Australia: Wild Tasmania & the Rainforest 14 days / Eco Tours, Community & Conservation Tours
About This Experience
Boasting World Heritage-protected wilderness, unspoiled coastline and the longest-isolated culture in world history, Tasmania (or “Tassie” to the locals) is about as authentically Oz as you can get. Your eco-friendly Aussie adventure will take you to the cities of the mainland and lead you through the rich wilds of Tasmania, after which you’ll delve into the incredibly diverse Daintree Rainforest, mingle with the indigenous inhabitants of Mossman Gorge and snorkel along the Great Barrier Reef.
Your Tour Includes
Round-trip airfare & transfers
11 nights in handpicked hotels & eco-lodges
Breakfast daily, 6 lunches, 7 three-course dinners, many with beer or wine
Multilingual Tour Director
3 internal flights & private motor coach
Select entrance fees
Why You'll Love It
The chance to hand-feed a Tasmanian Devil
Interacting with the people of Mossman Gorge
Snorkeling along the Great Barrier Reef
Encountering koalas & kangaroos up-close
Staying at an eco-lodge in the Daintree Rainforest
Spotting birds on the shores of Tasmania’s east coast
Overnight Flight2 nights
Melbourne3 nights - hotel info
G’day and welcome, as the Aussies would say
Breakfast (in flight), Dinner
Arrive in Melbourne, where your Australian adventure begins. After collecting your baggage and clearing customs, join a Go Ahead representative who will escort you to your hotel. Following check-in, take some time to kick back and settle in before mingling with your fellow travelers at your welcome dinner.
Count the koalas and kangaroos you spot in the wild
Koalas & Kangaroos in the Wild
Spend the day getting to know some of Australia’s most notable residents—koalas and kangaroos. Join a koala researcher on a walk through the country’s natural bushland, open plains and teeming forest to interact with the creatures up close, helping your guide to monitor and record wildlife sightings along the way. Afterward, sit down to a barbecue lunch on the plains before making your way back to the city, where you’ll be free to spend the evening as you like.
Ride the streets or duck into tucked-away lanes and arcades
You’re free to explore Melbourne your way. Take in the city’s diverse urban landscapes from aboard one of Melbourne’s iconic trams, or discover them from the ground up during a guided walk through the lively, art-lined laneways and arcades.
Melbourne’s Lanes & Arcades Walking Tour $90* pp
Since Victorian times, small lanes and covered arcades have played an integral role in Melbourne’s urban expansion. Back in the day, the small alleyways served as pathways for horse-drawn carriages and carts. Today, these pedestrian promenades showcase the city’s cultural landmarks, from small shops and cafes to sprawling works of public art. On a guided stroll through the city, take a look into some of Melbourne’s hidden corners as you learn about the art and architecture lining the city’s most prominent laneways.
Colonial Tramcar Lunch & Ride $89* pp
Decked out in plush velvet, and with a warm, cozy atmosphere, your tramcar’s décor will transport you straight back to Australia’s historic colonial period as you cruise along Melbourne’s modern streets. Sit back and listen to the onboard musical entertainment while taking in the city’s highlights from your window. As you ride, you’ll dine on a four-course lunch, accompanied by beer or wine.
Freycinet2 nights - hotel info
Open your heart (and hands) to Tasmania’s endangered creatures
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary
Following your flight to Hobart, capital of Tasmania, make your way to the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. As a haven for injured and orphaned wildlife, Bonorong has been helping to rehabilitate animals in need since 1981. During a guided tour, you’ll have the opportunity to care for and hand-feed the sanctuary’s resident animals, gaining an up-close and personal experience with creatures like tawny frogmouths, golden possums, bettongs, sugar gliders and even the Tasmanian Devil. After your tour, head to your waterfront lodge located just outside of Freycinet National Park, where you’ll have free time to take in your surroundings.
Beaches, bays, birds—discover what the East Coast is known for
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Freycinet National Park
Discover the wild scenery of Tasmania’s east coast as you explore Freycinet National Park. On a guided tour, you’ll take in views of the region’s rugged coastline, pristine white-sand beaches and tranquil bays. In addition to boasting rich and diverse birdlife, the park also lays claim to one of the world’s top-ten beaches—the secluded Wineglass Bay. After a morning and afternoon spent among Freycinet’s flora and fauna, cap off your day with a leisurely dinner back at the lodge.
Hobart1 night - hotel info
Cruise along the clifflined seas of the Southern Hemisphere
Tasman National Park
Part ways with Freycinet and board a cruise to Tasman Island, part of Tasman National Park. The island is comprised of the tallest seaside cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere, rising a daunting 300 meters into the air. Tasman is also home to one of the world’s largest colonies of Fairy Prions, making it an Important Bird Area (IBA). As you take in dramatic views of the island from onboard, your guide will lecture on the region’s wildlife and conservation efforts. Afterward, experience the colonial charms and coastal beauty of Hobart, Australia’s second-oldest city.
Daintree3 nights - hotel info
Make yourself at home in the heart of the rainforest
Following a flight to Cairns, ride along the famously scenic Captain Cook Highway, taking in the rainforest to your right and sparkling Coral Sea to your left. After free time for lunch in Port Douglas, your destination is Silky Oaks, a boutique eco-lodge set in the heart of the Daintree Rainforest, which was named a UNESCO World Heritage site for its incredible biodiversity. Before dinner, an eco-guide from Silky Oaks will lead you on a tour of the lodge’s property and along the nearby Mossman River.
Come face to face with the only living organism seen from space
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Travel to Australia’s northeast coast for a close encounter with the only living organism visible from outer space—the Great Barrier Reef. Board a cruise bound for Agincourt Reef, where a marine biologist will teach you about the ecosystems contained within the reef before letting you grab your snorkel for a closer view of the marine life below.
Meet the people who call the rainforest home
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Follow the indigenous Kuku Yalanji people as they lead you on a tour of their home in Mossman Gorge, one of the oldest continuously surviving rainforests on earth, containing up to 30,000 different species for every two acres of land. Afterward, you may choose to indulge in spa treatments back at your lodge before attending an eco-lecture led by the owner of a private botanical garden who will shine light on emerging green techniques.
Sydney2 nights - hotel info
Get to know Australia’s oldest, largest and most iconic city
Pack up and head to the Cairns Airport for a morning flight to Sydney, Australia’s oldest and largest city. After landing, you’ll travel to your hotel in the heart of the city, where you’ll have some time to relax or begin getting to know the city at your own pace.
Hang around the harbor or head to the “birthplace” of eucalyptus
In a city this big and diverse, you’ll find endless possibilities to fill your free day, from basking on Bondi Beach to sauntering into the iconic Opera House. If you’re craving more of the great outdoors, join an optional guided excursion to the Blue Mountains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its 700 major waterfalls. In the evening, start saying your goodbyes to your fellow travelers at your farewell dinner.
The Blue Mountains & Katoomba $325* pp
On a clear day, the Blue Mountains are imbued with a blue hue, the result of sunlight striking drops of eucalyptus oil hanging in the air. In addition to being the “birthplace” of eucalyptus, the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountain range is famous for enclosing over 700 major waterfalls within its valleys. The area is also home to artistically inclined villages, like Leura, where you’ll explore a collection of quaint shops and galleries. In the town of Katoomba, you’ll have the chance to learn about the community’s commitment to plant rescue, and look out from Echo Point, in the shadow of the famed Three Sisters. Traveling past deep gorges and ancient rainforest, you’ll then make your way to the Blue Mountains’ only vineyard, where you’ll sample Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and local labels from the Cittislow region.
Take one last glimpse of the scenery and greenery from the sky
After breakfast, make your way to Sydney’s airport to catch your flight home. On your flight back, you’ll cross the International Date Line once again and “gain” back a day, so you’ll technically arrive home this evening or early the next morning.
Extend Your Stay
Add Sydney $399*
With the iconic Harbor Bridge and Opera House jutting into its skyline, world-class beaches within close reach and a laid-back vibe pulsing through its streets, Sydney is as strikingly beautiful as it is warm and welcoming. Indulge your cosmopolitan side as you explore its distinctive colonial architecture and collection of cultural museums, or connect with nature during strolls along its sun-kissed harbor or tropical botanical gardens.
Sydney2 nights - hotel info
Get to the roots of Sydney’s Aboriginal heritage
Delve deeper into Sydney’s unique heritage at your own pace. For a look into arts and customs of the city’s Aboriginal culture, head to the Australian Museum or Aboriginal Heritage Museum, or catch a performance by a traditional dance group. Alternatively, join our optional South Head Coastal Walk for the opportunity to soak in incredible views of Sydney’s surrounding waters, stroll along stunning sea cliffs and discover some of the city’s forgotten wartime history.
South Head Coastal Walk $79* pp
After a ferry ride across the Sydney’s iconic harbor, arrive at Watson’s Bay, where you’ll begin your explorations of the city’s beautiful coastline on a leisurely 3-mile walk. As you move from bushland to headlands, you’ll soak in incredible views of the surrounding water, pass stunning sea cliffs and discover some of Sydney’s forgotten wartime history.
Soak in the cosmopolitan culture of the Harbor City
Spend another day as you like in Sydney. If you’d like to explore beyond the shores of Bondi Beach, consider ferrying across the Sydney Harbor to the quaint town of Manly, renowned for its tranquil coastline. Prefer to stay in the city? Discover the metropolis’ historic botanic gardens during our morning optional excursion or uncover its distinctive brand of colonial architecture on a walk along the famed Macquarie Street.
Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden $42* pp
Engage all your senses on a guided walk through Sydney’s historic Royal Botanic Gardens. As you explore, you’ll learn about Australia’s rich Aboriginal heritage, discovering how indigenous Australians have used native plants for tools, sustenance and medicinal remedies over the centuries. During your stroll, you’ll be invited to touch, taste and smell some of the garden’s unique flora before sitting down to enjoy the scenery over tea.
Passport & Visa Requirements
In order to enter Australia, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of your return home. A visa is also required for U.S. and Canadian passport holders to enter Australia. Travelers must obtain an individual visa prior to departure by visiting www.eta.immi.gov.au. If you’re not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, please contact the Australian consulate for your entry requirements.
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you’ll have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.
Clothing & Packing Tips
In the tropics, lightweight clothing is suitable yearround. Farther south in Australia, although the days are often warm during the southern summer (December– February), a jacket is needed for the evenings. During the southern winter (June–August), warm clothing is advised. We recommend packing sneakers for exploring reefs and beaches, as well as a sun hat and sunscreen. For your stay in the rainforest, you should make sure to bring mosquito repellant and raingear.
Travelers should take particular care for sun exposure and drink plenty of liquids. If you choose to go swimming, be careful of powerful surf. Make sure to obey signs and lifeguard orders, and always swim between the well-marked flags. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider for the latest health updates and overseas travel requirements.
The northern section of Australia tends to be hot and humid in the summer, and hot and dry in the winter. The south is generally more temperate to warm (with some colder pockets). Australia is generally an arid country with no significant rainy season outside of the rainforest.
Australia’s culinary traditions show a British influence, tending to be hearty and filling. The emphasis is on high-quality steaks and lamb chops, which are often barbecued. Meat pies, made in a variety of flavors, are also popular. Local specialties include shellfish, such as Sydney rock oysters and crabs, and the fish and chips often rival those in the United Kingdom. The national beverage is beer, and a visit to an Aussie pub is a popular pastime.
Round-trip flights arrive in Melbourne and depart from Sydney. Flights are also included from Melbourne to Hobart (Tasmania), Hobart to Cairns and Cairns to Sydney. All other transfers are by private motor coach. In your free time, you may wish to explore the locations via public transport. In Melbourne, the Met (M) transportation system covers tram, train and bus travel. The tram is an easy way to see the city. You can purchase tickets in singles or in bulk at shop vendors, Flinders Street Station and Melbourne Central Station. In Sydney, buses run frequently. One of the best ways to see Sydney and the harbor is by ferry. For ferry travel, go to the Circular Quay near the Opera House. Sydney also features a monorail that runs from the city center to Darling Harbor.
Australia operates on 220 and 240 volts.
Australia has three separate time zones. On your tour, you’ll encounter Australian Eastern Standard (15 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard) and Australian Central Standard (14.5 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard). During the summer daylight-saving period, things get more complicated: The state of Queensland is then one hour behind that of New South Wales and Victoria.
The currency you’ll be using on your tour is the Australian dollar. Better rates of exchange are found in Australia than at home. We recommend taking a combination of ATM/bank cards and credit cards, which can be exchanged for local currency as needed. All are widely accepted. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.
MAKE AN IMPACT
Get to know some of the communities and organizations you’ll meet that are helping to make a difference in Australia.
Set apart from the Australian mainland, Tasmania is wild, remote—seemingly untouched. Its isolation not only lends it a certain mystique, but has transformed it into a safe haven for rare and endangered wildlife. Without the introduction of foreign predators, 33 of its native terrestrial animals and 41 of its marine mammals continue to thrive today. It’s this distinct ecology and dedication to conservation that lure more and more visitors to the island each year. One of Tasmania’s most distinguished conservation areas is Tasman National Park, comprised of an astonishing 20,780 acres of protected lands. Its dramatic coastal landscapes hold views of brilliant blue waters, teeming with kelp forests and rare natural formations, like sea caves and the Tasmanian Arch. Another major force in the island’s conservation efforts is the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, whose name is Aboriginal for “native companion.” With a mission to nurture injured and orphaned creatures, the sanctuary allows visitors play a part in hand-feeding animals in need, including kangaroos, wallabies and even the endangered Tasmanian Devil.
DAINTREE RAINFOREST, MOSSMAN GORGE & THE KUKU YALANJI TRIBE
Named after the pioneering Australian geologist Richard Daintree, the Daintree Rainforest is the largest continual area of tropical rainforest in Australia, laying claim to 1,000 square miles. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the rainforest houses an incredibly biodiverse collection of flora and fauna beneath its canopy. In fact, Daintree boasts 30% of Australia’s frog, reptile and marsupial population, 65% of its bat and butterfly varieties, 18% of its bird species and a whopping 12,000 insect species. Here, you’ll find animals like the northern dwarf tree frog, the swamp wallaby and the mysterious saltwater crocodile. Also living in harmony with the rainforest is the Aborginal Kuku Yalanji tribe—the land’s indigenous inhabitants. Known as “Rainforest People,” many live within Mossman Gorge, the oldest continually surviving rainforest on earth at over 135 million years old. Using knowledge of the environment’s resources passed down by their ancestors, the Kuku Yalanji people continue to maintain their cultural identity in the thick of rainforest.
GREAT BARRIER REEF
Off the coast of Queensland lies the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest reef system and largest single structure made by living organisms. The Reef is even more impressive by the numbers—it’s composed of 2,900 individual reefs, 400 species of coral and 900 individual islands stretching over 1,600 miles. In fact, it’s so massive that it can even be seen from outer space. The natural wonder has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is largely protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Hundreds of marine animals can be found living in and around the Reef, including 1,500 species of fish, 215 bird species and 30 species of whales and dolphins. Unfortunately, conservationists have identified several threats to this unique ecological hub, and it’s estimated that since 1985 the Reef has lost nearly half of its coral covering. Despite the challenges it faces, the Great Barrier Reef remains one of the world’s truly extraordinary centers for wildlife. During your time on tour, you’ll discover this natural wonder without disturbing its sanctity thanks to Quicksilver Cruises, an international leader in ecotourism that has been recognized by Ecotourism Australia.