Land Down Under: the five best Australia tours

Sydney Harbour

Australia Day, which marks the arrival of British settlers to the country in 1788, is a major national public holiday now.  It provides an opportunity for old and new citizens alike to celebrate what’s so great about the nation.

We select five different tours to Australia, suitable for every type of traveller, whether you’re headed to the Land Down Under on your own or with the entire family.

The full monty

A 20-day Discover Australia itinerary run by APT travels from Perth to Sydney. It includes a number of “Special Insider” experiences such as a cruise along the Swan River in Perth and around the Sydney Harbour which takes in Fremantle, Perth, Alice Springs, Uluru, Cairns, the Great Barrier Reef, Melbourne and Sydney. Other highlights include a visit to the Royal Flying Doctor Service and School of the Air, a catamaran ride to Reef Magic’s exclusive activity platform and a stop at the Yarra Valley wine region. This being Australia, you’ll visit some of the world’s best beaches, including Bondi Beach and the shores of Port Douglas. Departures between September 2016 and March 2017, from £4,795 including flights and some meals.

Port Douglas is home to some magnificent beaches

Taster course

If you don’t more than two weeks to take in mammoth Australia’s diverse sights, you can choose a 10-day Sydney, Reef and Rainforest tour which gives an overview, visiting Sydney, Hamilton Island, Port Douglas and Cairns. There are some very special experiences, such as exploring the Great Barrier Reef with a marine biologist and a chance to watch an Aboriginal “smoking ceremony” performed to ward off evil spirits, before wandering the Mossman Gorge rainforest, guided by an indigenous expert who will share local legends. There are also stays at a tropical resort on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. Departures between September 2016 and January 2017, from £1,896 including some meals and an Aussie BBQ at a Cairns home.

Mossman Gorge rainforest

Mossman Gorge rainforest

Full steam ahead

Great Rail Journeys offers a 22-day Australia and the Ghan tour, a rail adventure to the country’s highlights such as the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru and the Blue Mountains. Highlights include a wine tour of Barossa Valley, dinner in Uluru under the stars and a train ride that chugs along the legendary Ghan from Alice Springs to Adelaide. There is also a ride on the 125-year-old Kuranda Scenic Railway which takes you into the rainforest and above the Barron River Gorge to Kuranda.

Family adventure

If it’s an adventure with the entire clan that you’re after, a nine-day Family Australia itinerary from Abercrombie & Kent might just be the ticket. There’s plenty to keep the children entertained, including a tour of Sydney’s Taronga Zoo with an expert guide, an Aboriginal walkabout experience near Daintree, guided by a member of the Kuku Yalanji people, a surfing lesson at Bondi Beach and a jet-boat ride across Sydney Harbour. There’s more: a trip to the Outback on a camel as you watch Uluru and Kata Tjuta change colour at sunset and a full day of snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef. Departures between June and December, from £4,663 including internal flights and but excluding international flights.

Watch Uluru change colour at sunset

Watch Uluru change colour at sunset

A single encounter

If you’re planning on visiting Australia solo but favour travelling with a group of like-minded people, Titan’s new Highlights of Australia for Solo Travellers offers a low single supplement and features double rooms – rather than single rooms – for solo use. This 16-day journey explores the diversity of the country: from the southern states of New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia, to tropical Queensland and the Northern Territory’s “red centre,” as well as the country’s national treasures, such as the Sydney Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru. The 18-day tour also includes 11 excursions and visits, such as a trip to the Yarra Valley, including lunch at a winery; a river cruise in Fremantle; and a sunrise tour of Uluru. October 7, from £4,999 including flights and some meals.