangu people.

Later, as the sun sets, we watch this giant rock change color and enjoy a magical dinner under the stars. The incredible "Sounds of Silence" experience includes canapés and sparkling wine as the sun sets over Uluru, followed by a three-course dinner with a bush-inspired menu featuring kangaroo, crocodile, barramundi and quandong dishes.

After dinner, a star talker decodes the southern night sky for us and point out signs of the zodiac and other constellations, as well as the planets and galaxies visible due to the clarity of the atmosphere. We continue to our hotel, the Desert Gardens Hotel in the Ayers Rock Resort, following the presentation. Overnight Uluru.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 7 - Sunrise and Olgas

Our adventures begin early this morning, as we enjoy a Sunrise & Olgas tour that presents the mystical Kata Tjuta, or the Olgas. The Olgas are comprised of a circular group of 36 red rock domes that cover a large area and are as legendary as Uluru. Back at the resort, the afternoon is yours to spend as you please. This is an ideal opportunity to relax by the pool or to enjoy the onsite bars and eateries. The resort's "Town Center" is within walking distance of our hotel and includes shopping, a spa and even a museum. Overnight Uluru.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 - Alice Springs

Today we travel by coach to Alice Springs. A remote town in Australia's Northern Territory, Alice Springs sits in the heart of the Outback and is surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges. We visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service Museum on arrival. Here, we have a unique insight into life in the vast Outback, as we learn about the history of the life-saving work of the service - an air medical service created to serve those living in remote areas. We check into our hotel for the night. Overnight Alice Springs.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 9 - Travel to Adelaide

Today, we stop off at the Old Telegraph Station and Anzac Hill - a local lookout area - before boarding our flight to Adelaide. Australia's fifth-largest city, Adelaide is known for its excellent food and wine, as well as its relaxed way of life. Arriving in the city, we check into our hotel where we spend the next three nights.

You also have the option to join the Ghan for an overnight rail journey to Adelaide. We travel in Gold Service, enjoying meals freshly prepared by the on-board chefs, from menus that feature a selection of both Australian and international cuisines. We also have access to the Gold Lounge, and all drinks, including beers, wines, and spirits, are included during our time on The Ghan.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Days 10 - Adelaide

Enjoy a free morning in Adelaide to begin your explorations or relax at the hotel. In the afternoon, we begin getting to know the city as we embark on a tour of the most famous attractions, including the historic Government House, one of the oldest remaining colonial public buildings in Adelaide and the oldest Government House in Australia. We also see the Parliament Building, an impressive structure with striking architecture.

If you chose to travel to Adelaide overnight on the Ghan, you arrive around lunchtime today. On arrival, enjoy the sightseeing tour of the city before checking into your hotel for two nights.  Overnight Adelaide.

*Please note The Ghan upgrade is only available on the November departures.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 11 - The Barossa Valley and Jacob’s Creek

We take a dive into Adelaide's wine heritage as we explore the famous vineyards that surround the city. We travel to the lush Barossa Valley, where our day of exploration includes plenty of wine tastings and delicious pairings at some of the world's most well-known wineries, including iconic Jacob's Creek, where we enjoy a wonderful lunch. We also pay a visit to Hahndorf in the Mount Lofty Ranges. The small town is a popular tourist spot, boasting the title of the oldest surviving German settlement in Australia. Overnight Adelaide.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 12 - The Overland

This morning, we transfer to Adelaide's train station to board The Overland bound for Melbourne. The relaxing daylight journey presents the diverse landscapes of Australia as we traverse through cities and small towns and meander through woodlands and fields. As we arrive in the "Garden State," we transfer to the Crown Promenade Hotel for this first of three nights. Overnight Melbourne.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 13 - Melbourne Sightseeing and Puffing Billy Railway

Our time in Melbourne begins with a guided tour of the city, including the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the Parliament House, amongst other fascinating sites. Later this afternoon, we join the Puffing Billy Railway for a steam train ride to remember. This century-old railway travels through the rainforest and fern gullies of the Dandenong Ranges. The open-air cars offer spectacular views and fresh mountain air. Returning to Melbourne, the evening is yours to explore the exquisite dining scene. Overnight Melbourne.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 14 - The Great Ocean Road

Today we travel along one of the world's most scenic byways, Great Ocean Road. This 150-mile stretch of highway follows Australia's southern coastline and presents some of the most memorable views in the country. Keep a look out for animals and marine life, craggy rock formations, stunning sandy beaches, charming fishing villages and dramatic cliffs. Highlights during our journey include the Twelve Apostles, Bells Beach and the Otway Rainforest. Overnight Melbourne.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 15- En Route to Sydney

A day of travel, our journey takes us from Melbourne to Sydney today. Along the way, enjoy the contrasts of the beach and the bush, and the city and small towns. As we arrive this evening, we check-in at the luxurious Amora Hotel Jamison, which is located in the heart of the city. Overnight Sydney.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 16 - Sydney Harbor Cruise

Some of the most iconic landmarks in Sydney can be seen from the water, and our cruise through Sydney Harbor allows us the delight. Our boat tour moves at a leisurely pace, allowing for fantastic panoramic views of spectacles such as the Sydney Opera House and the beautiful Harbor Bridge.

Back on dry land, the remainder of the day is at leisure to explore the vibrant city of Sydney. Perhaps visit the iconic Bondi Beach and try your hand at surfing, or peruse the culinary and entertainment options of Darling Harbor. Ever-popular attractions in the city include The Rocks historic area, the Sydney Tower Eye and Taronga Zoo. Overnight Sydney.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 17 - Katoomba Scenic Railroad

A contrast of yesterday's urban explorations, today we journey into the Blue Mountains aboard the Katoomba Scenic Railroad. This is the world's steepest incline railroad and offers a thrill for passengers of all ages. During our excursion, we also visit the iconic Three Sisters Rock Formation in Echo Point. These towering rock formations loom over the Jamison Valley and are some of the most iconic sites in the Blue Mountains. Overnight Sydney.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 18 - Bondi Beach

We visit an Australian institution today, Bondi Beach, home to sun-kissed surfers and a laid-back vibe. We sit down to lunch at the Bondi Icebergs Club to experience fish and chips Australian style. Overnight Sydney.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 19 - Return Home

Your tour concludes after breakfast this morning, and you are free to make your way to the airport for your return flight home.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Majestic Roof Garden Hotel, Adelaide

Majestic Roof Garden Hotel, Adelaide

View hotel

Crowne Plaza Lasseters

Crowne Plaza Lasseters, Alice Springs

View hotel

Desert Gardens Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort

Desert Gardens Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort

View hotel

Pullman Cairns International

Pullman Cairns International, Cairns

View hotel

Crown Promenade, Melbourne

Crown Promenade, Melbourne

View hotel

Amora Hotel Jamison, Sydney

Amora Hotel Jamison, Sydney

View hotel

Trains

The Ghan
Katoomba Scenic Railway
Kuranda Scenic Railway
NSW Trainlink XPT
The Overland Train
Puffing Billy steam train

Enhance your holiday

Upgrades

Extend your stay
Global Rail Adventures Brochure

Global Rail Adventures Brochure

The definitive guide to our 2023 Global Rail Adventures

Download brochure
Related inspiration from our journey blog