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New Year's Eve in Australia: Sydney to the Great Barrier Reef

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Ring in the new year at one of Australia’s best celebrations.

Experience the allure of the Land Down Under when you snorkel in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef, gaze at Uluru, and welcome the new year in Sydney. On this tour, these iconic adventures are only the beginning. From multicultural Melbourne to the vast Outback, Australia is full of surprises for you to discover.

Your tour package includes
  • 11 nights in handpicked hotels
  • 11 breakfasts
  • 1 lunch
  • 3 dinners with beer or wine, including a special New Year’s Eve dinner and Champagne toast
  • 8 guided sightseeing tours
Included highlights
  • Bondi Beach
  • Sydney Opera House
  • New Year’s Eve in Sydney
  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Uluru
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Day-by-day itinerary
Print itinerary
Overnight Flight2 nights
Day 1: Travel day

Cross the International Date Line in flight and “lose” a day.

Day 2: Travel day

Your flight continues to Australia.

Sydney3 nights
Day 3: Arrival in Sydney
Included meal: Welcome dinner

Welcome to Sydney! Get settled in to your hotel and then gather with your fellow travelers at tonight's welcome dinner.

Day 4: Sightseeing tour of Sydney
Included meal: Breakfast

Join your Tour Director for a guided tour of one of the world’s most pleasant cities.

  • Pass Darling Harbour and the Royal Botanic Gardens
  • Stop at Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair to take in views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge
  • See the Rocks neighborhood, Bondi Beach, and the Gap in Watsons Bay
  • Step inside the UNESCO-listed Sydney Opera House with a local guide

Enjoy a free evening in Sydney or add an excursion.

Sydney Harbour Dinner Cruise
Excursion (additional cost)
Day 5: Free day in Sydney & New Year’s Eve celebration
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a free day in Sydney or add an excursion.

Tonight, enjoy a special multi-course dinner and a Champagne toast to welcome the new year.

Featherdale Wildlife Park
Excursion (additional cost)
Great Barrier Reef Region3 nights
Day 6: Flight to Cairns
Included meal: Breakfast

Fly to Cairns, a coastal city in the state of Queensland.

Day 7: The Great Barrier Reef
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Enjoy a full day at the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system.

  • Head to Cairns Marina to board a boat out into the Coral Sea
  • View the coral’s colors from the underwater observatory, glass-bottom boat, or semi-submarine—or hop in the water with a snorkel
  • Enjoy an included buffet lunch
Day 8: Free day in the Great Barrier Reef Region
Included meal: Breakfast

Spend a free day in the Great Barrier Reef region or add an excursions.

Australian Hot Air Balloon Ride
Excursion (additional cost)
Kuranda Village Aboriginal Park & Rainforest
Excursion (additional cost)
Ayers Rock1 night
Day 9: Transfer to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
Included meal: Breakfast

Fly from Cairns to the Uluru region and visit Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Take in incredible views of Kata Tjuta, the weathered rock domes also known as the Olgas. Then, watch the sun set over Uluru, the magnificent monolith that’s been worshiped by Aboriginal tribes for 22,000 years.

Alice Springs1 night
Day 10: Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park & transfer to Alice Springs
Included meal: Breakfast

Spend a free morning in the Uluru region or add an excursion.

Then, return to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park to learn about Uluru’s significance to the Aboriginal people. Join your Tour Director for a panoramic tour of the area or enjoy free time to explore the park at your leisure.

Then, transfer to Alice Springs, stopping to view Mount Conner as you make your way through the Northern Territory.

Uluru Scenic Plane Ride
Excursion (additional cost)
Melbourne3 nights
Day 11: Sightseeing tour of Alice Springs & flight to Melbourne
Included meal: Breakfast

Take a guided sightseeing tour of Alice Springs to learn about many institutions that date back to the country’s colonial days.

  • Stop at Anzac Hill and take in sweeping views of the town and countryside
  • Visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the School of Air

Later, transfer to the airport for your flight to Melbourne.

Day 12: Sightseeing tour of Melbourne
Included meal: Breakfast

Set off on a guided tour to admire the city’s beautiful 19th-century architecture, historic landmarks, and sprawling parks.

  • Explore Carlton Gardens, home of the Royal Exhibition Building and the Melbourne Museum
  • Visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Shrine of Remembrance
  • Pass the Yarra River and the Sports and Arts Precinct, site of the Australian Open
  • Enter the National Opal Collection
  • Stroll through Queen Victoria Market

Enjoy free time in Melbourne or add an excursion.

Phillip Island Penguin Parade
Excursion (additional cost)
Day 13: Free day in Melbourne
Included meals: Breakfast, Farewell dinner

Enjoy a free day in Melbourne or add an excursion.

Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner with your fellow travelers.

Yarra Valley Winery via Steamtrain
Excursion (additional cost)
Flight Home
Day 14: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

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Our reviews are authentic and unedited.
All Around Great Tour
by 2nd time traveler 

This tour exceeded our expectations. All the hotels were first rate and well located. All the coaches we rode in were nice. The itinerary worked well for us including the optional excursions. There was only one optional excursion that we didn't sign up for. We felt like we saw and did a lot yet we ...

Read more +
by 2nd time traveler 

What a wonderful way to explore Australia. Go Ahead was great from booking to the actual tour. Loved that they followed up to ensure that any questions that I had before departure were answered. The tour itself was to see all the major highlights of Australia. Our tour director,...

Great Experience
by 2nd time traveler 

The tour group and the director were fabulous! Everyone I had contact with was friendly and helpful ! The hotel accommodations were above average but not exceptional. The hotel staff in Melbourne were extremely helpful when I needed to see a doctor but I wished it had been in a better location in p...

Go Ahead Tours replied on 01/21/2019

Dear Diane, Many thanks for taking the time to rat...

Lifetime Journey to the Land Down Under
by 5th time traveler 

This is a quick paced tour to see the highlights of Australia. It didn't disappoint. The hotel in Sydney was well located and had good sized rooms. As a single traveler sometimes you feel like you are staying in a closet. These were nice sized. The tour of the Sydney area was great. The bus ...

Go Ahead Tours replied on 10/23/2018

Dear Diane, Thank you for your review! It sounds l...

Celebrate the New Year in Australia - wow!
by 3rd time traveler 

A wonderful mix of experiences, from watching the fireworks above the Sydney Harbor high atop the 25th floor on New Year's Eve to viewing the Great Barrier Reef in tropical Cairns, walking in Uluru, learning about the School of Air and the Royal Flying Doctors in Alice Springs, and riding the Puffin...

Go Ahead Tours replied on 01/12/2018

Hi Nancy, Thanks for sharing more about your exp...

Hotels, flights & FAQ

Here's the nitty-gritty—where you’ll stay, how you’ll get there, and what to know about your destination before you go.


We handpick every hotel to strike the balance of comfort, location, and local charm. Specific accommodations will vary based on your departure date, but these are frequently used hotels for this tour and we're confident you'll be satisfied.

Vibe Savoy Hotel Melbourne

You will love the convenience of staying in the very heart of all the action in the Melbourne city center. Blending the zest of the Vibe Hotel brand w...

DoubleTree By Hilton Alice Springs

This majestic hotel is located within walking distance of downtown. Guests enjoy a fitness center, heated pool, and free Wi-Fi. Nearby, you’ll find Si...

Desert Gardens Hotel

This scenic hotel is located within view of Uluru. Guests enjoy an art gallery, sprawling gardens, and free Wi-Fi. Nearby, you’ll find scenic lookouts...

Pacific Hotel Cairns

This centrally located hotel is located on the Cairns Esplanade. Guests enjoy a heated pool, free Wi-Fi, and a restaurant. Nearby, you’ll find the Esp...

The Sydney Boulevard Hotel

This centrally located hotel is found in Woolloomooloo, Sydney. Guests enjoy free WiFi, 24-hour room service, and a gym. Nearby, you'll find Hyde Park...


Round-trip flights are one more thing we handle to make your journey as smooth as possible. Our team of travel experts will find the best flight itinerary for you at a competitive rate, thanks to our partnerships with top airlines.

Add our airfare package and you'll get:
  • Round-trip flight for your tour
  • Airport transfers at your destination
  • A great price locked in today
  • 24/7 support from our dedicated service team
  • Options for arriving early, staying longer, or requesting an upgrade
  • Flexible rebooking options if your tour itinerary changes
  • Find out more about flights
Local weather
Alice Springs, Australia
Weather averages
High 98°F Low 75°F
Sydney, Australia
Weather averages
High 69°F Low 53°F
Melbourne, Australia
Weather averages
High 83°F Low 60°F
Print FAQ
Passport & visa requirements
  • In order to enter Australia, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of reentry.
  • We recommend having at least two blank passport pages for entry stamps.
  • U.S. and Canadian passport holders must purchase an individual visa from the Australian government’s Electronic Travel Authority website to departure.
  • If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact your destination country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.
Tour pace
  • You will walk for about 1 hour daily across mostly flat terrain, including paved roads and gravel paths, with few hills.
  • Travelers should be healthy enough to participate in all included walks without assistance. Adding optional excursions may increase the total amount of walking on your tour.
  • You should feel comfortable managing your own baggage at times, as well as getting in and out of boats.
  • Go Ahead Tours and the Tour Director who accompanies your group are unable to provide special, individual mobility assistance to travelers on tour. The responsibility of the Tour Director is to ensure the group as a whole enjoys a relaxing and informative journey, and he or she cannot be relied upon to provide ongoing, individualized assistance to any one traveler.
  • If you have any mobility concerns or physical restrictions, please contact our Customer Experience Team.
Transportation & arrival information
  • Round-trip flights booked through Go Ahead Tours arrive in Sydney and depart from Melbourne. A representative from Go Ahead Tours will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival.
  • Transfers to and from the airport at your destination are included for travelers who have purchased their flights through Go Ahead Tours. Travelers who purchase their own flights may request airport transfers with Go Ahead Tours for an additional cost.
  • Flights from Sydney to Cairns, Cairns to the Uluru Region, and Alice Springs to Melbourne, as well as a boat ride to the Great Barrier Reef, are included in the price of your tour.
  • All other included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach.
Baggage allowance
  • Please note that our travelers are limited to one checked bag and one carry-on bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other transfers, which may include train connections or flights.
  • Contact your airline(s) for baggage size and weight restrictions for your flights, which may include on-tour flights in addition to your round-trip flights to and from tour. Please note that your included on-tour flights may have more restrictive baggage limits.
  • Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage or exceed baggage size and weight restrictions. Be advised that you are responsible for any baggage fees incurred on all flights.
  • Make sure you label your baggage and keep valuables, medication, and documents in your carry-on bag.
Clothing & packing tips
  • During the southern hemisphere’s spring and summer seasons (September–February), we recommend lighter clothing with a warmer layer for cooler mornings and evenings.
  • The Australian sun is very hot. Pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. Bug repellent is also useful, as there can be flies in the Outback this time of year.
  • A sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers is recommended for sightseeing.
  • You may want to pack dressier attire if you plan to visit a high-end restaurant or special performance.
  • There are no major health risks associated with traveling to Australia.
  • At least 60 days prior to departure, check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and entry requirements, or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at
  • Take particular care of sun exposure and drink plenty of liquids. If you choose to go swimming, be careful of powerful surf. Make sure to obey signs and lifeguards’ orders, and always swim between the marked flags.
  • Travelers prone to seasickness may want to take special precautions for the boat ride to the Great Barrier Reef.
  • There are inherent risks associated with water activities, particularly for those with pre-existing medical conditions. Discuss your planned activities with your doctor or healthcare provider for the best advice on participation.
  • If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour as well as any possible delays encountered.
  • If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify Go Ahead Tours at least 30 days prior to your departure by logging in to your account and updating your traveler info. To update this information closer to your departure date, please call our Customer Experience Team.
  • Australian menus emphasize high-quality steaks and lamb chops, though meat pies are also popular. Regional specialties include shellfish (such as Sydney rock oysters and crabs) and smoked sausages brought to South Australia by German settlers. The national beverage is beer, and a visit to an Aussie pub is a popular pastime, but the country’s wines are superb.
Electricity & air conditioning
  • Australia operates on the standard 220-240 volts and uses Types I plugs with three large, flat pins set on an angle.
  • We recommend packing a universal adapter, as well as a voltage converter if you plan on using your own hairdryer or other device without a built-in converter.
  • The majority of the hotels on this tour will have air conditioning.
  • Your hotels may provide hairdryers, irons, and other small appliances. However, these amenities cannot be guaranteed.
  • Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though some charges may apply.
  • There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches.
  • Please contact your mobile service provider for information on roaming charges.
Time zones
  • You’ll travel through Australian Central Standard Time (14.5 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time) and Australian Eastern Standard Time (15 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Time).
  • When it’s noon in New York, it’s 3:30am in Cairns and 4am in Melbourne.
  • You will use the Australian dollar on this tour.
  • Better rates of exchange are usually available overseas, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive.
  • We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks as needed.
  • You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees.
  • Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
  • International banks and businesses primarily accept debit and credit cards that work with the EMV chip system. If you do not already have at least one debit or credit card with a chip in it, we strongly recommend requesting one from your bank prior to your tour.
  • At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity in local currency. Please keep current exchange rates in mind.
  • We recommend tipping the equivalent of $7USD to $10USD per person per day for your Tour Director and the equivalent of $3USD per person per day for your driver.
  • If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD per local guide.
  • Tips can only be paid in cash.
Purchasing excursions on tour
  • Most optional excursions will be available for purchase while you are on tour.
  • Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa, or MasterCard as payment for excursions.
  • Please be advised that if you pay for an excursion by credit card while on tour, it may take up to three months for your card to be charged.
  • Some optional excursions may only be purchased in advance. See page four of your tour itinerary for more information. International travel is, by its very nature, unpredictable. We must therefore reserve the right to change this itinerary, without advance notice, to meet with local conditions at the time of travel. We appreciate your understanding. Please refer to our website for Terms & Conditions, dates, and prices.
Dates & prices
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