Highlights of Australia | EF Ultimate Break
We have detected that you are using an older version of Microsoft Edge. For the best possible experience, please use Google Chrome or the new Microsoft Edge.
Image slider go forwardImage slider go back

Highlights of Australia

From $4979 with flightsPayments as low as $454

Travel Styles:

Why Go?

Think about the kinds of things you would fly halfway around the world for: a One Direction reunion show, a voucher for no more student debt, maybe a lifetime supply of buff chick dip? Yeah, we know it would take something awesome to drop everything and go, but that’s exactly what Australia is. Awesome. It’s the chance to pose for underwater pics in the Great Barrier Reef (it’s visible from space so smile for the astronauts!), make friends with miniature penguins, and take in the unparalleled nightlife of Melbourne. It’s the “thunder down under” (but it’s really more like the sunshine down under, but that doesn’t rhyme as well). Get ready for the other side of the world.

What are the top highlights?

  • Snorkel with sea turtles and over 1,500 species of fish in the Great Barrier Reef
  • Learn to surf at Bondi Beach
  • Cruise through the glorious Whitsunday Islands aboard a catamaran
  • Waddle with tiny penguins in Melbourne
  • Cool down in man-made lagoons in Cairns and Airlie Beach
  • Hike through the Blue Mountains and take the world’s steepest train back
  • Get the best view of Sydney from the water on a harbor cruise

Your trip includes

  • Round-trip flights
  • Private airport pickup & transfers
  • Private city transportation in deluxe bus
  • 12 nights in hand-picked accommodations
  • 12 breakfasts
  • Welcome Dinner
  • Three course farewell dinner
  • Full-time tour director
  • Expert local guides
  • Sydney Harbor cruise
  • Entrance to Great Barrier Reef Marine Observatory & other select attractions


You’ll stay at accommodations hand-picked by our team of local experts, in rooms only for EF Ultimate Break travelers. Each property is located in a safe, convenient area. You’ll receive your exact accommodations 30 days before your trip departs.

Click **here **for examples of where you'll stay.


Admit it, booking flights is the worst. Here's why you should let us do it for you:

  • Flight costs are included in your monthly payment plan, so you can pay over time
  • Airport transfers are included, so we’ll be waiting, sign in hand
  • Flights are booked with major airlines
  • 24/7 support no matter what time zone you’re in
  • One checked bag included on most flights
  • Option to make changes to your trip up to 99 days before departure

Booking with a friend? Let us know and we’ll do our best to make sure you’re on the same flight. Still want to book your own flights? That’s cool, simply select ‘No flights included’ instead of your departure city in the ‘Flights from’ dropdown.


    Day 1-2: Overnight Flight

    Board your overnight flight, bound for a country that’s also a continent—Australia. Get stoked to meet some of the quirkiest people and coolest wildlife. Just don’t touch the bugs—not that you would.

    This tour requires a visa for U.S. citizens. Check entry requirements or call us with questions at 800-766-2645.

    Day 3: Introduction to Melbourne

    Welcome to Melbourne! Your first destination is Australia’s second largest city, and one of the best places in the world to get lost. Seriously. It seems every alleyway and side street has a hidden bar, hot new restaurant indebted to the city’s flourishing Vietnamese and Chinese populations, or a graffiti mural just waiting for you.

    Today’s Highlights

    • Meet an EF representative at the airport.
    • Transfer to your accommodation and check in.
    • Receive the latest schedule from your Tour Director.
    • Meet your fellow travelers as they arrive.
    • Get acquainted with Melbourne on a brief walk around the city with your Tour Director.

    In the evening, it’s time for your Welcome Dinner. Enjoy local cuisine with your fellow travelers at an authentic local spot. Afterwards, take the party out on the town.

    Day 4: Sightseeing in Melbourne

    Start your morning by declaring “don’t talk to me until I’ve had my flat white,” Australia’s favorite way to get heavily caffeinated was supposedly invented in Melbourne before being co-opted by Starbucks. Now it’s time to take a deep dive with your Tour Director into quirky Melbourne, which, for the love of meat pies, you should pronounce as “Melb’n” like the locals do.

    Today’s Highlights

    • Smell the flowers in Carlton Gardens: 94-acres of succulents, cacti, and other uniquely Aussie ecosystems.
    • Perfect your milk mustache with a flat white in one of Lygon Street’s charming Italian cafes.
    • Remind yourself to go back to school for architecture as you stroll Collins Street where glossy new skyscrapers mingle with ornate Victorian shopfronts.
    • If all your teeth are sweet-teeth, grab a jam donut at the largest open-air market south of the border (read: equator): Queen Victoria Market.

    Free Time Suggestions:

    Pray to the Shopping Gods: Chapel Street is a shopping Mecca. Peruse the length of it, stopping often, as it transforms from vintage and bohemian to upscale boutiques.

    Call me Banksy: Get all the likes by posing in front of one of Melbourne’s endless murals on Hosier Lane (no, not named after the “Take Me to Church” guy). You now have photographic proof that you’re hip and artsy.

    Day 5: Free Day in Melbourne + Optional Phillip Island Nature Park

    Melbourne is so colorful and cosmopolitan and now it’s your playground for a day. Hop on over to the local Outback Steakhouse and chow down on an authentic Bloomin’ Onion. Kidding. Melbourne is the Great Australian Melting Pot and today’s your chance to take a bite of local culture.

    Today’s Highlights

    • Boomerang your way through the bustling laneways and arcades of Oz’s cultural capital—you’re free to move about Melbourne.
    • Fuel up on exotic food like Sri Lankan roti or Malaysian beef kebabs as you zigzag from neighborhood to neighborhood.
    • Reach your peak on a rooftop with a cold drink and some good company. The CBD has plenty of the above, and great views of the Yarra River to boot.
    • Dance through the streets to the tune of Melbourne’s many busking musicians. Quality guaranteed: buskers have to pass an audition to get permission to perform. Be sure to tip ‘em!

    Free Time Suggestions

    The Tragically Hip: Hipsters? They have those there too? Yep. Grab your skinny jeans and head to the uber-trendy Fitzroy neighborhood for a mason jar cocktail.

    Bring your floaties: St. Kilda is like a bohemian beach town within a beach city within a beach country. The “Inception” of beach towns. Get your tan on at St. Kilda Beach, Melbourne’s most famous strip of sand. The neighborhood is also home to a small penguin enclave, and the world’s oldest continually operating rollercoaster.

    Penguin Parade: Phillip Island Nature Park(extra cost)

    That’s right, there are penguins in Melbourne. Take a guided tour of Phillip Island, and end the day at Summerlands Beach to watch 4,000 tiny furballs scurry home at sunset full from a long day of fishing.

    Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

    Day 6: Travel to Cairns

    G’day mate, hop your morning flight (sorry we couldn’t arrange for enough kangaroo pouches to carry everyone) to Cairns. Maybe there’s something to be said about how this is the northernmost point of your trip to the Southern hemisphere. Or maybe you’re about to be way too floored by the beauty of snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef to care about geography.

    Today’s Highlights

    • Board your flight from Melbourne to Cairns, and break out your biggest, floppiest hat, you’re going from big city to resort town.
    • Look in the mirror and practice another wacky city name pronunciation, Cairns is pronounced “Cans.”
    • Take a walking tour of the city center, lush esplanade, and boardwalk and start to feel blissed out by Cairns laidback vibe.
    • Get a taste of fresh seafood, strong espresso, or any number of other local stalls at Rusty’s Markets, if you’re lucky enough to be in Cairns on the weekend.

    Free Time Suggestions

    Lagoon-a matata: The Esplanade Lagoon is built into the boardwalk. The water is clear, and admission is free and open to the public. Perfect for a day of lounging, getting your laps in, or just playing a little footy on the lawn nearby.

    Gilligan’s: A Cairns backpacking institution. This hostel-turned party hut/pool/bar throws legendary ragers well into the night. Please swim responsibly.

    Day 7: Great Barrier Reef + Optional Snorkel with Marine Biologist

    Sure, Australia is filled with natural beauty, the likes of which you’ve never seen before. But even after a few days down under, nothing will prepare you for the unparalleled experience of snorkeling through Earth’s largest living creature. Don’t worry, it doesn’t mind you visiting. Dance with dugongs (AKA Australian sea cows) and clown around with, well, clownfish.

    Today’s Highlights

    • Organize an a capella version of “I’m on a Boat” as you board a vessel from Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef.
    • Swim, snorkel, and sun tan as you get acquainted with one of the natural wonders of the world.
    • Hop in an underwater observatory built into the reef to watch the fish up close.
    • Discover the secrets of the reef on an optional adventure with a marine biologist.

    Marine Biologist Snorkeling Upgrade(extra cost)

    Enhance your snorkeling excursion and spend the day with a real marine biologist who spends their time studying the reef and the colorful characters who live there. They’ll even take you to a special research area.

    Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

    Day 8: Mossman Gorge & Port Douglas Wildlife Habitat

    Think of a rainforest. You call that a rainforest? No, THIS is a rainforest. Experience this Australian national park through the eyes of the aboriginal population: the Kuku Yulanji tribe.

    Today’s Highlights

    • Pass the pipe with your aboriginal hosts, it’s polite to accept their offer of a smoking ceremony #wheninrome.
    • Gawk at the natural beauty of the gorge, remember that you’re not in Kansas anymore.
    • Head into the seaside village of Port Douglas and make a beeline for Four Mile Beach.

    Day 9: Travel to Townsville

    Wave goodbye to the wallabies, and hop your bus to Townsville. Just a few hours down the coast from Cairns, this misleadingly named oasis (really more of a city than a town or ville TBH) combines the surf town vibes of Cairns with the big city amenities of Melbourne.

    Today’s Highlights

    • Put didgeridoo practice on pause to marvel on your bus ride from Cairns as the outback transforms from tropical to savannah right before your eyes.
    • Arrive in Townsville and drop everything but your hiking boots and sense of adventure.
    • Feel the attraction as Magnetic Island calls your name, so much so that you take a ferry out to it.
    • Hike the coastal trails, catching a glimpse of koalas living their best life in the Eucalyptus.
    • Set your sights on the wreck of the SS City of Adelaide, which ran aground off the coast of Magnetic Island in 1916, and at low tide is fully visible, with mangrove trees growing out of its rotted deck.

    Free Time Suggestions:

    Pretty in Pink: Move mountains and bushwhack to the top of bright pink Castle Hill for amazing panoramic views of Townsville, Cleveland Bay, and Magnetic Island.

    Don’t just strand there: Still not sick of the sun? The Strand beach in Townsville is one of Australia’s premiere beaches, not to mention beachside bars.

    Day 10: Travel to Airlie Beach

    Now’s your chance to be bold at breakfast and try vegemite on toast, because you’re off again for bluer pastures in the afternoon. Head to Airlie Beach by bus and see if you can spot any dingoes out the window. Actually, start by asking your Tour Director exactly what a dingo is, and why you can’t pet one. After a quick regroup upon arrival, it’s off to the lagoon for a little R&R with your new BFFs. Beach volleyball, anyone?

    Today’s Highlights

    • Soak up the final rays Townsville has to offer, but don’t be sad, you’re going from one beach town to another.
    • See if you can finish a rousing rendition of “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” in the time it takes your bus to make the picturesque trek to Airlie Beach.
    • Arrive in Airlie Beach and re-re-reapply the SPF 100. The Australian sun doesn’t go on holiday.
    • Take some time in Airlie Beach to figure out which lagoon-side bar is your favorite. This may take some hands-on research.

    Day 11: Free Day in Airlie Beach + Optional Whitsunday Island Cruise

    Don’t you just hate waking up in paradise? Yeah, us too. Airlie Beach boasts the most stunning beach scenes this side of Bob Ross’s paintings, and you get a front row seat to its endlessly serene beauty all day.

    Today’s Highlights

    • Pinch yourself, make sure this isn’t a dream. Time to go hit the beach.
    • Though the bay is chock full of jellyfish, the public lagoon is a resort-level beach bunny’s dream, complete with sandy beach, grassy lawns, and plenty of space to turn up or chill out.
    • When life gives you an optional cruise to Whitehaven Beach, make lemonade and also take the cruise. A catamaran will whisk you to what may be the world’s greatest beaches, where you can have your day in the Sun.

    Free Time Suggestions

    Beaches: Not the landform, the bar. Spend the day with a cold beverage in an open-air beer garden right by the Airlie Beach Lagoon. Contrary to what the fat cats in advertising want you to believe, no one drinks Foster’s in Australia. Sample something local!

    Crikey!: Would it really be an Australian vacation if you didn’t get to see some crocodiles? No. No, it would not. Channel your inner Steve Irwin and take an eco-friendly tour of the Proserpine River Wetlands and get debatably too close for comfort to some saltwater crocs.

    Whitsunday Island Cruise(extra cost)

    Cruise out to Whitsunday Island and Whitehaven Beach to encounter some of the world’s whitest sand and most pristine water. We understand if you'll want to stay in this tropical oasis forever.

    Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

    Day 12: Travel to Sydney

    Today you’re off to the biggest city on the Great Southern Island: Sydney. Get all the 42 Wallaby Way jokes out of your system on the plane over, we have it on good authority that the address is made up.

    Today's Highlights:

    • Make like a kookaburra and fly—to Sydney. Your last stop in the outback.
    • Turn your attention to your Tour Director (who by now you should be referring to as Crocodile TD), you’re going for a harbor cruise tour of Sydney Harbor.
    • Set your sights on the uber-famous Sydney Opera House, where, if you listen carefully, you can almost hear the fat lady singing.
    • Float past iconic Sydney landmarks such as The Rocks, Mrs. Macquarrie’s Chair, and Bondi Beach—all of which you’ll have plenty of time to experience up close tomorrow.

    Free Time Suggestions
    Manly Beach: Looking for tickets to the gun show? The cost of admission to Manly Beach is one dumbbell curl. Just kidding, it’s free. Catch a quick ferry-ride from Sydney out to the preferred beach of the locals. No testosterone needed.
    The perfect night to dress like hipsters: Newtown is Sydney’s coolest neighborhood for those in search of their eclectic side. Go thrifting and see if you can snag a pair of Russell Crowe’s discarded jeans.

    Day 13: Sightseeing Tour of Sydney and Day at Bondi Beach

    This is it: the beach to make all other beaches blush. This quintessential strip of sand is the emerald oasis of Sydney’s sunbathing masses, and the future spot of your next sunburn. Perfect your doggie paddle in the breakers, or take the infinitely-‘Grammable Bondi to Bronte coastwalk and snap some doggie pictures with the furry locals.

    Today's Highlights:

    • Join your Tour Director for a guided walking tour of Australia’s biggest city.
    • Make sure someone gets your back (and your ears) as you follow your Tour Director down to beautiful Bondi Beach.
    • Spend the day swimming, sunbathing, or taking a long walk exploring the sandstone cliffs nearby.
    • Take an optional surfing lesson from a local pro and learn to read the waves in real-time.

    Surf Like a Big Kahuna(extra cost)

    Spend the day exploring one of Australia's most popular beaches. Ferry across picturesque Sydney Harbor, meet up with a pro surfing instructor for a 2-hour lesson, then put your skills to the test and hang 10.

    Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

    Day 14: Free Day in Sydney + Optional Hike Up the Blue Mountains

    It’s easy to forget Sydney was founded as a prison colony. But today’s your day to make out like a bandit in some of the Southern Hemisphere’s premiere shopping districts, make a break for the pub, or get your bad self some outdoors time in the Blue Mountains.

    Free Time Suggestions
    The most fun you can have underwater: Strap on a snorkel and follow along the Gordon’s Bay underwater nature trail, complete with submerged steel plaques describing the history and wildlife in the bay.
    Garden party: Pack a lunch (Tim Tams are a MUST) and hit the Royal Botanical Gardens that you saw from the harbor cruise on your first day here. Get a whiff of the roses and pretend you’re in “The Bachelor,” then pop a squat at Mrs. Macquarrie’s Chair for a scenic view of the waterfront.

    Farewell Dinner
    Share some last laughs (and maybe shed a few tears) at an included farewell dinner with the group.

    Day 15: Fly Home

    Goodbye, friends!
    Your next destination awaits—home. Before you head to the airport, enjoy your last few moments together. Take one more group photo. Grab that final drink. (Fine, maybe a couple of drinks.) But this isn’t goodbye. It’s “See you later.” The only question is, where?

    – or –


    1. Double the fun
    A lot of our trips line up back to back! Give us a call—we can help you add another and save big while you're at it.

    2. Go ahead or stay behind
    Extending your trip is easy! During checkout, you'll have the option to fly to (or from) the gateway of your choice for an additional fee. We'll adjust your flights accordingly, but you'll be responsible to take care of your transportation, hotels, and other logistics outside of tour.

    Note: Depending on your desired gateways, additional fees may apply.


Overall rating: 4.8 out of 5
Based on 26 authentic traveler reviews
  • Australia: the land down under for everyone!

      Victoria, traveled Dec 2019

    Australia is a country like no other! There is something for everyone and the Ausies are extremely welcoming. With this trip you will cover lots of bucket list items from the most amazing beaches, to the Great Barrier Reef, and the Sydney Opera House! All of the optional excursions are worth the add one plus there are tons of things to do once you arrive. Ho... See more

  • 15 days, 2 platypuses, a million memories, 5 stars

      Anonymous, traveled Sep 2019

    Wowiee what an unforgettable trip. This is my 4th trip with EF and honestly my favorite. It's hard to say what the best part was between the reefs, ocean rafting, Whitehaven Beach, holding koalas and throwing boomerangs. Ray, my tour director, was the best. He was super knowledgable, friendly, and funny. He gave us a ton of recommendations on stuff to do and... See more

  • Friends for life

      Anonymous, traveled Jul 2019

    I meet the most amazing people life long friends that i will cherish forever had the time of my life, the tour guide was amazing and made it a trip of a life time.

  • Iceland was beautiful

      Jenna, traveled Dec 2018

    Iceland was beautiful but 4 days is not enough time to spend in this country! You can do a solo trip and spend LESS money and have more time (and also camp and explore more of the land). I missed out on 2 full days of this trip because of flight delays due to weather in New York and Philly on my way over to Iceland. Also, EF booked me on a flight from phill... See more

Select a date to see prices


Related Trips

Explore all trips
Content slider slide go forward

009 cities

Back to top