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Enchanting East Coast Vacation

11 days 10 nights
Sydney to Brisbane
from NZD$4,960pp
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Road trip the east coast of Australia in 11 days, from Sydney to Brisbane. Receive an unforgettable introduction to Sydney with a guided sunset tour at Taronga Zoo. Visit kangaroos, koalas, giraffes, wombats and many other Australian natives at twilight, learning about their nighttime habits under the guidance of a local expert. The following day you will be treated to a morning tour of iconic landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Bondi Beach. 

Collecting your rental vehicle, begin your east coast exploration with a drive to Newcastle, passing the Australian Reptile Park, white sandy beaches with popular surf breaks and Australia's largest coastal saltwater lake, Lake Macquarie. From Newcastle, pass the Big Banana Fun Park, the largest waterpark between Sydney and the Gold Coast. Spend a few hours racing down waterslides, ice skating and playing mini-golf before an incredible cultural walking tour with Wajaana Yaam Adventure Tours.

Spend two nights in the popular coastal town, Byron Bay before arriving in the Gold Coast where you will encounter both native and exotic animals at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary including bilby, cassowary, tree-kangaroo and cotton-top tamarin. Visit the park's Wildlife Hospital, one of the busiest in the world, responsible for the treatment, rehabilitation and release of Australian wildlife. Don't forget to get your picture with a koala!

End your vacation in Brisbane after a drive through the Scenic Rim, an incredible driving route with stunning mountain ranges and peculiar topography. Your final days in Brisbane can be spent relaxing in your apartment or creating more memories. Ask our Australian Specialists to extend your holiday with a visit to Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort or Tangaloom Island Resort!

Family touringWildlife & nature
Tour full itinerary
Itinerary
Enchanting East Coast Vacation - Day 1
Private Transfer from Sydney Airport to your accommodation with UltiMate Executive Transfers

On arrival, a private transfer will collect you from Sydney Airport and transfer you to your accommodation.

Arrive into Sydney

Sydney is Australia's most famous city and with almost 20% of the country's population, is also Australia's largest city. Situated on the east coast of Australia it has beautiful white sand beaches, including the famous Bondi Beach and Manly Beach as well as the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and of course, the Sydney Opera House. Rich in history, art, and food Sydney has something for everyone.

Taronga Sunset Walk

Want to discover a side to Taronga Zoo Sydney you’ve never seen before? This guided sunset walk through Taronga Zoo is your chance to experience twilight at one of the world's finest zoological gardens. Follow your guide through the zoo's endemic Australian animal displays. The Australian Walkabout Tour includes a visit to the kangaroos, koalas, wombats, echidnas and Australian birds.

Your accommodation: Mantra 2 Bond Street Sydney

Sydney is yours for the taking when you stay at Mantra 2 Bond Street. With tourist attractions like Sydney Harbour, Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay and Darling Harbour right on your doorstep. Take it all in as you overlook the Harbour from the rooftop's heated pool and spa.

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Enchanting East Coast Vacation - Day 2
Panoramic Sydney Sights Tour with AEA Luxury Tours

Visit the historic Rocks area and hear of early convict history. Marvel at 18th century sandstone architecture such as NSW Parliament House, Rum Hospital, Hyde Park Barracks and St Mary’s Cathedral. Head to Mrs. Macquaries Point, to enjoy magnificent views of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Continue through Sydney's Eastern Suburbs, home to the rich and famous. Travelling along the coves and shores of one of the world's most impressive harbours, You will pass through areas such as Kings Cross, Double Bay, and Rose Bay before arriving at Watsons Bay. Here, you will have the option of a short coastal walk with views of the South Pacific Ocean and the entrance to Sydney harbour.
Visit the Bondi beachfront promenade, put your toes in the sand, enjoy a coffee or cool drink (at your own cost). See bronzed Aussie lifesavers and surfers riding the waves of Bondi. Continue on to Tamarama and Bronte beaches before returning to the city via Centennial Park and Paddington, a trendy district with its elegant terrace houses and boutique shops along Oxford street.

Explore Sydney

Often mistaken as Australia's capital city, Sydney is a vibrant coastal city with plenty to see and do. Starting in Circular Quay you will catch your first views of the two big icons, Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. From here you can catch one of the quintessential harbour ferries over to Manly Beach or Taronga Zoo, catching a glimpse of Kirribilli House, the Prime Minister's official Sydney residence, on the way over. Kirribilli is also home to one of Sydney's oldest markets at the Kirribilli Neighbourhood Centre twice a month. It is known for its stalls of vintage clothing, arts, delicious street food and its lively community atmosphere - so if you are in town on a market day, you can't miss it. For a relaxing end to your day of exploration, your dinner options are aplenty. From high-end restaurants around Circular Quay that offer amazing views, to the Chinatown food courts and a broad range of eateries at Barangaroo, you will be spoiled for choice.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - The Rocks Aboriginal Dreaming Tour (Illi Langi) with Dreamtime Southern X

Be touched by the most ancient human culture on earth in a 90-minute leisurely walkabout with an Aboriginal guide in The Rocks, and journey into DreamTime, the culture of Aboriginal People. Get inspired as you discover the oldest ecology, conservation, sustainability, astrology and spiritual beliefs on earth today. Connect with Australian skies, lands and waters, and the experiences of 'always walking Country'. Feel empowered by learning how to teach others to navigate Dreamtime pathways, whenever, in the city or out in the bush.

Your accommodation: Mantra 2 Bond Street Sydney

Sydney is yours for the taking when you stay at Mantra 2 Bond Street. With tourist attractions like Sydney Harbour, Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay and Darling Harbour right on your doorstep. Take it all in as you overlook the Harbour from the rooftop's heated pool and spa.

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Enchanting East Coast Vacation - Day 3
Sydney Living Museums - suggested activity

Created in 1980 as part of the protection, care and maintenance of the historic sights throughout Sydney and New South Wales, the Sydney Living Museums allow an insight into Colonial Sydney and how modern Australia began back in 1788 and continued well into the early 1800s. It consists of 14 different locations from central Sydney to locations West, South and North of the city centre. These sites range from heritage-listed residences to gardens that have now been used as museums. Have some spare time on your hands for a day or half-day, most of these iconic locations are all within a stone’s throw of Circular Quay.
Entrance fees for each of these attractions vary and can be paid directly upon entry.

Collect your rental car

Our rental car range includes the latest vehicles from the top suppliers. We have a fantastic range, from economy hatchbacks to prestige sedans and SUVs. Insurance can often be included with a small excess or deductible.

Sydney to Newcastle via Central Coast

After departing Sydney through the leafy northern suburbs, take the scenic route to the Central Coast. A popular stop on the way is the Australian Reptile Park, where you can see an array of local animals and even feed a kangaroo or cuddle a koala.
Continuing along the highway, you should take some time to explore the area with towns like Terrigal, Avoca Beach and The Entrance which are home to long sandy beaches, popular surf breaks, and great cafes and restaurants.
Continue north, skirting Lake Macquarie, Australia's largest coastal saltwater lake before arriving into Newcastle, the second biggest city in NSW.

Your accommodation: Terminus Apartment Hotel Newcastle

Just an 8-minute walk from the sandy shores of Newcastle Beach, Terminus Apartment Hotel Newcastle offers self-contained apartments. Some feature a balcony with beautiful harbour or city views. Queens Wharf Light Rail Station is 150 m away.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 147 kms / 91 miles : 2.2 hours

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Enchanting East Coast Vacation - Day 4
Newcastle to Coffs Harbour

This full day journey follows the Pacific Highway north, through coastal national parks, across waterways and with plenty of detours available to small towns, all with their own charms. 
Stop into Port Macquarie to stretch your legs on the white sandy beaches and stop for lunch and pop into the Koala Hospital to learn about Australia's cutest inhabitants, the threats that they face, and the important conservation work done by the hospital's staff and volunteers.
If you're a country music fan, take a short detour into Kempsey, where a visit to the Slim Dusty Museum will give you an insight into the history of country music in Australia and local icon, Slim Dusty. Kempsey is also home to the Akubra hat factory, so for a truly authentic souvenir, a visit to the showroom is a must.
Continue another hour north to your destination, Coffs Harbour. Grab a photo with the famous Big Banana, symbolic of one of the regions largest economic drivers, the tropical fruit industry. With gorgeous beaches and spectacular lookouts, this is a great place to put your feet up and relax.

Big Banana Coffs Harbour - suggestion

Visit the Big Banana - the world's giant Banana statue at the entrance of the theme park, making an excellent stop for a fun selfie in Coffs Harbor before exploring the theme park! Explore the gift shop, learn about the history of the banana, or take part in all or some of the 10 attractions on site! From water parks, ice-skating, slides, tours, a kid's zone, a reptile world, and much much more- it will be a day full of fun for everyone from small to big.
Pricing and more information: https://bigbanana.com/

Giingan Cultural Walking Tour with Wajaana Yaam Adventure Tours

This 2-hour tour takes guests on a cultural journey showcasing the local Gumbaynggirr language, bush tucker and Dreaming stories while walking easy grades through the Orara East State Forest. Your tour guides are all Gumbaynggirr or Aboriginal people who have strong ties to Gumbaynggirr country. Throughout your tour they will teach you about local Gumbaynggirr stories and language, and even help you find bush delicacies that you can sample as you bask in the ambience of the panoramic views, uniquely beautiful rainforest flora, and tranquil sounds of native fauna.

Your accommodation: BreakFree Aanuka Beach

Positioned on the stunning Northern New South Wales Coastline, BreakFree Aanuka Beach Resort offers everything you need in your Coffs Harbour accommodation, with recreation and relaxation all rolled into one, making for a delightful beach escape.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 377 kms / 234 miles : 3.9 hours

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Enchanting East Coast Vacation - Day 5
Coffs Harbour to Byron Bay

Today's drive will cover about 240km up the Pacific Coast, leaving you plenty of opportunities to stop off and take in the sights. Before heading off from Coffs Harbour, head to the Solitary Islands Marine Park to explore the surrounding waters on a snorkelling tour. These waters are home to diverse coral, colourful fish, turtles, and dolphins.
From Coffs Harbour, snake along the coast for 120km until you reach signs for Yamba. This sleepy hamlet has beaches that rival those of Byron Bay but remains a little more low-profile. Take a stroll on one of the beautiful beaches, or head to the Pacific Hotel for some great views.
From Yamba, return to the Pacific Highway and continue to head north. If you want an opportunity to spot a second "big thing" today, take a short detour into Ballina to see the Big Prawn. Back on the highway, it's just 30km (18 miles) further to your final destination, Byron Bay.

Your accommodation: Byron Central Apartments

Byron Central offers clean spacious modern well-appointed apartments with a resort theme, a large swimming pool to take a cool refreshing dip in, and close to all the fun and lively activity Byron Bay is known for.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 219 kms / 136 miles : 2.1 hours

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Enchanting East Coast Vacation - Day 6
Explore Byron Bay

Byron Bay is Australia's easternmost town and is home to beautiful beaches, lush rainforest, luxury retreats and some fantastic restaurants. People have always been drawn to the region for its fantastic surf, but today it also caters to those looking for a slow-paced break.
Take advantage of some of the town's beautiful walks, such as the Cape Byron track - the perfect place to watch the sunrise. This 3.7km loop takes you through rainforest and shear cliffs with panoramic views of the region. If you're there between June and November keep your eyes peeled for whales migrating along the coast.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Byron and Beyond Tour with Byron Bay Adventure Tours

Experience the best of Byron Bay in this comprehensive full day tour. Your first stop will take you to the iconic Byron Bay Lighthouse where you will enjoy 360 degree views over the stunning mountain landscape and Pacific Ocean. Visitors during May to October travel to the lighthouse to witness the annual whale migration. Your next stop will be at The Farm, a sustainable farm and food experience with pigs, Scottish Highland cattle and chickens. In the Byron Hinderland, marvel at the natural crystals and garden labyrinth within the mystical Crystal Castle. You will then enjoy a BBQ-style lunch and have some free time to explore the town of Bangalow before returning back to Byron Bay.

Your accommodation: Byron Central Apartments

Byron Central offers clean spacious modern well-appointed apartments with a resort theme, a large swimming pool to take a cool refreshing dip in, and close to all the fun and lively activity Byron Bay is known for.

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Enchanting East Coast Vacation - Day 7
Byron Bay to Surfers Paradise

The drive from Byron Bay to Surfers Paradise will see you crossing state lines from New South Wales to Queensland. This short drive will take little more than an hour, so have a leisurely start to your morning in Byron Bay before hitting the road.
Travel past Coolangatta, a surf and diving mecca revered for its unpretentious culture and bountiful array of aquatic life. Continue through the Gold Coast, famed for its white-sand beaches, theme parks, and shopping. At the northern end of the Gold Coast you will reach the iconic Surfers Paradise. Take a surf lesson, or, for a bird's eye view of the city and surrounding beaches, head up the 270m tall (886 foot) Q1 building.

One Day SkyPoint Admission

SkyPoint offers panoramic views of the Gold Coast from the top the iconic Q1 building in Surfers Paradise. The 360° views extend to the New South Wales border and out to the magnificent, lush Gold Coast Hinterland. SkyPoint is one of Queensland’s most iconic tourist attractions as it gives you a bird’s eye view of the ‘Famous for Fun’ Gold Coast from a unique vantage point 230 metres above Surfers Paradise.

Your accommodation: The Breakers Absolute Beachfront Apartments

Located on the Beach Front, direct access to the beach- Relax and unwind with breathtaking ocean and sweeping panoramic views. The Breakers boasts a great position, centrally located between Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 90 kms / 56 miles : 1.2 hours

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Enchanting East Coast Vacation - Day 8
Gold Coast

The Gold Coast's star attraction is its white sand beaches, including the world-famous stretch of sand at Surfers Paradise. Beyond the beaches, a the Gold Coast boasts Australia's tallest building - the Q1, a booming culinary scene, rainforest walks and the Gold Coast's famous theme parks.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary Day Pass Koala Photo

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is a heritage-listed zoological garden. The multitude of events, shows, and attractions include dingo encounters, koalas, kangaroos, wombats, free-flight bird shows, and the feeding of the park's massive saltwater crocodile. You will step back in time with a visit to Lost Valley and a journey through the ancient supercontinent Gondwana. Here, you will experience exotic Australian wildlife, including Cotton Top Tamarins, Red Panda, Capybaras, and four Ring Tail Lemurs. You can also visit the Extinction Trail, where you step back in time and learn about prehistoric times when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. The park also contains a serious aspect of its work and exhibits, and behind the scenes includes a state-of-the-art veterinary and rehabilitation hospital. The Sanctuary is a non-profit organization that invests in world famous Wildlife Research and Conservation Projects, to help save some amazing species from extinction. Their world famous Wildlife Hospital is one of the busiest in the world; the care and treatment are funded from park admissions, visitors, and donations from the public. You are welcome to visit the hospital and see the day-to-day workings from a viewing deck. Enjoy your day seeing the wildlife and learning about everything from Koalas to Wombats and Reptiles to the ring-tailed lemur.

Your accommodation: The Breakers Absolute Beachfront Apartments

Located on the Beach Front, direct access to the beach- Relax and unwind with breathtaking ocean and sweeping panoramic views. The Breakers boasts a great position, centrally located between Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach.

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Enchanting East Coast Vacation - Day 9
Gold Coast to Brisbane via the Scenic Rim

The Scenic Rim driving route between Gold Coast and Brisbane is one of spectacular beauty, bursting with stunning mountain ranges and unique topography. Nestled in an ancient volcanic caldera, its abundance of flora, fauna, scenery and local produce is not to be missed.
Begin your journey by making your way westbound out of the city towards Nerang, and from there carry on west to Canungra. Once you reach Canungra, you will head south on Lamington National Park Road.
This UNESCO World Heritage site will take your breath away with its exceptional beauty. Home to rainforest, ancient trees, deep valleys and streams, you can immerse yourself in its 160km of walking trails. If you are looking for an easy walk, head for the Centenary Track which should take roughly 30 minutes. If you're feeling a bit more invigorated, carry on to the Morans Falls Track from Centenary Track for a 2 hour return journey.
After you've had your fix of short walks, head back to Canungra before heading north towards Tamborine Mountain. Home to a Rainforest Skywalk, Treetop Challenge, and brewery, there is something for everyone in the family. The plateau is the product of lava flow from the Mount Warning volcanic eruption 22 million years ago and prior to European settlement, it was inhabited by Aboriginal People for tens of thousands of years. Today, it is celebrated for its natural beauty, exceptional fresh produce and abundance of outdoor activities.
Drive north towards Brisbane and if you're still hungry, Yatala Pies are a Queensland icon, making meat pies for over 130 years and definitely worth a quick stop. From here, get back on the motorway and follow it all the way into Brisbane.

Brisbane Street's Beach - suggestion

A South Bank icon, Streets Beach is a must-visit while you’re in Brisbane. It is Australia’s only inner-city, man-made beach, and it boasts a sparkling lagoon surrounded by white, sandy beaches and sub-tropical plants. It is the perfect antidote to the corporate bustle of the CBD across the river. Streets Beach, with its pristine powder white sand, lifeguards, and permanent huddle of sun-kissed bathers, offers a great spot to cool down and escape the heat. South Bank is also home to a host of free-to-use, public barbeque spots, so why not plan a full day out and make the most of what's on offer in the city's parklands? Streets Beach, Aquativity, and the Boat Pool are free to use and are patrolled by qualified lifeguards all year round.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - 90 Minute Sight Seeing Cruise with River City Cruises

Cruising along the beautiful Brisbane River, sit back and relax as your skipper takes you along the calm waterways. Aboard the boat, you will get a complimentary Devonshire tea, with a tea or coffee to enjoy along the ride. Throughout your tour enjoy the sights of the city including the Riverside precincts, Kangaroo Point, homes of the rich and famous, historical landmarks, and much much more.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Twilight Climb with Story Bridge Adventure

Experience Brisbane like no other than climbing the Story Bridge during twilight. As the sun begins its descent, the sky is painted with vibrant colors, the city lights are sparkling and the city is beginning to undertake the transition from day to night. As you reach the summit you will be greeted with stunning views of the CBD, as you are climbing around, your guide will provide knowledgeable information about the bridge and the surroundings.

Your accommodation: The Manor Apartment Hotel

The Manor Apartment Hotel is a Heritage listed building with contemporary style hotel rooms as well as One and Two Bedroom Apartments overlooking Queen Street Mall, Post Office Square, Anzac Square and Cathedral Square.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 174 kms / 108 miles : 3.3 hours

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Enchanting East Coast Vacation - Day 10
Brisbane

Brisbane is the third-largest city in Australia and is the capital of Queensland, the "Sunshine State". It is set along the Brisbane River and was the traditional home to the Jagera and Turrbal Aboriginal clans before Europeans founded a convict colony in what is now the central business district in 1824. Over the years it grew and by 1859 was formally established as a city. Today, Brisbane is one of the fastest-growing cities in Australia and has a rich, culturally diverse population.
Spend your day eating and shopping your way through the CBD and Fortitude Valley, or cross the bridge and visit picturesque Southbank, with beautiful parklands and the Cultural Precinct, home to some of the state's best museums and galleries.

Explore Brisbane

Brisbane is a hub of activities and attractions. With its unique blend of urban sophistication and natural beauty, Brisbane offers something for everybody. Starting the day early, one could begin by exploring the South Bank Parklands, a sprawling riverside precinct filled with lush gardens, walking paths, and stunning views of the city skyline. Take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque Brisbane River, visit the iconic Wheel of Brisbane for a panoramic view, or enjoy a relaxing breakfast at one of the charming riverside cafes. Next, consider delving into the cultural scene by visiting the Queensland Cultural Centre, which houses the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA). Art enthusiasts can immerse themselves in a diverse range of local and international artworks, while history buffs can explore the Queensland Museum or the Museum of Brisbane. For a taste of the city's history, a visit to the Story Bridge and Kangaroo Point Cliffs Park is a must. The Story Bridge Adventure Climb offers breathtaking views of the city from its summit, and the Kangaroo Point Cliffs provide a perfect spot for picnics. Afterwards, make your way to the vibrant Fortitude Valley, known for its trendy boutiques, bustling markets, and eclectic mix of cafes and restaurants. Explore the Brunswick Street Mall, discover unique fashion finds, and indulge in a delicious lunch at one of the local eateries. To complete the day, a visit to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is highly recommended. As the world's oldest and largest koala sanctuary, visitors can cuddle koalas, hand-feed kangaroos, and get up close to a variety of Australian wildlife.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Return River Cruise and entry to Lone Pine Sanctuary

This popular cruise has been taking visitors to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary for over 60 years and is a "must-do" experience while in Brisbane. The cruise travels through the city's most historic landscapes, iconic attractions, historical homesites and interesting wildlife habitats as you listen to an entertaining and informative commentary. Enjoy 3 hours exploring Lone Pine, before re-joining the cruise for a relaxing return journey on the river back to the city.

Your accommodation: The Manor Apartment Hotel

The Manor Apartment Hotel is a Heritage listed building with contemporary style hotel rooms as well as One and Two Bedroom Apartments overlooking Queen Street Mall, Post Office Square, Anzac Square and Cathedral Square.

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Enchanting East Coast Vacation - Day 11
Return your vehicle to Brisbane Airport

Explore more of Brisbane before dropping your rental car at the airport depot and continuing your onward journey.

Farewell from Australia

Farewell Australia today. If there is more of Australia or New Zealand you would like to explore, talk to your sales consult about planning your next stop!

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Enchanting East Coast Vacation

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