Australia's Reef & Rainforest

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Leisurely
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Trip code: 
WLA
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Marine Wildlife
Min age:
16
Group size:
7–16

Explore Queensland's rainforests and reefs on an exciting Australian adventure!

Embark on a sailing adventure around the Whitsunday Islands, and also spend a full day exploring the Great Barrier Reef – snorkelling over a great underwater spectacle. Enjoy a day trip on the Kuranda Scenic Railway and Rainforest Cableway, and two nights in Daintree and Cape Tribulation National Parks - remote headlands which beautifully combine rainforest, beaches and glistening corals. The Atherton tablelands’ landscape features rainforest, wetlands and savannah and are home to tree kangaroos and the rare platypus for a real Australian encounter.

Highlights

  • Enjoy a two day sailing adventure around the Whitsunday islands
  • Experience a full day snorkelling excursion to the Great Barrier Reef
  • Explore Daintree and Cape Tribulation National Parks

Key information

  • 11 nights comfortable hotels and eco-lodges, all with en suite facilities, and 1 night on sailboat with shared facilities
  • Travel by minibus and on boats

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 3 dinners
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call us on
+45 (0)70 12 03 03
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Cairns and overnight.

    The group flights usually arrive into Cairns in the late morning. Land Only clients should aim to arrive at the hotel by the early afternoon. Free transfers are available for all clients. In the late afternoon there will be an orientation city walk followed by sunset drinks in the harbour and a welcome briefing. This is the perfect opportunity to meet your guide and get to know your fellow travellers.

    Accommodation: ibis Styles Cairns or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 2

    Day trip with Kuranda Scenic Railway and Rainforest Cableway.

    Today we visit Kuranda, a picturesque mountain retreat 25km northwest of Cairns, surrounded by rainforest. Here we can discover the living colour and natural beauty of a World Heritage listed rainforest that's millions of years old and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the local markets. The famous Kuranda Scenic Railway was built over 120 years ago and winds its way through the tropical mountain ranges between Cairns and Kuranda, with waterfalls tumbling into deep ravines. Our return Rainforest Cableway experience should take approximately 1.5 hours and includes spending time at the two rainforest stations. We allow time at each station, to enjoy ranger guided boardwalk tours and visit the Rainforest Interpretation Centre, lookout points and historical displays.

    Accommodation: ibis Styles Cairns or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Full day snorkelling excursion on the Great Barrier Reef.

    Today we experience the adventure of snorkelling, diving (optional, at an extra cost) and sailing on the Great Barrier Reef. The day starts early as we board our boat at 7:30am and sail at 8:00am. Our high-performance catamaran sails from Cairns to two unique locations where you can snorkel with turtles, colourful fish and see an amazing variety of corals.

    The exclusive reef sites are selected for their abundance of marine life and diversity of healthy corals. The sites include Hastings Reef (Coral Gardens, Turtle Bommie and 1770), Paradise Reef, Norman Reef – Shark Mountain, Long Bommie, Pretty Patches and more! The crew will select the two best sites suited to the weather conditions of the day to give you the best possible experience.

    While sailing to our first location, we receive an interactive presentation from a Ecotourism Australia certified guide regarding the physical aspects of the reef environment that affect reef wildlife and the functioning of the ecosystem, as well as chemical processes that impact reef ecology.

    We can participate in the Eye on the Reef Rapid Monitoring survey, either individually or in teams. Our accredited guide will first provide us with a step-by-step instruction before we conduct field surveys, which include benthos composition, species counts, coral predation analysis, and water quality testing. On the journey back to Cairns from the reef, we will discuss the purpose of the Rapid Monitoring surveys as a data collection method, and our guide will relate how the information collected on the day will fit into the overall long-term monitoring plan on the Great Barrier Reef.

    We will return to Cairns in the late afternoon

    Accommodation: ibis Styles Cairns or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 4

    Transfer to Daintree National Park visiting Mossman Gorge en route.

    We transfer to Daintree National Park today, visiting the Mossman Gorge en route. Mossman Gorge contains the oldest surviving rainforest on earth with cool streams, towering mountains and a dramatic gorge. We visit the Mossman Gorge Centre, a new Indigenous eco-tourism development that provides one of Australia’s most iconic Aboriginal experiences in Tropical North Queensland and a genuine, authentic engagement with Indigenous Australia. The local art gallery showcases the art and crafts of local Kuku Yalanji artists. We will take the leisurely Rainforest Circuit Walk under the towering canopy of the rainforest, beautifully framed by the striking mountains stopping for a picnic lunch at one of the many water holes.

    We continue through the Daintree National Park to our secluded lodge for the next two nights, set in the quiet peacefulness of the rainforest and perfect for bird, butterfly or Musky rat-kangaroo spotting. On arrival, take a swim with Jungle perch and turtles in the untouched crystal clear Cooper Creek which winds through the lodge en-route from the mountains to the sea.

    Accommodation: Heritage Lodge and Spa or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Full day at Daintree and Cape Tribulation National Parks.

    We will spend a full day exploring the Daintree National Park and Cape Tribulation today. In the morning we embark on an hour-long cruise through the mangroves at Cooper Creek which winds its way from Cooper Creek’s Coral Sea mouth towards the panorama of Queensland’s third highest mountain, Thornton Peak. Home to reputedly the most biodiverse mangrove system in Australia, Cooper Creek’s significance has been internationally recognized and rewarded by Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service, which has afforded absolute protection to the creek’s flora and fauna. A wild environment, crocodile sightings are not guaranteed but we may get lucky!

    We then venture into the heart of the oldest surviving rainforest in the world, the pristine Gondwanan Rainforest, in the company of an inhabitant guide. Our guide will reveal fascinating inter-relationships as an almost impossibly complex ecosystem is explained. At the centre of our walk we will find a cathedral-like amphitheatre of ancient fan-palms, underpinning the grandeur of an old-growth canopy of rainforest giants.

    This afternoon we will go on a two hour guided walk into a private reserve, deep in the rainforest. With such an amazing pocket of pristine natural wonders, you can never know what is hiding just behind the next tree! Your guide will explain to you the amazing history of the area, the flora and the fauna around you, and the natural wonders which take place every day. We plan on taking a dip in a secluded natural swimming hole, surrounded by nothing more than the unique environment created by the convergence of two eco-systems, that of the rainforest and the reef.

    We will visit Myall and Cape Tribulation beaches before returning to our lodge for the night.

    Accommodation: Heritage Lodge and Spa or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Transfer to Yungaburra; afternoon visit the tablelands.

    We travel to Yungaburra today, a journey that will take us approximately 4 hours including stops. In the afternoon we will explore the heritage listed town of Yungaburra and the surrounding tablelands, which are home to the rare platypus, Tree kangaroos, and in season, the kingfisher. We visit the Yungaburra platypus viewing area to watch the resident platypus swim and dive. We also take a walk along Peterson Creek in search of more platypus and the rare Lumholtz Tree kangaroo.

    Accommodation: Kookaburra Lodge or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Transfer to Mount Surprise; afternoon explore the Australian outback.

    Not far from Yungaburra are the renowned crater lakes of Lake Eacham and Lake Barrine. Both have walking tracks around their circumferences, one of which we will walk this morning. We then travel to Mount Surprise (approx. 4 hours) where we can experience life in the Australian outback in the afternoon. The region of Mount Surprise, also known as Savannah Way, offers a diverse range of outback experiences including cattle stations, gorges and the Undara Lava Tubes.

    Accommodation: Bedrock Village or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 8

    Morning explore the Undara Lava Tubes; afternoon transfer to Charters Towers.

    This morning we explore the Undara Lava Tubes. In Undara Volcanic National Park, rich volcanic basalt soils, covered in a sea of seasonal grasses, conceal the Undara lava tube, one of the longest lava tube cave systems in the world. About 190,000 years ago, a large volcano erupted violently, spewing molten lava over the surrounding landscape. The lava flowed rapidly down a dry riverbed. The top, outer-layer cooled and formed a crust, while the molten lava below drained outwards, leaving behind a series of hollow tubes. The roofs of some tubes collapsed, creating ideal conditions for dry rainforest to grow and wildlife to shelter. Rock-wallabies, insectivorous bat colonies and owls roost here in the cool. Birds shelter in the fruit-filled canopy and predators lurk in the tumbled basalt terrain to complete the food chain.

    In the afternoon we will journey to Charters Towers, which will take 5 to 6 hours, passing by remote mining settlements that will add to the outback experience.

    Accommodation: Hillview Motel or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Transfer to Airlie Beach.

    Before we depart for Airlie Beach, we will explore the old gold mining town of Charters Towers. When gold was first discovered in Charters Towers in 1871, it became a gold rush town and quickly grew to become the second largest town in Queensland. Today, the magnificent heritage buildings are testament to the prosperity of years past. We depart mid-morning for Airlie Beach; a drive of approximately 6 hours, including a stop for a swim and snorkel at Horseshoe Bay in Bowen.

    Accommodation: Colonial Palms or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 10

    Sailing around the Whitsunday islands

    We spend the next two days on a private sailing adventure around the Whitsunday Islands, with a typical voyage covering around 160 kms. We will set sail at 8:00am with a visit to the infamous Whitehaven Beach and a guided bush walk up to the ever talked about Hill Inlet Lookout on our exciting agenda for today. Some sensational snorkelling over some of the best reefs in the world is of course included with optional diving available on request. When you are not exploring the islands, why not take advantage of the spacious deck which is perfect for enjoying the sailing, the sun and to relax! Our crew will proceed to find us a nice and protected anchorage site for the night. Our sailing adventure is on a full board basis.

    Accommodation: Siska Sailing Yacht or similar
    Siska Sailboat

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Two day sailing adventure around the Whitsunday islands.

    We continue exploring the Whitsunday Islands today on our way back to Airlie Beach. We will pass along the western coast of Whitsunday Island, through Hook Passage and follow the eastern coast of Hook Island. We return to Airlie Beach in the late afternoon.

    Accommodation: Colonial Palms or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 12

    Transfer to Cairns and overnight.

    We’ve got a long day of driving ahead of us, making our way back to Cairns along the Queensland coast, a journey that will take us 9 to 10 hours including stops for morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea. Tonight in Cairns there will be a farewell dinner for the last night of the trip.

    Accommodation: ibis Styles Cairns or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    End Cairns.

    Our adventure ends today after breakfast. Those on the group flights will be transferred to the airport for their flight to London.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Australia

All nationalities except New Zealand require a visa for Australia. British, most EU passport holders, Canadian and US passport holders can apply for an electronic visa online. For British passport holders this is done through www.australia.org.uk.

Vaccinations

Australia

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 3 dinners included.

Most breakfasts are English style ‘full breakfast’, some are Continental style with cereals, fruit, juice and coffee. Included lunches and one dinner are served aboard sailing boats – expect simple but wholesome and fresh food. Two more included dinners are 2-course with a set menu. Vegetarians are generally well catered for although please be sure to advise us of any specific dietary requirements before departure.

Weather

Queensland experiences two distinct weather seasons each year. The winter season that falls between April and September, with slightly cooler but warm temperatures and minimal rainfall. The summer or monsoonal season is between October and March with hot, sticky temperatures and heavy rainfall periods. Northern Queensland is particularly prone to cyclones, with the season generally being from November to May. The most popular time to visit Queensland is in the Australian winter months, May through September. This is a great time to experience the best of the tropical region with clear skies and comfortable temperatures perfect for exploring the region.

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 1 (Leisurely)
A fair amount of travelling is involved and there are some long days, but these are generally broken up with sightseeing en route or on arrival. Although the tour is not physically demanding, it does involve a fair amount of road travel, the total distance covered during the trip is about 2200 km. Some of the main roads are good and fast, but others are not and there are some bumpy stretches that take us to some of the sites away from the main road.
You should be comfortable in the water in order to participate in the ocean excursions, but no certifications such as SCUBA are necessary. We take no risks with health and safety and our expert staff monitor conditions to take appropriate measures for a wonderful time in the area but when in boats it is possible that we will encounter rough seas therefore an ability to swim is highly recommended.

Call us on
+45 (0)70 12 03 03
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels & Lodges

11 nights spent in comfortable hotels and lodges, all with en suite facilities and most with swimming pools. We use fairly small, often privately run, establishments, from eco-lodges nestled in the rainforest to the welcoming ambiance of cabins in the Australian outback. A highlight of this trip will no doubt be our stay at Heritage Lodge Daintree, a property set amongst the pristine rainforest of Daintree National Park - wake to the call of birds and take a swim with Jungle perch and turtles! We also have one night aboard a fast sailing boat with single and double bunks and shared facilities. Single accommodation is available on this trip for a supplement.

Call us on
+45 (0)70 12 03 03
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

As another year flies past, it’s time for us to ask ourselves one simple question: where next?

Be the first to post your review! If you have recently returned from an Exodus adventure and want to help other travellers with your feedback then simply use the link below to post your holiday review.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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Call us on +45 (0)70 12 03 03