Listen very carefully because I’m about to say something very important. If you’re visiting Australia, under the age of 35 and enjoy adventure activities, beautiful scenery, partying and meeting awesome backpackers on the road, there is no tour better than Contiki’s BEACHES AND REEFS tour.
TRAVEL AUSTRALIA WITH CONTIKI…
…AND HAVE NO REGRETS
Earlier this year, I visited the Northern Territory with Contiki and it exceeded expectations. I wrote the article ‘Should I go on a Contiki tour?‘ to explain why. After such a great experience, I was excited to join another Contiki tour, but I had absolutely no inkling it would be THIS GOOD! ——-> !!!!!!!
Without a doubt, the two weeks I spent travelling between Sydney and Cairns were among the most enjoyable and memorable of my life. Having travelled independently for most of the past four years, it was brilliant to share such incredible experiences with a large (50+!) group of likeminded people. And what experiences they were…! Here’s a rundown.
Our tour began in Sydney and, despite having lived there for the past year, I really enjoyed exploring Sydney with Contiki. We took a trip to the Blue Mountains, explored the Vivid Festival, chilled on Manly beach, watched a few rounds of crab racing, cooked our own steaks for dinner and sampled the nightlife of King’s Cross.
Early morning surf lessons at the Spot X Mojo Surf camp near Coffs Harbour were included in the tour package and, despite a big party the night before, we all made it onto the waves with varying degrees of skill and elegance.
Byron Bay provided the opportunity to kayak with dolphins and sea turtles, but first we had to negotiate some massive breaking waves and not everyone avoided an unplanned dip in the ocean.
CURRUMBIN WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
You can’t travel in Australia without checking out at least one wildlife park. Unfortunately, it’s not that common to see a koala in the wild, but in Queensland, you can hold one! At Currumbin, you can also cuddle up with a kangaroo and take a spooning selfie.
One of the optional extras that everyone on this tour should consider, the Dracula Cabaret at Surfers Paradise was an evening of obscurity. Without giving too much away, this spooky, hilarious, erotic and bafflingly strange evening included a ghost train ride, disturbingly weird waitresses and plenty of scantily dressed vampires swinging from the ceiling.
JETPACKING AND FLYBOARDING
At Surfers Paradise, we had some free time to go off and do an activity of our choice. Skydiving was popular among the group, but I decided to try something a bit different. Jet packing has only been commercially available for a couple of years and it’s absolutely insane.
An Fraser Island included bombing along a pristine white sand beach in a 4WD, bathing in the silica-rich spa-like waters of stunningly beautiful Lake McKenzie, searching for dingoes and watching dolphins frolic with the backdrop of an incredible sunset.
CRACKING THE WHIP
Visiting cows on the back of a tractor trailer, practicing whip cracks and singing karaoke on a bar while wearing animal print cowboy hats was all in a night’s work just inland from Rockhampton.
We spend two days and one night sailing the Whitsundays, where we learnt how to sail, snorkelled with pretty reef fish, fed sea eagles, licked ants, and built a human pyramid on the stunningly gorgeous Whitehaven Beach.
GREAT BARRIER REEF
Arriving in Cairns, the ever popular Great Barrier Reef day trip gave us all a chance to snorkel or scuba dive with Nemos, turtles and sting rays, all followed up with ice cold beers on deck.
AJ Hackett Cairns has a 50 m bungy from the highest viewing platform in the city, as well as a crazy swing. If you’re a seasoned bungy jumper you can choose from a 16-part ‘menu’ of alternative jump styles, including the option of riding a BMX bike off the roof of the tower!
PETER ANDRE IMPERSONATIONS
Another optional extra in Cairns, Uncle Brian’s tour has to be the best organised day trip I’ve ever been on. Taking on natural rock slides and having the chance to flick our hair in front of the waterfall where Peter Andre recorded his Mysterious Girl music video was just part of the fun. Without spoiling the surprise, this trip is 12 hours of well-thought out entertainment from beginning to end.
If the schedule wasn’t already jam-packed, we spent almost every night sampling the Australian
goon nightlife. Thankfully, this 31-year-old kept up with the best of them!
My Contiki Beaches and Reefs Tour (with Sailing) was sponsored by Contiki. The choice of article topics was left entirely up to me and any opinions are a genuine reflection of what I thought about the experience. I would highly encourage anyone to book themselves onto a Contiki trip – especially those who think independent travel is the only way to go. You might be surprised!