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East Coast Sun, Sand and Wildlife Tour

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Begin your east coast adventure on the sunny Gold Coast and soak up the vibrant, bustling atmosphere. Enjoy a spectacular sunrise hot air balloon ride, and then decide whether to beachcomb or thrill-seek at one of the famous theme parks. Travel south to the uber-cool Byron Bay and try sea kayaking for a splash of fun. A night at Emerald Beach in Coffs Harbour will provide even more time to indulge in the relaxed beach culture of the east coast before continuing on through Newcastle, to reach the epic city of Sydney. Take in the harbour sights on a lunch cruise, and perhaps visit Taronga Zoo at sundown as many of its residents enjoy their dinner, and you farewell your final Australian sunset.

Classic driving toursFamily touringWildlife & nature
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Self Drive Tour

This suggested tour costs from AUD$4,474 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Sydney, finishes in Brisbane

9 days/8 nights

Apartments

 Rental car included

 Viewed 25 times in the last 7 days

Tour full itinerary
ITINERARY
East Coast Sun, Sand and Wildlife Tour - Day 1
Arrive into 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 mobs before Europeans founded a convict colony in what is now the central business district in 1824.
Modern-day Brisbane is one of the fastest-growing cities in Australia and has a rich, culturally diverse population. There is no shortage of attractions to visit and explore. Across the river from the CBD, South Bank is home to the city's Cultural Centre with world-class galleries and entertainment. Just an hour from the city, discover Brisbane’s stunning natural surrounds including the Scenic Rim and Somerset World Heritage rainforests, lookouts and majestic mountain peaks, while Moreton Island and Redlands Coast offer pristine waters, wildlife experiences, diving and snorkelling.

Private transfer Brisbane Airport to your accommodation

On arrival, you will be met by a private driver and delivered to your Broachbeach/Surfers Paradise accommodation.

Your accommodation: Avani Broadbeach Residences

55 stories high- overlooking the edge of the City. Explore the weave like patterns that design the hotel! Minutes away from the city- a perfect destination to enjoy all the City has to offer.

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East Coast Sun, Sand and Wildlife Tour - Day 2
Broadbeach

Broadbeach is a suburb of the Gold Coast that lies just 10 minutes south of Surfers Paradise. The bustling hotspot merges a chilled out beachside atmosphere with a polished urban undertone. The beautiful beaches are surrounded by parklands which play host to a range of events, from markets and yoga classes, to annual music festivals. Peppered with 5-star restaurants and casual alfresco dining options, there's something to satisfy everyone's taste. If retail therapy is like the icing on top of your holiday experience, Broadbeach is also home to Pacific Fair, one of the largest shopping precincts in Australia with more than 300 stores for your perusal.

Gold Coast Classic Ballooning and Vineyard Breakfast with Hot Air

Be collected from your accommodation at pre-dawn and taken to the launch site to witness the inflation of the balloon. Once inflated you'll be amazed at its height, standing 10 stories tall. Your guide will have you in the balloon ready for launch as the sun is coming up. Feel at peace as you look out at the rolling hills, open fields, and stunning country land as the sun rises and you gently float across the skies, overlooking the famous Gold Coast Hinterland and Scenic Rim. As your flight is coming to an end the pilot will slowly guide the ballon to the landing point where the fun continues - once you have landed, experience the pack down of the balloon and come together with the pilot and crew, share a toast with a glass of bubbly to celebrate the fantastic flight you had before you receive your commemorative certificate! Enjoy an exclusive boutique vineyard hot breakfast to end the beautiful morning in the sky.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Gold Coast City Tour & River Cruise with Aquaduck Gold Coast

The “World’s First” amphibious Aquaduck Safari, operating since 1996, is an established Gold Coast icon.
Departing from the heart of Surfers Paradise, tours aboard the amphibious ‘Duck’ combine informative city tours with a unique and exciting river cruise, travelling past the glitzy waterfront mansions of the rich and famous and taking in the spectacular views of the Gold Coast waterways and its famous landmarks.

Your accommodation: Avani Broadbeach Residences

55 stories high- overlooking the edge of the City. Explore the weave like patterns that design the hotel! Minutes away from the city- a perfect destination to enjoy all the City has to offer.
Meals included: Breakfast

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East Coast Sun, Sand and Wildlife Tour - Day 3
Choose your style of rental vehicle

Our rental car range includes the latest vehicles from the top suppliers. From economy hatchbacks to SUVs, we can help you decide on a car suitable for this leg of your trip. Insurance can often be included with a small excess or deductible.

Collect your rental car from the Surfers Paradise depot

Head to the Surfers Paradise depot today to collect your chosen rental car, and continue your journey.

Explore the Gold Coast

Famed for its beaches, including the world-renowned Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast has plenty to offer away from the sand and sea. In order to make the most of your free day make sure you include some of the following:
Beach hop between Coolangatta and Currumbin or take a surf lesson at Surf In Paradise from The Spit near Main Beach. Consider heading over to Wave Break Island with Queensland Scuba Diving and experience the fantastic snorkeling and diving. For the more experienced surfers, head to Burleigh Heads. This beach often has whales from April to September.
If thrills are what you are after, head to any one of Gold Coast's world-class theme parks. Holoverse, Wet 'n' Wild, Sea World, Infinity Attraction and Topgolf Gold Coast are just a few.
For those looking for wildlife encounters, look no further than Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. This iconic park gives its visitors the opportunity to wander through open animal enclosures, feed kangaroos and befriend cuddly koalas. It's newest precinct is home to lemurs, cotton-top tamarins, red pandas, capybaras, and exotic birds and reptiles. As a non-profit organisation, all proceeds are put back into wildlife and conservation programs.
Feeling a bit peckish? Rick Shores and the Fish House are popular spots at Burleigh Heads for lunch and dinner. If you're hoping for a craft beer experience, have a pint of one of the award-winning beers from Burleigh Brewing Company, Black Hops, Fortitude Brewing Co., Balter or Lost Palms Brewing Company.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - One Day Admission to Dreamworld

Dreamworld is the ultimate theme park for family fun! Here you will find thrill-seeking rides for that spine-tingling experience the adrenaline junkies amongst you will love. If thrills aren't quite for you, visit Tiger Island to get up close and personal with tigers that are part of conservation work with DWF. You can also immerse yourself in the daily wildlife presentations, cuddle a koala, meet a dingo or witness crocodile feeding time! More than just rides, slides and wildlife, there are also live performances and daily shows, including a foam party!

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Private Surf Lessons with Surf In Paradise

Learn to surf at a beautiful beach on the Gold Coast, only 10 minutes from Surfer's Paradise. Perfect for beginners with a protected beach and the lowest student to coach ratios on the Gold Coast, you are sure to have a fun experience and guaranteed to stand in your first lesson.

Your accommodation: Avani Broadbeach Residences

55 stories high- overlooking the edge of the City. Explore the weave like patterns that design the hotel! Minutes away from the city- a perfect destination to enjoy all the City has to offer.

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East Coast Sun, Sand and Wildlife Tour - Day 4
Gold Coast to Byron Bay

Your 100km (62 mile) journey from Surfers Paradise to Byron Bay takes you south on the M1 motorway into New South Wales. Crossing the Tweed River you will continue on the motorway for approximately 40 minutes before you will see the main turn off for Byron Bay, Ewingsdale Road. This takes you into the heart of Byron Bay, one of Australia's most famous coastal towns where celebrities live amongst hippies and surfers.

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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Night Vision Eco Walk

The Night Vision Walk is a truly one-of-a-kind experience. Imagine exploring the Australian rainforest at night, searching for nocturnal wildlife. Instead of wielding a torch, you’re incognito, wearing special night vision goggles. This is military grade technology that lets you see animals as they go about their business.

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: 90 kms / 56 miles : 1.2 hours

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East Coast Sun, Sand and Wildlife Tour - Day 5
Byron Bay Sea Kayak Tour with Go Sea Kayak Byron Bay

Your kayak tour begins on the beach front in Byron Bay where you will pair up on 2-person kayaks and have a quick kayaking lesson. Once you hit the ocean you will paddle out past the shore break and learn about local Aboriginal stories and sacred places, paddle along 'The Pass' surfing mecca and Australia's most easterly point, Cape Byron. Here you can take in the stunning views of the stunning coastline of Byron Bay and its famous Cape Byron Lighthouse, and keep an eye out for dolphins, whales and turtles popping up in the Cape Byron Marine Park. As you paddle back to the main beach you can even surf a wave back to the shore.

Byron Bay to Coffs Harbour

This 240km (149 miles) journey takes you through the North Coast of New South Wales, an area renowned for its breathtaking beauty, native wildlife, surfing heritage and excellent fishing. Just 45 minutes south of Byron you can take a short detour to stop off in the coastal town of Ballina. Grab morning tea or an early lunch at one of the many cafes, visit the Big Prawn or stretch your legs on the beach.
Back on the Pacific Highway, continue south for 200km (124 miles) until you reach Coffs Harbour. Located at the edge of the Solitary Islands Marine Park, it is a haven for dolphins, tropical fish, turtles and migrating whales. The Solitary Islands coastal walk has spectacular vantage points for whale watching between May and November, with the headlands offering superb views.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Big Banana Coffs Harbour - suggested activity

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/

Your accommodation: Discovery Park Emerald Beach

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 234 kms / 145 miles : 2.5 hours

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East Coast Sun, Sand and Wildlife Tour - Day 6
Coffs Harbour to Newcastle

Today's journey follows the Pacific Highway, through coastal national parks, across waterways and with plenty of detours available to small towns, all with their own charms. You can stop at 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. Continue driving down South and you will be passing Myall Lakes National Park, large coastal lake system, which offers great walking, kayaking and pristine bushland. You can make 40 min detour and visit Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse. It is an easy short walk near Seal Rocks with spectacular views. After then, keep following Pacific Highway towards Newcastle, a harbour city surrounded by golden beaches. Grab a coffee from one of the many independent cafes and explore what's on offer at weekly craft and farmer markets or pop into one of the galleries or Newcastle Museum. You can also explore the peninsula, relax at beautiful beaches near Nelson Bay and go for a walk up to Tomaree Head Summit.

Port Macquarie Koala Hospital - suggested activity

The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital was established in 1973 and is a licensed wildlife rehabilitation facility. The Hospital is a popular tourist attraction which welcomes thousands of national and international visitors every year. The Hospital is also a scientific research, training and education centre.
The Koala Hospital consists of exhibit enclosures, a treatment clinic, intensive care units and rehabilitation yards, many of which have trees for koalas to learn to climb as part of the rehabilitation process. There is also a Koalaseum - a museum for Koalas which provides information on koala evolution and biology and interactive displays so visitors can touch koala fur or look down a microscope at koala poos (scat).
Admission is free, so we recommend bringing some cash to donate to their valuable conservation work.

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: 385 kms / 239 miles : 4.1 hours

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East Coast Sun, Sand and Wildlife Tour - Day 7
Wildlife Encounter with a Reptile at Oakvale Wildlife Park

Encounter, meet & greet a reptile in person at Oakvale Wildlife Park. This 20-minutes, behind the scene, tour includes a keeper talk on reptile, and feeding a reptile. In addition, you will get a professional photo with a lizard, snake or small saltwater crocodile (*species subject to keeper approval on the day).

Newcastle to Sydney

SydneySydneyYour today's journey down to Sydney starts at harbour city Newcastle. You can drive on Pacific Highway or do a detour towards Caves Beach. It is a locality on the Swansea peninsula between Lake Macquarie and Pacific Ocean. Explore a network of sculptural sea caves (accessed only at low tide), walk up to the lookout or have a picnic on a beach. You can also spend some time by the Lake Macquarie, apparently the largest seawater lake in the Southern Hemisphere. Wander the spectacular coastline on the Coastal Walking Track in Wallarah National Park. Keep an eye out for majestic humpback whales (May - November) or you could spot a dolphin throughout the year. If you feel like meeting more native wildlife, when you are back on the Pacific Motorway (M1), you can pop into the Australian Reptile Park, or for something more scenic, take the exit at Gosford for a great little stopover at Norah Head Lighthouse, standing proudly on the coast since 1903. After then, take again M1 Highway down to vibrant capital of New South Wales - Sydney.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Hunter Valley Brokenwood Match at Brokenwood Wines - Wine & Canapes Included

Immerse yourself in the world of Brokenwood at their stunning cellar door. A friendly concierge will welcome you and guide you to a cozy tasting pod. Settle in for a guided flight unlike any other. Savor six expertly chosen Brokenwood wines, each paired with a delicious, seasonal canapé. Witness the magic unfold as the flavors dance together, elevating both the food and the wine. This 45-minute experience is perfect for exploring the intricacies of wine and food pairings at your own pace.

Your accommodation: Adina Apartment Hotel Sydney, Darling Harbour

Located on King Street Wharf with views of the Harbour, Adina Apartment Hotel Darling Harbour offers an idyllic Sydney experience. One of Sydney’s entertainment hot spots, Darling Harbour dazzles with its countless bars, eateries and family-friendly attractions.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 126 kms / 79 miles : 1.3 hours

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East Coast Sun, Sand and Wildlife Tour - Day 8
Sydney Harbour Discovery Cruise

Experience the vastness of Sydney Harbour with its many secluded beaches and spectacular sandstone cliffs. Visit one of Sydney Harbour National Park’s protected Islands; a hidden gem right in the middle of the harbour and discover natural bushland, once common around Sydney. Listen to commentary on the history of Sydney Harbour as well as details of the marine life that inhabits its sandy beaches, grassy sea beds and rocky shores. Enjoy a buffet-style Aussie BBQ lunch onboard including salad and vegetables - and all this with great views of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

The Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney - suggested activity

Located on the lands of the Cadigal Peoples, the Royal Botanic Gardens of Sydney are Australia's oldest scientific institution and one of the oldest botanic gardens in the Southern Hemisphere. Located just a short walk from Circular Quay and Hyde Park, the garden looks out over Sydney Harbour and has thousands of plant specimens. Wildlife in the garden includes colourful birds, fruit bats and water dragons. The Calyx is a world-class horticultural space, with changing exhibitions designed to capture your imagination.

Barangaroo - suggested activity

One of Sydney’s most recent and ambitious renewal projects, Barangaroo belies very little of its former life as an industrial container terminal. Weaving along the water’s edge, the precinct is bursting with incredible eateries, parklands, exciting shopping, cultural experiences, and the six-star Crown Hotel. Coming from Walsh Bay, begin your exploration by dipping into Barangaroo Reserve.
This large landscaped green space provides beautiful vantage points, lovely lawns, and the purpose-built Cutaway event space. Not to be missed is the important audio-visual artwork Wellama, which welcomes visitors to Gadigal country, and the multimedia Indigenous experience Ngangamay, embedded in the sandstone and accessed via a downloadable app, that honours Barangaroo, the powerful Aboriginal woman after whom the precinct is named.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Sunset Walk at Taronga Zoo

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: Adina Apartment Hotel Sydney, Darling Harbour

Located on King Street Wharf with views of the Harbour, Adina Apartment Hotel Darling Harbour offers an idyllic Sydney experience. One of Sydney’s entertainment hot spots, Darling Harbour dazzles with its countless bars, eateries and family-friendly attractions.
Meals included: Lunch

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East Coast Sun, Sand and Wildlife Tour - Day 9
Return your vehicle to Sydney Depot

Explore more of Sydney before dropping your rental car at the depot.


Farewell from Sydney

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

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