Australia - Best Tours & Trips 2019
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Relaxed A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers.
Full on For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included.
Mixed You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included.
Group Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Tour Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ship Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Guided Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Self Guided / Independent Tour A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ship Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.
Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.
Price Per Day
Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.
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Rivers & Seas
Cities & Attractions
Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.
Flights & Transport
Continents & Regions
Stride Gives Back Stride Gives Back This trip visits a destination impacted by climate change. When you opt in to the Stride Gives Back program, we will donate 10% of our net revenue to organizations that help mitigate climate change in these destinations and across the globe. Learn more
Impacted by Climate Change
- CITY TOUR in Melbourne and Sydney.
- CRUISE on the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland and Sydney Harbour.
- VIEW Darling Harbour from your Sydney hotel room and the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House from the water.
- VISIT Hartley's Crocodile Adventures in Queensland, the Sydney Opera House and Bondi Beach.
- Island hop by yacht through the whitsunday islands
- Zip over dunes in a 4x4 on a remote sand island
- Sleep on the banks of the noosa river
- Explore Sydney’s iconic harbor including the Harbor Bridge and the Sydney Opera House
- Take a ferry across the bay to Sydney’s Northern Beaches
- Soak in the sun along Australia’s most famous beach – Bondi Beach
- Enjoy free time to explore Sydney’s cosmopolitan city center
- Experience all that Australia has to offer
- 18 day custom adventure of a lifetime
- Opportunity to appreciate the natural beauty from every perspective
- Exploer Melbourne and Sydney
- Visit the magnificent Ayers Rock
- Explore Sydney Opera House and Rocks area
- Enjoy cruising to Whitsunday Island
- Visit beach of Whitehaven
- Enjoy very scenic train journey to Cairns
- Tunnell Creek has a rich Aboriginal and bushranger history. Walk through the underground passage, learning about the culture and traditions of the first Australians
- Discover a hidden highlight of the West Kimberley with a stop in the idyllic retreat of Bell Gorge
- Test the 4WD as you take on the rugged terrain of the Mitchell Plateau. This extraordinary area is home to the huge, four-tiered Mitchell Falls – a stunning testament to the power and scale of nature
- Enjoy plenty of time to discover the untamed natural beauty of El Questro Station. Paddle around in waterfalls, hike through gorges and access remote parts of this huge park on adventurous 4WD expeditions
- The red domes of the Bungle Bungle Ranges in Purnululu National Park form one of the most iconic Australian landscapes in existence. You'll have two nights and w hole day to explore the gorges and valleys of the park, not to mention soak up a few fiery sunsets
- Climb aboard a Nitnit Dreaming Cultural Cruise through the inspiring natural wonder of the Nitmiluk Gorge – made up of 13 different chasms carved by the Katherine River – and acquire an understanding of Jawoyn customs
- Visit Whitehaven Beach
- Visit Noosa
- Visit Fraser Island (including Lake McKenzie)
- Sail the Whitsunday Islands
- Surf lesson in Crescent Head
- Overnight sailing in the Whitsunday Islands
- Visit Whitehaven Beach
- Full-day Fraser Island 4WD experience including Lake McKenzie
- Surf lesson at Topdeck’s surf camp
- Secluded beaches of Magnetic Island
- Taste Maori culture at a Hangi lunch.
- Join a local Kiwi family for a home cooked dinner.
- At a memorable Sounds of Silence dinner, dine under the stars overlooking Uluru (Ayers Rock).
- Sip lavender tea and enjoy culinary treats at a lavender farm in Barossa Valley.
- Explore New Zealand’s pristine wilderness and coastlines on several easy walks.
- Walk amongst the history and heritage of Maori culture.
- Spend the day at the Great Barrier Reef at leisure – with included options to snorkel, hike, or chat with a marine biologist.
- Set sail through the graceful natural beauty of Abel Tasman National Park.
- Cruise through the dramatic Milford Sound.
- Enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the Sydney Opera House.
- Picturesque Queenstown
- Milford Sound
- Farm Stay (Fairlie, NZ)
- Great Barrier Reef (Cairns)
- Sydney Opera House
- Harbor Bridge (Sydney)
- Australian Wildlife Park (Sydney)
- Explore King’s Park and the Western Australia Botanic Garden in Perth
- Stroll through the vibrant port city of Freemantle
- Journey to the pristine waters of Ningaloo Reef on the Coral Coast
- Snorkel with manta rays, marine turtles, reef sharks and an incredible variety of tropical fish
- Admire the incredible staghorn and soft coral formations just offshore
- Voyage to the outback and experience the breath-taking beauty of the famed Kimberley
- Visit El Questro Gorge, fish for barramundi or explore the Zebedee Springs thermal pools
- Experience Sydney Opera House on a guided tour
- Sail on Sydney Harbour and toast the sunset on a dinner cruise
- Dip your toes in the Pacific Ocean at famous Bondi Beach
- Indulge in local delights in three top restaurants on a progressive lunch
- Toast an Uluṟu Sunset with gourmet canapés and wine
- Experience a spectacular Red Centre sunrise
- Discover Aboriginal rock art and learn about Uluṟu’s sacred sites
- Explore Kata Tjuṯa & hike through Walpa Gorge
- Interact with local Aboriginal artists and create your own dot painting masterpiece
- Cuddle a koala at Cairns Wildlife Dome
- Cruise and snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef
- Explore the highlights of Australia's iconic Top End on this family-friendly adventure
- Enjoy the flexibility of a private vehicle, the local knowledge of a passionate guide and the magic of camping under the great southern sky in comfortable permanent tents
- Learn about the ancient culture and traditions of indigenous Australians during an interactive experience in Katherine.
- The Mary River Wetlands feature a wealth of wildlife, including the highest concentration of saltwater crocodiles in the southern hemisphere. Get up close to the snappy beasts on a river cruise
- Discover the wonders of Kakadu National Park, see ancient indigenous rock art and take an optional flight over astounding landscapes
- Tour through hidden caves at Tunnel Creek
- Experience serenity at pristine Bell Gorge
- Hear about outback lore at a remote cattle station
- Journey down the rugged Gibb River Road
- Soak in thermal pools at Zebedee Springs
- Visit the curious Bungle Bungle Ranges
- Cruise past silvery fish in mighty Geikie Gorge
- Enjoy a yarn with locals in an outback pub
- Watch crocs lying in the shadows of Windjana Gorge
- CITY TOUR in Perth, Fremantle
- CRUISE Shoalwater Bay's wildlife sanctuary
- SCENIC DRIVE along peaceful vineyard-lined roads in Margaret River, on Rottnest Island
- VISIT Elizabeth Quay, Kings Park, Busselton Jetty, Cape Naturaliste
- Take in the sights during a dinner cruise of Sydney Harbour.
- Dine with a Kiwi family in their home.
- Experience a memorable authentic Hangi dinner celebration.
- Come to know Australia’s people at the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Center.
- Get up close and personal with koalas and native crocodiles at Hartley’s Croc Farm.
- Take a guided tour of the fascinating Sydney Opera House.
- Board a catamaran for an exciting excursion to the Great Barrier Reef.
- See where the original colonists first settled during a city tour of Sydney.
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Top Australia Experiences
Viewing Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia’s best known landmark and sacred to the aboriginal people, as the sandstone formation deep in the Outback glows red at dawn or sunset.
Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef and marveling at the thousands of fish and coral species, and the beautiful colors.
Visiting the boutique Australian wine region and tasting local varietals
Going to Tasmania
Touring Sydney’s Opera House and its multi-bay harbor, both considered among the most beautiful representatives of their kind in the world.
Exploring the city of Melbourne
Taking a crocodile-viewing safari down a river in the Daintree Rainforest in Far North Queensland, Australia
Australia Trip Reviews
761 Australia Tour Reviews - Summary 98% Recommend
Australia Tours and Travel Guide
Australia Attractions & Landmarks Guide
Australia – simultaneously the earth’s smallest continent and largest island, is many a travelers’ dream destination. From Sydney's famous Opera House to the vast and rugged Outback, this country-continent is incredibly geographically diverse. Filled with friendly people, and stocked with unusual animals ranging from kangaroos and koalas to wombats and Tasmanian devils.
Australia holds a special place in the imaginations of those who live on the other side of the world. Home to both British descendants living a seemingly incongruous, often sun-burned existence in the faraway Pacific, along with intriguing indigenous cultures and immigrants from Asia and Oceania, Australia has a reputation as a modern society with frontier-like rough edges. In Australia, the vast, mostly deserted Outback begins just on the fringes of the thickly populated eastern coast and stretches west seemingly forever.
Australia is amazingly diverse -- from its well-populated east and southeastern coasts, with world-class cities like Sydney and Melbourne beckoning, to its arid outback (which constitutes much of the country), from its northeastern rainforests to its southeastern mountains, from its trendy vineyards to its frontier-style cattle ranches, from its icons (urban and rural) like the Sydney Opera House and Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock), to its often-overlooked far-western and far northern cities like Perth and Darwin.
And of course there's the wildlife -- bounding kangaroos, shy koalas, wombats, and the impossible-to-make-up duck-billed platypus, which scientists once thought must be a hoax -- as well as its colorful history as a repository for English criminals, from whom many modern-day Australians are descended. Native aborigines, much in evidence in some parts of the country, add further to the Australians’ reputation as a yet-untamed, fiercely independent people.
Adventure Travel in Australia
There are many different Australia’s that are available to travelers, but one of the most popular is attractive to adventure seekers. Within the adventure travel realm in Australia, there are plenty of hard adventure activities available, but also many family friendly and “soft” adventure opportunities.
Some of the top adventure travel experiences in Australia include:
1. Surfing - Australians love the ocean, and many tours of the country feature a beach day or two. Some tour companies offer surf lessons as an excursion or additional activity. It’s a great way to feel like a local out in the sun and surf.
2. Snorkeling - One of the most popular activities in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, snorkeling is a calm and easy activity, great for family outings. It’s best to plan a full day so you can get far enough out to explore deeper waters as well as the shallower areas.
3. Climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge - When you visit Sydney, the harbor is the top destination. Boat tours of the harbor leave from here, the Opera House is a prominent fixture, and Circular Queue is a fantastic area for shopping and eating.
For those looking for something a bit more adrenaline pumping, consider the Sydney Bridge walk. Snapped into a jumpsuit and harness you’ll climb to the very top of the bridge, for stunning views of the entire harbor, and a brag worthy photo op. While the activity is very safe, it is not recommended if you’re afraid of heights!
4. Overland Tour through the Outback - Overland travel is definitely not for everyone. But if you are enthusiastic about roughing it, camping, pitching in, and generally enjoying the outdoors for an extended period of time, then it’s the perfect fit! Australia is one of the most popular destinations for Overland Tours, in part due to the climate and the flat landscape. Prepare for a challenging trip but one through which you’ll forge strong community ties with your tour mates.
Wildlife in Australia
It may seem like the butt of every joke when it comes to the land down under: that everything can kill you. It’s true, the wildlife in Australia is extreme. Home to hundreds of venomous species of snakes, spiders, ants, and other creepy crawlies, plus crocodiles and even Kangaroos can do damage - it’s important to respect nature to the highest degree when you’re in Australia.
That said, the wildlife is one of the top reasons to visit this expansive country - so don’t hang up your explorer hat just yet. Plan accordingly with proper attire and go with a reputable tour company to ensure your safety, as well as that of the native flora and fauna you encounter.
Some of the wildlife you shouldn’t miss in Australia includes:
1. Kangaroo - The national symbol of Australia, the kangaroo is a fascinating animal, with the ability to withstand incredible heat. Kangaroos are extremely powerful as well - their enormous tail and hind legs help them jump distances of over 25 feet in a single bound. It’s highly unlikely that you will see a kangaroo in the wild, but they are a regular fixture in zoos and protected areas.
2. Koala Bears - Another popular symbol of Australia, koalas are not actually a type of bear. Rather they are a species of marsupial. Known to hang out high in eucalyptus trees, Koalas are somewhat difficult to spot in the wild, but not impossible - especially if you take a nature walk with an experienced guide!
3. Tasmanian Devil - Popularized by a particular cartoon, this Australian native is very common in zoos and other wildlife experiences throughout Australia. Hailing from the island of Tasmania, they are a carnivorous mammal - known to be mean! They were once the subject of an eradication attempt in the 1800s. Since then conservationists have been trying to keep their population size above extinction levels.
4. Wombat - Australia has over 140 species of marsupial, including the adorable wombat. These roly poly, fluffy animals are a delight to spot.
Tasmania and the Cities
Australia’s smaller island of Tasmania, which lies to the south of Melbourne, is a wonderland of forests and rugged coastlines, ideal for nature lovers.
Australia's two main cities of Sydney and Melbourne are must stops. Rivals as well, Sydney is the more flashily beautiful, perhaps, with its famous Opera House, hidden bays and nearby beaches, but Melbourne wins many visitors’ hearts for its gardens, art museums and scenic drives.
But equally delightful to pass through are Australia’s smaller towns. Queensland takes pride in its “tidy towns” and remote Daintree Rainforest, while Alice Springs, in the center of the country, is known for its desert parks and frontier atmosphere. Australia’s eastern Gold Coast, anchored by the lively city of Brisbane, is renowned for its golden beaches. In the far west, Perth offers an entirely different feel, sometimes compared to the Mediterranean.
Australia's capital, Canberra, and far north city of Darwin make for other possible destinations. Consider taking a train across the width of southern Australia for an unforgettable ride through the Outback.
Uluru (Ayers Rock), about 200 miles from Alice Springs, is Australia’s best known natural landmark. Since it’s sacred to the aboriginal people, climbing it is now discouraged, but it’s still worth the trip to see. And, of course, Australia’s unusual wildlife is a huge draw: especially being surprised by the ever-present kangaroos and trying to spot the cute but reclusive koalas, who like to hide in eucalyptus trees.
While Australia has a mostly friendly rivalry with neighboring New Zealand (each believing themselves to be the friendlier of the two), they have much in common. Together they feature a number of world-class cities and some of the world’s best hiking trails, as well as deserts, rainforests, coastlines and mountains, so if you choose to see both in one tour, allow plenty of time.
Ready to head Down Under but don’t know where to turn first? Try Stride’s handy comparison tools that will quickly help you find which tour or tours are right for you.
All Australia tours, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages. Average rating of 4.7 for all Australia trips.