Working with our travel partner, Collette, Reader’s Digest is offering a 16-day tour of Australia, taking in this remarkable country’s major cities, natural wonders, beautiful wildlife and rich culture

Australia is a country of contrasts. From its untouched natural wonders and beautiful beaches to its Aboriginal culture and charming cities, Australia is a wild and bewitching place.

In a world where so much of our landscape has lost its magic, Australia remains a haven for the adventurous soul, a destination where ‘remote’ still means something and Indigenous stories retain the ability to amaze. And yet the wilderness of the Outback sits cheek by jowl with urban hubs like Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, cities with a ‘wow’ factor, as well as lesser-known smaller towns and villages with their unique attractions.

“The Aborigines boast the oldest continuous culture on the planet, and continue to celebrate a spiritual connection with the land”

Australia is one of the most beautiful regions on earth, and much of its appeal lies in its history. The Aborigines boast the oldest continuous culture on the planet, and continue to celebrate a spiritual connection with the land. But it wasn’t until the 1970s that the indigenous people were given back limited rights to their land, some 200 years after Captain Cook landed on the east coast and claimed it for Britain.

Today, Australia celebrates its multi-culturalism, which is reflected in its rich variety of cuisine, diverse lifestyles, vibrant cultural practices and fascinating heritage.


Some stories suggest that Melbourne was originally to be called ‘Batmania’ after one of its founding fathers, John Batman.

In Melbourne, it is illegal to sing an obscene song, tune or ballad within earshot of another person – so you might want to keep the gangsta rap to a minimum.

According to the RSPCA, Melbourne is Australia’s ‘fox capital’, with between 6 and 23 foxes per square kilometre in the city’s urban area.

Thanks to its combination of cutting edge style, eclectic nightlife, dynamic arts scene and stunning Victorian architecture, Melbourne is, to put it simply, cool. As Australia’s sporting and cultural capital, the city boasts all manner of experiences not least Federation Square which is home to major attractions and an exceptional array of restaurants and bars. Locals call this modern piazza the heart and soul of Melbourne.

“The island is home to the world’s largest colony of Little Penguins, the smallest (and cutest) of all penguin species”

Then there’s Port Phillip, the entrance to Australia’s busiest port and one of the region’s most popular destinations. It’s actually an area comprising more than 16 bays, making it the perfect place to enjoy a beach holiday.

Situated some 90 minutes from Melbourne is Phillip Island with its four nature parks. The island is home to the world’s largest colony of Little Penguins, the smallest (and cutest) of all penguin species. Here you can witness the famous Penguin Parade and get up close to one of Australia’s largest fur seal colonies on a boat tour. There’s also the chance to say g’day to the koalas at the conservation centre.


Barossa Valley’s original name was spelled ‘Barrosa’ after the Barrosa Ridge in Andalusia, but an error in the registration process resulted in ‘Barossa’.

South Australia’s Barossa Valley is home to around 150 wineries and cellar doors.

The grape-growing families of the Barossa Valley are custodians to Australia’s largest collection of old vines, with some dating back to the 1840s.

No trip to South Australia is complete without a visit to the Barossa Valley. Located less than 40 miles from Adelaide, this famous wine-making region dates back to the 19th century when it was settled by the English and the Germans. Today it numbers some of the world’s best-known wineries, including Wolf Blass, Penfolds, Jacob’s Creek, and Peter Lehmann Wines.

“life existed in the Barossa for ages before anyone much cared about wine, and that history keeps it feeling genuine”

Despite its popularity, Barossa Valley has retained its quiet and calm atmosphere, with vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see. Vantage points offer unrivalled views, complete with stone cottages built by the first settlers. The region is most celebrated for its Shiraz but there are many other vintages produced here employing old world traditions and modern methods, including Grenache and Mataro. Put simply, Barossa Valley has won over the world’s wine lovers as well as inspiring visitors from far afield.

The history here is as rich as the soil. As one winemaker said, “life existed in the Barossa for ages before anyone much cared about wine, and that history keeps it feeling genuine”.


Someone who lives in Sydney and its suburbs is known colloquially as a Sydneysider.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the widest long-span bridge and tallest steel arch bridge in the world.

Sydney was the site of the first British colony in Australia in 1788.

Of all the cities Down Under, Sydney is at the top of most visitors’ lists. With the city’s myriad of attractions, it’s easy to see the appeal. From the iconic Sydney Opera House and the Royal Botanic Gardens to the stunning Sydney Harbour and its majestic bridge, Sydney has more than its fair share of world-famous landmarks. And if you’re after the ultimate in surf and people-watching, Bondi Beach is just the ticket.


“Sydney offers a wonderful combination of beachside life and urban excitement”

But this bustling metropolis has a calmer underside. Take a ferry trip to one its many inlets and bays and enjoy tranquil, white sandy beaches and exhilarating walks. There’s also The Rocks, Sydney’s historic area, complete with cobblestone streets, museums, galleries and Saturday markets packed with hidden treasures. You can also learn about the life of former convict households.

Most of all, Sydney offers a wonderful combination of beachside life and urban excitement. Take time to sample the fusion of cooking cultures at restaurants judged to be the best in the world and meander through bars soaking up the nightlife—you’ll soon see why Sydney has a reputation for being one of the planet’s most exhilarating cities.

DAY 1-2

Day 1

Begin the adventure of a lifetime when you arrive in Melbourne, a Victorian city with an energetic modern culture. You’ll dine aboard The Colonial Tramcar, the first travelling cable car restaurant in the world.

Day 2

Get to know Melbourne on a tour including the historic Fitzroy Gardens. You can also join the optional tour to Phillip Island, home to the world’s largest colony of Little Penguins, the smallest of all penguin species.

DAY 3-4

Day 3

Fly to Adelaide and explore this lovely coastal city before going on to the Barossa Valley, Australia’s most famous wine region. In the evening, you’ll enjoy a scenic dinner overlooking the vineyards.

Day 4

Set out for the 19th century Hutton Vale Farm set in 2,000 acres of picturesque countryside. The owners will welcome you and show you around, including one of their many vineyards. Next, travel to the Seppeltsfield winery for a private tour.

DAY 5-6

Day 5

Welcome to the Outback. During your Alice Springs tour, you’ll meet the Aboriginal group, Drum Atweme, and savour a bush dinner set against the desert backdrop.

Day 6

Get to know the history and culture of the Walpiri Aboriginal people during a ‘Dreamtime Tour’. You may even see a class of the School of the Air in session before exploring this quintessential Outback town.


Day 7

Traverse the ‘Red Centre’ as you drive to the huge monolith that is Uluru (the Aboriginal name for Ayres Rock). Prepare for a majestic sunset as you witness the changing of the colours of Uluru while enjoying a champagne toast.

DAY 8-11

Day 8

Set off for the Kata Tjuta and the base of ‘The Rock’ to learn about its significance. Later, fly to Cairns, the tropical gateway to one of the planet’s most spectacular natural attractions, the Great Barrier Reef. The Reef is a haven for all manner of sea life.

Day 9

Board the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway for an unforgettable ride above the rainforest canopy, including two stops where you can disembark and explore the forest floor. The afternoon is yours to enjoy the tropical surroundings.

Day 10

Hop aboard a catamaran and sail to the Low Isles to explore the reef’s fascinating underworld. It’s up to you – perhaps explore the shores of this tiny sand island, go snorkeling or join an expert for a heritage trail walk.

Day 11

The morning is yours before setting out for Hartley’s Croc Farm. Boardwalks take you on an adventure through rainforests and woodlands, home to all sorts of wildlife. You may meet the local koalas. Then take a cruise on the lagoon to watch for crocodiles before an authentic Aussie barbecue.

DAY 12-15

Day 12

After a leisurely morning, fly to Sydney, Australia’s largest city. This evening it’s ‘Diner’s Choice’ as you choose from a variety of local restaurants along bustling Darling Harbour.

Day 13

Begin with a driving tour of the city’s landmarks before a walking tour. You’ll take in iconic sights, including the Harbour Bridge and the Botanic Gardens. Then there’s a stroll through the Rocks followed by a tour of Sydney Opera House and later free time.

Day 14

The choice is yours – travel to the stunning Blue Mountains and explore its countless geological wonders or further experience Sydney at your own pace with a Sydney cruise pass where you can travel to a variety of spots on Sydney Harbour including its beach resorts.

Day 15

Enjoy a day at leisure. In the evening, say farewell to Sydney during a dinner cruise of Sydney Harbour.


DAY 16

Day 16

You leave for home with wonderful memories of this inspiring country.


Reader’s Digest only recommends the very best tours, which is why we are working with Collette – boasting a century of travel experience and strong family ownership, Collette focusses on helping you get the very best curated experience when you travel.

If you want to find out more about the EXPLORING AUSTRALIA TOUR then you can request a no-obligation quote below or call 0800 804 8373 to speak to a travel adviser.

If you can’t wait to get your tour booked then click on ‘BUILD YOUR TOUR’ to go straight through to the Collette site and plan the adventure of a lifetime.