Dine in cosmopolitan, vibrant Sydney, go wine-tasting in Hunter Valley, spot kangaroos in the Australian bush & soak up the sun on every beach from Sydney to Gold Coast
Day 1-4: Four Seasons Hotel, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Upon arrival at Sydney International Airport you will pick up your hire car and drive to Darling Harbour, in the heart of the city, where you will spend 3 nights. You will be able to spend the next few days at leisure, allowing you to adapt to over-come jetlag and sight-see at your own pace.
Over the next few days you can visit famous Bondi Beach, take a ferry to the lovely coastal town of Manly or enjoy a hair-raising walk across the arch of the Harbour Bridge. A visit to the Blue Mountains, a World Heritage Site, is also recommended. These beautiful mountains are permanently clad in a blue mist- created by eucalyptus oil evaropating into the air- and provide for an excellent day out hiking, mountain-biking or driving along one of the areas scenic routes.
Info: Four Seasons Hotel & Sydney
Four Seasons Hotel is the epitome of luxury and is located right in the heart of the city. The rooms have lovely king-size beds, large satellite televisions, unbeatable views of the harbour area, including the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. The pool offers a refreshing break from sight-seeing around the city and the loungers and pool-side flowers and decorations make the experience even more enjoyable. The main restaurant serves food of an exceptionally high standard and there is also a restaurant by the pool.
Sydney is arguably the most exciting to visit in Australia, as it is seen as the cultural centre of the country. It is home to a huge amount of chic bars, internationally renowned restaurants and many theatres, museums and galleries, which will keep you busy during the day and in the evenings.
Day 4 & 5: Peppers Guesthouse, Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia
Today you will pick up your hire-car from the city centre and drive to Hunter Valley (3.30hrs), passing through the city and over the Harbour Bridge en-route. You will be able to spend the next two days at leisure, visiting a variety of wineries, taking a horse and carriage ride through the vineyards, hire a bicycle and explore the area or drive into the mountains for a hike or picnic. You can also go bushwalking, buy local arts and crafts and antiques in town, or try some unique Hunter Valley cheese.
Info: Peppers Guest House & Hunter Valley
Cessnock, named after Cessnock Castle in Scotland by Scottish settler John Campbell, has today become the gateway to explore the surrounding wine-growing regions of the Hunter Valley. Once a coal-producing town, the economy is now primarily based on agriculture and wine-making, Hunter Valley is today one of Australia’s more scenic wine growing areas, with the Hunter River winding its way lazily through the grapevine-clad hills. Renowned for the production of top quality table wines, the Valley has wineries ranging from very large, more commercial estates to the smaller boutique style wineries.
Peppers Guest House is a contemporary style guesthouse offering relaxation in luxury surrounds, complimented by fine wine and gourmet dining in its award-winning restaurant. Offering a variety of accommodation styles, our retreat features 48 deluxe accommodation rooms and suites, each tastefully furnished in Peppers’ distinctive boutique style. There is also one exclusive self-contained, four-bedroom cottage.
Day 6 & 7: The Bank Guesthouse, Wingham, NSW, Australia
After breakfast you will depart Hunter Valley and travel along the Pacific Highway to Wingham (4hrs), with a scenic detour through Bulahdelah State Forest and the stunning Myall Lakes National Park. In the afternoon, after visiting the lakes, you can stop off en-route in Forster, where you can buy fresh oysters and fish for lunch. This popular resort town has an excellent beach for relaxing in the afternoon and dolphins are commonly spotted from the bridge in town. Upon arrival at the guesthouse you will have the evening and next day at leisure, allowing you to explore the charming country towns and stunning beaches of the area.
Info: The Bank Guesthouse & Wingham
The Bank Guesthouse is a lovely country guesthouse converted from a 1920s bank manager’s house. The rooms are all extremely spacious and comfortable, whilst retaining a degree of luxury and elegance. Tellers Restaurant offers excellent international cuisine and provides an intimate dining atmosphere.
Myall Lakes is one of the state’s largest coastal lake systems and is an essential wildlife conservation area. Forty kilometres of beaches and remarkable rolling sand dunes make Myall Lakes one of the most visited parks in NSW. The Grandis, a magnificent 76m flooded gum tree, is one of the tallest trees in the state. The lakes and beaches are perfect for water activities, with boats available for hire.
Day 8: Santa Fe Bed & Breakfast, Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia
In the morning, you will depart for Coffs Harbour (4hrs), stopping off at the beautiful coastal town of Port Macquarie for lunch and Dorrigo National Park in the afternoon. Upon arrival at Santa Fe Bed & Breakfast, your accommodation, you will have the rest of the day at leisure.
A scenic detour can also be taken by leaving the Pacific Highway at Kempsey and travelling towards the coast through the historic river village of Gladstone to reach the quiet holiday town of Hat Head. From there, you can travel north along the coast through parts of Hat Head National Park to reach the beautiful beaches of South West Rocks and the ruins of Trial Bay Gaol, dating back from the convict days. Afterwards, a visit to Dorrigo National Park is strongly recommended. It is one of Australia’s most accessible rainforest areas, with many hiking trails, sky-walks and raised platforms to allow you to see the rainforest’s abundant wildlife at close quarters.
Info: Sante Fe Bed and Breakfast & Coffs Harbour
Santa Fe offers a romantic and secluded experience, with beautiful grounds, a large swimming pool and a hearty al-fresco breakfast every morning. The rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated and each has its own deck overlooking the garden.
Coffs Harbour is a popular, year-round tourist destination. The combination of golden sand, high mountains, dense rainforests, steep banana plantations and clear streams make it a superb holiday area. Stop by the famed Big Banana, where you will find an audio-visual theatrette, Aboriginal Dreamtime Cave, historic exhibits, hydroponics glasshouse and a banana packing shed. Stroll along Coffs Promenade into the beautiful botanic gardens or spend time browsing the local art galleries and museums.
Day 9 & 10: Byron at Byron, Byron Bay, NSW, Australia
After breakfast, you will depart Coffs Harbour for Byron Bay (3hrs), travelling via “The Scottish Town” of Maclean for a quick stop. You can also join the coastal road here to Yamba, a lovely surfing spot and an ideal place for lunch. You will then carry on through the beautiful resort town of Lennox Head, which has a stunning, seven-mile beach, to Byron Bay.
Over the next two days, you can explore Byron Bay and its surrounds at your leisure. Sample some of the local range of activities, from tandem hang-gliding and parachute jumps to kayaking, surfing (or learning to surf), biking or horse-riding. The marine park at Julian Rocks, just off the main beach, is the meeting place of tropical and temperate currents, providing scuba divers and snorkellers with some amazing underwater encounters. There is a great walking trail to the top of the Cape, with stunning coastal views, and the lighthouse is the spot from which to watch for whales. The nearby Brunswick Heads, often seen as a smaller, quieter Byron Bay, is an excellent place for fish and chips and a walk along the river or beach.
Info: Byron at Byron & Byron Bay
Byron at Byron offers a chance to rejuvenate and completely unwind after a long journey. The luxurious rooms are all surrounded by rainforest and are within 200m of the beach, meaning that you can step on to your private balcony in the morning and enjoy the sound of the waves and the nature around you. The hotel has an excellent restaurant, a huge pool, tastefully designed gardens and decking, as well as being renowned for its hospitable staff.
Byron Bay is a mix of cultures and lifestyles. It has a year-round subtropical climate, with summer temperatures dominated by a cooling offshore breeze. Its beautiful beaches, nearby hinterland and cultural expression explain Byron’s burgeoning population and its attraction as a holiday destination. Cape Byron is the most easterly point of Australia, and is topped by an extremely powerful lighthouse.
Day 11: O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, Lamington National Park, Queensland, Australia
After a morning at leisure by the beach, you will drive on to O’Reilly’s Guesthouse in Lamington National Park (2hrs), visiting Currumbin Bird Sanctuary en-route.
In the afternoon, you can explore the diverse rainforest. One interesting way of viewing the park’s many wonders from above is via the rainforest canopy walk. Here visitors can stroll across a suspension bridge dangling 15 metres above the forest floor. This provides hikers with a chance of coming face-to-face with some of the brilliant birds which live in the dense canopy.
Info: O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat
The guesthouse provides luxury accommodation with private villas overlooking the rainforest and mountains of the national park, immersing you in nature. The rooms are very spacious, comfortable and private. O’Reilly’s can also organise Segway tours, guided walks and an interactive experience with some of the park’s wildlife, as the guesthouse is home to some indigenous birds of prey and reptiles.
Day 12: Outrigger Surfers’ Paradise, Surfers’ Paradise, Queensland, Australia
After breakfast you will drive back to the coast towards Surfers’ Paradise, where you will stay for 1 night.
Head into Gold Coast city for some modern comforts and excellent restaurants, relax on the beach or try some surfing lessons during your stay here.
Info: Outrigger Surfers’ Paradise & Surfers’ Paradise
Outrigger Surfers’ Paradise has lovely, comfortable rooms overlooking the Gold Coast and offering a wide range of amenities and activities. The hotel has a large, palm-fringed swimming pool in the expansive grounds, chic décor in the reception area and restaurant and offers a wide range of international and Australian cuisine. It is also only 100m from the beach and located round the corner from the main attractions of the town.
Surfers’ Paradise is the centre of the Gold Coast, the tourist capital of Australia. With a climate providing more than 300 days of sunshine per year, surfing and swimming beaches are incredibly popular. With many exciting theme parks, and a lush hinterland of national parks, mountain hideaways and spectacular views, it is no wonder the area draws so many visitors each year. You can visit Movie World for insights into movie-making, stunts and pyrotechnics, Sea World for sea lion and shark shows and Dreamworld theme-park for an adrenaline rush.
Day 13: Departure or Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Today, you will drive into Brisbane to have the day at leisure sight-seeing and relaxing. There is a wide range of museums and galleries, as well as a Koala sanctuary, which is well worth a visit. In the evening, you will drive to Brisbane International Airport for your evening flight back home. Alternatively, if you are on a morning flight, upon arrival into Brisbane, you will check-in to your hotel and have the day at leisure to explore the city. There is a huge choice of excellent restaurants, theatres and cinemas around the city.